toward the rose
worthy still when its petals are tired,
toward burgundy thread,
dust blush on your cheeks.
Toward frilly things—
femme froth and butch bloom,
rose gold cuticle,
pale palm of foot.
Decay is another way
to unfold. At the bottom
of the pond I still desired.
Meredith Arena (she/they) is a queer writer originally from New York City. She moved to Seattle in 2011 and learned how to drive in 2015. She is an interdisciplinary teaching artist, facilitator and organizer. She served as an editor on the journal Lunch Ticket for two years. Her work can be found in various journals including Longleaf Review, Entropy, Lunch Ticket, Peatsmoke, Blood Orange Review, and forthcoming in Poetry NW. She was the 2021 Erin Donovan fellow in poetry at Mineral School in Washington. She holds an MFA in creative writing and a Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.
Diaphanous and hardworking.
Sometimes folded over at the edges.
Tucked and sewn in small stitches.
Transparent and larger than the body.
From behind black windows
a fog has settled on these roads.
It lifts before I am ready. I wait
at the window. They crest the hill.
Don’t tell me you can’t see them.
Liane Tyrrel is a visual artist and poet. Her poems have been included or are forthcoming in: The Shore, EcoTheo Review and JMWW among others. Her prose poem “Spontaneous Combustion” was nominated for Best Short Fictions 2021. She lives and walks with her dog in the woods and fields of NH. https://www.lianetyrrel.com/
for Agnes Martin
I walk the planes of this last town, symmetrical, enclosed.
When she quit the city
to break from her constant hysteria, she promised herself the apology
of firmness. And she repeated it. Had to
separate the voices. Though she couldn’t
recover, she could hold her flush from its strata and heaving
and flat-manner a composure, put the question
of being in the right order.
She fit to a square within
mottled adobe. Bright and wide, the light. She lived
a long time in the unmarked eternity. What drifted easy
in the mind. She listened, then drew a light line
through a bland center, a line which looked like nothing but was
an actual place, the warmth of her hand and also a surrender.
Bio: Lauren Camp is the author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press). Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, Housatonic Book Award and New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poet Lore, and Beloit Poetry Journal, and her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic. www.laurencamp.com
I want to fill
all our coffee mugs
with rain water
and leave them
around the house.
(This is a metaphor
for how I love.)
SG Huerta is a Chicano poet from Dallas. They are pursuing their MFA at Texas State University where they serve as the nonfiction editor for Porter House Review. SG is the author of the chapbook The Things We Bring with Us: Travel Poems (Headmistress Press, 2021). Their work has appeared in Infrarrealista Review, Variant Lit, and others. They live in Texas with their partner and two cats. Find them at sghuertawriting.com or on Twitter @sg_poetry
Thanks to all who participated in the first Moist Poetry Journal Full Moon Haiku Contest! Moist received SO MANY beautiful haiku entries in the last twenty four hours. It was not at all easy to choose three favorites! Thank you for all the wonderful reading and the moon magic during last night’s Super Moon, Blood Moon, Full Moon in Scorpio, and Lunar Eclipse. Please enjoy the three haiku selected by EIC Han VanderHart–winners received a small cash prize for chapbooks or other poet needs!
moon shines (
all the blackberries
oh porcupine moon
falling from tallest trees and
into them again
A cold pale plate thrown,
Slow motion, into the dark.
Mantic moon of spring.
Songbird, tiniest crab
on my fingertip, tussled
and tossed and flip-belly
horseshoe. At the periphery
of the golf course, a blue
butterfly dips in and out
of cattails. She burns
moves clear through:
dusting everything, trailing
life. She slurps everyone up.
Soft body against the sea
-rusted private property
sign, the men in cargos
riding plastic white
cars on the greens,
wielding metal rods.
The armored check point
I mean entry gate, angry red
stop sign, cop pacing
this stretch of sand
back and forth, back
and forth, smiling
at the bodies of animals
in linen on lounge chairs
who paid good money
to be here, laminated
flags on each car.
Last week, I’m told
Bradley Cooper ran
these backroads shirtless.
Oh, aching world. All I want
to do is touch you, for everyone
to touch you equally, equitably.
Rising tide-bodies, shore
covered in coins: pink
and yellow iridescents,
deflated balloon heads tongued
by each communal wave:
congrats, grad! and one bright
nylon star come down
from the heavens to glint
among human feet, burning
on this land.
Zoë Fay-Stindt (she/Z/they) is a queer, bicontinental poet with roots in both the French and American south. Their poetry has appeared in museum galleries, on the radio, on the streets of small towns, in community farm newsletters, and other strange and wonderful places. Z’s work has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and has been featured or is forthcoming in RHINO, Muzzle, VIDA, Southeast Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She lives in Ames, Iowa, where she is an MFA candidate at Iowa State University and co-managing editor for the environmental writing journal, Flyway.
