If Revolutions Devolve into Terror By Kika Dorsey

If Revolutions Devolve into Terror

If so, and the night washes us of our collective mind, why do the crows
know to stay together on the oak tree in the winter, terror the ice enshrining

its bare branches, roadkill on the street they share, bats overhead
swooping so fast that only an individual mind can perceive them

while crows sleep together but we never see their bodies in the dark,
black feather against black night. I asked you about Kant’s

categorical imperative, to act in accordance with rules that can
hold for everyone. I said, This is how I try to live, as long as the rules

demand kindness and not supplication to authority. Outside an old man
in a wheelchair rolls on ice toward the door of the dentist office

and I hold it open for him. But at night sometimes the guillotine falls
when I dream of driving in the snow and not checking my speed,

running into the oak tree and you with your big hands on your eyes,
weeping in the passenger seat. I’ve never known equanimity

except when my ideals settled in my hips or grew lush long before
the harvest, maybe without it; maybe the stalks of corn tip

and enter the soil like the romantic power of imagination or
the transcendence without the abstract ideal to name it, consume it.

When we give up the road to understanding we cease to see the world,
housing our fears of the unknown in oak trees that grow so familiar,

satellites becoming our celestial bodies. Yet God is written outside of Reason
and a niggling feeling that all you have done has been worth it,

even the devolutions that taught you reason’s limitations.
I have found a home. I have learned the crow’s detachment

from any symbol in its murder, and I have driven to a madness
where we should all at some point go. The amber light of exhaust and sunset,

the stretching light waves, set my body on fire, and the crows,
balancing on a patina of ice, drink the light and do not give it back.

By Kika Dorsey


Kika Dorsey is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature and her books include the chapbook Beside Herself and three full-length collections: Rust, Coming Up for Air, and Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger, which won the Colorado Authors’ League Award for best poetry collection. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. Currently, she is a lecturer at the University of Colorado in literature and creative writing. Her novel, As Joan Approaches Infinity. In addition, she works as a writing coach and ghostwriter. In her free time she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.

Still By Nicole Q. Nguyen


Like a stone born from my body,
you came into this world cold and still.
The sky drained of color as they took you away
my body was an exit wound, I sunk
into the mattress
a foreigner to myself. Your eyes never did open.

Cardboard epitaphs, folded napkin eulogies—
we buried you in the backyard
because there was nowhere else to go.
You were cradled in that black mud,
the earthworms watched over you as
the dry grass whispered its lullabies.

I laid in the bathtub, my skin flayed back like a peeled peach.
The ceiling tiles dripped condensation
and whispered your name, which I never said aloud.
That house held me like a child
and rocked me to sleep.

Slowly, we must learn to live
with hands
that cannot heal the ones we love.

By Nicole Q. Nguyen


Nicole Q. Nguyen is a Philadelphia native writer and academic. Her work attempts to reconcile the deeply confessional nature of poetry with her own unwavering love for the art of storytelling. Many of her works explore the intersection where the foreign and the familiar meet. Nicole is proud to hail from a long, unbroken line of avid lovers of literature. Find her on Instagram @NicoleQNguyen

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.

With the ‘war’ By Mina Hassan

With the ‘war’
for Palestine

In the clearing, the mind clears
and the branches begin
to communicate.

At the ends of the
empty space is a
symphony of entwined fingers

like roots placed the wrong way,
I care not for
mistakes made in the

name of beauty like
words withered for no
reason even if in the softest voice

told like a melody that promises
your next breath, if only
to hear the simmering

of sounds and know
that there is something
stirring inside you like a small

performer tiptoeing onto the grass
plodding bareness with its feet
filling everything with

its moving. There it is, in the
silent clearing, the part
of us that shudders awake each time

pain has washed us pale, cruel,
each time the world of
people has fallen.

By Mina Hassan


Mina Hassan grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. Her chapbook Flying South: a Collection of Winter Ghazals was published by Bottlecap Press in 2022.

