Echoes Spring/Fall 2020

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literary & arts magazine barnard college 2020


TA B L E O F WISDOM TEETH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Anne Overton

MONTHS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Lily Sickles

HOW TO PEEL AN ORANGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Katia Ariyan

WET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Tristen Jax Pasternak

DREAM POEM NO. 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Temi George

WOODS, MARBLES, CIGARETTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Milenna Huang

ELECTION MONTH 2020 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Sophie Sharp

STRANGE EGGS II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Alisia Garcia-Yanishevsky


CONTENTS THE PROM DRESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Audrey Pettit

WE ARE ALL MADE OF WAX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Audrey Pettit

THE PLAYER KING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Aydan Shahd

SEASONLESS YEARS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Lida Ehteshami

HOW TO LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Ava Ferry

STAGECRAFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Thomas Wee

SENSE OF SMELL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Lily Sickles

GIOVANNI’S ROOM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Temi George

ST. JOHN THE DIVINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Aydan Shahd


ARTS MY GOD IS EVERYWHERE AT ONCE . . . . . . . . . . . cover Caitlyn Stachura

MORE THAN MEATS THE EYE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Bella Morand

JORDON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Lalitha Madduri

RED AND WHITE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Tolly

SIR NEVILLE NOBODY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Katrina Fuller

HE’S FERTILE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Kayla W. Orellana

UNTITLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Miska Lewis

WINDOWS TO THE WORLD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Chloe Zhang

DUNCAN, 2019 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Caitlyn Stachura

UNTITLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Lalitha Madduri

TA B L E O F 6

LOVERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Jasmine Sabadosa

BREAKING BREAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Kayla W. Orellana

MOTHER EARTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Anna Olivia Sommer

FIRST CATCH OF THE DAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Kayla Warner

BAIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Kayla Warner

ROOF CHIHUAHUA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Kayla Warner

BLUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Cameron Lee

FOOTPRINTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Miska Lewis

UNTITLED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Nia Holton-Raphael

PASSTIMES & VERONA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Xiaoming Zhang


WISDOM i’m easing in to growing pains again a throbbing knocking pulse that stretches raw my jaw is burning-hollow-hard-and-hot the tidal tissue pink and red and soft when i was little the growth of my muscles couldn’t keep up with the stretch of my limbs i was ahab losing a leg i would call my mother breathless my eyes blurred she rubbed my back and gave me medicine and her hands were strong-soft a reminder that she could contain my pain in the cup of her palms crumple it up and throw it away i might be moving to the other side the part where teeth and words solidify i ask for surgery, slowly get down just take them out now please i need them gone this wisdom won’t do good i need my mom

i’ve become dumb numb infantile incompetent mute i hate pills but i take them and wait i guess for these growing pains to settle down

TEETH Anne Overton



Bella Morand 9



Lalitha Madduri

It has to do with my mother’s scarf laying on the table. I have this body and I do not have this body. It has to do with how I’ve moved and been held still. Was lost on the roof but came down to water the olive trees. I have this body while I have this body. So I am had by and loved by and felt through and without sense, by this body I am held by and I hold by. My own actions you’ve thrown a hammer across the room and it breaks open a hole in the wall. The feeling of plaster thick in wads on my hands. Labor of letting one surface cover another. Of allowing to be mended. When you leave how I have crossed our signals and thighs or brought disaster by accident. One day you point to what I have always seen before but never known, and the walls keep on needing to be patched up and I fix them.


