fruit By Tyler King


cultural consignment, New Mexico heat,
Albuquerque splayed and burned across
the South. it gives the distinct impression
that she does not belong among the sand,
the city would rather have her exiled
outside the limits, pushed to her own kind,
and take the long road in, commute an hour,
but be removed—yes, be removed again.

the shell of a watermelon is striped,
the jagged lines of dark and light unfurl
to show the red flesh underneath. she digs
into it with a spoon, the ritual
of Saturday evening, desert-laced night.
if the night was spun with chrysanthemum,
blossoming over the shallow rock pools,
her hands would pull back rough and reddened skin,
pick out the dark-as-night center, and eat
the pure-white, sweetened flesh of the lychee.

in our refrigerator we keep a
jar of icy lychee jelly. It was
first brought to my attention when my
Chinese teacher brought our class a jarful.
a remnant of the childhood she had.

i’m sure there were lychees in the Southwest
when my mother lived there after moving
from China, and in Indiana too.
In Houston, I know they’re in Chinatown,
and in my grandmother’s small stone backyard,
nestled between kumquat and green onion.
but they are not the same. they never are.

By Tyler King


Tyler King (b. 2003) is a writer, songwriter, and composer. His work in poetry and prose has been recognized multiple times by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. In addition to writing poetry and fiction reflecting mainly on his Asian-American heritage and the impacts of contemporary masculinity on youth, Tyler co-directs Imagination, his school’s literary journal. There, he focuses on curating new content and helping student-writers develop their unique styles and voices. Tyler attends St. John’s School and resides in Houston, TX.

All the Worlds We Left Behind By Amy Zhou

All the Worlds We Left Behind

I’ve entered and I’m going
I was born with a spine
tucked into my chest, fingers wide
with gaps
crescents              tucked into my fingernails.
I was made to hold water
but let it leave— born with
a set of gills
instead of teeth.

I’ve entered and I’m going again.
I heard them singing last night—
open                   and arms wide,
chests tilting                 into the sky.

It was the first time I heard something,
anything, for a long time.
They stood in their small bodies,
flattening their foreheads,
carrying away their song
until it was just
and drip.

I’ve entered and I’m going again.
I asked her if she was
Our backs are bruised, our knees
It is time for
the sky to change.

I started seeing
shadows under
her eyes and there was a
quality to her oscillating movements.
I wonder if she still
hears me.

I’ve entered and I’m going again.
Everything has started
grey. The stripes melt
off my shirts
and the flag            and my skin
and I think something big must be happening.

A shivering cold is surging now
under the crust of the earth,
and soil starts swallowing
rivers and the last
of olive and rain, cavities
blooming under rusting mud.
Smoke whirs through red skies and we wonder
where everything has gone.

I have long dreamt of hunger but never wake satiated.

The sun remains scalloped inside the
and even he        has started wilting
in this desert
heat. So we stay here,           orbiting,

73 degrees per minute, and soon
we will see:
the callouses in our shaking palms, reaching
for our cold, wavering dreams.

By Amy Zhou


Author_Photo_Amy_ZhouAmy Zhou is an aspiring high school writer from The College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. She has been recognized for her poetry and short fiction by The New York Times, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Frontier Poetry, and Hollins University. She has been featured in various literary journals and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for her school’s newspaper, The Radar, literary publication, The Steele, and art magazine, ArtsMag.


The Queer Girl Creation Story By Lauren Elizabeth Taylor

The Queer Girl Creation Story

In the beginning, the body knew nothing
of desire. Submerged in a darkness it clung to for fear
of witnessing itself. Untouched but by a wave
it did not understand. God whispered into the waters: let me show you.

By ethereal light, She announced the body no longer
cloaked in shame.

They will say it took one day, don’t
listen. Not all is easy.

Complexity birthed confusion.
She separated love from lust
but they still touched on the horizon.

The waters were gathered, but still teased the land.
Delicate petals unfurled to the promise of dew. Vines snaked
from holy ground, reaching for the heavens. The earth could breathe,
but it did not want to without its lover lapping in gentle waves.

Half-reigned by a sphere of fire, transferring desire until the setting
and the settling in the body. A core of swallowed flames. On edge of eruption.

