Zain & Dana, You are Palestinian By Hadeel Salameh

Zain & Dana, You are Palestinian

You are Palestinian and to be Palestinian is to dance under the sun
despite its blaring heat
and go to sleep counting the stars,
each one a distant village of our ancestors
who drink tea with sage and play oud on the moon

Give me your hands, small and warm, put these two fingers up,
that’s called peace
our people denied it for a piece of land,
with blood on the taker’s hand
but our home lives within us, wherever we are,
freedom is not far
There can be no peace without justice first,
know sweet child we are not a people cursed
we deserve all things good, and so we raise our fingers and speak out
as we should
you are never alone in your longing for your homeland
the olive groves and lemon trees the salt in the seas
and the birds in the sky,
they are all Palestinian and they come to you
when you cannot go to them
our blood is Palestinian, it beats our heart and gives us soul,
our occupiers can never have what they stole
for the land is part of us, we are killed on its hilltops and bloom again as its jasmine
the wind is palestinian, we cry our prayers into it and the dust is lifted into the clouds
in twirls and dabke
You are Palestinian, and to be Palestinian is to come into this world at birth and leave as part of the earth, to dance and fly and sing and never die

By Hadeel Salameh


Hadeel Salameh earned her MFA in Fiction at Bowling Green State University. Her work has appeared in Wrath Bearing Tree, Torrid Literary Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Apogee, Anchor Still Harbor, Muftah, SLAB Literary Art & Sound Book, MLK Jr. Day Writing Awards as an Honorary mention.

clamoring benediction By Ziyi Yan

jeans chafe in a wasting corridor.
a fly beats itself to death
against the ceiling light.

help us build today from ghost-filled chairs
and paper-smooth walls. the bell too,
strains against its own wavelength.

we worship the crackling keyboard–
bodies burnt to glossy words
between moon-lined pages

and the picking–
keys dug from casings,
nail beds bloody

and the light–
call it a farceofnature,
night’s keeper, quarks.

anyway, all we can do is stare too much.
we cannot live without saying we exist
between our waving and the words

that might be the rest of us–
as we touch, or as we lie in bed, unable to tell
an arm on our chest from a broken table leg.

may we type holograms into the screen
before the computer breaks again–
may we leer at our eyes in the dark.

may we beat against the furniture
and the walls we built with our
bodies. there are flies to blot the sun–

all of us, in love or clamoring for air.
guide us to gather our littered limbs, strew them
in jagged lines across the page.

let the things we search for
be somewhere in between–
let us clamor against someone’s


By Ziyi Yan


Ziyi Yan (闫梓祎) is a young Chinese writer living in Connecticut. Her work is published in Poetry Northwest, Rust and Moth, Kissing Dynamite, and Peach Mag, among others. She is also the editor-in-chief of the Dawn Review, a literary magazine dedicated to promoting striking writing and supporting emerging voices. In her free time, she likes to do karaoke and take long walks. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @Ziyiyan___ or visit her website at

Bad Trip By Mia Amore Del Bando

Bad Trip

Hallucinogenics by Lana Del Rey on repeat, vinyl spinning
A black ballerina

My brain splattered on the floor like lovely murder
Glass caught in its pink squiggles
Poking out, acupuncture

My knowledge bare and raw
Staining the carpet
Less than I imagined
Useless facts and equations

Imagination painted in gold
Orbs of rainbow, fascination
Inner child escaped, sketching
Yellow chalk on asphalt

I haven’t seen in her decades
Her eyes are wide and drunk on joy
Art, a long-lost talent

I shuffled through the mess
And lifted her into an embrace

“There you are! I’ve missed you!” she squeals
Her gaze sinks to concern, a pout
“What happened to you?”

Pain bubbles up
Uninvited guest
Her eyes afraid but still vibrant
My shriveled brain bleeding on the floor
I sighed and looked to heaven

“I don’t know. I’m sorry.”

