Things We’ll Never Hold By Louisa Muniz

Things We’ll Never Hold

And what did I know
of the world at twenty-six,

the year I was suppose to
give birth in the spring,

the year Mount St. Helens erupted,
the year John Lennon was shot?

Maybe my longing
should have been less.

Maybe my body
should have done more.
All season long a stilled lullaby
beats between barren ribs.

The geese bleed
into the sunset.

Should I believe,
what will be, will be?
Near Puget Sound a mother orca
pushes her dead calf

around the waters for seventeen days
and one thousand miles.

She struggles to keep her baby afloat
before letting go. Her lament:

a barren lullaby.

How long do we carry
the things we’ll never hold?

How long do we carry the stories
that need to be told?

By Louisa Muniz


Louisa Muniz lives in Sayreville, N.J. She holds a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Kean University. Her work has appeared in Tinderbox Journal, SWWIM, ONE ART, Palette Poetry, Menacing Hedge, Poetry Quarterly, PANK Magazine, Jabberwock Review and elsewhere. She won the Sheila-Na-Gig 2019 Spring Contest for her poem Stone Turned Sand. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. Her debut chapbook, After Heavy Rains by Finishing Line Press was released in December, 2020.

Don’t tell my president this is my poem By Sylvester Kwakye

Don’t tell my president this is my poem

Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

-Charles Bukowski, Dinosauria, We

I woke up in grandma’s bonnet
it’s 1957 & Ghana is metamorphosing

from an imperial cocoon onto a stalk
of a promising dawn

I saw indigenes seriously accusing
the Whiteman for his sluggishness

I walked out to join the parade in the Military foyer
we matched out with enthusiasm

that our people bearing our color will treat us right
how, fatheaded we were

67 years down the drain
men, chosen from our collective madness

have hauled us back to that pothole that killed
52 passengers at Adenta, that we too may follow suit

Mr. President, I did not mention your name
I know you will come after my life too

like those journalists who condemned your bad policies
I’m only saying, this melanin of yours is cancerous

because I too, have the same skin that cannot feel this hell
you’ve brought us in

I cannot but applaud you for the miracles, new Jesus
you turned our waterbodies into tea

and our maternity homes into morgues
with plausible plans to make Ghanaian funerals a stool for tourism

Mr. President, I salute you for chasing out the special prosecutor
what need will corruption in our dictionary be if it doesn’t exist
I love you so much for taking us back to where our forefathers ended things
in this melanin suit of ours, on this chlorophyll land

with your brisk arrogance and all-die-be-die genotype
that only our countrymen can sequence

Sir, don’t call the Whiteman, evil
& ask him for no reparations

because you have done worse to your people,
to your lands and your gods

whom you’ve promised a cathedral

By Sylvester Kwakye


Sylvester Kwakye is a Ghanaian medical student, and author of “Flying From Nectar To Hive”, a full-length poetry collection. His poems have been published or accepted for publication in Writing Woman Anthology Vol 3, New Note Poetry, Metachrosis Literary Magazine, Cool Beans Lit & Passionfruit Review.

I’ve Been Pretty Into Werewolves Lately By EJ Hicks

I’ve Been Pretty Into Werewolves Lately

it is an act of

bones shift, mutate under bruises
spine & sinew bend & break

while the body rends
muscle from meat & fat.

hot wet breath. red mouth
drips globs of yellow

spit tinged with the metallic
taste of blood. sharp teeth

shine in seditious moonlight &
claws tear at unmarked flesh,

a beast pacing in the cage
of its own body:

a mass of hair & nails & skin
desperate to turn itself

into something recognizable,
a thing caught in the act of

transformation (violence).

By EJ Hicks


EJ Hicks (they/them) is a genderqueer butch lesbian living in Illinois with their fiancee. They write mainly poetry but have been known to dabble in other genres. Their work has been published in The Vehicle, the literary journal of Eastern Illinois University, where they have won several awards for creative fiction.

love letters from the distant past: lionheart By Yujun Ginn

i. i dream about you when i’m awake. she’s the first girl you fell in love with; you were children, hearts bursting at the seams. the want you had was raw, aching for belonging. she had so much charisma she redefined gravity. gold, gold, gold. you never stood a chance.

ii. you say you don’t know how to write well. i don’t think you know how wrong you are. she said such kind things to you. you don’t remember what you said to deserve them.

iii. your letters sound so sad lately. neither of you knew back then how broken your mind was inside, beginning of the end, apocrypha withheld from you. she told you that you were strong; if she could see you now, she’d cry. you don’t remember the person she liked so much.

iv. there’s a bright old bridge that stretches over the river, antique lights. that’s when the lights look brightest, and that’s where i’d wait for you. there was no waiting to be done, just shouts that rocked the kitchen table, searches through bedrooms and the disappearance of a girl in love so profoundly it bruised.

v. i feel so golden when i think about us, together, anywhere. you’re just a couple of missed shots in the dark that could have been something if you’d been a little older, a little closer, a little different. you’ll never know. you’re ashamed that it doesn’t hurt these days.

