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4                Birthday Party Definitions 6                Tess Segal 10             Lu Godfrey 14              Alex Masse 17              Ella Nguyen 21             Meghan Romano 29              Peace Akintade 37              Divyanshi Dash 40              Yasmin Kerikar 42              Hailey Orrange


Birthday Party Definitions birthday party /ˈbəːθdeɪ/ /ˈpɑːti/ Noun the reason I know the number of friends I have. card /kɑːd/ noun The one place I will write down how I really feel towards people and tell them not to read it aloud.

the day I say I want nothing and try my hardest not to cry   well. better luck next year. healing /ˈhiːlɪŋ/ verb avant-garde restoration, the result of self-love.


(a group poem) An ice-blue cake sits On the counter. Warm Oranges to the side, Mother never leaves our September-morning porch, Father forgives the year I spent in Chicago. I have years to learn how they cut fruit. healing /ˈhiːlɪŋ/ verb Reformation, Regrowth, recalling how to laugh when I rebirth myself into all the ways the future recalls a tiny body inside a wrinkled suit falling back into the womb of September, onto a bed of wishes where Mother gives birth to my dark circles, my most forgiving quality. Father gives up smoking outside the hospital, as they cut me out of the slick gorged fruit.


Tess Segal

Radical

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.” --Sarah Urist Green to honeybee. we’re, like, really radical. like kickflip marxist like what’s the glass half full of? like ACAB and care for ourselves instead of succumbing, crumbling, letting our blood mix together so someone else can call it love. radical like tracing your cheekbones, nose bridge, the indent above your top lip with fingers that used to go places they can be criminals, and thinking, “this is okay.” you know what’s radical? you making it past thirty five. you know what’s radical? me making it past ten o'clock. hating ourselves is siding with the enemy, and if you have to stay alive out of spite, do it.


it’s radical that i’m texting you from the women’s room at my work and proposing. i’ll give you houseplants. i’ll give you a victorian lover’s eye. i’ll give you my love and light because that’s fucking radical. they told us choke, sleep, puke, cower, we said here’s pom-pom earrings and grocery store runs. they said hide, we said no. you know what’s radical? wanting to spend my life with you. wanting gentle, wanting kind. being good to me. stardust in a small urn does not a love story make. to grow old is to be defiant, and i think you’d make a lovely old man.


e h t d n a ts n a l l p rlife l a Sm afte Today I learned my father does not believe in heaven. This month I learned what my grandmother looks like when she cries. Widow and mother of one and a half dead men, it took me sixteen years to learn what my grandmother looks like when she cries. This year I learned I am a person. I exist outside and inside of my want and need and know, and one day, I will visit the sequoias with someone I love. Sooner than that, I will buy small plants with someone who loves me. I don’t know why he does, but today, I learned my father does not believe in heaven, and all I want to do is hold him.

Tess Segal


Right now, I’m at Panera thinking about how if, all the sudden, the sun turned blue, we wouldn’t know about it for about eight minutes. Later, we might look back on those eight minutes and think, God, we were so stupid. we had no clue that something so monumental was happening. and in this panera, I think the sun might be blue. Or green, or grey, or I will be fired next week, or I will fall in love next year. and I just have no idea yet. What color do you think the sun was when I was thirteen and realized that I didn’t want to turn fourteen? Because I think it was pink.

, e u l b s i un ave no s e h th u o y d n a idea

and I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t know why I turned fourteen, or fifteen, or sixteen-I had no idea that the sun would turn pink, so what was I waiting for? but maybe, I’d felt some shift in the way cloud’s halos glowed, asphalt burned, reptiles bathed. and I didn’t know that it was because pink is warmer than yellow. but I could feel the warmth on my skin. and I liked it. For better or for worse, I think your sun is blue. I hope you like the way it feels on your skin.