By Mia Amore Del Bando


Mia Amore Del Bando (she/her) is a Mexican/Filipino writer, photographer, and creator. She was born and raised in Long Beach, California. Her writing and photography featured in Flora Fiction, Poets Choice, Backwards Trajectory, Immigration Diaries, and others. Her poetry book Fragments of a Woman’s Brain published by Nymeria Publishing debuts in 2024. She is a faithful friend, difficult daughter, and selfish lover.

White By Nushrat Nur


The color of teeth
Grimacing as shrapnel makes its home
In shoulders tougher than the roots of an olive tree
Burrowing deep into a land that has been bound and gagged
By thieves dressed as guests

The color hidden under the red of bloodshot eyes of a father
Carrying his son across a desert of rubble
Using the same stars to guide him
As the ones he would point to on the rooftop
Of a home that smelled like mint leaves and orange trees

The color of a photograph from yesterday
When footfalls synced to the rhythm
Of loud drum beats as common as the adhan
Melodious rise, somber fall of voices singing with hope and resolution
“Praise and glory be to the one who allowed us to dance”

The color of halls and fluorescent lights
Wafting the smell of antiseptic
Cutting through wails of children
Burning small cuts
On gloved hands used to pulling life out of life
Instead of searching for pulses without prevail

The color of phosphorus pentoxide
Snaking its way across the sky
Into native lungs
Etching onto indigenous flesh
The unmistakable signature of apartheid

The color of shrouds
Softly whispering salam
Billowing in Mediterranean winds
Where grief becomes of dialect of hunger
For a home full of strangers who have now changed the locks

The color of bones
Housed in the very earth that birthed them
Where the roots of olive trees can anchor
So that children can sit in the shade to play
Safe from the burning midday sun

By Nushrat Nur


Nushrat Nur is a global public health practitioner, photographer and poet. She hopes to see a free Palestine within her lifetime.

I dreamt of you last night By Amanda Hall

I dreamt of you last night

and you saved some extra love for me —
we baked it into a cake, we turned it into a cottage.

in this life, our garden is tended to. you kneel with reverence
over the mulch, pretending not to watch me work.

the two of us live by practical alchemy, taking dead things
and bringing them to life — crops, songs, poems, lovemaking.

i feed you homemade jams; fresh-baked goods. you lick my fingers
clean and follow me upstairs, letting me climb on top of you.

in this dream-state, my heart is not overgrown with the weeds of
uncertainty. we prophesize marriage and babies together—

we nap and cook and bake. you wear my pajamas, i covet your t-shirts.
there are dinner parties with our friends. a huge library. aged wines.

you come home in the evening and hang your coat. you play piano
while i read by the window. we eat each other for dessert.

oftentimes you call me baby, soft and drawn out — like a velvet curtain,
a lullaby. so good that i sometimes believe it’s my real name.

late at night you press into me like soft, loose earth —
burying yourself in the nape of my neck, my cunt, my heart.

you say i’d be a beautiful mother, kissing my shoulder. you open your
fist so i can press our firstborn daughter’s name into your palm.

towards the end, i find a dead rose in the garden. an omen of
wanting: knowing it all ends somewhere.

i wake alone as always, finer details aborted from memory—
even further from living than before.

By Amanda Hall


Amanda Hall (she/they) is a third-generation bisexual Filipina. Their work focuses on trauma-informed identity, shame versus desire, and the domestic sphere. Amanda worked as Editor-in-Chief of New Forum, UC Irvine’s oldest creative writing journal in their senior year. During this time, 11 of their works were published in 5 student journals. Besides poetry, Amanda is a songwriter and vocalist. Her favorite things are ube ice cream, minor keys, traveling with friends, and pretty people with deep voices.



But they do have a vague concept of it.

