(mirror of Sappho, Fragment 31)
It’s not so difficult to talk to women. You need only sing under their window, bathe in the pond beside their front door. You there showing off your feathers.
It’s not so difficult to talk to women. You talk loudly and you carry a soft stick. You are an exterminator of something.
You drive a sedan with Security stenciled on the side. At the end of the night no one’s at home. You do not want to end your life most days. This is not difficult for you.
There is a woman behind the bar. The way she cleans the lip on the glass. The way she salts the rim. Her worn-out copy of what book—
There are good films by men. Good films by bad men. Separating the artist from the art
My roving eye—
Her glance, my direction. She shines
The surface. What can I say. What can I say.
Mack Gregg’s poems have appeared or will soon appear in ITERANT, Witch Craft Magazine, b l u s h, Hot Pink Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere. They are currently pursuing their MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia.
Sunday morning. In another world
it’s so ordinary: egg yolks and the mountain
in the window. December roses, steam
from the shower, serious coffee warming up
on the stove. Birds calling, San Francisco.
The smell of the ocean in our clothes.
Your smell, soaked into the collar
of yesterday’s sweater, what I pulled
on in the dawn and cold. Before
busying myself with the raspberries
and sugar. The half-conscious dog. Our own apples to slice into pieces. My hand a white
flag at the back of your neck, the hours
like a whole movie, and weren't we only
at the beginning. Slow lifetimes before us. Immortality. A new moon. Never mind
your lips are turning blue. Never mind
the stars behind the mountain, obscured
by daylight and from this world, relentless.
They have to betray us. It is too hard
to pretend the future could have been
anything other than what I ended
up with: your shadow, your star
cloistered in the sculpted wall, at the limit.
Where nothing ever happens. You would
never get to grow old.
Sasha Leshner is a poet and editor from Brooklyn New York. Her works is drawn from the intersections of art, memory, and the possibilities of their articulations. She has an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University and a BA from NYU. Her work has been published and is forthcoming from ExPat Press, (M)othertongues Magazine, Pour Vida Zine, west 10th magazine, 89+ and the luma foundation, and others. Her poems are dedicated to the beloveds who beat her to the next world.
When we set out we knew nothing of loss other than losing the unfavourable circumstance: here was a circle, home and we went past the circumference in search of a place that could finally hold us. How it advanced as we approached, facing away. We saw loss before we saw any gain, we understood the distance of the stars well before we could understand their use. The world was second, the loss came first. It retreated before the sweep of our cartography into the softness of shadow and the vacuum of silence, like the Lilith side of the moon.
V. B. Borjen (he/they) is a Yugoslav-born writer and visual artist based in the Czech Republic. His first poetry collection in Bosnian (Priručnik za levitiranje, en. Levitation Handbook) won the 2012 Mak Dizdar Award. His work in English and visual art have been featured in EcoTheo Review, Folio, Rattle, The Maine Review, AZURE, IceFloe Press, Parentheses and elsewhere. He serves as Guest Editor of Palette and Frontierpoetry magazines. Tweets @Borjen
would be impermissibly awkward. Would be, according
to Nikki Giovanni in On Being with Krista Tippett,
probably nonexistent. You’d think, we know how to
operate a spaceship up there, why not our bodies.
No it’s not only gravity that keeps us from tearing
apart. It’s our infidelity to the earth too, the nothingness
that brings, even when we’re buried inside of it. How
is it that something can be both ever-expanding and vacant.
A doctor tells you, Relax. You’ll have fun in the dark.
You remember that a woman you loved vacationed
to the moon one night and left the man who slept there
yearning for another crater. You see him famished,
black hole undercover. Pirouetting to nihility. You say
maybe you will. So long as you can land on a star one
million light years from now. So long as you can watch
humanity’s extinction and pretend like it’s happening
in real time, like your love could’ve possibly made it that far.
Lily Levin (she/they) is a junior and undergraduate English major. Lily began writing poetry in high school and has five upcoming poems in Eunoia Review. Moreover, her journalism and opinion pieces have been featured in The Duke Chronicle, Buzzfeed, Queen City Nerve, and NC Policy Watch. They are so humbled to have their poem included in Moist Poetry Journal.
Life was a road to the vanishing point,
something surged on the horizon—
a swarm. A rising hum of unknowns.
On our way, shoulders brushed shoulders
on trains and buses, elbows cleaved throngs.
We forced to the front of the crush
when there was no room. Voices
hived in ambience, we blended in
aerosols, haloed in exhalation.
Interior atmospheres merged,
but we lived and lived.
We cross-pollinated each other’s lungs,
kissed our mothers, fathers and friends.
Strangers’ mouths bared nuance,
marionette lines creased, nostrils flared air.
Incoming fear was a thing to overcome,
not yet terror— not yet
a hunker-down, hope death will drift by.
Evolution hadn’t threatened to swing
its oldest mace. The Morning Star
sparked at the terminus,
called to the floating ghosts. We weren’t
playing tag with the devil, then—
it wasn’t everyone, everyone wasn’t it.