By Yujun Ginn


Yujun Ginn is a Taiwanese American software developer in love with stories. S/he can be found on Twitter and Instagram as swordsainted, busy swallowing words.

Frankenstein Might Have Been onto Something By EJ Hicks

Frankenstein Might Have Been onto Something

The body waits
on a slab in the middle
of a cold white room, all
headlamps & hospital gowns.

Gloved hands & scalpel blade
part the skin — a manipulation of flesh
& muscle under flickering
fluorescent bulbs.

Frankenstein looks down, meets his own gaze
in the metal where a head should be,
& smiles, for God too created man
in His own image.

When all is said & done,
there are tubes & blood & bandages
& a lump of excess flesh
in the biohazard bin.

You might ask Frankenstein:
what is God if not the Creator?
We might counter: what is a creator
if not a god?

Like Frankenstein & his monster,
I am divine in my creation. I too
am building a body, piece by
salvaged piece. A home

where I can lay my head.
A home where I don’t have to worry
about God or monsters or mobs
with pitchforks hellbent on my destruction.

Frankenstein’s sin wasn’t playing
god — it was playing Him too well,
not the child in a sandbox but
the Father who left for cigarettes

& never came back, his absence
this uncontrollable rot, this phantom
itch under the skin of my back,
this wound. The body waits

for salvaged parts with which
it will make itself complete.
So before you start complaining
about all that grave digging,

remember that even your God
robbed Adam to sculpt Eve.

By EJ Hicks


EJ Hicks (they/them) is a genderqueer butch lesbian living in Illinois with their fiancee. They write mainly poetry but have been known to dabble in other genres. Their work has been published in The Vehicle, the literary journal of Eastern Illinois University, where they have won several awards for creative fiction.

EATING LILACS By Christine Siebels-Lindquist


In my kid life, I would stick
my face in lilacs every time
they lit up the yard.

Pale violet and heavy as breathing
they tasted like a healed wound.

I’m not sure when I realized
my future wasn’t going to look
like you,

but the moment
my mom told me we can live
without someone we love,

she sipped hibiscus
and said
she didn’t want to learn that.


my gums were swollen
the day you told me,
“it would be easier not to see you”

but your purple sweater
with juliet sleeves
was all I could think about.

How you held it to your smile,

pumping warmth
direct into my blood.

I used to think if something was good
it would last forever

I used to think
if something lasted forever it was good.


Do lilacs come back each year
so we can thank them

for disappearing?


My mom met a man
who had fire behind his face.

They talked without speaking
and built lives that didn’t fit

I knew she loved him
even though I never asked.


We met again in springtime,

it had been months and I didn’t see
our life in your eyes

anymore. I saw myself
with arms full of lilac,

I saw them filling every vase I own.

By Christine Siebels-Lindquist


Christine Siebels-Lindquist (she/her) is a poet and visual artist based in Washington, D.C. Her life never feels complete unless she is creating. Originally from Minnesota, she holds a BA in biology from Bryn Mawr College, and works in exhibition design.



The roads are keyboards missing important keys
The cars are walking furnaces with chimneys attached,
With drivers like Lewis Hamilton
The pedestrians become adventurers
Swinging on vines
Vying through mines for one more day of life,
This is Lagos, sometimes

The houses are small shoe boxes
Ugly as hell, with only room for one shoe,
With landlords like George Costanza
The tenants become ninjas
Ghosting in and out like spirits from hades,
This is Lagos, sometimes

The schools are sometimes worn out tracks filled with warriors for teachers
The churches are loud gongs played everywhere,
With men who say women like an abomination
The women become savage beasts
Taking no prisoners,
This is Lagos, sometimes

The criminals look like Police
The police remind passerby’s of criminals
Sometimes, it’s too hard to tell the difference,
With women who say men equate funded cards
The men become Bullion vans
By all means,
This is lagos, sometimes

The electricity is a sport
Prayer is the angle; the judge is the devil
He has no pity, only brief moments of calculated teasing,
With life so hard and a meal a day worse,
The people become bitterly resentful
Praying for one lucky break,
This is Lagos, sometimes

By Daniel Joe

This poem was first published in Kalahari Review.


