aristotle

phrenetic fever dream drains energy
which means none of us are nervous enough
mad men punch glass to bleed out

the butterflies we are sick of carrying
purple hues of orgiastic loss psuedo
catharsis nearly there but not quite

as is this night which would be perfect
if the streets outside were not
flooded with clipped wings and

philosophers on love and why it
exists when these streets were
cracked in the first place.

Celine Choi is a high school junior hailing from the booming metropolis of College Station, Texas. She attended the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop the summer of junior year, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Crashtest, Ephimiliar, and The Live Poets Society. She is deeply passionate about embracing her Korean culture, spreading political awareness, and curating the perfect Spotify playlists.

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the song never ends

when he touches me i feel like helen,
a conquest, every breath he makes
is a series of premeditated breaths
to gain entrance. he never looks at me,

briseus, he won’t let me touch him for fear
i might find his weakest link. sometimes,
in the dead of night i run

in my mind

and see lanterns that show me tunnels
with roots digging deep into the concrete
and when i pull those roots they rot
in my hand until blue flames burst out
reminding me there’s no escape. no matter
how far i run, even the ground is telling me
there is nothing for me there. what lies below
is no haven. persephone.

when he wakes he takes me to the sea
and we dip our toes in the sand
as he tells me about his memories
but they are filled with a family he doesn’t trust
and i think of the one i’ve left behind, medea.
he wants me to start again, with him,
but there is no god here to save me.

Catalina Adragna is 23 and an MFA Poetry Candidate at Rutgers UniversityNewark. She has previous publications in The Ascentos Review, Delta Poetry Review, Eunoia Review, and Silo. She is a Gemini and a Pocha. Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/catadragna.

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persephone remembers

it’s a sorry thing to feel sorry
for anything other than yourself, i
comb my hair with the styx, i dry
my skin by the flames. when he sleeps

i dream of trees blossoming their roots
deep enough that i can climb further
than the sky meets thunder, though i know
there’s no friend at the end of those

bolts, only pain. the first seed tasted
sweet, like sap from the tree i once
sat by where the bugs that don’t eat
other bugs covered me. the second,

bitter, like it knew it didn’t belong.
witch hazel, rosewater, arsenic,
i wish i knew what would make
this body clean again. the third,

tasted like sex, devoured me
like snakes and i was only a mouse
crouched in its meaty life lines.
i wish i knew how to control

this body containing me. when i
bleed, it looks like the seeds
taunting me. when i sleep i ask
for forgiveness, from no one
but this own tongue who
has forsaken me.

Catalina Adragna is 23 and an MFA Poetry Candidate at Rutgers UniversityNewark. She has previous publications in The Ascentos Review, Delta Poetry Review, Eunoia Review, and Silo. She is a Gemini and a Pocha. Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/catadragna.

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persephone leaves behind a lover

my mouth is full
of cavities & your DNA
as i’m whisked away & they all wonder
how i felt the day you asked me
about my mother & i say
it’s hard to live with a ghost
who still walks the earth & i think
too much about the narcissus flower
and how it betrays me over & over
in my dreams but you are too far away
for me to think like that & i’m left behind
in the pits of the blue flames
because of one bite of the pomegranate
seed & winter has come the way
you used to & i rule in an unhappy
place of people who believe they don’t
belong here the way i believe i should
have stayed & it’ll be one whole leave change
before i rise & make the flowers bloom
but i worry my touch will be filled
with too much grief after washing in the ungodly
river for too long just for a moment
of peace & i’ll kill all the seeds
so i hope the spiders surrounding me
might suck me up into their web & cradle
the parts of me that remember a time before
that damned narcissus & its eternal beauty
because i don’t remember the sun, I only
remember the green of your eyes
& their pity.

Catalina Adragna is 23 and an MFA Poetry Candidate at Rutgers UniversityNewark. She has previous publications in The Ascentos Review, Delta Poetry Review, Eunoia Review, and Silo. She is a Gemini and a Pocha. Her Twitter: https://twitter.com/catadragna.

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Window

Liver and onions, potato salad, bologna sandwiches…these were the things we called “dinner.” Our dog, Lunch, never came when called. I’d stand on the stoop at twilight and shout until I sounded like pack-a-day Uncle Jay, but still, my homework never got done. I did math homework to Led Zeppelin because I never intended to be a mathematician.

“What makes you think you’re going to college, girlie?” I swung my fist at the captain of the girls’ swim team. My tooth I put under my pillow that night.

While I slept, a gondola bumped against the bedroom glass. Leaving through a window isn’t like leaving through a door. The stars were teeth in a shark’s mouth and I was hungry to be devoured.

Before summer porch nights with beer and a lightning storm, before the man I married, the children I didn’t raise, and the jobs I could not quit, there was:

Fire in the sky, a long demon exhale and I was riding it the whole way, holding on for life was dear and I would pay. I could not fall for the falling. Where poems could be.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Le Mot Juste.

Priya Keefe’s work has appeared on a Dublin lamppost, in Seattle buses, and in Seattle City Council meetings. It has been spied in Five:2:One, The American Journal of Poetry, Outlook Springs, and elsewhere.

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Shape Shifter

Who hasn’t rounded a corner and been startled? Stared hard at a photo taken last year when we were laughing.

Woken by winter moonlight, a face in the mirror shimmered – known un own – the shape of a jaw.

I saw your face grow younger in our touch—rooted together, two trunks growing from the same source.

You say a man shapes his life in the 7 blocks between home and work, dinner at 7:30, scratching the 7-year itch. You water weeds, flowers, knead clay from Jezebel to Eve and back. Dough rises in a warm oven and you punch it down. Merlin, you cast yourself.

In my dream I sail from two shores into open water, smoke from the fire we’d built stinging my eyes, you standing by, ax handle an exclamation in wood.

Priya Keefe’s work has appeared on a Dublin lamppost, in Seattle buses, and in Seattle City Council meetings. It has been spied in Five:2:One, The American Journal of Poetry, Outlook Springs, and elsewhere.

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Stuff We’ve Lost

They say we spend 2 weeks waiting for traffic lights, 4.34 years holding the phone, 5 years waiting in line, 1 year looking for stuff we’ve lost.

One night in the car lit somewhat by streetlight and porchlight by the door behind which my mother still did whatever it was she did—

 

—Alex and I sat and waited: kin, but not by blood. In the semi-dark, somewhere between 11 and 15, between algebra homework and the boy who didn’t like me, between my fuchsia face and my father’s snort, I began to laugh at something we’d said. I laughed hard, scraping from the gut bits of interior flaking off and flying out through my mouth with spit, then I was sobbing, I didn’t know why, choking in a dark car lit by a street lamp and Alex just sat there and let me be loosed and when I was winding down, he said I did it like it oughta be done, he said I did good.

Priya Keefe’s work has appeared on a Dublin lamppost, in Seattle buses, and in Seattle City Council meetings. It has been spied in Five:2:One, The American Journal of Poetry, Outlook Springs, and elsewhere.

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