changes

nobody move there’s blood: here,
separated from my first love, heart
left in the cold, no house filled with

music or cinema, kite hung on bedroom
walls, how deep this cut, drowning in
a used torchlight, in laughter like a hyena,

in boiled water, an open window, nobody
moving, sitting, telling me how to
feel, dreaming, leaked between hawk-eyed

curtains, thrown trash, afternoon dust
and shining pollen. nobody move. no
knowing what’s real, holding on to this

black hole in my chest, broken,
messy, filled to the brim with a love
of absent things.

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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listening

that there would be the gentle shock of
mild surprise, where the muscles seize and the
dawn begins to crawl. that there should be such
fragments, held together in tense abeyance. i cling
to no solemn imagery, only the silhouette of a
recently emptied room, the elusiveness of mountain
torrents, the tenderness of sudden dust, the compulsion
of greater absence. at the strained engulfment of
sundown, where the tread of dawn rouses the
bones, there the chiaroscuro begins and ends.

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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contrition

tremors, the earthy pallour of barren land,
no husks to cover the splinter of inner tremors,
bubbles blown only to burst, no puffs, no pause, no
air to parse through crawling guilt, how alchemy bubbles
through the heart and the throat, futile theorems that air
empty declamations, caught in the easy crutch of lies through
days and hours, the fluttering eyelids and evening aches, empty
moments finding their suspension, remembering the days
only of pierced feet, roadside gravel, the one solid moment
of elation, enough to grind down wilful blindness, if only
grief could stretch for forty days, to know the end of
backward-facing bends, to draw away this grief
and see: there is no singularity this backward,
how promises demand more than an ‘and’,
again how prophecy will breathe its end, how
land will form beneath the soles again,

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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father stretch

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find’
– Matthew 7:7

father stretch this embankment,
where the drum and rustle shall
come to rest, knowing how you
hold the soil together, hands
scattering the seeds that have
fed us, pith and peel and husk.
by this we remember a generous
breath, spread across the wall
of an organ’s sound, the columns
of thick inked brushstrokes, the
wide wooden panels sturdy beneath
bare feet. by this we relish the hold
of a daily meal, the anchor dropped
amidst a torrent, the steadying of
talk between each spoonful, the
gradual calm of each collected
presence. by this we trace a lineage
of seeking, from monochrome
to the lilt of sepia tones, the grain
of film to every digital blot. so
father stretch the land that lies
beneath, stretch the hands that
learn and yearn to feed, stretch
the palms for every mindful need.

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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friendship

if you can sit together and witness the beauty
of a tree, moss snaking through wooden crevice,

or the way that sunlight makes the seafoam ooze
against a bed of sand before vanishing in a wisp,

if you can sit and hold a lacquered mug
as you would a familiar hand, mint tea warm in

both palms, or catch how a flickering candle
bends its glow around every face, as the humid

rush of midnight makes chatter of freeways,
if you can feel the sacred ground extend across

the ripple of oceans and rustle of forests, and
if you can learn to sit, holding precious ease,

vivacious in welcomed silence, therein
will you find clarity for a beleaguered heart,

dancing in the sweetness
of memory.

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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duress

for Piang Ngaih Don

she feels the redness of
her wrists, familiar with

the kiss of cold grilles,
welts smarting from

the splash of cold, the
shudder of an open

bathroom, the slow
spread of bluish patches.

perhaps she will dream
of her son, between the

battering of fists and
metal, the scalding of

shirts and skins, hair
falling out of place. closing

her eyes, she sees him
and everyone else. glazed

in moonlight, she murmurs
her love to the stars.

Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate of the University of Cambridge. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore, where he is presently based. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Tse Hao Guang, Rodrigo Dela Peña Jr., and Balli Kaur Jaswal.

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Coming Out to the Koi Fish

today i told the koi fish my name.
they swam in yin and yang formation
happily blowing bubbles up to applaud me,
and they shook their fiery-cow scales
to make them sparkle under
the moon’s distorted light.
they said my name back to me
and wrote it on their black
and tulip-orange bodies.

the moon—like an enchanted
elephant tusk,
rocked back and forward
as though an earthquake had shaken
it from its nail on a black wall

and the little termites
had the flutes hollowed out
and hanging on the wall
with red ribbons tied
to them
ready for all the
non-existent
mariachi bands to play them
and let the sound waves
tell me it’s okay
to be me.