See the body of a domesticated pig cannot bend enough to allow them to look directly up at the sky
years of breeding, of forced genetic mutation in the name of the perfect harvest
Their bodies succumbed to the weight of consumption.
Accommodated the weight of fat and muscle in their necks & spine through fusion.
Now, their mobility is limited to a 45 degree angle.

When I was 6 I was told that my body eventually, would start to contract
To compensate for the loss of muscle and fat
That eventually, my neck and back would fuse
That my movement, would be limited.

Como un coche we had bodies made for slaughter
Pink flesh characterized by body scoring charts, methodical weigh ins and density tests
How beautifully marbled our muscle is when we are when cut into
The surgeon told me once the cut he made along my spine was his finest work
I was a babe worthy of a blue ribbon

To say that a pig cannot see the sky however is incorrect
The same way it is to say that this body bleeds so tenderly
See we still persist despite our damned destiny
We have evolved.

Prioritized survival over comfort
Life over the ability to look straight up
Because if I want to be humbled and inspired and awestruck I do not need to look at heaven but rather at my own reflection
A rippling resilient resistance stares back and rivals all above me

& I know this because if I lie on my back,
The way a pig does,
Humble and against the dirt
I can see the endless above me without effort

And when our eyes meet
For a brief moment,
We both see
An upside-down sunset reminder of what an unrestricted and capable body could look like.

By Marilyn Melissa Salguero


Marilyn Melissa Salguero (she/her/hers) is a Guatemalan poet who puts the SALT in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the human equivalent of red wine, crushed velvet and using humor as a poor coping mechanism. Melissa’s work centers on her life, relationships, and identity. She has been featured in numerous publications including Write About Now Poetry, Ink & Nebula, Rising Phoenix Press, and Crepe & Penn. She was a 2020 nominee for the Pushcart Prize in poetry and a recipient of the Academy of American Poets student contest for 2020. When not yelling about white boys or making God metaphors, Melissa can be found feeding her online shopping addiction, blasting Gloria Trevi, or living up to her title as the quintessential “bitter ex girlfriend poet”. Her work was released in a self-published chapbook entitled “Cannibal” in 2022. Her work (along with her emotional overflow) can be found on twitter @_Miss_Marilyn.



The grey cloak of the televangelist billows dull
hope in air. My father is no hypocrite, the violence
is tangled in his tissue. He is a tree riven of his
bark; a bone of despair, crushed to tar, and we
walk his path through the cycling pistons—our
feet un-soled, ferries his saline tears, hopeless as
an iridescent skin. All the useless tautologies crawls
through that field, he points—that field of
unfelled grace. Untampered devotion. That field
of ever-unfolding crack. My mother tucks coins
of prayer when he is away into every metallic
belly, and we, her sons, are yet filled. Somewhere
in the room of our body, darkness braids its skin
with aplomb through the nozzle of our hollow
door. Mother calls this lacking faith aplenty. But
how does any swinging thing find rest? How do
we resuscitate that which overflows in spasms?
We drink lamp oil to keep the liminal space of our
supplication supple and lithe. I crumple the
orchid behind my ear and a bloodied neon light
spurts. I can’t find answers here, and surely not
there: in that controlled chaos of all things bleak
and untouched. Though, what truly these days,
doesn’t find a way through everything crammed?
Through everything bolstered by the aftermath of
a trudge.

By Prosper C. Ìféányí


Prosper C. Ìféányí is a Nigerian writer. His works are featured or forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, Identity Theory, The Shore, The Deadlands, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and elsewhere.

Apodiformes By Sofia Escobar


I sat on the porch of the old
brown brick house where the
white wrap around held me
back from the grass. A shear
tail flew up to the magnolias
as it perched upon them like
a baby to it’s crib. The sound
of a light piping echoed in the
neighborhood and the words in
my journal dripped like a leak
from the kitchen sink.

A songbird was a better poet
than I was, measuring the tempo
and the feet and the meters like
a Shakespearean godsend. One
bird here and one bird there, they
all came together in unison of the
greatest writer. I wish to be that
songbird who puts such little care
in the process of a song.

