Mittelschmerz By Emily Buckley

‘pain associated with ovulation’

Part of me died on the doctor’s table
Burnt away, scalpel cut,
I can feel it in the metal dish.

Flesh twitching beneath the surgeon’s knife,
Abnormal lesions destroyed.
I wonder how she can do it,

Cut someone else’s body,
But still blame their period,
Instead of seeing the chronic illness.

She cut the endometriosis out of me.

Curling up around a heat pack
With pain erupting across my body
Is now apparently a thing of the past,

Who am I if not chronically ill?
They took my identity away from me,
In diagnoses and laparoscopic surgery.

I sit in pain still, but not as much,
And not for as long. But can I still
Call myself ill if I’m not writhing

In pain, unable to see, or think.

By Emily Buckley


Emily is an English Literature and Creative Writing undergraduate student at Lancaster University, and a passionate poetry student taking classes with Eoghan Walls and Paul Farley. She has been featured in Flash Literary Journal, and won second place in their 2020 Freshers Writing Competition with her hybrid piece She Stood on the Doorstep. Originally from Manchester, Emily’s poetry focuses on sexuality, religion, and chronic illness.

baby boy By Megumi Oishi

baby boy

you have your baby boy now
has it really been a year already
since your belly was half full
with still an uncertain promise
whose name the whole town would know

since we spoke of marriage
in the gym of the church
not an if, but when
but I swore by accident
and they had to shush me

since I helped you make
peach pie in the kitchen
and I dropped the peach pit
and you had one hand on your belly
as you stooped to pick it up

and I look at your smile
and close my eyes

I am a mother, nineteen
holding my baby girl
swathed in white
with chestnut hair and
those sad sad eyes

she smells like lotion
baby safe, lavender scented
allergen proof this time
she is my task, my love
the whole town knows her name

as I cradle her by the window
the sand outside whispers
don’t drop her don’t drop her
you’re singing the lullabies
all wrong

By Megumi Oishi


Megumi Oishi is the Japanese-American author of award-winning works commended by Helicon Northwestern, the Japanese American Citizens League, American Fencing Magazine, and more. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, she is currently a first-year pre-law English major and Division 1 athlete at Northwestern University.

IT WAS #HOTGIRLSUMMER By Jacquelynn Berton


then it was deadgirlfall
and no one could tell
the difference

we moneyed down
the street tripping
spilling currency

that wintering look
you covet
you need to feel

cold sometimes
so you bring your body
out in the dark

its moon face
its panic hands
and you walk it to us

on the dance floor
begging us to bruise
the moon

just this once you want it all
turned around on you
dead girl, fall

you need to feel small
but we are fallen already

whether we yes you
or no
you want to know

what we’ve got on or don’t
and we will not play
this game with you

but there
under our clothes

our nakedness

under our nakedness
our fury
the kind that grinds

its teeth and says maybe
just tonight
we will

By Jacquelynn Berton


Jacquelynn Berton is an aspiring poet who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her undergraduate honors degree in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. Currently, she works full-time in the field of medical genetics, but never left poetry behind. Her work tends to explore previously uncharted poetic territory, such as love and death. She is not particularly funny.

REVERENCE By Devin Jaramillo


I miss you.
Like religion.
Like clasped hands and crucifixes.
Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers,
Desperately kneeling in wide silence.
My sins at your feet, my lips held reverent.

I miss you.
Like hopeful flames reaching heavenward.
Like pews in winter and holy water running down my face,
A river to cleanse my aching soul.
Your mouth a Eucharist, your name a hymn.

I miss you.
Like the echoes of a bell.
Like the echoes off the stone.
Like the echoes of my heart.

I miss you.
Like faith.
Your skin a rosary in my hands, devout though flawed,
I pray to you in earnest, counting your fingertips like
well-worn beads,
Wish for the feel of them around my neck.
Polished wood against skin,
Head bowed low.

Forgive me, Father.
For I have undoubtedly sinned.
Give me penance for my crimes.
I beg of you to hear my most ardent confession.

I miss you.

