(You will be like a foal, says my mother)

by Lyd Havens


You will be like a foal, says my mother 
when I talk about re-entering
someday. The fleeing is still 
so vivid, as if it hasn’t ended yet.  
Un-greened pasture, stagnant 
womb. I fantasize about the crowds 
I never questioned; the lake full 
of tamed jellyfish on the other side
of the world. It’s true, my legs feel so new 
these days. They fold like a deck
of cards under me when I stare 
at the sky. Kumquat light 
staining the shingles. A small tornado 
of feathers in my backyard. I want to ask, 
where is the bird? Does it miss itself? 



____

Lyd Havens is the author of the chapbooks I Gave Birth to All the Ghosts Here (Nostrovia! Press, 2018) and Chokecherry (Game Over Books, 2021). Their work has previously been published in Ploughshares, The Shallow Ends, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Lyd lives in Boise, Idaho, where they will graduate from Boise State University in December 2021.

October

by Monika Cassel

A man watches news about us about you					
I’m in the house speaking with my daughters
about where and how many how were hurt
and what will happen now

outside, afternoon sunlight 							
falls against my words, across the lawn,
climbs the maple the twin windows reflect. 
Which daughter will dawn?

Evening light. The crows wonder what help 					
comes. Every day a web—the cloudbank 
settling on the hills, house to house,
—what more to give my children? 

Give today the cloudbank. Here am I alive 					
and in a body awake. Clouded. House shut tight.
I cannot say how to bear I do not know what word
I hold no. I’ll peel and chop the garlic soon for dinner,

catch a syllable now— grief, carried,						
swims words from house to house,
city to city. I might hold my daughters’ hands 
but often they decline.

Ask me to name the tree across the street. Ask me				
where I come from. I grew in my mother in a country at war
as she grew in hers, as my children grew inside me in another before 
I was birthed. By the fire a place to curl up 

& quiet the crows that congregate 						
on neighborhood trees. My daughter—tall, tall—
asks me to hold her. My words bubble up the gray coils 
of the power substation across the street. My hand a fence. 

She tells me a little about her day. She shuts the door, 			
I answer. The spice smell of her hair slices soft 
through the clock of my own childhood. I walk out, see 
the west hills over other houses when I round the corner. 

The year’s last tomatoes pale red. People call out names 		
quiet hum of the machine tired rain on the cheek 
a hummingbird pale moon shading darker. But see 
who was lined up who is the target

here not here when on our street we say					
no never here a no man’s land not 
a long journey home lost the child now grown
remembers the motion of travel

not here we think a lost home a child							
nothing left the child now grown remembers
but no once again the man watches
the screen shows one thing.

So much I have carried something is broken sometimes 			
the hand rests where it was building. The crispness 
of a daughter who wants. The soft curl of her limbs when 
she hides in her bed. 
 
The beater paddle’s clang bread leavening never knowing 		
which day night dark upon the city lingers across 
treetops soft cheese cut into blocks a pot of milk dropped 
and left where it fell come 

let me catch you								

cowed. Careful. Count me, here 						
—I do not know 	light crowded 
like fog. Where are the hands coming
like the sound of crows 

this one keeps singing me this one’s round, 						
this one’s quiet? To birth is to fail someone—
I’m hoping twilight’s end the undone I was carved 
a pinprick wanting to choose wishing no surprise 

though joy keeps striding into new qualities of 				
light knowing one word too many can snap 
a sentence again. Joy when I am not alone lingers
I swim words.

We mark our ballots here 								
a sparrow 	we swim upstream who knows 
when I can sleep
with fruit with the heavier air

who knows what is unmarked. Whose loss? 					
Names written		my house 
yes here again I come soft
you are here here here come quiet



___

Monika Cassel‘s poems have appeared in The Laurel Review, Phoebe Journal, and Construction Magazine, and her translations from German have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Guernica, and Asymptote, among others. Her chapbook Grammar of Passage (flipped eye publishing 2021) won the Venture Poetry Award. She is a degree candidate in poetry at Warren Wilson College’s MFA program and is a teaching artist with Writers in the Schools in Portland, Oregon. Twitter: @MonikaCassel

Reflections on Minari

by Jocelyn A. Chin

I watched the film this spring
with my 	          whole family:

the television became to us	a mirror
reflecting dreams of

digging through the finest dirt,
                           breathing the driest air,
                           fighting our love at night,
                           wasting water,
                           praying harder,
                           hating our grandmothers because they do not smell like America,

giving thanks to the snake on the open log
making visible
the danger we hold	ourselves.

Ai. 	Are you a father, or a farmer?
	Are you Asian, or American?
	Are we healed, or have our hearts been broken?

Mountain Dew was Mom’s favorite drink when she moved here, too.