Lily Sickles



The morning I met her I was there, at my favorite bus stop, struggling to peel an orange. The simple task is difficult with blunt fingernails, because it requires an initial puncture point to get the peeling started, and my nails are altogether too soft and flat to accomplish this, so I sat there digging at the fruit’s skin futilely, the orange quickly turning warm and limp in my hands. I heard her before I saw her, the plastic of her kitten heels scraping against the pavement beneath her. She took no notice of me, but put her hand up to her forehead and looked around for the bus. I observed she had a waist somewhere under layers of faux leather, her skin was tanning bed battered, her hair was tarnished platinum yellow. Shw, a makeup compact, a blue rabbit’s foot, few crumpled receipts, an empty pill container, a half-empty pill container, perfume, an m&m, a crumbled fortune cookie, a tube of peroxide, a flyer for a palm reading, a nickel. I pretended to be very busy with my orange, its weak misfires of citrus flinging themselves at my face. She knelt and brought her bag to the floor and corralled her things back inside with her arm. She looked at me. I stuck my thumb deeper into the impenetrable orange peel. “Can I have that?” she said. I looked at her and looked at my orange, then I handed it over. She reached into the fabric folds at her chest and produced a butterfly knife. Then she flicked it open, put it to the orange, and peeled it, all in one piece, like a snake shedding skin.






Hot water that runs over my hair and soaks the back of my neck Shoulders hot water on our faces, to mouth I say something about your eye Watery disk Above your wet mouth Again, now, no faces No hot water, styrofoam The curtains keep it dry We are laughing, drinking water I see your eyes shift, To see it. I look When you lift a glass I see that you are smiling, I watch you Laugh and put water in your mouth Tristen Jax Pasternak




Katrina Fuller


Kayla W. Orellana


DREAM POEM NO.I The last penny-canoe ditches shore in June it splits the water smooth, a thin hand down a jar of jewels topaz shards for my collection

Temi George





Milenna Huang

MY MOM AND I drive down to my grandparents’ place every summer. It’s a small town in Southern China. Old bicycles and motorcycles whoosh by cars in the crowded main street in the town center. And the street extends further, separating into several rugged paths. The far left one leads to a green village under some craggy mountains, to my grandpa’s old brick house. My grandpa has four older brothers. His oldest brother, Linxiao, lived right next to the brick house; Chong and Kunjin lived three blocks down the street; and Tian was in a town a couple miles away with his son’s family. They told people that they somehow couldn’t escape from each other, stuck in this same old place for their entire lives.


Summertime, humid breezes carrying the salty smell from the Southern Sea stroked the thin twigs of the giant longan tree outside of Grandpa’s house, swinging the leaves. My mom once told me that the longan tree was planted by my grandpa’s grandpa; the longan fruit was the main source of family income; the tree was all that was left in this family during the China Cultural Revolution. Grandpa and his four brothers used to sit under the tree playing Chinese checkers all the time – wooden pentagon game board, 60 glass marbles, a round folded desk, five low plastic stools, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, a dish of roasted peanut, a full teapot, an afternoon. They all dressed in white oversized tank tops. One hand fanned a bamboo fan. Another hand placed the marbles down on the board. Chickens strutted around their feet, picking up the peanuts that accidentally dropped on the ground. Sometimes the marbles fell off the game board and rolled into the bushes nearby. They thought it was a hassle to find those missing ones especially because they were all “old and weak.” Kids in the neighborhood thought the glass marbles were the most beautiful things in the world. They always knelt on the ground, sticking their heads into the bushes to look for those shiny glass balls. And they would hide the marbles in their pockets and walk away quickly because my grandpa and his brothers would demand those marbles back. The winter of 2009, Chong and Tian passed away. Grandpa put up Chong and Tian’s wooden spirit tablets in his house facing the doorway, and carved their names in the bold trunk of the longan tree. A wooden pentagon game board, 36 glass marbles, a round folded desk, five low plastic stools, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, a dish of roasted peanut, a full teapot, another four years. In 2015, Linxiao was diagnosed with lung cancer. Grandpa and Kunjin told Linxiao that he shouldn’t have smoked that much, yet Grandpa and



Miska Lewis

Kunjin started to smoke more and more as if they were to fill Linxiao’s void. I saw Grandpa sitting under the tree alone sometimes, slowly puffing out the smoke and looking at it rising up closer to the clouds then fading away. Linxiao said he missed the smell of cigarettes, but he missed playing Chinese checkers more. So Grandpa and Kunjin brought the set of Chinese checkers to the hospital every week. Linxiao would be sleeping sometimes, or in unconsciousness. When he felt well, he would sit by the edge of his bed and play a couple rounds with Grandpa and Kunjin. A wooden pentagon