My language and college applications By Nimra Tariq

My language and college applications

In every application form,
They ask for my native language

Yet they don’t have my language,
In their options of world languages

They force me to choose someone’s elses mother tongue
As mine, because I can speak it like a native

Oppressor taught me that foreign language as mine
They fined us, they built shame/ respect of a language

So I learned another’s language as mine
I speak in it, I read in it

They took us to build them,
So we are lost to the global

How can they include 3000 languages of world?
So they left, insignificant identities like mine out

They talk of violence and inclusion
But they left me out of diversity

To be included I always choose urdu
Though my mother speaks pahadi

By Nimra Tariq


The poet is from a small semi- autonomous state Azad Jammu and Kashmir, administered by Pakistan. She writes on themes of grief, politics, conflict, gender, loss, and love. Her work is deeply influenced influenced by her family and friends. She wants her work to have a positive impact on reader’s life.

i, alice By a a khaliq

i, alice

how much a year can change.
the world itself inverted, shaken.
snow-falling backwards outside.
flat on my back i watch the same
stucco patterns shift, or maybe
life is one long fever and i notice
the burning in bits and pieces. this
year i don’t toss and turn with the
hundred aches of a lover, or the
lovelorn. my eyes have been opened
so long they’ve dried in their sockets.
i hardly think i’m seeing out of them,
or maybe this is the world: no hazy
blush turning every object, every
face a shade of pink. so many colors
abound—and the abundance tears
me apart. flat on my back, a year’s
change flowing over my mind like
a trance, like a vision—there’s no
going back. no snow falling onto
an expectant, pointed pink tongue.
winterland, wonderland, shimmers
as if behind a mirror and i try and
i try to let my hands slip through
beads of mercury to the other side.
to the pinkened snowscape,
to the place i loved.

By a a khaliq


a a khaliq is a poet and medical student from the midwest. she writes, in the tradition of kafka, to close her eyes.

a little levity, please By Grier Martin

a little levity, please

life is more than indigestion
and electric bills
bad news and broken radiators
another year alone

it’s Joni Mitchell’s voice
on Friday night
golden lamplight
and chamomile tea

and I am more than the measure
of an awful week at the office
days of fluorescent glare
uncomfortable shoes and
fear, every moment fear

collapsed in bed
in blue-flowered pajamas
with just the one small lamp
and the light which, as I said, is golden
and gentle
I laugh
for no particular reason

Joni tells me I can fly
and I can almost see her
voice curling
like warm tendrils of steam
toward the ceiling

By Grier Martin


Grier Martin is a member of the Burlington Writers Workshop (BWW), based in Burlington, Vermont. She led the BWW Poetry Discussion Group from 2019 to 2020. She also served in various editorial roles from 2017 to 2021 with Mud Season Review, an online literary magazine affiliated with BWW.

I Am A Computer By Tamia Hassan

I Am A Computer

In the car I fell silent again as tears hid
between the corners of my brown eyes
Yelled at once again for having
a second thought
a second opinion
a second meaning to my existence.
Maa says God created me only in relation to the man.
So I must obey
and not care and not step out of the circle drawn by the man.
I am at fault because they are men
they are god
they are never at fault.
I am no victim

I am to blame

yes Maa I understand,
yes maa I will cover up

Yes Maa–
but what if they trip me and strip me of my dignity?
I am a computer
I am programmed by my mother
coded to exist and only so.
My talents do not matter if I cannot cook
my opinions are useless when my shirt is too short
I am told
I must listen to the man
but I am unable to speak.
as I was taught to listen.
I am taught to tiptoe
He is taught to run.
I am taught to read
He is taught to write.
That is life and If I don’t comply my faith is questioned
and I’ll be locked up.
Baa no longer calls
and the last thing he said to me was
“Change out of that skirt”
I am a computer
Programmed by my mother
Coded to exist and only so
yet I am breaking.

