Issue 5

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Table of Contents

A Demonstration by Megan Amero 

Podium by Zachary Mintz 

Museum of Stolen Wishes by Nuha Shaikh8 

a biotic by Max Migdail

Fragment by Joseph Harmon 

Soliloquy by Paula Gil-Ordonez Gomez 

Dào by Nasrin Lin 

Jump by Lauren Daukaus 

Catalogue of Searching by Isabella Urdahl 

情爱的你 by Nuha Shaikh 

yellow news by Eli Sol Strich 

discount silky conditioning lotion for oily skin by Nasrin Lin 

Portrait of butterflies in bloom by Isabella Urdahl 

Double Yellow by Alex Eliasen 

Futon by Matthew Mcgovern 

Learning to Love an Accident of a Hometown by Juliette Wu 

Ode to My Body Hair by Anonymous

Rainstorm by Paula Gil-Ordonez Gomez 

Led Astray by Mathew Mcgovern 

My Night Sky by Alex Eliasen 

Love Denied by Jon Adams 

Pictures of Summer by Jonathan Ramirez 

 our house by the waterfall by Zachary Mintz 

Featured Art by

Irina mengqi Wang

Imaya Jeffries

Juli Lin

Angela Wei

Kaitlyn Carril

Siara Mukerjee

Deena Bhanarai

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.


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.

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 Joseph Harmon

I’m out with the dog, which isn’t my dog. I keep forgetting his name, but I appreciate the company. He’s throwing this eager look back at me, like I’ve got a direction in mind. I don’t. He knows the woods better, and we’ll just have to live with that.

Ah, dog, what are you doing? Crunching through the frozen creek bed, is what. Now he looks a little startled. Buddy, what did you expect?

Earlier that morning, I said yes. Yes to all of it. I’m going to apply to new jobs, I’ll tidy up the weird little tchotchkes Paul has lying around, I’ll give Sarah a call and say exactly what I mean. Then, as I was brushing my teeth and looking through Paul’s medicine cabinet, something about the light outside changed. I don’t know why, but any possibility of those things happening shut down. So I thought to myself, Uh, why don’t we take a little break? I went online and lost myself in a spiral of news, funny videos, and old emails that reminded me what I meant to people. The day went down the drain, and here I was walking this dog.

My brother, Paul, part of him had to be loving this. An ego boost. He’s not the runt anymore; I’m the one camped out in his guest room. I won’t mention it unless he gives me a reason to lash out, but he’s being too cautious for that. In passing, he sometimes rests a hand on my shoulder like a sensitive kindergarten teacher—which he is, actually, and a pretty good one from what I’ve heard. He’s patient and he listens. He tells me that the kids surprise him every day.

When we were kids, we were wild. In the third grade he bit my ear, latched on like a pit bull and didn’t let up. In high school we called him Pall Mall because he’d always be smoking them in the senior parking lot, a big scowl on his face. Maybe it’s my fault. I was a bad role model. I’ve made some wrong turns, sure, I’ll be the first one to admit that. But all through it, Paul’s gentleness was there. If he hurt someone, you could trust him to set it right. Me, I’m not so sure. We keep going anyway. I’d like to think the surprises are buried in us.

Sarah doesn’t think so. She says I’m stuck, and she wants me to shape up. I tell her I’m trying. I see what needs to happen, but I can’t seem to cross that gap. The other day, in our kitchen, I gave up in a good way. I said to her, Hey, do you want this omelette? It was a work of art. Despite how stoned I was, I had caramelized the onions and everything.

“No thanks,” she said, but I scooped it onto a plate anyway. She was wearing a kind of bitter confused smile, the new way she looked at me. I still liked it. She knew all my tricks, but that meant that she knew me.

“Honey, you’re a mess,” she said. I grinned as wide as I could.

“Can I get some constructive criticism?” I asked.