By Devin Jaramillo


Devin Jaramillo is an aspiring novelist and poet living in West Texas. With a Master’s degree in History and a Bachelor’s degree in English, Devin is a lifelong learner as well as a huge supporter of the arts. Often, her own personal experiences shape her work, with poetry being a cathartic outlet for overwhelming emotions.

The Captives By Yvette Saenz

The Captives

Nestled deep in the clutter of dad’s dimly lit garage,
past the dartboard and the Budweiser poster,
above the lucky rabbit foot and below his black cowboy hat,
the snake hid in the aquarium.

I was seven when dad let me watch him feed the snake.
When dad dropped the frantic mouse,
the snake lowered its head reverently,
an alien wetly opening a pink, glowing mouth.

The snake’s discarded skin was covered in sand,
last night’s crumpled gown. In its barren eyes,
I searched for a glimmer of cruelty or guilt,
but I’d read that snakes can hardly see.
Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place.
Its soul must have been in the dark corners
of its black, forked tongue,
sewn in skin
that glistened with fiery beams
under the vanishing light of a single lightbulb.

The mouse – I almost forget.

The silent air
kept the secret of death,
whether it mattered at all,
from me.

Reflected in the dark glass
are four lonely captives,
blind to nature’s love for devouring whole,
her genius for letting go.

By Yvette Saenz


Yvette Saenz is a writer from Alice, Texas. Currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, she received a Del Deo Foundation Artist Grant in 2020 and Honorable Mention for the 2023 Academy of American Poets University Prize at the University of Arizona. She received a BA in Social Studies from Harvard University.



It is hard sometimes, this infinite joy.
My world is shadows, sure, like yours.
But these are rendered thin, backlit
by the blaze of green beans almondine, bells
that ring loudest when ringing not at all,
the triple sun that is the nape of your neck,
and me watching it, and you not knowing
I am watching it. What is darkness
when there are marigolds and marzipan?
Where is death when I am in love
over and over and over with you,
when you pass me in the street
a hundred times an hour as a mother
with her carriage, as the old men in their tweeds,
the pickpockets and grifters, the ones
that chase me, the ones that don’t? To keep
my head I hold all this on my tongue, roll it
into something safe, and when you ask
what I am thinking, tell you olive juice.

By Jacquelynn Berton


Jacquelynn Berton is an aspiring poet who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received her undergraduate honors degree in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. Currently, she works full-time in the field of medical genetics, but never left poetry behind. Her work tends to explore previously uncharted poetic territory, such as love and death. She is not particularly funny.

Under the Thatched Roof By Erinola Daranijo

Under the Thatched Roof

a place of humble beginnings,
where walls of clay stood proud,
and under the thatched roof we called home,
we learned the beauty of hard work and respect.

days were long and the sun blazed,
my mother toiled over the wood stove,
her love poured into every meal,
and my father worked the fields with unwavering strength

but it was within these walls,
under this thatched roof that we found refuge,
where we shared beds and whispered secrets,
and dreamed of a future where our struggles were nut memories

our home was small,
but it held much love,
and even in the face of poverty and hunger,
we found comfort in each other’s embrace.

under the thatched roof,
we learned to find joy in simplicity,
to cherish the bonds of family,
and to never lose hope for a better tomorrow.

our house was a sanctuary,
a place where we grew and learned,
and through it all, we remained resilient,
held together by the love that was poured into every brick

now, as i look back on those days,
i am grateful for the lessons learned,
and the strength that was born under the thatched roof,
a symbol of the unwavering spirit of its people.

By Erinola Daranijo


Erinola Daranijo is a poet and writer from Nigeria. He is the founder of Akéwì Magazine and the author of the micro-chapbook, An Epiphany of Roses, forthcoming from Konya Shamsrumi. His work is published/forthcoming on Brittle Paper, the Kalahari Review, the Hooghly Review, Isele Magazine, Auroras and Blossoms, amongst others. When he isn’t writing, you can and will find him taking a nap in his bed. He tweets over at @Layworks.

