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THE COLUMBIA REVIEW Vol. 101 | Issue 1 | Fall 2019


fall 2019

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the columbia review

Butterflies in Your Stomach Grant Pace

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An Editors’ Note Постмодернизм может очаровать каждого — даже вас. - David Ehmcke Keeping the beatnik turtleneck tradition alive. “after Frank Stanford”

- Sofia Montrone - Maddie Woda

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contents What Was the National

Daniel Poppick

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Three Etudes on Flimsy Simulacra

Jay Hopler

9

hd power shovel/the crystal and the image

Kirsten Ihns

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[In this one the townspeople in their strokable hat mitten and scarf sets admit my shovel was stolen and I need to plant garlic]

Ellen Boyette

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[In this one of a severed twig in water rim I place to frond from voodoo doll dropped in ice the doll now grown I hibernate maligned]

Ellen Boyette

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from Jewel Box

Toby Altman

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July Notebook (2017)

Daniel Poppick

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a women

Vanes s a Roveto

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are you there, [ ]? it’s me, Alyssa Moore page 1 of many

Alyssa Moore

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Hell 3

Daniel Poppick

23

Estranged

Petro Moys aenko

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cyan then magenta then orange then then

Kirsten Ihns

25

The Banana Slug Club

Kaylie Saidin

27

The Work

Matthew Girolami

31

Ovid Among the Birds of Tomis

J o s e p h Fa s a n o

33

The poet is survived by his wife and two daughters

Ja n e Zw a r t

34

W :: {I Just} Play it Cool

Rosebud Ben-Oni

36

74

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vol 101

issue 1

fall 2019

from Melismas

Marlon Hacla tr. K r i s t i n e O n g M u s l i m

37

Blind Alley

N o a h Wa r r e n

41

Discover Your DNA Story (3)

K i k i Pe t r o s i n o

42

Discover Your DNA Story (5)

K i k i Pe t r o s i n o

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[David renounced my earthly pleasures]

Pe r r y Pa r s o n s

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Beside Myself, Rehearsal

Mia Kang

47

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WHAT WAS THE NATIONAL Daniel Poppick

A green vein. Dumb band. The old bones made mobile. A silver sound. Reading “In the great snowfall before the bomb� after listening to several songs by Tears for Fears. A hundred years. The royal we. Walking through a park in darkness, the Breeders stomping on his ears. A sea redacted from the sea. That shot in Roman Holiday where you witness the princess lose her shoe. A ship with wind inside the sails. A thumb that smears my laughter through the soil. A weed grown tall.

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Three Etudes on Flimsy Simulacra Jay Hopler

1/ Cloud-on-cloud action so chaste Even the sky’s lost interest. & the sun— Who wouldn’t get dark This early, all that nonsense Going on— What’s next? Some city-dimmed starLight peepshow, its marquee a dark Of broken bulbs? 2/ To say nothing of LARPers Who, in lieu of tunics, use red-checked Picnic tablecloths & don dented colanders— O, helmets of Achilles!—gifts from the mothers Of war. From the mothers Of peace, a little lint in the bellybutton. 3/ O, to drive the milk road Of the moon upon the water! But the moon lays no road. & yet, is not the water Lit? An electricity Of stars in dim reflection—

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hd power shovel/the crystal and the image Kirsten Ihns

seashell questions chrome pony at the seashore are you my imperator i do not understand where you are i come instead to a kitten, an egg, a new vocoder

i am crying because i am so glad that you have come back i searched for you everywhere

how do you like your existence -glaucous the cry image: exits the instant endlessly splitting exits the mockingbird something gets out through the depth of field how could i be your? i am a the crystal looked and looked and did not see a thing i can’t have any and she wastes the ones she is

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your prowess is an iridescent light a february bounce-house fervent and pitiless in its loyalty i want to be dedicated to producing clean vinyl she sells clean vinyl by the sea shore it has a ring put the automata on the circuit coexistence put the big dryer on “hot� its hairball was large and multilobate immaculate, he washed me when my knowledge was not exhaustive the cry stall is a physical business houses beasts and paronoma she shells sea shells and leaves the mollusks on the rocks

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I was so out of it dizzying macramé in the hemisphere for ages. A plastic finger greases its way towards the decalage then Edibles on the glass table. Paid someone’s way to the market and the fattened hens preened my sensibilities albatross-wards though No the young men said all aflurry you musn’t touch that and touched I was and fell I did to scales in bitter sun. In this one the maker of the abacus took the young huntsman down to the bank and sieved the silver minnows minnowing away. Away I say collecting my scales minnowing away a gown’s tears—shears limping away from morning glories no Not again today—an idler puts her mouth around a red sucker and wild go the men like roe the otherwise milewalked townspeople Collect the cat tails I drop—the flowergirls to every object I marry—petunias on a sand dune get it—leverage— Where art thou in the glitching text box tethered to a metal barrette? O young men young young soldiers tightening the neon Bands around these braces antiquated, haven’t we been here nevermind. I writ it with a pit and got flayed via rayon.

Ellen Boyette

[In this one the townspeople in their strokable hat mitten and scarf sets admit my shovel was stolen and I need to plant garlic]

the columbia review


Loathsome sanctity the whirl of hair found in the shower—devices powered down and found goes off the find my friends locale. It was research I swear I swear to other the letter opener unheld for its potential weaponry and that is how objects point and go in love. In love I spoke meat to liquid—emptied it—did not conceive. Could not conceive the ream the letter opener incubated wood Pulp powdered. Believe if you take into the nose a line of attention crushed the brain results in undetectable loss of blood and Thus the young men place in me the plugs post shower—the rind of fat that gives the meat percentage-- where I’m at—resting Bitch face—loathsome rampant factory hearts with text to coo can crush to powder Evangeline—a letter opener could do anything But speak placating pitch—I won’t be rich—they say in the electric chair potential weaponry was found in his defense—tumor locale In lobe so the story goes how objects point and love percentage. Rank. Sanctity so vintage—name the price—the ransom note to plug The whirl. Strange I heard the girl say the ratio of leg to torso iced in Marmot cloak—a boat search would do—negate locale—find The young men say your friends—there’s wind and factories again I’m in—an opener. Can. Professional shift closer she was not seen The coroner said again—then ad for Corona—the townspeople crowned—we all were--- at birth—professionally spanked to breath.