Tess Segal


Lu Godfrey

hearts come when i see the text message

fast like bullets soft like silk sheets holding me up above even with my legs; freshly timbered trees

Heart Strawberries and Stars

my feet; leaf piles compiled by grass turf weighing on my skin even though i am under a heavy heterosexual girl gaze secondary, the gaze of the sun -soccer season’s traditional summer and fall weatheri am tossed into the air by bedsheets strawberries come when my mother brings groceries -you love your mother even though when you told her you were bisexual she made you sleep outside in the truck you will never tell her you are nonbinaryi cut them and fold them into yogurt

i  pond you like coffee, i don’t you love strawberries, i ate all of them stars come out when i’m alone with my phone my ceiling, the ocean a bug-shaped boat riding wooden waves i am stranded on a soft, mountainous shore that distant schooner is company power of the moon in my palms -i am marooned-


watch a man on tv fish river monsters that you might know i know you fish (maybe) even though you live in the desert i don’t like fishing; if you ever want to we have a pond you like coffee, i don’t you love strawberries, i ate all of them stars come out when i’m alone with my phone my ceiling, the ocean a bug-shaped boat riding wooden waves i am stranded on a soft, mountainous shore that distant schooner is company power of the moon in my palms -i am maroonedyou are not company one time i read the stars above the sea and called you; you didn’t seem to want to be there you told me i was the only person from camp you stayed in contact with i will never ask you why.


When did you get so small? I swear I saw you dominate the imaginary world a few days ago You princess Who will never utter a bad word Who will cry when the water touches her- them? they/them. But certainly a princess cannot be a they/them. I swear a princess only follows the she/her queens and only corrects people on fashion choices, not when they get some silly pronouns wrong and you know the ways of a princess by heart and you never cared for any of that pronoun shit. Right? I swear nobody asked. You were the most girl a girl could be. So “she”. Only when you turned into me (I don’t wear dresses) did you finally begin to… see? Fuck it, I know you don’t understand I swear you should try to know That you can wear something other than pink And you can think, when you say for the first time “My pronouns are she/her” in your first writing camp “that doesn’t sound right”. I swear deep down you always knew You always hated gender roles, you brave, gentle bitch You loved to dress up but hated people who touched you You couldn’t handle your long blonde hair- everyone said they wanted it, and you thought, take it You always felt good when someone said a trait you had was for meant for the people who are blue (your favorite color) Like how you were a strong motherfucker from birth And, when you were almost me, and you were just starting to hate your body, you didn’t just look at other girls’ bodies You looked at guys’ bodies and thought :I want to look like that too:

to myself before I was me


I swear, before you knew anything, you started writing a book that you will be writing for years about some semblance of a nonbinary person. What thirteen-year-old who is afraid to talk to strangers And hates science writes about something that they don’t even know is actually possible? You did, you brave, gentle bitch. When you discover that gay people exist, I swear you need to know that there is still more than straight and gay, that you can like more than one gender that you can be more than one gender. No one will ever tell you that, but you will have to find it out Because if you don’t, you’ll be a child forever, And I know how much you want to grow up You brave, gentle bitch.

Lu Godfrey


Alex Masse

Have you come to love those frames of silver?

to my future face

Do they still hold a curl? Do you keep getting ID’d trying to buy booze? Is it something you brag about? Everyone acts like you should brag, Like the best forever face is dainty, new, Doesn’t show a day of age. But oh, to be old. I want people to look at me and wonder How many eras I’ve seen wax and wane. The rise and fall Of partnerships knife-severed, Of relationships, Of forests burning alight. I want them to know how I saw, how I swallowed stinging smoke and survived.   Folks mistake my bright-eyed baby-face for innocence, inexperience What bravado I muster meaningless as I’m fawned over “Gee,” they squeal, “I thought you were fourteen!” I’ve seen so much, but because no one can tell, I show it in other ways. Every grey streak or sad song sung, Every sugar-sweet tear or heartstring undone Is that not enough to earn at least some emotional calluses?   But this is about you, who’s seen it all and still stands. What tales do your wrinkles tell? I hope your skin is carved by laugh lines complimenting any collection of scars, Making your face a glorious landscape. For to laugh is to heal, isn’t it? Even your most mordant jokes That rattling, raspy cracking up It’s how I’ll know you kept that strength, that smile, that sense of humour.  