Now the dog is completely still, rigid, staring off into the pines. The sun has already disappeared, but it’s hanging around just enough to see. I should have brought a headlamp.

“What is it?” I say to the dog. “No more walk?”

The dog ignores me, and I know it must be afraid. Its instincts are kicking in, but I’m too big and dumb to sense the danger. I squint off into the distance, but see nothing.

If there’s some danger out there, I just want to see it. I want to know what I’m dealing with. It’s worse to wait. I tell myself that I’m ready but know that I’m not. The dog and I just stand there, our breath condensing in the cold. If this is it, we go out together, not knowing each other’s names. Maybe there’s something beautiful in that.

Paul has a book on the coffee table that I’ve looked through. I’ve looked through everything—my days are full of hours I didn’t know we had. It’s a book of poetry, which is not at all Paul’s thing. He got it as a white elephant gift last December. What I like about it is that it’s poetry fragments. They’re from Ancient Greece, Rome. Just a tiny piece of the author’s work stands for all they were.

I’ve been wondering if this is my fragment. If this moment will define me. My choices have led me here, so probably yes. But who’s to say that it’s a low, that there hasn’t been lower. Why is it high or low, like on some graph?

Screw it, I’m out. Don’t show me the danger. I’ll just go home. I tug the dog back. He’s still transfixed, but I make him leave. It’s Paul’s home, not mine. He built it for himself and I’m resting there before I rebuild my own. This is all temporary. I have these thoughts, and even though they’re simple, I feel like they explain everything. Then, right as I’m about to understand, they slip away.

As I open the door I remember that I made a dish in the crockpot earlier. It was stewing during the walk, waiting for me, becoming something better. The smell is warm and good and strong. It welcomes me back. That’s all I want: to be welcomed back with nobody home.

I unclip the dog and he rushes to his water bowl as if dying of thirst, sloshing it over the sides.

While he does I find the coffee table, find the book. I settle down on a quilt that Paul claims our grandmother sewed but I know for a fact he bought at Kmart.

Everything is laughter and unthinkable dust, my favorite fragment says. Is that true? They don’t know who said it.


by Paula Gil-Ordonez 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 


by Nasrin Lin 

Think about / the allure in being vulgar

this walking banyan freak

flooded to the brim / a barbiturate-assemblage

self-tentacled / goddess of the swamp

call me Nüwa / so I can sing myself a song

and mold a choir out of recurring dreams / a pillar

from the five elements / in my own image

transmembering into a song

this procreant urge of the world / out

of order, right order / breathe into me a composition

not pensées but processes / revisited via turning pages

in and out and in between / then call me Hart Crane

and meet me at the bottom of the sea / the cruel and the free


by Lauren Daukaus

you are not safe 

and I am not safe.

you may, however, 

be tempted to believe 

otherwise, as many fools 

before you have done, and as 

many fools after you will do. you

may be so inclined to fall subject to 

promises of the forever, the certain, the 

damned. and you may find yourself wishing

that the existentialist within you dies as you crawl

into bed with a naive smile and a mind shut so tight it

forgets how to inhale. I, of course, do not wish you this fate. 

I pray that you live knowing every step you take may lead 

you off a cliff, that you understand this impossible, 

fragile, random existence. and that you use this 

knowledge to be grateful, brave, loving every

chance you get. we fleeting humans tend to

long for security. and with that dream

we discard our sacred vitality. if 

you’d like, we can hold hands

and just freefall, tumbling

into uncertainty. please, 

darling, please leap 

before you look.

Catalogue of Searching

by Isabella Urdahl

        modeled after Rebecca Lindenberg’s Catalogue of Ephemera

I’ve been given soft maple lighting threaded with pieces of piano.

I’ve been given un coup de foudre, bouleverser, and tu me manques.

I’ve been given caramels of his language to coat my tongue with.

I’ve been given her playlists that stick like gum in my brain.

I’ve been given a stress ball made of shards of broken glass. I used to like that photo.

