Ohio By Grace Stalley

Ohio

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

Biography

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.

Ghost By Lauren Folk

Ghost

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
upside-down skirts
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

Biography:

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.

Saudade By Luiza Louback

Saudade

In my mama’s language,
saudade means a yearning

for a love that has vanished
or never existed.

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

Biography

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.

Night Reddened by Maple Leaves By Michelle Park

Night Reddened by Maple Leaves

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.

SALVATION ARMY By Ginger Harris

SALVATION ARMY

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

Biography:

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

ON BELONGING By Anna Šverclová

ON BELONGING

Part 1

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.

Part 2

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

Biography

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.

The Desert By Carmen Flood

The Desert

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

Biography

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.

Holy Numbers By Raphaela Wade

Holy Numbers

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

Biography

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 By Chris Lim

Jeepney smoke

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

Biography

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.

A friend’s dramatic monologue : Lunar Eclipse By Chinedu Gospel

A friend’s dramatic monologue : Lunar Eclipse

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

Biography:

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