Chloe Zhang


game board, 36 glass marbles, three glasses of water, some fresh longan fruit that grandpa picked, five months. Five months after, Grandpa carved Linxiao’s name under Chong’s. Grandpa and Kunjin stored up the desk and all the stools; they stopped playing Chinese checkers; they wrapped the wooden board and the marbles in a royal blue embroidered linen. They occasionally watched checker competitions on TV, but always fell asleep with the commentator’s deep voice. They read newspapers, listened to old songs and Chinese opera on the radio, and smoked under the longan tree; they lay the last part of all their burning cigarettes in front of those three spirit tablets. And they sat down watching the cigarette butts dropping on the floor; they said no words. Then, Kunjin moved to his grandchildren’s house in another city because of his health issue. He said that he would come back during Chinese New Year to play checkers with Grandpa and to smoke with all his brothers. My grandpa wiped the tablets with a towel and put down three lit cigarettes every day. He waited. Kunjin didn’t make it back to Grandpa’s brick house, but his spirit tablet did. That afternoon, Grandpa knelt in front of the bushes, looking for the marbles that had been there for years; he stood under the longan tree, lighting up four cigarettes in between his fingers. He slowly ran his fingertips on those four names over and over again, waiting for the cigarettes to burn into ashes, to fall on the dense roots, on the set of Chinese checkers, and on the scratched glass marbles.



2020 Sophie Sharp

the women from Florida speak to me on the phone like I’m their niece I ask them if they’re registered to vote they ask me if I believe in God at night my roommates and I brush our teeth in the smallest bathroom our feet shuffling in a slow dance a sad celebration in eight square feet we turn on the fan just before bed to block out the street noise and night music some evenings, I float into sleep other times I rub the blister on my heel and call my mother on the phone I want her to tell me not to cry


DUNCAN, 2019 Caitlyn Stachura




Lalitha Madduri


We are strange eggs curled in sheets of blue resilience gentleness dusted onto glowing skin trembling peace— I know you quite well. We are strange eggs stability etched into fragile armor this reliable chaos that follows at our feet we crawl— inch by panting inch. We are strange eggs wrapped in breakable laughs ever-flowing heads bowed in golden slumber trembling shells— we hatch— inch by panting inch

Alisia Garcia-Yanishevsky

birthed in honey crowned in earnest

Yes, we are strange eggs. 27


The prom dress arrives, horrendously large. Empty spaces define it— under arms, chest, skirt dragging underfoot. Mom takes pleasure in this chore of motherhood. She discusses that baby blue sack in excruciating detail. This was the comfort floating between us: a bodiless prom dress steaming in the shower letting out its wrinkles. Her hands work to fill the empty spaces. She tightens and I can not move and we end up laughing for a split second as if nothing had happened because nothing had happened. This is how it was: coming close by holding back, questions not asked, hesitations caught between teeth busy holding needles.

Safety pins poke at ribs; ribbon is removed, placed on a flimsy bustle of extra fabric; thick push-ups weigh down chest, everything beating. She ignores the zipper, stitching me into an ocean of tulle instead. And you’d think I felt like a regular Cinderella, but I walk too carefully— skirt clutched in tired fists, terrified of pulling a single thread. If one goes the rest will follow.

Audrey Pettit


WE ARE ALL MADE OF WAX Would you like to read a poem with no consequences? My first is of a white something in a sea of blue something and I am floating in it. But the tongue in my throat felt like a fish blowing bubbles. And I have to ask: what is he looking for? It is bloated or it is gnawing. These are my extremes: for a long time I was blurry; I couldn’t believe I was failing so soon. I ate carrots. I drank glasses of milk. And what for? I know—the little bronze dancer, the one with her fingers knotted behind her back, she was a little rat. I’m not making that up. So when I slept in the dark and there were somethings in the air, shapes so close with no boundaries, no touchings, I left the lights on. I did it for her. She was called Marie. I’m learning French, did you hear? And it sounds pretentious, but I’d like to turn my pelvis inside out. To powerwash all of it, every nook. But his eyes were always too far apart. I never could land. He said: how abstract you have become. I mean untroubled by distortions. I said: I am smoothing my wrinkles out. I like the boy with glasses pushing my book down for a better look. It’s about a little dancer. You can go see her. She and I were floating on a boat, I think. How charming it is to come from water. But even in our togetherness there is a loneliness that cannot be rocked, cannot sit down, cannot crawl out of my inside place. Audrey Pettit