Ellen Boyette

[In this one of a severed twig in water rim I place to frond from voodoo doll dropped in ice the doll now grown I hibernate maligned]

fall 2019

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from Jewel Box Toby Altman

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Portrait of the vault as an extensive aperture, open or closed

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a b e a s t t h at l o v e s a n dt h u s d e vo u r s t i m e

t h r o w n o p e n d u r i n g b u s i n e s s h o u r s

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JULY NOTEBOOK (2017) Daniel Poppick 1. What is music’s problem?

2. The rhythm of his footsteps loaded with a heavy eloquence. This eloquence tools over the new rooms.

3. I wake and walk from my offices into an idiotic eloquence, dumb music I nonetheless love.

4. In Paradise Lost, description serves to account for such numinous garbage fire. Milton catalogs the many rivers of hell, demonstrating just how much freight might move through them. The only thing bigger than the idea of hell is its shape; how the flame catches your face when you see it. Otherwise your face is just your face. 5. Your face as musical escalator: imitation of reason (going up), imitation of fancy (going down). Reason skillfully imitates its fancy, an arpeggio lifting up to nowhere, where you step off. Imitation then reasons with fancy. You drum on the handrail as you descend to the brain’s basement floor. To say nothing of the eyes. Strange stairs.

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6. Being there to see it happen: your friends, events and atoms.

7. Blessed with a tuneful voice I paint, by livid numbers, my parents, my employers, the state.

8. The noise of conflict is always gilded by desire.

9. I seem to have lost my capacity for metaphor, or maybe as I age I’ve remained as louche and gullible as I was once in my friendless youth. Am I as they say still “in my youth” or merely its theater of cruelty?

10. Speaking in public, like bleeding from the foot, can happen for almost no reason.

11. ON THE SHADE YOU SAW The shade I saw Absorbed my rhyme As if the leaves Themselves despised My meter, and The tree by the Museum wrote A hateful poetry

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I thought belonged To provinces Of industry alone But you thought no 12. Dream, 7/26 I’m working at some kind of camp where all of the staff sleep outside in bags, exposed to the sky. Its exit is a giant turnstile in the woods. I keep getting into fights with other men who work for this camp. A couple of them take me aside at different points and let me know that they understand where I’m coming from, but that this behavior is not cool. Mice share our bags, chirping around at the feet. This doesn’t seem to bother anyone, so I don’t let it bother me. I liked the men I yelled at. I just didn’t trust them.

13. He loved the alphabet. But what he loved more was the alphabet’s shade.

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a women Vanessa Roveto

When we first met, we shared the same vanishing point, an emptiness that needed to settle. The small European country she came from ventilated longing, measuring its austerity against history. I remember the world contracting with each utterance, a steadily expanding universe. The vertigo of zooming in and out on an object becoming a subject. I may have loved her from the beginning, knowing it would end. For that reason. At the event, the woman she was tailing was small-big. We were all mourning privately the death of the unisex sweater, the gender-belligerent frame. Her mood matched tender tastes made more enjoyable through Ray Ban frames. The fake succulent made a connection between nature outside and in her, a very ancient form of space dressing, the purity of it making it raw. The beating of the artificial inspirations were played to match the rhythm of her beating heart. The woman’s purse went to the bathroom, a seductive minimalist transformed into pale gear. Summer sticking hardest in downtown, like Cold War milk, like the skin exterior of a virgin 60’s style all the way up to the refrigerated 90s. She asked for the woman’s cells, numbers. The parked Toyota fucked us near Astro Diner that fist-date. One of us said thank u, but we both felt it. It’s a scare that a relationship begins in medias res, as if it had always existed, screaming itself silly. A prehistory concurrent with the present tense, already a zombie. There was the future as well, the erotic possibility in the fullness of lips, creeping fingers over a horizon. The cliché that desire dilated the universe was our cliché, our out-of-body experience. One thing was for sure that they lived in parallel. What happened to her, belonged to her. No memory of fertility in the low-lit hatchback. A steamy nipple session beyond their laboring animal skins. Roughed-up silence a lust-filled contract. Her letter became a ladder, an amateur honeypot to the sky. Stinging became the verb for Sting, for bass lines that ended when they just began. We were a covered band, a swollen bloodclot that stifles the nerves, connecting for all eternity to the point where spandex dissolved into flesh. The clouds revolved

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around their intimate spaces. The seatbelt was a restraint, restraining the love too drugged to care. Her knows were pump and ready. The loose ponytail lost its cinch to make way for a tight ass. They left planet Earth. A leather jacket flew out of the closet, onto her back, pantsless. It reminded her of old Madonna, of women loving other women, expressing herself. Her concept of timelessness being a concept of time, un examined. The other woman’s biceps fondled the clothes, as the futon went canvassing for political representations of feminism and gay subcultures. Muscle took on a new tension. As the stemware slipped, she could finally see the beauty of her little glass object. Their experiences were starving for words. Everything was cool. Her organ tempered its naked chopped acreage. At the Silverlake dog’s park, my same-ness had a crush on her, or how clean I keep up my skinned quotient, the right amount of sister in any recipe. She left no child behind. Her words were nameless, unspoken low-key boredom. A thicket of glass nesting in eggs. Courting slivers on the playing ground, my connection with her was a way of reproducing second nature. It was the way capitalism watches the feels. Her women’s mother replayed the horror film scene that took place in a shared commune, as a feeling not as an identity. A picnic basket filled itself with dirt, the reparative potential of a little death on the screen side of things. Instead of just levitating, they levitated. The foreign woman had become an island, a thousand Islands, a dressing of icebergs. The avoidant attachment audio book rejected, a push-pull of hearing intimacy negating to itself. She thought back to the first date, to my best friend talking about buying tarot cards to read my future into her punch. The detachment culture was on a bender, building up tension through an unacknowledged series of events that filled two glasses of pinot on sale, an eyeball for a highball. At some point, the cold fries begged for catch up, for bonding over the inability to eat her mother. The starter culture a necessary same sex ferment two hers to herself. This sour kraut business went bored, got up and left for man culture, in the same way that shame culted her in the metwo moment.