I’ve been given sound bites on Tokyo, PhDs, Arcadia, and Paradise Lost.

I’ve been given little electric text bubbles on the best way to drown in knowledge.

I’ve been given a needle full of serotonin.

I’ve been given the pages of Possession and the melody of Honeybee.

I’ve been given lyrics of Luck Pusher and I’ve been given bad odds.

I’ve been given a heavy sweater that swallows me whole in defenseless cashmere. 

I’ve been given soft folds of pleading, delicate cream cotton.

I’ve been given the souls of Europe’s lonely, hopeful cobblestone streets, New York’s 

ambitious hum, and a forest lake dripping in sunshine.

I’ve been given midnight November runs.

I’ve been given ice-cube ears, snowflaked hair, a face full of moonlight and 

cheeks of poppy petals.

I’ve been given humid August nights, shirts kissing skin, clinging tight 

through sweat and a heartbeat. 

I’ve been given gasping for air.

I’ve been given hands faltering over a keyboard, stumbling syllables. 

I’ve been given awkward teenager poems.

I’ve been given a cramp in my cardiac muscle, 

a corkscrew exploding open a pomegranate into pebbles. 

I’ve been given the plum slosh of mellow red merlot.

I’ve been given an absinthe-burned tongue.

I’ve been given the dehydrating warm beige of the Sahara.

I’ve been given the fresh laundry and dried basil aroma of a well-loved studio 

in a city held together by aching plaster stones and cracking plywood wishes.

I’ve been given a bookshelf to hold the overflowing pile on my bedside table.

I’ve been given Christmas decorations in May.

I’ve been given About Time and melting bronze clocks that stain my hands sunset.

I’ve been given a pulled tooth and the raw, fleshy gap 

that it leaves behind.

One I can’t help but touch, 

despite the blood.

I’ve been given Murakami’s On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful 

April Morning and I’ve been given wondering if 75% Perfect means a best 

friend or a glass ¼ empty.

I’ve been given the amnesia of Iceland’s Northern Lights.

I’ve been given accidentally blue fingers.

I’ve been given the thing that feathers.

I’ve been given a fresh page and the first drop of ink.


By Nuha Shaikh 

情爱的你 —

Fall is the season of goodbyes, of turning over new leaves and pressing the most brightly colored memories in between the pages of the few books I brought with me to college. I’ve been compulsively picking up the leaves that catch my eye, I feel guilty otherwise. There’s a stack of at least eleven of them now. I don’t want to forget any of these days.

                 O Allah, there is nothing made easy except what you make easy, 

                 and You make difficulty easy, if You wish

                                                                             اللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلًا، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ سَهْلًا إِذَا شِئْتَ

It’s 2020, I’m now 20, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so clearly. How desperately I wish my reflexes were right, so that I could hold on to you forever, curled fingers around your own, and we could be young and eternal, friendship and love perfectly balanced as we found a home in each other, growing up together.

                Find, find, find a friend, 

                I found a good friend, 

                salute to them and hold their hand, 

                You are my good friend, 







I left home, finally, after dreaming about it for years, escape was such a tantalizing flight, as I headed East into the Sunrise. I left a space for you, honored who we used to be, and gave us room to grow. But giving you room and board only left me lonely and alone, dusty beds and cracked mirrors, open windows restless in the wind.

                  I don’t think anything will happen but I still hope, God willing.

                                                                                                                            إن شاء الله.

I’ve now latched the windows and closed the doors. You still have the key but the path to me is quite different than when you left me, and then I left you. If you make your way back to me, I welcome you with open hands, as always. And if you don’t, that’s okay too. I’ve said my goodbyes and made my peace with the ghost of you that lingers in me. 

