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RIGGWELTER #23 JULY 2019 ed. Amy Kinsman

The following works are copyrighted to their listed authors Š2019. Riggwelter Press is copyrighted to Amy Kinsman Š2017.

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Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................... 4 Pandora’s Closing Boxes and She’s Leaving Them on the Backroads ...................................... 5 My Baptism .......................................................................................................................................................6 Immaculate .......................................................................................................................................................7 Pink Flower ..................................................................................................................................................... 10 Bear..................................................................................................................................................................... 11 Bread & Wine................................................................................................................................................... 14 Legends............................................................................................................................................................. 16 Eleanor goes missing .................................................................................................................................. 17 Reasons to embrace the rising sea levels ........................................................................................... 18 House of Contradictions ............................................................................................................................ 19 The Area Most Prone to Flooding .......................................................................................................... 20 Viking ................................................................................................................................................................ 21 Sand................................................................................................................................................................... 23 The House Prisoner..................................................................................................................................... 24 Glissando......................................................................................................................................................... 25 We’re Never Coming Back Again ........................................................................................................... 29 What It Is and How to Use It .................................................................................................................... 30 Hunger............................................................................................................................................................... 31 Impenetrable Forest.................................................................................................................................... 32 Coexistence with Nature .......................................................................................................................... 33 Things That Exist Behind Glass ............................................................................................................. 34 Festival Preparations ................................................................................................................................. 35 Rabbit Traps ................................................................................................................................................... 36 Patti Smith’s Tits .......................................................................................................................................... 40 Wet Dream ....................................................................................................................................................... 41 The smell of starlight ................................................................................................................................. 42 Tales From A Bar.......................................................................................................................................... 43 Stars are like bullet holes.......................................................................................................................... 44 Losing the Elephant .................................................................................................................................... 45 Baghdad Zoo .................................................................................................................................................. 46 Link.................................................................................................................................................................... 47 The Moon ........................................................................................................................................................ 48 The Puffin’s Egg ............................................................................................................................................ 49 The Last Prayer of Aparicio in the Jaws of the Cougar ................................................................. 51 Contributors ................................................................................................................................................... 56 Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................................... 61

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Foreword Happy July everybody! Summer is finally here, at least in Britain where temperatures are higher than 30°C – pretty much unheard of for us and deeply uncomfortable in a country where air conditioning is only commonplace in cars and our hot is humid enough to make it difficult to breathe. This only adds to my suspicion that this climate change malarkey might just be the real deal. Scary stuff right? Speaking of environmental catastrophe, this issue is all about the end of the world. There’s grand apocalypses, surrealisms, gods giving up on us, mythologies working in reverse and then there’s individual losses, deaths and that small, perpetual prayer: please not now, not like this. What do you think? Are we going out with a bang or a whimper or a shrug of the shoulder? Is this it, or will time march on? Isn’t the world always ending? As usual, some thanks are in order before we begin. Thank you to our reviews team, without whom I’d be buried under a mountain of books for review. Thank you to our contributors, without whom this would be a very boring issue, and all of our submitters for giving us the delightful problem of having too many great things to choose from. Thank you to our supporters and promoters, working on social media and through word of mouth – you lot are incredibly kind to think of us – and thank you most of all to our readers without whom we’d all be shouting into the void in a bizarre exercise in futility. Our next issue will be our second year anniversary, so we’ll be busy putting up decorations, readying the cake and balloons and party hats. In the meantime, here’s this to tide you over. Enjoy! Amy Kinsman (Founding Editor)

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Pandora’s Closing Boxes and She’s Leaving Them on the Backroads

I stole it off a dead man in Virginia – Not on the sandy coast, I wandered squishy deep Inside where the red dirt piles high and Folds in on itself like an accordion junkyard, On a tobacco-stained hill with long vowels, Short lives and coal-lined lungs, that’s where I Stopped on the side of the dusty road and plucked it like A cardboard plum with my spidery hands: It’s the size of my knee, round and blue and Always icy, it likes basking in the sun on my Dashboard, it has its own gravity it drinks Reflected sunrises and eighties ballads and GPS directions and the sideways thumbs of lost Hitchhikers inside. I bought it for you. We drive together, The box and I (Not you and I, we Drove all night that night with headlights dimmed in a muddy field and we spun in circles until you puked in my lap as we hung from the ceiling of the car like spiders and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you as my comma, a short breath before I left you again, and again, and again,) We drive until my eyes purple and shadow like my dead Virginian salesman, until I eat at my last free breakfast buffet I burn the waffles and that night I open the box I want the Gravity to suck me in and fold into a single point of vibrating matter, the type Disarrayed men with unruly hair on late night cable television rhapsodize about with Akimbo arms and white teeth, they’ll sing about my transcended Essence on basic cable astrophysics documentaries neglected at three a.m. But the box remains heavy and cold, I press my cheek against it I hold it to my chest, I leave it by the Bible in the nightstand I am too empty for this Container I have nothing to steal. Jennifer Vaknine

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My Baptism

My baptism was unintentional. The lifeguard who held my flailing body broke the calm, chlorinated water and spoke no Latin when he plunged me under. Concrete hands palmed my nose and chipped my ribcage during the assault, my body buoyant within the confines of the blue tiles. This is how they baptize in public. I kicked and thrashed until I felt my knees and elbows

disjoint from their sockets. Toxic swimming pool fumes so chemically strong the stench severed my senses. When the water flooded my nostrils, seeped into my brain, nearly burst my lungs, water bled from my tear ducts while I was still submerged. I tried to claw and grasp at his torpedo-thick wrist, Feeling Bible beads strung against his suntanned skin but the only image I could see was confused in the distorted, rippling water: the demon above, struggling with his procedure and the grimace on his brick colored jaw, sides of his jackal mouth off-balance in a determined frown or a withered smile.

December Lace

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Immaculate

I. We half-expect trumpets to blare as she arrives—no, materializes—before us, like the breath of the cool, starless night. Her brilliant aura thumbs its nose at our sickly fluorescents. She signs in and gracefully bows into a seat, drawing her robes—red as lambs’ blood—over the fruit of her expectant womb. Oblivious to our incredulous stares, she flips through an outdated magazine. Her scent carries us back to the warm fugue of infanthood.

II. The cosmos shudder and groan—each planet is a bead on her rosary, which she twirls nonchalantly around her pinkie. The continents marshal together and the rainforests reawaken and the sins of mankind wash back into the warbling sea with the microscopic bacteria. The sun fizzles out like a wet match. A dove perches on her shoulder, as a single tendril of gray hair sprouts from her skull. At last, we call her name, “Mary.”

III.

You know how this ends, she assures us, placing her feet in the cold metal stirrups. Spare him from yourselves. We snap our latex gloves into place, while storm clouds rumble overhead, ripe with ill intent. Our machine sputters to life, growling like a ravenous subterranean beast. We snake the plastic tubing towards her slender, trembling form.