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are you there, [ ]? it’s me, Alyssa Moore page 1 of many Al yssa Moore fucked so-&-so twice before 3:30 modern & ran to class with the gift of a home baked chocolate banana bread loaf in bag to achieve a new room which smelled of unwashed undergrads. never wanted to talk about my self but have come to the court of public opinion to receive a judgment. can I save anyone. observe my suite in the hotel of my hunger(s). I invite you—where is my childhood morality committee those huffy stolid women in maroon robes and the few—let the record show few!—men who endured them. then, I sponged my shame to illuminate my way & now the blatant changed canonical me. never wanted to talk about my self was all post-I post-me all for living in the allegory, lost a few friends over my reticence, but after that one old ass guy at that reading in the fall subjected the whole room to a poem about his conquistador penis, I’m all for showing an educational cervix or two. yes, I admit I broke the mirrors in my poems, slashed the tires, metrical self-sabotage. whatever. never thought anyone was eavesdropping at the window & then swapped glances with the sparse crowd gathered on the bridge. I could drag you through the historical, bullshit, but the pages to come no doubt will explore and furthermore I have already made visible my gustatory leanings my sex my leisurely life & can’t you see, my dear paltry,

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my aversion to being too stenciled? though in fact at every moment irl I ponder my self in relation to strangers stranger danger sinking its teeth in best for this black girl?/woman ?—why are the two still interchangeable—never to want, really good at THAT. always with a what’s your angle emanating from me. it’s not paranoia just hereditary someone sings in the hall. I change out of dance clothes & know I’m living the life where the confessional mode isn’t going to save anyone, least of all me or my brother or my brother and my sister’s mostly got her shit together. never wanted to talk about my self, practiced keeping my mind slate, steady dancer leaping over the prop pond so much muscle to get the crowd to a wow but finally my self has arrived according to j and let me confess (it’s still me Alyssa Moore page x of being impeachably coy) comes so easily I had for a while committed to the concrete road. my mom speaking to my sense of invention: don’t mess with the wheel— bipolar prosody—shhh I’m not trying to be complicated someone’s always dropping a line for money. I was so pissed on the 9th—a loved one’s bday— in the afternoon & later, after trivia when I was definitely right but he wouldn’t say it. so NOW I AM saying it myself. A plurality of I’s. if this is my moment I’d like to thank my desire for excess that keeps me progressive I’d like to thank my humility which walks the road before me, my quiet, sweet nature for which at the age of 15 & called from the pew, I was given an award (I want to see His face, truly), & the get-in-line attitude transfused to me by my institutional alignments. notley’s poems have been giving me implicit

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permission for years now and that one old ass guy at that one reading in the fall who read the whole poem ABOUT HIS PENIS. did I mention if I wrote all my thoughts down I’d also have 20 books by now though for so long I just wanted the one which, if you were tuned in, attempted to murmur about how the past perches on the shoulder of the future so long they become one, so long my corset mimics my coveralls & the past’s a leech in the lungs of the living—could do so much if I didn’t care about my filter or the punctuation. 100 ways to keep things surprising. unplug random appliances get drunk put lipstick on your fish bowl & your fish bowl in the oven yeah I’m the one crossing the street typing into my phone some cool lines that won’t save anyone postscript which should have come 20 lines ago I don’t think anyone wants to hear about my life and post postscript I certainly don’t want to discuss it in bed. I hope this is just a ph(r)ase and then I’ll make it back to medieval times with my iPhone to take panoramic pictures in sepia, go back to my conquests where I’m already conquered yet now wielding the sword. life’s so good when you’ve got a library card, fuck life’s even better when you’ve got a pen and a keyboard and a deed

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HELL 3 Daniel Poppick

The policeman’s knee had begun to erode. (Renata Adler, Speedboat) The firefighter’s ball had begun to fall. The milkman’s toe had begun to load. The nurse’s thumb had begun to hum. The street cleaner’s teeth had begun to stream. The rabbi’s thigh had begun to cry. The cashier’s lip had begun to bubble. The nun’s solar plexus had begun to correct. The custodian’s tongue had begun to ring. The actuary’s rib had begun to run. The doctor’s fist had begun to listen. The minister’s throat had begun to bend. The adjunct’s feet had begun to delete. The actor’s forehead had begun to rot. The doorman’s fingerprints didn’t stop.

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Estranged Petro Moysaenko

The buck present their mastery of borrowed meat Out of asphalt light a node of tarnished silver To be taken and neglected Like a crying jay neglects the promontory Like a screen door frames the disappointment of day The songs of cell phones carom in a hollow A former captain leans against a dumpster full of grass In a cooling blur of noon hover hummingbirds Green like malachite Green like felted skeletons of sheep Liberty the brutal servant dines on aura So little of the world beheld The undersides of chairs and estuaries The sanguine banners of a setting sun are quiet A lock of hair is quiet Cursive promise hanging in the eastern hills Coyotes trip through beams of data The moon is spiraling away

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cyan then magenta then orange then then Kirsten Ihns

peach that deepens along its square in the form of sky, ripeness you stood as your liveliest feat of abbreviation, not peace in your crewneck populous do we like this afternoon when the sun goes down at seven & we sat beneath the regular hole where the head tilts back at an awkward angle respond, not sustain it get a towel so you do— always, you are so prepared in your car and are a bleed recurring merely in the eye as what it was like the whole cup, sly behind the Kleenex box in its optics, or splendor i descended from the horse of the neutral nude, in my hair

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i touch then the feet with the dirt and know just pleasure /tell me, tom, what you are pleased to do? jesus, preside over dripping when the prism tilts in its sac then it’s magnetic then the lights continue becoming magenta and the sky is

