November in the Soul By Amee Nassrene Broumand

November in the Soul

Bottle-shaped hole—the craving
for the craving lingers, though the craving
is gone.

I bind myself with pins & masking tape
& thimblefuls of tapeworms. Mother knits
beside the bridal pool—
her fingers undulate, green & wan.

She looks like fate to me.

I run, breaking my crown on the fireplace.
Masked doctors shriek & trill, stitching the gash over my eye
with catgut, with lies of baleen & yarn.

Finned monsters writhe below the floor.

My hiemal estate—
a puddle & a dead leaf.

Cats yowl into wells, brewing new oceans underground.
The Mayflower Corps dogs the port—
I’m a tear & the sea is my home, I splutter,
but they bark in my ear, YOU’RE A CAT.
SAY IT!

Glassed eyes bob between the rocks. Walls
shimmer, papered with sunfish, with pancaked
stardust. Murmuring mantic, we confront the sun—
some float wavewards through the sewer bars,
some tumble, pine-pierced, on the katabatic.

Above us, the Grey Lady & the indifferent
Drone.

By Amee Nassrene Broumand

Biography:

Amee Nassrene Broumand is an Iranian-American poet. She has a B.A. in Philosophy & English from Boise State University, where she tutored logic for six semesters, graduated summa cum laude, & was named a Top Ten Scholar. Nominated for a Pushcart by Sundog Lit, she also has poems in Word Riot, A-Minor Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, Windfall, & elsewhere. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon & blogs for Burning House Press (UK).

Sadegh Hedayat Slumbers By Amee Nassrene Broumand

Sadegh Hedayat Slumbers

The nebula unfurls—
katydids emerge, brandishing starling wings
to brush away night’s star-dark rust.

Am I a cloud now?

Panphobia roars, encroaching with the onslaught of tedium & garboil
as day unravels. I lull myself to sleep, insisting I’m no mere wart
on Monday’s nose.

Let me dream in peace.

Sagebrush rattles on basalt cliffs. Cicadas drill the air.
Wind witches stab ankles, mistaking thistles for mice, foaming drunk
on compost, on coils of pear. The Shah dons sunglasses
to repel the crickets, the grubs, the swift silent feet of relentless dust.
Let him rot.

Morphing into a Simurgh, I fly Persia to wander Versailles.

Sundown capsizes me into a teacup,
into swells of periwinkle & marigold.

A great jolt—did I have a candle? La sorcière.
The hut rises & strides on ostrich legs away into the grove.
Night presses closer. The sun is a plum swelling upon the edge—

she’s a cobra now, piercing bluebottles with her fangs.

Hand me the apple.

By Amee Nassrene Broumand

Biography:

Amee Nassrene Broumand is an Iranian-American poet. She has a B.A. in Philosophy & English from Boise State University, where she tutored logic for six semesters, graduated summa cum laude, & was named a Top Ten Scholar. Nominated for a Pushcart by Sundog Lit, she also has poems in Word Riot, A-Minor Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, Windfall, & elsewhere. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon & blogs for Burning House Press (UK).

SNAFU By Amee Nassrene Broumand

SNAFU

This is the subduction zone.

In a tantrum snit, Bigman shakes the Bigtop—
snow clowns loom, trumpets suck
the vortex open, & nightfall in mourning
comes. Peel the onion away—
Salome vanishes.
Is this how the dance ends?

Night geese plummet into the sea.

Blood & phlegm fill my mouth—salty
plums, proof of flesh, of simmering
meat—

the rotting of the sacred air.

Slivers form bitter rubies against hardwood.
Cats make fastidious abattoirs of the living room.

Look, blood-fed Betelgeuse—
we wake in the field
our hearts buzzing, our hair silver.

We sail deeper into the war.

By a vent in the cosmos where dragons breathe,
we gather to sun our dust,
to mock opals & opulence
& the creaky powder that leaks
from cracked marble. Twitching nostril—
is that Bigman’s blood eye glaring from the window

or do we dream?

Amee Nassrene Broumand

Biography:

Amee Nassrene Broumand is an Iranian-American poet. She has a B.A. in Philosophy & English from Boise State University, where she tutored logic for six semesters, graduated summa cum laude, & was named a Top Ten Scholar. Nominated for a Pushcart by Sundog Lit, she also has poems in Word Riot, A-Minor Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, Windfall, & elsewhere. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon & blogs for Burning House Press (UK).

