Kristin Garth

Nothing Wrong 

R. Kelly tune you dance to topless in 
the 90’s, main stage stripper’s choice of song,
the one that says “nothing wrong.”  You listen, 
a child abuse victim, bubblegum thong 
to lyrics saying you belong. Back bent
atop one more businessman, you don’t 
understand this song’s not about consent,
adults, the sex positivity you want 
it to be — boobs below a chin again
so you can be financially free
from an abusive family — that when 
he says confess it means molest. Don’t see 
the broken, starving girls inside the song, 
house in Georgia where everything’s wrong.

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart & Best of the Net nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like GlassYesFive:2: OneAnti-Heroin ChicFormer CactusOcculumLuna Luna, & many more. She has four chapbooks Pink Plastic House andGood Girl Games (Maverick Duck Press), Pensacola Girls (Bone & Ink Press, Sept 2018), and Shakespeare for Sociopaths (Hedgehog Poetry Press Jan 2019). She has another forthcoming, Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Lit March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette, is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press). She has a collaborative full length A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony (Rhythm & Bones Lit) forthcoming in June. Follow her on Twitter (@lolaandjolie) and her website (

Alexandra Corinth


For we are witness to a reckoning,
survivor soliloquy in the crackle of boom mics
the crowd floods and is flooded in the same breath, 
tear gas waking, sometimes just tears, 
lava coursing and cooling over skin ridges into armor

teenagers remember blood and broken skin like lullaby, 
memorized like standardized answers then rejected
march on March, on tides of silence 
pushed back into the ceaseless sea, 
the scream of waves a welcome change to regret
expose your sinew to the cameras and welcome the scorn of studio light
in exchange for an exchange of compromise

Sing! the bell tolls of revolution 
and I bask in the vast, unrelenting grief 
bear it so they may lead us into tomorrow, 
bear it so they may save us, 
bear it so I might save them, 
bear it so they might sleep again
these arms will never be enough to bear it all
but I will gladly break to the harmony of their voices, 
insistent, eloquent, focused
as they cut the hallway into narrow path, 
as they shirk the shackles of history
and forego a future of brief, prescriptive mourning
they do not repent for they have not sinned, 
they do not forgive for none has atoned, 
they do not stop

they set this stillness behind a curtain, 
fold it until it fits in the palm, 
promise to honor the torment 
when movement becomes moment, 
becomes signed document, earth shifting
under the stampede of feet
the sound of metal crashing into disposal bins sounds like 
the cheers of children no longer afraid

but though their ache calls to weary bones, 
to empty belly and cold, shaved head, 
it cannot gain purchase, not yet, 
for the army of their tongues is rising to meet long shadows, 
their rage the only light that can quell such darkness
and I will follow until you have time 
to feel all that we have let be done to you, 
to be alone and together in your healing, 
knowing that you brought peace to the hollow

Loose your arrows! and let them 
fall, let them weep

Alexandra Corinth is a disabled writer and artist based in DFW. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in SWWIMGlass: Poets Resist,Mad SwirlThimble Literary Magazine, and Atticus Review, among others. Her poem, “A Guide for the Visitors of Solovetsky Monastery” was chosen as a top 10 winner of the Writer’s Garret’s 2018 Common Language Project. She is also an editorial assistant for the Southwest Review. You can find her online at

