everywhere whispers to us, a promise By Sam Crocker

everywhere whispers to us, a promise

everything was still

and
the old world
began to eat itself

like the apocalyptic
snake
that wraps
tight around the globe
again and again.

the rest of us spoke
among ourselves

and grew strong.

together

we wrenched production
to a stop.

all the powers of the old world
strained forward
against human impulse

as if they could continue
forever.

when they no longer could

they withered like
corn husks
left in the sun
for too long.

then, finally
we were left alone
with ourselves.

so we blessed
the bakers;
the bricklayers;
the farmers;
the doctors;
the carpenters;
the mothers.

for some among us
the world had ended
many times before.
we knew it could again;
this time it could begin.

so everywhere:

in the smell of the wind;
in the creaking of the metal
behemoths of industry;

in the hushed breath of lovers;
in the black dirt;

in the shifting oceans;
in the rising of bread;

in the falling of leaves;
in scraped knees;

in the turning of thin pages;
in the turning of the earth;

in your blinking eyes;

everywhere
whispered a promise
of the new world.

By Sam Crocker

Biography:

Sam Crocker is a young writer from Bernardston, Massachusetts. He spends most of his time gardening, writing, and playing music. His poetry has appeared in the Little Brown House Review, and his songs have been featured in the Valley Advocate’s “Valley Sessions,” (a local site for live music in the Pioneer Valley).

In This Prayer Room By Chiedozie Kelechi Danjuma

In This Prayer Room

I am unlearning this art of lifting head
& lifting hands, with nothing to lift the
spirit

—Logan February.

I would not tell a lie, when your heels
exited the door, moths swarm into the
sitting room, forming a silhouette of
your frame. I bit my fingers hard and
black till the sun walked into the house
& drank tea in my sockets on your
favourite chair. Last harmattan was
cold: the bed sheets had fog on them.
Every night brought you curled. I lean
over, falling on pillows. I am the kitchen
you loved to make sweet jollof noises in,
& an empty glass cup missing your wine.
The space in my soul was a box
and you were claustrophobic—you
could not stand its smallness, so you
broke the walls down with a mallet,
made for escape, leaving crushed
cement in my mouth. I sent birds out
one morning in droves, with little neatly
packed boxes of your phone number,
your face & this poem. I hope you find
the one will colour you in silver &
lightning, & all I gave you in a single
piece of how best to love a woman who
breaks everything.

By Chiedozie Kelechi Danjuma

Biography:

Chiedozie Kelechi Danjuma’s work has appeared on African Writer, Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, Boom, and elsewhere. He is currently pursuing a law degree.

lacuna By Eunice Kim

lacuna

i borrow my mother’s sadness tonight &
distort it over me like it will replace the
history. the god of my childhood is jaundiced,
a silverfished body in the attic. the house
i grew up in—soft & muffled, cinnamon
-colored. here is where i broke my arm, here
is canary that died nine years ago,
here are the footsteps that ran up the stairs
in the kitchen light & here is where it hurt the
most. the pathways i stopped remembering,
the ones that reached a terminal velocity.
haunted houses lack a sense of legibility, which
is to say, humans are incapable of
recognizing a dead thing. i scythe the lupine
leftovers of my body. i sing fake elegies for
the asleep. the air textures itself with the
quietest violence & just because i bled here
doesn’t make this room a holy space. just
because i tried to build an altar doesn’t
mean this city is jerusalem.

By Eunice Kim

Biography:

Eunice Kim is a Korean-American writer living in Seoul. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Polyphony, The Heritage Review, Vagabond City Lit, and more. She currently works as a staff reader for The Adroit Journal and a volunteer writer for Her Culture.

 

Will I Be Allowed to Speak Again? By Jayant Kashyap

Will I Be Allowed to Speak Again?