(continued ) A reminder they bring character. And I can’t wait to meet She who so tenderly kisses you Every night On every bittersweet blemish Taking the pain away.


From one: A heartfelt letter never sent A rigged giveaway Unfunny inside jokes, mostly forgotten My independence My heart From the next: A million photos of flowers and sunsets Our shared night sky Numbers of her state’s crisis lines Too much wasted time My independence My heart From the latest: All the texts they never tried to answer The hue of the lighting in their bedroom Warmth, warmth, warmth and all its side dishes My ultimatums of desperation, ones they never kept up Both our tears, bottled up after being wrung from bed sheets Some of my best Christmas gifts yet My truth My trauma My independence My heart

Alex Masse

e v a h I s g y thin f rom m n take lovers


Ella Nguyen

in this creamy haze, after sunrise, my bedroom ablazed in our warm pulses, wrapped in skin, canopied under the paleness of an internal winter, a perfume, oats and cedar barks rise as notes from bent wrists batting eyelashes, last night I curled into myself, sleepless, stirring in playbacks of your touch in search for you while you were next to me. Today, you sit up half dreaming of a truck brimful of spilling peaches and unending stairs. Eat a peach eat a eat descend and kiss my hip my bone the edge of a young woman’s spirit, where you overturn and take the fruit, a moan a goodnight and submerge in velvet waves, sliding back into where softness folds and wakeful sleep waits for morning and you’ll go.

peaches (I learned to love)

When you left, the scent of broken peaches dangled on my skin like last words, longing for the next time you’ll visit me half-way somewhere, clutching a chest full of heart-shaped lovingness.


photos by Ella Nguyen


the war you return from You made loving so hard, daddy my worrier, You have been at war with yourself and at last you came back with blood still thick on your tongue, your swollen heart has taken over your lungs, you can’t breathe forever when you swallow your words, and you hauled your guilt all the way to me through a dozen phone calls. Sorry, the number you are trying to reach is not available. Sorry, trauma is a genetic condition of the heart. Sorry, I’m just not all here. The doctor says you are an old water pipe leaking continual sorrow into your daughter’s new life. The symptoms are excessive nightmares, the inability to trust women and a new loss of plates around the dining table. I don’t show enough love you say, but loving you is holding onto the parts of me mirrors show clearer as time goes on my skin, cracking under the pressure of loving you feels like my hand is so small in yours again loving you is to be sliced in threes and fives loving you is to remain in your wreckage, daddy. That’s why I grow fonder of the distance between us every year we’re apart for, I am less tender less of your daughter. I am the ghost you keep in your house for luck, nourishing me as your karmic apology you say, we were lovers in past lives and I killed myself because you left me.

Ella Nguyen


It’s so twisted, daddy you gave me death and then life. My living body is the proof that ghosts exist that forgiveness can take lifetimes you say I should love you before other men and to love you is to learn that no one can make me feel this lonely. At night, I wander in the dark, the inside of your belly, trying to hear the sound of regret. You never get on your knees to pray you say god doesn’t listen to beggars. On the phone, you call out “I love you” twice as if I can’t hear as if your words hit a wall and shatter like porcelain as if you are begging for me to return, with blood still thick on my tongue. Daddy, loving is so easy now I wish I could show you enough of it. There is a cure for trauma, and it is grey eyes and a cheek dimple the size of my pinkie and there isn’t a destination beyond “I love you” but there is more. Meet me when I’m ready to step out of the flood from your worries, I don’t see the ground anymore, you built me childhood bedrooms, gardens and now an ocean where the moon is full and white on your water’s ripples. A tidal-shift in time,   the clock hand turns, I pick up the phone this time, ready to tell you that there is more. After this hurt. Daddy, my lover in this life is, too, a worrier and a war I get through to get to you.