Juliet Lauren

An Ode to All I Could Be

My friends and I 
cuddle and kiss alcohol bottles like they’re lovers because we’re the riders of the bright eyes.
Frustration from over understanding.
Salty tears for the oily oceans. 
I gaze at Starbucks clutched students living another daily day
and hear the grind of the machinery and mechanics of life. 
It’s a day today
bleeding the black grey familiarity of yesterday and tomorrow.
More sun and moon lit hours of milking our own genitalia, soul shards, and the vaulted sky.
It’s a day today
and I want to simultaneously marry and break up with my boyfriend for the 7th time this week.
And its true.
I talk of forever when I’m drunk and I often let love be the victim of my entertainment. 
And when I feel like mutual romance is gooey like a combination of Pepto Bismol and honey
I get flashes of brilliant clarity.
Visions of fantastical escapism.
I could join the circus. 
Glittering neon leotards, sparkle corsets, white feathers. 
I’d shed lime green sequins and apply powder blue eyeshadows in a cracked mirror.
My skin will smell of stale popcorn and burnt sweat.  
Crying children and roaring crowds will be amused at my agility or oddness. 
I’d spend all my time in hotel rooms with greasy urine colored lighting and musty floral bedding practicing backflips. 
On the road
outside a Motel 6
sharing whiskey and cigarettes with my fellow clowns. 
Or I could be a striving biology student in Indianapolis despite my disinterest in the field of science. 
Always coffee clenched, dazzling, determined.
I’d take showers with expensive soaps smelling of corporations until the scent of ambition fades from my skin. 
I’d get a boyfriend who’s one of the normal ones. 
Kiss him with open eyes until the disease of normality becomes contagious and I’m properly contaminated so art doesn’t make me melt and I’ll never have a reason to drink. 
Let my ruby and violet sparkle soul melt into the grotesque yellow of Mcdonalds and Walmart signs. 
We’ll name our kids with the help of the first Google search and I’ll clip at rose bushes and paint our picket fence white like a dutiful suburban housewife. 
Or I could bleach my hair and lose fifteen pounds.
Replace softness and curvature for sharpness and edge.
Melt my thigh’s fat with cigarette food and nose candy.
Carve out clean bones until I look as revoltingly hellion as I feel. 
Have people stare at the black blue begging under my eyes and hesitate towards my facial scabs that scream ‘I’m sorry,’ in the shadings of each dried flake of blood. 
Only go to the grocery store to walk past the gleaming ripeness of produce to buy black eyeliner and behind the counter paraphernalia.
Date someone who would sell their morals for a 7/11 hotdog.
Go to music shows in graffiti covered warehouses, sleep on floor mattresses and park benches, impulsively ink my skin, and get high on rooftops with pink haired drugged out deities in my underwear. 
Destroy myself like I’ve always wanted. 
Or I could just drop everything. 
Bank. Cash out. Pack. Car. Full tank. Drive. Road. 
Until I end up somewhere Midwestern and my vision is displeased with nothing but cornfields and void. 
Buy an apartment that’s only big enough for my ego and a few pairs of pants. 
Maybe get a roommate who splatters red wine on the rented white walls and leaves pubic hairs on the bar of soap. 
Read books, eat my fingernails, waitress.
Never finish school.
Kayak to biker bars. 
Vigorously self teach myself everything from quantum mechanics to T.S Eliot.
Always go to the library from the dusk of opening until the dawn of closing.
If I have a good study day go on a date with myself and order copious amounts of bitter coffee, a slice of cherry pie, and a hot fudge sundae. 
Wear too short denim, leather jackets, plaid and gingham dresses like a wild lost little girl until somebody decides to save me. 

Juliet Lauren is an eighteen-year-old part time college student, part time waitress, and emerging writer. Her poetry and manuscript have been awarded in the Scholastic Art and Writing awards. She was a finalist in the Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest and a finalist for the Lascaux Review, and she has received other miscellaneous publications in anthologies such as Creative Communications and Poetry Nation

Jessica Drake-Thomas


“Here we left it,” she said. And he added, “Oh, but here, too!” It’s upstairs,” she murmured. “And in the garden,” he whispered. “Quietly,” they said, “Or we shall wake them.” 

                                                            — Virginia Woolf

You are
the blue moon over the desert, 
the dark glove in the snowstorm,
waving goodbye. 
This isn’t a love story. 
This is how we fail 
each other.
This is how 
we don’t stay friends. 
Commit, ensnare, possess—
words we run from. 
Broken, devour, caress—
words you can keep. 
What I want—
to lay out my bones
next to yours,
linger along tiled hallways, 
rough with dust.
watch in silence 
as the stars dance,
a slow fade. 
But you have nothing
to give,
your face is turning away
into the light.