LOVERS Jasmine Sabadosa




Kayla W. Orellana

Beauty provokes everything terrible and good in the world: why I made myself a man out of want of him. There are people so beautiful you skin yourself alive to slide inside them! This is the only good reason to do anything, injection or epyllion. When we first fell in love I was desperate for someone wise to witness the strange alchemical shifts boiling my body into curds and whey. I am soft sheep’s cheese I want to say, How to speak this and make it mean something more than simile? I mean something has happened to me. I mean a dream-bird came in the night and rearranged my face and now the deli man calls me sir. I mean my desires are covered in yaw marks. These are all shapes I will find words for later so instead I say it’s (his mouth, it) the pipe in the play: “A thing like that, it could change the course of events.” The closest names are always someone else’s spun oblique in an awkward mouth. Quick! Before we lose our momentum—

Aydan Shahd




Anna Olivia Sommer


YEARS We have landed from the heights of our flight And there is no seed by the trap

Five hours early, Do you remember?

Neglect and vanity have cultivated our lives Even our sleep doesn’t benefit from our fatigue

I am not the restraint of forty dervishes Nor is the earth a meager sheath.

Our mending ways rot under the audacious sun Charting our separation is an age-old habit.

The stars and the senate do not obey us, For we are not Caesars.

Sterile wounds, we will not be avenged.

We are the red rose in the wine tavern On nights of avarice, in hellish cities.

Yesterday Yesterday Yesterday Yesterday has us memorized. Do you remember when we blindfolded night With my purple scarf? And in our dreams ran toward a sea Without a shore? It dawned because of our mischief

Who made you into such a locust That you chew yourself, chew, Chew and spit Yourself onto passerby In the stammering day? In square rooms Infinitely reflected, A poet is on fire.

Lida Ehteshami




MEET HIM AT a party during your first semester of college, one you hadn’t planned on going to. Order your gin and tonic, lean against the bar, catch a glimpse of him across the room. He stands next to a neon sign, a beer in his hand, glowing, orange. Don’t expect anything. You never expect anything. There are girls everywhere. Hotter, sluttier, better. You haven’t even had your first kiss, held hands, been a prospect to anyone. You’re here to get drunk, stagger home at 3am, go to Spanish the next morning. It’s not the goal but it’s fine, you’ll have dealt with enough disappointment by now to have accepted that. Besides, you don’t even know what you’d do if anything happened, with your hands, your mouth. It would be an absolute fiasco. He is nice looking, though, so you keep staring. The specifics don’t matter. His name will be Austin, or Chris, or Luke, and he will have great, wavy hair, the kind coiffed just casually enough that you forget he’s just an Austin, Chris, or Luke. Keep your expectations low, or at least try to. He will talk to a girl, someone taller and more confident, but she will end up in the corner with another guy, and his eyes will land on you again. You’ll get one drink, make small talk. He’ll be from somewhere unimportant, like Texas, or Maryland, or North Carolina. He’s a freshman too, at a college nearby. He wants to be a screenwriter. He wants to take you home. You’ll go outside with him and ask him what he wants to do, to which he’ll respond with a question about where you live. That’s not what you expected, but you won’t want to lose him now, so you’ll tell him and then you’ll wait for the bus together. On the bus you will have a conversation peppered with silences. To fill them, you will say things like, “Wow, the bus is never this empty,” and “How about that rain today?” You will realize he’s actually pretty boring. When you first saw him, you might have, against your better judgement, began to hope that you could have an actual relationship with him. But the silences and the harsh fluorescent of the bus will make you realize this might be a mistake. You won’t want to inconvenience him, though, so you’ll steel yourself and ask him about his classes. You can hate



Kayla Warner

yourself, but just a little. When you get off the bus by your dorm, ask him if he wants to take a walk, get food. Real date-type things. But when he furrows his brow and says, “No,” you’ll feel stupid for being so naive. Naive for thinking that you could make this meetup at a bar into the beginning of an actual something, because you’re realizing that you should have known what is clearly so obvious to him.


