Promise of Fortune

Ginger K. Hintz

we both wanted more 
so we took it

                                                                                            hands act like scarves 
                                                                                           wrapped around necks 
                                                                                                             turned over 
                                                                                                                     for you 
                                                                                                                face down 
                                                                                             filled with your effort


like dusty mandarins
marked with stranger’s fingerprints 
how do you carry your violence?



____

Ginger K. Hintz, originally from South Dakota, eventually found her way to Oakland, CA. She is a self-taught poet and independent scholar with a day job. She has an MA in American Cultural Studies. Find Ginger at cacheculture.com. Publications include Friends of William Stafford Journal, Bluestockings Magazine, Q/A Poetry. She was a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize and semifinalist for the 2021 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize. 

Line of Sight

by Ginger K. Hintz

Will the past be unobstructed
when the observed become intervisible narrators?

Culture is cancelled. Culture has been cancelled.
Only blue this morning.

The cat’s fur fades in the summer light.
Time [redacted].

We remain virtual until we go outside.
Hashtag: nature, grass, sky



____
Ginger K. Hintz, originally from South Dakota, eventually found her way to Oakland, CA. She is a self-taught poet and independent scholar with a day job. She has an MA in American Cultural Studies. Find Ginger at cacheculture.com 

Publications include Friends of William Stafford Journal, Bluestockings Magazine, Q/A Poetry. She was a finalist for the 2021 Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Prize and semifinalist for the 2021 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize. 

i choose to be a riptide

by Regina Jade

I am told 
That because I am a woman
It is my job to yield.
I am to be smiling and cheerful,
I am to be soft and gentle.
I should be like water in the ocean:
Adaptable and constant,
Welcoming to all who wish to relax
And forget their troubles
After a long day’s hard work.

Never mind that the ocean is angry
When it roars during storms.
Never mind that the ocean is unmerciful 
When it swallows houses and beaches whole.
Never mind that the ocean is deceptive
When it lures the unsuspecting into dangerous riptides.

If I am to be the ocean, truly,
Then I choose to be a riptide.
Calm and smooth on the surface
And an inexorable force below
To drag down all who expect me to yield. 



____

Regina Jade is an Asian American writer and poet. She loves chocolate, custard tarts, and cats. In her spare time, she can be found trawling the depths of libraries for new books to add to the to-be-read pile, which never seems to get any smaller Her recent work appears in Eucalyptus & Rose Literary Magazine and A Coup of Owls, and is also featured in an anthology titled “Imaginary Creatures” from Carnation Books. She tweets from @thereginajade.

Venus of Willendorf

by Colleen Abel

Venus of Willendorf

That which is most is most
unbearable     a body
should be a length of string
a spine a taut yard of twine
the shadow a pillar
of dark marble





Why must you speak
like that:
every dark thing
accessed, every excess


Unseemly the handfuls
of flesh

I think what you really mean
	




But the body
is a planet you tilt
on its axis     spinning
zero miles per hour
at the poles
a thousand 
at the sweated equatorial


Fecund as a flooded valley 
I plunder you
gasp-wracked

Ungirdle     unstone

is I am ochre-soaked

cornucopiate

Colleen Abel is a disabled writer living in the Midwest. Her work has appeared in venues such as Lit Hub, Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, PleiadesPoetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection, REMAKE, won the 2015 Editors Prize from Unicorn Press. She has two chapbooks, HOUSEWIFERY (dancing girl press) and DEVIANTS, a hybrid work about stigmatized bodies that won Sundress Publications’ 2016 Chapbook Prize. She has been awarded fellowships from UW-Madison’s Institute for Creative Writing and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem magazine and Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University.

Note: “Venus of Willendorf” is reprinted with the author’s permission from the chapbook DEVIANTS (Sundress Press, 2016).

Heretic in the Catacombs

by Colleen Abel

When I got out from under
the damp tongue of the priest’s 

sermon, there was something I was
finally ready to declare

something grave:     God
as the great

naught     God
as un—     not ur—

All I held:     fictionalia

& then I went to the castle
of bones     the bunk-

beds of martyrs     with God
yawning from the clammy tufo

requiring nothing

Heresy is easy scoffs the marble 
saint     the axe marks 

in her neck say try believing   

& there was something I was—

finally ready to




____

Colleen Abel is a disabled writer living in the Midwest. Her work has appeared in venues such as Lit Hub, Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, Colorado Review, PleiadesPoetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection, REMAKE, won the 2015 Editors Prize from Unicorn Press. She has two chapbooks, HOUSEWIFERY (dancing girl press) and DEVIANTS, a hybrid work about stigmatized bodies that won Sundress Publications’ 2016 Chapbook Prize. She has been awarded fellowships from UW-Madison’s Institute for Creative Writing and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship. She is the Poetry Editor of Bluestem magazine and Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University.