Ruby Rodriguez is a bilingual transgender Latina writer from San Antonio, Texas. Her work has been previously published in La Prensa Texas, at The America Library of Poetry, at the McNay Art Museum, and she is the winner of the Best Poem in Spanish in the second Aline B. Carter Poetry Contest (all under the name of Ricardo, however). She is the poetry and Spanish editor of the digital literary magazine, The Bunker Review.

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repetition of a blue bass line

take me to a place
where midnight accumulates
don’t want to see
the sun anymore
put me on a train
with no windows
where nighttime
lasts forever
and a speed-mad engineer
with a mechanical heart
highballs a coal-black engine
through time tunnels
like a bullet
leaving a gun
where the speed
of darkness
is faster
than the speed of light
dreaming up
a nocturnal scene
soft music behind
a tan-skinned lady
with a white flower in her hair
singing “keeps on raining”
just give me things
i can depend on
red wine, old times
the repetition
of a blue bass line

DB Cox is a Marine Corps veteran and blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems have been published extensively in the small press, in the US and abroad. He has published five books of poetry: Passing For Blue, Lowdown, Ordinary Sorrows, Night Watch, and Empty Frames.

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fault lines

most nights he slept
in the silent space
between freights
that passed overhead
like a moving storm
rocking concrete pillars
planted along
hidden fault lines
under the eight-mile bridge
where gods spoke
through broken wine bottles
& drunken-tongued
stumblebums
coughed up old tales
that colored the air
blue—
haunted faces
tallying old mistakes
under the eight-mile bridge
his mind was gone
when they carried him
back to the county home
where he lies under nights
too quiet
staring up
restless & confused
wondering what happened
to the thunder
under the eight-mile bridge

DB Cox is a Marine Corps veteran and blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems have been published extensively in the small press, in the US and abroad. He has published five books of poetry: Passing For Blue, Lowdown, Ordinary Sorrows, Night Watch, and Empty Frames.

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Drowning in a Small Bowl

I play too much
in this ruin. Wing-

dings over profits,
always, despite ancient

language bleating over
the human market.

For what it is worth,
self-worth is not defined

by worth. The milk
is not transferable

to white. When
projecting nonsense,

be sure to include
my name in the credits.

James Croal Jackson (he/him) is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has two chapbooks, Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021) and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His website: https://jamescroaljackson.com.

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ribs

            charlie and i don’t have
much time so i follow them
on the subway
            (the one train, it buys us a moment)
            and from my perch on their shoulder i
watch it empty –
draining into ninety-sixth,
clearing its throat at city college.
            (we are the only two people in the
            world who know that
                        the traffic is a receding tide that
                                    will wash us bare in time)
at this rate by the time it reaches

            the north border we’ll be alone
the thread is tightening around
the carriage as the slack
            reels minutes like
fish.
and there is quiet in the
            centrifuge’s axis,
            with my head on their shoulder
until the emptying car is
                        split

                        in half
            by the scythe of a
woman opposite us
who has judged us:
                        too queer for her taste
            glaring at me with intent
a spring compressed
            so that, cartesian,
i try to doubt
            everything that branches
            as an axiom from her gaze –
until i can’t, because the
scald is not accidental – even
when i make eye contact she
                        does not dim the accusation
            and i think she is less like a
            spring and more like a
                        homing missile,
            her kinetic energy digging up
                        dogbones of guilt that I
                                    thought had decomposed

            charlie sees and points it
            out to me, in a whisper –
and under that searchlight
            all i can dig out of the
defensiveness, shame
            is indignation on
their behalf, because
            i know what she’s thinking,
            and they’re not a girl

i’m moving opposite home for a
time capsule, to give space to an exhale
            and i think that’s sweet
and i don’t know what abscess she
rakes with her talon eyes
when they tell me to take my head
off their shoulder

                        the train moves aboveground and the
                        ribs are showing to the satellite sun –
            we take up too much space;
i take up too much space.

Montana Azzolini is an American poet and student. Originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, she can now be found either at Whitman College or somewhere uncontactable in the Central Rockies attempting to commune with the mountains. She is up to no good.

