Still open at 1:28am By Kris Cho

Still open at 1:28am

The first time I ordered 짬뽕I saw
my mother reflected in a wall of mirrors behind me:

young woman asking for her favorite noodle dish
in a small town as foreign as the place I called my home

across the street from church, ordering 짬뽕 after service
drinking broth to forget

back then,짬뽕 was too spicy for me
so I keep its scent, scalding seafood
steam inseparable from midwestern
humidity clouding the mirrors that
try to reflect
a more landlocked part of the country
a more seaborn part of the world.

But here, I order from
a man who doesn’t know where I’m from
to me
speaks in English
sends me back to a room I am at liberty to lock —
that I choose to lock

where I drink a bowl of apology at my desk
feel the unspoken burn down my throat

and somewhere in a different state
my mother dreams of a different home
and orders 짬뽕 too

By Kris Cho


Kris Cho is a poet born and raised in Mid-Missouri. They are currently studying at Brown University where they double concentrate in Ethnic Studies and History. Cho competed on the Brown/RISD College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) team, winning the 2019 semi-finalist title with their teammates. Their work has been featured in Visions Literary Magazine and chapbook 0.2.

The river is quiet tonight but somehow still alive By Emunah Garmaise

The river is quiet tonight but somehow still alive

and my mind is abuzz. The water sops up the riverbank,
back and forth, and quickening, a dance, a beating:
a silent song like my sister’s arms when she beats down the dough
or like the time I came home late and the porch light was still on.
I am sure there is a message in a bottle somewhere, a kite struck
by lightning bobbing somewhere in the in the river’s murky body,
but for now I am here, feet planted in the rich soil, mind past the horizon
and my thoughts run vociferously like bulls to crimson, like dogs to blood, wolves to strawberry,
moons, and they cannot, will not be silenced, because
I must be more than the flesh and the cells,
blood and bone, mass and marrow that comprise me but do not define me.
I am frenzied and broken and and holy and hopeful,
but somehow I am still alive–or perhaps because of it.

By Emunah Garmaise


Emunah Garmaise is a poet, mental health advocate, and writer for The Ruth Project, a gender equity organization.

Girl By Aspen McCarry


It is gunpowder on my tongue
Metal sharp twang and ache so deep,
I sometimes swear the bullet
lodged deep inside me too.
I don’t know how to carry the memory of a girl I knew as
terror and death, blood and bone and
She had a tattoo.
Someone held her, once,
kissed her baby toes, one by one,
and called her daughter.
I suppose they called her theirs too.
When feet came to running,
She wasn’t fast enough; I never tried
She died.
I don’t know where they buried her
The lake, the river, the slough
Laid her body beneath the earth for the worms to turn
Missing daughters, lost girls—
We were so forgotten.
Sometimes I forget how lucky I was to be found again.

I remember long brown hair
and mismatched eyes and I wonder if
I had died instead what she would
remember of me.

By Aspen McCarry


Aspen McCarry (they/them) is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh studying history and LGBTQ+ studies. When not writing, they can often be found drawing, making music, and trying to teach their cat a new trick.

similarities By Jules Descoteaux


your body curves and pulses in the same ways mine does
our legs shake in unison and our eyes droop in the same corners
our noses hook together when we kiss, roman in the worst form
all these synchronicities feel like a wooden trojan horse

ready to burst with the amount of feelings tucked inside
nearly splintering into any available skin and bone that
wish to cling to each other in the same ways, in the same curves
and pulses with anticipation for the familiarity of friendship

if this is even friendship, if it can be called that i guess i’ve never
had a friend before you, if you can even be called a boy or a man
or a friend, tucked inside this horse as it’s towed into the fortress

and left to fester and rot the surrounding skin with thoughts
of self worthlessness and sexual pleasure only.

does it hurt you too?

By Jules Descoteaux


Jules Descoteaux (they/she) is a recent graduate of Saint Mary’s College, South Bend, Indiana. Living art and imitating life’s darkest moments, she finds solace in writing, making unprecedented and unpracticed visual art, and attempting to be funny online. More of her work across different genres can be found at

This is Not About Us (It’s Just About Desire and The Plague) By RK Fauth

This is Not About Us (It’s Just About Desire and The Plague)

More than a crisis, a phenomenon is how
scholars describe the bubonic
craze that made the Dutch
desire, more than
anything, a tulip

There were flower auctions and
commissioned portraits of bulbs,
certain bulbs worth thousands of seventeenth-century coins

Bulb-like symptoms
developed in certain parts of the body,
round nodules in the armpits or groin, for example, but also
intolerance to light, pain in the back and limbs,
sleeplessness, apathy, and delirium—

But in this version of   modernity,
in the floral department
of Trader Joe’s, I keep
my hands, my saliva, and
this bit of trivia to myself

Because we are running out of money
and because your mind needs a speedometer,
I want to say, you look pretty even in a mask
tightened by safety pins in the back of your head

To purchase means to buy, or
to get a grip on—to want to consume—

Tulpenmanie. They say it was like
a fever inside
an era of fever—

I want to tell you, but you’ve gone
worrying down some other aisle. And I am pushing
a shopping cart of baby’s breath, the color of plums

This poem previously appeared in POETRY.

By RK Fauth


RK Fauth’s poetry and literary nonfiction have been recognized and published by The Spring Creek Project, The Revolution (Relaunch), the Fulbright Korea Infusion, Georgetown University’s Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, and others. She recently received a Global Medieval Studies Award for Academic Excellence for the Unprecedented Project, a public poetry experiment that circulates blackout poems through the mail.