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What are you waiting for? Do it! A seething horde of locusts erupts from her throat, engulfing us in darkness.

IV. For forty minutes and forty seconds, we grapple with the lurid insects in total blackness, save for the occasional strobe of lightning. The earth quakes beneath us, sending a fault line rippling through the sterile white tile. Several of us topple into the bottomless crevice, our shrieks of terror reverberating through the abyss. Fire rains down from the heavens, scorching the flesh off our bones. As the tube at last finds its mark, we take her clammy hand in ours.

V. A sickening slurp rings out, then there is silence—the infinite stillness of oblivion. Choking on debris, we nurse our throbbing wounds. Unscathed, she rises from the smoldering wreckage, basking in the jaundiced glow of the moon. Squinting disbelievingly, we behold her visage, plain as oatmeal—a fleeting face in a supermarket, soon to be forgotten. Her great abounding robes suddenly feel tacky, like a child’s Halloween costume. We cringe at the scent of her cheap perfume.

VI. Wordlessly, she signs the release form and trudges out the drooping doorway. A mob of picketers swarms her, their brimstone voices chanting, “Skank! Slut! Whore of Babylon!” She dutifully bows her head and takes a barrage of green, mucousy loogies.

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Finally, she finds her Toyota, crumpled beneath a felled tree, like a useless ball of tin foil. With a heavy sigh, we empty our instrument into a trash can. Through the fractured window, we watch her sob alone at a bus stop.

Derek Andersen

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Pink Flower Kylie Supski

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Bear

Second book of kings, ch 2, vv 23 - 25, the prophet Elisha is walking about, having just seen his master Elijah taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot I And during the sermon a few heads turned to the bear sat, legs crossed in the rear pew (or was it a person in a bear suit, with certainty, they may never know). Some of the congregation looked around for a second she-bear, some closed their eyes, seeing Elisha sweating up the hill to Bethel. Some gently rubbed their balding heads. Then the voice of the priest hectored the distracted flock – a short-tempered agent of God. And the bear sat still at the back, a metaphor within a metaphor, eyeing the 42 parishioners hunched like contrite defendants in the dock.

II

When the children rejoined the flock from Sunday school they sat upright looking to the front of the church. A few learned adults could be heard whispering "Ursus Syriacus*� as a bear stood at the pulpit, proud on two feet, surveying the rapt faces, then raised its arms to that which is unreachable.

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The Bear frowned at the children sat at the front holding their paintings of what they would have taken on the Ark: mobiles, PS3's, teddies. A few learned adults could be heard whispering "Perhaps the children have not yet emerged from darkness into light." The Bear sermonised solemnly: "We need more like Elisha - to stand firm and act in biblical ways. Let goodness run through us like blood, let the Lord make our pathways clear." At the end of the sermon no ribs could be seen hanging from the bear’s mouth. On this occasion, it devoured no flesh. III The bear is escaping from a narrative in the Book of Kings. She’s scaling the organ pipes as the portentous drone vibrates through her fur, the scrape of her claws a counterpoint to the downbeat dirge. The flock sing hard and proud like never before, but maul each nuance of the hymn. Some pick out memories of bears from bible study, Recall "Ursus Syriacus” six feet tall on two legs, 500 pounds of bulk. Others ponder bears lost in a history not of their own making, assassins doing God’s work, reeking vengeance on the youths who sneered at Elisha, and enraged mighty biblical men, no match for the rage of a she bear robbed of her cubs.

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At the end of the service the pipes are silent. The parishioners shuffle out. Some think God does not take it lightly when we hinder the propagation of His Word. Then they look up at the frightened bear, still clinging to the pipes. Neil Clarkson

*Ursus Syriacus – Syrian Brown Bear

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Bread & Wine

Reciting the Lord’s Prayer at age 30 causes Salivation because I didn’t have toast Or coffee or cereal or anything really Before church Before I could rummage through the greasy box Of a dozen crullers from the next door Shop, drop and give me 30 Is the call for the congregants All straight-backed and waiting for the homily to finish So that the wing can be opened And everyone can filter to the right To get The filtered year-old Maxwell House Take a sip Shudder at the bitterness It has masked the aftertaste of Holy Communion Turn back time When as a youth I was crucifer Gave wine to everyone kneeling Just thrust hands out to take His Body And back then I would take a whiff Of His Blood I knew it was not the freshest thing to ingest Even now, at 35, my palate is so refined That I immediately recall Christ’s final bit Of hydration Vinegar on a sponge And I wish it were intentional To pass around the wine so old that you might have Transported yourself back To Jerusalem To the acrid taste that your Savior enjoyed Before the end drew near But the only weights I have to bear Are the congregants shuffling forward Seeing me and recognizing me Saying hi and where Have you been We’ve missed you

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When the missing is a fib that’s part Of a string Of niceties that return again After the next service Kevin A. Risner

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Legends

We kept our small toys – rubber balls that had lost their bounce, plastic superheroes that came free with the breakfast cereal under the sofa in the window on a strip of faded lino where the carpet ran out, in a tin with a mosaic of St George and the dragon printed on the lid. It had once held biscuits, but the biscuits were long gone. Tessellated in mauve and cobalt, like fish scales, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The horse reared up on its back legs, hooves primed to smash the cringing dragon, while, brutal in his metal balaclava, St George wielded the sword high above his head, both hands clenched to the hilt, arms swept upwards in a ballerina-perfect arc, but the weapon never fell. He, the horse and I were frozen in that almost moment. I wanted to grow up and slay dragons, strut around with a scabbard, save damsels from beasts. I don’t know what happened to St George. Binned when the lid became too warped or rusted away to a brandy-snap razor? Now England is a long-empty biscuit tin, bent out of shape, full of plastic crap, a paralysed white man in a hypermasculine costume with his hands in the air, pretending to kill an imaginary dragon, a pose patriot’s picture of a picture of a made-up story, stolen from somewhere else. Melanie Branton

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Eleanor goes missing

Eleanor did not go with a bang, but rather, true to herself, slowly and shyly. Her left knee was first to disappear, so that when she walked into her bathroom on that first morning it was as though her shin, animated with a life of its own, stalked her thigh through the room. Embarrassed, Eleanor put on dark pants and devised a strategy that would allow her to escape physical education class, where she assumed she would not be able to hide the fact that her knee had become transparent. Yet Eleanor woke up the following morning to discover that her knee was now the least of her problems: her chest had gone missing overnight. This will look bad in a prom dress, she thought, inspecting the bathroom wall reflection where her breasts should have been. After that, new parts of Eleanor vanished every day. Soon she lost sleep, haunted by the prospect of her shameful ailment being exposed. Yet nothing seemed to stall her inexorable erasure, and soon she found herself running out of explanations for why she would wear gloves, a turtleneck and knee-high boots in the middle of spring. On the day when her head finally went, an audible, if slightly perplexing sigh of relief was heard in the hallway by her locker.