____

Jocelyn A. Chin is a current undergraduate student at Duke University who is happiest when reading a novel in a hammock flooded with afternoon sunlight. When not at school studying public policy and creative writing, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her beautiful family and the best dog in the whole world. Jocelyn finds that her writing oftentimes leads her back to nature, into the lives of others, and closer towards home.

Abecedarian for My Brother Daniel, Waiting to Turn Nine

by Jocelyn A. Chin

Apples wait in our kitchen’s
brown wooden bowl. And you – you wait with
cupped hands, wait for my return, wait to catch my tears as they
drop. Eager to please, you pat my back with your small palm.

Eat this apple, please, 
for the days are
growing shorter, this flying, tumbling
hourglass of spraying sand, no longer waiting. This world
insists that you grow like a weed each night, before I see you.

Just take the fruit, please, and go out to the sun, play with the
kids next door and remember to share.
Lift your sticky fingers to the clouds, you’ll reach them too soon;
my gifts of LEGOs and sweets no longer satisfy your
needy mind, your bursting body, the round
O your mouth forms when encountering a curious question – I beg you
please don’t grow up. In my dream, in the afternoon, at our
quivering white hammock, you lie in wait, hoping to simply
read a book of poems, with me. Becoming your older
sister has been the very best gift I have ever received. Think!
The way your lips lose their childish lisp, our mother tongue, the way our
umbrella will be too small to cover your shoulders so
very soon, the way you cup your palms, and wait.

Why don’t you bite into life’s bright apple, and
xiao a little, smile for me? Twenty precious white pearls, teeth to the wind–
you could eat the world alive. Thank you, for your joy, your love, for unveiling to me
zoe – for I must believe now, in eternal life.




xiao – Chinese, meaning laugh, smile
zoe – Greek, meaning life, abundant, eternal life




____

Jocelyn A. Chin is a current undergraduate student at Duke University who is happiest when reading a novel in a hammock flooded with afternoon sunlight. When not at school studying public policy and creative writing, she lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her beautiful family and the best dog in the whole world. Jocelyn finds that her writing oftentimes leads her back to nature, into the lives of others, and closer towards home.

Fantasy with Nectarines

by Tan Tzy Jiun

Black bark weather in April. The city is half-clothed
in grey skies, lined with fleece. Outside, wreaths of clouds, 

near naked bodies foggy with oil paint behind windows. A small dog 
or three pulling on the leash. The city is barely emerging from

winter’s blanket. I am ready to burn paper, sacrifice
the newborn child, whatever it takes to lure spring back 

into the city walls. The grocery store wakes as the glass door slides 
open. It is early. The fruit section is still crowded with bird-sized

pleasures. Oh. The nectarines have returned to the crates,
flown in on birds from the southern hemisphere. Tightly 

spanxed, their curvaceous flesh dimple. Red pouches
swell like tender cheeks straining against thin rind. My tongue 

gloves its shoulders with viscous spit, I drape the thirst
over hanging breasts of grapefruits and lemons. The blueberries stare 

with their grit-filled eyes as I weigh the nectarines and swathe
them in plastic. I weigh the southern half of this sweet earth.

I then weigh the jealousy of the other fruits: the sullenness of wild
pears, the skinniness of purple plums, and my arch enemy—

bananas. I tie the skirt end of the bag filled with smooth
-skinned cheeks. I tell the plane-worn, eye-bagged mangoes 

it wasn’t them. It was me. Now the nectarine has returned, I am again
under her spell and no one else’s. I hurry home to guzzle sparkling

water, to wet the inside of my mouth for her skin. Then I eat
and eat on the loveseat, crescent away her full moons, 

suck her stomach clean. On the grill pan, rosemary steaks sizzle 
alongside lines of white asparagus. An apron hangs around my neck. 

My husband returns after work, teeth glinting like caviar.
We feed in eden, my salt-crusted contours and burnt edges 

soften in sweet, gravied frenzy. Dessert is next, so I nibble nervously
on my fingers. It is misty April, black with bark. A man knocks on the door, 

and then another. They discuss the species of my desire—
To what ends I will yield and dent. Then, we become 

a long night that refuses to sun.



____

Tan Tzy Jiun is a poet and historian from Malaysia. Her work is published and forthcoming in Here: a poetry journal, Stone of Madness Press, Sine Theta Magazine, Quince Magazine, and Eunoia Review, among others. You can find her on twitter tweeting her funny little words on @tzyjiun_

in bolinas

by Amy Bobeda

white lace luminesces a dress  free
people made for photo ops in joshua 

tree, I’ve never been that kind of tintype
wrapping my arms in leather belly of a black

rail perched on the balcony mapping fran’s yard
in crayon in my little blue book, the sun printing

silk in my lap down at the bar three drunk men ask
if I’m getting married, the actors say yes, climbing

the toy ship mast outside the hardware store where
solace arrives in diameter pitch and wing width

in the study I swivel through five copies of Burn After
Reading, and wonder if Brad Pitt’s death was surprise

or foreshadowing sliding the book next to itself in the
shelf I walk down to the water to pray, slip 

out of my white casing into the sea. You follow me 
an otter lapping your coat around my legs ruddy freezing 

my cheeks against the rising moon my breast blue like 
the black rail’s belly reding my eyes shadowlike Cassiopeia

reflects the ripples you fold into, the rising tide threatens
my survival, rarely scene in flight tonight my arms mouth

a map of kelp pods across the milky way, the seaside
town who didn’t want my company. 



