Salvation By Sarah Vance


I was raised in wooden pews, the voices of white men
raining down from pulpits, planting poison seeds.
my own voice too deep
even then,
feet dangling above the crimson carpet.

On Sundays we gathered dusty bibles
put on dresses that were never meant to be worn
with a strut like mine, and
long legs that refused to cross.

I walked the straight and narrow, gay and damned
until it choked me.
Bible belt fashioned into a centuries old noose,
their own golden rule long forgotten.

And in this wilderness where I came to hide
I found instead her healing hands, and beautiful,
rebellious knees that too refused to bow
to sow more shame.

Here in the place they warned would lead to death
there is no fear and trembling,
instead she lies with me, naked and unashamed
my salvation in the woods.

By Sarah Vance


Sarah Vance is a striving poet from East Tennessee who spends their days teaching justice and diverse literature to high schoolers and her evenings loving her wife and kids. They are a justice seeker, word crafter, coffee drinker, and mountain hiker. While Sarah dreams of west coast towns, with ocean breezes, they are southern and believe there is merit in staying and sharing these words.

Duelo By Sade Teniola

I crept in when you were asleep
watching your vulnerable form
I slid into the covers
the feel of you stirring
shuts out the pain that weighed
heavy on my chest

right here
I can use your warmth
to silence the noise
pondering is so loud for my
fragile state instead I use you
to shut everything out

tomorrow can wait
the dark of the night is all I have
and here is where I will spend
every hour holding on to life
even though life has abandoned love

By Sade Teniola


Sade Teniola is a British Nigerian poet and writer with a debut poetry book, The Silence That Falls In Between, recently published. She lives in London where she continues to write. Instagram:

Coming of Age By L.J. Gallagher

Coming of Age

What it’s like to come of age in twenty – twenty:
Faces of despair hidden under masks.

We brace ourselves when we open Twitter,
Fearing another Black name a hashtag.

Every waking moment spent fighting for our lives,
At the hands of militarized police and an invisible virus.

Black lives matter, Black lives matter,
I’ll say it until my throat gives out.

Forced to choose between our friends and our dignity,
We become more faithless every day. Black lives matter.

Stay at home, wear a mask, flatten the curve.
Powerlessness breeds a lonely anger our parents can’t grasp.

I am not proud to be living history.
I want normalcy, equality, democracy.

By L.J. Sullivan

In Research By Sophia Liu

In Research

Mounds of dead Drosophila sit underneath my ceiling light. They are just
alimentary canals & Malpighian tubules & fused ganglia.

Our teacher explains that we freeze the Drosophila after we
conduct our studies. So when we accept our

null hypotheses, we watch hundreds of fruit flies drop like daily rainfall.

The first thing I purposely killed was a Maine lobster. Wiggled it
out of its rubber bands and pushed a knife right through

its cranium. Flesh still settling into death, it became a
disposed cephalon & an anterior ganglion & a broken nerve cord.

My father, Thank you for helping.

Then, that day, he told me as a did you know;
but my mother, who tells me death is just another lunar eclipse, stayed silent.

I thought of us, in research, heating glucose
every mid-winter afternoon to feed the Drosophila. Cleaning their tubes

in the spring. Scraping every wing and leg into the trash and you,
a body distance away from me—watching those ashy bodies pile.

You’d breathe a sigh that our projects are completed. You’d
ask me my answers to yesterday’s geometry test, nodding.

Two years ago we would have been research partners. I would have
told you that there must be a reason that we were made to hold

four-chambered hearts & central nervous systems & lungs.
Despite the unexpected. Despite that even if death is the moon’s revolution,

it stamps a finger up our backs regardless. Despite that
we justify existence as a taxonomy tree, choose Drosophila as a model for our bodies.

Only thinking. Only praying that the moon dissolves in the sun’s streams.

By Sophia Liu


Sophia Liu lives in New York. Her poems and art appear or are forthcoming in the Perch, Storm Cellar, the Ekphrastic Review, Whispering Prairie Press, Underblong, opia, and elsewhere. She has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the National Council of Teachers of English, Smith College, and Hollins University. She volunteers as a teacher for the Princeton Learning Experience and wants a pet cat.

as black as the hole in your navel By Deska Deska

as black as the hole in your navel

the other day we made a pillow tower state
you ate the remnants of my blueberry cake
with your thumb
and see us now

next month one woman will be flattened by you leaving
dearest nothing has happened yet
(rubber things I put in myself maybe I should vegetables)

your name tag hanging from my neck
on a small island in a state that we made your dirty shirts standing
I will never follow your steps

By Deska Deska


Deska Deska is based in Vienna, Austria.
She was born in 1996 in Serbia. Her father was adopted. That part of the family remained unknown. She currently studying on TRANSMEDIALE KUNST- ANGEWANDTE (University of applied arts) WIEN,
AUSTRIA. She attended the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, as well as the Faculty of Fine Arts from the same city. First in-class Contemporary clothing than she was part of New media art class. She had six group and three solo art exhibitions.