Children At Play By Fairness Peck

Children At Play

children shouting
in circles
shoulder to shoulder
doing their best
of fence posts
knot hole elbows

children fighting
in the school yard
standing still
during the climax
as if it renders them

yet while i walk
past the playground
for a daily cigarette
i can tell
their hearts
in it
at all

By Fairness Peck


Fairness Peck, a poet living in Seattle WA, was a literature and poetry major at Western Washington University, received a master’s degree in communications from the University of Washington, and he has worked as a content strategist in the greater Seattle area for several years. Writing poetry for almost two decades his focus has been on local spoken word communities.

Late July, On the Porch with My Childhood Best Friend By Jane McBride

Late July, On the Porch with My Childhood Best Friend

It is long-dark and the night
is only sound: crickets and
her laughter, and the clink of
spoons in bowls. I am twenty-
one years old and mostly fine,
except sometimes the world
comes dangerously close to
making sense. I cling to the
back of her chair so that she
can stand on her tiptoes to
fiddle with the outdoor bulbs.
A plug enters a socket and
finally the lights come on.
On the first day, God created
light, and He separated light
from darkness. It was not until
three days later that it occurred
to Him to make the sun and
the moon, to sprinkle stars
across the sky. If that is the case
a professor asked us once,
where did the light come from?
Looking out into the lit-up yard
I feel a prickle of the terror I
felt when I first considered that
question—the same terror the
primordial beings must have felt
when our upstart God flipped
the basement light on. The
roaches, who are smarter than
us, flee from it. I, on the other
hand, freeze: a caught-out
voyeur. The light hits the porch
all wrong, glancing off the
awning and crashing in the grass
so that everything is illuminated
but the two of us, cast in shadow.
In the artificial shine, I see
the way the fence and the trees
are suddenly too close, two-
dimensional, their colors rained
out and over-saturated, enameled.
It’s not real. It’s the inside of a box.
And I want to take my ice cream
spoon and gouge out my eyes.
I want to put my fist through the
fragile plaster and strip it off like
wallpaper, because that’s all it is:
just set dressing. Beneath,
I would find wooden slats nailed
together, brittle and sea-worn,
and I would pry them apart with
my bare hands and climb out
legs first. And then I would be—
where? In the abyss. In the void.
In a dark and endless black.
And when I looked down,
I would see myself
even though it was impossible,
even though there were no rays
of sun or moon to illuminate me.
Where is the light coming from?

By Jane McBride


Jane McBride is a fiction writer and occasional poet. Her work has appeared in Quarto Literary Magazine.

ridding By Robin Gow


i wished i could paper-airplane my face away.
then, all into the night, my sleeves could sing
like song birds. no sleep. you were promising that
we would have the big big house & the icing.
licking my fingers, you told me i wasn’t a lady.
i looked down to find myself in the body
of a feral child. all my words turned to beetles
& crawled out of my skull. i believe in
ice berg poetry. how a word can surface
to show a deeper depth & a danger. i crash cruise ships
into trees. no one is on them. i am a wad of pink.
yes, please, swaddle me aluminum & call me never ever ever.

By Robin Gow


Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of several poetry books, an essay collection, and a YA novel in verse, A Million Quiet Revolutions (FSG Books for Young Readers, 2022). Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, and Yemassee.

Every Time By M Chapman Orozco

Every Time

We watched from behind the rusty screen door,
from the room with the teal sofas we didn’t sit on,
the police officer entering our lives with a slam
of his car door, ticking toward us up the driveway.

I stood in the peach stucco home my mother
grew up in. I’d called the police on her husband
for hitting me that time. He told me sharply wait
here and met the officer on the porch. I heard

him say you know how they are
and they spoke of fatherhood then military service,
their murmurs loosened.
The officer said let me talk to her

and his shape shadowed into the room. He said sit.
I sat on the floor. He said this man was a good man
to step in as my father. Obey him. Twenty years

after my mother would dispose of two teal like-new
sofas. I cry every time I get pulled over.

By M Chapman Orozco


M Chapman Orozco is drawn to concepts of trauma, memory, family, and chance. She feeds the beast that is her interest in probability by making it her day job as a technical writer for nonprofit organizations working to disrupt probability.

M recognizes that in all probability, her own upbringing and trauma should have produced different results. M volunteers teaching poetry at an after-school program for low-income students in her community. M holds an undergraduate degree from UCLA (Religious Studies, English minor), and an MBA from Whitworth University.

She lives in Spokane, Washington with her philosopher partner, family, and dog.

Katherine By Yazmin Sadik


Kathy’s thighs toil in the lake,
Her toes spread to let the fish,
Like sparkling coins,
Slip through.
She’s cut off.
She eats on the mountains
With water dripping fists,
And sleeps by the lambs as company
In exchange for the wool of her hair bows.
She is the haggler of this market,
Bearing fruitful currency and so
There is traffic in the air, an ongoing buzz,
Here the bugs and her would like to wear you.
Katherine wallows in the wallow of the fishless lake
Her stomach swelling like an aquarium.

By Yazmin Sadik


Yazmin Sadik is a Turkish Cypriot, second-year English student at the University of Bristol. She enjoys reinterpreting her favourite art works and poems to explore the themes they present to her in a more personal context. Performing in a spoken word event in London, with her friends supporting her in the audience, marked a huge change in her attitude towards her work. Since then, she has had many articles and a poem featured in Epigram, her university newspaper.