Marie BalĂŠo

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Reasons to embrace the rising sea levels

Eventually, ITV screened ‘Quick, Build My Ark!’, beating BBC to the prime-time evening slot. I guess the world really is coming to an end. It was hosted by Ben Fogle, pulling a serious face whilst telling a bland family from Doncaster how to beat the ever-rising sea levels with just these Ten Simple Steps. It makes you want to walk into the sea, you say. No need, I reply, letting the remote fall from the sofa into the water. Ben Ray

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House of Contradictions

Play house with a homewrecker and watch how the rivets the bolts will all come undone like loose buttons on a shirt he will make you sew back on. Play house with a homewrecker and watch how he will wield you like a sledgehammer into plasterboard and blame you for the gypsum stuck beneath his nails. Marya Layth

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The Area Most Prone to Flooding Bill Wolak

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Viking

In his profile he claims to be a soldier, but after several beers admits he's a Viking, who participates in re-enactments every weekend. He's a member of the Herlid group, from the Durham area, and his hair is long and ginger, which has to be that way for the whole Viking vibe thing to work. “And what about the piercings?” I ask on our second date, as bits of metal protrude from every spare millimetre of skin. “They make me more confident,” he says. “I'm a shy, retiring introvert really.”

If that's the case, then why did you choose this violent hobby? I want to ask, but don't as I want a boyfriend more. My relationship takes me back to 10th century Britain. We rise at dawn to eat the

dagmal - left over stew served with homemade rye bread, and then wander over to the local park where he teaches me how to use a spear. And when the sun goes down, it all gets rather kinky. “How about a little skirmish?” he whispers when I'm half-asleep. So I yawn and drag myself out of bed to the wardrobe where he places a helmet on my sleepy head, hands me my shield (a present for my 40th birthday) and we have a face off, and he stares at me with those crazy eyes while I wait there shivering in my underwear. Standing there in the muted light, I hear his battle cry and then he charges. If I'm lucky we have a minor skirmish but sometimes, after too much cider, he says, “How about something bigger?”

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Oh fuck, I think as those things can last all night. But soon we're a tangle of bodies, and shields and swords clash for what seems like a lifetime, until a lightning flash signals the end of the battle. “Time for bed,” he says and winks. But as the days pass, the skirmishes grow longer, and a spear is introduced which he thrusts from my face to my belly and back, while scampering around on the soles of his feet. And after a few months he's in the gym each morning, where he eventually morphs into a body-builder with burgeoning muscles and arms as large as eagles' wings. “But why?” I ask, after one nocturnal bout leaves me bed-ridden for a day. “I'm developing my strength,” he says. “for the Norman Invasion.”

Mary Thompson

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Sand

The sand mafia built my wall, clogged my throat, bled my river dry, the course of life changed, each trickle of sand on stones is gold for some, dust for me as I adjust the mask, wipe my brow, the mortar binding my barriers, I took the estate, filled the boot with sand, shovelled it into barrows, trundled the track each shovelful breaks my arms, each shovelful a man hacked, a sand-clogged mouth, the world waiting, it's all mixed, trussed. They clunk with light snuffed to dredge the delta crush some poor soul’s head, each man a deadweight, that never made it back, and we build homes with death encased in foundations, sand blast the faces of children, bloodshot I blend in the cement, the balance is not right, add some ground bones, they say, I mean stones whittled down, the village flees sand blisters their feet, the future they never had is foreign. Patrick Williamson

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The House Prisoner

No mien to return my gaze across empty street, But lizards to bask on fences and lichen to paint it green. And laughter as black as an eye socket hollowing through cracks. Sun mugged behind the gable of the Indian smithy. Old memories climbed church through waving cassavas. Crooner and seer: ground dove in a Mango tree. Crafted Peace one hundred reasons we were meant to be. Frail paper soaked with sweat, and Maersk parked between us. Calculus looked back from a Christ Apostolic Church. Holes in slate roof poked by midday's glare. Mushin, my old foot printed behind a wheelbarrow. Sahara to streets thronged by flour sacks. Tawdry bungalows and walls tanned with sunlight. This was nobody's town, rainstorms eroding years of May. My parent's house with all its fug trapping doors. The year eaten by cockroaches blotted in ink. House wrens, horus swifts, the cotton hedges. Crows played by the fronds as Saturdays sang. Difference in fruits dropped by almond was russetting. Dandelion seeds floated in new years. Head and shoe went bald on the reels of Sabo. my father ran with a Facebook spouse. In small farms, conflagrations didn't last. Tendrils wired signposts overnight. Came home and the phalanx of stalls welcomed me. Peace in arms with her sister near the mosque. Came home and I made the headlines in their parlor meetings. To the wilderness that had caved to battery-making plants. Where is Brave, my friendly Kombai? On my altar of trash. Dog heaven or hell under my burning Easter shoes. Christmas eve cackled at my feet. Indians flipflopped to Nirvana. Nirvana, an hotel. Tourists passing through women like tourists. Sodium lights stood like gods. Visar

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Glissando

His neck was broke in three places. Was he thrown out of a car? Was he killed somewhere else and posed? Hand over heart? Mouth lovingly eased into a smile? His hair was combed. Brown and matted and a home for maggots, but combed off his forehead. His eyes were shut, too, and when I came across him the very first time—two months before my son said he wouldn’t talk to me any longer—I thought to put coins on his eyes to pay his passage to the afterlife. The old Greeks believed in all sorts of stuff like that. The ones drinking honeyed wine and lathering with oils to make their skin shine in torchlight, not the Greeks like my grandfathers who both sailed around the Mediterranean in schooners—money flowing, women laughing, not a care in the world except the position of the sails and the force of the winds. I knelt beside the man that first meeting, inches from the double-yellow lines, vomit burning the back of the throat, eyes welling, hesitating to touch him. The NASA logo on his shirt had been ripped to tatters, and the skin underneath hadn’t looked much better: yellowed, yet pale, yet black with dried blood, yet red from wounds still open. I remember putting a hand over my mouth. I remember sour breath. But, god, gods, every single one, I swear I didn’t imagine him. This puppet with his strings cut. This fallen angel. It had been me and him, him and me, and there had been something created then between the two of us—a string tethered and pulled taught, primed to be plucked.

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When my son still talked to me, when he still brought his husband over, when their children circled my legs like fairies from a damn glen, he tried to teach me his love for music. He made me listen to classical composers, to modern wunderkinds. He leaned back on a chair in the kitchen, neck at a living angle, long and noble, black hair a mess on his head, and he listened. Shit, how did he listen so well? How did he know how to hear?

Glissando—sun was falling through the open windows and everything smelled of strawberry pie—is like a dance.