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THE BANANA SLUG CLUB Kaylie Saidin

The last time I saw Jonah was the winter break during my freshman year of college. He picked me up from my parents’ house one night in his bright red Ford with dim headlights, one of those cars from the nineties that was nearly as long as a limo and had refused to sputter out. The seatbelts didn’t click in and the interior was dusted in a fine layer of dirt. He picked me up and I slung my feet up over the dashboard, like I’d never been gone. We went flying down Highway 9. The thing isn’t even a real highway, it’s only two lanes, no divider in the middle. It’s nothing but mossy redwoods dotted in fat banana slugs and some old train tracks, with the sound of the San Lorenzo flowing way down below in the dark. One of our friends from high school, Scotty Chu, had washed up dead in the river not that long ago. Because of the drought, the river is more of a creek in a lot of places, so I guess his body got caught on some shallow rocks and was an easy find. When he went missing everyone knew it was the end, they just didn’t know where. Jonah was telling me about the job he was trying to get as a tour guide at the Mystery Spot, this roadside attraction south of where we grew up. It’s a hillside where they perform optical illusions to make it look like there’s no gravity. They tell stories about aliens and charge tourists ten bucks a pop. They just want me to work in the gift shop, Jonah was saying, driving with his wrists. It’s such bullshit. I want to be the guy that gets to give the tours. Fuck ‘em, I told him. We were passing over the little bridge that wound around a corner in the hillside, the one Scotty washed up underneath. We both got quiet, and I knew we were thinking about him, and maybe also this guy Andrew Parker from the class below us who’d died that spring on a school band trip. He’d been on smileys and jumped off a suspension bridge. Jonah was turning off the highway onto Bonny Doon Road, which meant that we were going to the beach, if you can even call it that. The sand is only there at low tide; otherwise it’s just a drop off a cliff into churning sea. I never understood what it meant to die tragically. If everyone suspected it might happen, was it still tragic? Maybe you’ll get the job, I agreed.

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If I do, he said, I’m going to tell everyone the gravity is fucked in that spot because aliens came here millions of years ago and buried a getaway spacecraft deep in the ground. Like a true theater kid, I said. He laughed and punched my arm. Jonah could still convince anyone of anything, but he wasn’t really into acting anymore. We’d been in plays together in middle school, and he was always the lead while I lurked in the ensemble. Back then, everyone thought we were siblings because we looked so alike. Then he grew a foot taller and got those dark circles under his eyes, and people stopped saying that. When we pulled into the beach parking lot, we were the only car there. The wind was whipping outside us, and I wondered why we’d come to the coast in December, but Jonah always loved the beach. He’d done this report on elephant seals in fourth grade and it was the only thing he ever got an A on. And I wanted to do whatever he wanted to do, because I felt sort of guilty about leaving him. Why would you want to do more school? he’d asked me when I told him I was going away. I just shook my head and looked down, because I couldn’t explain it, not to him at least. The tide was low, so the strip of sand was there, a crescent at the bottom of the cliffside. They call this beach Shark Fin Cove. The story that all the weekend warriors hear, the ones that come down from San Francisco to hike in the redwoods and find enlightenment and a tan, is that there’s a massive rock sticking up out of the water that looks like a shark fin. But the locals know the real reason: there are just a lot of sharks. Do you want to pack a bowl? Jonah asked me. I shrugged. Even though I’d sworn I wouldn’t touch anything, and I hadn’t since August, I guessed this one time wouldn’t be a big deal, especially if it was weed. Besides, he was already starting the ritual, taking out a Ziploc baggie of ground up buds. I didn’t know you still smoked, he said while he sprinkled marijuana dust into the glass dish. I thought you went cold turkey on us. Not fully, I told him, inhaling and smelling the ocean brine outside. Just the hard stuff. I guess that stuff with Scotty really fucked you up. He didn’t say it in a mean way, it was more of a knowing way. Like it had fucked everyone up, and I was just the only one who did anything about it.

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When we finally started climbing down to the beach, we couldn’t see shit, and Jonah’s phone flashlight didn’t help much. We just followed the light of the moon. We trampled ice plants and finally took off our shoes and socks once we hit the sand. It was freezing, but I was wearing two hoodies. The beach is spooky this late at night, I said. Jonah didn’t hear me over the wind. I wandered up to the lapping line where the waves were meeting the sand and turning it all into clay. There was something there, a big rock, and when I ran my hand over it and picked it up, it was smooth as a river stone. I saw the shape of it and I knew right away it was a shark tooth, a big one. I turned around to show Jonah, but he was standing far away from me, staring out into the dark water. He had this glazed over look on his face. Right then, I didn’t want to show him the tooth. I wanted it to just be mine. So I hid it in the pocket of my sweatshirt. We’d come to this beach once two years prior. Me, Jonah, and Scotty had flown down the same road through the redwoods. The fog had finally lifted that day and we buried ourselves in hot sand, fried under the sun. We’d tried to skip stones until we realized it didn’t work, not if there were waves. Scotty and Jonah had played chicken, seeing who could swim the farthest out to the shark fin rock. Jonah tried his best, but it was Scotty who made it, and he never let Jonah forget it. That was the last day we really had fun. Jonah didn’t look at me when I walked up to him, so I just turned to face the water, too. Then I asked, Do you think that Andrew Parker thought he could fly? Who knows what he thought, Jonah said. I knew he meant: Forget it. If you have to ask what it’s like, you’ll never know. We were quiet for a while. Then: If I ever die, just throw my body in here, Jonah said. That way they’ll never find it. You’re not going to die, I said. It wasn’t the right thing, but it was all I could think to say. On our way back up the road, the dim headlights showing the way, Jonah asked me what college was like. I kept it brief: it was cold, the trees were uglier, there was no ocean, everyone studied all the time. Do you like your classes? Yeah, but I’m failing one because I missed a test during my wisdom

