“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_
The first thing to understand is movement: the instrument’s magic is
motion and nothing more. See: the boy running and running in the
afterschool wide open, thigh muscles lengthening, contracting,
lengthening; the murmuration of starlings rising in chaotic whorl only to
converge again on the aspen tree—their squawks and warbles morphing
motion into sound. The piano—just perched there—becomes all this the
moment someone’s fingers find the keys. And somewhere, the ocean:
Waves rise up & roll their multi-particulate selves over the shore & back
& up & over again. (the boy imagines his toes are veiled in the receding
surf; the starlings’ distant cousins swoop and dive for lunch) Play a chord
and the sea-god laughs, hoists his trident, stabs it down & stabs again,
calling the world’s whole cache of water to rise & roll & heave. Your ears,
perhaps, are the shore on which the ocean breaks. You, the bare aspen
branches. You, the ground beneath your child’s lengthening strides,
stretching now beyond your bounds. You, the piano’s case, so still, so
stately—it’s purpose not containment, but release.
Andrea L. Hackbarth (she/her) lives in Palmer, Alaska, and is a self-employed piano technician,
poet, and mother. She holds a BA in English from Lawrence University and an MFA from the
University of Alaska Anchorage. Some of her work can be found in Mezzo Cammin, Gravel,
YesPoetry, and other print and online journals.
Rain just gone, the warm
sun warms the soil.
A far off bloom of
city lights blues the sky,
a world wiped empty.
The grass is haunted
by the blue,
A placid dimension
of listing coral
as through goggles,
endless shivering vista,
Our tiny plot, this,
this the sprawling
of the midday moon,
And I will be here
To see it
come and gone.
Jesse Miksic (he/him) is a graphic designer and writer living in the
suburbs of Philadelphia. He spends his life writing poetry, ruminating
over pop culture, and having adventures with his wonderful wife, kids,
and dog. Recent placements include Punk Noir Magazine, Drunk Monkeys,
and Green Ink Poetry. His work and musings can be found at @miksimum on
Twitter and Instagram, or www.miksimum.com
As I watched a seed sigh on the
song of a slipstream I realized
what was once its hope to fly
was now its trust in the breeze
what was once its dream to take root
was now contingent upon the currents that carry
this chrysalis of beginning
its weight – which warps the wind –
to the dictation
of its destination.
Dana Michele Havas is a poet living in Ithaca NY, when she is not writing she is helping to keep her regional food system resilient by serving farmers in her community. This is amongst her first publications along with her recently published work in New Note Poetry (April 2022). You can find her on Twitter @dmhavas (not terribly active) but welcomes the engagement none-the-less.
When I dream of you now you’re always writing
often in verse, leaving shape-poem diamonds
for me to find on 1990s monitors
in our old residence hall on College Street.
They say, we were disaster held
in common. Say, I
know you loved
and tried, although
Another night you’re in prestigious journals,
have shed your family name.
You touch my arm
and say you didn’t know, then, who you were.
And I’m not jealous. I know you're my mind
speaking to me, leaving letters on my pillow.
You won’t exit ungracefully for that lover,
all you want is to be near and exchange kindness.
I didn’t know who I was then, you say sadly,
And I say, that’s all right, come hold me now.
Catherine Rockwood reads and edits for Reckoning Magazine, and reviews books for Strange Horizons. Her poetry chapbook, Endeavors To Obtain Perpetual Motion, is available from The Ethel Zine Press. A micro chapbook, And We Are Far From Shore: poems for Our Flag Means Death, is forthcoming from Ethel in 2023.
Immortal jellyfish, as their name blasts in your face,
Live forever. And what do they do with that?
What sonnets have they written? What thoughtful proofs
Have they submitted to a jury of their mathematical peers?
I’d settle for an aria of unsurpassed beauty,
One you’d do whatever necromancy required (herbs,
A piebald goat’s thymus, an incantation about the firstborn)
To bring Maria Callas back to sing.
To think there are people
Alive who heard Callas, maybe not in her prime,
But when you are supreme, the shoulder season is glorious.
Like roses. They’re bred for continual beauty
Or fragrance, even if they are not the top note
In any perfume I want to wear; grey amber,
Ambergris, floated in to cold beaches, whales’ beneficence.
Remind me why we left the sea? We come back every year
If we can. Implausible, scaly mermaids (never mermen)
Cannot lose their appeal. Dolphins, my son tells me,
Are always ready to fuck.