A dance? I asked. He nodded without opening his eyes. Gliding around, sliding up or down a musical scale, similar to two dancers moving the whole breadth of the ballroom. The music comes alive, Dad. Remember that term. I don’t know how to read sheet music, and I don’t know if my ears are open enough to the tunings of this world to call myself any good, but the murdered man and I—we’ve been playing together since we met. My finger sweeps our string and then his follows in a different direction, reversing the pitch, and I can hear his voice in my head. I can hear his song. I kneel next to him in my dreams, reliving that afternoon again and again. A million times over. And I see him open his mouth, and I see his cracked and missing teeth, the blood spilling down his chin, down the ivory protruding from his neck, onto his shirt, and his music strikes—

They drove beside in a white van, he croons, two men, then three, all to play their violent music with me.

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I try to pull out my gray hair. I try to crack my knees on the ground to shatter the kneecaps, night after night, hoping the pain will cloud his voice. It never does. My son must have taught me something about how to listen, after all. No matter what I do, the song won’t end, and I’m left to wander, to wonder, bottle in hand, shaky and searing my grip, what happened to this man. The unknown details try to eat me, screw me, force me to the dirt to slap rocks, stone drums, vodka splashing like the sea my ancestors sailed—with the rocking of their boats all the way into the air and then down to the depths, continuous. Glissando.

You need help, Dad. My son said to me, storm clouds for eyes. You’re not well. I can’t—I can’t come anymore. Not with the kids. Not—I’m sorry. I can’t listen any longer. I can’t keep hearing about the dead. As if I wanted his song! As if I wanted this rope between us! As if my heart isn’t bruising against my rib bones, straining with a bit in its mouth, pleading for me to release the pressure. He chose me. Sometimes, when the homeless shelter kicks me out for being belligerent, and when the street vagrants won’t share their fires, I’m pulled back to the little stretch of road past the county line to trace the spot where he shattered to bits. With a gnarled rock, I scratch the shape of his body into the pavement. I spend a lot of time on his head—combed hair and full mouth—getting everything right. Just so. It seems necessary, somehow. And if I listen in the pauses of my etchings, in these moments of rustling roadside grasses and birds feeding their young, I don’t hear his verses anymore, but the very stirrings of mine. My first ever song, disparate and craving to be whole.

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One day, once I figure out how to break the bond, sever the tether, leave behind the body to bloom and bloat for the vultures, I hope my son will listen to me in that special way of his, head tipped back, body a long bow——as if the act of acknowledgement was its own magic— hearing the subtle gliding of my heart, note-tonote, pitch-to-pitch, reaching out to dance with his.

Jared Povanda

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We’re Never Coming Back Again Asher

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What It Is and How to Use It

My father attempted to kill himself three times. He once, you know, the electric socket. The lights went out because of the short. He also tried hanging himself, and it’s just lucky the nail was loose. I was about eight or nine. There wasn’t a single day I didn’t come home shaking. & I was out walking the dog last night when I heard a boom. Everywhere I looked I saw an overdose of light. My first thought was, I hope nobody’s child is dead. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. At any given moment, shanghaied sailors are emptying buckets – buckets and buckets – of wet guts over the side for the scavenger birds that follow. & The face becomes a landscape. What’s more interesting than the face? So much to see in the face, not only a maze of barbed wire and the stains left by Zyklon B, but also tombstones being toppled over or spray painted with swastikas, my eyes, meanwhile, burning from the exertion required to hold back tears. & A short, stocky woman with the blunt features of an Eastern European peasant appears in the doorway, drying her hands on her apron. It’s my mother but it doesn’t look like my mother. She says that’s because memories occur personally to each of us. And so I may only think I remember birds cawing and the creep of shadows across the sky and smiling teenage boys raising their arms in the Nazi salute for the photographer. Doesn’t mean it’s not important. On a scale of 1-10, the pain is a 5, maybe a 6. Howie Good

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Hunger

I dream of you when nights are restless, when neither you nor I may still our hunger. Poor cat, black and white, limping from the hip up the stone steps to an empty house. Give me your paw for this empty palm. We’ll manage the endgame together— one step, then another. I dream your eyes are mine and consider the lonely distances as if they were there forever, and teach you to drink coffee and listen to your mice, and teach you to drink coffee and listen to your mice. Scott Elder

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Impenetrable Forest (Cover Image) ReVerse Butcher

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Coexistence with Nature

Chet showed me a picture of a black bear in his driveway. Unfortunately, it was behind the wheel of an SUV. Having only a learner’s permit, a licensed driver needed to accompany it but no one volunteered. Chet’s taken this coexistence thing too far. There are elk in the dishwasher and opossums in the microwave. Even when otters yell, “Marco! Polo!” from the pool, the manatee won’t get out of the bath. Chipmunks play cards into the wee hours and deer won’t turn the stereo down despite numerous visits from the cops. Raccoons drink milk straight from the carton. Rabbits eat the last of the cereal. The mountain lion borrows shirts without asking, tossing them on a moose’s antlers when done. Chet’s porcupine has an unhealthy obsession with a hairbrush. The beaver’s orthodontist bills emptied coyote’s college fund and left wolverine without a rented tux for the senior prom. Don’t get me started about the crows. Jon Wesick

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Things That Exist Behind Glass

Maybe there are plants on the windowsill. Maybe the ledge is made of terracotta tile; to give the apartment a bygone-era air; and to make the dust more difficult to spot. Maybe the plants are bought at the dollar-store. Maybe they are a family heirloom. Maybe they are grown from seed. Maybe they are classified as succulents: things flowering, things that can eke out a living, things which are phallic. Maybe they are spider plants designed to remove toxins from the air, like carbon dioxide and curse words. Maybe they are potted herbs, bought from the grocery store, that perfume the air when watered, and cause pangs of guilt when the delivery guy turns up with take-out. Maybe the culinary game is stepped-up. Maybe they tremble when cuttings are taken.

Maybe everything living thing on Earth causes pain to something else, in order to survive.

Maybe there is a cityscape beyond. Maybe it sings a dawn chorus of emergency sirens, and people who pull knives on other people in the heat.

Liz Wride

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Festival Preparations

Cat on the wall by the lane beneath a tree. A man’s shoulders move below, head bowed, skinning and paunching a goat hung from a branch. A young boy steps sideways to get a better look as a youth appears straddling another goat. Its rump and tethered legs shudder, unable to submit. It has seen and smelt the other’s death. His weight and the rope allow his shoulders and upper arms to work the knife. A red arc towards the boy’s feet, rattling hooves. No one was invited. Chris Hardy

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Rabbit Traps

There is a kind of sunlight that exists only in October. Gold, pure, clear, cool. It beautified all it touched, even the discarded beer cans and soggy newspapers nestled among tree roots. Angela walked within the wood, eyes wide and mind blank, the scene pasting itself in the scrapbook of her memory. The ring on the third finger of her left hand glinted golden, as though the light had twined itself around her digit. A rabbit skittered from the undergrowth and darted across the path in front of her, fleeing from some unseen danger. # “So, when will we be hearing the patter of tiny feet?” the woman from the HR department asked Angela. “Oh, we don’t want children,” Angela said coolly. The woman tutted. “You’ll change your mind. Better be quick, you’ve not much time left,” she fussed, glancing at her watch as if it were counting down the seconds of Angela’s remaining fertile days. “Ooh, I’m late!” she cried, and scurried off before Angela could say I won’t change

my mind or fuck off you interfering cow. # Angela got off the bus a stop early. Some red-eyed kid was lying in the aisle screaming “I wanna go hoooooooooooome!” While powerless Mummy whispered platitudes and the rest of the bus passengers glared or ignored.