Note from the River

by Twila Newey

Fall had just turned cold 
the year I hung over you—speechless and intent—
death making an end of all 
my exquisite preparations—words 
stolen from my mouth. 
Here, when I speak, only fireflies fly out. 
Sultry and opaque I slipped 
through the haze between worlds 
that postcard you kept writing me 
Joy was to be endured as well as sorrow 
like a fountain vanishing the body flows 
for a little while. A risk 
to return as mist rising
in another century, another shoreline, 
I trusted your impulsive hospitality
What else could I do but try 
to speak again of light—
of desire—maybe 
shake us both free 
of father’s tongue. I’m telling you 
it was a mistake to weigh my pockets 
down with stones and wander into water.



____

Note: Italicized lines are from Virginia Woolf’s “Moments of Being.”

Twila Newey lives and writes at the confluence of poetry, local ecology, motherhood, and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in Northern California. You can find recent work at Green Mountains Review, About Place Journal, and Radar Poetry.

Possession, the act of

by Corinna Schulenburg

Then, this: that a woman made of water
or not even water, but the reflection that light 
knits on top of it, that this woman might,
as any clever ghost should, lure a set of lungs
to where she could, flavored as a vape,
slip sweetly down the pipes and seize the wheel,
and what do you call an exorcism outside in,
and what do call this place, this stab of dock
where fog makes amphibians of us all,
and gives us breasts on chests that once
were smooth as cutting boards, and ferries
pronounce the birth with horns that sound
like whales in slow motion as the woman
sheathes    my self    in skin and shakes down
my hair, which curls around the air like vines, 
and hey there, can you show me the way to town?




____

Corinna Schulenburg (she/her) is a queer trans artist/activist committed to ensemble practice and social justice. She’s a mother, a playwright, a poet, and a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble. Poems in: Arachne Press, Beaver Magazine, Capsule Stories, Eclectica Magazine, Lost Pilots, Long Con, LUPERCALIA Press, miniskirt magazine, Moist, Moonflake Press, Moss Puppy, Oroboro, Pastel Pastoral, Poet Lore, SHIFT, The Shore, The Westchester Review, and more: https://corinnaschulenburg.com/writer/poet/  

What is Gold

by Jennifer Funk


Brick is the color of the trunk lifting 
each sequined limb aloft, 
and brilliant is the color of the leaves 
seen shimming from the bed
where you are taking me apart.

I would have you bury me
under your tongue. How often 
I wept in girlhood for unclaimed desires. 
The high, myopic whine 
in the word itself was intimate 

to me. What I've learned to keep to myself 
is little, ever-so inclined to skin 
myself open like a ripe orange. I trouble 
with good things, cannot let them
just be. Like you, with your 

faithful mouth. Look at me
here, splayed out in the back half
of the bloom, fizzing 
with pleasure, pleasure
scurrying through the skin

like rats on fire. I would say 
I want you, but the truth is hotter, worse,
is running for its life, every miserable
nerve traveling down with the same
worry-bomb: I'd rather miss you.

From your honeyed mouth
to my barbed mind, here at the edge
of our greenery, would you always
want a body so soft? So tenuous?  

You say you can stay, say you're going to 
				for as long as I let you.



___

Jennifer Funk is native Californian trying to prove her mettle in New England.  A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers, she has been a scholarship recipient of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and The Frost Place. Recently awarded The Friends of Writers’ Levis Post-Graduate Stipend, Jennifer is at work on her first collection.  Her poems can be found or are forthcoming at The Kenyon Review, The Cimarron Review, Four Way Review, Painted Pride Quarterly, The Boiler, Pangyrus, and elsewhere.

Dear Corporate America,

when will it be enough?

when you have died, and your body is rotting in the ground, and the acidic rain burns below the soil into your bones, will you admit that it mattered?

when I cannot have children, because the impact of another human, another body, replacing yours in the world’s ever growing carbon footprint, would be too great a burden to bear, will you see what you have done?

when the lakes run blood orange with the pollution to fuel your corporations, when I can barely breathe for fear of your filth in my lungs, when I only get half the years you did because you have preemptively killed me, will you acknowledge the way you ruined us?