(continued )

Ella Nguyen


Meghan Romano Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Enim sit amet venenatis urna. Vel eros donec ac odio. Neque viverra justo nec ultrices dui sapien eget mi proin. Volutpat odio facilisis mauris sit amet. Imperdiet dui accumsan sit amet nulla facilisi morbi. Facilisi morbi tempus iaculis urna id volutpat lacus laoreet non. Eros donec ac odio tempor orci dapibus ultrices in iaculis. Eu consequat ac felis donec et odio pellentesque diam. Risus nullam eget felis eget nunc. Justo donec enim diam vulputate ut pharetra sit amet aliquam. Tortor aliquam nulla facilisi cras fermentum odio eu feugiat pretium.


Healing (noun): I’ve never had stitches before. I was afraid of being a fish and watching a nurse gut out my flesh, push needle through my skin over and over and loop through to pull me back together, I couldn’t face blood, nor wound -not my own body, broken and breaking. My hand was cut in Alberta three years ago. A man with white hair gutted it with a pocketknife, wrapped me in a blue bandana, told me to wash my face in the green lake. Poetry (noun): Speak when spoken to, my mother’s words on my lips. Garbage, bad apples and leftover compost I left in my notebook, lest the great grey ship on a rocky sea, The World, tip, and spill us all out. There is much to be known about the blue space behind our periphery. Poetry shoots an arrow, latches a leech, pulls a vine. What is behind us, in front of our eyes, turning The World and hurling us forward. Justice (noun): Do you see the blue sky in midsummer? When the spring storms have melted and packed their bags for the South East states, when maple leaves swish and whisper in the wind. Look up. Do you see the night sky? It's there. Past the light post on your cul-de-sac corner the half-empty moon rises. Past the concord grape vines your grandfather grows, the North Star your mother showed you spins, a light house of find-your-way-home, there is no air in the scales mapped out as constellation, there is no law other than gravity. It’s August. Look down. Judgment is real and it tastes of dirt. Transformation (noun): Consider the butterfly. Just kidding, consider the lake. Watch it freeze over in December. The kids play hockey with a pinecone. Consider the apartment building. Consider that building on a sinkhole. Consider that sinkhole the gaping mount of God, no, the devil, no, the land. Consider False Creek. The beaver who builds a dam and destroys it every spring. Just kidding, no beaver does that. Maybe I’m still thinking about justice.

Microdefinitions

Meghan Romano


k n a Bl

Blank I’ve been sleeping on my back recently. My neck’s shot and there’s no buffer between my eyes and ceiling. As if I’ll crinkle my wings if I roll over, as if one morning I’ll wake a black eagle.

Meghan Romano


Cold-cupboard cup, my bare feet on Hardwood kitchen. Boiling kettle water. Dip my pinky in and shoot Red arrows up my wrist, Yellow blanket your cat sleeps on brushes my leg where We sit. This happened many times, Earl grey plunks in Chilled splashes, drips Of oat milk on the counter, my lower back Against its marble Yellow arrows Tug up my neck, My scalp peels away under Your fingers. Cold hardwood. The beating heart of Your dogs Short brown hair.

Meghan Romano

l l e m s h touc


Meghan Romano x Ella Nguyen


Meghan Romano x Ella Nguyen


Meghan Romano x Ella Nguyen


Ella Nguyen


Peace Akintade If I ever fall on my knee To worship my prisoner. Rename me as Holy. Holy is the name of my villain. Who is more trigger words And self-denial. Who is more Christian music Played on loop to drown out My siblings cry. I pray like watching my hands in a well of sin I pray like destroying past lovers and misguided friendships Teach me, trauma, how you Grip me so willingly. I remember sitting on the brick road Listening to the radio station say, “Hero’s Are Always Winning!” If Hero’s are always winning, Then I must win with an iron fist. I see God in the mirror Living underneath the inscription of self-hatred. Mad for distributive knowledge. Like when we look at the Burning embers of the city. Let us laugh and rejoice at our victory. When the wind is falling apart. And the sun begins to fail. When the earth spits us out. You will still be here. You more villain than monster. You more urban day witchcraft Than crystal-demon summoning. And me; wishing to be a protagonist, a hero. That when I look in the mirror, I see a creation. A specimen deserving of victory The answer to someone prayer The gold webbing through a cracked pottery Slowly sinking through the cracks like she belongs there But when I look at the mirror I see a human

