Snapshot: The Cow and the Girl By Louhi Pohjola

Snapshot: The Cow and the Girl

The cow looks irate, fettered
to the back of the iron-wheeled cart
that is poised to flee from bombs
spitting high overhead

In the grainy image, its nostrils snuffle fear
while the girl watches, hands on hips,
in a thin cotton dress, small breasts
nudging the fabric. She is rooted
in this place

like the bellflowers she plunked into a jar yesterday

A slight tremor of silky birch leaves
in the early June breeze and pine needles
that slap against the farmhouse roof are coded
messages from the advancing front:

Best to sweep the kitchen floor quickly and get out, girl

She drives the cart towards sanctuary,
to the train that will usher them west, away
from the windows and doors of their world.
But the cow’s belly, bloated from foraging,
prevents their passage and the girl’s
desperation, written in wildish tears,
leaves them both frantic and left behind

along with the glass jar, the bellflowers, and the iron-wheeled cart

She guides her best-loved by the worn-out rope
around candle-white birch and bilberry bushes
where they fall asleep on the spongy floor,
pungent with chanterelles, and where they are found,
the girl’s arm across her neck, in trampled
lingonberry flowers, their bloodied white bells

ringing out the end of the long winter’s snow.

By Louhi Pohjola


Louhi was born in Montreal, Canada, to Finnish immigrant parents. She was a biologist before teaching sciences and humanities in a small high school in southern Oregon. She is an avid fly-fisherwoman and river rock connoisseur who lives in Portland, Oregon, with her terrier who thinks he is a cat.



The person next to you will tell you
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
And will question every past order of fried-anything
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
And will think about all the lovers they never showered with
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
Because their mothers always told them to save this body
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
Because this body isn’t the body being saved
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
And if you ask them again, they’ll tell you
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
That fear is a shade deeper than red
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
That it collects itself in memories sweet enough to choke on
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
Because salvation is for the holy
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
Because the holy are sitting in the room next to you
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
Lost in the offbeat of the tempo
the dying never want to hear that they’re dying
Watching how the seconds are melting off the face of a clock.

By Jodi Balas


Based out of NEPA, Jodi Balas is an “always developing” neurodiverse poet who uses a variety of methods to expand her craft and is searching for innovative ways on how poetry could be evolved and cultivated. Currently she is working on her first Chapbook, titled “The Art of Molting” where she draws inspiration from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief to center the book’s theme. Jodi has work published in The Willawaw Journal, Grand Little Things, The Times Leader and is a contributor of the PA Bards.

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.

妈 Had This Needle By Celine Qin

妈 Had This Needle

Perhaps the girl makes due with the time been dealt.

She wears her mother’s old buttoned tee and low-rised jeans.

Call it nostalgic and have her
be molded by where a body used to be.

Call it timeless
and have her carve shapeness into where time washed the body out.

Fill it with something more prepared to be alive.

The girl fashions a life from when
the world seemed conquerable
to a woman who had not yet
been conquered by the world.

The woman once owned a ragdoll that told her
Make sure you stuff me with a cry.

She tosses the needle up into the sky and
watches it fracture into more stars.

By Celine Qin


Celine Qin, an emerging Chinese-Californian poet drifting between Sacramento and the Sierra Nevadas, writes as not only a person, but people. Navigating what she calls a parceled girlhood, Qin forges, sobs, and breathes for the women who have taught her the resilience in watching things happen, and among their parcels she discovers her own revelating agency. She is also a grassroots organizer, enjoyer of music, and a lover of all things anyone can find beautiful, which, to her especially, means Ponderosa pine trees.

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.

Look Up By Regina Gort

Look up

Regina, the animal we know you,
your dark softness gutted, left to rot.
Your future isn’t in your entrails.
And you trying to make stoneware
from clay laden with tears
will not hold it all.

So here, look up, look up, look up

Not at the skin
you call imposter, not the tribe
you want to claim, not the empty casks
of broken nights and forgotten screams.

Do we not send ravens with red plastic buttons?
Do we not send cottonwood pollen
to fill your room with wishes?
And what of that mother cougar morning
on the cliff of Big Sur when you watched her spine hunch
down, that sound, oh that sound, as she pounced
on the rabbit to feed her two young cubs?

How many times can we say it?
Look up, look up, look up.

You gave us back to the light
and now we reflect yours.
You are not an imposter,
Regina, Taino Puertoriquena.

By Regina Gort


Regina crafts poetry in a Southern California but has written poems since age 9 in the desert of West Texas, the rain forest of Puerto Rico, the shore of Lake Superior in Upper Michigan. As a mother and mourner, she has an intimate relationship with grief after losing two children and her father in 2017. Now she writes for catharsis and healing, finding joy with her partner and son. Regina has been published in Deep Wild Journal, North Dakota Quarterly and The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism.

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.