Jessica Drake-Thomas is a poet and freelance writer. She is a graduate of Emerson College's MFA in Creative Writing. She is the author of Possession (dancing girl press).Her work has been featured in Ploughshares, Eye To The Telescope, NewMyths (forthcoming) and Star*Line (also forthcoming).

Nicholas Boyer

While dog-sitting for my sister my tooth broke

It’s this one over here in the back, up top.
At first, I thought it was maybe something I bit into
Then I realized it was just me, falling apart.
I’ve been meaning to get it fixed but,
the GI bill doesn’t cover medical or dental anymore
since we're making america great again, ya know, 
but I’ve kind of gotten used to it.
And now when I’m stressed and need a small place for myself
I can pull my tongue back and nestle it in the once filled cavity
If I get the angle just right I can slice my tongue on its jagged corners.
I used to have nightmares about my teeth shattering all at once,
muffle a burbling red sob, and wake up grabbing for my mouth. 
People always say we need a little something for ourselves.
Maybe I need the blackened rotting void
This is probably irrational, but I’m also the kind of guy who reads PKD
while having an existential crisis like Tolstoy, only I keep stopping
when he says that I’m an accidentally united little lump of fermenting something.
Maybe I’ll put a day in my planner to plan on planning to go to the dentist.

Nicholas Boyer spent 6 years in the USAF with one tour overseas. After finishing his military service, Nicholas moved to Alaska and lived in a dry cabin for a year, searching for himself and creating art. Currently Nicholas studies philosophy and his poetry’s content varies in subject matter from war & politics, appreciation & questions of existence, to love poems written to lamps.

Joan McNerney

our family closet

is full of cracked
skulls beginning
with nancy
"mother's never
going to be
sick again ---
see her steady hands"
cured 20 times
or take
aunt edna
shock treatment
in doctor's
split level office
cruel irish grandfather
another lunatic
who chose
farming over teaching
tripling size
of fingers
don't forget
uncle alcohol
plus patriot sister
with american eagle
in living room
& prison record
none of them will
ever speak of
secret secrets
exposed   add a couple
of 40-year-old 
virgins & go
clear off a shelf
for me too.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle PressDinner with the MuseMoonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze,Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.

Sam Cochrane

Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky

There are never countdowns at the right times. 
I’m talking about when the seconds really tick, 
before the cameras and jets go off,
before the gas is pumped and hands clapped, 
before the praise is tuned and sung, 
before gravity falls out from under you. 
All that is just signing the paperwork, 
and thunder catching up to the lightning.
I read that each cell in a body is replaced 
every seven years and if that’s true
then I’ve been hanging up photos of you 
standing next to other people this whole time. 
Exploded stars get all the credit for leaving an image 
around after they’ve long gone.
I imagine them sending letters, throwing hard 
or pinning notes to a passing asteroid 
that looks like it's headed right our way. 
What would happen if they ever really needed help, 
just think of all the bodies we’ve gone through 
by the time it gets to us. 

Sam Cochrane is a poet living in Buffalo, New York. He’s previously been published in Foundlings. Dying on hills is his specialty.

Cassidy Black

faith in magic

the storms are bigger than me and my 
trail of red lipstick left on the sheets
the blood sweat dead skin starved hair
bright lights undress me slowly
woman left to herself in sacred places of
body pressed tightly
manic smiles painted red
in blue nights fighting through it
today in my skin i have severed the ties
that bind me to things of beauty unfolded
teeth falling through the couch cushions
like loose change hoarded in pants pockets 
i confessed there is no faith in magic
without god haunting my dreams
when one girl melts into the other it becomes
a clear opening
mountains of morning and reasons to hide
suffer through the whole world and god
will remember
if i go too far

Cassidy Black (she/her) is a nineteen y/o small-town poet, libra sun, and postcard collector who has lived in the same yellow house her entire life. Her work has been published in Rising Phoenix Press, and she has performed at Poets House, NYC. 