                    Please take care of yourself. 




yellow news

by Elli Sol Strich

When she called the sky was a yellow-cold

static spewing over the line 

hollow voice cracking

I held my breath and

traced thin wavering pavement cracks

slender summer rain that started slowly

was now thunder crying 

a heaving silence- 

I tried listening to her sliver voice

words plunging into my ear, 

nestling into crevasses, throbbing, itching 

Tried explaining to the worms writhing past

the too-clean-sky morning, her once bursting laugh 

that marinated words in saffron-

no longer listening now only watching.

empty shadows on sun-stained cement, 

frail dandelions wilting; 

their heads bowing, bowing as if praying, 

that metallic after-taste of sour yellow,

swallowing the bitterness.

discount silky conditioning lotion for oily skin

*TW: contains queer slurs

by Nasrin Lin 

golden immigrant child

watches the Sunday football game

plays pong with his friends

in letters and track pants

drops a “faggot” at each plop

a prepackaged narrative arc


golden immigrant child

lands jobs at fancy acronyms

a bona fide entrepreneur seeks

a bitch that cooks and free

reign on the n-word

using the friend card that doubles

as business card   coded handshake


golden immigrant child

aims for that penthouse

with three pools and immigrant maids

collectively known as the ah-yis

because one saves too little face

and two is just the Congratulations

paper cutout on the cake

three is the cake you stick your dick into

after everybody leaves           


golden immigrant child

gets a wedding invitation

from his disowned sister

the estranged daughter  

that dirty dyke   cancerous

rot in this great family name 

golden immigrant child

pure golden bred reminiscing

on brighter days

Portrait of butterflies in bloom

by Isabella Urdahl

“Tous les amoureux ont-ils l’impression d’inventer quelque chose?”

                Portrait de la jeune fille en feu

In my chest there bloom butterflies with flower petal wings.

They need air so I give them the memory of the breath leaving my lungs, 

         quand tes lèvres

        turned up at the corners, une intrigue

        a soft lighthouse from across the room.

They take all my oxygen and I surrender

         it like the body surrenders

         to a song, to the touch of tes

         doigts qui jouent on my skin. 

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t need more oxygen, 

       but you leave me so breathless my body might have just found itself again –  

       Je voudrais courir et fling my watercolor limbs 

       off this cliff and plummet. Wingless, 

        bouleversée, and wanton.

Who knew le coup de foudre could make you feel so electric.

Take it all and breathe it back 

         into me with your tongue, 

         which is ta question et 

         ma réponse in one. 

Take these butterflies. 

         My ribcage a mere canvas house 

         for their explosion of hues and 


that your eyes painted into me like a rayon de lune 

          pirouetting off glass and into a room that was waiting for le soleil.

I knew nothing of music until your color-bathed fingers

        traveled the trembling paper of my chest.

        Flower petal wings string a symphony in my stomach, 

        orchestrated by the brushstrokes your lips coat onto mine.

Would Camus think me in love? 

          “. . . tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour”

Perhaps, although 

         I think Madame Desbordes-Valmore’s powdered nose would turn 

         at the way 

je laisse tes paroles danser dans mes artères.

         And your words honey-stick to me but I’d make a welcome sign for bee stings.

         And I’d carry all les crèves-coeur,

         for one mouthful of your syllables ambering my vision.

I think Balzac knew what he was saying when he named Love poetry of the senses.

Que tu es belle.

           The shape of your laugh is my favorite line break.

           The life raft of your smile hidden behind your hand, la syllabe qui interrompt mon mètre.

The curve where ta joue rencontre ton cou, a liaison more imaginative

           than tout ce que la langue française pourrait rêver.

And I a ,

          en train de prier,

          pour tu, que tu complètes la phrase, la peinture

          that you began in my body.

