JOCASTA

stroke my hair as my mother did,
get me in touch with that hope and innocence
again, fold my laundry and plant kisses on my
forehead again, cradle me in your
everlasting arms, I want to drown forever
in your many pools,
I have so much to learn,
my iron sights tied close to

dark pools of longing and forbearance.
many methods of pleasing oneself,
stroke me as you do, get me touching
your innocence and fold me into yourself and
don’t let go, don’t stop, iron sights.
I have so much to learn. tied immutably to you.
I keep turning back. I’m lost in your arms.
cradle me again. I wish to drown in your laundry.

Ryan Foo is a student of the liberal arts. He enjoys writing, playing the guitar and the struggle of life, but he chooses to spend most of his time on people. Some people call him a charmer, others call him a playboy. He hopes to be the former.

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a few separate thoughts

the first thought i have is
if I saw you tonight
it would be no man’s land.

we’d be caught guns raised
in the place between the honor we are defending
and the burn of our skin,
finally. foolishly
i hadn’t thought ahead to my second thought about
loving you.

i would kiss your mouth
last supper greedy
quickly unfolding
admissions
and hands, violets exploding
like in that starling song.

my third thought:
we will never, not ever
see who our children would look like.

four.
i would follow the path of lines around your eyes
this time careful not to shake
the stillness of your stare
a related thought:
american blue and smooth
your irises and sea glass.
high on adderall we combed the beach
built jewelry boxes, lit fireworks
never once feeling the grains of sand on our backs.

i must not have heard you,
shoulder to shoulder
our freckles constellating
our future spoken
in billowing, white sentences
escaping heavenbound from our mouths.
a creeping thought, past midnight;
                                    a dream that wakes me.

Lauren Ebright is an emerging writer living and forgetting to breathe deeply in the Pacific Northwest. Her work can also be found online at Dime Show Review.

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the ability to self-regulate

my chief concern today
is the piece of hair, errant,
from my bun.
almost forgotten like my discontent
it’s quiet
and not that big of a deal until it’s some kind of big deal
and brushing against my face.

those strands now stuck
in the mud I use to blur
the worry around my eyes
that I use to tone down the rawness
of my ivory state.

an admission:
gnawing at the corner of my mouth
strands like parables sliding
between my lips, the kind my mother
assured me women pay a lot of money for.

I push at the problem with my tongue,
hurried, like other moments involving my tongue
I try to keep my composure. seized within the squall
of any innocuous night I demand my hair return
to its place, its place which is order
and order is the belief
that things do not
fall apart.

I set my jaw,
my heart-shaped mandible, the horizon line between the shores
of my past and present fixed on pursuing this neurosis for
she’s pretty in a Kerouac way,
            swirling in the upness of the heat,
            blowing from the wall by my feet,
            standing in this room that is my life,
            swatting at the defiance of my soul.

Lauren Ebright is an emerging writer living and forgetting to breathe deeply in the Pacific Northwest. Her work can also be found online at Dime Show Review.

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After your skin,

a list of things i’ve touched:

cigarette butts shoe shined with lipgloss
my key fob clutched, knuckles catching tears.

the sticky, hollow plastic of an airline tray
hands pressed on the cold stone of a ruined city;
the distance between us an undetonated landmine, held,
in my tender, nerve-wracked palms.

i’ve traced the grain of wood softened by sunlight,
seized fistfuls of sheets,
felt hand-me-down white gold;
                                                and
                                                            it’s weight.

my own thighs, pliable
my own breasts, nostalgic
bottle caps and necks
the smooth, indifferent end call button.

cereals bowls, remote controls, bubble bath
i have pushed back against the domestic, stray-haired wave at the local pool;
hot on a july morning, i felt the lanugo of my firstborn.

the indentation of words on a page
pressed too harshly to be considered casual,
the cool paper cut edge of a calendar
and countless spines of books i assault
with greedy fingers, hunting
for the exact prose to answer my dissertation question:
can i ever wash it off?

Lauren Ebright is an emerging writer living and forgetting to breathe deeply in the Pacific Northwest. Her work can also be found online at Dime Show Review.

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The Retro Heart

I keep my distance
as if the heart monitored
a “No Vacancy” marquee;

no room
for one-night stands
nor hospitality suites
for weary travelers
and the baggage they carry.

Yet there will always remain
a sentimental space
reserved for beds vibrating
with magic fingers,
the ghosts who checked out.

Author of four collections of poetry, Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland, crunching numbers for a living in Northern Virginia. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and for Best of the Net.

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Choir Trip, Washington DC, 1992

The van did not come. Three college girls with tired legs. The van did not come. There is more than one mall in the city and there is no more grass to tread. The van did not come. A guy with a sharp part down the middle of his hair stops his car and flashes a wad of cash through his window. The van did not come. The man on a park bench bends back his neck as a teen girl’s head hovers and pulses rhythmically. The van did not come. It is getting dark. We go into a building marked “Technology Solutions.” A security guard is kind and lets us sit down. The van did not come. It is dark and the police are called. The van did not come; we are lost for five hours. We sit on the lobby floor as our quadriceps shake and we split the security guard’s lunch. She has a kind dark face. Red and blue lights flicker. A woman with two teeth asks the cop for a light. The flame glows in the dark. We are lost but calm now. The guard makes us laugh, tells us to hide fish in the van. The officer talks to dispatch and garbled voices say that we are not lost, the van is coming. The guard says, “You are never lost when people know to look for you.”

Janette Schafer is a playwright, poet, and opera singer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship in writing through Chatham University and a 2015 awardee of the Arts MODE Fellowship through New Sun Rising LLC for playwriting and experimental theater. Recent and upcoming publications appear in Zany Zygote ReviewEyedrum Periodically, Nasty Woman & Bad Hombre Anthology, The Woman Inc., B. E. Literary Journal, Big Lit International Writing Festival, and Chatham University broadsides.

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Come Find Me

(For Craig)

Come find me,
I am sitting in the back,
my head tipped down
over a book.

Come find me,
I am at my table alone.
The salsa I am eating
is too spicy.

Come find me,
I am looking for
a face with creases
still furrowed from the night.

Come find me,
I am not in need
but my falafel
is enormous.

Come find me,
I am in samsara.
A new cycle
is beginning to turn.

Come find me,
I am drinking coffee
and gazing at a poster
of noir classics.

Come find me,
I am below the speakers
they are playing the Beatles,
and I think of Italy.

Come find me,
I am near the brochures.
There will be art classes
coming this spring.

Janette Schafer is a playwright, poet, and opera singer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship in writing through Chatham University and a 2015 awardee of the Arts MODE Fellowship through New Sun Rising LLC for playwriting and experimental theater. Recent and upcoming publications appear in Zany Zygote ReviewEyedrum Periodically, Nasty Woman & Bad Hombre Anthology, The Woman Inc., B. E. Literary Journal, Big Lit International Writing Festival, and Chatham University broadsides.

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