(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.