Half-reigned by a body unlike its own. She planted stars as reminders
not to lose oneself under the floodlight of a distant gaze.

There is vulnerability in the becoming. Wings snapped in the body,
beating against breaking ribs until birdsong soared from ruins.
The seas stirred and from devastation came revelation. The body
looked upon itself, apologised in trembling sincerity, and called its
nature to thrive.

In palm, She witnessed flourishing and the heavens quivered.
The body was done. She whispered to the woman: now, nurture
those who turn to the ground and weep. Say: let me show you.

Draping over her heaving chest,
God sighed. The word: pride.

By Lauren Elizabeth Taylor




Lauren Elizabeth Taylor is a queer writer from Derbyshire, England. She is the author of Will You Still Love Me if I Love Her? and How Will I Sound When My Voice Returns?

Dear Khione By Amanda Kay

Dear Khione

o’ mistress of winter
rest your heart here on the
cold apartment floor, not
a penny left for a space heater

self-induced hypothermia as
you pray for salvation

no legacy in your father’s cold eyes

o’ ingenue of frost
may you not let limbs thaw but
grow stone cold

no youth for sinners

we don’t have no god

we don’t want no god

we want salvation

let unclean hands purge
winter from our hearts
not when we’ve become ice
in self-preservation

year after year
winter is unyielding

isn’t it cruel?

leaving your youth for dead in a
hotel bathroom

spilling icy tears in a
back alley

frozen heart in
honeymoon dreams

icicles form in the crevasses of your broken heart


isn’t it cruel?

By Amanda Kay


Amanda is a current sophomore at Santa Clara High School. She enjoys swimming, reading, and drinking a good cup of tea.

Sentences From a Scrapped Letter to Cis People By Dmitri Derodel

Sentences From a Scrapped Letter to Cis People

I hate that I’ve ever hated myself for you.
I cannot embody what you think my body should be.
There is no one universal transgender experience.
There is no one universal anything.
We are as diverse as wildlife and as complex as love.
Understanding isn’t necessary for you to treat us like people.

One does not need to uncover the mysterious ways
in which God works to trust her,
and we can enjoy a good slice of pizza
without knowing exactly how it was made
and why its maker decided
on that particular amount of pepperoni.
I’ll explain myself to you over some pizza
so long as I get to eat all the slices.

Your mind is not as mighty as you believe it to be.
Remember, I’m still a person.
We’ll never understand what it’s like to be each other.

I must admit, sometimes I want to be very kind to you.
I will not beg. I call you by the name
you tell me to, without an argument,
without so much as a question.
You should return the favor.
I am more than a name. You are more than a name.
We should be more than documentation.

Trans people are not impersonators.
We are not “almost” who we say we are.
We are everywhere.
We have always been here.
We are everyone else.

I know myself better than you ever will.

By Dmitri Derodel


Dmitri Derodel is a poet, songwriter, essayist, aspiring music artist, and 2020 Scholastic Gold Medalist. He’s been writing creatively since elementary school and continues to dedicate most of his free time to honing his craft.


The Book Thief and His Librarian Candlestick By Edis Rune

The Book Thief and His Librarian Candlestick

With every step
The book thief
Takes, his sleeves
swing from side to
side like a saw
Moving through water.

The way he held the
Candlestick was like a
Cup of water—he did not
Want to spill a single drop.
The darkness could not
Touch the fire.

The candlelight’s interests
Grow when in close contact
With the library’s books.
The pathway is clear with
The Victorian literature

To the industrial revolution,
The books felt warm and
Began to melt like iron,
As the thief reaches for one.
The book thief’s candlestick
Fumbled, fell on his sleeves,

Burning him alive.
The morning after the librarian
Reclaimed his candlestick,
White, and charred black with
Ash and flesh.
The books untouched with a new

Fingerprint aromatic scent.