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The sun was hiding behind grey shape-shifting clouds and the light was sullen, the air was cool and moisture rose from the leaves and grasses, tinting the world blue. The trees still wore their summer greens, a few now trimmed with lacy yellow. The rabbits darted in and out of her vision, needling through brambles and dead leaves and tree trunks. Angela wondered how many there were, if there were infinite rabbits in the woods or just two or three playing hide-and-seek. # Dinner with the in-laws. Mother-in-Law didn’t like the white roses set in the middle of the table. Too funereal. Angela and Julian made commiserating faces as his mother droned on about his older, flawless brother, proud father to a clutch of spoiled, petulant brats who kicked Julian’s shins and threw pebbles at Angela. “So when are you going to give me a grandchild?” Mother-in-Law demanded as dessert was served. “I’ll pick one up from the supermarket later,” Julian scythed. “Do you want a boy or a girl?” Angela went on a fictitious quest to retrieve her dropped spoon so they wouldn’t see her sniggering. Mother-in-Law sulked over the fruit tarts and complained that the cream was turning sour. # “There was an article in the paper saying that women who delay motherhood are more likely to suffer from depression,” the neighbour informed Angela over the garden fence.

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“I’m not delaying it, I’m avoiding it altogether,” Angela said testily. Serendipitously, next doors’ little girl – blonde, hair in plaits, clad in frilly pink – pulled up a plastic flamingo garden ornament and began swiping at a football with it. Mum twittered in alarm and Angela made good her escape. # Angela and Julian walked in the woods. It was quiet, the only noise the occasional rustle of the leaves underfoot undertone of the cars on the nearby road as they droned past. The teenage lads came through the woods in a cavalcade of mountain bikes and careless insults flung at one another, popping wheelies and smirking at each failure. The rabbits fled for cover. Angela and Julian stood to one side and watched them go past, spitting and swearing, until one lad’s wheel got caught in a rabbit hole and sent him hurtling over the handlebars to land, hard, on soggy ground. His mates pedalled off, unwilling to risk a brush with true hurt. Julian and Angela picked him up, dusted him off. He was only bruised, his front wheel bent. He limped off, cowed, pushing his bike. Julian reached for Angela’s hand and they went home. # Angela’s sister Ruth was visiting with Angela’s niece, Sophie. They walked through town, Ruth using the baby’s buggy as a battering ram, parting the pedestrians like so much splintered wood. Angela swerved off to take the path through the wood and her sister followed her, her niece watching the sky change from where she lay, cocooned. Ruth trailed

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behind, hampered by the pram and sulking because Angela hadn’t paid proper obeisance to Sophie, the baby-goddess. The keening ripped through the air. Ruth blanched and the baby let out a wail of sympathy. Angela strode forward. “It’s a rabbit,” she called to Ruth, who was standing, frozen with fear. She found it near the main path. Some sod had set a snare, and the wire was strangling its left hind leg. Blood was spattered on brown leaves and the rabbit’s brown fur. Angela seized it by the scruff of its neck and tugged the wooden peg of the snare out of the ground with her free hand. The rabbit kicked, squealing, frighteningly strong and vicious. It was all Angela could do to slip the wire from its leg before it tore itself free and vanished into the gloaming. Sophie began to wail, and Ruth, face pasty, turned to her idol. Angela wrapped the wire round the stake, blood tattooing her hands. “Good job we were here. That rabbit would have bitten its own leg off, I could see it had been gnawing at its flesh,” Angela remarked. Ruth turned to one side and was violently sick. Sophie forgot her woes and giggled at the unfamiliar sound. Angela smiled wryly and turned away, watching as the light faded and the autumn chill settled in for the night.

Carys Crossen

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Patti Smith’s Tits

“Patti had really big boobs, a lot of people don't realize that. She was extremely well endowed.”- Bebe Buell “She was wearing a sort of baggy white T-shirt that really accented her breasts. Patti has big breasts.” - Victor Bockris

you were joan of arc burning holy you were rimbaud orphan by the river you were the first gay boy god made and i fell for you you were a pigeon clinging to a fire escape five floors up watching night roll in beneath you like smoke you were all of these and none but always more than two hard rocks embedded in a rail thin chest. Arielle Burgdorf

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Wet Dream J.A. Pak

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The smell of starlight

Bottle of blueberry wine pressed fresh unsugared. Tender teeth can’t take the berries we pick in the wild. Sip chilled with your warm hand resting above my knee I call to constellations. Every twinkle the north star. Every line of three Orion’s belt. Astronomers won’t be pleased, but you throw your head back and laugh like I’ve never heard before. Manahil Bandukwala

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Tales From A Bar

A bar. Late night, like an Edward Hopper painting. A student sits alone, ghosts of four cocktails surrounding him. Friends are gone, no one to hear stories of his past. Perhaps this is good. He’s told them over, has seen it in their faces. Flesh-worn disgust. He should go home, but thinks of his father’s words. Criticisms unfurled. Weak, disorganized, selfish. Give up writing. Be a lawyer. Criticisms are especially sharp in bed. He orders an Amaretto Sour. He relishes the sweetness, fleeting, beautiful. Motherly, even. He smiles at the jukebox, pulsing pink with song. He’ll have a sixth drink soon.

Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri

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Stars are like bullet holes

littering a somber warm tent. Candle light bleeds through midnight blue canvas where galaxies sit & sip their coco. Outside staring up at the inside we draw constellations as if divine messages were written with AK47s. Nicholas Boyer

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Losing the Elephant

For years my wife and I hid the last living elephant on earth in our home. We stole her from a traveling circus when she was smaller than a Volkswagen. Once fully grown she could flatten a wall with a careless hip, send us reeling with the flap of an ear. But we knew she was really a giant soap bubble and the world a sharp pin. We trusted no one and taught her the same. We painted a keyboard and candelabra on her side, trained her to stand motionless when the door belled. It was tricky when friends wanted an old-fashioned singalong or relatives stayed the night. But we managed to defy the odds. Till Fate tired of our poaching. Many new moon nights we’d unhouse her to scratch against the backyard oak. The one time we trusted clouds, a full moon banged into the clear. It looked like the barrel of a firing gun. They came for her before dawn. Our hearts felt her whole bulk when she balked at the ramp, her upraised trunk spewing out stars. They will mark, forever, her passing.

