by Paula Gil-Ordoñez Gomez 

my footsteps feel heavy

in my childhood

backyard tonight as i relight 

i feel my nose touch

flame and i burn 

up it’s a subtle 

touch and i’m grateful 

for my lips pressed 

against a nurturing 

burn i feel go through 

my throat it hurts 

but it’s kind as well

sometimes i feel 

really beautiful 

when my cheeks 

are flushed and my hair 

is golden but

i envy the girls 

who never get cold 

built with frail frames 

that don’t hide 

under swarms 

of jacket and scarf

i don’t even want 

the second cig

anymore but i finish 

everything i start 

for the most part 

the last ash falls 

into a bruised plant 

and i collect it 

back into my empty

can so my parents don’t 

recognize this vice 

the burn feels good 

on my skin and i slightly 

wish there was more 

to pick up i want 

Museum of Stolen Wishes

by Nuha Shaikh 

There are no more sacred places, 

Just land where gold once hid,

Just shards of history that

I now use to pick through my memories.

What do we collect when we eat?

Does the type of consumption matter

More than what is being consumed?

I wonder if the winners are always

The ones who are eaten,

We all lose in the end,

And their lives are the sweetest to taste.

I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard

That you taste like silk-silver,

Like molten metal made soft again

By digestion.

Is that not what success is?

A delicacy, to be sure.

In our jealousy and shame,

We watched you devour him,

And it seemed like enough

Until you turned to us and said:

Silk-silver or jade-water,

I take what I can get,

And I can taste everything,

For the world is made for

Creatures like me,

Bone-machine efficiency.

And isn’t this fair?

a biotic

by Max Migdail

bats and butterflies

floating gloaters

never done justice

birds too

swoop and swerve and melt and mingle and m.c. escher into one

layers and plains become a fantasy

off glossed paper white and grey are purple and green and red and blue and orange and god 

alive to parallel expansion an exploration in corpuscularianism

better to develop forever on a two dimensional plane or exist confined within a third

frequently birds capture more of what it means

to be human raptors and ravens prey

my only acceptable murder

acted in aid

to scare a weakened swallow into the arms of an eagle

or let the bats end

or collapse the butterflies into a single frame

were apes able to fly

they would never touch the earth again

and would become confined to cages of branches 

and coat hangers shutting down tokyo

a biotic abiotic theory of truth


life ends when it stops being imagined as something        with an end

would fade to nothing and no one 

would notice not a thing

what makes a bat a bat


by Zachary Mintz

Enough! those in whom we’ve sown 

our trust have caved, come 

to naught like stalactites, 

sharpened dangers set to pierce all passerby

Left to coalesce lest someone

Discover you Flaunt! 

I just can’t wait for the day 

your balls get caught 

in the zipper of your lies. 

God forbid 

They think you’re masturbating.

A Demonstration

by Megan Amero

this is the way i fall

over into the ground and 

this is the way the earth 

wraps itself around me

my blood turning green like envy with

each chlorophyll-laden beat of 

my underground heart.

this is the way the sky grabs me

by my exposed ankles— 

a stray breeze bestowing upon my skin

the thick cloak of frostbite.

this is the way i fall

moving with wingless flight;

this is the way my body

knows no end.

Waltzing Practice

by Moumina Khan

A majestic palace, a darkened stage, a cloudless sky, a blank page

A clock in the background.


(And a five! Six! Seven! Eight!)

Words dance and leap and twirl

Spinning through sentences and pirouetting around punctuations

With carefree smiles, gliding effortlessly through invisible lines

Their adorning adjectives glistening:

Splendid diamonds dangling off the swells of letters

Verbs, their beckoning smiles gently grabbing eyes and tugging them along the pages,

To dance the night away, lost among the whirling colors of ethereal nouns bedecked in finery



Spun from ink and paper

Tone and cadence reaching a cresceNDO

Then thundering down, arms outstretched as if to


A perfect landing, balanced on poised toes. A smile, a final bow, and the curtain falls.


A pile of ruin, a creaky stage, a sun­blocking cloud, a passing age

A pen, hovering over a page

Poised between blue lines

Ink pooling behind a ballpoint tip

Quivering, tremoring,


To replicate the words dancing through the mind,

Until they spill off the paper and smudge onto the desk and coat the fingers

in the ebony residue of their performance.