h

n a m oly


She looks more like a stressed consumer than heavenly body But my reflection will show power And some days starvation.  My starvation holds me tightly for inspiration. My inspiration are shackles, I carry them on my shoulders. Bracing myself for the divine whip of love. Let us all as a congregation Repent our desires for a better world. Let us make the chairs our Goddess and incompetent fools As our rulers. Our regret shall be omnipotent Because we are Humans Humans more obsessed than fair. Humans more unfinished journals Than self-discovery. But… Humans more gullible and loveable. Humans who carry their shackles And attach it to themselves. Not to the wall nor the rocks. Not attached to our livestock. But you carry your shackles on your shoulder.

(con

ed tin u

)

And I wonder if we fell in love with our Prisoner. And if we realize, poison does not make us gods. Let us all as a congregation Repent our desires for a better world. Let us make the chairs our Goddess and incompetent fools As our rulers. Our regret shall be omnipotent Because we are Humans Humans more obsessed than fair. Humans more unfinished journals Than self-discovery. But… Humans more gullible and loveable. Humans who carry their shackles And attach it to themselves. Not to the wall nor the rocks. Not attached to our livestock. But you carry your shackles on your shoulder. And I wonder if we fell in love with our Prisoner. And if we realize, poison does not make us gods.

Peace Akintade


Ella Nguyen


river n o i s man

An ode to nature And its unrelenting hospitality. The flow of wheat as always been my lullaby Enclosed in its comfort and quiet shame. The sun keeps calling on us to forgive. I wonder what that means What that’ll look like Is forgiveness like the drop of a penny Or as silent as the pin. I wonder how nature describes us Slow or vulnerable? In our hands are bronze earnings that we melt away. Do they gossip about us? The murder of crows telling each neighbor How we fell for their tricks. Do they make up stories or fables to warn their chicks? Are we monsters or are we surviving? I wonder whether oceans cry folly at the sailors Whether the yowls of the waves are mermaids The tides their playground Do they wish us dead or forgive our mistakes? If I ever cry wolf, would the wild daisies and lilies respond? Knowing they are the alphas of nature. A rock welcomes the ants to rest on its stomach. What more for us, to fondle the kittens laying by the shade. Is forgiveness, calmness? A book of examples waiting for our excuses I know forgiveness starts on the bottom of the cross. The blood and water mixing with nature It started with a willing sacrifice and a welcomed peace. How important for us to be like nature Allowing the destruction yet feeding our soul And one day we will live on, fondness in our heart I remember forgiving my hands for poetic murder. Forgiving my body for sleeping My soul for resting. Forgiving the world for its underappreciation Of nature. As the sun warms my back, I warm my mouth to speak. Speak calmness and acceptance.

Peace Akintade


Ella Nguyen


karma Karma is a river goddess dressed in yellow Cold in her nature Impassive to the dodge of culture and wisdom A sense of Eclipse surround me with music, Under the guise of being friendly. Wide awake, my body cracks its sorries, While the tortured sea-salt hugged me. “The rocks”, I warn to the sea, “Tell me your secrets on how you swim.” The river, she cuddles the mind of children, Turns them slowly into the hands of corrupted majesties. Leaves them with sinking desires of a fair world. The kids, whose hands have not yet touched the helm of identity . Whose only viewpoint of life is through the lenses of guns blasting. Casting cultivated curses on impressionable adults. Let them live, the river goddess screams Laughing into the ears of apathic sinners. Close your hears kids, Do not listen to the secrets of teachers. Teaching insensitive violence. Humans, do you think you know love? Know the footprints it leaves behind? You might  try to fall gracefully into its outstretched hands Deeper so you might blend into their arms. Inhaling spices and cinnamon scent. You want to know Love's voice. Low and rumbling through their chests. All around you, their scent tickles your neck. The bubbling happiness of love You only know happiness my child