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tooth surgery, I told him. Oh yeah? he said, suddenly interested. What did they give you? Vicodin. I leaned my head against the window. There was a silence. Then, he said, Do you still have your script from it? Another silence. No, I said quietly. Outside the window, the woods looked eerie, not at all like the daytime of fairy-tale mossy redwoods. If you go in there too deep, you can’t see anything at all, only a couple of stars, visible straight up through the thicket. In sixth grade, during our outdoor education field trip, we went on a hike through these woods and found banana slugs. They’re bright neon, giant, slimy things, and you have to kiss them if you want to join the Banana Slug Club. Jonah had refused to do it. You are what you eat, Jonah had said, in defense of his choice. As if kissing was the same thing as eating. I thought about the Jonah back then, a skinny, long-haired, sensitive kid, and the Jonah now, still skinny, but in a different way, and kind of pushy. He was only pushy when he wanted stuff, and he didn’t start wanting stuff that badly until high school, when everything started, and now there was no way to finish it. Maybe it didn’t matter what Jonah acted like, in the end. Scotty hadn’t been pushy, and look what happened to him. I just thought I’d ask, he said as we slowed down at a stop sign. It’s fine, I told him. We pulled up at house and he gave me a hug. He smelled like salt and smoke. I saw his white teeth in the glow of the jacklight. See you around, dummy, he grinned. Don’t let college fuck you up. And then he drove away in his red long car. I stood in the driveway for a second, running my fingers over the shark tooth in my pocket. Behind my parents’ house, I could hear Boulder Creek flowing steadily. It had rained a lot this winter, and we were officially out of a drought. The water was higher than all the years past, and it covered up all the rocks and the sand banks that we’d seen exposed. It washed away bugs and banana slugs, moving fast through the woods, away from here and onto the next thing.

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The Work Matthe w Girolami

Before I cast busts in red data Before I moved boxes from boxes to boxes Before my twin lit his coat on fire to save money I was a butcher’s apprentice Before I was born when goat was tradition in a city where tom the butcher of tom’s butcher’s shop asked me are you afraid of blood Before I was afraid of blood I said I don’t know so he told me to turn around in the room white with the insistence of gypsum & electricity & being that I was an apprentice I didn’t know what went into a sale or how long it took to prepare an animal Before I learned & the first lesson was binding hooves in marriage to lift the goat then hang the goat on the wishbone of its yoked hind legs upside down like st peter alive Before I turned my back it wasn’t when I turned back & saw mars for the first time in the arc of its throat & tom said remember this is the best way to make something pure You see these eyes Now you don’t some people eat them to see again You don’t need glasses You have teeth

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Ovid Among the Birds of Tomis for Mark Strand Joseph Fasano

Think of him when he first understood it meant forever. Think of him letting the Emperor’s letter fall and stumbling off to stand among the birches with his face in his hands, his long robes blowing back toward the Tiber. Let it be summer. Let rain sift through the limbs and cover him with petals. Let him be thinking of anyone—a child, a father, a woman whose hips swung like music into the sea, her voice like a linnet cage under water. He does not want to dream of the mourner transformed into the fleeing deer, Daphne sprouting roots to keep herself where the gods can’t find her. He does not want to remember the terrible lightning of transformation. Let be, he is thinking. Let me mourn. Look at him, kneeling in the trade winds. He knows what the wind is, and what it isn’t. And where the sails will never carry him in their drifting. He knows

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what the sea sings as it burns. Look, now: he is rising; he is silent. And when he turns away through the thickets, through the winters, when he takes the way through the sea’s spray and the lindens, listen to the same wind as he listens. He knows what the waves say, what they’ve taken. And what the singers in the rigging aren’t singing—the hush of them, the dust in them, this earth. And that no one may be with him still to witness it: his triumph as he wanders off from his riches; his victory as he listens, in the wintering, to the lapwing, the saxifrage, the linnet’s wings; as they sing to him, in the clear tones of the broken, the deep and mysterious singing not of long gone gods or goddesses—not of magic, not of lastingness, of after— but the brief and sweetest hours and the loss of them the song was almost worth.

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The poet is survived by his wife and two daughters for Lionel Basney Jane Zwar t

I used to think, one more cloudy day and Ruth Basney will ascend. The wind seemed to tug at her more than was common. But it was you who drowned on holiday and she who drove the car sensibly back home. It was she who creaked the floors waiting for you, wasp-waisted even with your flannel shirts tucked in, neat even with your knees turned dark by dirt and dropped berries. … I used to think your girls’ eyes odd: Claire’s darting, black mica and Laurel’s quiet as felt. In fact, I used to picture footlights candling inches in front of anyplace Claire might stand tiptoe, a telltale elbow out, theatrically scanning the back of the house. She waved

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like an archetype of someone waving. She did not rest her eyes. And Laurel: well, I knew her for nearsighted before but playing viola she could look pretty near cross-eyed. Suzuki, someone hissed, as Laurel watched, absorbed the gut strings give minutely to her bow. Synapses thrilled their length. She did not raise her eyes. I used to think your girls seemed skittish, unsure where to gaze, as if they had caught the world skinny-dipping. But of course it was you who caught the world skinny-dipping and they who paid the tax on all your lasting awe.

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74

W :: {I Just} Play it Cool

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Heaving moon, hell me into your higher tumescence. Gouge these fires as your own. Too easily you sweet & sink into the binding of quartz & cream, the wolves & mites flashing froth from wool, unnerving you into armor no bullet can gore through. Lyric that you alone are so hard to work over. Plunge me into the brittle & polycrystalline & I will strive the kind of light that burns the bloody hooves free from the firmaments. Ill your tensions & I’ll resist your tensile strength, the staccato, the sprain, the wrench. Sinister this sintering & lavish how much life needs you to sheen & clinch. Until I’m ire engorged & transfixed. Until no safe tense & turn me like wild sluice upon lunar seal & I’ll bang & peel your steely bends— until they give in & kneel.