So you take him inside your building, and make eye contact with the lady at the front desk as you sign him in. She knows what you’re doing and you know what you’re doing but you have to act like you’ve done it before, so it’s no big deal. Tell him he has to give his ID to her, and feel the need to apologize, for some reason, like you’re inconveniencing him too much. You will get into the elevator with him and another girl, who will be in her pajamas and a shower cap and carrying her laundry bag, and who you will also make eye contact with. She will also know what you’re doing and you will again have to act like you’ve done it before and it’s no big deal. The silence during your ascent will be excruciating, and you will try to get out of the elevator at the same time as him and accidentally hit your elbow on the wall. Inside your room, you will turn on the ugly overhead light and realize that you only have one chair and so you will invite him to sit on the floor with you. You might accidentally sit too far away from him and you’ll feel unable to gracefully move to a more appropriate distance, but it won’t matter for too long, because during one of the conversational lulls, he will lean in and kiss you and it will feel foreign and wrong, and you will be aware that you probably aren’t doing it right, and your teeth will feel larger than they ever have before. You might think, Where the fuck did my teeth come from and why are they in the way? Then he will pull away and you will feel relieved. After the kiss, he will say, “Just putting that out there.” He will start to say something else, but then he will interrupt himself, and say, “Yeah, we’re just gonna keep doing that,” and kiss you again. You will think that he thinks he sounds smooth, right out of a TV show. He’s probably written that line in one of his scripts. But in the moment, it feels cheesy and you can practically see all of the girls he’s used it on before you. You keep kissing him, though, even though you don’t know if what you’re doing can be classed as kissing and you want to kill everyone who told you it would “Just come naturally.” You wonder what he’s thinking.


Things will progress, but you will be in your own head for most of it, and he will do what he wants. You might feel hollow. You thought hooking up would be electrifying, but you’ve never felt less like anything in your life. You might ask yourself, why am I still doing this? But you’re also kind of curious about what will happen, and you might still be a little hopeful that after all of this is over he will ask you out for real and you can do something actually enjoyable. But instead he will say, “Do you want to have sex?” And you will panic and say, “Maybe.” And he will smile in a way he thinks is charming and say, “I kind of need a yes or a no.” It will feel so fast to you. But you will realize it probably doesn’t feel fast to him. He’s done this before, probably. He assumes you’ve done this before, too. He assumes you knew what you were getting into, in the silent agreement you made before going inside, but you didn’t know, not fully. It’s too embarrassing to admit that you didn’t, and that, in answer to his question, you actually want to say no. And then you will say, “Yes.” For a multitude of reasons. Because you don’t want him to know how juvenile you feel. Because you don’t want to have wasted his time and you don’t want to hurt his feelings and you don’t want him to resent you. Because you don’t know when you’re going to get another chance and part of you wants it over with. And he took the bus all the way here, for you, after all. You will say yes even though you know that those aren’t good reasons. You will say yes because you’re fairly sure that he would stop if you said no, but you don’t want to find out if you’re wrong, and you’ve heard so many stories and they scare you. You will feel like you’re doing it all wrong, but then you will realize that it’s probably his fault, because although when he talks, he seems experienced, the fact is that he can’t seem to make you feel anything. But


you’re going to play your part, a part you didn’t even know until now that you knew how to play. He will ask you to blow him, because of course he will. You won’t know how. But you’re not going to want him to know that, because if he knew, he might be so freaked out and disgusted he will leave you in a puddle of shame on the floor, or else quietly judge you the rest of the night. So you will bend down and try to summon some deep primal intuition and you will want to cry as you do so. Cry because you hate it and cry because you hate yourself for not saying no even though it’s been hammered into you since birth that it’s your right to. And you know because he’s young and liberal, it’s been hammered into him as well. But your pride and your deep seated fear and your people pleasing tendencies will overrule all that. You will have sex with him under the fluorescent light and you will only realize later that you should have set mood lighting and that you should not have been on top your first time. But he doesn’t know that it was your first time because you were being cool, so there wasn’t really anything you could have done about that. You will be surprised about how mechanical it feels, how unintimate. You might feel a little gross and a little sad, and even though you were never precious about it, you might feel a little precious about it. After, he will say something pretentious, such as, “You look like a Renaissance painting.” You will think of Botticelli’s paintings and wonder if that just means fat. He will ask you how old you are, which if he had had