Daniel Joe is a writer based in Lagos, Nigeria; drawn to odd and chaotic things, his work often explores pain, grief, relationships, dysfunctionalities, absurdities and so much more. His writing has appeared in a variety of online publications, including Brittle Paper and Afritondo. You can find him on YouTube at A string of words

trag·e·dy By Yujun Ginn


/ ˈtrajədē /


  1. leaves you wanting and hollow, your body echoing whispers of sorry, sorry dropping from unfamiliar mouths. they found you half-buried in the ground, digging your own grave, and they thought it was poetic. they gave you this word. it’s all they give you.
  1. you smear ash, sticky-dark with crimson, back over your skin after they dress you in white. grief is meant to be pure, pretty, respectable. they can’t take your wild from you, so you howl back and bare your teeth. your anger is honest. your soul is tarnished silver; there is no shame in that.
  1. you don’t deserve this, they tell you, and that’s a lie. everyone does, whether or not they admit it. you are the greek definition, raw and never-ending. your war is just beginning, and when you set your world on fire, you laugh.
  1. they search unending for a solution, like agony is meant to end. you crack your ribs open one by one and let the rage-marrow inside drip out for them to see, let them look upon your heart in ruins and wonder what you could possibly mean by it.

This poem was previously displayed in an artists in residence exhibition for the University of South Carolina Honors College.

By Yujun Ginn


Yujun Ginn is a Taiwanese American software developer in love with stories. S/he can be found on Twitter and Instagram as swordsainted, busy swallowing words.

Aneurysm By Virginia Watts


When the surgeon said
this is an aorta at risk
for a split second
I thought he was talking
about something else
a bike tire, family business
our democracy
I concentrated on his hands
so I wouldn’t
blubber like a baby

His hands were small
talcum powder pale
fine of finger
he held them limp
while he explained
that if I opened my heart to him
my chances for a full recovery
were excellent
What he really meant was
I had no choice
unlike John Ritter who was a hoot
starring in Three’s Company
what guy wouldn’t want to live
with two cute chicks

In the end I had to use
my own trembling hand
to sign consent forms
which meant I resigned myself
into the hands
of someone I’d just met
with a reputation for being excellent
with his hands
I’ve never been good at faith
faith is blind
but at the end of the appointment
I reached for a hand
and it was given

By Virginia Watts


Virginia Watts is the author of poetry and stories found in Epiphany, CRAFT, The Florida Review, Reed Magazine, Pithead Chapel, Permafrost Magazine, Broadkill Review among others. Her poetry chapbooks are available from Moonstone Press. She has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her short story collection Echoes from The Hocker House can be preordered from The Devil’s Party Press. Visit her at

Ten Weeks on Testosterone By EJ Hicks

Ten Weeks on Testosterone

Ten weeks on testosterone,
& sweat slides down my back.
It’s not even the heat
anymore—although that doesn’t help.
I peel off layers of clothing like it’s my second
skin, a snake molting in my bedroom.

Ten weeks on testosterone,
& the skin on my face breaks out.
Acne spreads over my chin & across my cheeks,
freshly devoid of stubble
& familiar peach fuzz.
It lines my forehead were sweat gathers
above my brows & along my hairline.

Ten weeks on testosterone,
& my body becomes a stranger to me.
I am pleased to make its
(re)acquaintance, pleased
to note each subtle change.
This is my second puberty, but
this is the first time it makes sense.

Ten weeks on testosterone,
& this time it means something.
This time I am hurtling towards
something that I can stomach,
something that won’t taste
bitter in my mouth.
This time I am not cowering
before the mirror, cowering
in the face of womanhood.

Ten weeks on testosterone,
(blessed testosterone)
& every time my voice breaks
I remember that it is shifting inside
of me.
It drops from my head to my chest;
right now it’s stuck in my throat.
I swallow around it & wonder
how much it has left to go.

By EJ Hicks


EJ Hicks (they/them) is a genderqueer butch lesbian living in Illinois with their fiancee. They write mainly poetry but have been known to dabble in other genres. Their work has been published in The Vehicle, the literary journal of Eastern Illinois University, where they have won several awards for creative fiction.