Noah Falck

Buffalo, New York

Those who visit like to call it
the place where winter began

and never ended.

I like to prove those 

people wrong

and take them 

out to watch 

the clouds stucco 

and sleep like wolves 

over the lake. 

We watch them 

unravel the sky

until there are no words

between us, only a great 

distance where our eyes 

learn to shine.

Noah Falck is the author of You Are In Nearly Every Future. He lives in Buffalo, NY, where he works as Education Director at the not-for-profit Just Buffalo Literary Center.

Rachel Egly


The fall lingers too long, makes small 
animals uneasy as they wait for a coldness they feel in their 
bones must come. I stand beneath tall pines 
while the squirrels above cry in outrage 
and my uncle buries his wife. I am still young
enough to imagine love and pain separately 
and I am years from meeting you. 


In my dreams it is warm still as a pair of squirrels dare 
to cross the street, pulling bottle-brush tails   
behind them as they begin a dangerous dance. 

The pavement is still warm beneath their feet as they move 
left in front of right, her in front of him, graceful and 
measured. They don’t pause and neither does the car, 
moves on even after they must feel
the small body beneath their right tire. I do 
stop, watch helplessly with the creature’s
                      mate as she waits up on the curb, watching while 
he struggles with head flat against the pavement, rolling,
rolling as the cars go by. 


Later, I’m sure the grave-diggers rejoice in the softness 
of the dirt and thus the ease of their labor as they return
home early to their families. 

Even later, my uncle starts seeing someone


Last night I dreamt you were bit by a rattlesnake 
in the same basalt canyons I know so well. 
Your voice rose to a cry. 
Your skin swelled like a ripe plum 
and somehow I knew the flesh beneath would match.  

I couldn’t carry you out so I laid with you until I woke up, 
then laid with you some more until I was
satisfied by your pale, unbroken skin and
returned to sleep.

Rachel Egly is a bi poet, engineer, and ecologist in love with all things water. Her work has previously appeared in Words Dance. She currently lives in Chicago with her partner and cat, where she catches crayfish, naps as much as possible, and spends most of her money on good food.

Michael Akuchie

The Body Dies for Every Reason

midway across afternoon, i am buried under a romance novel, 

cross-legged  & watching the world go on without me. 

i have been toying around with a suicide note,  

the location for draining the entirety of my spirit.  

what do i call my shadow fading away delicately

or the relationship i build with the tip of a knife? 

i have death coming up from my nostrils, 

each passing second is a modeled departure.  

there is nothing new about a cemetery,  

i have each name stored in mental drawer,

& often times there is a tone of absence when the bodies speak, 

softly numbing the words before they leave this mouth. 

I pronounce my name in the manner of matchsticks, 

aglow with soul until winds kiss you in advance 

for your trip to where human voices never touch.    

i am always heavy with life's violence,

each breath is a renewed faith in burning. 

allow me show you the route to becoming a fireplace, 

or do you want firestorms coming home to you every night?  

I hold no water in my mouth when i call myself a province of doom,  

today & other unborn days are ghosts swarming around here. 

each portion of this body is a word i do not explain,  

because you know where a fire goes after raging hard.

Nigerian-based Michael Akuchie is a poet and dreamer. His works have appeared on Barren Magazinepeculiars magazineEuonia ReviewVagabond City Lit MagKalahari Review& elsewhere. He currently studies English at the University of Benin, Nigeria. He is Contributing Editor for Barren Magazine.

Hannah Nathanson

I Spent The Summer Trapped Inside Of A Raindrop

The first two weeks, 
the sleeve of his yellow 
raincoat, waiting to be 
taken off the hook. 

Eventually, migration
to his hair, wash me out 
down the drain.  

The next three weeks 
the sewer pipes,


but I was raised right.

In Buffalo, we don’t stop 
because of grime-friend-rats. 

You know, I never
realized how good I was
at holding my breath. 
I make this 
revelation for the twelfth time
as if I’m thinking it aloud.

I do so while sitting  

on my bed across from 
him and he doesn’t get it, 
says there’s nothing to get.  

I hear it rains a lot
in West Virginia. Maybe 
I’ll end up there.

Hannah Nathanson is 19 years old and based in New York State. Her poetry has been published in journals, such as Philosophical IdiotPeach MagCurate Journal, and My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry. For more information visit or check her out on instagram @h.annahrose.

Amanda Crum

The Arrow

I tuck the day away, watch the water
Circle the drain. Time does a slow roll 

While Diana watches from her perch. Here
A scar yields depths unfathomed,  

There a bruise marks me 
Like a peach. The ripest fruit, 

He said, the sweetest juice.
He once punched me in the kidneys 

And blamed it on a dream, pulled
A leaf from my hair with exquisite tenderness. 