And a five





A tremble, a want

Ink escaping the crevices between the balled point

Dripping through the air, ready to dance and twirl onto the blank page that arrives closer and closer­­–oh, already it is straightening its form to fall into a perfect shape­­– hand outstretched, landing in a


A blemish

An ugly, misshapen smear

A ruined page, a procession of mismatched words tripping over their feet

Tumbling and crashing into each other

Landing in a misshapen heap

Piling up in crossed ­out sentences and becoming

dark sludge until they press up against darkened bodies, their weight crushing chests and pressuring thoughts and slowly stealing breath from lungs as they force themselves down throats

and snatch strangled gasps and squeeze out hot tears that drip onto and blur those invisible lines

until you can’t breathe and you’re drowning and you’re closing your eyes and…

And a five. Six. Seven. Eight.



A ring of ashes, a darkened stage, a discolored sky, a tarnished page.

Fingers curled around a poised pen.


A diamond adjective, an alluring verb,

A midsummer’s ball, twinkling just out of sight in the corners of thoughts


Hand just out st r e t c h   ed

A lit match, a brewing storm, a shushing audience, a focusing form.

A pen touches the page

An intake of breath, the piercing first note of a waltz

The words dance again.


by Josh Stone

In jagged wood, rivers run tentacle arms
down meadows made in times past
remnants of Ice Giants creeping into virgin valleys,
carving canyons and cliffs and all of this
done in the silent eyes of the animals who for
generations roam mellow meadows, grazing
on tip-toe tulips by streams singing their
pitter-patter songs in rainbow spray.

Rise and fall, thrive and decay, born again
under Immortal Ice Eyes, wise, Glaciers watch frigid, fragile
as our meager existence passes in the blink of their Ice Beast Eye.
While their Cold Feet may tread upon the firmly rooted trees with ease,
the Glaciers cry with silent power,
their blue tears well up into flash floods
as we eat away at them

The glaciers speak slowly
To listen takes a lifetime
To understand takes a history
Maybe we will stop the undoing that we’ve done
Or perhaps they will die as they were born
In silent blue.


by Nina Benites

meteorologists couldn’t explain why the air that day felt like saguaro spikes
sharp grass bounced once more in the instant, honey-soaked electricity between us

two weeks later we sprawled on that same green, cautiously
you asked, “should I have waited?” while I traced opal hieroglyphs into your side

the night before, the delicious whisper of embarrassment dusted
my cheeks, those balls of dough you used to poke

fun at and my nakedness then felt banal compared
to the vulnerability of sunlight at 2pm. two weeks was plenty, I guessed

and what physicist could have outlined our projectile when
there were more possibilities of phylogenetic trees than protons

in the universe and biologists still didn’t know which one was right? with that,
we gratefully lifted our faces to the sun and let ourselves explore:

tickle of sweet and the taste of lightyears coated our tongues, gentle
pleasure taken in eyes crinkled, salty backs, and the pink flesh of sliced watermelon

to geologists, it felt like lava looks -impenetrable, starving for more. I, too, hungered
for more nights to poke and prod and revel in the unreliable knowledge that we are


If I were ever to write one,

A love poem would only be a page blank
Of everything but the commas: a snowstorm
And the shit dog owners were too lazy to pick
Up. A piano has fifty-two white keys and
Thirty-six black keys for playing love songs until
I take a hammer and smash the instrument to pieces.
Chopin and Schumann can eat my ass.

by Ethan Resek

Learning to Love an Accident of a Hometown

April 16, 2019

Modern Shenzhen, modern in a post-Deng,
Post-technological boom sense, is only a
Few years my elder. Growing up, I watched
The evisceration of a “fishing village” and its
Infantile self-sufficiency a Transcendentalist
Would think bucolic or picturesque, you know,
Despite the detritus of wars and wrongs and all that
And I watched not a snake shed its skin but
A caterpillar deliquesce in its rancid cocoon
(Death as a prerequisite for rebirth.)
Perhaps the butterfly that emerged was iridescent
But these are violent foreign colors, haphazardly
Treated with the corporate-cosmopolitan odors
And that globalist aesthetic of a concessioned Canton.
But the self-assured westernized snob in me objects,
Why eulogize? What does it matter? You misguided
Faux-nationalist, you’ve reaped your benefits, spoken
The kind of accentless (allow me to be anti-descriptivist)
Lingua franca English of the international pastiche,
When otherwise you’d have been a myopic rustic girl
Taxidermied, stuck performing for the ogling orientalist…
Now subsume this grotesque tableau—this Adidas bike
Propped against steamed bun stall, this large glowing
Transnational fast food sign, this local toddler nudging
Mother asking about that gweilo and the ensuing offense
Of the man who overhears, this Asian-faced customer base
For this Western shopping mall, these great dilapidated
Mongrel throngs of part-Cantonese | part-American
Part-Hakka | Part-British | part-Communist | All Chinese
City of a fumbling postmodern accident.

by Juliette Wu