Featuring Laura Rockhold Emily Corwin Leopold Crow Lauren Kelly Ashley Massey Amy Devine Raphaela Pavlakos Mondli "The Artivist" Kunene Helena West Sam Moe Destry Rose Brand Rackley Zoe Hansen R.G. Evans Emily Quan Crystal Antonace
Constellations when the north lake freezes we walk across and lie down wrapped in wool and light suspended by the full Snow Moon we point out constellations ice moans beneath us
Silent plum skirt
Below a rib: low, dark myrtle. Slept without ether, never midnights gloomier. Hotly devout, I held a gruesome dahlia. My wilted artillery: gunflint clatter and paper bayonets, bruises on arms like gray accidents. Glisten mess vermilion— in a museum: human cutlets, plump, slithered hips. Come, petunia and teacup moon: enchantingly I summon you— aghast, howling under woods.
Note on process: these poems began with anagrams, using fairy tales as the source text. Inspired by Trevor Ketner’s The Wild Hunt Divinations, these pieces were first created with an online anagramming tool. I primarily used the dialogue in these tales as a starting place, but allowed slight revisions of the anagrams. The titles of the pieces also derive from anagrams of their corresponding fairy tale title, though imperfectly.
In the Cavern With Death Lauren Kelly
skeleton’s tea party your nightmares woke you up again: you signed something about your mother. "let's take a walk" I said, so you climbed up and out of your coffin and took your skeletal hand in mine, went down through the fields and the pebble paths, picked out stones that matched each others eyes (although yours aren't there anymore because you've got a skull for a head). "my eyes are blue" you said, and I found you a pair of perfectly round grey stones, covered in a star of sea-foam flecks and placed them in your hands. you laughed (how you did that since you don't have lungs or a tongue I'll never know) and skipped out to the centre of the bog. "here's a party trick," you said, and lo and behold you drew all the dense brown and green clumps of moss from the mire and they arranged themselves around your bones, until some green semblance of a human appears. before, you had big ears, long thin fingers. you placed the stones into your eye sockets. I clapped for you, not daring to step beyond the safety of the gravel path.
the plant matter melted away and you sploshed your way back to me. "sphagnum moss. it can help filter and purify water," you said, ever so seriously, as if this was both a casual comment and a bestowal of invaluable information. unsure, you coughed a little, and I offered you my thermos of coffee. you took a swig. I took your hand again, pulled your feet from the hungry bog. it was two in the morning. we made our way home.
Noctuidae The same moth that danced with the light every night is now trapped in the corner, caught in a forgotten web. Its dusty brown wings flap ceaselessly, fighting fate. The sound it makes keeps me awake. Should I smash it with my book or let it talk to death a little longer?
Hospitality I hear that there are streets still yet to be named but those who live there are never lost, they receive their mail care of: The Cottage Down The Road From The Blue Shed Knock Loudly And likewise, I cannot help but call your nameless embrace home C/O The Space Between Your Lips and My Temple Circling The Crook Of Your Elbows Knock Loudly
good luck number night steps forward a figment of the light fueled on leftover takeout and black coffee and spite we feel day spill through our fingers this is the closest I am getting to the promised land tonight I pray the children’s laughter in the yard is another guise for the wind, soft and intangible the vibrations sting my feet my Styrofoam container of Chinese squeaks as I pray over another fortune cookie joy quakes through soft-tilled earth as I crack the yellow beast in two the stars will not align to favour my fate tonight but I still message you fourteen times—my good luck number
Are Queens Born Or Created Mondli "The Artivist" Kunene
Burnt Orange I wake from dreams, naked between burnt orange sheets. You aren't here, though I want to run my fingertips along the tectonics of your spine, tangle them in the brush fire of your body hair, rasp my skin on metamorphic thighs, clawed close to me, scale thick trunked trees, seek purchase when you're slick with rain. I will come home to you, traverse any terrain, bearing bespoke bruises of it, no matter your geography.
At the Altar
Marmalade, plums, crystalized grapes, a tube of frosting, a knife to cut out shapes from braids, rain and laughter bottled in mason jars, a disconnected hand, ladybug bubbles and chocolate soccer balls, martini glasses, the back door to a restaurant, escargot in droves disconnected from fish, then, in no particular order: a cotton candy birthday cake, a letter from your late great grandmother calling you muñeca over and over again, a letter from your cousin telling you to stop being so uptight, the cross stolen from the Vatican, a life-sized drawing of a church from a child’s dreams missing the front door, disbelief of evening, skirt folds, meringue shaped like the heart and hands of your ex and even his words are there, but careful, if you open the jar you’ll let out his voice and he’ll twist, a ghost looking for a host, once more you’ll be ensnared, let’s wait until the ceremony is over and we can release him beneath the underbelly of Manhattan under Manhattan, there are mice stacked on top of each other, there are faded brick apartments layered like mushrooms, alternating soft frosted floors with harder, coarser doorbells, a bird, deceased and green, still listening, sleeping in a bed made of a wet matchbox, the rain is coming, it’s a Tuesday when you leave her, and the winds form windows in Central Park, the fields are doorways, you aren’t set free, more like blown loose from the life you once knew.
