Origami In Lieu of Klonopin By Rita Mookerjee

Origami In Lieu of Klonopin

I crease my paranoia into dying stars
people write their wishes on paper
I can’t leave them that way
they’ll just become lines on my face

in all of this folding my cursed town
swims to the front of my mind
its rows of artillery its collapsing roofs
a gentle burning: all celestial horrors

I seal these memories away in each pentagram
because the past only reminds me of
the many places I can never revisit
how the roads broke when threatened with exits

how my body is a thing to be modified
the way monarch butterflies
cover a deer carcass at the roadside
scarlet wing points ablaze.

By Rita Mookerjee

Biography:

Rita Mookerjee’s poetry is featured or forthcoming in Hollow, Lavender Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Spider Mirror Journal, and others. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. She is a PhD candidate at Florida State University specializing in contemporary Caribbean literature.

Not All Broken Homes are Loud By Ailey O’Toole

Not All Broken Homes are Loud

My mother moves around the kitchen, anger
pulsing under her skin like a fever dream, and
I want to reach out to her, but the room is so
full of the ghosts of all we’ve done to each other.
Our good intentions can’t be communicated
in the same language, so I retreat, let the
ghosts rush in to fill the space I’ve left
behind.

My father cries in his car late at night,
head hung heavy with could-have-beens.
I watch the tears trace the tracks in his
face, worn down by years of expectations and
I want to tell him I made his favorite
dinner, but I know that one daughter’s
love is not enough to fix all that has
cracked. I leave a plate in the microwave
for him.

My brother punches holes in the wall, throws
his weight against closed doors until
they escape their hinges. I want to tell him
that none of the doors are locked, that there
is still time for him to be everything he wants
to be. But I know this is all part of the process.
He will learn eventually and I will be waiting for
him there.

I scream into pillows, throw all my books off
the shelves. I fall asleep to the gentle rise and
fall of my own aliveness. I don’t know what I’m
looking for, but I know that I will have to find it
on my own.

By Ailey O’Toole

Biography:

Ailey O’Toole is a 22-year-old bartender and writer who writes about feminism, empathy, and pain. Her work has previously appeared in After the Pause, The Broke Bohemian, The Odyssey, and is forthcoming from the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. She hopes everyone who reads her poems feels a little less alone in their struggle. You can follow her adventures at @ms_ocoole.

 

red palms praying By Mary Sims

red palms praying

So, we’re here on the shoreline of something great
& you said holiness was the same as forgetting, so
I tried them both.

Don’t believe me, but I’ve got the scars
on my back            & stains on my teeth
to prove it.

Magic tricks are happening everywhere I look
and one of them says you’re not dead when I
show them your corpse, so I pay twelve pennies
and take it.

The shopkeeper is a liar but that’s not the point.
The pennies aren’t pennies & the copper rusts the
top of my mouth but that’s not the part that matters.

Your fingertips are blue & I wish they were red
like your teeth / red like your mouth / red like the
shopkeeper when he tells me there’s something
still beating.

The shoreline isn’t holy, but I want to
tell you I touched something godlike,
and forgetting didn’t do the          trick.

The point is something great turned into something
dead & I don’t know how to turn it back. The point
is red shouldn’t equate holiness, but it still does.

By Mary Sims

Biography:

Mary is an 18-year-old aspiring poet and writer who has recently been published in Kingdoms of the Wild, Moonchild Magazine, Mooky Chick, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She is currently working towards earning her degree in English, and spends her days dreaming of writing beloved poetry and living in the mountains with her friends and family close by.

breed By Anna Wang

breed

we are young we are young we are young we are
still catching breath under fly-strung streetlamp.

the screen, it blares. this generation documented
like the edge of extinction. we salivate, we sing
to this nightless tune. what it means to be human,

that’s what you say on those ape knees. what it means
somewhere alternate: this hole this hole this hole this

worm-wriggled tunnel in damp earth. lace-wing. helix.
colors in another language. like red, when the man-king finds
we are all missing hands & feet. arms & legs. limb-

less & somehow still praying. in another world the space
between hip bones would be horizon. in this world

we have swallowed the yellow sky. this is nothing new.
this is choking on wires to the tune of forgiveness. we leak
& in the sour murk find mayflies. in the swarm

there is nothing to uncover, but the things we think will end
never do. summer days & exactly 93 shells on the lake.

for all of our brass words, this war still finds us
kneeling.