River Elizabeth Hall (she/her) is a poet and naturalist. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bear Review, Pontoon Poetry, Main Street Rag, Nimrod and Tinderbox among others. Her chapbook, “Call a Body Home” was a semi-finalist in the 2021 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. More about her writing and other offerings can be found at RiverElizabethHall.com
Tasselled by Independence Day,
field a sea you plunged in
among the green shafts, arms bare,
leaves stroking you like the rough
tongues of ruminants.
The splendid height in fruit
excited you, sugar milking
in the kernel, ears firm
under your learning grasp.
The cob groaned
as you unsheathed it,
exposed pale flesh, gnashed
at the creamy sweetness with
young teeth suddenly ravenous.
That was the humid season
you locked the deep eyes
of a doe at first light,
creeping home past the snow
peas gone by in the dew-cool
between one overwhelming
heat and the next. A blaze
of tail melting into blue trees—
she was gone. A blooded dawn
overgrew the morning star.
Lisa Raatikainen is a writer and music teacher who holds degrees in religion and biology. Her writing has appeared in Whale Road Review, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Vermont with her family.
A monk turned so still
that those behind him,
who sat, stood and slept
overtook him, and creepers
with blue, white and purple flowers
started crawling over him,
the finest portrayal for me
Locked down in my house
the way turtle is in its shell,
rather a corpse in the coffin,
I brood if confinement would free us.
A moment of peace
in this raging city, which is calm now,
as the wilderness slowly reclaims—
a rock python enters the office space
and spotted deer graze on unruly lawns,
the world has slowed down
but we refuse to rest.
Debasis Tripathy was born in Odisha, India. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Decomp, UCity Review, Rogue Agent, Leon Lit, Vayavya, Mantle Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Bangalore.
Something's not right with my river,
my mother says. And it is Truth: each
night the beavers pull apart saplings,
pull them apart fresh and at the edge.
The river gets blocked. The water stops
and at night I hear howling in the east.
In the year of the year of the plague —
this the age I restring my mother's
mother's Miraculous Medal and hang it
from my dash — the days are long as
a year. Ticks fall like spring melt
from branches and cling to the legs
of the moose calves. A great fir tree
falls on a man as he sleeps. The mountain
is angry, my mother says, and it is Truth.
In the days after this, another surgeon
would open me. There is never any
good explanation for my pain, which
is real. I must have it. Night after night,
this racket in the woods; the re-
building of the thaw-rushed dam which,
this time around, might make a good home.
This remarkable rumpus chirping hope.
Samantha DeFlitch is the author of Confluence (Broadstone Books, 2021). A National Poetry Series finalist, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Colorado Review, The Missouri Review, Appalachian Review, and On the Seawall, among others. She lives in New Hampshire with her corgi dog, Moose.
Does the world need another poem
about a tired mother?
Last week, I wanted to
get in my car and drive
to Somewhere Else.
Anywhere Else, really.
I have hitched my heart
to the notion of a limitless woman,
and I have been
I don’t know this woman.
Not this year, anyway.
I don’t even know
who to be mad at most days,
the days when I
into the hottest water
coming out of my shower head.
Can I tell you?
I don’t want hot water.
I want to be a popsicle
left alone on the sidewalk;
left to grow soft and sweet and
shapeless in the hottest sun.
I said this part out loud,
so last week my husband
put me in a car
and I drove to the silence
of Somewhere Else
where I could feel my body
melt into an
I gave her everything
I soaked her in quiet,
held her in the dark,
offered her wine,
sugar, a cold antipasto salad.
But mothers can’t stay melted.
So when it was time,
I gathered dish towels and
soaked myself back up,
wrung myself out, and poured
myself back into the shape of a mother.
only to retreat
to my shower to whisper-scream
what the fuck is wrong with me
is this so hard
and I don’t know what to become
after a popsicle.
Amanda Roth is an emerging poet and author of the full-length collection, A Mother’s Hunger (2021). Her work explores motherhood, embodiment, the climate crisis, and revisionist folklore. She is featured in Wild Roof Journal and Sunday Mornings at the River, among others. Find her on Instagram @amandarothpoetry and Twitter @amandarothpoet
“If the world breaks I hope I will become a garden” - Meow Wolf, Santa Fe
I wonder if the end of the world will be
beautiful — begging, crumbling into mulberry
midnights and shotgunned lives. I wonder
if your hands will be the ones to find
the dark pull of my chest
emptying into the reeds, a secret
baptism for motherless
seedlings. I hope
the small secrets of my body will grow
like sunflowers from the ditches
of my elbows.
I hope this will be
Your face is a study in light
freckles glittering on the river
of your chin. The shadows
of flowers falling
from the hibiscus sky stretch
across wallpapered bedroom
endings. I know these petals
will lie there forever — such
a treacly rot.
Your tongue is a lesson
in the composition
of honey. Your body is
a study of warmth, golden
hours spent holding you in
the kitchen without butter, the house
without daffodils. Prisms
of sunlight flicker across the sheets,
your body melting as the day
fades into my chest, waiting for another
Whitney Hansen (she/they) is a Midwestern writer and teacher. Their work is published/forthcoming in Pink Plastic House, Olney Magazine, Variant Literature, and more. She has been nominated for Best of the Net. Twitter: @whitneyhansen_