Double Yellow

by Alexander Eliasen

Circles glistening

Inebriated cobalt

Asphalt under rain

Legs begin twitching

Another sanguine victim

Motionless in vain

Glass still shattering 

Sheet metal drips pale silence

Sirens slowly wane


by Mathew Mcgovern

I see a deep forest

in the evergreen futon

whose wrinkles are brimming

with landscapes, little hills

written through wavering folds

shapes resembling eyes just closed

a brow arching in and a large crooked nose

indiscript visages won’t deign to define themselves

Perhaps these fissures ressemble glaciers

stacked, full and monumental

or veins and patches of flesh splayed out

on this awe-inspiring canvas,

laudable yet floppy futon

content in the corner of the room

the sag of whose own weight

makes a low wide smile.

Learning to Love an Accident of a Hometown

by Juliette Wu

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

Amalgamated throngs of part-Cantonese | part-American

Part-Hakka | Part-British | part-Communist | All Chinese

City of a fumbling postmodern accident.

An Ode to my Body Hair

by Anonymous

Zach started wearing shorts

Fabric cutting off nine inches below the waist

Matted rivers of glistening soldiers

Stood erect on his ankles, shins, and thighs

Bent knees traversed my forests of envy

Desire overtook my fingers and they crept

Closer towards his displays of masculinity

With realization comes clambering to the bathroom

My thick traitorous fingers poking

At the mass of naked flesh covering my vital organs

I sat hairless, defeated, yet empowered 

Plans forming with revolutions of hope and the end of PE

Walking home, I prodded the protruding lump 

Which resided above my hips

Its smoothness recalled the pure power held 

By Zach’s happy trail of fur

Outside my house I kindled a fire

Teeming with jealousy and follicle fascination

Crossing myself, I prayed for growth

She arrived, smirking, agreeable, auspicious

Floating, her eyes bulging with instability

“What is your desire?”

A hairy demeanor or a flash of Zach’s abdomen

How can one choose whether

A body of thick layering masculinity

Fairs better than the brief glimpse 

At an apologetically full manhood

Sitting here with hair contaminating my vision

Spilling over my brow bone, I begin to rethink my decision

The hair I’m covered in replaces the man I’ll never be


by Paula Gil Ordoñez Gomez

Toes tapping to the rhythm

Of thunder shouting 

Pushing neighboring trees  

To crack and crumble

Sometimes I understand 

Those branches laying 

Defeated on my doorstep

Fractured and fragile 

Snapped into twigs

Crushed under careless feet

But tonight

I feel whole

Like the trunk two doors down

Refusing the wind’s shoves

Led Astray

 by Matthew McGovern

I stepped down from the rattling bus into a foot of slush. From there, I hopped the brown snow embankment onto the lumpy, icy sidewalk, where I trudged along.

After about forty paces, I sensed some figures following me from a short distance, close enough that I could hear their chatter. As I brushed snow from my shoulder, I looked back to see who they were: jackals in leather jackets, whom I had seen on the bus in the back row, snickering. I had observed them eyeing me back there, hungry and sleep-deprived. 

I was a big piece of prey, too slow to outrun them. I resorted to other means of getting the jackals off my trail, I veered from the sidewalk into a field of thick snow. After a few long strides, I was well away from the icy path. I turned back to see them hesitate, and paw at the ground nervously in their tattered, low-top shoes. 

To my surprise and delight, they started leaping in the imprints my boots had left, with a grace unbecoming of predators like them. On the pads of their feet they leaped, and I decided to lead them in a dance through the white, unblemished snow. 

Something in these hyenas’ movements made me forget my fear and revel in the chase. I accented my steps with curving arcs and swings. A long bound, ten rapid steps (which called for light feet,) interspersed with one-foot hopping, then a twirl. But as I looped all the way back to the sidewalk, I realized they had strayed from the steps I had been leading them in. 

Underneath a leafless tree, one jackal produced a crisp, moving tune for the other two, who pranced and pirouetted in tandem, ignoring my imprints in the deep snow. One of them hoisted the other onto his shoulders, like figure skaters, and held the position as the song subsided.