Left me with an arrow still quivering 
In my side, as a deer,  

Running through the woods unknowing
As the blood unspooled like a ribbon.

Amanda Crum is a writer and artist whose work can be found in publications such as Eastern Iowa ReviewLonesome October LitBlue Moon Literary and Art Review, and Dark Eclipse, as well as in several anthologies. Her first chapbook of horror poetry, The Madness In Our Marrow, made the shortlist for a Bram Stoker Award nomination in 2015. She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and two children.

Michael O’Ryan


As a boy my father got locked out of his family’s farmhouse
during a blizzard in one of the harshest winters on record. 

His skin would have greyed along with the gunmetal sky,
veins freezing dendritically if not for a pickax to the lock. 

What explains our propensity to build spaces we often end up
outside of- alien to? Even worse, destroying upon completion. 

For example, recall that morning you traced my clavicle with your
mouth, called me beautiful boy

and my first reaction: to raze the crops, burn down
the house we had built with a fluency in one-another for which 

no words existed. I can’t help but imagine our relation to God is 
not unlike that of a painting which did not turn out the way the artist 

envisioned. To miscreate on such a level will require
an epochal display of atonement- a litany of first-kisses 

at the county fair, tantrums of peach trees, solace for 
every black cat whose mystique was taken for quiet death.  

To admit fault is to shed self, be it flesh or something less 
tangible. The theory of the soul is helpful in providing comfort  

for the fact that corporeality is like an origami finger trap: 
the harder you try to pull yourself out of the body, the bolder  

the limits of the vessel you’re seeking to escape become. With 
creation comes ownership- or at least the argument surrounding it.  

Is possession the result of having given birth to, or simply wielding 
the requisite force necessary to hold a thing until a greater strength  

enters the ring? I’ve endured so many daybreaks rife with wet-brained 
petrichor that felt ironically baptismal. You can tell so much about a  

person by what form they believe their savior will return in. For some 
it’s the appearance of a stray on the doorstep, others the names of   

lovers spoken into January air. As for me, I’ve never viewed salvation 
as a likelihood, much less an option. However, I have always held a certain  

weakness for the wild colt learning to turn its stumble to a gallop, the 
decaying glow at the height of an evening’s thinning, the subtle wavering  

of a voice bathed in forlorn yearning. Once on a Greyhound bus a man 
showed me an old photograph of himself and told me the white blotch in  

the top corner was his angel-father, a sordid liturgy in which I learned I will
forfeit reign over which strange places people will later see me in upon my 

exiting the room.

Michael O’Ryan is serving as a poetry editor for the University of Oregon’s literary magazine, Unbound Journal, for the ’18-’19 academic year. His recent work appears or is forthcoming in pioneertown.,Peach MagFive:2:One MagazineAlien Mouth& elsewhere. His poetry was included on Ampersand Literary’s Summer 2016 “Best of the Season” list. Find him on 
Twitter @surfing_montana.

Nancy Iannucci

Howling at Florescent Lights

There should be a sign / Feed the Teachers / or / they’ll cry creosote cosigns / ignite integers / & bayonet better than any Bolshevik / some are carnivores / some are herbivores / never to be trusted when hungry / they’ll snap more humans than hippos / mouths / two feet wide / gift of tongues: Latin, Spanish, French, & English / parselmouths to be sure / Jane Eyre & Beloved / blah, blah, blah / sums how they feel / sick / tired / an old pair of pants found at a rummage sale / lost in time / one after another / they come / sit / greet / talk / sit / & greet / they can’t seem to remember which child they’re talking about / 8 am to 3 pm / Saturday / acid rain storm stomachs / cotton-mouth conversations / permanent cheek hurting smile / until / ambling admins arrive tossing bottled water into their cages / with sham smiles & pep talks / shutting the door behind them / Water! / A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh, a-weema-weh / !! / two teachers laugh / a delirious kind of laugh / Water! / wolves lapping  / Water! / howling at florescent lights / the last hour / now endurable / a knock at the door / Yes, please come in / you’re the last on my parent-teacher conference list / she says with a spent smile.

Nancy Byrne Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. Her work is published/forthcoming in numerous publications including Bop Dead City, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Gargoyle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Riggwelter Press, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Dying Dahlia Review to name a few. Her debut book of poetry, Temptation of Wood, was recently published by Nixes Mate Review.