Jeff Bagato

Puppet Master in Polka Dots

A polka dot dress has a life
of its own, leading its mannequin
through the routines of the day,
out of the subway and onto the street
for a cup of coffee and stale 
dipping stick; the office opens
like a box of prunes, shrivelled
old husks all stuck to their chairs
smelling sweetish and soft
like old urine or fresh death;
they each put coffee to their lips
at the same time, exact
motion repeated like a puppet
orchestra plays the national
anthem on a hundred kazoos,
blowing this patriotic fury
across fruited plains,
oil rigs pumping corn fields
like porn stars on a back lot,
their fluffers’ hands sore
but proud of the effort,
all flagpoles raised high
over apple pie and cheesecake
for breakfast, bacon on the side;
the music plays sweet,
brushing tables in the diner
like the smoky perfume of a meatloaf
on fire;
              the world begins
with spreadsheets on stun,
grinding down lives into numbers
and rules till the polka
dots form in your eyes,
in your brain, like a disco ball
explodes all over the crowds,
over the walls, and smothers
the world with illusion

A multi-media artist living near Washington, DC, Jeff Bagato produces poetry and prose as well as electronic music and glitch video. His text and visual poetry has appeared in many journals including Empty MirrorOtolithsSlipstreamChiron Review, and Gold Wake Live. Short fiction has appeared in Gobbetand The Colored Lens. His published books include And the Trillions (poetry), and The Toothpick Fairy (fiction). A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at

Hannah Wagner

Guinevere, The Morning After

I hid the conflict in my cereal and ate it.
Passion is like French toast at midnight.
It leaves the air thick and sticky when you wake. 
My eyes glazed over and stared into the jaundiced pupils of my eggs,
which seemed to know every wicked thought. 
a tongue felt but never seen, 
      skin spiraled around skin.
This is what intimacy is I suppose, 
being enamored with the sounds you make when you chew your food – 
with everything your mouth does. 
The landscape of our lives has been defined by swords, 
cutting through our iron veins, carving out the woodland of our hearts.
At the table we never use knives,
we just push the fork into what we want and pull it towards us.

Hannah Wagner is a resident of Salem, Massachusetts. She graduated from Salem State University. She is also an actor and can be seen in many productions across the North Shore. Her work has been featured in The Broke BohemianMass Poetry's Poem of the MomentWhisper and the RoarSudden DenouementDoor is a JarSoundings East,Twyckenham NotesStill Point Quarterly, and Incessant Pipe. You may find her online here:

Maximilian Heinegg

Arlington by Lightning

we did not take our children to Washington   to see the dead just yet   
our plan to stand with Eleanor  in metal relief   to photograph waterfalls  
explain bread lines recite Martin   stand beneath the example  what a man 
who thinks heaven waits for him is willing to do  but soon we found 
ourselves descending   the Vietnam memorial   the underworld before us
then as swiftly   behind  each photograph a love left beneath the names  flowers 
rotting at the edge of stone the V above  our path taken up   to living trees  
that night we took a tour   that stopped at Lincoln & when the deluge hit   
we unrolled the plastic tour bus shroud   & a veteran tied it in place 
traded admired speech the guide decided Arlington  the gate still open   
began his tale of confidences   the Japanese thought Americans weak 
stomached   shot for maximum damage & Kuribayashi  tonight I hear 
of you   the 38 year old samurai  his emperor’s reluctant warrior
who’d lived among us   reverential   a reader of Shakespeare   a family man 
first   who told the women of Iwo Jima to wear pants to avoid rape   
sent away comfort women   steeled discord from the inside out   skin 
black peeling   at 122 F  they dug the tunnels   21,000 men   teenagers  
an island waiting to die             by lightning    the white   capped shadow’s
waves    small dominos   white fingertips honor gathered in the dusk 
of our  ignorance tidal swells of names thrown from the sea   cast 
about for eyes   cut in half   from the body’s temporal shore  he’d write 
to Taro & Yoko    before Tokyo burned   100,000 to ame for the last wave   
he stripped his uniform   of identification of all insignia  walking into 
the fire   all thoughts of heaven    the idea of ashat its best   a forgiveness

Maximilian Heinegg’s work has appeared in The Cortland ReviewTar River PoetryCrab Creek ReviewDecember Magazine, and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives in Medford, MA, where he’s a high school English teacher at Medford High School.

