When hurricanes come my daddy prepares
by rooting soles into the floors of our house,
rooted into the wetland his daddy poured Lord Calvert’s into.
No longer a buckra’s sharecropper,
Grandma Lizzie and Granddaddy Silas rooted
a bottle tree of twelve
inconceivable indigo children.
My daddy repeats to my ma,
We’ll be fine,
and I believe.
When the hurricanes came, it moved me
more than I wanted. I hooked my innocence inside.
Wild water became swords. My sisters and I played in
swooning pine. Dark, slick, splash, and I was terrified—
my thoughts of trees falling on top of mobile homes,
people waking with blue Earth inside their rooms,
worlds swept up for miles out all around,
and in our front yard—I was afraid
while we ran, we danced, and we leaped.
Marlanda Dekine’s forthcoming collection, Thresh & Hold (Hub City Press, 2022), won the New Southern Voices Poetry Prize, selected by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Dekine is the creator of the self-published book & mixtape, i am from a punch & a kiss. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Emergence Magazine, Oxford American, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. Dekine is a Tin House Scholar, a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, and a Fellow at The Watering Hole. Their work is obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one’s own body, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. They live in South Carolina with their wise dog, Malachi.
Before we met, I had a thought I’d paint
a mound of butter more famous than
Vollon’s. How his painting’s cream
did not soften the ego—
Now, the thought winces. Now, I am
all interior feeling, all terrified love,
All ants climbing over each other
searching for cause.
Some days, I picture myself burying
you with my ambition,
two fish tongues wrapped in brown
paper that I lay soft in the earth.
Marnie Ritchie is an Assistant Professor of rhetoric at a liberal arts university in Tacoma, WA. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Juked, FIVE:2:ONE’s #thesideshow, Burning House Press, Moon City Review, and Yes Poetry. Find her on Twitter: @marnieritchie
after Eduardo C. Corral
I pull myself together out
on the ocean surf after the boy
texts about a dream he had,
a dream where we were flirting
with another guy, or he
was flirting with us.
I’ve already written this poem,
but the boy told me to write
about the dream, about the jealousy
he felt when the guy sent me a thirst
trap: a body like no other in a swimsuit.
I’ve already written this
poem, but sea brine shivers
my skin, thoughts rippling
through me, streams of
air from his opening lips;
as chill envelops, the arms
of some ocean god, I imagine
us swimming together,
nimble as dolphins—
am I not his animal?
We flicker through
the water, kissing with
the bite of salt before
I wake up from the dream.
Reuben Gelley Newman (he/him) is a writer and musician from New York City. His work is available in diode, DIALOGIST,Hobart Pulp, and elsewhere. He was a Fall 2020 intern at Copper Canyon Press and works in the library at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. He tweets @joustingsnail.
every week at the doctor’s office, I fold
my boxers inside my pants, and pull
the scratchy sheet up to my hips.
I didn’t know I could get used to this.
the moon hides once each month, just like me.
we are brothers, and I am the jealous one.
tell me if it hurts, she says.
it hurts, I say.
but it’s okay.
that’s how I know
Kaleigh O’Keefe is a gender outlaw and proud union member living in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Their poetry has appeared in Breaking the Chains: a Socialist Perspective on Women’s Liberation, Slamfind, won the PRIDE Poetry Prize in Passengers Journal, and is featured on indie music legend Ceschi’s album Sans Soleil. Kaleigh is a contributor and editor for Liberation News, is a co-founder of Game Over Books, and hosts the First Fridays Youth Open Mic in Jamaica Plain. Find Kaleigh online at www.kaleighokeefe.com, on Twitter and Instagram at @KaleighOKeefeOK.
the plaster bulged
like a huge
pregnant belly, or
a cyst. cracked
like a dry
knuckle. I reached
out my hands
like I could
catch whatever fell
from it. shouted
like it could
listen. the water
poured like an
omen. I woke
cloaked in sweat,
one hand on
my plaster womb,
one hand on
my pouring chest
Kaleigh O’Keefe is a gender outlaw and proud union member living in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Their poetry has appeared in Breaking the Chains: a Socialist Perspective on Women’s Liberation, Slamfind, won the PRIDE Poetry Prize in Passengers Journal, and is featured on indie music legend Ceschi’s album Sans Soleil. Kaleigh is a contributor and editor for Liberation News, is a co-founder of Game Over Books, and hosts the First Fridays Youth Open Mic in Jamaica Plain. Find Kaleigh on the web at www.kaleighokeefe.com and on instagram at @kaleigh.okeefe.poetry @FirstFridaysJP @GameOverBooks
Little flowers and leaves on the wall
If you could tell me
How you sprout grow blossom
I will know how you cracked the wall
I will know how our softness could be better placed
In this similarly solid rocky world
Hulian Zhang (she/her) is currently a PhD candidate in Medical Ethics and Law at Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University (UK).
we both wanted more
so we took it
hands act like scarves
wrapped around necks
filled with your effort
like dusty mandarins
marked with stranger’s fingerprints
how do you carry your violence?
Ginger K. Hintz, originally from South Dakota, eventually found her way to Oakland, CA. She is a self-taught poet and independent scholar with a day job. She has an MA in American Cultural Studies. Find Ginger at cacheculture.com. Publications include Friends of William Stafford Journal, Bluestockings Magazine, Q/A Poetry. She was a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize and semifinalist for the 2021 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize.
Will the past be unobstructed
when the observed become intervisible narrators?
Culture is cancelled. Culture has been cancelled.
Only blue this morning.
The cat’s fur fades in the summer light.
We remain virtual until we go outside.
Hashtag: nature, grass, sky
Ginger K. Hintz, originally from South Dakota, eventually found her way to Oakland, CA. She is a self-taught poet and independent scholar with a day job. She has an MA in American Cultural Studies. Find Ginger at cacheculture.com
Publications include Friends of William Stafford Journal, Bluestockings Magazine, Q/A Poetry. She was a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize and semifinalist for the 2021 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize.
I am told
That because I am a woman
It is my job to yield.
I am to be smiling and cheerful,
I am to be soft and gentle.
I should be like water in the ocean:
Adaptable and constant,
Welcoming to all who wish to relax
And forget their troubles
After a long day’s hard work.
Never mind that the ocean is angry
When it roars during storms.
Never mind that the ocean is unmerciful
When it swallows houses and beaches whole.
Never mind that the ocean is deceptive
When it lures the unsuspecting into dangerous riptides.
If I am to be the ocean, truly,
Then I choose to be a riptide.
Calm and smooth on the surface
And an inexorable force below
To drag down all who expect me to yield.
Regina Jade is an Asian American writer and poet. She loves chocolate, custard tarts, and cats. In her spare time, she can be found trawling the depths of libraries for new books to add to the to-be-read pile, which never seems to get any smaller Her recent work appears in Eucalyptus & Rose Literary Magazine and A Coup of Owls, and is also featured in an anthology titled “Imaginary Creatures” from Carnation Books. She tweets from @thereginajade.
Colleen Abel is a disabled writer living in the Midwest. Her work has appeared in venues such as Lit Hub, Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection, REMAKE, won the 2015 Editors Prize from Unicorn Press. She has two chapbooks, HOUSEWIFERY (dancing girl press) and DEVIANTS, a hybrid work about stigmatized bodies that won Sundress Publications’ 2016 Chapbook Prize. She has been awarded fellowships from UW-Madison’s Institute for Creative Writing and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem magazine and Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University.
Note: “Venus of Willendorf” is reprinted with the author’s permission from the chapbook DEVIANTS (Sundress Press, 2016).