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from Melismas by Marlon Hacla

Translated from Filipino by Kristine Ong Muslim House decorations are now tools for murder. Happiness worms its way into wardrobe closets. The windows, painted over to look like the ocean. Structures have been simplified to convey interior lives. Tied up buildings. Clocks with hands removed to prevent them from pointing at the sky. Permits are issued allowing kids to drive while there are no reports yet about collision of heads and collecting of bones in leather pouches, diamonds possessed down to their last sheen. No one is coming clean on how everybody is eating each other whenever fog settles down in the vicinity. We come around to a day of feverish beauty, a representative of its dawdling honeybee kin, black woods and vicars and dried flowers for the chapel: Aster, Dahlia, Amaryllis, orchid petals that slide in their dance when thrown, that sing when caught again in mid-fall. Chaste women who instantly grow old when kissed and instantly become young when they initiate the kiss. Black fabric with a painted-on sun and hung on bamboo stilts, pinned at both ends to prevent snatching by the wind, whichever direction wind may

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tug, whatever vigor it may exhibit all night long. In every coastline, waves briefly offer a glimpse of their true faces before destroying themselves against the rocks. In this country, every word becomes a bird: each pronunciation, a sparrow, each letter, filled with feathers, filled with whistling, restless: even when ripped again and again, some would swoop in to peck at the pieces until some break away from grasp, letting wind take over the remaining pieces of paper. All of us have been given the chance to name the things that surround us: this is Suffering, this is Prayer, this is Lust Teeming with Barbs. We were frustrated with the bodily shapes each other has taken, but we have our responsibilities, one of us opens a factory of masks everyday, we have to prepare all the time. If we fail to dress up properly and to sing without being greedy, who else should we blame for the happiness of children, who else would the dancers imitate in their refinement of the gains of our souls?

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Mula sa Melismas by Marlon Hacla

Ang mga dekorasyon sa bawat bahay, mga kasangkapan na sa pagpatay. Siniksik ng kasiyahan ang mga lalagyan ng damit. Ang mga bintana, pininturahan para gayahin ang karagatan. Pinasimple ang mga istruktura para sa pagpapahayag ng mga saloobin. Iginapos na mga gusali. Mga orasang nawawalan ng mga kamay upang hindi maituro ang langit. Pinahihintulutan nang magmaneho ang mga bata habang walang lumalabas na kuwento tungkol sa salpukan ng mga ulo at pangongolekta ng mga buto sa mga sisidlang katad, mga diyamanteng inangkin hanggang sa kahuli-hulihang kinang. Walang umaamin ngunit nagkakainan ang bawat isa sa tuwing napupuno ng hamog ang paligid. Nasumpungan namin ang araw na may marubdob na kagandahan, sampu ng mababagal nitong laywan, mga itim na kahoy at mga bikaryo at mga pinatigas na bulaklak para sa kapilya: Aster, Dahlia, Amarilis, mga talulot ng orkidyas na dumudulas sa pagsayaw kapag binibitawan, umaawit kapag sinasalong muli. Mga pinong babaeng agad na tumatanda kapag sila’y hinahalikan at agad na bumabata kapag sila ang humahalik. Mga itim na telang pinintahan ng araw at isinampay sa mga kawayang patpat, sinipitan sa magkabilang dulo upang hindi manakaw ng hangin, sa iba’t-ibang direksiyon man ito manggaling, magkakaibang antas man ng lakas ang ipamalas

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nito sa magdamag. Sa bawat dalampasigan, sandaling ipinasisilip ng mga alon ang kanilang mukha bago basagin ang kanilang mga sarili sa batuhan. Sa bayang ito, nagiging ibon ang bawat salita: bawat pagbigkas, isang pipit, bawat sulat, puno ng balahibo, puno ng pagsipol, malikot: punitin man nang paulit-ulit, lalapit ang ilan upang tukain ang mga piraso hanggang makawala ang iba pa, saka hahayaang nakawin ng hangin ang mga naiwang papel. Lahat kami ay binigyan ng pagkakataong pangalanan ang mga bagay sa paligid: ito ang Paghihirap, ito ang Panalangin, ito ang Pagnanasang Hitik sa mga Tinik. Nanlambot kami sa hugis ng katawan ng isa’t isa ngunit may mga iniatang sa aming responsibilidad, may nagbubukas ng pabrika ng maskara araw-araw, kailangan naming maghanda sa tuwina. Kung hindi tayo pupustura nang maayos at aawit nang walang pag-iimbot, kanino pa ibibintang ang kasiyahan ng mga bata, sino pa ang gagayahin ng mga magsisisayaw sa pagdalisay ng mga kapararakan ng ating kaluluwa?

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BLIND ALLEY Noah Warren

What views our rental owns go abstract when we smoke or doze. Gleefully have our eyes closed. A fillip of my tongue unscrolls the map, another swathes the mauve and virid zones— and for you I could key it out: this I lived; I did not live this, that shyness, this love, those hyacinthine porticos, the hill garden sinking under rosemary and pride of madeira are lies. And. And a moonlit river would wither between us, trust, we who paddled innocent enough through a hundred states of indecency—to arrive, finally, at the duchy of your right breast slipping right, damp with sweat, as the other emerges, motionless, from your slip. If it is my work to walk out and gather stories, like meat, for you, as, propped on silken seafoam pillows, you perform then bill, your useful hours— could you expect the crunch of fact? The sun sinks hotter above the window tree. I float my palms just above your scalp because I want you to feel what I felt as I strolled to fetch milk: walls of heat raved from a ruined Shell, jellying the street, as two firemen, long coats unzipped, sucked short cigarillos crouching in the shadow of their truck. You blink sleepily. Out of our love, as from a ram’s skull two horns of pity curl, one for each of us to pull.

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Discover Your DNA Story (3) Kiki Petrosino

1. While most enslaved blacks in the colonies lived in rural areas and worked on farms, those in larger cities— such as Philadelphia, one of the region’s main ports— labored as craftsmen or domestic servants. For those who worked closely together, finding ways to communicate was essential, as many did not share the same first language. They created unique dialects, modes of storytelling, and music, which became important customs for unifying communities. New forms of communication included blends of African traditions and uniquely American creations, and some music traditions became the roots of today’s blues, jazz, and gospel. el. 2. Spirituality was an important cultural practice among enslaved Virginians, and the first black church in North America was founded during this period on a plantation in Mecklenburg County. Owners were wary of literacy among those they enslaved, fearing it would lead to rebellions, so many slaves used religion as an avenue to education. Spirituals—religious folk songs combining expressions of faith and the hardships of slavery—are closely linked to black spirituality in North America. Because owners paid little attention to the songs sung by the people they enslaved, they were also used to incite protest or communicate plans for escape.