By Tamia Hassan


Tamia Hassan is a fifteen-year-old writer and journalist from Minneapolis. In her free time, she writes poetry, short stories, and articles. Apart from writing, Tamia likes to read and crochet in her free time.

In the morning void after years since my father died By Georgia San Li

In the morning void after years since my father died

“…CD said human consciousness shows up in the
record as symbolic behavior toward the dead…”

-Consciousness by Robert Hass

Opening my eyes, the moment seems
a slit of air between sliding glass doors
into the backyard patio, a blear of
red marigolds and eucalyptus. I could sense
her refulgent mood, then my vision apprehends
the tall window covered in fine mesh to redirect
her ultraviolet radiation, a pinky orange jewel
exuding a deepening breath of fire,
day breaking as if time were nothing.

As I rest my eyes, close them behind warm translucent skin,
my mind leaps forward in search of the dreamy joy
that has darted away. It is daughterhood I think of,
playing hide and seek under leaves of verdant hostas.
Such dreams must thrive in partial sun —
akin to the daughterhood of Cordelia?
Both my hands pull and pluck at her
back, grab a piece of her empire-cut gown,
but she evaporates into whiteness and
her snapping flicker of poetry eludes me. She hides,
still alive, not dead, somewhere where I can no longer
retrieve particulars, only an empty sense
of rupture. I begin to wake, imagining white noise
absorbed by the white alabaster walls and the sheets.
The dragon tree on the dresser stands stoic,
unwilling to complain of the environment,
next to the tv, a dark polaroid, coated in dust
with no aspect to develop, still and present in
its situated darkness.

I sit up and watch the plane ascending,
shearing open invisible streams of wind. A circle
of seagulls keeps its distance, Cordelia
rushes past their ears, before subsumed, slipping
into the stratosphere. Looking over the
brightening horizon, I remember the politics of
the waste processing plant on Deer Island.
Little remains of its nature. Strange, nothing is yet burning.

By Georgia San Li


Georgia San Li is at work on a novel, poetry and other writings. Her poetry and writing appears or is forthcoming in the Antigonish, Atlanta Review, Confluence (UK), The Glacier, La Piccioletta Barca, Ravensperch and other journals. She is the author of “Wandering,” which was a Minerva Rising finalist and selected for publication by Finishing Line Press (January 2024). Her poetry was included on the short list for the 2023 Oxford Poetry prize. She has been supported by the Community of Writers and the Kenyon Review Novel Workshop.

ghazal for a ghost By Ash Chen

ghazal for a ghost

on my worst days, you could fill a black hole with the ashes that are no longer alive.
i mean that, on my worst days, i spit out my prayers and ask them to eat me alive.

i want to feel something tactile, and i don’t care what it is. chase the shot with another.
whiskey then a .38 hollow point, both straight down the throat, both burning me alive.

there must be some lidocaine in my veins, and i could carve it out myself,
just like the way those train tracks under the bridge used to shake nerves alive.

but i flushed those blades and pills and cigs, and i don’t skate much anymore.
i found an unholy hymn that all my lovers learn so they can sing me back alive.

when i reach for skin and breath, my hands find a headful of golden hair instead.
he knows how to hurt me in the ways i like, and tonight, i need to feel alive.

that the testaments to my personhood are shrouded in dust, in dead skin and smoke.
you could fill a bible or two with the shit i’ve done just to feel like i’m alive.

consequences don’t come easy to me, and the few that do become ghosts, sighing cries.
you can’t just tell me that you want it; you have to show me, prove that i’m alive.

By Ash Chen


Ash Chen is a first generation Asian-American student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she majors in English with a minor in Music and another in Science, Medicine, & Literature. When she is not managing her campus responsibilities, she enjoys reading and writing queer literature/poetry, playing the electric bass, and sustaining injuries in mosh pits.