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.

updates from when we last saw each other By Caro De Sa

updates from when we last saw each other

other let’s be honest – i sucked at the violin.
there’s that one video of us playing “Ave Maria,”
the sound of you strumming the guitar so beautifully
interrupted by my bow hitting notes
too flat or too sharp.

you would’ve never seen it coming,
but Caio plays the guitar just like you.
music made from “Eterna Saudade”
sounds like eyes pooling with water
and i love you and i want you here.

i remember when you watched me dance,
cried like i was performing at the bolshoi
even though i still didn’t understand beats
or how i was supposed to communicate grief
with a body i wasn’t living in.

i still recognize you through Cavatina,
hear you telling me to sit with you
to drink a little coffee and split a baguette.
i wonder whether you’d recognize me too.

By Caro De Sa


Caro De Sa (they/them) is an emerging poet from Miami, FL. Most of their writing focuses on grief, queerness, and imagining elsewheres/otherwises. They are currently pursuing their undergraduate degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity with a minor in Creative Writing at Stanford University. Outside of writing, they enjoy spending time with friends, dancing, and eating hot cheetos.

Dysmenorrhea By Emily Buckley

‘painful, disabling cramps in the lower abdomen’

Few people feel where their ovaries are.
I guess people know the rough placement,
they could point and pick them out on a chart.
They vaguely know how the misplacement

of growing tissue, and of bleeding cysts
make the ovaries flood with hormones
and make stabbing pain and swelling persist.
They don’t know it aches down to your bones.

Now I know where my left ovary is,
cupped in inflamed flesh, feeling writhing strife.
It’s walking across a tightrope, and its
balancing on the edge of a steak knife.

When it falls, and tears its fragile skin
waves of pain erupt through my abdomen.

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.

Sandcastles By Seheni Kariyawasan


we walk the beach on a crisp saturday morning,
your little fingers threaded through mine,
like the silken knots of a fishing trawl.

curls plastered against skin
sticky with seaspray.

you dip your toes into the sand,
picking it apart for sea glass
licked into iridescence.
the spoils of a shipwreck
or the discarded remnants of a drunken soiree,
vying for a place in your windowsill collection.

here in your world of flushed sunsets and symmetricity,
i am as inconsequential as smoke
from the candles you blew out on your sixth birthday.

blossoms curl between your lungs,
fluttering with each breath
with the desperate intensity of moth wings,
blooming forth from fingerprints
left by the hands that strayed far too close to your skin.

specks of kaleidoscopic sand,
still wedged beneath your fingernails
from torn down sandcastles.

yet there is still air left in your lungs
for laughter
when the whitecaps tease your skin.

i gaze up at the moon
and exhale

deep parasitic umbra

and send a plea up into the firmament,
for the world to hold you safe in its arms.

the gloaming beckons across the blushing sands.
i delve into the tides
and leave you amongst sandcastles.

By Seheni Kariyawasan


Seheni Kariyawasan is an aspiring poet and writer, studying at Boston University. She grew up in the little island of Sri Lanka and has dabbled in writing ever since she was a little girl. As a queer poet of color, she hopes to bring light to her experiences and those of others like her through her work.

red ocean By Megumi Oishi

red ocean

when he asks me
do you like the red ocean
and why, how
I can’t really answer

because if I say yes
the words will bloom smoke and
make me look like something
he can no longer recognize

because if I say no
I’ll have my tongue cut off
by Lord Enma-san
and only be able to speak blood

but when I look up
and it seeps through my teeth
dying my smile; my tongue
will only speak the truth

because even if I sink
and breathing becomes a chore
the waters will be warm
make sinking worthwhile

because soft whispers might
keep me buoyant, afloat
and when my face resurfaces
I’ll see the sun

because when I see her
cherry nail polish
I want to ask her
do you like the red ocean

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.

Dinner On Sunset Boulevard By Nora Hart

Dinner On Sunset Boulevard

By Nora Hart

there’s this visceral hunger I get
driving just before sunset
I want to claw at the world
tear off chunks of mossy flesh
rip at them with my teeth until
they cram into the crevices in my soul
absorb every rock and river
until my blood bubbles crystalline over slate
until my skin is blue sky
and my bones are birch trunk
until I am the rain hitting foggy glass
in a peculiar thunderstorm in late January
until I am a moth’s wing
fluttering over a swing set in July dusk
until every blade of grass I pass on the interstate
is a nerve in my thumb
and until every bird that blinks at me sees me
as the feather it shed mid-March.
until I am over and under and beside myself
the same way that sunlight is
over and under and beside
a maple leaf.
until I am endlessly present
and infinitely extant,
until I am everything—
until I am to the Universe
what it is to me.

By Nora Hart


Nora Hart has written poetry- in various interpretations of the word, including the very loosest- since before she knew how to sharpen a pencil. She is currently a high school student in the colder corner of the Upper Midwest, and looks forward to writing creatively through and beyond any and all diplomas she may or may not receive.



Splinters in salty heels on timber walkways
twisting through Mid-century homes on pilings

like sculptural gestures to days bygone, sequestered
from the default world, preserved in sand & sea,

our bodies framed by mirrored walls, vaulted ceilings,
& shag carpeting. We lie in repose in conversation pits,

sip planters punch at high tea, or congregate naked
in the makeout loft – subversive rituals turned routine.