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sapped

when new jersey dragged me home in its fingernails, i decided to grow a forest –
glossy dracaenas canopying my nightstand, tendrils and
spears communalizing in my windows. i thought they might stop
the urge to disappear, but they couldn’t even oxygenate the air.

quickly, eden was out of my control and became coniferous. some
days i prolapsed into flannel sheets, sweated a storm, listened as hordes of
houseflies marked their claims upon my domain. i hoped they
would take it over, but the room remained interminably mine, stale and tepid,
suffocating with its knowledge of me. when paces around the block
bloomed into a fever, i escaped in a custom of mine –

stayed over at yours. as i do, and as we know. woke up in the guest room,
aired-out and new, and you told me we would cook for us. here i could
slip clean skin out from silk bedding and breathe easy in front of your
closed-lip smile. in your kitchen, with the sun spinning out from metal
cutting boards and your teeth and hair, the easy gravity of

my feet a surer home than any i’d felt since the forest – i was away,
as you played the velvet underground – i was staying – i would have given
up that forest like the resolution of a minor chord, legato. green
is a heavy color, and you would have none of it. i would drive a
pickaxe into every clock for this yellow forever, search and
destroy like a mercenary minus those pesky moral hang-ups. and
there was momentarily no longing

to run; everything was the warm clear light
in the kitchen, the melon sap under my fingernails,
your thumb guiding the blade sure and soft through the rinds –

– and the houseplants some blocks down,
waxing and waning on my windowsill,
aching out for water.

Montana Azzolini is an American poet and student. Originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, she can now be found either at Whitman College or somewhere uncontactable in the Central Rockies attempting to commune with the mountains. She is up to no good.

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kendall told me to write her a poem

i had to notice the undertones when i drew you –
your skin is blue underneath. but i always
saw you as orange, like the landscape we both
know is scotch-taped to the door room of your
memories, an advert for a lover you
half-sculpted yourself. if you sliced open the
desert it would cough up a city. if you scalped the
city it would whimper a bed. your house is too
big and empty to be muffling all of those echoes.
do you sit there and stretch into the plywood
corners like a shadow? do you turn the light orange
in the cold pristine kitchen? i think you must dig tunnels
in the living room with film shots and shot glasses.

but your skin is blue underneath.
are you holding your breath?

Montana Azzolini is an American poet and student. Originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, she can now be found either at Whitman College or somewhere uncontactable in the Central Rockies attempting to commune with the mountains. She is up to no good.

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vacation planner

you’ve been coming to new york for years now and you never get here. you tread water, you skip back like a record; your roots are growing into the silt of the alpine. i trade places with the self of every next day. the future is a discrete location and there is a pileup on the freeway that leads to its exit. i watch from the side of the road. when i have roots, they are the blur that recedes in a backseat window. i sit in the park and watch the sun set with a girl in an edwardian nightgown – it passes its spear and shield to the streetlamps, fat eggs in iron nests, and the vanguard shadows arch across the streets. you are flat on my screen. the small text on the subway ad says to grab sky by both ends & shake.

Montana Azzolini is an American poet and student. Originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, she can now be found either at Whitman College or somewhere uncontactable in the Central Rockies attempting to commune with the mountains. She is up to no good.

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Mark Rothko’s Final Painting Was a Self-Portrait

            February 25, 1970

You captured that moment
when, after drifting off to sleep
one afternoon, you awoke
in the evening and blinked,
then blinked again
and again and again until
you were able to pull something
tangible out from the dark
well of your awakening.

When the world that had been
unfocused for a few panicked
moments finally coalesced,
you saw clearly how the edge
of darkness was sharper
against the light.

Kip Knott’s most recent full-length book of poetry is Clean Coal Burn (Kelsay Books). More of his writing may be accessed at https://www.kipknott.com.

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Summer Child

      ​      ​Everything is repeated, in a circle. History is
      ​      ​a master because it teaches us that it doesn’t
      ​      ​exist.

      ​      ​            —Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

This summer is finally nearing its end.
I can smell distant fires, oak smoke
and cherrywood, on the shifting wind.

All but dormant, yellowing
grasses don’t need to be cut,
and milkweed already seeds the air.

