A green plot squared off diamond shaped island of mapped land hit me like a home run summer shakes hands I solemnly swear supper sings in the cicadas sameness lies on the windowsill simple sounds solid streets the purring of pets sitting pretty, positioned like a potted plant it was painstaking to pull up roots yet out across Lake Eerie I see a suspicious shape hopeful and haloed a lighthouse hangs like home!
By Grace Stalley
Grace Stalley is a resident of Brooklyn, NY and works as a writer’s assistant in the television industry. She is fascinated by the divide of cultures represented by each region of the U.S. and how those cultures inform one’s perspective. At the age of two, Grace was adopted from China. She grew up in a small suburb outside of Tampa, FL where her family still resides, in addition to Ohio.
The ghost befriends the neighborhood dogs and chatters at the fat squirrels who forget where they buried their fourth or eighteenth or forty-third acorn last fall. Those lost acorns might grow eventually,
unfurling the broad greenery of their
into the sky.
The ghost is where she was,
where she used to be.
The neighbors grow their zucchini and yellow squash
and beans and whisper when they think she’s gone. She knows her lingering disturbs the rest of them— the husbands and wives
and their children and their Golden Retrievers. Their curiosity simmers and bubbles,
popping up like mushrooms behind her on her daily walk in the shade of the black gum and the wych elm. The murmured questions do not trouble her.
She cannot answer them anyway.
She is mostly happy. As was her life before, so is her afterlife: Each night, contentment slips into bed next to her like a
lover; peace and quiet pace her halls, admitting no unrest, no indecision,
no unruly disappointment.
Often, instead of sleeping, she will visit the river. Some children who are now grown built a raft out of old wooden pallets and inner tubes. It idles in the bend of a narrow channel. Its makers are long ago and far away, and now it belongs to her. On warm summer evenings, after sunset but before moonrise, when the fireflies blink their romance into the gloaming, she pulls away the vines that have crept over the wood and sails the waters in her little bark, one hand drifting in the current, one hand raised to brush the leaves of the willow tree and the dogwood as she passes silently below.
By Lauren Folk
Lauren Folk (she/her) is a freelance editor, writer, and photographer. She graduated from Smith College and is currently earning her MA in English from The University of Akron.
A root knotted in honey, whirling inside our soul,
circling our bones and starving us to death.
In my mama’s language Latinity is an unwitting river,
a wind coated with torn wounds sand ashes of wilted homeland.
Each grain is a red vein rippling and mourning like riptide,
vowels shaped like breaths and prayers. Mama melts our faces in light,
scalding tiny pieces of myself as I unearth lost stories of an entire continent.
Mama squeezes our hands together, hardened calluses waded and wet
trembling to still move bones soft and oily flesh
raw heart and courage dripping blood
scared all that is left are forever stained open veins of an unreachable land
Deeper than any tree root worn smooth by ancient rivers.
By Luiza Louback
Luiza Louback is a Latin-American, Brazilian emerging writer, and high schooler. Her work has appeared in national anthologies and has been recognized by the NY Times Summer Academy. When she is not writing, she teaches English to low-income students and advocates for literary accessibility in Latin America.
Tonight the moon shines in bittersweet luminescence like a dying lamp. The light clambers through the thin stretch of road against the ripples of houses, diffusing into the windows that are all shut tight. The street grows a shadow, one that becomes more vivid, when day becomes night. An ajuma sees the street lights hiss, suddenly shutting out – gone. The woman follows, turning her lamp off. And a businessman, who halts his Kia in front of his house, sees bland dust winnowing through the street: empty yet filled with everything it’s made up of. He recalls a year ago, coming back to a home that’d make one warm – the smell of pajeon, softly golden, now wistful, burnt. He sights a sandpiper standing on an Aspen branch, probing at the vastness of Yeonhui-dong now swallowed by the darkness almost muted, never slicing through the silence. Soon, the bird’s wings begin to flutter, taking off into nothing, the man now alone. His eyes trail along the slightly peeled hanji pasted on the door of his hanok, remembering the wailing noises of his children running down Jeungga-ro reddened by fallen maple leaves.
By Michelle Park
Michelle Park is a 15 year old, high school freshman currently living in the Philippines. Many of her poems are about nature and her memories from her childhood. She loves to eat food, and during her free time, she likes to play soccer, dance, and listen to music.