Two by Two i feel like an animal not a chimp or man’s best friend barely housebroken something with a meaner coat of armor or buffalo hide or something finer steel wool wire late may monster split in two by two hungry for blood my type to fill my bottomless black basin hunting with the moon full or not galloping with tornadoes flattening everything in my path that knew better melodic, repetitive gnawing gnawing at my leg leg caught in a trap chase my tail to the edge of oblivion never come back i want to wash my wrath in the cool spring rain want to hide in the tall wheat make a bed there let the combines be my alarm
i want to scatter like lightning burn through & through that’s how i’d like to move inside you i want to chew bite the breasts and thighs of exotic birds make their calls and cries indistinguishable by human ears or eyes when they flash their color mother or other angel and devil wearing the same wings a knowledge that’s carnal a carnage that’s thoughtful and sweet and soft and kind and tender like when your eyes surrender like their whites linger when my tongue or finger make their presence felt make their presents felt if i swallowed you I’d never spit you out cuddle, hold you shake you never wake you for heaven’s sake for-Heaven-saken you you, be the only thing i ever do
Check the Attic Zoe Hansen
(There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed) A Fly Attracted, perhaps, by the stench on her breath of morning sausage rotting between her teeth. Perhaps en route to sweet lovemaking or his favorite pile of shit before her halitosis, something new and interesting, drew him like a moth to a cliche. Pondering, perhaps, the unfairness of life, how some moths can live (flame free) for months, or perhaps a year while the best the fly can hope for is two, perhaps three, weeks. Maybe her saliva intoxicated him, perhaps made the trip down her gullet a heady, dizzying ride. And just before he plunged into the vat of old woman acid, perhaps he regretted the filth on his feet, the ptomaine on his proboscis (our altruistic arthropod) and what it might do to what remained of the old woman’s own two, perhaps three, weeks. Let us make this offering, a libation perhaps, since we are not heroes ourselves, some reckoning to make it easier for us to sleep, perhaps to dream. Perhaps? She’ll die.
Rose Gold Destry Rose
Eve Keeps the Apple For Herself First the serpent whispered. Eat. and know what God knows. Then it shook loose the low-hanging fruit. It landed in Eve’s outstretched hand with a satisfying plop. Not knowing why, she rubbed the apple vigorously against the bare skin of her forearm which tingled pleasantly. The tingling spread. Oh, Eve said. Sleeves. One day there will be sleeves. She gazed into the apple’s shine and saw a beautiful woman staring back at her redly. The woman looked hungry. I’m hungry, Eve thought and brought the apple to her lips. Kiss, she thought. One day there will be kiss. She bit into the fruit, and the garden filled with sound. Singing, she thought. Suddenly there’s singing. She swallowed and her eyes followed the path of the bite she had taken. Down, down, down. She marveled at the tapered thatch of hair between her legs. It seemed to point toward the ground. Never noticed that before, she thought. a² + b² = c², she thought, but she didn’t know what she meant.
Howdy! Adam startled her. When she saw him standing between a lion and a wildebeest, the same blank look on all their faces, she hid the bitten apple behind her back. Whatcha got? Adam said. Nothing, Eve answered. Ok, he said. I’m just walking these two dogs. Then he walked away, lion on the left, wildebeest on the right. Eve wandered the garden till nightfall, savoring bites of the apple, making it last, renaming all the animals Adam had gotten wrong. Later, the apple gone, Eve lay next to Adam as something strange uncoiled inside her head. Thinking, she thought. This is called thinking. Look, Adam said, pointing at his penis. Porcupine, he said. Eve studied the stars. e = mc², Eve’s thinking said. Go to sleep, dear, she said to Adam. And cover that thing up. God knows no one wants to see it.
Venus Midnight Emily Quan
Tidal Lock In our marriage, it's easy to disappear and pretend we’re planets, nebulas, or patches of nitrogen. The moon daringly advances toward the lake, “We should go in alone once the kids pass out.” The sun declines with little emotion aware of her entirety but focused on only a sliver, a crescent. I replay the real version word for word Lying in our oversized tent in the tattered underwear of a 10-year relationship squeezed between 4 and 6-year-olds at 1 a.m. My spirit apart, tucked in the moon's shallow quay at the edge of safety like the infant's deepest slumber a deafening silence that pushes me out past lunar highlands into the exosphere of sodium and potassium somewhere above the surface unreflected by the sun stillness bears primordial hope for a life outside “good enough” where concealed radioactive decay holds the weight of your indifference, shrugs, a soft worn body memorized, boredom, a title. To dance in thick obscurity grab a comforted hand slide feet first into stoic craters and wade through darkness thick, sweet, dripping with desire is not an illusion. I don't need the sun to know my own palm to feel nothing other than my existence against the silent cosmos.
In the morning after 2 hours of sleep, I feel wanted again. Our faces touch with the same informality and passion before I didn’t need you. Life restored I hear you laugh but what happens if I stop? The moon whispers to only herself “Synchronous rotation keeps us alive.” With careful breath, I tiptoe in circles And wait for your gaze on the other side.
From the Editors
Everything but the Grass Samantha Lakamp
Home Bigfoot peeked in my window at midnight. I told you he didn’t but he did. You said I swear I saw… and I said shhhh. We met at the market — me and Bigfoot— reaching for the same rose. He asked about home. Home lives in Canada, I live in Ohio. Home comes to you? Home is here now, for the night. But your body’s not a garden, and I knew he was right. Bigfoot called me today said, I saw home in your bed. With no garden to tend. Your body’s not a garden — I know — it's a field, warm and wet. It grows fast and alone — wild but still flower-filled still beckons home.
Megan Mary Moore
Princess-in-Chief Megan Mary Moore
Managing Editor Haley Hulett
Creative Directors Samantha Lakamp Emma Lawson