Piraeus By Meg Rodriguez

Piraeus

there is something in a harbor that is anticipative
something in it is a promise, rose-colored

and lofty like the six o’clock sun sinking into the Aegean Sea
something in it tumbles like its waves do

lapping at the whims and the noises of the sailboats first
tasting deliverance, or reaching their asylum

there is something in a harbor that is satisfied
something free, until glimpses of tomorrow

hide away beneath the early-twilight birth
of stars that bathes this welcomed sea

until tomorrow does not
hasten to be seen

until time is an expanse and this land is
unfamiliar, and pain-stricken new

until the stealthy sea beckons “onward” to the shore
with the seduction of a song

but you—are shrinking backward, becoming small
you are yielding to your oppressors

and you have promised that you will not stay
for long, but your hands are empty

your womb—full, you do not know the words
on the tongues of your neighbors

and you are surrendering your bounty to the
irresistible pull of the far-away moon

on these sullen harbor tides, the tides of
your abysmal sacrifice

pull your feet up from the water now, and eulogize
the countries that you fought through

like the one who believed in the
light across the bay

the sea that was your savior has betrayed you
so drift to sleep now, at the port

for here, you’ll stay

The Port of Piraeus in Athens, Greece has become home to thousands of refugees stranded in the current global crisis.

By Meg Rodriguez

Biography:

Meg Rodriguez is an emerging writer from St. Louis, MO who currently resides in Nashville, TN with her husband. While attending the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK, Meg studied French and the Biological Sciences but made quite an impact with her poetry. She received awards each year for her submissions to the student literary journal, and she also enjoyed the opportunity to perform twice at the annual TEDx University of Tulsa conference. Meg currently works as a one-on-one teacher while she continues to grow her work as a writer. Much of her poetry and other short works lend artistic attention to marginalized people and voices. You can follow Meg’s writing and other endeavors at megsmithrodriguez.wordpress.com.

Shiny Obsolete Silver Objects By Matt Duggan

Shiny Obsolete Silver Objects

We are distracted magpies made of skin and metal
slowly building our own prisons brick by brick.

Absorbed inside the world of a small black case,
that wields our knowledge and power.
We fly between truth and lie

A bird without a final destination
our calling for the silver that detracts us
as the lighting glint in a city is more powerful
than the empathy inside our being;

We collect shiny obsolete silver objects
replacing them every other year
Our behaviour has always been engineered

our desensitised response to any blood soaked image
is to buy even more useless shiny goods
We are distracted magpies made of skin and metal,
slowly building our own prisons brick by brick.

By Matt Duggan

Biography:

My work has appeared in The Journal, Osiris, The Dawntreader, Prole, Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Algebra of Owls, The Seventh Quarry. My first full collection Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press) won the erbacce prize for poetry in 2015 and in 2016 I won the Into the Void Poetry Prize with my poem Elegy for Magdalene.

A Letter to Mason, age 8 ½, Mason O’Hern

A Letter to Mason, age 8 ½,

I know you don’t recognize that name but
twelve years from now,
your best friends will start to call you that
and you will finally feel home.

At fifteen, you meet a boy
and will not listen when everyone wants you to leave him alone.
Bad things happen to good people and sometimes
bad people look
like the boy from youth group
who is all tattoos and smooth talking.

When you realize you are a boy,
you are twenty one
rising from the ashes of that night.

Know you were he
before him.
Do not give him credit he does not deserve.
You are more
than the things he stole from you.

I want to give this story a pretty ending
tell you that it’s okay because
you meet a girl and fall in love.
that hasn’t happened yet.

But, Mason it is fourteen years later,
and you are still alive
even after everything telling you to give up.

You made it through.

-Mason, age 22 ¼

By Mason O’Hern

Biography:

Mason O’Hern is a genderqueer poet whose work centers on disability, identity, mental illness, and healing.

Puritan U By Kristin Garth

Puritan U

Your major, poli sci, Puritan U,
where Dad, all done, exiles you : “find the one,”
ambitious, just like him, recognizes you,
his secret sin, a spiritual son.

Reforestation camping trip, in back
of van, with strangers sit. A man, law school,
and you’re 18, female his fans, a pack
that preens: “the feminist”; they drool.

Mistake of sleep, you think, his errant hand
between your legs. Don’t understand. You
will later, sleeping bag. A wedding band
on choking hand. You’re opened and subdued.

One more pretender forces his way in.
Five states away, underneath again.

By Kristin Garth

Biography:

Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked the pages of Occulum, Ant-Heroin Chic, Rise Up Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Drunk Monkeys, Moonchild Magazine and many other publications. Her poetry dollhouse chapbook Pink Plastic House: Three Stories of Sonnets will be released spring 2018 by Maverick Duck Press.