Yoshika Wason

why did you leave?

Maybe it was because I went to prom
with a boy and I did not pull back when 
he took my hand. “What am I doing”
questioned the autotuned voice
of Drake in my head but I did not stop.
Then a few months later I kissed a boy.
This time Lil Wayne advised me to stop it.
Curiosity, not love, led me to 
keep going back to this new boy’s basement.  
We parted when he went back to college
and I had mission work waiting for me.
The first few weeks I slept in my new bed
in the converted nun’s dormitory 
Kanye West cried “Satan, satan, satan”
in my dreams to show who I really was.

Yoshika Wason is a Boston based teacher who is currently residing in Japan for a sabbatical of sorts. She is a former editor in chief ofASIAM, an Asian Pacific Islander American literary magazine, at Boston College. Read her chapbook Extra Bold and other work here:

Ashley Naftule


Our tongues strike rich veins,
filling our mouths with
bubbling gold
after the permafrost that coats our bodies
melts away.
I flow across your room—
all salt and acid.
Little flecks of gold and candle-fat 
forming islands
on your faux-cherry wood floorboards.
My jaw vibrates 
like an engine,
the nerves in my gums
fire and combust.
The sun has stripped you bare,
I hear you sizzling in the shower,
trying to scrub away the forest fires 
that cling to you
like the memory of that time you told someone you loved them
and they just looked up and away 
at the sun and muttered
“Was it always this bright?”
to themselves
and there wasn’t an inch of shade left on Earth
for you to hide inside.

Ashley Naftule is a writer and theater artist from Phoenix, AZ. He's been published in PitchforkViceRinky Dink PressNice CageGhost City Review,Moonchild MagazineBandcampOcculumCleveland Review of BooksFour Chambers PressL'Ephemere ReviewAmethyst ReviewHypnopomp,X-R-A-Y LitEllipsisThe Molotov CocktailGUESTPretty Cool Poetry Thing, and Jenny Magazine. He's a resident playwright and Artistic Director at Space55 theatre.

Cole Adams

bees are cubed spiders

who’s here right now
was sitting across from me at the bar 
when she said she keeps jumping at hairy dead things 
in her peripheral vision. slabs of rat pelt throbbing 
knot of eyelash fist i just naired a bedsheet as tarantular 
carapace. cheap draught 
           if i can’t instigate the plague 
           will my life have been worth anything? 
           i’m talking about the good plague

i’m the kind of girl who likes to spill 
a large coffee on herself & liberate 
her erogenous zones. feelings coextensive 
with their own gravity
spinoza needs to stop 
making me a magnet 
& yelling taunts at my trashbrain 
“you don’t follow your thoughts to their ends 
because you’re scared they don’t have them” 
eat a dick
                     is a fake thing to say 
                     so don’t say it
                     stop doing that tacky thing 
                     with your hips
                                                 your abdomen is full of mosquito abdomens

shaving is a thing that happens 
to me. i thought i was dying 
but then i found the bruise 
& realized yes 
i am dying 
my skull has protrusions
yes she is real underground
yes worms vary in size & shape & symmetry 
of the ovaries to the flaxen softness of my shoulder 
hair. everyday smell them twitch in the warm
like he’d just sat there
                                            it’s not funny 
                                            to have wanted him again
                                            i had wanted him one more time
                                            the way blood thinks in interface tunnels 
                                            toward a tumor. i’m sorry 
                                            to utter the word
                                                                              the word is a tumor
                                                                              it hasn’t been uttered yet 
                                                                              i’m repressed as fuck
                                                                              but it’s the only feasible way 
                                                                              we get the idea
                                                                              tumor tumor 
                                                                              nastyyyyyy boys
                                                                              synth riff
                                                                              organ rift
                                          i lick a phone screen
                                         i like to click a phone screen

Cole Adams lives and studies in Providence, where they're at work on a project about bedbugs and body fluids. Their poetry is forthcoming in Juked.