I want to grow old with my brother, with the love of my life, with my college friends and neighbors I was raised with from just down the street, I want to have not only ten and twenty and thirty year high school reunions but fifty year reunions, sixty years of marriage, seventy years of fruitful life

I remember joking wryly with a friend of mine in middle school, when we were all of twelve years old, that it didn’t matter whether or not we’d be successful in our careers because the world would burn before we even got the chance to start

you have stolen my future before I even got the chance to develop my past

and for all of the worry instilled in my generation, all of the documentaries violently pushed before our youthful eyes, still too big and round for the faces we hadn’t grown into yet, still glassy with the childhood curiosity that is supposed to reflect promise and potential placed before them but rather shone with infographics threatening two degree celsius increases to the world’s average temperature, video clips of hurricane wreckage in Puerto Rico, of California on fire, of evacuations from the mountains just a few miles away from my home

for all of this worry, you changed nothing

you stole our innocence in the name of a problem we are now responsible for solving

you caused this, you recognized this, yet you have continued to dig deeper, year after year, with these irreparable damages in the name of profit margins, stock prices, projected growth and 

money,

money,

money,

money makes the world go ‘round, money is worth everything, money is worth me, my future, my health and my happiness and my hurt

because where would we be without your stupid fucking money?

maybe we would be in a world where white rhinos did not just become functionally extinct

maybe we would be in a world where my cousin doesn’t have to check the air quality index every time she leaves her apartment because she lives in a major city

maybe we, I, could enjoy the teen years like you got to without this crippling fear, this doubt, this imminent doom that is largely out of my own control

I am terrified

I am so scared that humanity won’t pull through, that we won’t get our shit together and find a way out of your crisis, and I will not get the life I deserve

and you won’t even admit you are in the wrong

so when I am lying in the grave that you dug for me -

no, the grave that you dragged me into -

I will cry out one last time, and I will push this pain

out of my body, out of my spirit and my life and my person

and I hope it finds its way back to you in this universe

you will feel the slap of my death across your face as if it was imprinted with my own hand

and someday, somewhere, I hope you suffer for it


Sincerely,


Your Daughter 



____

Catherine Malden is a student at Duke University studying Computer Science and English, with a minor in Creativing Writing. She is currently a sophomore from Denver, Colorado. This is her first time publicly sharing her poetry.

My Mother Washes the Kitchen with Her Face

by Sam Herschel Wein

She can be tired, awake until 2AM then making 
breakfast at 7AM just in from 6AM jogging, 
two blueberry pancakes slid onto the plate 
from the buttery pan, she’s exhausted, her own mother 
ailing for 13 years, losing her memory, forgetting 
who we all were, then dying, she’s crying, hiding behind
the door so no one can hear. She works 12-hour days
at the hospital and her eyes sink to the floor 
when she gets home, still, she cooks dinner, 
her husband who says thank you says I feel guilty 
all of a sudden, she never followed her dreams, 
she wanted to be a writer? A musician? A lawyer? 
But he doesn’t question too much, falls asleep 
on the couch, and my mother washes the kitchen 
up with her face, still unchanged, she looks like 
how I remember her, at the dinner table, 
coming out and 17 and in my tennis clothes, 
she’s crying, sighing, for days, around the house, her face, 
next to mine in my bed, hymns, guitar, her gentle, 
perfectly pitched harmonies, every moment with her 
sends my mind back into my memories, like when she 
would make homemade pizza loafs that sliced into rolls 
whenever my friends came over, her face, working 
incessantly, the kitchen, the holiday dinners of brisket 
and chicken and brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes 
and lemon curd dripping over a matzoh-meal dairy-free cake, 
the gentler evenings, when we’re all relaxing and she worries, 
and she’s up late nights, every nights, that exhaustion, 
a lifetime, but it’s still her face, after I write the poems 
about her, after she says I should stay quiet just be quiet 
about being gay, after she shows up to my chapbook 
release party, and I think, look at us, trying 
so hard to look like the love we have to give, to look like 
two hands assembling homemade cookies, 
5 different kinds, onto silver trays, passed down 
from her mother, from her mother’s mother, to me




_____

Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a Chicago-based poet who specializes in perpetual frolicking. Their second chapbook, GESUNDHEIT!, a collaboration with Chen Chen, was part of the 2019-2020 Glass Poetry Press Series. He co-founded and edits Underblong. Recent work can be found in perhappened magThe Adroit Journal, and Sundog Lit, among others.