I rake a few overeager leaves
into a pile too small to cover me
as I am now, but large enough

to bury the child I used to be.
That child used to hide with his dog,
a collie his father named Rebel,

in the kennel beneath the Dutch elm
to avoid the evening news and all
the violent stories he knew brought him

one step closer to adulthood every night.
And now that future he worked so hard
to avoid has become his present,

and he and I set the rake aside
and lie down upon the tiny pile of leaves.
We look up through branches

into a fractured sky for a hint of sunlight,
but we can’t see past the smoke
of all the fires that refuse to die.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Handwritten & Co. as ‘While Doing Yard Work’.

Kip Knott’s most recent full-length book of poetry is Clean Coal Burn (Kelsay Books). More of his writing may be accessed at https://www.kipknott.com.

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Cracks in the Night Clouds

Sitting in July’s darkness, on her weather-beaten porch, staring straight ahead at the orchard’s shadows, she half-listens to the wind-struck warning of the garden bells—tongues tumbling into sounds of longing. The shock of fireworks that crackles overhead, like the terror she faces—insistent as guilt. She is numb. She wants nothing more than to outlive the dream of being alive; and yet, everything betrays the art of living. Drink—they say, off-handedly. They don’t see the glass rings left on the table, nor the empty decanter—the one her mother gave her, years ago, as a wedding present.

M. J. Iuppa’s 100-word stories have appear most recently in 100 Word Story, Eunoia Review, Milk Candy Review, Otoliths, Pif Magazine, The Drabble, The Dribble Drabble Review, A Story in 100 Words, and others. For the past 33 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

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I’m Starting To Believe There’s Nothing Holier Than Being A Basic Bitch

I feel so good when I listen to Ariana Grande
I can feel the air around me become a party
city halo and remind me god is a woman
who took word Hit into her own hands
and brought them together until the sound
became a synonym for beloved,

a round of appletini applause.
I can hear the mercy seagulls squawking ugly joy
in the distance and sometimes, I too, think
“I should get Botox” when I meditate.
Like I am so present I want to inject that stillness
into my face. Remove a time machine’s cheap Forever

21 panties with my teeth and taste
what it’s like to have more time
for moments like these. I want to live laugh love so hard
the cliche claps back into a Coachella of encores.
I mean, who wouldn’t buy a selfie stick
if they truly believed they were made in God’s image?

So happy hour they can’t help but punctuate
their pauses with likes and, honest, to god I literally
think White Claw might be holy water the way it baptizes
me in black cherry carbonation so sweet a choir of childhood
Polly Pockets dances in my throat. I know,
I’m about as profound as a Ben & Jerry’s heartbreak

which is to say I’d choose Cherry Garcia sadness
over being clever every time
because clever people don’t even know what they don’t know
and I’d rather be a dumb blonde joke than someone taken seriously.
I mean, even when I’m in love, I don’t want to be taken
I just want to be given back to myself

in a Pinterest board peonied with titles like “wedding ideas”.
All my exes have tried to tell me what’s wrong with pop music
but what’s more holy than the genre that takes it name
from what the breath does when kissed into
the stickiest shade of balloon. I’m a hot pink mess.
I’m a Frappuccino prayer. Y/AAAASSSS

is my new hallelujah. The way it’s just yes with a bit more
junk in the trunk. I could make capitalism blush
with the amount of times I’ve unironically
used the phrase “retail therapy”.
I’m such a basic bitch I had to dictionary.com the word basic
to be reminded that it literally means fundamental

and, like yeah, I agree I think the world needs more people like me
to unhate themselves for being fangirl fuckboyed
into thinking there’s something wrong
with not liking more underground music.
The last time I put my ear to the ground
I heard all the places I hadn’t been

and felt so much FOMO I forgot how beautiful
a well-lit Instagram photo could be. I forgot how much
I really love to Netflix until the Grey’s Anatomy Gods
come out to ask me the only question that really matters
if I’m still watching.
I’m still watching.

So here’s to the praise hands emoji
who gave me a way to can’t even my odds
of loving anything more than choosing
not to be a pessimist. To the church of bottomless brunch
and butterfly tattoos. May we never stop being infinite
in the exact same way.