Margaret King

Big Bad Wolf

I was 6
It was summer
I remember green,
Buttery, lush green grass
Green house
Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” was playing
From somewhere
That song was everywhere that summer
In my neighborhood
Which maybe tells you a lot
Or maybe does not.
In our backyard, the neighbor girl
2 years my senior
Sang along to “Hey, little girl,
Is your daddy home?”
I just liked the guitar and keyboard melodies
Running along the song like a swaying backbone,
The lyrics themselves 
Making me think of the Big Bad Wolf. 
“I kiss his poster in my room at night,”
She said when the song ended
And that was the first time
Having a crush on an older man
Had ever occurred to me. 
Now I remember
It was my mom
Playing the song
From our living room
Windows wide open
Because we never had central air 
And “you cool my desire” 
Probably whispered to her
Like a spring breath blown to her 
Off the waves of the Great Lakes.

Margaret King is a Wisconsin author who enjoys penning poetry, short stories, and young adult novels. Her recent work has appeared in Scintilla PressMojave He(art) ReviewUnlost JournalMoonchild Magazine, and The Ginger Collect. She is also the author of the novella Fire Under Water.

Charles Springer


When Sara goes outside she doesn't get wet. But it's pouring out and she has neither slicker nor umbrella. If you look really close, you'll see the droplets deflect not even an inch from her skin. I think she thinks the rain away and since thoughts have been declared things by the thinking community, they can come between what's wet and what's dry and stays dry. Personally I like to think as little as possible and stay indoors as much as possible. It's not Sara's life but it's a good one.

Charles Springer has degrees in anthropology and is an award-winning painter. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has published in over sixty journals including The Cincinnati ReviewFaultlineWindsor ReviewPackingtown ReviewGertrudeand Passager. His collection of poems entitled Juice is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing. He writes from Pennsylvania.

Sheila Wellehan

New Year’s Poem

You ask yourself
every year or two
on New Year’s Eve
or maybe a half-forgotten birthday –
you ask yourself,
How did I get here?
Living alone atop
this tall white pine?
Where it’s just you, the night
your eyes and mind,
no friends or guides,
no human ties.
You know the answer.
You know it took years,
your lifetime,
to climb limb by limb,
higher and higher,
to where the view’s divine,
the company fine –
to thrive with eagles
and their kind. 
Still, you wonder,
with ice shining bright below,
the world a snowy bride.
You’ll confide in the sky
she’ll help you decide –
and you whisper
very softly
so even the sky can’t hear,
Was there another way?
Is there another way?
You’re not saying
you want to,
but if you did
could you change

Sheila Wellehan's poetry is recently featured or forthcoming in Forklift, OhioMenacing HedgeSan Pedro River ReviewTinderbox Poetry JournalWhale Road Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Visit her online at

Jacob Butlett

Love Can Only Do So Much


In the summer, he and I
fished for walleye in the rivers
around Rainbow Park.
In the autumn, he and I
built tawny, leafy cathedrals 
for our cousins to explore,
to wreck, to build anew
in the setting sun.
In the winter, he and I 
sipped hot cocoa 
in the bedroom, 
an arcadia of candlelight,
an island of promises,
delicate as church wafers.
In the spring, he and I
strolled down sidewalks 
of crooked cobblestones, 
the skies cloudy,
calling out in cloudbursts,
like a proclamation, 
like an invective,
like a death wish—
distracted driver,
careening Cadillac
on crooked cobblestones.
I survived the strike,
but the man I wanted to marry
did not.


During his wake, I
climbed the nearby cliff
overlooking the sea.
Rainclouds like bloodied palls,
rocky waves like open arms—
a seascape mirror capturing 
the demise of the skies:
a gray cemetery overhead,
a gray cemetery far, far below.
The wind whipped the rosary 
in my hands 
as I turned to the skies, 
demanded God explain
why he had to die, 
why He stole him, 
why I shouldn’t jump.
I waited for God to respond,
but He was silent,
watching me watching him
from the darkened air,
from the wild water.
Should’ve been me,
I thought. 
Should’ve been me.
I stepped
closer to the edge,
the final edge of time,
time to be with the man
God stole from me,
to be with him forever.
I readied myself to leap out
across the world, 
out of life . . .
Then it happened.
A lightning bolt 
crashed into the cliff.
Rocks everywhere, dust everywhere.
I fell back, thinking 
I was dead—gloriously
dead!—but for only 
a moment.

and without thinking twice,
I ran away, through 
squalls of rain, thunderheads 
weeping a lament, thunderheads 
shouting a warning
from God, clamorous 
as my suffering, clamorous
as the rain:
Go, God said. Go
Go where? I wanted
to shout. Go where?
Where can I go now,
now that I’ve lost everything?