David Henson

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Baghdad Zoo

After Elaine Christie

“Americans have shown that they won’t see bloody war movies about Iraq in large numbers, and talky, history-driven plays about war can have a hard time too,” “But I think exploring the human content of war onstage has a chance. The emotional quotient is absolutely critical.” - Bob Boyett

There was a place in the municipal cosmos where bomb craters became bird baths and garlands of foxes slept in tyres. At Baghdad zoo you could hear music in a tiger’s eye you could roam the Serengeti there as far away as Babylon and Mars. A sniper made an exploding rainbow he shot a macaw confused on the wire nothing personal just war and boredom. At Baghdad zoo a wolf could have left its enclosure he thought the moon had given up on him jailed in ribs the heart packs up like a market watch. It is easy to herd kept animals back to where they belong, they are nothing but eyes floating like dead planets here in the cosmos of Iraq it is the end of worlds. Anthony Owen

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Link Fabio Sassi

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The Moon

So, why do wolves howl at the moon? Has no-one told them It’s just a large lump of rock, pounded by time’s anger. A lost wanderer, ankle-deep in stagnant dust, Held naked by its blue-clad neighbour And fried in the sun’s day, frozen in his night. It turns one blind eye towards us, Seeing nothing, While the other looks away. Jim Conwell

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The Puffin’s Egg

A whippet found Ben under the cliff. The salt wind bit the dog’s ribs as she whimpered at the boy’s warm body. Tilly was tapping the banisters with her pink pen when the girlfriend of the man who owned the whippet knocked on their front door. The sound Ben and Tilly’s mother made was a cow, a stag, a made-up thing. Now voices are whispers, hands pat Tilly’s head, and eyes look somewhere else. Not Ben’s eyes, though, which closed and in a bed that beeps and smells of cleaning. Tilly is under the cliff. What Tilly knows is this: if you stand on the beach and look up at the cliff it looks like brick-work, cracks are solid and ledges are safe. When you’re on it, it is made of sand. The seagull calls to remind her this is true. Tilly shakes the seagull’s call from her ears and tongues her salt-wet hair from her lips. She steps from her shoes. Tilly’s toe grips the ridge, her hand grabs the root of a gorse bush. A spine jabs a red jewel from her wrist and it turns to a tear that trickles, sticky, inside her cuff. She will lick it clean later. She is level now with the rabbit hole that Ben had shown her, grudgingly, through his binoculars. The rabbit hole where the puffin had laid her egg. Sunlight draws up the cliff. A soft gleam, pale and lilac, and Tilly knows it. The single egg on a bed of bracken, proud in its sunken hole. Ben’s egg. The puffin’s egg. Tilly gasps. The black and white bird gives no heat, no movement. Its rainbow beak has a yellow flower of folded flesh at each corner, and a feather-heavy brow sagged over sad eyes. Tilly blinks. The puffin doesn’t. Tilly smiles. The puffin lifts her wings.

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Tilly thinks of Ben’s fingers, heavy and warm, and of placing this egg, vibrant and peaceful, into his hand. Their mother’s tears will turn to joy. Ben will wake and go home and this egg will rest on his bookcase with his giant brachiopod and Jurassic coral collection. She leaves her shoes at the bottom of the cliff and walks home. She will run this puffin’s feather across his fingers and say, “Wake up soon, Ben. Wake up and watch the baby puffin hatch.”

Isla Telford

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The Last Prayer of Aparicio in the Jaws of the Cougar

I. Behind the rock that time has chiseled in the shape of a saint’s head, thinner than the rest, elongated as if by a force from the skies, just past the curve of what here passes for a trail, in the dappled shade of the chaparral: there you were, waiting to jump, pounce and seize. But the first blow was not yours; a thought preceded it, quick like mariposa, ridiculous even in its fallible logic: if destiny is indeed written in a name, “Aparicio” should not belong to this migrant biped but to you, onza of the legends, quitamiztli of the high plains, or maybe just the latest of a brood like any other among the gorges, stones and cacti of your world — but here, now, in front of me, so powerful in your four-legged stance to call to the empty mind of your human prey a single phrase, a prayer: cougar, be quick. II. Be quick, cougar, to end this march in the volatile dust of the canyon leading home — that poor weave of iron and rotten wood in the hollow painted with myrtle and creosote, a place that you could have visited a hundred times in the hundred nights of my one-eyed sleep, my other eye fixed on the intrusive evening crawling through the cracks, between the boards twisted by the heat or by the simple effort to give shelter from the wind, from the unfinished darkness of the night, from the carnivorous intentions of those like you, amounting to hunger, olfaction, brute sheets of muscles tensed and extended. And still you never knocked on that flimsy door: maybe you got close to it, when my exhausted reek came stronger to your nostrils, but you refrained from delivering

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the resolute blow that would have instantly cancelled it and opened a crack on the lid of stars in the sky: you didn’t do it. III. You waited for the moment of greatest irony: in clear daylight you appeared to Aparicio like a trick divine, a memory of the days when you were sacred to the Aztec and your roar called the attention of the plumed god to human sacrifice. On this afternoon of light and strain you hid behind the bend of brush and stone, when the returning migrant’s only fear was to meet the upright, suited figure of a DEA agent (nothing fancy, sacred puma: this is what they call the valiant fighters of the cartels, and Aparicio would be the first to celebrate them if the hand that feeds him weren’t that of their enemy). You wanted to surprise this clay-faced little man, maybe warned by the sweet tang of sensimilla that insisted on gripping him even after the toil of a common day that your hot breath transformed into the fatal step over the ridge of a barranca. IV. Not too far to the right, toward the slope that leads back to the illegal plantation, the rusty and dirt-covered wreck of a ’38 Chevy seems to crouch in the brush almost as if ready to pounce on you, on me, on our limbs now so deeply entangled that the only mark to distinguish them is the red sheen of vital fluids — because ours is a simple relationship: I bleed, you devour. The truck’s wide-eyed lights stare without seeing, primordial trick of a fate that may regard a predator’s hunger more than the residual days of a laborer. If only in place of that mechanical skeleton there stood the neon altar of the gracious Virgin, maybe your sacred creature’s memory would stop you,

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moving you to stop these claws from scouring this toil-bent back of mine; but they say she’s gone from Guadalupe, kidnapped by the Cancun cartel, forced to perform miracles for tourists. V. The fangs sink into my neck like a kiss from a clumsy novice of passion, the sun dips in the ocean like a rotund child in orange-colored trunks who has finally decided to dare the shiver of the currents and the sting of the spray: but the sacred beauty of the moment fades now that my flesh sees itself from a distance, arms separated not just by a torso but also by a few yards of dust and fury; and suddenly it occurs to me that in order to be here, to feel this beast’s rank snort in my face, I had to pay a stiff toll on Devil’s Highway, along the bones of those who tried before me with no success, listening to the hyena-like cackles of the coyotes at the wheel — from the river Yaqui to the sands of Sonora to Arizona with thirst and hunger as my sole companions, counting the seconds, thanking them for the blissful absence of the Migra — and all of this to end up here, on the ridge of a canyon like many others, repast of a puma hungry like no other. VI. It might be indifferent to you, intent as you are on offering my newly scattered limbs to your digestive system and my soul to the gods who govern you; but you are forcing me to say goodbye to my wife, beautiful Presencia of ochre and obsidian, and to my girl Carnacion, her features still vaguely unformed — how many jokes at the village about this syngamy of names: the elderly called us Trinidad and we, shy with pride, thought our ties could resist by a mere enchantment of syllables never spoken aloud but silently sung by our secret music. How many days have gone from the evening when