We travel by foot or water taxi, from the Grove to the Pines
& the wilderness in-between, sun beating on bare skin

as sweat begins to stream, collecting in a pool on my desk
in health class – I’m 14 again & sick to my stomach,

the ghostly bodies on screen rousing the realization:
They could be me. Born a few years earlier, in the grim

brutality of pre-AZT, it would be almost a certainty. Now,
we bury inherited memories in modernist buildings

on this barrier island Elysian, weathered by an interminable
cold season. In winter, eerie calm, empty houses

like erect skeletons, memorials to mentors long gone,
so that we may frolic in the sand next summer – unburdened.

By Sal Bardo


Sal Bardo is a Los Angeles-based poet, journalist, and award-winning filmmaker. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Village Voice, and Slant Magazine, among others. Sal began writing poetry as a teen and won several awards for his early work, including a contest judged by queer folk icon Ani DiFranco. Both his writing and films often reflect on themes of queerness and memory.

冥 By Ziyun Peng

Under the fragile light of the Buddha’s lamp
The skeletons of an infant witness how the world drowned by the islet,
and then been given birth by
tears, tears, tears.

Springtime, white cloth burns itself into salt
I stand at the last salt marsh just trying to find one reason to die.
My only kingdom excludes purity, I endow a hole into me.
Far away an ant knocks through the night sky
and constellations are drunk.
So the quest ends. Return home to boil some rice.
Perhaps only at the other end of my bowl does death ring a sound.

When I was 13 or 14, I laid on railways and cried Byzantine purple tears.
None fell to earth, they
patterned like tiles on the bathroom floor.

Droplets of rainbow-colored syrup flowed down her cheek.
Could the truth be me, the one actually crying,
or is it the last Buddha’s lamp on this road
had too fallen,
had too went cold.

Continuing the past, we favor a helpless tragedy:
a deity walks into the great blackness. Martyrdom breads madness,
his hands are scorching, I’m pushed into fire.
And before any of us could escape, bustlingly
we all decay in sweetener.

There are a million different ways to avoid a drought.
The easiest might be folding up the constellations’ organs.
I stitch my tears into you.
when your vessels are frozen.
One end is land, the other is the ocean.

I eventually let go of every heart back into the black kingdom,
running in vortexes they
cry in their smiles.
Only one pair of eyes is distanced from blackness
One named as death, the other one reincarnation.

By Ziyun Peng

[冥] The dim underworld that people go to after death in Chinese superstition.


Ziyun Peng grew up in China. Previously unpublished, she is currently seeking to deconstruct the beautiful East Asian culture and staring into the plights created by modern politics. She loves reading, writing, and feeding her jellyfish.



I’ll wrap your sound in a blanket
and give it back to you, my music
muse. Just to see you lying in the

leaves talking to me the way I lie
in the leaves and talk to you.
An instant connection masked as

a tell-all telling you nothing. We
are the particles 2,000 miles apart.
I keep coming back to the birch

trees in the moonlight. The flood
lights from the deck. My whole
body in the evening grass.

In my dreams, I move thoughts
easily. I do with you what rappers
do with words. I’m getting better

at cutting my own hair, I guess.
The innocence that sees myself
everywhere in everyone.

The electricity stretched so far
apart. You don’t even know me.
I tell myself it’s magic. Your ribs

move deeply. You’re breathing
or rapping. I don’t know which.
Our lives so separate, yet sticky.

My dress so sheer. You see my sigh.
Unwrap it, I say. Please rap it.
It hurts like a hummingbird.

By Amanda Adrienne Smith


Amanda Adrienne Smith is a poet and actress living in Los Angeles, CA. Her work can be found in Ghost City Review, Right Hand Pointing, and One Sentence Poems. You can find her on social media @amandaadrienne.

Diagnostic By Helen Chen

for Wendy

All questions are mandatory. Given:

set A
mandarin (peels into a circle of similar sized selves)
Mandarin (language you speak at home)
Mandarin (you don’t know how to respond to the Cantonese lady at the bakery)

set B
English (Anglo-Saxon)
English (language you speak everywhere else)
English (class you loved second most)

High Potential Individuals on the B63, we calculate
cumulative grade point averages (GPA).

Swallow raw heat & let it take root.

2 pts.

Attempt 1
intersection of A & B: It is June and I am tired of being brave.1
Ø: lacking A or B, this particular quality is nonexistent.
Scoop the insides of an overlapping circle and get eye-shaped
emptiness. I’m trying really hard to be good at this

Partial credit.

Attempt 2
Let warmth wipe your brows from the inside. On the street corner
of 5th Ave, I always thought the world was a single line drawn
from your home to mine. It’s June and I’m trying to be honest.

By Helen Chen


Helen (she/her/她) is a Chinese-American writer based in NYC. Her works are featured/forthcoming in 45th Parallel, Lumiere Review, Beaver Magazine, and others.

  1. [“It is June and I am trying to be brave.”] comes from Anne Sexton’s poem “The Truth the Dead Know