Daisy Bassen is a poet and community child psychiatrist who graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, McSweeney’s, Smartish Pace, and [PANK] as well as multiple other journals. She was the winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest, the 2019 ILDS White Mice Contest and the 2020 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize. She was doubly nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net Anthology and for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.
Whale Foam, Sea Honey
Clouds bruise the night,
defile every map the stars
scribble on its open palm.
I lose direction, hardly
see the maw of indecision
before it wraps me in teeth
& tongue, traps me
in another skin. I breathe
air sour as surrender
in this cavern of bone
unflensed. If only the moon
flowers bloomed in this
darkness to light
the way to change—
Cobble a raft of squid beaks
& seaweed & slip
into ocean where salt cleanses,
sun hardens, wind blows
sweet instead of foul.
Shed the corset of control,
breathe sea-gold upon the shore.
red-pickup men pass me & my bike on montlake
their dog-tongues unfurl & then bark thunder thighs & then
the sound of vinegar & then I stop my body & then I eat
their words & then my belly hurts & then I face my pretty face
& then I sing strange hips to prove my worth & then I blue-
pill my fat & then I breathe too much & then I grow arms inside
my arms legs inside my legs & then I claim my space & then
a man christens my limbs thighs of the world & then we
pack and travel & then we glory each other & then he forgets
parts despise whole & then I skin ice to stay warm & then I curdle
his blessing & then I sing my hips to claim my worth & then I write
a new ocean & then I braid breath into wind & then I garden wide
and always & then I refuse to disappear
Lynne Jensen Lampe was born in Newfoundland and raised in Wisconsin and Louisiana. Her collection Talk Smack to a Hurricane will be out September 2022 (Ice Floe Press). Her poems—which often deal with conformity, sanity, gender, and faith—appear in many journals, including Figure 1, Yemassee, The American Journal of Poetry, One, and Rock & Sling, as well as SMEOP: Urban, a UK anthology. A finalist for the 2020 Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize, she lives with her husband and two dogs in Columbia, Missouri. When she’s not throwing squeaky toys, she makes time to edit academic books and journals. Find her online at http://lynnejensenlampe.com
Hinged at the hip, I lift the veil of woolly
thyme, where threads of bindweed disappear,
white into earth. Arrowed leaves coil sedum,
milkvetch, hyssop’s sweet mint—my hyssop
thrumming with this solitary bee, night after
night. Smoke-penned, we despair, absent rain,
record heat, dirt’s covering of the root
of the root: long taps that circumnavigate
underworld. Haunt us, enigmatic
endings, while demons at midday publish
our work from rooftops. Reveal things never
before revealed. Snap under the pull of my hand—
white as the next fear. White as the next
thunderbolt to take the mountain and leave
no rain. As the horse, messageless.
Kathryn Knight Sonntag is the author of the poetry collection The Tree at the Center (BCC Press, 2019). She has recent and forthcoming poems in Colorado Review, Ethel, Rock & Sling, The Shore, Psaltery & Lyre, The Inflectionist Review, and the anthology Blossom as the Cliffrose (Torrey House Press, 2021). She works as a freelance writer and landscape architect in Salt Lake City. kathrynknightsonntag.com
Days drip warm honey
colored sunlight through
verdant velvet cutouts
maple and oak.
Your wheat stalk hair and
China rose cheeks
sweat beads a diadem
while wind-chime laughter rises on the breeze
I click you into a memory
Katelyn Botsford Tucker is a teacher and writer. She paints, is often caffeinated, and absolutely terrified of outer space. You can find her on Twitter @KatelynBotsford.
I thought it was clear—
but the instructor
said he didn’t know
what was happening.
that the stanza break
in the two stanza poem
I couldn’t find words,
but the women,
in the workshop,
said it was clear—
it wasn't evident.
the women agreed—
it is clear,
it is clear,
it is clear.
Dustin Brookshire is the curator of the Wild & Precious Life Series and founding editor of Limp Wrist. He is the author of two chapbooks—Love Most Of You Too (Harbor Editions, 2021) and To The One Who Raped Me (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012). With Julie E. Bloemeke, Dustin is co-editing a forthcoming Madville Publishing Dolly Parton anthology. Visit Dustin online at www.dustinbrookshire.com.