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Presencia stood before me, quinceanera, more radiant than the Virgin who smiled among the ruffles from the shady slope of her newborn bosom, and daringly asked me to lead her in dance to the tune of her song: I would sing it to you, cougar, if only you had left me a throat. VII. Now there remains only their absence in this dust scrawled by the exclamation points of your claws and the harmless circles of your pads, looking like drawings of children unaware of the dangers hidden in any strange new track on their path: not so far from the finger that was possibly pointing at it one track is etched on the ground, clear and deep, giving shelter from the night to a rattlesnake that has wrapped its diamond coils inside a dream — the same one that gave me strength until now, coating the planks of the hut in the radiance of a white corn dinner around the chipped table in the old kitchen at home. You’d find it surprising, but a man’s longing for his loved ones grows in inverse proportion to what remains of his body after the assault of the beast that saw him as prey: it might be a law of nature, but it’s not in the nature of the migrant to stop and observe what happens, busy as he is trying to stop it from happening. VIII. And yet it happened, or rather it’s in progress, this unfair exchange between us; and while I’m bleeding to death I can’t help but think how congenial all this is to this land, so close to home in its fragrances and in the roll of its desert but finally elusive, like a planet orbiting the dream of a new life. I got here, thirsty for fluids and hopes, with the seed of the vaguest intention: I would honor the memory of the great Murieta, El Famoso, and of his faraway life of just crime: hero of Sonora, terror of California, violent avenger of wrongs, one of the four Joaquins

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hunted like beasts under the spell of a name: cougar or criminal, I know you understand. Bur perhaps you ignore, while you devour, that even the most heroic designs are confined, and that when a man has to accept this day for the good reason that the next one won’t dawn he must abandon them at the border of his yesterday. IX. Perhaps, then, it is not by chance that what I see now, etched behind these cataracts of dust and blood, is the perfect dark spring of Presencia, black as the water of an onyx quarry in a rare moonless night, her timorous offering on the old white tablecloth stretched on the ground of the little hollow where, embraced by ocotillo, paloverde and mesquite and guarded by the stern towers of cardon, I first brought my lips to hers, drinking their sap. Or maybe the delight of your hunger is simply transporting me to places more used to the entwining than to the rending of limbs; and their renunciation becomes this surrender. The difference, as always, is all in the pain: but what the scattered strands of my nerves are conveying is nothing compared to that black, to that white, to the succor still alive within me while I die — and this is why my prayer has changed: cougar, take your time. Stefano Bortolussi

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Contributors

Derek Andersen is an Illinois Wesleyan alum, working as a copywriter in Chicago. His poetry has appeared on WinningWriters.com. Asher is a sculptor and itinerant photographer. retech.org Marie BalĂŠo is a French writer born in 1990. She began writing fiction and poetry in 2017. Her work has been nominated for a Best of the Net award (2017 and 2018) and for Best Microfiction (2018) and Best Small Fictions (2018), and her poems and stories have appeared in Passages North, Yemassee, Litro, Lunch Ticket, Tahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere. She is an editor for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. Marie grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and Oslo, Norway. mariebaleo.com Manahil Bandukwala is a poet and artist. Her chapbook, Pipe Rose, came out with battleaxe press in 2018. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Puritan, Room Magazine, Bywords.ca, Coven Editions, Soliloquies Anthology, and others. She is on the editorial teams of In/Words and Canthius. See more of her work at manahils.com Stefano Bortolussi is a bilingual poet, novelist and literary translator. In his native Italy he has published three poetry collections (Ipotesi di caldo, 2001; Califia, 2014; I labili confini, 2016) and four novels (Fuor d'acqua, 2004; Fuoritempo, 2007; Verso dove si va per questa strada, 2013; Billy & Coyote, 2017). His poetry also appeared in a variety of Italian and international magazines, including VersoDove, Schema, Interno Poesia, Atelier, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake, Words for the Wild, Ovunque Siamo, The Ekphrastic Review, Three Drops from a Cauldron. Nicholas Boyer is a poet, short story author from Buffalo, NY. After serving 6 years in the USAF, Nicholas is currently a student at SUNY Buffalo State College, where he studies philosophy and English. Other work by Nicholas can be found in Ghost City Press. Melanie Branton is a spoken word artist and part-time English lecturer from North Somerset. She has been published in journals including Bare Fiction, The Frogmore Papers and Atrium. Her collections are Can You See Where I'm Coming From? (Burning Eye, 2018) and My Cloth-Eared Heart (Oversteps, 2017). Arielle Burgdorf is a writer from Washington, D.C. pursuing MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University. You can find her work in Crab Fat Magazine, many gendered mothers, Horse Less Press, and elsewhere

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Neil Clarkson had his first poetry collection, Build You Again from Wood, published by Calder Valley Poetry in February 2017. His work has been published in magazines such as Pennine Platform and Obsessed by Pipework. He has won or been a prize-winner in competitions such as the Adoption Matters North West poetry competition and Didsbury Arts Festival competition. Jim Conwell’s parents were economic migrants from the rural west of Ireland and he was born, and has lived most of this life, in various parts of London. He has worked as a psychotherapist for nearly 35 years. He currently has had poems published in various magazines and has had two poems shortlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize. Carys Crossen has been writing stories since she was nine years old. Her first monograph is forthcoming from University of Wales Press, and her fiction has been published by Mother’s Milk Books, Dear Damsels, Three Drops Press, Cauldron Anthology, Blink Ink, Paragraph Planet, The First Line journal and others. She lives in Manchester, UK, with her husband. Scott Elder‘s work has appeared in several magazines and journals. His poems have been placed or commended in the Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2016, the Guernsey International Poetry Prize 2018, the Bristol Poetry Prize 2018, the Poetry on the Lake Prize 2018, Buzzwords Poetry Competition 2018, and shortlisted in the Fish Poetry Prize 2017 and the Plough Prize 2017. Publications: Breaking Away (Poetry Salzburg, 2015), Part of the Dark (Dempsey & Windle, 2017). Howie Good's latest collections are I'm Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submissions Press. Chris Hardy’s poems have been widely published in magazines, anthologies and online. He is a musician, in LiTTLe MACHiNe, performing settings of well-known poems. The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world. (Carol Ann Duffy). His fourth collection, Sunshine at the end of the world was published in August 2017 by Indigo Dreams. A guitarist as well as a poet Chris Hardy consistently hits the right note, never hits a false note. Roger McGough. David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Peoria, Illinois. His work has been nominated for a Best of the Net and has appeared in numerous print and online journals including Gravel, Moonpark Review, Bull and Cross, Lost Balloon, The Fiction Pool and Literally Stories. His website is writings217.wordpress.com. His Twitter is @annalou8.