Bark By Maria Llona Garcia


I bare my teeth and spit
out words I put together
just to cut.
My jaw locks
like a dog’s. When I bite
down I can’t let go,
even if I change
my mind.
And I’m bad
at cause-and-effect and
constantly sorry. I’m
still holding you between
my jaws.
Before I can open
my mouth you’re dead
or at least hurt
and we’re dead.
And maybe
that’s what I wanted anyway.

By Maria Llona Garcia


Maria Llona Garcia is a 24 year old Peruvian poet and occasional prose writer. She recently graduated with a degree in English from Skidmore College, where she was awarded their section of the Academy of American Poets Prize. She currently lives in her hometown of Lima, Peru and teaches English while also working as a newsletter editor. This fall she will begin studying for an MFA in Poetry at The New School.

Bulletproof Dreams By Isaiah Diaz-Mays

Bulletproof Dreams

Your silver won’t ever stop me, even after it strikes me
in the head and the cop that discharged it from his barrel
with intentions to free me from the nightmares I have about

his kind cries to the jury that his life was in jeopardy because
my phone looked like a weapon, and the moon was high and howling.
Even after my community marches through the streets demanding

restitution and makes a memorial in front of the bodega I was assassinated
outside of, the same bodega whereas a kid I’d grab the red pack of Skittles with
a bottle of Poland Spring water while walking through the isles with vast visions

of making it so big that even when I got stopped by the cops, I’d be fine
because everyone will recognize me. Even when you see me more as an
animal than a human and destroy my body with your brass bullet, I still
won’t be stopped because the most powerful protection doesn’t come from

the taxpayer dollars that I pay you to protect me,

nor in the form of vests, shields, helmets and hefty glass. My soul is guarded by
something much larger than us, a force that keeps our dreams alive long after
I’m unable to physically consult my mother as tears drop from her

brown eyes upon a settlement check from the city, inadequate compensation for
the slaying of my Black body. A body whose heart added boundless love to a world
so dark, and whose brain contained everlasting ideas worth more than gold.

By Isaiah Diaz-Mays


Isaiah Diaz-Mays is a writer currently enrolled at Dartmouth College with aspirations to be a poet, novelist and screenwriter. Born and raised in Hudson County, New Jersey, his inspirations are James Baldwin, Terrance Hayes, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou.

goose down ghazal By violet

goose down ghazal

a goose waves a wing at your passing car, air
hoisting the last whole piece of its body upwards. your air.

do broken bodies stagger us? or more often, release
a simple gasp; the tiniest ripple in the air.

when you arrive home, tire treads hold cracked quills, remnants
of a tour de carnage, a floating feather caressing the air.

once, you asked your mother who buried bodies
of highway casualties. she told you they burned, ashes thick in dusty air.

watch for the smoke signal of their funerals—deep gray,
a dashing deer; a skunk, gentle jade. clouds recover white air.

imagine being combined with new creatures at your death,
shells of a thousand beetles and wings of a bat soaring midair.

no longer Em, no longer roadkill, but something more
than either; a chimera melded from fire and air.

By violet


violet is a millennial poet who has been published in Labyrinth Literary Magazine at Indiana University. She minored in creative writing with a poetry focus. Outside of writing, violet enjoys working with animals, learning Korean, and reading in her hammock.

Clouds By Philip Ossai


Why do the lonely clouds cry.
Gray in color as they pass by.
Some linger and ponder
While bullets hail from heaven
And I can’t help but wonder
If they will quickly pass
Or rather stay the seven
As nature withers and lie
I wonder, why do lonely clouds cry.
Though light is no stranger
Critical is its appearance near danger.
It’s entrance like an angel on a dark day
To musk the bitter stench of silver gray.
But temporary is her stay
As to the abyss it gives way
Returns the lonely clouds in the sky
As I wonder, why do lonely clouds cry.

By Philip Ossai


Philip is a collegiate student athlete at Houston Baptist university. He is a very humble but emotional person and it translates to the field of play. His love for poetry stems from his love for finding the deeper meaning of things. He also enjoys the piano.

Funeral in a Time of Plague By Devon Miller-Duggan

Funeral in a Time of Plague

I sat shiva with blocks of faces on a screen.
We were a poster presentation of sorrow,
a rubbing-raw away from touch.
None of us could say we’d been.
The dead had been. We were a gallery.

No earth in our hands before the sitting, not-sitting,
no shovels of earth pouring the comforter of earth
upon the dead. No pebbles sing their song of here.

We said the names of the dead, as though we were
a gridded sieve to catch the gleanings from a tel.

Our patchwork of faces and sorrow, faces together in rows
like cards on a table without fortune or predictions, only
face up, next face, next face, and words
as the layering of soil, shovel after shovel, to lay a body down
to rest.
See my square, which is my own stone. Here.

By Devon Miller-Duggan


Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Margie, The Antioch Review, Gargoyle, Massachusetts Review, and Spillway. She teaches Poetry Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008), Alphabet Year, (Wipf & Stock, 2017), The Slow Salute, Lithic Press Chapbook Competition Winner, 2018). She also directs the Poets’ Corner Reading Series, a joint project of the English Dept. of UD and St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in which poets read (mostly) their favorite poems by other poets—a cross between Poetry Outreach and Story Hour for grown-ups