She’s divinely tired arriving in the atmosphere, jet lagged. Stepped out on the hotel patio for a smoke, wants the quiet of the night, wants a break from the controversy and fan mail, wants a vacation in the Baltic.
During her terrestrial stay she ditches the old attire, feels the lick of moisture, breath of sun on delightfully bare skin, might don a pink velvet mini skirt and halter, and go braless, just to be fun.
She’s left the office. She’s at the liquor store during the lunch break, dangling her exalted hands over the spice rums, chooses one for its cinnamon flame, a step up from Merlot, and picks up a cold Coke on the way out
because the place sticky- hot, even in February, thinks that the kids have had their fun destroying it.
She’s leaving notes. One on the napkin for the waitress at the diner who brushed
her shoulder, whose perfume lingered, whose lips are bright static that speckle her vison.
She’s tied up with someone who looks like Eve.
It’s possible that you’ve seen her around
By Clara Allison
Clara Allison (she/her) is a writer from Atlanta, Georgia. She was a finalist for the 2020 Georgia Poet Laureate’s Prize and has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards at SCAD for poetry. She is an Honors student at Emerson College studying Writing, Literature, and Publishing. Mostly she enjoys peace, quiet, and the company of cats.
Mango always makes me think of you. This morning a mango slips and slides in my hands. I peel it, ineptly carve away its flesh from the stone, so large and so hidden.
We bought mango (and durian and jackfruit) in that international market in Atlanta. We were 18. We craved its sweetness, knew nothing about it– I don’t remember if we peeled it– maybe with our teeth?
All I remember is licking up the sweet juice, sinking my teeth into its softness, gnawing at its unyielding core. You and me both, taking bites, laughing helplessly at the stickiness coating our hands, our cheeks. Slurping this mango over a trash can until we gave up, tossed it away.
Every time I cut one now, I think of our youth and what we’ve learned since then. As I saw this mango into increasingly smaller slivers, I wonder when it’s enough. I think of us then– we walked away so easily, not agonizing about what we left behind.
By Rosalie Hendon
Rosalie Hendon is an environmental planner living in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and many house plants. She started a virtual poetry group in 2020 during quarantine that has collectively written over 200 poems. Her work is published in Change Seven, Planisphere Q, Call Me [Brackets], Entropy, Pollux, Superpresent, Cactifur, Fleas on the Dog, and Red Eft Review. Rosalie is inspired by ecology, relationships, and stories passed down through generations.
This love is waking slow as January ice melts, temples touching, skin soft as a hushed prayer of repentance under a twisted olive tree. It is the mulberry bush we gorged on as children, our canyon chins dribbling with indigo lust, the sweetness in our bellies not yet flipping our stomachs ill. Shame is learned, Eve whispered to me; to anyone who has feasted so relentlessly – it lodges under fingernails like dirt, a shitty alchemist transforming gold to lead. But this love is a finger licked clean as bone, pressed to knotted lips, sealed like an envelope. It is a seed transported by a starling, scattered in a cornfield, waiting to grow under a shut-eye moon where light shudders to go. This love is a woman who stumbles with the elegance of a poem, such that my feet, trained to tiptoe through houses of worship, would follow her foxtrot to the gallows. It is the window we boarded with every raised stake, it is the greasy film of stagnation atop an unmoving lake, it is two humans mouth-to-mouth as this love suffocates.
By Jaimie Lee
Jaimie Lee is a writer and psychology student from Sydney, Australia. If she could, she would spend all her time writing in sunlit kitchens surrounded by black cats.
How do you say “Hers is a name I can’t pronounce” in Japanese?
Is there a word for that in German? Something akin to bedauern (regret) or the Irish word for daughter (inion)?
Did you know I would be the one with the light eyes, the Barry nose, the double eye-lids? That I would pass as hakujin even though I’m hafu?
Your nickname for me— the one that means seaweed instead of child of the law— is like Lori but with an N.
My full name is staccato song in my father’s mouth, a drumbeat rhythm singing the story of who I am
my face fails to tell reflecting who I am in ways you were never able to say.
By Noriko Nakada
Noriko Nakada is a multi-racial Asian American who creates fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to capture the stories she has been told not to talk about. She is the author of the Through Eyes Like Mine memoir series. Excerpts, essays, and poetry have been published in The Rising Phoenix Review, Hippocampus, Catapult, Linden Ave, and elsewhere.
A.J. Ortega is a writer from Texas. His writing has appeared in Rat’s Ass Review, Poetry Quarterly, Rio Grande Review, Door is a Jar Magazine, American Book Review, Dreich Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, and others. He is an active member of the Popular Culture Association, where his presentations focus on combat sports and Mexican American identity. A.J. produces and hosts Writers and Fighters: A Podcast.
when I see two souls attached to each other and love that gives all of itself
when I see trust in a stranger’s eyes and sincerity among friends
when I hear stories of passion and people talk about loved ones
as I sit and listen to their tales mistakes and adventures
lessons and losses regrets and experiences
my heart wanders home to the boy I first loved.
when I see broken people and those who love have scarred
when they talk about how damaged loving the wrong one made them
and I hear terrible things done in the name of love how shallow and temporary people can be
when I see them throw away loyalty and others mock commitment
when I read letters of people who wish for soul mates and those who have never known true love
my heart wanders home to the boy I first loved
and reminds me how badly I should treasure what he and I still share.
some get it right after a few tries and others never do
but the boy I first loved and I we are each other’s first love
and that is a million times the hardest thing to find.