Peace Akintade


To say there's nothing In life is to drink Hot chocolate from a wine glass. How ďŹ ckle the human mind is. To ignore the simple passions buried in our mind. To succumb to a drunken state of apathy. To lose the privilege of being a child. Close your hears children Do not listen to the laughter in the distance. Karma parades in yellow, And swirls ribbles into your mind. You only know happiness my child, But can you forgive the spite behind love. I wonder if the ocean ever gets tired of sinking ships. I wonder if tears dream of being puddles. And if I can ever love the storm, If I knew it was the sea asking for help.

) d e u n i t (con

Peace Akintade


Ella Nguyen


Divyanshi Dash The Feeling Is Depression (I) When i speak to you on the telephone with my back touching the wall and my smile erased, I ask if you had your lunch with or without The Feeling you tell me you just woke up and everything seems spaced. I high-five The Feeling levitating over me. 3:02 p.m. (II) Instead of tucking my shirt in, when I let it loose, The Feeling invades my territory as if it's trying to control me. As if this is the first time. The space between me & my mirror fills up with a fog only I can see. I refuse to clear it up, my distorted reflection is a better sight than my sad, sad face, I don't feel The Feeling around anymore it's just the fog I can't clear up. 4:47 p.m. (III) The third time in the day, while combing my hair under the air conditioner, I encounter The Feeling again. It says it wants to entangle my hair. It says it can do it very well, without paining my scalp. How do I tell it that my scalp pains not because of my sturdy hand, or the way I comb my hair but because The Feeling's been staying here rent free?


Divyanshi Dash

6:17 p.m. (IV) I don't want to make myself dinner. so I end up ordering pizza yet again. The delivery person is the same one from yesterday. and the day before. and the day before the day before. They want to know if I'm okay. I tell them, “yeah! it's just that I love pizza so I end up ordering it everyday.� While eating the delivered pizza, The Feeling tells me it wants a bite. It says nobody feeds it. 10:30 p.m. (V) I don't live with The Feeling, it lives with me. It sometimes leaves me for like months at stretch, and I do not miss it. but then it comes back, with the baggage. It says it needs a place. It says it bothered you enough. 0:51 a.m.

(continued )


Divyanshi Dash

Into Nothingness the first time she came calling, i couldn't see her face. it was hidden. my heart, like hers, was jumping. waiting. wanting to pop out of our rib cages. she bought a skirt, and i couldn't remove it from my waist. she laughed with me. she said she would hold me for a lifetime. and just as our bodies touched, the whole world along with the mighty trees, the powerful pink skies, the noisy birds, the creeping flowers, the unused swings, all of it, melted into the cup of our hands. our hearts handled the love easily, carefully. it slid on our skins, patiently like a snail. when she woke up, i uncovered her face. it was yours. the pastel coloured skirt you got me, it resides on my door, reminding me of the day you pulled me out of it. honey, accompany my heart in beating. honey, hold your heart. hold it for a lifetime; my heart is yours honey, hold me for a lifetime, before it slips into nothingness.


Yasmin Kerikar

You promised you would never lie But in your story, I’m the bad guy You told me I meant something to you I’m sitting here wondering if that was ever true You pushed me away Despite everything I tried to say You told me you loved me I don’t believe how naive I could be