The days have now become longer; everyday
a newspaper reads out loud the deaths

of people – found deaths – sometimes
in the sewers, in the mosques and temples

at other times, and then in their own homes,
burnt to nothingness – as if to say that dust

you are, and to dust you shall return; – all
of these bodies are collected the way a child

collects pebbles from sand: everyone
remembers only the first one. Everyone

forgets about them in time, even the child.
Three days ago, someone in the crowd shot

at a person and recited their god’s name,
as if god would tell them what they did was

right. What god, though? Two days ago
the pages blared that the chaos wasn’t silent

anymore, just as everything else isn’t so.
Someone tells me they don’t stand with

“the said victims,” because they are wrong
too; but sometimes the victims are

nothing but victims. “Oh, you are but all
metaphorical. A country doesn’t survive

with metaphors.” Well, nor does it with
suppression and oppression, or does it? The

fests in colleges do not allow skits
surrounding politics, as if to say that only

silence is practical; but what of the water that
is mostly more politics now than water –

the newspaper cuttings lately tell me both
about how a government decides what amount

of water a person should drink every day
and only how much I should speak against my

government. It’s funny how in a democracy
every citizen can be named a militant

except the government itself, as if the regimes
don’t break within themselves anymore;

don’t the broken regimes also lead the nations
to dust? – say Eritrea, say Liberia, say Korea,

say nothing else; say no more.

(for india)

By Jayant Kashyap

Biography:

Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize-nominee, and one of the founding editors of the e-magazine Bold + Italic. His poems have appeared in Barren, StepAway, Visual Verse, Perverse, Outcast and other magazines. His debut chapbook, Survival, was published in 2019 by Clare Songbirds, and Unaccomplished Cities is upcoming from Ghost City Press.

 

los lobos andan suelto By Antonia Silva

los lobos andan suelto

my father drowns in the rio grande
on a family vacation to chihuahua
all the brothers & sisters & cousins
are wild wolves, they shed skin & dive
headfirst into a swirl of carpsuckers

los niños grow fangs, shape paws into
flippers & catfish the other swimmers
their gills glub & gurgle & gulp water
bubbles into technique, bodies shift
into some semblance of river creature

& my father, the pisces, chokes
on the music of this familiar body
he loses sight of the pack & catches
a current traveling away from home
siempre alcanzando las estrellas

he snags a bosque branch & washes
ashore on a sandy bank, beneath a cluster
of cottonwoods he hums along with
gnarled gnats & la mariposa de la muerte
making peace with breaths that flicker out

in every season & at every party
stories sneak out of the woodwork
& into the mouth of memory
I shake the water from my ears
crawl closer to lineage

& listen close

my father escapes death more times
than I can count & all the brothers
& sisters & cousins are close behind
they howl to a smoky moon & bare
their teeth against rites of passage

as sound streams
into sanctitude.

By Antonia Silva

Biography:

Antonia Silva is a queer Mexican-American poet from Santa Ana, California who currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Antonia’s work is published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Cunt By Maham K By Maham K

Cunt

Desire unhinges. Pours hot oil,
probes & seethes. Yellow as dead leaves.

I wave my sticky little
fingers. Here’s the meat, here’s the grease,

here’s the blind orifice that
whickers & snivels & has ludicrous needs.

I eat coffee & air. I yearn the
groove slick. The purple fissure pleads

& bleeds, a faucet choosing
only to leak. Teeth grow sour. I remain a relic.

Outside, a sky ochre as outrage. The
sun slumps, a blond mangled wrist.

I rot in the glare
of phosphorescent angels.

By Maham K

Biography:

Maham K is a poet, artist & medical student from Karachi, Pakistan. She has been published by Indige Zine, Berry Magazine, Soliloquie Magazine, and Luna Rio Zine.

in a telephone conversation with my father where he enquires about my marriage plans Chisom Okafor

in a telephone conversation with my father where he enquires about my marriage plans

a dagger       navigating through      a gulf of wire curls
meet        the centre point         of my forehead
just after       he spells out          the words

lost between       the frontiers of         the things
i desire         and what        i must be
i want to tell him           about the ringing         cold

or about         the house sparrow         who homeless
after her tree         was felled          had made
her nest         just at the edge           of my windowsill

instead i say         baba         i don’t think          the telephone
line       is clear enough          for this
conversation

By Chisom Okafor

Biography:

Chisom Okafor is a Nigerian poet and Nutritionist, who was shortlisted for the Gerald Kraak Prize in 2019. He edited 20:35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and presently works as Chapbook editor for Libretto Magazine.