An Ode to Cycles, Until It Isn’t By Joel Holland

An Ode to Cycles, Until It Isn’t

chickens lay the eggs lay the chickens / listen, the roads have not stopped
being paved / children lay bikes beside sidewalk streets / there is yelling
in the yard / the silence that follows / the hollow creaks beneath tip-toe’d needs
met wherever the food is kept / eat, sleep / “I’m softer on you than my old man was
me” / repeat history / love sounds like anything else / “help” / empty echoes / pain
we didn’t mean to spread / stains we can’t get out / washers / dryers / spinning, spinning,
spinning / words that live rent-free between our ears / empty beer bottles / dishes pile high /
generation after generation asks the sky “why?” / liquid evaporates into vapor, tapers off to
condensed clouds, down to earth for rain again / this precipitation feeds the seed stage,
germination, growth, reproduction, pollination, and yes, more seed dispersal / each performance
a dress rehearsal for someone else / the deprived student turned giving teacher / the abused child
turned loving parent / there is adjustment in the air / it takes care / we are after restoration /
observe the plane confirm there are patterns we can break from / it is well / despite the migraine
of endless repetition, spun out from that cycle can come something else.

By Joel Holland


Joel Holland is a 2019 college graduate from Union University and 2022 professional program graduate from UCLA. Joel’s first poetry collection, After All, is available on Amazon or wherever you can find your books. Joel is currently sitting in a church in Kansas City, rewriting a poem, and missing Jimmy McGill. He would like to thank his wife, Chlo for encouraging him to send things out.

undomestication By Emily Ellison


in the walls of my heart.
horses whisking,
manes like waterfalls.
my ribcage swells:
a wooden pin
thrashed against,
impacted by restlessness:
receptive as a gong,
defined by vibration:

each brush incapacitating.
thought stampedes.


under an ominous sky I see myself
to an extent, as though beyond
mounding dust
the hooves of my mind send up
running from itself.
running after itself.

sometimes, I will catch a horse.
I try to make it drink
from my hands, yet private ponds
cannot host. yet I must
teach my pervicacious horses
to sip without rippling.

shivery flexes.

sometimes my horses cannot stop shuddering.
sometimes I cannot help

but wish I could see myself straight,
rather than merely in peripheries.
the pupils’ moonless wells
amplify wildness…

sometimes, I will catch
the horse’s insolence
to discipline.

By Emily Ellison


Emily Ellison is a graduate of Texas State University’s MFA in Creative Writing program; she was the inaugural interviews editor of their literary journal Porter House Review (winner of Best Debut Magazine during the 2020 CLMP Firecracker Awards), in which her conducted interviews are located. Her poetry can be found in Southword: New International Writing, Breakwater Review, and Foothill Journal, among other places; she was also a runner-up for The Raw Art Review Walt Whitman Prize for Poetry in 2018. Currently, Emily and her cat-in-crime Pancake are appreciating the pacific northwest.

Snapshot: The Cow and the Girl By Louhi Pohjola

Snapshot: The Cow and the Girl

The cow looks irate, fettered
to the back of the iron-wheeled cart
that is poised to flee from bombs
spitting high overhead

In the grainy image, its nostrils snuffle fear
while the girl watches, hands on hips,
in a thin cotton dress, small breasts
nudging the fabric. She is rooted
in this place

like the bellflowers she plunked into a jar yesterday

A slight tremor of silky birch leaves
in the early June breeze and pine needles
that slap against the farmhouse roof are coded
messages from the advancing front:

Best to sweep the kitchen floor quickly and get out, girl

She drives the cart towards sanctuary,
to the train that will usher them west, away
from the windows and doors of their world.
But the cow’s belly, bloated from foraging,
prevents their passage and the girl’s
desperation, written in wildish tears,
leaves them both frantic and left behind

along with the glass jar, the bellflowers, and the iron-wheeled cart

She guides her best-loved by the worn-out rope
around candle-white birch and bilberry bushes
where they fall asleep on the spongy floor,
pungent with chanterelles, and where they are found,
the girl’s arm across her neck, in trampled
lingonberry flowers, their bloodied white bells

ringing out the end of the long winter’s snow.

By Louhi Pohjola


Louhi was born in Montreal, Canada, to Finnish immigrant parents. She was a biologist before teaching sciences and humanities in a small high school in southern Oregon. She is an avid fly-fisherwoman and river rock connoisseur who lives in Portland, Oregon, with her terrier who thinks he is a cat.