Chloe Smith

Autumn Leaves

I take my slow solitary steps in the shadows, careful.
I see them playing beyond, in the fields, and keep my head down  

The only company I need is the autumn leaves, falling, dancing - 

One bumps into me, softly,
Asks me to save it from getting stepped on -
So I whisper something in return. 

I hold it up and see a hand,
Not mine, all fleshy and pink,
That’s holding the stem tight, like the string of a balloon - 

It's as if I have an X-Ray in my grasp,
The dark spindly bones of the plant flap in the slight breeze, 
Wave at me, from inside the fading earthy green of her glove.

In the distance, I hear laughter, loud and close. 
The balloon bursts at the sound - 

I imagine arms growing from the remnants,
Two, just long enough to hold me,
Then legs dangle down like roots, the perfect length to keep up with mine. 

They're still laughing, like a shrill siren, but now they shout, too -

I start to fold, bend, crumple. When I open my eyes her hand is curled around mine, 
A cane keeping me steady, holding me fast. 

When she comforts me I see a full line of shining conkers in her mouth, beautifully intact,
Her hair shifts in the wind, long brown grass that sings - 

But her smile wilts when she hears them, 
She hates it too -  

White wishes fly away from her dandelion eyes, as I will the tears away. 

It's okay, don't cry -
They can’t hurt me today.

Her hand cracks as I grip it tighter,
The trees rustle up a cheer while we make our escape, together - 

By the time I get home she's pulp, dust
That floats away on my knowing sigh. 

Seasons change 
Nothing, no one, ever stays.

Chloe Smith is a disabled and autistic writer and poet from the UK. She is a Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2015, and her poetry has been published in the 'Great British Write Off: Whispering Words' anthology, Rose Quartz Journal, and Cauldron Anthology. Her flash fiction has been published in Ellipsis ZineTRAINThree Drops From a Cauldron, and The Ginger Collect. For more about her writing, please visit her website: You can also find her on Twitter, @ch1oewrites.

Ashley Bullen-Cutting

Ingress and Defray

these hinges squeak with use and malpractice
ingress and defray
the paramour epidemic
sans paramour 

these halls are a decade sole-scuffed
black-shoes only
disconsolate chevrons
leading away 
                        and back 

these ceilings are whole production houses
swirling feats of imagineering 
a frozen sea with a bobbing bulb
naked and cold 

these nights are lachrymose and gin
daylight hibernators
fighting away

and the money only enough                            
                        to keep me here
                        gasping for air

Ashley Bullen-Cutting is a writer concerned with the Weird, Eco, Gothic and Queer. He likes painting his nails and the chaotic dreams that reading Lovecraft before bed produce. His work has been published in IsacousticRiggwelterLonesome October Litand Three Drops Poetry.

Elizabeth Dickinson

Sufficient Light

Darkness abets silence
in waiting wounds.
Holes pierce sky 
from a thousand eyes
begging sincere light 
to enter. Shooting stars 
are brave enough 
to be beautiful
in cascade. 
Words of a poet
tucked safely
in dust.

Elizabeth Dickinson has a MFA in Writing. She has work published and forthcoming in RiggwelterDrunk Monkeys,MoonchildRhythm 'N Bonesand Ink in Thirds. She currently resides in Evanston, Illinois.

Kelly Jones

Attempts at Writing Cards Against Humanity, or Here’s to the Future

Dolphins choking on plastic.

                        Brothel-hopping with Bill Murray.

                                                            Self-published poetry.

            Euthanizing a cat on a Friday night.


Masturbating in front of a fun house fat mirror.

                                                Fishbowls full of cockroaches.

            Minimalism through arson!

                                                            Carbon monoxide poisoning in an Airbnb.


                        Kate McKinnon's magical clit.

Going to Reykjavik to find myself.

                                                Tofu tainted with Listeria.

                        Justin Bieber's funeral.

                        That fire at the Kardashians’ mansion.

Kelly Jones is a queer poet, librarian, and educator who currently calls NC home. Lately, they've been spending their spare time binge watching The Good Place and spending quality time with their dog, Mr. Beaux Jangles.

Merril D. Smith

Us and Them

A praying mantis perches 
on the kitchen door screen. 

I watch as she flexes, 
her legs stretch gracefully,  

then a plié, and turning out
like a ballerina, she raises her head
and seems to sniff the air. 

Does she sense me there
behind the glass-- 

consider me as I consider her,
intrigued and frightened?  

Female hunter, predator,
and prey— 

she eats the flies invading 
my home, surviving to reproduce. 

If she landed on my arm,
I’d instinctively swat, 

protecting myself 
from her, 

this alien creature.
But she has gone, 
and I am forgotten.

Merril D. Smith is the author of several books of history, gender, and sexuality. Her poetry and creative nonfiction has been published or is forthcoming in Vita Brevis, Streetlight Press, Rhythm and Bones, and The Same. She muses about life, the universe, and everything, including cats, at

Lisa Marie Basile

a poet

in Prague you stand naked with a body and a cigarette; you blend in with the sky but you are not the sky. you are something bigger. you won’t know it until later but you will become the custodian of things greater, weaker, softer; you are the keeper of the holy dove, and this work is invisible. you knead until your fingers bleed, pooling toward the hunger of a thing whose want is too late, but whose bloodlet started early. whose stars closed to night’s swift movement. you are the one who walks the poet down the plank, who readies the sea. in gardens you are the stamen but you are not the statue. stoic you stand but we all know the truth: you must be a natural thing to love the poet, to funnel light through a girl’s bad marrow. the grass bows at your feet, but your work is the song of the open palm, feeding a thing that is not strong enough to go unfed. vessel of hand, of hallelujah, how you move through the day with that albatross, and how that creature loves you.

Lisa Marie Basile is the founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine—a digital diary of literature, magical living and idea. She is the author of Light Magic for Dark Times, a collection of rituals and practices for self-care, as well as a few poetry collections: NympholepsyApocryphal and more. She has written for The New York TimesNarratively,Grimoire MagazineSabat MagazineThe EstablishmentEntropy,The Atlas Review, and more.

Catalina Righter

Florida Man Shoots “Haunted” Cash Register During Graveyard Shift at Exxon Mobil

I knew this carpenter who thought he was possessed. 
He made furniture so beautiful 
he thought it must be the work of Satan, 
so on a night like this, he ate his own hands, 
laid them down his throat 
and touched each small bone of the trachea 
with a calloused fingertip

I hear stories like this from the customers all the time. 
So late, they need something for the quiet, 
want to give me something for my troubles 
and my shining sleepless eye. The offerings 
pile up and I keep them 
next to the register and the bowl of coins.  

Dead eyes sliding door red sign sidewalk my hand 
is in the night and I am in it too, 
selling gas and pickled eggs,
selling gas and Swisher Sweets, selling gas 
and Dramamine, checking out. 

He lost touch you could say if you were clever.
He did the Lord's work you could say if you were cruel. 

I am in the night, in the graveyard shift burying my body
under hours of silence. I am
in the night, but my Baby is too. Check her out, 
blowing in between the sepulchers; she is the only lively thing.  

She lights a cigarette, a little red sunshine. 
I want to give her something for her trouble, 
the way she puts my eyes back in their sockets, 
gives my hands a purpose 
touching each small round of her spine.

Catalina Righter is a journalist in rural Maryland. She is the winner of the 2017 Sophie Kerr Prize and her work appears in Rust + Mothand The Summerset Review.

Kari Flickinger

Watching Your Love Bloom

I worry in bars. When I enter a 
beer, I tell too much—too little, and I set 
shard rim with fingertip. O stop this foam
from flourishing! I hate to watch others 
flourish. I’m a diminishing creature. Love
I bear no sense or will. Your victories 
affect neither headspace, nor negate physical
alignment in our collective nature. Love cas
cades from tall mountains into flush plains, and your reigns 
have loosed themselves all over the fields, it’s a mess
so beautiful when tiny buds of your success expand
into purple rose and garden
ia, beeblossom, hyacinth out the window, botanical
into the grateful lanes. You overgrow roadways. You
crack concrete where vehicles now fear to tread. You
send them home, guzzlehungry, tanks dry. 
My god, you explode, though they are mechanism.

Kari Flickinger's poetry and short stories can be found in Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry ReviewPanoplyMilkJournalSusurrusFalcon ScratchThe Daily Californian, and The DVC Inquirer. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley.

Rachael Gay

reverberations of the bitter lady

I was always her reflection recreated in
both appearance and temperament,
an echo of wide birthing hips for big German babies and
thick short legs for standing as close as possible to the clay soil. 

My stubbornness was never mine.
It was taken from me and reshaped into bull's horns
whittled from barn door wood.
I look at her in pictures and wince.
We smile with the same thin lips
pulled taunt as if hiding something
other than crooked teeth.
Not that there are many photos of either at us
as we both duck and hide the moment a camera is produced. 

Long ago, when I would fall apart,
I would press the entirety of my weight into
the carpet, meld flesh with fiber,
become an immovable object
the heaviness of her generational diaspora on top of me.
We throw separate but equal tantrums,
hers full of repeated disownings
while mine were a constant practice in conceding.   

Her throat was permanently coated
with fresh cream and flour thickened with lard.
Of course there was no room for pills to slide down.
The motion of swallowing develops from practice
and I have rehearsed every morning and night for the last ten years,
further along in the race when she hasn't even heard the starter's pistol
echo off of the side of the two room farmhouse,
bone white and decaying.

Rachael Gay is a poet and artist living in Fargo, North Dakota. Her work has appeared in Anti-Heroin ChicQuail BellRag QueensDéraciné MagazineGramma PoetryFreezeRay PoetryRising Phoenix Reviewand others. More of her work can be found at

Christine Taylor

Then the Flood

Already the rain threatens--
my tires graze pools of water
as I make my way up I-95. 

Outside the clinic, the “ambassadors of Heaven” 
scream on crackled amplifiers
but the rain has its own plans
soon fat drops soak through my umbrella
the water seems determined to wash away the filth
and within minutes the street floods. 

When flash-flood warnings buzz on our phones
I don’t tell my team I’m terrified
of being trapped, or worse, drowned--
another patient and her companion are coming
so we trudge through the current 
that has already passed our ankles
the screamers shout we “need to surrender to the living God Jesus Christ”
and all I can imagine is our being swept away
water carrying us to some swampy ditch in Secaucus
where we’ll flounder in muck. 

Then he hits me with a sign that reads “God Gives Eternal Life” 
leans in close
his breath rises in the cold like smoke from a wasteland on fire
whispers that he can end me  

     & I remember being in the dark
choked in a drunken rage
                               by the one who promised to love me most
                 stale whiskey breath hot on my face
           & the pounding, I thought my head would explode
I slipped away on a river
                       there were so many stars. . . 

Yet I’m still so much here. 

I blow him a kiss
that sends him into a fit
surround a patient with my arms
tell her, “Good morning.”

Christine Taylor, a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown Plainfield, New Jersey. She is the haibun editor at OPEN:  Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears in Modern Haiku, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Room, and The Rumpus among others.She can be found at Follow her on Twitter @cetaylorplfd.

Nicholas Molbert

I S   ( W A S ),  A R E   ( W E R E )

I’m sorry for calling you an it but how
was I supposed to know it was only after 

the funeral that your body relinquished
its he? I just thought you were anywhere  

except in that body with its Brillo pad hair
those bifocals that mole above the eyebrow 

and were you watching as everyone kneeled
in front of it that replica of you I mean 

and remembered real carefully at your hassock
and casket. Hands were tucked in pockets 

or slack on shoulders or rubbing backs
of strangers. Each touch turned 

a stranger into an acquaintance. Between
the Oscar this Oscar that the Your grandfather

this Your grandfather that the two-handed
handshakes and pats on the elbow

we the survivors overflowed with thanks
thank you thanks thank you 
which is not 

what we normally say but will I guess
when very sad or very alone. 

Poor us we couldn’t say your name.
Now we can’t stop saying it.

Nicholas Molbert lives and writes in Central Illinois. His work has been published in or is forthcoming from American Literary ReviewFjords ReviewMissouri Review, and Ninth Letter among others.

James Field

wild bruits

gossip from the forest
at each bend in the road 

unworded place myths
& hot green murmurs 

breach the open window
sail my hand in the breeze 

dented crashbarriers
whisper of stomachlurchings 

minor ghosts of minor incidents
watched over by virgins 

in mossrooved shrines who
see more than the incline 

remembers    a deathless
holidaymaking stretch 

of patchwork asphalt washed
over by heavy exhaust 

poured away into the forest
to haunt agglomerate

James Field lives in North Italy. His work has recently been published, or is forthcoming, in HypnopompLevee Magazineand Riggwelter.

Brian Wilson

Sometimes In Horror Films

Sometimes in horror films
there are time-lapse sequences 
of rotting flesh.
Animal corpses fast-forwarding 
through decomposition.
Accelerated mouldering. 

Rarely do these sequences 
bear any relevance to the plot.
They light up tube televisions,
busted and warbling,
or punctuate nightmarish

Sometimes horror films 
try and evoke emotions 
which words are powerless
to convey
through the use of
gruesome imagery. 

Rarely do these attempts come across
as anything other than cheap
horror for the sake of horror,
failing to burrow beneath 
the surface
revealing what is really there. 

When I saw your body laid out 
on that cold metal slab,
I thought about all of the
horror we watched together, 
and how you were never the one
to cover your face with your hands.

Brian Wilson is a writer from Northern Ireland. He recently won the STORGY Shallow Creek short story competition. In 2018 his work was featured as part of the Smoke & Mirrors exhibit at the Torrance Art Museum in California. He likes to tweet from @bwilson4815.