By JB Favour
JB Favour is a ghostwriter, poet, brand consultant, and creative director. She has helped several authors ghostwrite their memoirs/autobiographies, fiction, and nonfiction books with some of her works being produced into film. Her Anthology – Once Upon A Virus, a survival poetry collection of the Covid pandemic that rocked the world is available on Amazon and other book stores globally. Her other works have appeared in The Newcastle Review UK, Brittle Paper, Lion & Lilac UK, Intellectual Ink Magazine USA, and I Am Magazine Belgium. She is also the Founder and Creative Director of a Digital Content Creation, Branding & Marketing Agency, FAVES_PEN and hosts a book show for authors called BOOKTERVIEWS Show
The fluorescent lights will drown everything and every body on this trip.
No, not like that. This isn’t a ship.
Yes we sway, but we are not reefs at the bottom of the West Indies sea.
That passage already known, A theft from which we grow.
On the other side, there is a woman, tired, a man running late, and someone alive in a dream.
Its 5:32 and we’re not yet home. But this time we have a way back.
A body and map. Lines to live by. To get by. Do you remember what was before the sea?
It’s ten to six. The sea is a carriage, and this is a carousel. A four train to Crown
By Desiree Nestor
Desiree Nestor currently lives in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and currently works as a literacy/writing tutor with middle school and high school students. She loves soccer, listening to music, and learning French.
I want to go home like picking berries off the bush and hearing the ocean in my mouth hearing the planting of gardens in the crease of my hands hearing the shade of the tree on my sundrunk skin
I want to go home like running in fields with no shoes like drinking coconut from the gourd and eating mango off the tree And the fiyah oh da fiyah burns a path through the mystery in our chests
I want to go home like no locks on doors, no door bells, maybe no doors at all We sing as we approach any home to prepare them for our arrival and are welcomed with drink and food and games where there are no borders in our spirit just the flow of life in our names
Home, where no one SAYS i love you, because it is never a question to be answered And our chests are mountains and rivers instead of hollowed out caves
Home, where life is where the family is where there are no separate buildings that fragment the being into proper and professional where we are eternally as we are in any moment whether planting or hunting or loafin in the field or the river
Home, where our hair and the leaves and the grass and the antennae are one where the feet root deep into the soil to drink from the water below
where the hands hold ALL where the senses are awake within
Home, where the mighty laugh of the newborn graces the ear of the elder as she leaves her encasing behind to rejoin the river and tree of life that courses through our veins and the wind races sharing in their joy and release
Leaves pumping through the wild hair of children as they chase their brethren lions and lambs Goat and gallo butterfly and moth The wind the river the sand the sea
Everything runs and swims as if it is flying
in our veins in our step
Even the blood in our veins Even the pep In our step Even the grins above our chins
All free flowing
All all that they can be
you know home.
By Melissa Ferrer (&)
Melissa Ferrer (&) (she/ they/ the artist formerly known as prince symbol) is a poet/writer, performer, musician, educator, motivational speaker, organizer and philarchist living in Kansas City, MO. They live in expansion and contraction. Their work can be found in Zin Daily, Fahmidan Journal, and Food for Thought Anthology– among other places. Their debut chapbook “Birthing Pains” was published by Turnsol Editions in 2020. And they are a Poetry MFA Candidate at Randolph College. Find out more about them at http://www.melissaferrerand.com.
driving 101 north razed field dirt gusts in my eyes i still expect stadium to loom along bayshore lived off next exit paul ave no one else came to visit this side of san francisco gray candlestick welcomed the faithful
mr gabutero exchanged niners & giants scores for extra credit brothers & i learned to be american from tv watching strikes & first downs our new religion on sundays camouflaged in red & gold orange & black like the other kids at epiphany
i danced barefoot on the field niner playoff game mixing cultures san fran blend wafting honey smoke bbq tailgate parking lot boombox blaring whoot there it is under our bamboo pole fans limboed
giants first to leave haunted by world series rumbling ground cracked stadium static pebbles pelting tv screen i was next moved to east bay my brother mark held on registered to vote a new sf niners home
last concert after paul mccartney fireworks electrified the stick before demolition colors rose & fell to glitter mirrored on the bay sizzling fogless night i called my brothers to ask if they saw fireworks too
By Karina Fantillo
Karina immigrated with her family at the age of 9 to San Francisco, where she learned about Philippine and American culture through folk dancing. Karina writes poems in lower case and minimizes punctuation as a stand against the infrastructures that deprived her of learning her native language and history in an American colony.
Karina’s poems have appeared or is forthcoming in the San Francisco Public Library, The Racket, Eunoia Review, Night Music, where she was the featured writer for the issue. She was a poetry fellow before graduating with an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco.