Jason B. Crawford

Ode to the Soil

Oh, what we do to our dead, give them
but the peace we wish to rest them in.
Hold their memories like a bad cold we can’t
Or a good night we never wanted to
We gift their names to our children 
and bind them to their legacy,
watch them drag behind it in disappointment 
Plant flowers in you in hope that they’ll grow
But you, you greet every body like a new
You’ll hold their bones no matter who they
birthed or killed
Your stomach will digest everything equally, 
bowels churning marrow down to oil to sell
back to us in exchange for a new skin to feed

All this to say, I am jealous of your lack of
Maybe you lost someone once yourself
Maybe like a mountain and all you could do
was fill your body until it pushed out all of
that sad,
and the only thing left in you was the need to
feed on everything dead

Jason B. Crawford is black, bi-poly-queer, and a damn force of nature. In addition to being published in online literary magazines, such as High Shelf Press, BeLightFilled, Poached Hare, Royal Rose, and Kissing Dynamite, he is the Chief Editor for The Knight’s Library. Jason is also the recurring host poet for Ann Arbor Pride. Forthcoming works will be in The Amistad and Augur.

Kanika Lawton

In Hushed Voices, the Women in My Family Speak About a Woman Who Left Her Husband for Another Woman

Tears beneath their eyes stuck like plastic 
jewels, petaled against the thought of her rot; 
the way her hand sweeps away the dirt behind 
her lover’s ear, grime of their hunger.
Tender brutality, I want so much more than 
peeling skin. I broke my jaw off at the 
hinge, turned myself mirror, loved a girl who 
looked so much like myself I tasted her lips 
every time I painted my mouth into the most
delicate and vicious flower. Fifteen and gathering 
the carcass of my girlhood into trembling arms, 
buried deep in the woods across from school, 
near the lake, the ducks eating from my palms the 
only time I am good enough for something else. 
This is too much mouth. Confession wrenches 
shoulders from their sockets. 
Patience sinew-thin, the women in my family tell 
me (yet) another husband has been scrapped off, 
exposed to the sun, added rung to the drying 
rack. Inside out, they imagine him growing small,

sinking back into the dirt, her hands pushing until
she becomes more earth than flesh. I wonder if 
they will dig him out. I wonder if they will bury 
me in his place; the wet beckoning of return.
Yesterday I picked at violets so violently blooming 
I crushed their heads between my fingers.
I am still so afraid of where my hands will take me.

Kanika Lawton is a Toronto-based writer and editor. She is an MA student at the University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Institute, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of L'Éphémère Review, Social Media Manager of Rambutan Literary, and a 2018 Pink Door Fellow. Her work has appeared in Ricepaper Magazine, Vagabond City Literary Journal, and Longleaf Review, and profiled in The Ellis Review and Horn & Ivory Zine. She is the author of Wildfire Heart (The Poetry Annals, 2018), Loneliness, and Other Ways to Split a Body (Ghost City Press, 2018), and Monster (Girl) Theory (post ghost press, 2019).

Joseph Goosey

You’ve Caught A Wild Simone de Beauvoir

Tallying productivity as one does a countdown 
to denied parole, it’s clear as the vision 
these imported root pills inspire 
a gallop from the bridges 
of final smiles and unenvied taxes. Tonight’s the night 
of horror wherein friends cackle. 
                                                    A Confederacy of brunch 
going sorcerers do compel your dad 
to give me that goddamn grant I want 
so that I may sit on my ass. It’s clear 
grand design designed this for nothing but tiger meats
and of course pornography. 
                                            I’d be remiss
if I didn’t levitate while everyone was looking 
for the death the EMT’s trying to prevent. Once, one 
was pissed, he tried to save my life after the crash, 
said he wished 
he was inside the strip club,  
the local puritanical corral. Pulsing with filigree, 
the construct’s too lame, way too gone
to be feeling this warmth tonight, to be 
one way or another at all. 
                                         Inside this poem 
Drew Barrymore plays Adam Sandler who plays Greta Gerwig 
doing an imitation of Al Franken inside Jason X 
as David Attenborough yodels 
to the theme of your disintegration. Nobody’s responsible, 
he screams from his bunker 
below the market, above the fair market 
price of our halos.   
                               Hello! Welcome to 10 
Cloverfield Lane. We’ve laid out rugs 
stolen from wars but since this is the Midwest 
of our brain zones, Sandra Bernhardt says lookout! 
your peoples’ plane’s about to hit 
my constituency’s planes and we’re all about to burn 
inside of this meeting wherein my wife’s tolerance 
bakes a jelly cake. 
                             You say wadsthat 
these grits are filled with foil which is to say a horse 
which is to say the last time 
is the last time you got inside that opal mind, 
dug around, got up in them guts 
like a plush toy. We invite the presidential portraiture
inside our mutual nightgown. 
We play around with his innards. 
We too say hello, goodnight, would you like 
some canned meat for the road? Maybe some prosody 
to help stave off the shakes, to help 
in case of apparent need
break inherent glass. 
                                 Then sing a tune 
for the carp lost on your porch, 
writhing as carp writhes. Meowtwo failed to grab 
a new lube on the way home. It was a rough night 
and nobody asks where she’s been
except for the math 
doing courtesies inside our rhythm gut. 
This is the ecology we’ve failed to coddle.

Joseph Goosey is the author of the chapbookSTUPID ACHE (Greybook Press, 2014.) He lives in North Carolina.

Olivia Stowell

End Times

i am learning how to tomorrow myself

the climate is putting
on a sundress
and i tiptoe the dotted
line between my
mind and my body
i, too, dress lightly
lying by the pool
my skin collecting 
melanoma like coins
i am learning to wear sunscreen
to imagine tomorrow
as something i am a part of
reading, zinc-slathered
sipping green tea and
smelling chlorine
what a funny way to wait
for the end of the world
here, by the pool
in this local warming
i am lying beside
all that will outlast us
i am learning to eat 
even though the icecaps
are melting
the half-asleep, sunburnt man
a few pool chairs away
moves into the shade
he, too, is planning for tomorrow
a woman, leaving, remembers 
to recycle her coke can
tonight, under the cool
damp blanket of the dark
i get in bed with 
the unlit match
of myself and wait
for tomorrow
we are sleeping.

Olivia Stowell is a graduate student at Villanova University pursuing her Masters in English. Her recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Albion ReviewFIVE:2:ONE's #thesideshowMadcap ReviewRight Hand Pointing, and The Merrimack Review.

David L O'Nan

Through the Eyes of Elliott Atlas

Searching in mud pits
In beautiful homes
He saw all those Mona Lisas
In his home
He saw the bad apples
The runaround Sues
The pictures of men as deer hunters
Friends of your dad
And your dad
And smelling like Barbasol 
And some form of Buck or Doe attractive
I don’t know anything about deer hunting
Sorry sailors
I’m the leftovers in a school tray
The last scrap of tuna in the corner
Living, baby in an abandoned K-Mart
Afraid of all the Gigolos that linger 
Through the woods 
Wanting women to pay for their gyrations
And men to be frightened of their pistol brained negligence
Nights, not in white satin
These nights are nights, when you are scared to cross the train tracks
You might see love, or you might see a devil
Crashing a beer can into a midnight trailer park
Or find yourself living on an alligator farm suddenly
You know to wash the tails in the sink
And you know all the scarecrows by name
Maybe they would know you better
If you were more like your dad
Instead of your newfound Hippy Sunshine
Mona Lisas?, hah
Who laughs at you, Elliott Atlas?
The entire town of Biscuit-Gravy, Florida.
Goodnite Sir.

David L O’Nan has been writing poetry, prose, short stories, humor, sad, and all around for over 16 years.  He lives in Southern Indiana, and has read at many Midwestern coffeehouses, bars, poetry tribute nights for Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, John Lennon, Jeff Buckley. He currently has 2 poetry books available on Amazon The Famous Poetry Outlaws are Painting Walls and Whispers andAll of Our Fears in Tunnels and is the EIC of Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest with his wife. Also, available on Amazon.  Follow on Twitter @Feversof and @DavidLONan1 and Facebook @DavidLONan1. 

Kristin Garth


is where he takes a girl to let her know 
she is something he could let go.  Directs 
girlfriend unbraid your hair, before the show,
collect the dress, thong underwear. Object 
inspected in a filthy restroom, New York 
City dungeon, southern bloom they brought 
to auction for the night by some pitchforked 
emcee to whomever might rent his naughty 
special little whore who is changing him to some-
one more than just a dom who wants her pain.
He’s doing things he can’t explain, cum dumb 
beholden to bottom feeders, his food chain.
Awakening inside his bed at dawn,
her body’s here.  Her specialness is gone.

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked magazines like Five: 2: One, Yes, Glass, Luna Luna, Occulum, Drunk Monkeys, and other places. She is the author of eleven books of poetry including Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press) and Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (The Hedgehog Poetry Press) and the forthcoming Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press, 2020) and Dewy Decimals (Arkay Artists, 2020). Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website (kristingarth.com).


A poem in Protest of Prometheus Bound

I've seen the way that light cuts through everything —

Lancing through blocks of memory, 
poking through holes. 
Once we dragged the deadbeat Porsche until 
the beetle glowed outdoors. 
Once until crickets sang from the exposed beams 
of our homes, we told stories on the moonlit porches.  
The morning sun rise poking through holes in the roof
 and through the burka the rising 
Moon accentuates the shadows of people
and what they do. 
Cars trundle up and down the 
deadbeat road like cicadas. 
The gloaming cut through the barricade 
of wives in their cowls—
Once when above the chains of ghostly hills was 
the sun,  
Moving past the city in a bus throughout 
the dark territories we knew,
One could see how the sunflower fields 
bloomed in the rear view —
How it all fits so narratively in reverse.

Visar writes from Lagos. Author of Daylight (2018) on Ghost City Press. His works have either appeared or are soon appearing on Mojave Heart Review, Selcouth Station, Marias at Sampaguitas, Bone and Ink, Riggwelter Journal, Picaroon Poetry, Nightingale & Sparrow,Agbowo, Kalahari review, African Writer, the Gerald Kraak Award Anthology, Amethyst Review, 20.35 Africa Journaletc. Twitter: @rabiutemidayo.

Suzanne O'Connell


All I can think of is tumors.
Last week there was a blood moon eclipse.
I walked her dog through Farnsworth Park. 
Marcel sniffed the grass while 
I stared at the malignancy,
hanging in all its blood glory
from the ligaments of the sky.
Next to the path,
the basketball guys were hooping,
yelling shit at each other.
On our right,
a gopher stuck a tiny face
out his porthole.
I stepped over cracked concrete
for luck.
On the hill,
a violinist practiced.
Under the gazebo,
someone was starting a BBQ.
Simple balloons hung over 
the picnic table,
toys filled with air, not poisoned cells. 
They weighed next to nothing,
yet their cheerfulness 
nearly crushed me.

Suzanne O'Connell's recently published work can be found in North American Review, Poet Lore, The Menacing Hedge, Steam Ticket, American Chordata, Typishly, and Forge. O'Connell was nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and received Honorable Mention in the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, 2019. Her two poetry collections, A Prayer For Torn Stockings and What Luck were published by Garden Oak Press.

Janice Kang

breakfast of butterfly wings

let's do modern naïveté like a warm film, our legs hanging out of windows
to deliver handmade notes across ledges. my shuddering arm
caught by your hand that should not quite be there,
but i think this is love, & today you reach out,
touching the underside of my limbs in the same way you take your pictures:
softly, & full of direction, like making a map out of me,
the aimless one. rearranging me
into piano strings. your eyes sway with music, a hum-kiss-hymn,
though i only see it scarcely-- pickpocketed into the pleats
of my skirt, to which i trace the gaunt outline of your mouth that 
was sewn. i used to crochet. now,
i hook my needlework hands into the fabric of your shirt &
you click your windchime camera-shutter in my face
hum schubert's operas into the gaps made between the folds of
our notes, wherein my poems lie &
your doodles appear, spellbound//lovebound//homebound
ft. us, our hands as the ribbon embroidery i have stitched hastily
to represent our nose-brushing love, playing
schubert's alfonso &estrella from your childhood, the backstage 
ballerinas pointing their toes as a compass back home, where
static television & winter-storms & firelight all flicker:
that incomplete transmission & gooeyness by which our windows are closed tonight,
shows of dollish girls peeking out of their windows with glass eyes
curated by careful dollmaker hands &
i guess our love is a lilac dollhouse full of marble angels,
inanimate in stop-motion film with painted smiles until red robins
have overcome our faces. listening to birdsong &
pushing butterfly wings through my larynx, past the stutter
where i word vomit that transience out &
it's so light, all of this, your autumn hands placating
the sometimes-shivers of my forearms,
leaving ink stains behind as kiss-marks of our own language.
we poets are romantic & softly nihilistic in a tender,
hopeless kind of way, eyes brimming with sparkling grape juice &
tonight i cry against your chest with butterfly wings simmering against my rib cage,
the vulnerabilities that burst-- we poets have suns as hearts
though not in the luminous way, just
in the sudden explosive kind of way, countdowns to nulla &
my supernovas. tonight i cry against your chest &
wax velleities & vignettes out of the moon's underside
as you do indie scripts in my earthquaking arms & oh,
you filmmakers and your abstract minds, your art, 
your numinous eyes kissing at old films & you,
reciting them back to me in quotes that pertain to me. 
i don't know much about filmmakers or photographers,
just you, but i love the way you inscribe the dreaminess of life
right into my sad-poet trope:
the scent of creamy coffee & a careful mouth, yours,
daydreaming in classes with bright-city eyes &
hoarding antiques & assigning roles to inanimate creatures,
autumn in four humanly walls, a tender
gloom that settles in bone-flesh-lenses.

Janice Kang is an amorist, poet, & highschool student. Her writing, which focuses on the intersection between love, hope, & trauma, can be found in SURFACES.cxGlass: A Journal of PoetryExpat Press, & others. She can be found @janiceykang on Twitter where she rambles in fragments about her love for BTS & her lover — or in the soft spaces of tea ceremonies, flowers, downpours, & shrines.

Topaz Winters

Every Day the Same Story About Immigrants

How their tongues curl around the bitterest 

language. How they wake in a futureless country 
& shrink-wrap it. Swallow it to possess it. I know 
this story by heart, by which I mean what kind of 
daughter am I if I don’t: my grandparents & their 
plane tickets to a place too big for its maps. The 
accents they worked so hard to scrub from their 
tongues—&, the way they tell it now, this being 
less an act of violence & more one of desire. 
My father in his teenage years thinking America
America America 
like a redemption, a communion. 
& here, now, me sitting at the dinner table, eating 
roti prata, aloo curry, listening to this story instead 
of living it. A white girl comments, offhand, how 
surprised she was to find I have no accent & I have 
to stop myself from snapping it’s an American 
accent. That’s not the same thing. 
It must be nice,
so easily renaming a saviour into nothingness. 
Even now my fury is the spitting image of my 
father’s, but unlike him, I have no right to it. He 
has fought every day of his life for this brilliant 
voiceless language, this country as a brand of fire 
he wields proudly, generously. I sit, my bloodright 
in three different timezones. Listen to my grandparents
sing Tamil jokes across the table, accents arrowed &
twisting around distance. I’ve heard this story again 
& again, geometric in the face of shapelessness. 
One moment my grandmother, working beyond 
recognition, disaster discarded on her tongue. 
Boarding a flight for the first time. Learning 
English because how else will America understand 
her love letters. The next she reaches across the 
table to pass me the dish of okra, whispering a 
Tamil joke I only half understand & love anyway. 
A prayer I can wear out loud, a wound I can salt 
into keeping: this is how we tell our stories, keep 
our promises. Become again to the sound of
our languages melting into dusk.

Topaz Winters is a Singaporean-American literature & film student at Princeton University. You may also know her as an award-winning & internationally-acclaimed writer, actress, editor, speaker, scholar, & multidisciplinary artist.

Sadie Shuck Hinkel

Halloween 2003 Self-Portrait

Nearby, my sister carves a smile 
into a pumpkin & it begins to rot
the moment she cuts into it. 
My dress is Morticia Addams dark,
my face Wicked Witch of the West green. 
I look so much like A Woman 
in a Story that I decide to preserve this emerald
version of myself, so I tuck my body into the fruit
& close the lid over the point of my hat. 
I expect the smell of decay,
but instead the curved gut smells
like my sister’s hands. 
I peek out of the gap-toothed grin,
then pull my head back in & hide
between the bittersweet string. She finds me—
gently dips her fingers in & runs a plastic-toothed
edge against the yellowed insides, scoops me out
with the seeds.

Sadie Shuck Hinkel is a poet and essayist from the Midwest. She received her MA from Coastal Carolina University, and she is an editor for Electric Moon Magazine. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Manhattanville ReviewBarren MagazineBoston Accent Lit, and others.

Annelie Hyatt

Useless Phrases

Lying in the tall grass,

let me remember the reasons I love you 
so shall rain become interesting again, 
personal mementos and smeared script
the self’s dissemination of itself

in touch, in secrets which I didn’t tell you 
and to devour my memories, to disguise my intentions 
love cannot be lost in its many forms of existence
only pushed aside

I took you to my bedroom, lying
about my escapades and the men I didn’t desire 
tried to demonstrate my intentions

but felt too guilty to hold you
and if desire is not predation,
if I can love you for small and simple reasons
chestnut curls and mascara smudges under your eyes
the shameful urges imprisoned in my hands
it’s too beautiful to remember, it’s too beautiful to name

Annelie Hyattis a rising senior at The Beacon School in New York. Her writing has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She is a future Dramatic Writer at the New York University Tisch School of Arts and is studying foreign journalism at The School of the New York Times this summer. In her spare time, she can be found reading Adrienne Rich and finding new restaurants to try.

Marc Belisle

Grandma’s Apple Pie — From Scratch

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe.”

— Carl Sagan


1 universe


1. Wait infinitely.

2. Universe will expand rapidly. Let it set until matter separates from energy.

3. Nebulae will form stars.

4. Preheat a star to ten thousand degrees. Avert your gaze.

5. In the star’s gas disk, colliding asteroids will congeal, gaining gravity.

6. Allow planet to cool for a billion years until it forms a rich atmosphere.

7. Protein chains will flit around a thermal vent spewing organic compounds. Some spark will inspire one to spontaneously self-replicate.

8. Wait three billion years.

9. Life will waddle from ocean onto land.

10. Wait 400 million years.

11. Green plants will evolve angiosperms. Within the plant is contained the seed. Within the seed is contained the plant.

12. A meteor will nearly end life.

13. Mammals will nuzzle forth from the ashes.

14. Wait 64 million years.

15. The globe will warm, causing forests to recede. Hominids will descend from trees, evolve to walk upright, in search of food and water. They will sprint across vast savanna. Let them frolic.

16. Capture fire. Use stone tools.

17. Wait a million years.

18. Dance around the fire pit under the pale glitter of the galaxy.

19. Discover agriculture. Cultivate orchards. Grow wheat. Grind the germ between mortar and pestle.

20. Spin clay. Construct ovens.

21. Build ships. Explore Earth. Humans will exploit fellow humans to exploit sugar cane. Don’t look away.

22. Get conceived. Be born.

23. Discover your hands, your mouth.

24. Discover your mind discovering your body.

25. Roll dough, cut up apples, mix in nutmeg, sugar, flour. Slide it into the oven.

26. Wait 20 minutes.

27. Find a fork. Puncture the pie crust.

28. Fill your mouth. Empty your mind.

29. Chew the warm, gooey, crunchy, sweet apple pie as if your taste buds were your grandmother’s truest expression of her love for you. Live that moment as if it were the history of an entire universe unto itself.

30. Inevitably forget that moment.

31. Metabolize the apple pie. Discard the seeds. Defecate. Grow old. Die. Decompose.

32. Fertilize the universe with your surrendered atoms.

33. Reincarnate: water molecule of a cloud; carbon dioxide of a lily petal.

34. Commingle with your grandmother in the flow over a waterfall, the bloodstream of a heroin addict, the saliva of a scavenger yet to evolve, an orange storm swirling in Jupiter.

35. Create a kaleidoscope of covalent bonds with your grandmother to express your gratitude.

36. The sun will burst, casting your atoms into the void. Nebulae will form.

37. Wait infinitely.

Marc Belisle lived in Buffalo for four years, where he taught English to refugees and founded the Allentown Poets Workshop, which he’s happy to see is still flourishing without him. He currently teaches English at a university in southern China. He’s spending the summer of 2019 backpacking through Southeast Asia, meditating at Buddhist temples, and writing travelogues. You can follow his journeys at Facebook.com/OpeningLotuses.

Kassandra Montag

Travels in the Automobile

“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?”
— Jack Kerouac


American road with its smooth asphalt,
a river running through town, 
a way of sailing,
of moving for so long it becomes a kind of stillness. 
They have been driving for four days,
nowhere, for no reason. 
She stands alongside the road
in her wool coat, one hand holding a coffee mug,
the other hand nudging hair from her face,
telephone poles strung along the asphalt,
blurry in the distance, as though seen through a camera lens
that focuses only on what is near and present. 
She is smiling, gap between her teeth
just barely visible, rust red of the wool
making her skin turn pale and translucent 
in the autumn dawn. 
Rhythms appear, instinctual as the tide
every evening, as implacable as the grass
drying each fall. Each movement they made,
a kind of calling out to one another in the night,
touching each other with their voices, with their tongues. 
In tall grass he asks her how long 
will it last, how long
will they lie on the earth
as they do now, her turned to him,
him gazing at the sky, picking
the tips off buffalo grass
how long will the metal car
sail along the asphalt, wind in her long hair,
him smelling her, smelling the lilacs
by the side of the road until
this kind of fire
has to burn out,
one of these hours,
on one of these roads.

Kassandra Montag grew up in rural Nebraska and now lives in Omaha with her husband and two sons. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature and her award-winning poetry and short fiction has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Midwestern Gothic, Nebraska Poetry, Prairie Schooner,and Mystery Weekly Magazine. After the Flood is her first novel.

Sandra Kolankiewicz

These Distant Wars

I’m not saying we have arrived at the 
end of the world, the chickens come home to 
roost not fowl but cold-blooded dinosaurs 
that by instinct devour all metaphors, 
love for God the white flame that turns us to 
ashes, this green olive plucked from a jar 
of peace you can smash or hold, your desire 
increased by brutality, these distant 
wars the world’s inheritance without end 
as each generation ever brings the
cry anew, manifesting from countless 
mouths at birth through limitless seasons, like 
listening to a melody hundreds 
of years old that your mother taught you, and
finding you’ve lost your own notion of song.

Sandra Kolankiewicz’s poems have appeared widely, most recently in One, Otis Nebulae, Trampset, Concho River Review, London Magazine, New World Writing and Appalachian Heritage. Turning Inside Out was published by Black Lawrence. Finishing Line has released The Way You Will Go and Lost in Transition.

Amy Poague

Notes from a Medically Unnecessary Ride Home


My “friend” the Catholic doctor
drives me home, screens me
for schizophrenia. Her diagnosis: I’m supervised.
God speaks to me from inside.
My diagnosis: Placid, axiomatic “inside”
suggests a stupidly subtle supernova/superstorm.
The friendly friendless weather radio
inside my person—if I can contain the oddments of guidance
within my person-outline—
expects storms
with an outside chance 
of dubiously recommended supersonic jets—
cabs hailed by waving a hand in the sky,
stopping storms or rumors, splitting hairs:
illness or locution.
I would sooner let a star’s implosion
babysit me. In response to the mama star’s condescension, I would start
a rumor about ambiguity: it’s real.



Nearly evening’s passenger, nearly the passenger
of my body’s ambiguity, I will soon enough
ride into sleep
inside my apartment.
For now: my hand in the sky, waving hello, hello to my exit strategy—
The doctor must make sure I am not a dying star. Then I can go
run through the rain.

Amy Poague is an Iowa City-based poet working at a junior high. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Eastern Michigan University. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Juke Joint, The Cabinet of Heed, ISACOUSTIC*, The Mantle, SWWIM Every Day, Really System, Rockvale Review, and Mojave He[art] Review.

Mike James

After the Affair, Like the Rain Had With the Desert 

erasure from Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume I

intimacy    gone 

deserted orchards    dead grass 
the whiskey out of the bottle
too many windows 
didn’t know change

Mike James has been widely published in magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His thirteen poetry collections include: Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle)and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He has served as an associate editor for the Kentucky Review and as the publisher of the now defunct Yellow Pepper Press. He makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. More information can be found on his website at mikejamespoetry.com.

Leslie Dianne

For the 112 Chibook Schoolgirls Still Missing: #Bring Back Our Girls

Those men from 
the boku haram 
who stole the 
girls think that 
when they are done
splitting them into
who they were and 
the women they were
not ready to become 
that those lost girls 
would dance for them
They will not
raise their arms  
except to imagine 
peering through a scope
They will not jump 
up and down
except to shake loose the pain 
beaten into them 
They will not twirl around 
except to practice 
swinging the knife
that they will steal 
They will not 
cry until the rock that 
they hide hits it target 
and blood
drenches their land
They will not dig seeds 
into the soil
where the blood stains 
Nothing will grow in that place
It will be sacred nonetheless
There women will gather and 
the spirit of those men 
will look up from
deep below and see 
thousands remembering
and denouncing their crimes 
They will follow the stomping
turning dipping and twisting  
of the women 
as they kick up dust
their limbs wild with grace
 and abandon
as those captured children
now women, perform
dances of freedom

Leslie Dianne is a poet, novelist, screenwriter, playwright and performer whose work has been acclaimed internationally in places such as the Harrogate Fringe Festival in Great Britain, The International Arts Festival in Tuscany, Italy and at La Mama, ETC in New York City. Her stage plays have been produced in NYC at The American Theater of Actors, The Raw Space, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and The Lamb's Theater.  Her poems have appeared or currently appear in Night Picnic Press, About Place Journal, Passaic / VöluspáThe Moon Magazine and The Lake and are forthcoming in Medusa’s Laugh Press and Hawai’i Review.

Katherine Fallon


Give me the toy treasure chest
of your baby teeth, kept because 
you were loved, after all. I want it,
want it bad. Not much else 
I can ask for. Only truth, 
which is bound to be a bitter 

harvest I’ll regret. 
Mark my words, you said, 

so I waited to be proven wrong. 
I wanted someone braver. 

I’ve been wearing my very best dress. 

Katherine Fallon received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Meridian, Passages North, Permafrost, Colorado Review, and Foundry, among others. Her chapbook, The Toothmakers' Daughters, is available through Finishing Line Press. She teaches in the Department of Writing & Linguistics at Georgia Southern University, and shares domestic square footage with two cats and her favorite human, who helps her zip her dresses. She and her favorite bread recipe can be found at katherinefallon.com, and she is reachable on Instagram @ghostelephants.