At the Diggy Bins, nickname ours, we sought survivors amidst all manner
of matter heaps of worn stuffed animals knick-knacks toys severed from larger sets tangled cords straggling small kitchen appliances dumped directly from donation boxes into wooden bins dilapidated stretched in long rows broken glass compounding chaos the rough treatment of it all
my mom’s teeth were a map; her sixth sense of significance winding paths to floating islands of value chameleon-ed in the accumulation—
figurines pottery jewelry worth up to sixty times what you’d pay easy if you could recognize the faded artist signatures
the gentle markings of validity how real gems hit different on your teeth than cubic zirconia.
There is nothing more useful than knowing what to love.
This is how I learned— my mom digging for a diamond in the rough, furtively tapping a tarnished jewel
to her canine, listening for its final word.
By Ginger Harris
Ginger Harris is an emerging writer who lives in Denver. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she also studied creative writing. You can find more of her poetry on Instagram @ayla.poetry
How I loathe phone calls: “S-as-in-Sam, V-as-in-Victor.”
The drought of the vowel a name hinged on an “er” a name of consonants so quiet, in a world where vowels are louder a soft and choking L a carrot above the Š, sings “shhh” Sometimes, I spell my own name wrong too At the NHS induction ceremony, I, the speaker, was introduced “cervical”
Did I tell you? My father’s mail comes in under “Fzerko?” the 800-number could not pronounce a name so quiet instead, gifted him four new letters.
I am “Anna Grace” after my grandmother and God,
how graceful the palindrome of the virgin’s mother, Anna, the paradox of a Gen-Z camwhore.
Last month, I made $250 on OnlyFans. I’ve got dick in my DM’s asking for $50 ratings And cum soaked panties in bubble mailers And latex skirts and thigh high fishnet socks.
I changed my surname this year. I am now Anna Šverclová.
The Ová from “ovum,” In Czech, meaning “belonging to a man”
Ironic, is it? that I should choose belonging in a line of the un-belonged
Did you know? After the fall of the USSR, Newfound capitalism made czech women its products. Have you seen the videos? a glory hole, a disembodied vulva, a mouth, a camera behind the wall. Have you seen the gnarled smile in a 200 Koruna? A Catholic, a bearded man allowed his face?
A currency to remind that whatever is owned is also owned by him. A body, A pornstar, A Mail-order bride In the hands of a catholic, with his hands on the bible, cleansing the devil in her loins
Tell me how sorry, tell me you’ll save me Tell me, knuckle deep in my pussy, That there’s other ways to find money I am Anna Šverclová. The Ová from “ovum,” In Czech, meaning, “belonging”
The truth is, I am least owned when I live in your boyfriend’s phone.
My boss is my self, my product is renewable.
Make it pre- or post- traditional. Make it a reclamation, make it an ovum inside out, a quarter tied to a line down a vending machine.
By Anna Šverclová
Anna Šverclová (they/them) is a totally queer sophomore director of Macalester College’s slam poetry team, MacSlams. They were born and raised in the Twin Cities suburbs and they cry whenever it snows. Over the years, they have become an expert in layering. Their secret? A journal compliments every outfit.
Heads tilt back Towards skies that move in healing silence From blue to pink and back to blue again.
The world is speaking now, Through hoards of swallows, In a kind of unison that makes rough wind—soft.
Holy in it’s absence, Life exists beyond the living As if it never came to be, but has always been.
Shrouded in antiquity, Joshua trees reign like teased out crosses: Sepulchers in God’s ashtray-
Marking a Harshness that lies Beneath the sanctity Of Divine Light.
Perhaps it is a one-eyed dog gnawing on a Jesus chachskie; A new mailbox with nothing inside; A carcass of metal machinery; forgotten.
Propped by 4 runners speeding down highways, Dust hangs pendulous As if to conceal the half-living:
Prostrate on their backs, Waiting for some semblance of salvation Till the finality of a days end draws near,
And light coalesces into tiny miracles that sit, Like a celestial frame, Around a thumbprint of Opal light.
Perhaps this is Deliverance, come at last, To remediate the feeble cries of the fallen… Can it be?
Or is it the wind: Contentious; Undying; Turning on the motion sensor.
By Carmen Flood
Carmen Flood is an actress/poet/artist based in Topanga Canyon, California. She grew up with a single father in the mountains who fostered her appreciation for the arts at an early age. She loves writing poetry as a of comprehending the of the world around her, and as a way to store/transmit the full body, breadth and soul of an experience. She is an alumni of Carnegie Mellon University’s school of Drama where she studied acting.
This is the dawning of the age of panic and barrel-roasted coffee beans. When the student has surpassed the master before the bell vibrates the rafters.
“We live in very interesting political times” you say as you sip a mug of muddy dandelions, and wipe the crease from your brow.
How many pennies do I have to swallow to make America great again? How many nights should I sleep on the ground before I sweat out the Republic?
Let me fuck you until you see stars and stripes. Let me tease you with words like “ephemeral.”
Mama told me once about holy numbers. 7 may get you to heaven, but 11 gets you nowhere.
Do you remember when you were 11, swearing in blood brothers under solemn bedsheets? Do you remember every oath you swore under the sheets?
Dig this riff while you dig your hole. Don’t question the bullets in the horn because this cat has got to blow.
So throw out the baby, but seal the bathwater in a mason jar.
So coat your beard in glitter before you take up arms.
By Raphaela Wade
I received my MA in Poetry from the University of Chicago, and have since split my time between working in higher ed and travelling, primarily in Latin America. I was raised in a hyper-religious family in a small town in the bible belt, and coming away from that has influenced the way that I view the political landscape and the intersection of cultures. That unique viewpoint is often centered in my work.
Jeepney smoke seeps through the iron rail to keep him bloodshot. He burrows in the neck of his shirt, already coughing. A black sauna air begins to funnel from the roaring exhaust. He feels
a soft burn as Jeepney smoke flows into his lungs. Turning into a viscous tar that cakes the walls of his neck. Yet, it all smells too familiar. Throughout all these years, the Pasig River-scented smoke remains true.
True to all of its people. It is the calming scent of nickel coins at the dive bars or tire swings near lola’s house. He no longer sits in the Jeepney. He is home, rummaging through lola’s bag, thumbing her rosario
and dipping his hands into a pool of crumpled snowbear wrappers. He opens his eyes to a musing glaucoma. This is home, where he woke up for the last seventeen years to the humid rays of the morning sun,
people storming the divisoria streets, the Banaba chickens cuckooing atop their roosts. This is home, where he sees children splashing in puddles across slums. Street cats walking on rooftops, tricycles bouncing on rugged sidewalks.
The Jeepney stops in the flurry of traffic. He steps off and palms the gray ocher, trickling it through his fingers. He now sees it all. The iron rail, the dangling banners of sari-sari treats, the morning sun blending with Jeepney smoke.
This is home.
By Chris Lim
Chris Lim is a high school junior attending the British School Manila. He has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with a National Medal. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in K’in Literary Journal, Eunoia Review, Cathartic Literary Magazine, What Rough Beast, Heritage Review, ZO Magazine, and elsewhere. He is also the co-founder of Celestal Review – an online literary magazine that publishes quarterly. Aside from creative writing, he frequently enjoys attending MUN conferences and swimming on hot days.
I travel to space in search/ of my mother/ & gravity is a law my body repels/ because all my life/ ain’t been in the centre/ of the earth/ but/ a warm corner/beneath/ heating with grief/
For my body is too crumbly/ to fall from the sky/ & not smash into fragments/ tiny as cocci/ but here I am/ in perfect shape/ wearing a space blanket/ that unweights/ the heft of sorrow/ in my body/
And we know/ that what we call the glowing moon/ is a big blind bulb/ being loved by the sun/ this is a fancy way to say that/ not all that gleams is gold/ it’s another way to say/ I reflect my mother’s colour/ that sets & hides behind God/ Call me an astronaut/ separating dark clouds from the rain/
Astronomy is enough to conclude/ that I will always be opaque/ & lunar eclipsed/ because the earth stands/ between my mother/ & I/
By Chinedu Gospel
Chinedu Gospel is a Nigerian poet and script writer. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in nantygreens magazine, pallette poetry, praxis magazine and elsewhere. You can also reach him on Facebook @ de unique gospel