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December Lace is a former professional wrestler and pinup model. She has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Molotov Cocktail, Pussy Magic Lit, Lonesome October, Awkward Mermaid and Rhythm & Bones’ YANYR Anthology as well as the forthcoming The Cabinet of Heed and Three Drops From A Cauldron, among others. She loves horror movies and can be found on Twitter @TheMissDecember or in the obscure bookshops of Chicago. Marya Layth is an emerging voice whose poetry has been published in the fantasy anthology Fireflies & Fairy Dust and poetry platform Introspective Collective. When she is not writing, she is enduring moody glances from her cat in New Jersey and creating content for her shop, The Poetic Forest, where she sells illustrated poetry prints that plant trees in heavily deforested and underdeveloped nations. Antony Owen is writer known for his peace poetry which has received domestic and international critical acclaim. His last collection, The Nagasaki Elder was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award (2017). His next collection, The Unknown Civilian will be launched by Knives Forks & Spoons Press in November 2019 and the poem published here will be part of that collection. J.A. Pak’s writing has been published in Luna Luna, Joyland, Entropy, 7x7, Unbroken Journal, Queen Mob’s Tearoom etc. More of her work can be read and seen at Triple Eight Palace of Dreams & Happiness. Jared Povanda is a writer, freelance editor, and avid reader from upstate New York. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in CHEAP POP, briars lit, SOFT CARTEL, Silver Needle Press, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere. The winner of multiple literary awards, he also holds a B.A. from Ithaca College in Creative Writing. Ben Ray is a young poet from the borders of Wales whose second collection, What I heard on the Last Cassette Player in the World, will be released with Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2019. His work has been published in various journals and he hosts poetry workshops and shows around the UK, including at the upcoming 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Find out more about him at: benray.co.uk ReVerse Butcher is a multi-disciplinary artist with focuses in making unique artist’s books, collages, visual art, writing & performance. She will use any medium necessary to engage and subvert reality until it is less dull and oppressive. When she grows up she wants to be a well-read recluse. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia. Kevin A. Risner has two short poetry collections available: My Ear is a Sieve (Bottlecap Press, 2017) and Lucid (The Poetry Annals, 2018). His other work can be found online in Rise Up Review, L'Ephemere Review, Ghost City Review, Noble / Gas Qtrly , and others. He is writing instructor and ESL Coordinator at the Cleveland Institute of Art. His blog is here: krisner.wordpress.com. His Twitter handle is @mr_december.

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Fabio Sassi makes photos and acrylics. He uses tiny objects and discarded stuff. He often puts a quirky twist to his subjects or employs an unusual perspective that gives a new angle of view. He enjoys taking the everyday and ordinary and framing it in a different way. Fabio lives in Bologna, Italy. His work can be viewed at fabiosassi.foliohd.com Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Sinkhole Mag, Gravel Magazine, 100 Word Story, and Ink In Thirds. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. Kylie Supski is a Polish-Australian poet, playwright & photographer. She is greatly concerned with using art as a method of speaking out about social, economic and political inequality. Many of Kylie’s poems discuss her experiences as a transgender woman. In 2016 she was the winner of the Melbourne Spoken Word Prize. Kylie is passionate about personal autonomy and exploring the beauty of being alive. Isla Telford lives in Staffordshire, UK. She works freelance in arts management in socially engaged arts projects in, mainly, Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. Mary Thompson lives in London, where she works as a freelance teacher. Her work has recently featured in journals and competitions including Flash 500, Fish Short Memoir, Ink in Thirds, Retreat West, Reflex Fiction, Flashflood, Ellipsis Zine, the Cabinet of Heed, Memoir Mixtapes, Atticus Review, Spelk, Firewords, Fictive Dream, Funicular Magazine, Ghost Parachute, Vamp Cat Magazine, LISP and Cafe Irreal, and is forthcoming at Literary Orphans. She is a first reader for Craft Literary Journal. Jennifer Vaknine was born in Austin, TX and keeps moving back to NYC. She's been published in Three Line Poetry Review. Author of Daylight, a micro-chapbook published by Ghost City Press in 2018, Visar writes poems that have appeared in isacoustic press, kalahari review, African Writer etc. Fiction forthcoming in the Gerald Kraak Anthology. Twitter: rabiutemidayo Jon Wesick is a regional editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published hundreds of poems and stories in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Metal Scratches, Pearl, Slipstream, Space and Time, Tales of the Talisman, and Zahir. He has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize; won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest; placed second in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists Contest and shared third place in the 2017 Rhysling Award’s short poem category. Jon is the author of the poetry collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom as well as several novels and most recently the short-story collection The Alchemist’s Grandson Changes His Name. jonwesick.com

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Patrick Williamson lives near Paris. Recent poems in I am not a silent poet, And Other Poems, Blue Nib Press, Paris LitUp, International Times, and Mediterranean Poetry. Latest collection: Traversi (English-Italian, Samuele Editore), and, previously, note Gifted (Corrupt Press), and Locked in, or out? (The Red Ceilings Press). He is the editor and translator of The Parley Tree, An Anthology of Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications). Founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca. Bill Wolak has just published his fifteenth book of poetry entitled The Nakedness Defense with Ekstasis Editions. His collages have appeared recently in Naked in New Hope 2018, the 2019 Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Poetic Illusion, The Riverside Gallery, Hackensack, NJ, the 2019 Dirty Show in Detroit, 2018 The Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, and The 2018 Montreal Erotic Art Festival. Liz Wride is a writer from Wales, UK. Her short fiction has recently appeared in Turnpike Magazine, Pop To.. and Okay Donkey. In 2015, her short fiction ‘Potato’ was shortlisted for ELLE UK’s Talent Awards. Her childhood spend on a farm, with sheep, means she knows all too well of Riggwelter.

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Acknowledgements

‘Hunger’ by Scott Elder was first published in his debut collection Part of the Dark (Dempsey & Windle 2017). ‘Losing the Elephant’ by David Henson is based on his own lined poem published in Descant magazine some twenty-five years ago. ‘Baghdad Zoo’ by Antony Owen appears in his forthcoming collection The Unknown Civilian (Knives Forks & Spoons Press, November 2019). ‘The Puffin’s Egg’ by Isla Telford was longlisted in the Winter 2018 TSS Flash Fiction competition.

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ISSUE #24 COMING AUGUST 2019

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Profile for Riggwelter

Riggwelter #23  

Welcome to the twenty-third issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work from: Derek Andersen, Asher, Marie Baléo, Manahil B...

Riggwelter #23  

Welcome to the twenty-third issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work from: Derek Andersen, Asher, Marie Baléo, Manahil B...

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