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.

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.

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.


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

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 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

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

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.

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.