L. T. Pelle is a student living in New Jersey with her 2 dogs. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Rattle, FreezeRay Poetry, and 3Elements Literary Review.

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How Terrible It Is To Be Loved In April

through cable knit sweaters
and Regina Spektor rain
playing the walk home like a piano.

Our noses pink as vinegar-colored eggs
mucus running,
our stickiest selves right towards our lips.

The angry goose mother guarding
her baby grays from our gaze,
from the dangerous way we love to love.

All awe with no space for that awe
to waddle away towards flight.
How terrible it is to be loved in April,

surrounded by the invisible winds of our bodies.
The goosebumps that give
our mountains away

to the breeze
while the winter is still
waiting in the wings of all the birds

unreturned.
How we foxglove our forever
in the fabric layer of fleeting

that begets our fingers.
Everything unfinished turns yellow here.
The color of almost-gold.

How terrible it is to be loved in April,
the days Easter grass into each other
and within the thatching, all the moments

of pale plastic eggs staying empty
until we choose
to fill them.

L. T. Pelle is a student living in New Jersey with her 2 dogs. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Rattle, FreezeRay Poetry, and 3Elements Literary Review.

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Britney Spears’ Breakdown Speaks (Ending In A Track List Found Poem)

I want to hit you with all the ways I cannot protect myself
from the rain. Shave my way into a shine that’ll glare
off the cameras. My head bokehs.

My headset bubblegums. Voice is blonde too.
So low rise you think you can walk all over me.
Call my silence lip-sync. Shear madness.

Watch me mow my pigtails. Lawn these loose cannon locks
from their keys. When I said not a girl, not yet women. Did you stop
to consider the mattel you made of my nothingness?

What’s the word in paparazzi for light pollution?
So pop star the soft balloon animal of my body
is not allowed to love what it loves without bursting

like barefoot strolls on public bathroom floors and privacy.
Buzz until my bald is so loud
the bees release their psychiatric hold on me.

Fame is like calling the boa constrictor around my neck
sexy. Perhaps I have been so school girl
they think they needed to teach me a lesson.

Watch me toe this Federline. Watch me pink wig want to be
the song stuck in my head. Gum chew interviews
so every sweet thing I say is lyriced in teeth marks.

I am the song stuck in my head. Why Should I Be Sad?
Outrageous Soda Pop Shadow It Should Be Easy Gasoline
Up N’ Down Mood Ring, I Wanna Go Inside Out, Hold It Against Me.

Gimme More Freakshow Mannequin Blur.
Let Me Be Lonely Cinderella.
Don’t Cry Perfume. Body Ache Til It’s Gone.

Kill The Lights Till The World Ends Baby,
One More Time What You Need:
Piece Of Me

L. T. Pelle is a student living in New Jersey with her 2 dogs. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Rattle, FreezeRay Poetry, and 3Elements Literary Review.

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The Lingering Sounds of Skipping Stones

He sits on the hood of his rented car,
and breezes come remembered, redolent
with tanning lotions and stranded alewife.

As they always have, lovers weave
between the last fishermen on the pier,
or wade ankle-deep in the surf.

Boats retire from the freshwater horizon—
sway, marina-bound, down Black River.
His mind follows, past the dancing

sedge and orange silhouettes—legs
scissor, emerge free of a slip-less dress.
As her toes throw the cooling sand—

skip—step—pivot—toss—

the sun loses interest in another day;
in descent, its arc briefly flames
the side-armed stone. Flat and tumbled

smooth, it breaks the tension of the surface
again and again and again; winking,
concentric eyes fade into the swells.

A younger man lifts her shadow
to his shoulders. The joy of living.
Their laughter echoes like bells.

And as they always have, the gulls
mock cries of mirth or sadness
as they navigate the fading heat.

Allen M Weber lives in Hampton, Virginia with his wife and sons. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies—including Changing Harm to Harmony: Bullies & Bystanders Project, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Fourth River, Naugatuck River Review, A Prairie Home Companion, Terrain, and Up the Staircase Quarterly.

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The Exile of Polymer Adam

My visage, too real, provoked my Sculptor’s guests—
oh that they’d recovered more quickly from alarm,
and twitters segued to a smarter discourse on art.