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3. Most African Americans in this community can trace their ancestry back to West Africa in present-day Republic of Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Over a two-hundred-year period many were enslaved and brought to Virginia to work on tobacco farms. Life for both free and enslaved black Virginians grew more difficult as race-based laws imposed new restrictions. Black Virginians responded with rebellions and cultural innovations. While early Virginia plantations were concentrated on the coastal plains, planters gradually moved westward. They brought enslaved people with them as the population grew and they searched for new land. 4. Although 17th-century free black Virginians could vote and own property, once the tobacco industry (and later cotton) boomed, slavery became enshrined in American society. Plantation owners in both Virginia and Maryland wanted an inexpensive way to cultivate the labor-intensive crop, and as both colonies became reliant on slave labor, the options to buy or “earn” one’s freedom largely disappeared. In 1710, most slaves in Virginia had been born in Africa

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Discover Your DNA Story (5) Kiki Petrosino

1. While most enslaved blacks in the colonies lived in rural areas and worked on farms, those in larger cities— such as Philadelphia, one of the region’s main ports— labored as craftsmen or domestic servants. For those who worked closely together, inding ways to communicate was essential, as many did not share the same first language. They created unique dialects, modes of storytelling, and music, which became important customs for unifying communities. New forms of communication included blends of African traditions and uniquely American creations, and some music traditions became the roots of today’s blues, jazz, and gospel. 2. Most African Americans in this community can trace their ancestry back to West Africa in present-day Republic of Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Over a two-hundred-year period many were enslaved and brought to Virginia to work on tobacco farms. Life for both free and enslaved black Virginians grew more difficult as race-based laws imposed new restrictions. Black Virginians responded with rebellions and cultural innovations. While early Virginia plantations were concentrated on the coastal plains, planters gradually moved westward. They brought enslaved people with them as the population grew and they searched for new land.

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3. Although 17th-century free black Virginians could vote and own property, once the tobacco industry (and later cotton) boomed, slavery became enshrined in American society. Plantation owners in both Virginia and Maryland wanted an inexpensive way to cultivate the labor-intensive crop, and as both colonies became reliant on slave labor, the options to buy or “earn” one’s freedom largely disappeared. In 1710, most slaves in Virginia had been born in Africa and arrived on slave ships. White communities became more suspicious of Virginia’s free black population, and laws limiting their freedom forced some into poverty and others out of the state altogether. 4. Spirituality was an important cultural practice among enslaved Virginians, and the first black church in North America was founded during this period on a plantation in Mecklenburg County. Owners were wary of literacy among those they enslaved, fearing it would lead to rebellions, so many slaves used religion as an avenue to education. Spirituals—religious folk songs combining expressions of faith and the hardships of slavery— are closely linked to black spirituality in North America. Because owners paid little attention to the songs sung by the people they enslaved, they were also used to incite protest or communicate plans for escape.

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[David renounced my earthly pleasures] Perr y Parsons

David renounced my earthly pleasures I asked him if love was divine He said, love least of all But I already set the altar for my devout rituals this month! & now David won’t come to church with me So I will dress in yellow & pray alone

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Beside Myself, Rehearsal Mia Kang

One way of being / beside myself is to shatter the frame of thingliness, perhaps proposing thinglessness as a variety / of species I might become. Specialty is specious, but for the beholder, an eye who holds the visible in view and the invisible out. I’m describing a loss of faith. I’m describing / the feeling one has, as now when leaving a room and retreating to another room in which there is nothing but something windy, the task of turning on the light and sitting down. Then wondering what / to do. One way of being beside myself is to be in -side myself, although unconvincingly. Being beside is like splitting the difference between being alone and being no longer alive. Let’s take it from the top.

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CONTRIBU TO RS

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Toby Altman is the author of Arcadia, Indiana (Plays Inverse, 2017) and several chapbooks, including Every Hospital by Bertrand Goldberg (Except One), winner of the 2018 Ghost Proposal Chapbook Contest. His poems can be found in Gulf Coast, jubilat, Lana Turner, and other journals and anthologies. He holds a PhD in English from Northwestern University and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of the 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and CantoMundo. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, POETS.org, The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Prairie Schooner, Electric Literature, TriQuarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Journal, Hunger Mountain, The Adroit Journal, The Southeast Review, North American Review, Salamander, Poetry Northwest, among others. Her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by The Kenyon Review Online. She writes for The Kenyon Review blog. She is currently editing a special chemistry poetry portfolio for Pleiades, and is finishing a series called The Atomic Sonnets, in honor of the Periodic Table’s 150th Birthday. Find her at 7TrainLove.org Ellen Boyette is an editorial assistant at Rescue Press. She received her MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Alberta Kelly Fellowship as well as a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Her first book of poetry, BEDIEVAL, was a finalist for the 2019 Slope Editions Book Prize, judged by Solmaz Sharif. Her work appears or is forthcoming from Denver Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Prelude, Benning-