____
Amy Bobeda holds an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics where she founded Wisdom Body Collective. She is an editor of More Revolutionary Letters: A Tribute to Diane di Prima. Her work can be read in Entropy, Vol1 Brooklyn, Denver Quarterly and elsewhere. @amybobeda on twitter. 

Months, Moments

by Raymond Gibson

You will wake toward morning.
There will be no butterflies.
The moth in your hand will shatter
to as many moths as you want.



____

Raymond Gibson earned his MFA from Florida Atlantic University. He published two chapbooks with Glass Lyre Press. New Ruin, a micro-chapbook, is available now from Ghost City Press. He lives in Hollywood, FL.

Tools of the Trade

by Margaret King

I've always loved hardware stores
Everything in its place
Every item practical,
Utilitarian,
For needs I hadn't even thought of
 
His therapist often talked about 
Toolboxes
Life skills, coping skills 
As if life could be faced with a visit to the hardware store
As if they sell levels for minds
And super glue for relationships
And tape measures for invisible distances 
Studfinders for singles in search of love
Safety goggles for the comment section
 
I digress. For us:
 
A crowbar to pry the lid off this interminable night
And open the lid on dawn
 
A crowbar to peel back our interminable separation 
And let in the light, the happy reconciliation
 
A language to tell you how alive I was that autumn day overlooking the lake
How alive it all was:
Deer, dragonfly, daisy
And dry wind chimes rustling the blaze leaves
 
Breadcrumbs that still biodegrade
But only after forever
 
Painter's tape—of blue so oceanic
It hasn't been seen since the Silurian seas
Covered the Upper Midwest—
That stretches between us like a reel unfolding
Every beautiful moment under summer's moonlight 
When white-tailed deer looked like ghosts, silver and shining. 



____

Margaret King is a Wisconsin author who enjoys penning poetry and flash fiction. Her recent work has appeared in Moonchild Magazine and Great Lakes Review. She is also the author of the poetry collection, Isthmus, and has flash fiction forthcoming in MoonPark Review.

Ode to a Fisherman’s Friend

by Christopher Arksey

Here’s to you my little mucus-mover, 
green-brown Black Jack, 
paper-packed sucking stone. 

My washed-up relic, breath of fresh patina, 
bit of grit with skin as rough 
as a trawlerman’s backhand. Not a whiff 

of wellbeing about you. Until 
your liquorice turns menthol; enough 
to flare the nostrils. 

Till you’re tongue-smoothed, 
suck-sharpened, lashed and brined 
and swallowed in the fish sauce of saliva. 

Till we meet again 
when my nose blows foghorn 
and my throat hawks phlegm. 




Note: Fisherman’s Friend is a brand of strong menthol lozenges originally developed in 1865 in Fleetwood, a small coastal town in northwest England, to give respiratory relief to deep-sea fishermen. According to the brand, the fishermen began to refer to the lozenges as “friends.” 

Black Jack is a brand of aniseed flavour sweets made in the UK. 




____

Christopher Arksey is a writer and voice actor living in Hull, UK. His work is also published in Full House Literary Magazine, forthcoming in Sledgehammer Lit and Porridge Magazine, and he’s currently writing his first poetry pamphlet. You can find him on Twitter @chrisarksey.

In the Space Where Time Stops

by Molly Andrea-Ryan

                You leave the same impression 
                Of something beautiful, but annihilating. 
                -Sylvia Plath, “The Rival”

Some days, it’s just me and the cat alone 
in this yawning apartment. Each night, 
we are surprised by the setting sun,
the long shadows climbing the walls 
like wallpaper women. 

The Kit-Cat Klock, a gift from my mother,
hangs too low. Its pendulum tail tempts
while its eyes slide back and forth, 
keeping time in nervous glances.
The cat stretches her elastic body 
and in one swipe, 
stops time. 

The sound of my own feverish keyboard  
in chorus with 100-year-old floorboards 
gasping under paws the size of silver dollars—
how easy it would be to swear off language
and bide my time 
on all fours.

I think of my mother alone in strange house 
after strange yawning house, keeping watch 
over something small and pink, packed with explosives 
and unvoiced need, each bone and cell a piece
of her.


____

Molly Andrea-Ryan is a poet and prose writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work often centralizes womanhood and mental health. She received her MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and works as a freelance content writer.