I sat for hours on the porch in an
attempt to write my song poem in
a way that he did but each and
every time I came up just a line
short or an inch too long; how many
feet was it supposed to be? How do
the other poets measure their words?
Oh god, is it the metric system? I
never understood that.

I want to be as poetic as the buff
bellied so the words can round my
stomach as if the poem along could
feed my hunger. It was so beautiful,
the sound of making love from the
hum of their little beaks. Hum humhum
hummmm, I can’t get their song out
of my head.

Something about his musical performance
left me displeased, as if I was filled with
unease that a bird could be better than me.
The hums don’t sound so beautiful now
and I can’t help but feel let down. Damn
you, bird, you’ve ruined my sound and I
can’t seem to put the pen down. Look
what you did, I just rhymed for the first
time. I can’t be both a poet and an artist.
There we go, I broke the chain.

Broad billed, black chinned, ruby throated,
violet crowned; my white ears hear you
louder by the minute but I can’t write
of the love you once made that I so deeply
adored. I hate you, stupid bird. You remind
me of the way I am not a published poet
but you hold concerts for the county
every day. I think of all the music artists
who are more accomplished than me, not
because they make more money but because
when you search for their titles they have
a name.

Maybe one day I’ll go back to the porch
where you taunted me and produce a piece
worth something, but for now I play back
the sound of your reminder that I am but a
poet. I knew you were the devil, shear tail,
it was always in your name.

By Sofia Escobar


Sofia Escobar is a junior at Hartwick College studying Creative Writing and Philosophy with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She was published in Auburn University’s “The Auburn Circle” (2021) for a prose piece titled, “Damn You, 2020.” She was published by The Academy of American Poets in 2022 for her poem titled, “Rejecting Copper,” as well as in Sigma Tau Delta’s “Rectangle” (2023) for her poems, “Microaggressive” and “Apodiformes,” winning the Eleanor B. North Poetry Award. Her poems, “Forgive Me, Father, for I Have Sinned,” and “Love Poem for The Word,” were published in Hartwick College’s undergraduate literary magazine, “Word of Mouth” (2022).

I’ve Been Pretty Into Werewolves Lately By EJ Hicks

I’ve Been Pretty Into Werewolves Lately

it is an act of

bones shift, mutate under bruises
spine & sinew bend & break

while the body rends
muscle from meat & fat.

hot wet breath. red mouth
drips globs of yellow

spit tinged with the metallic
taste of blood. sharp teeth

shine in seditious moonlight &
claws tear at unmarked flesh,

a beast pacing in the cage
of its own body:

a mass of hair & nails & skin
desperate to turn itself

into something recognizable,
a thing caught in the act of

transformation (violence).

By EJ Hicks


EJ Hicks (they/them) is a genderqueer butch lesbian living in Illinois with their fiancee. They write mainly poetry but have been known to dabble in other genres. Their work has been published in The Vehicle, the literary journal of Eastern Illinois University, where they have won several awards for creative fiction.

American Haiku By Virginia Watts

American Haiku

Frisbee vanishes from roof
his ghost hides
in my drainpipe

near lichened stone
Boy who could pet bees

Neighbor walks muzzled mutt
day and night
I can’t breathe

Orcas busting rudders
sinking ships having fun
with their given name

So many fireflies
when I was a child
l bathed in lightning

How to love
the moon’s face
when I can’t touch it

Dad would shout
It’s snowing!
now snow snows sad

In Radiology
only the healthy
make eye contact

By Virginia Watts


Virginia Watts is the author of poetry and stories found in Epiphany, CRAFT, The Florida Review, Reed Magazine, Pithead Chapel, Permafrost Magazine, Broadkill Review among others. Her poetry chapbooks are available from Moonstone Press. She has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her short story collection Echoes from The Hocker House can be preordered from The Devil’s Party Press. Visit her at