For the longest time, only you could make me smile And yours was the first number I thought to dial You were the first guy I had feelings for And I wanted us to be more I know I meant something to you And I know why you said we’re through You were scared Because you cared You couldn’t express how you felt so you ran away I can’t be mad at the fact that you couldn’t stay Because I was you once upon a time And I used to think I was in my prime I used to pretend I didn’t have any emotion So when I got hurt it didn’t feel like I was drowning in an ocean I was the best at playing pretend Until you walked into my life and became my friend I thought I would win this silly game   But then I realized what a shame What’s the point of pretending you can’t feel anything All you do is lose the joy life can bring I have lost so many friends And claimed it was for a cleanse And some of those friendships were destined to end But one of those girls was my best friend Who didn’t deserve to be treated the way I treated her Everything from those years is a blur Expect the way I acted Because I know we were both impacted But the difference between you and me is I grew up I stopped faking the cover-up I’m better at talking about how I feel Because there are people who can help me heal So no I can’t be mad at you No matter how hard I try to I just hope you grow up someday And have someone to turn to when your skies are grey

Xine Didi


"You Changed"

You’re just somebody that I used to know You can’t say anything cause you let me go When you ask me do I remember I say no But of course, I remember, do you think of me so low? But everything’s different now We said we’ll always be friends, that was a vow It’s broken now just like us It has been since you’ve thrown me under the bus And lately, our friendship has seemed to be such a big fuss But it isn’t worth it I’m not afraid to admit I really want to quit You make me feel bad things I don’t want to feel I’m not sure if you want me to be submissive and kneel Or make you a deal that you’ll steal But I’m sure now that our friendship isn’t real And that’s not a nice feeling either But it’s better than before so I’m just going to take a breather Because isn’t it sad when someone important to you changes into someone you want nothing to do with And no what I’m saying is not a myth People change and sometimes not for the better And you feel stuck in some bad weather But it's not your fault, it’s really not They’re just acting like that because they got caught It’s a horrible thought And makes you feel like you’ve been shot But what are you going to do You can’t change people, you can only change your crew Surround yourself with people who do something positive with their life Who let go of childish strife Be around people who make you feel good People you wish you meet during your childhood Be around people who make you smile People who you want to see you walk down the aisle Find people who will stick around for a long while

People change and you can’t stop that The only thing you could do is roll down a new welcome mat It’s hard to make more friends and let others in Especially when you think of how all your past friendships have been But you’ll meet people or at least a person who makes you feel like you win Like your blood and skin And they’ll be with you through thick and thin

Yasmin Kerikar


Hailey Orrange craving sunlight Pulled into their presence by my search for gender euphoria I land on the teetering scale of vulnerability and built-up brick walls. Craving is something I save for chocolate and the scent of lavender An overwhelming longing that draws My body in Frail hands block my mind from wandering towards the door that houses them The desperate need for touch and vulnerable affection Ringing loud in the crisp December air. With the return of cherry trees and sun-kissed grass Our hands find each other’s in the Earth of A vegetable garden The tenderness reflecting back as we stare at ourselves in the puddle of trans liberation protests and late-night drives. I feel reborn My life turning over with the spring leaves As my body grows with the flowers Stretching out of the soil and up towards the clouded sky. Maybe I crave them because trans love still appears as a thought A gift wrapped up, tied with a knot that I can’t untangle.


(continued )

The ability to fall so deeply, mutually Is what I wish for And here they are Standing before me If I reach out for Their hand Will they disappear Along with my heart? Trying is not what triggers the fear deep into my chest It’s the what if Leaving me wanting more It’s the thought of requesting the longawaited connection That draws my body to a halt Watching as they fade away With the last rays of daylight.


Thank you to Ella Nguyen for designing the cover and all the images used in this manuscript. Thank you to Angelica Poversky, Anjalica Solomon, Tawahum Bige and Brandon Wint for your mentorship in the making of this book.


F laming Balloon Press

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Rebirth Party: A Youth Poetry Anthology  

Rebirth Party is the debut anthology of youth poetry collective, Flaming Balloon Press. Poets in this book embrace queerness, self-love, fo...

Rebirth Party: A Youth Poetry Anthology  

Rebirth Party is the debut anthology of youth poetry collective, Flaming Balloon Press. Poets in this book embrace queerness, self-love, fo...

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