By Edis Rune


Currently living in New York, Edis Rune was born in Kosovo and is of Montenegrin descent. He is a poet, novelist, short-story writer, and more.

invasive procedure By Sandhya Ganesan

invasive procedure

my mother takes my wrist
and pries it open. i ask her to be
gentle, amma or it’ll leave a scar
and she says she raised me
stronger than that. my wrist
unravels, an unwilling bloom.
she brings it to her lips and
blows away the dust-blunt skin.
i ask her to steer clear of my face
and she doesn’t. i ask if i can rub my eyes
and she says no. my wrist laid flat
on the table and she traces the veins
to their logical conclusion. i feel
her fingertip make landfall at the
crook of my elbow, the burn it leaves.
hold still, she warns me. acupuncture
with the blade of her nails. tell me where
it doesn’t hurt. cradling the bloody heaving
wound she buried alive like she never would
a lover. wincing at the pulse against her palms.
at its refusal to quiet down when she
bruises it. she tracks the arteries back to
the cut and tells me she doesn’t know
how to sew it shut. the thread wouldn’t hold.
i say it’s alright, i’ve never minded decay
at the seams, and at any rate i could use
a scar or two. she raised me stronger
than that.

By Sandhya Ganesan


Sandhya Ganesan is a high school junior from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and she serves as a poetry reader for the Aurora Review. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys teaching coding and drinking jasmine tea.

IN THIS BODY, ON THIS DAY By Monericka Semeran


I loved the girl hoping she would touch me/ and when that didn’t work/ I tied myself to a rock/ to a hard place/ I set myself on fire/ I became a comet/ became distant/ became dust in the mouths of everyone she will ever kiss//

I loved the girl hoping she would touch me/ and when that didn’t work/ I broke a beer bottle/ broke a nail/ broke a bone/ anything that would require some kind of suture/ some kind of coming back together//

I loved the girl hoping she would touch me/ and when that didn’t work/ I grew reckless/ unruly/ I held up a liquor store/ told my mother I didn’t believe in god/ I loved everything around me just to see if I could stomach it/ and then I did anything to stomach it//

I loved the girl hoping she would touch me/ and when that didn’t work/ I let her kill me/ let her chase me through the forest of my want/ pin me down/ pull my hair/ saw me off at the knees/ I put myself at the edge of every room/ and I let her bury me deep/ bury me dead/ I dangled my flesh off the bone/ just so she could have a taste/ just so she could spit on scripture//

I loved the girl hoping she would touch me/ and when that didn’t work/ I died hoping she would love me/ hoping she would hold me in her dirt mouth/ in her worm mouth/ so she could eat me up/ so she could witness my unbecoming

By Monericka Semeran


Monericka is a young, emerging poet in the New England area. She is in undergrad studying International relations and History, hoping to one day change the world. She can be found listening to Mitski at midnight, reading, writing, or considering radical notions of girlhood and blackness in her spare time.

Slippages By Agunbiade Kehinde


my chest bears the fruits of an unwanted tree. and my days open into the silent arms of darkness. i count the number of trees: their falling leaves, like years of being left alone dancing to a song bereaved of harmonies. each day I slip into a flood of lances. i walk around with a conversation with the birds, with the breeze,with the young lady in abaya who says i am inaudible.  i was told depression is a blindfold to everything breathing. tonight i sit close to my bed. and i keep remembering the number of times I have drowned in my sleep. and why i should take the risk again tonight. my lover’s heart is a crossroad i do not know its navigation. i am lost in the labyrinth of giving your heart to someone else to lord. i am lost in the middle of a song. in a body where every scar has a story. in a body where freedom comes with a price, i am held hostage. how fast does one escape from memories carrying thorns? i name myself after everything that brings happiness but sometimes names don’t conform to the body of their bearer.

By Agunbiade Kehinde


Agunbiade Kehinde is a young Nigerian poet and journalist. His works have featured and forthcoming in Vagabond City Lit, The Kalahari Review, The Pangolin Review, MusicInAfrica, Tucks Magazine amongst others. He studies English Literature at the department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University.

Egg By Edis Rune


This is

A boiled,

Cracked and

Is still

The white

Containment, of

Race, and The Yolk,

a Celebration

A bald

Gold eagle,

Egg is

A Pregnancy,

a Baby,

A Hatching

Inside it’s

to live

Outside of

it’s Shells,

Until It’s

Edis Rune


Currently living in New York, Edis Rune was born in Kosovo and is of Montenegrin descent. He is a poet, novelist, short-story writer, and more.