Kayla Warner



doubts, he should have asked you about earlier. You will tell him you’re eighteen and say, Yeah, I know I look young. He will indicate for you to lay next to him and you will realize that, although he still has his shirt on, you’re completely naked because he pulled everything off of you. You can’t figure out a way to get to your dress so you lay next to him, exposed and raw. You will awkwardly lay your head on his chest and make more small talk before he says he should get going and so you will get dressed and take him downstairs and make eye contact with the lady at the front desk again. Before he leaves, he will give you his Snapchat. Not his number, obviously. That would hint at a level of intimacy he won’t give, and now, you know not to expect. You will offer to walk him downstairs, for some reason you can’t put your finger on, perhaps one last stab at intimacy. He will awkwardly side hug you at the subway entrance. He won’t kiss you goodnight. You’ll suppose that kissing you, in his eyes, is reserved only as a means to an end. And you already served your purpose for him. You will probably never see him again, or you will see him one more time, after you impulsively message him during Spanish and ask him to come over because you want to see if this time it will feel different, or better, or like anything at all. You might want to prove to yourself that he could still be what you’d wanted him to be. But it won’t be, and he won’t be.

Ava Ferry


Kayla Warner



STAGEC (noun) Def: A definition OR an evasive a defiant assertion OR an attempt at the continuous ,,,elision,,, of oneself


I perform mostly to an audience of one because, unfortunately: We require an audience. I explicate myself “ I perform ” “ gyrations ” to the “ public ” linguistic stripteases draped in velour bending my tongue in contortionist knots I make ambiguity quiver like a dancer in the cage


CRAFT Thomas Wee

beckoning mocking imploring like onstage at the Globe the air: (horse manure, unwashed souls, chloroform, dung) I stand getting pelted by roses and occasionally spat upon by groundlings in the pit if someone transitions in a forest: is it still a transition? is the univocal, uni-vocal affirmation of oneself [ ululations in an open field a voice shaking the trees ] enough? could gender just be a poem written to the wind? Originally published in Quarto as part of a larger chapbook


Cameron Lee



When we walk and I have lost my sense of smell you open your nostrils like big knowing. Having been told, seeing as our bends have been corrected. I am surprised when our mouths form stems farther from the truth. I place my hand on yours and we pile ourselves atop one another being against and together. Protest nothing but virtual insanity and secrecy. We have been uprooted soil clinging by hairs until I am green and spilling.


Lily Sickles


They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair. Dinner is a casual affair. Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood, Tin flatware. Two who are Mostly Good. Two who have lived their day, But keep on putting on their clothes And putting things away. And remembering ... Remembering, with twinklings and twinges, As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

Erasure of “The Bean Eaters” by Gwendolyn Brooks



Temi George


Miska Lewis




Wrung with gold sitting in thick sun watching the peacocks bask in the churchyard, hot honey pastry glistens on the lip and the copper sword greening before his eyes. I am soil on his bare soles. O beautiful, reddest red sliding down my chest this morning where I fell on my knife so I could kneel far enough down to kiss the smooth arch of his foot without loss or recompense. My lover has swallowed the sun of wonder and foolishness and it has pinked his cheeks, God he is a holey rowboat giddy sinking. I put my mouth to his belly and drink the sea. We will die here like this yes picking bark from the tree frail crumbling and feverish. I am the ants streaming from my wooden finger, a thousand limbs unaware of self, drawn only to sweetness. Swarming the bleeding sap where my skull melts into his thigh. At the end of the summer rain the peacocks scream! Lightning.


Nia Holton-Raphael UNTITLED







Xiaoming Zhang

Supported in part by the Arts Initiative at Columbia University.