On the hard sidewalk, I clomped the snow from my boots and observed my former pursuants, engrossed. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t contain my applause. The three heads snapped towards me, self-conscious and irate at having been led on. They began inching towards me, with hunger in their eyes, so I turned and bolted away on the uneven sidewalk.


by Alexander Eliasen









My Night Sky

Each night, day surrenders to a golden dusk

And you begin looking after me from above

You are my night sky

Face like midnight, shining star-like eyes

Your smile inspires the moon’s return

Constellations form your body

The trees and I reach to try grasping you

I miss experiencing the black night together

Amor Negado

by Jon Adams

Cuando pienso en nosotros

No me siento vacío

Ni enojado

De verdad, me siento fatigado.


De esperar un cambio

En el panteón de tu vida

Soy un dios pequeño


Sin la gravedad de Júpiter

Ni la sabiduría de Minerva

Mi altar sólo tiene una vela

Que se ha quemado 

Hasta al final de su mecha

Y algún incienso viejo y apagado

Ofrecidos por una tierra y un pueblo

Cuyos nombres el tiempo ha olvidado

Mi día festivo es un asunto sencillo

Sin carne ni vino

Solo pescado y leche

Una combinación que en una época

Tenía sentido.

Hoy en día ninguna recuerda el origen

Y francamente yo tampoco.

Pero se sigue observando

Se continúa practicando

Con la esperanza de que

Algún día todo volverá a memoria.

Love Denied

When I think of us

I don’t feel empty

Or angry

Truthfully, I feel fatigued.


Waiting for a change

In the pantheon of your life

I’m a little god


Without the gravity of Jupiter

Nor the wisdom of Minerva

My altar has only a single candle

That has been burned 

To the end of its wick

And some old, extinguished incense 

Offered by a land and a people

Whose names time has forgotten

My feast day is a simple affair

With neither meat nor wine

Only fish and milk

A combination that at one time

Made sense.

Nowadays no one remembers the origin

And frankly neither do I.

But it is still observed

Still practiced

In the hope that

Someday it will all come back.

Pictures of Summer

by Jonathan Ramirez                                                                         

My mother, she paints me a navy blue sky 

with stars to guide me through the dark of night

she takes my hand and whispers into my ear todo estara bien

and I believe every word that comes out of her mouth. 

My mother, she loves to be a mother so much she never lets me go 

says there are peligros out in the world too intense for me to handle on my own 

and I believe her and dread the times I stand alone.

Now, my mother has grown old, 

and I’m no longer a little kid

she still wants to hold my hand but I shake my head 

and tell her camina detrás de mí instead ,

solo dime que estarás ahí si me caigo, eso es todo lo que quiero saber.

With each season that fades, my mother recites stories untold,

chanting the secret each one of them holds,

 a lesson deep within the words engraved in her tongue.

My mother, she paints me pictures of summer perfectly where we are right now

and tells me anything else esta mal

so wrong like a cold winter in the middle of July.

I’ve learned gritos don’t fix anything and silence only makes things worse

so now I whisper softly in her ear, créeme cuando digo que

estoy listo para tomar tus palabras y añadir las mías

y así crear mi propia historia. 

I hope one day I find the words to build my own world

and she learns to love me even when I’m not home,

even if it hurts.

our house by the waterfall 

by Zack Mintz

Our house by the waterfall was 

the dream we rebuilt, and we shared the lines in the ceilings, these wonderful feelings the kind you can’t fathom 

to be there.

When your breath hit the windows 

it sauntered and mellowed 

it had nowhere to go 

but the rafters above. It clung to them dearly 

like pearls on necks dreary 

or diamonds strung zig-zagged 

across streams that flow bleary. 

These storms we kept 

the times the creeks wept 

they bind us to earth, 

the places leaves slept. 

The mystical whirling 

the drops’ slated swirling 

Though I stand vigorous and tall 

I haven’t forgotten it all. 

*inspired by “our house by the waterfall” by Dahm.