By Anna Wang

Biography:

Anna Wang is a high school sophomore from Lincolnshire, Illinois. She has been recognized by the Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and her poetry appears in Eunoia Review.

Pastoral Refuge By Haemaru Chung

Pastoral Refuge

A car coughs,
its lingering trail
oily, pungent, bitter.

Feet sink
in pavement,
boiled and bloated.

Mechanics hound me,
wild with sirens,
a grisly symphony.

Shadows
peek from behind
a veil of branches.

Cicadas chorus with sparrows,
gnats chatter above ants,
floating from green blades.

Leaves rustle,
twisted by wind,
air of persimmons.

White petals,
like shattered porcelain,
fall.

Bitterness washed
by cut grass,
mellow licorice.

By Haemaru Chung

Biography:

A writer, violinist, photographer and athlete, Haemaru is currently a junior at a high school in New York City. His stories and poems have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Gannon University National High School Poetry Contest, Rider University Annual High School Writing Contest, Jack London Foundation Fiction Writing Contest, William Faulkner Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, among others. Other works have been published in many literary magazines, including The Round, Louisville Review, The Interlochen Review and The Apprentice Writer .

Metamorphosis By Wálé Àyìnlá 

Metamorphosis

I train my feet to walk the rain home
and                                                            back into my skin.

the road spreads on my knees organized,
as fractions      touching the nail
on God’s fingers.
His voice is the music

building goosebumps from my head
to the tail of the grip

of the ground on father’s
face.                            i wear the skin
of language: the

delicate flag that fans a dance of flame

into a cubicle of memories.                    the dead song
on my lips

is an album dedicated to the
lovers that        narrow               a gutter out
of a boy,                          the warmth of a stillwater.

the first ilẹ̀kùn
i open is                                                    a whale of loneliness.

the bigger
i become,                              the faster it takes to lose my breath
to the market of                   wind.

By Wálé Àyìnlá 

Biography:

Wálé Àyìnlá is a 20-year-old Nigerian writer and poet who writes from the ancient city of Abeokuta. His works appear or are forthcoming on Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Prachya Review, Dwarts, Expound, and others. His poem, Little Boys are Large Exit Doors was a finalist in the Kreative Diadem Poetry Prize, 2017. He is @Wale_Ayinla on Twitter.

Unlearning Abuse By Ailey O’Toole

Unlearning Abuse

The old boy tells me to lay down, close my eyes,
part my lips. There is ice in his eyes but I
do it anyways. The old boy tells me to be
quiet and somehow, I still fall in love.

I get up from the bed and there’s the new
boy, telling me he wants all of me, caressing
my wounds, offering himself. There are
blooming flowers all over his body
but I can’t take his hand.

The old boy leaves subtle bruises all over
me, love in reddish hues, and the ice
in his eyes has found its way under
my skin. He feels bad, gives me scarves,
buys a heater, but it never stops. And somehow,
I love him anyways.

The new boy brings a flush to my cheeks,
summer in my veins. I wear dresses and
he kisses gentle praises into the slope
of my neck. He’s always kind and yet,
I doubt.

The old boy gets mad when I turn cold, too,
doesn’t believe me when I tell him I love
him, is always demanding I give him more
of myself. I turn myself inside out to be
what he wants, but it’s not enough. His
ice is still moving through my bones. I
love him still until one day, that’s not
enough either and he leaves.

The new boy leans over my sleeping form
and kisses my cheeks until I wake. He waits
patiently as I shake off the dream of a body
paralyzed by ice. He’s always patient and
warm, a quiet summer sunset. But the boy
with the winter love is always there. How
will I ever know if I’ve managed to
get rid of all the ice?

By Ailey O’Toole

Biography:

Ailey O’Toole is a 22-year-old bartender and writer who writes about feminism, empathy, and pain. Her work has previously appeared in After the Pause, The Broke Bohemian, The Odyssey, and is forthcoming from the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. She hopes everyone who reads her poems feels a little less alone in their struggle. You can follow her adventures at @ms_ocoole.