Note: Source text is Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, page 268
Melody Serra‘s passion is teaching and empowering others by sharing what she has learned. She helped launch an arts and crafts program at a children’s hospital and also taught at San Quentin State Prison. Melody hopes to inspire youth to explore and expand their creativity through web development, writing, and art.
i misspell angel & call you
my angle. both are true.
you, the bright space between
lines that leads to where we meet,
my intersection of light beams.
i never know which direction
we gleam, but whenever i speak,
i am speaking towards your shine—
my phone capitalizes your whole
name, recognizes love before i do.
my bigtall love growing
beyond my toes! a trombone
brassing out my mouth!
i’m bringing the whole band
& blasting piano keys:
what a fortune, to write
in your lifetime,
to adore each note & ring.
autocorrect changes i love you
to i live you. a supreme truth.
i live your presence, your absence.
at death, your ghost, its long prints
i live you i live you i live you
in every shape of home.
my angle. i live you.
backwards & forwards, forested
& open-fielded, with all my fingers & throat.
Samantha Fain is a writer from Indiana. Her first chapbook, “Coughing Up Planets,” debuted with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in March, and her microchap “sad horse music” debuted with The Daily Drunk in May. Her work has appeared in The Indianapolis Review, SWWIM, 8 Poems, and others. She tweets at @smnthfn. Find her at samanthafain.com.
It’s how you sit
in the middle
of everything, waiting
for the Woolf in me.
I used to think
of love as a reduction
of self. How the act
of loving diminished.
An always setting sun.
I think of how you are there,
open and waiting. And
Two women set out on an
adventure. A hand gently rests. They
sneak gin from a tarnished flask. It
will matter more to the one in robin’s egg
blue. The other will know all of the right
flowers to arrange at dinner.
She will say, But I did
love you once
and your fingers
of silk. Your cheek
Ended and nothing stopped
the way you are the edge of glass. Sand
and fire and storm.
Jen Rouse is a poet and playwright. She directs the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cornell College. Her work has appeared in The Citron Review, Pithead Chapel, Cleaver, Always Crashing, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. Her books with Headmistress Press include: Acid and Tender, CAKE, and Riding with Anne Sexton. Find her on Twitter @jrouse.
Come in I tell the fleas
opening my legs
it’s time to make a movie
on this first day of winter in my bed
white worms of cellulite
and half a glass of warm red wine
pink scum between the tiles
sunbeam floats particulates of skin
part of me in bed
and part of me on my credit card
lost like a meteor in the black hole lens
lost in the middle
of viral interdependence
can you move faster I ask the fleas
I don’t want to lose the light
I am not in exile
I must tell myself I have time
and then eradicate my apprehensions
the fleas swell and swallow me
and you too
in the moment you come
to me I ask you
why should we be different
in a novel by my bed
stiffs discovered in a forest
love is not a punishment
sometimes I forget and have a laugh
I open my heart like a scab
one day there won’t be any winter
through the lens the light bends
to a single point
Sara Wainscott is the author of Insecurity System (Persea 2020), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. She lives outside Chicago. www.sarawainscott.com
Is it that hard to see why I moon about you?
You are the heavenly body from my point of view.
You think I luminesce? My ashen glow is from the Sun
and from you. That’s why I’m made new when you are full.
You see through my nightside even in my darkest phases,
so I sliver silver, and if I cannot close this distance,
I’ll save space in my crescent for your shadow.
Sean Beatty is a poet from Raleigh, NC. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill where he completed an Honors Poetry Thesis, and is currently working on a M.S. in Physiology at the University of Louisville. His poems have been published in The Daily Drunk, Figure 1, CP Quarterly, and Ice Lolly Review. Follow him on Twitter @seanw0ww.
There are pools of brine
on the ocean floor.
Brine is heavy water,
with a higher toxicity.
The edge of a brine pool
looks like another beach
at the bottom of the sea.
I have rooms like this in me.
Poison up to my knees.
I could drown eels,
if I wanted.
Sometimes I imagine
if the worst thing I ever did
was done to me
Catherine Weiss is a poet and artist from Maine. Their poetry has been published in Tinderbox, Up the Staircase, Fugue, Okay Donkey, perhappened, Birdcoat, Bodega, Counterclock, petrichor, HAD, and Flypaper Lit. Catherine is the artist behind the collaborative poetry chapbook/card deck I WISH I WASN’T ROYALTY (Game Over Books, 2020). They are also the author of chapbook-length poem, FERVOR (Ginger Bug Press, 2021) and full-length poetry collection, WOLF GIRLS VS. HORSE GIRLS (Game Over Books, 2021). More at catherineweiss.com.
dedicated to Adrian Walker
A lone seal, just beyond the cresting waves,
Plays in glorious isolation.
Gulls soar above, a silent question
In the blanket grey sky.
Memories of sunnier days whisper in my mind,
As I recall collective laughter and soaring
Kites that seemed unending.
Beginning now a new chapter
The seal plays on, unaware of time or place,
As we walk on, pushing forward
In soft sand, that gives and sighs.
Helen Openshaw is a Drama and English teacher, from Cumbria. She enjoys writing poetry and plays and inspiring her students to write. Helen has had a short monologue commissioned by Knock and Nash productions. Recently published and upcoming poetry work in Secret Chords by Folklore publishing, Green Ink Poetry magazine, Words and Whispers magazine, The Madrigal, Fragmented Voices, Loft Books and The Dirigible Balloon magazine.
I make decisions like this:
feeling for fire.
Life asks us to average
things out, become even-keeled.
But I never agree.
When it holds out a pen so I might sign
my assent, I keep my hands busy,
full, grabbing whoever, whatever
makes me most myself.
Megan McDermott is a poet and Episcopal priest living in Western Massachusetts. She is the author of the chapbooks Prayer Book for Contemporary Dating (Ethel Zine and Micro-Press) and Woman as Communion (Game Over Books) and a full-length collection due out in late 2022, Jesus Merch: A Catalog in Poems (Fernwood Press). Connect with her more at meganmcdermottpoet.comor on Twitter @megmcdermott92.
These words are the
Bagnell dam built by
Union Electric before
I was born and
These words are damned
Double damn and
And privately owned
By a company that
I don’t work for and
Never applied for and
I want to scream
And break open
Kit Steitz is a poet in Columbia, Missouri. They have an army of geriatric cats and dogs and almost exclusively write their poems while sitting on rocks in creeks and glaring at people.
This morning on the pond,
a great blue heron hunkered
low on the grassy tip of what yesterday
was a peninsula. The night’s rains
cut him off from the shore.
No matter. His outspread wings
plunged the shrinking island into shadow.
I spent the day thinking of you.
Eric Lochridge (he/him) is a poet and editor living in western Washington between the mountains and the sea. He is the author of My Breath Floats Away From Me (FutureCycle Press, 2022) and three chapbooks. His poems have appeared in DIAGRAM, UCity Review, Okay Donkey, and Kissing Dynamite. Find him on Twitter @ericedits and at ericedits.wordpress.com.