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ton Review, poets.org, Tagvverk, and elsewhere. Omar Curiel is a senior at Columbia University studying Visual Arts. Their work examines relationships among queer social spaces, consumption, and identity-building through print and mixed media. Joseph Fasano is the author of four books of poetry—The Crossing (2018), Vincent (2015), Inheritance (2014), and Fugue for Other Hands (2013)—and the novel The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing (Platypus Press, 2020). His honors include the Rattle Poetry Prize, the Cider Press Review Book Award, and a nomination for the Poets’ Prize, “awarded annually for the best book of poetry published by a living American poet two years prior to the award year.” His writing has appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Missouri Review, Boston Review, the PEN Poetry Series, Verse Daily, and the Academy of American Poets’ poem-a-day series, among other publications and anthologies. He serves on the Editorial Board of Alice James Books, and he teaches at Columbia University. Marlon Hacla is a programmer, writer, and photographer. His first book, May Mga Dumadaang Anghel sa Parang (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2010), was published as part of UBOD New Authors Series II. His second book, Glossolalia, was published by High Chair in 2013. He also released two chapbooks, Labing-anim na Liham ng Kataksilan (2014) and Melismas (2016). In 2017, he created the first robot poet in Filipino, Estela Vadal, as a Twitter bot with the Twitter handle @estelavadal. He lives in Quezon City, Philippines, with his cats. Jay Hopler’s latest collection of poetry, The Abridged History of Rainfall, was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in Poetry. He teaches in the writing

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program at the University of South Florida. Kirsten Ihns is the author of sundaey (Propeller Books, 2020). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is currently a Ph.D. student and Neubauer Presidential Fellow in English at the University of Chicago, where she studies texts that seem to want to be images, co-curates Plexiglas, and works for Chicago Review. Individual poems appear in jubilat, Hyperallergic, Black Warrior Review, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Mia Kang writes poems and other perversions. A finalist for the 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, Mia was named the 2017 winner of Boston Review’s Annual Poetry Contest by Mónica de la Torre. Her writing has appeared in journals including POETRY, Washington Square Review, Narrative Magazine, and PEN America. She is a Brooklyn Poets Fellow and runner-up for the 2019 and 2017 Discovery Poetry Contests, and she has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Mia is a PhD student in the history of art at Yale University, where she studies the contested rise of U.S. multiculturalism and its failures. www.miaadrikang.com Alyssa Moore is a visual poet and writer who holds degrees from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Harvard University. Her work has appeared in Bennington Review, Boston Review, Hyperallergic, and Tagvverk. Petro Moysaenko is from Cleveland, lives in New York, and co-edits the online journal Paperbag. Kristine Ong Muslim is the author of nine books, including the fiction collections Age of Blight (Unnamed Press, 2016), Butterfly Dream (Snuggly Books, 2016), and The Drone Outside (Eibonvale Press, 2017), as

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well as the poetry collections Lifeboat (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2015), Meditations of a Beast (Cornerstone Press, 2016), and Black Arcadia (University of the Philippines Press, 2017). She is co-editor of two anthologies—the British Fantasy Award-winning People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction and Sigwa: Climate Fiction Anthology from the Philippines, an illustrated volume forthcoming from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Press. Widely anthologized, her short stories have appeared in Conjunctions, The Cincinnati Review, Tin House, and World Literature Today. She grew up and continues to live in a rural town in southern Philippines. Grant Pace is a senior Environmental Science major at Columbia University. His work primarily explores the cognitive dissonance that allows individuals, through collective entities, to contribute to cumulative issues such as environmental degradation and the dehumanization of marginalized groups. Stylistically, he enjoys exploring meticulous detail, the use of inverted color and suggestive color in shadow, and use of intricate patterns and inverted colors. Post-graduation, he is pursuing environmental law. Perry O. Parsons is a third-year at Barnard College, where she studies Theatre with a concentration in directing. She celebrates and aspires to poets like Dorothea Lasky, Bernadette Mayer, and Joni Mitchell. Email: pop2102@barnard.edu Kiki Petrosino is the author of four books of poetry, including White Blood: a Lyric of Virginia, forthcoming in 2020. She teaches at the University of Virginia as a Professor of Poetry. Petrosino is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Al Smith Fellowship Award from the Kentucky Arts Council.  The two poems in this issue are erasures

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from the results of an Ancestry DNA test. The source text comes from a section entitled, “Early Virginia African Americans.” Daniel Poppick is the author of Fear of Description (Penguin, 2019), a winner of the National Poetry Series, and The Police (Omnidawn, 2017). His recent work appears in Harper’s, BOMB, The Yale Review, poets.org, and the PoetryNow podcast from the Poetry Foundation. He lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a copywriter and co-edits the Catenary Press with Rob Schlegel and Rawaan Alkhatib. Vanessa Roveto is the author of bodys (U. of Iowa Press). Her next book, tentatively titled a women (U. of Iowa Press), is forthcoming in 2020. She lives in California. Kaylie Saidin is an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. She reads fiction at Ecotone. Her work has appeared in Catamaran Literary Reader, upstreet #15, Gulf Stream, and elsewhere. Noah Warren’s  next book,  The Complete Stories,  is forthcoming from Copper Canyon in 2021; his first, The Destroyer in the Glass (2016), was chosen by Carl Phillips for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Recent work appears in  Poetry, The Paris Review,  The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. A former Stegner Fellow, he is pursuing a PhD in English at U.C. Berkeley.  Jane Zwart teaches English at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have previously appeared in Poetry, Rattle, Threepenny Review, and TriQuarterly, as well as in other journals and little magazines.

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David Ehmcke Sofia Montrone Maddie Woda

Managing Editor Spencer Grayson

Layout Editor Anna Lang

Web Editor Sam Wilcox

Editorial Board Hanna Andrews Ryan Daar Spencer Grayson Anna Lang Morgan Levine Ilina Logani

Emily Mack Elizabeth Meyer Evan Mortimer Charlie Munns Cassidy Sattler Sasha Starovoitov Sam Wilcox

THE COLUMBIA REVIEW

Editors-In-Chief

Cover Art Omar Curiel The Columbia Review is published twice yearly by the students of Columbia University, New York, with support from the Activities Board at Columbia. This issue is sponsored in part by the Arts Initiative of Columbia University.

Enquiries to: Columbia Review, Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Email: thecolumbiareview@gmail.com. Books and media sent for possible review become the property of The Columbia Review.Visit us online at: http://columbiareviewmag.com/. Copyright Š 2019 by The Columbia Review. All rights reserved. Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the US Copyright Law without permission of the publishers is unlawful.

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Profile for The Columbia Review

The Columbia Review Fall 2019 Issue  

The Columbia Review Fall 2019 Issue  

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