I saw him from across the way,
across the green-lawn,
slightly tilted above the groves
of the older and young men alike,
all bare, with their dangling arms and legs
and groins, and just beyond
the chlorinated pools and misting hot-tub,
it was him standing this near and far
away — I wanted to touch his left cheek
of his handsome face but he wasn’t handsome
any longer. It’s not age that aged him,
nor the sweltering desert heat at 110 degrees,
but the length of both of his arms tracked
down along the way, raked confusingly
down the middle where the drugs entered.
I traced my finger down that flesh
once and kissed it, and kissed
him, and imagined a world silent
and in a vineyard without danger.
Instead, he smiles at me, inviting me in,
and I understand, I do — I could suffer
for it — the harm we were once both in.
I wasn’t driven to throw the iron
of my warm pelvis onto him, or kiss him,
or touch him anymore. I wanted to ask
Are you okay? And I failed.
I clutched my hand over the back
of his hand with eros and kept it there,
silently, for all the seconds of the earth
and pulled back. I pulled away as if
saying I no longer wish for harm
and I lost someone at that moment
of the last hour of the last evening
by saying my first farewell.
Anthony Aguero is a queer writer in Los Angeles, CA. His work has appeared, or will appear, in the Carve Magazine, Rhino Poetry, 14 Poems, Redivider Journal, Maudlin House, and others. He has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and has his first forthcoming collection of poetry, Burnt Spoon Burnt Honey, with Flower Song Press.
That summer the sand was thick with jellyfish corpses / giving everybody
a view of ghostly cogs & wheels / like the expensive watch my cousin wants
us to covet / also / nothing like a ticking watch/ we approached the confession
booth of salt water with murder in our hearts / knives in hand / everyone
fears tongues or teeth. The untethered sun / the storm-thick sky / even God wants
every living thing to kill or be killed. We wanted night-vision goggles/ some
broken metal detectors / mothers & toddlers in a mid-morning cathartic
ritual: seaweed / sea turtles/ driftwood / a song to infuse the usual narrative.
The waves retreated into their own unspoken souls/ we wandered / we waited for
the jellyfish to rot / to melt in a mass of unimaginable existence/ it
was the only way summer could end / our plastic shovels busy with the
necessary destruction of castles / with the proper burial of the guilty
and innocent without discrimination / their tentacles/ their faces / especially.
(Golden Shovel inspired by True Detective, Season 1, Episode 5)
Beth Gordon is a poet, mother and grandmother currently living in Asheville, NC. Her poetry has been widely published and nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, and the Orison Anthology. She is the author of two previous chapbooks and her full-length poetry collection, This Small Machine of Prayer, was published in 2021(Kelsay Books). Her third chapbook, The Water Cycle, is being published by Variant Lit in January 2022. She is Managing Editor of Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Assistant Editor of Animal Heart Press, and Grandma of Femme Salve Books.
are full of seed, sprouts and leaves and rain
I wear this irksome suit of flesh & yet
are scented, sweet with dirt and singing
I watch my days fall and die like embers & yet
are tangled with grasses and asters
I smile a cruel curve, a drawn bow & yet
are recycling the soft wreckage of harvest
I hate like a god hates when it is forgotten & yet
are still in love with green
Donna Vorreyer is the author of To Everything There Is (2020), Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (2016) and A House of Many Windows (2013), all from Sundress Publications. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Poet Lore, Cherry Tree, Salamander, Harpur Palate, and other journals. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago where she serves as an associate editor for Rhino Poetry and hosts the monthly online reading series A Hundred Pitchers of Honey.
It is cold this morning,
the field beside us curbed
by frost, crystals of muted color,
refracted light growing
with the sun’s rise. Our tail lights
flicker and inch closer to the window.
A woman orders her coffee,
a bag of sugar, butter stains
already seeping across a white
bag, hints of smeared jelly.
From here I can just make out
the creases of a smile as she grabs
the bag, imagine the crinkle of sturdy
paper, the roll of it between the pads
of her finger tips.
Somewhere further back in line,
a horn honks like ovals of geese
bobbing softly beyond us
to find a grassy field. My eyes are shut
I see them gathering, their necks’
slow ungulation, long sighs,
an old conversation. They are
unconcerned with interruption—
so, at first, they do not recognize
the calf, still ruddy with its first
fur, looming at the edge of the wood
curious, listening to their chatter
sniffing the dried thistles at its feet
it’s all right now to dream
of something dim and sweet, otherworldly,
the air thick with morning.
Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, Rise Up Review, Barren Magazine, Bending Genres, The Shore and elsewhere. He is the editor of the Marvel inspired poetry anthology, Marvelous Verses. His work was nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize for 2021. You can find him online at www.jaredbeloff.com