Not made for me, Eve commands a pedestal, still
indoors, while I festoon this weedy garden, beheld
by rueful eyes when He clips cilantro for salsa.

Cast in the image of His brother-in-law, anatomical
correctness clad in the jolly man’s poolside garb,
snow piles high on my bald and planet-shaped gut.

Rosemary pricks my dimpled knees, but offers little
remembrance, otherwise. Daffodils murmur beneath
the always-surprising last blizzard of March.

Blue jays, now accustomed to artificial company,
roost in nearby holly. Squirrels, no longer wary,
unravel the hammock and haul off skeins of cotton

to keep their kittens warm. A doe and fawn lick
a salt rock at my feet. With upturned palms I’d offer
the comfort of suet or corn. With lips of flesh, I’d smile.

Allen M Weber lives in Hampton, Virginia with his wife and sons. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies—including Changing Harm to Harmony: Bullies & Bystanders Project, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Fourth River, Naugatuck River Review, A Prairie Home Companion, Terrain, and Up the Staircase Quarterly.

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Quantum Mechanics For Lost Causes

Sometimes, despite our laughter, grief utters itself.
Becomes the council estate. Becomes the hiding place you first learned to disown your own name.
Nothing that is observed is unaffected by the observer.
How long has it been since you disappeared?

How long does the poverty take to pollute the illusion?
Erupt in free verse and say, yo, you ain’t foolin’ shit with that college tongue.
Grief stains the way years of smoking adheres to an index finger.
Don’t look at it.

St. Jude is the Patron saint of lost causes.

Don’t look at it.

Laura McGlashan is a mature creative writing student, mother, and lover of written word. Laura is a passionate poet and brings a raw renewal of energy to creative nonfiction.

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Inheritance

At five I am freckles and pigtails.
I inherit Marvin Gaye from my mother.
My father disappears the way cotton candy does when a tongue turns itself inside out.

At Twelve I am Donnell Jones.
I drink a fifth of Vodka and find my father between the sheets of other people’s beds.
Do you wanna love me?

At Sixteen I am DMX.
I am sewn back together after she’s born.
My mother’s indifference tastes a lot like the colour a fist paints itself when it unclenches.
Is you with me or what?

At Twenty I am Wu-Tang Clan.
People who love me give my father’s violence back to me in mirrors.
Bring the motherfuckin’ ruckus.

At Thirty I am a mixtape from the 90’s.
I have cellotaped my inheritance to my collar bone.
I am 2 parts Htown, and one part sin. Isn’t sin just sagacity anyway?
Gimme some good love.
Same song, different headphones.

Laura McGlashan is a mature creative writing student, mother, and lover of written word. Laura is a passionate poet and brings a raw renewal of energy to creative nonfiction.

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The Cat

You, the cat who ran away six months ago but still comes back to check I still live here. Appear at the window. Alert me to your presence. Check your food bowl is still by the sink. I can’t see you because I’m in hospital. I’m just so busy. I love you though.

And God is an adjective.
Love is a throwaway comment that scars the wrists.

You, the cat, bite me when I hold you. Why are you so fucking needy? Take this shit I left for you and be grateful. You manipulative woman. You who victimises yourself. You who cries abuse. You who collects my shit in litter boxes, in crevices. In suicide notes.

Thank you for the shit.

“In loneliness, the lonely one eats himself; in a crowd, the many eat him. Now choose.”

And it’s true, I am a poorly constructed argument. Too vicious a thing to be loved. My tongue, formed from myth, is venomous. I am the collector of broken things. The collector of shit.

And silence is a girl who got lost in the supermarket.
Abuse is abuse is abuse is abuse.

Thank you for the shit. I am always thankful for the shit.

You, the cat, have a fragile ego. “Maybe looking back, I can see how it was abuse, but stop making mountains out of cat litter. Why are you fucking crying? A woman with so much truth in her tongue can’t possibly be so vulnerable. Abuse is really just shit.
A gift I left you on the carpet.
The dead bird I left on the doorstep that made you slit your wrists.”

And I loved that fucking cat.

Laura McGlashan is a mature creative writing student, mother, and lover of written word. Laura is a passionate poet and brings a raw renewal of energy to creative nonfiction.

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