I returned to the funeral parlor
where he slumbered in his 
mahogany box, dreaming 
of the seasons, perhaps,
perhaps of himself and me
when we were together,
breathing in the endless turns 
of the world, the endless
possibilities yet to be unburied.
I didn’t know where
to go (still don’t),
but at the parlor, as the storm
outside raged on, I went to him
and kissed him,
hoping my lips could revive him,
but they didn’t, they couldn’t.
Life must move on because
love can only do so much.

A recipient of the Bauerly-Roseliep Scholarship for literary excellence and a former literary journal editor, Jacob Butlett hails from the Midwest and holds an A.A. degree and a B.A. degree in Creative Writing. His work has been published or is forthcoming in many journals and magazines, including The PhoenixFterota LogiaGone LawnThe MacGuffin, Lunch TicketInto the Void, and plain china.

Alisa Velaj


Last midnight, our goldfinch passed away.
My father was overwhelmed with sorrow
as I'd hardly ever seen him before.
Morning was slow to come,
with a lonely canary in the other cage,
now facing the empty one in front.
Oh, how long we waited for our canary to sing!
We waited and waited the whole day out... Still, voice-locked, she suddenly died in the evening.
My grief then grew fathomless,
for I was reminded of a night of nights,
when the news reported of a violated pedestrian, while we sat to dine as usual,
mindless even of a prayer for the poor soul. [We only commented that, in this country,
one's life is worth less than a feather
Our frail canary, instead,
sang no more upon losing her friend…

— Translated from Albanian by Arben P. Latifi

Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her works have appeared in more than eighty print and online international magazines, including: FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), The Linnet’s Wings (UK) The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK) etc etc. Velaj’s digital chapbook “The Wind Foundations” translated by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj is published by Zany Zygote Review (USA). Her poems are also translated in Hebrew, Swedish, Romanian, French and Portuguese. Alisa Velaj’s poetry book With No Sweat At All (trans by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj) will be published by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.

Steve Denehan

An Eight Minute Summer

We have no canyons here
no hummingbirds
no fireflies
no northern lights
but greys
and greens instead
we have waded
into December
the month of waiting
waiting for Christmas
for tinsel
for bells
for the phone to ring
for the phone to stop ringing
for the dark days to brighten
for the damp air to sweeten
today I woke to sun
a blazing sun
perched on a solitary cotton cloud
in a summer blue sky
I unfolded myself
creaked out of bed
condensed six million years
into ten seconds
as I demonstrated the evolution of man
walking up the hall
I opened the back door
sucked in air
still and crisp
there was frost on the grass
blackbirds in the trees
colour vibrating all around me
this day, a summer day
tucked away in December
this day was ours
we dressed quickly
the three of us
this secret summer’s day
for cereal to be gobbled
toast to pop
laces to be tied
teeth to be brushed and then
we are outside
under the blue
feeling heat
December heat on our skin
we play a little basketball
we skateboard down the hill
we are given eight minutes
eight minutes before
there is one cloud
then a dozen
not cotton
but dirty
old and worn dishcloths
heavy and silent and cold
a silver breeze arrives
then, of course, comes the rain
the drops fat and eager

Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. Recent publication credits include Better Than StarbucksFowl Feathered Review, a "microchapbook" as part of the Origami Poems Project, Terror House MagazineDual CoastThe OpiateSky Island JournalPoetry QuarterlyEvening Street ReviewThe Folded WordInk In Thirds and Third Wednesday. One of his poems was recently shortlisted for the Ireland Poetry Day Competition.  His chapbook, Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong, is available from Fowlpox Press.