The Broken Parts

Have you ever been in the shower when there was an earthquake? Dated a relative by accident? Wanted to eat toothpaste? Ripped off your pants while dancing? A lot of things happened yesterday. You know they happened, but don’t necessarily know the details. Mannequin arms that a buddy gave me. Heads that look like pumpkins collapsed and rotting in a field. Two ghosts discussing invisibility in front of a mirror. I see them every day. I can’t keep doing that. It’s scary, and it’s messy, the buckets there on the floor failing to catch all the falling drops of rain.

by Barbara Good

I Cut My Hair in the Community Garden

I say a friend is like a pocket knife that doubles as a nail file that turns into a weapon wants to trim hair tips. I snip off split ends in a community garden. I battle the stiff affect perfect of endings. I say a lie tastes like strawberry kool-aid, a sharp tang, a lurid red lingering on the tongue, round the lips. Like sugar accumulates into cavities, a lie hangs around, eventually aches. I once swallowed an icicle whole because Karen wouldn’t talk to me at recess. A lie tastes like a secret penny I won’t say how many I’ve saved. How many I’ve kept away from boys who begged, bolstering claims for one little lick. If you watch a plant, it won’t grow. There’s no way to talk to a garden. I say poets of place-based tapioca and crib-loyalty line up in the Home Depot paint aisle to sampling variants of purple. We all need a home, a mammalian habit, a wall to climb when folks love us too much. I’ll wind up alone, licking these lonesome briskets. I call my friend Lucy. Say give me a hand with this loathing I’m carving out. We call it a pumpkin.

by Alina Stefanescu


Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama. Her poems and prose are recent or forthcoming in DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, Prairie Schooner, NELLE, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor of Pidgeonholes, President of the Alabama State Poetry Society, and co-founder of the Magic City Poetry Festival. Her first poetry chapbook, ‘Objects in Vases’ (Anchor & Plume Press, 2016) won the ASPS Poetry Book of the Year Award. Her first poetry collection, ‘Stories to Read Aloud to Your Fetus’ (Finishing Line Press, 2017) included Pushcart-nominated poems. Her debut fiction collection, ‘Every Mask I Tried On’, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and was published in May 2018.

Two Poems

by Rachel Deer-Katz

Wannabe Tease Before Her High School Reunion

You wished somewhere there were whales
who wanted to beach themselves for you.

Who lived and died to have the whole oily weight
of their forked tails boiled down to perfume so you

could douse your thin wrists and feel cold,
cleaner than last year’s bones. Do they know

you still try to charm men senseless until
the smell of lilies, wilting, stings their eyes?

Well, you were never really one to leave them
freezing, with your cardigan or your scrimshaw

beads. You always end up going home
alone. There, everything is groomed

slick and chromed as the curved backside
of a spoon. Like your reflection warping.

At home, in their drawers, your spoons
lie against each other like virgins.

Two Poems

by Eddie Krzeminski

Ode to My Alva ’77

Hundreds if not thousands of miles
on the old skid deck, brush logo’d griptape,
colored like a west coast sunrise.
Bennett trucks, Abec 60m RetroGliders,
Khiro risers, Rockin Ron’s between the axle nuts,
fastest money can buy, Big Jim at the old
Sanctuary skate shop swore.

I learned to front carve, to lay my ass
flat & skid, frontside or backside,
glide my hand across the split asphalt
for control, gashing through ma’s
gardening gloves, afterwards
sitting on my board in the muggy
Florida night sucking blood from my palms.

Fucker still rides, still rolls smooth,
still kicks when I do the kicking.
I take her for a spin around the block
past old spots, back when the neighborhood
was the farthest the earth’s fingers could reach,
the world so small I could have ridden it
to its end on four urethane wheels.


Eddie Krzeminski is an MFA candidate at Florida International University where he is the poetry editor for Gulf Stream magazine. His work has recently appeared in Gravel, Origins, and Small Orange. In his spare time he reads, writes, and plays bass.

The Hurricanes Explain Their Aesthetic

by Nicholas Molbert

we begin as exiled wind riled carousel west in fits

of rebranded manifest destiny rise through Gulf water

buttressed by salted columns morph into vortexes

cartwheel counterclockwise in scythes of abecedarian

destruction our libel consecrates the Bible belt

we preen your coasts gnaw barrier islands are anything

but quiet y’all are so quiet in northern caravan so quiet

in plywood candlelit quarantine but don’t miss the flicker

flame moon in the ravished sky our votive to you

y’all are so tired of card houses of paper fans

of fifty-two card pickup our favorite is a Pollacked

yard debrised pools of bullfrogs and rattlesnakes

our botched shuffles gag and spatter a present for you

we peekaboo your dangling land with our water hands

and Jenga your brick and mortar the porous rending

of our Jenga the end of it our end game to dissolve

not disappear to veer into everywhere at once to appear

later as rain touching down on coat or shoulder as beginnings

of tender apologies yes soft but never ceasing


Originally from New Iberia, Louisiana, Nicholas Molbert now lives and writes in Central Illinois. He has work published in or forthcoming from American Literary ReviewCincinnati ReviewMissouri ReviewNinth Letter, Permafrost, and South Carolina Review among others.

This Is as Bitter as the Fire

A Golden Shovel after Kesha

by E. Kristin Anderson

I know that salt purifies—still I spit it out red. I’m busy and
I’ll blame the hurricane—the sort of heart that screams—I
taste velvet in the rain, feel it near me, seething soft. I know

how summer is always ready to burn my blood. I’m in that

blackberry bramble, just hiding from the ghosts. I know I’m
a body in America. I’m a body full of benzos and love—still
I set a spell howling from my hips, clear and real. I fucked

the oak and he turned away—I am the message he wound up
tight with twine. I tear out my teeth, bury them all in ash, but
they don’t grow. Weight me with lavender and pearls—aren’t

I like the magpie? Leave your silver here and remember: We

don’t answer phone calls. I follow this open door holding all
my waking thoughts as if the windy sky could catch them, my
knuckles sore, making fists; still I swallow apple seeds in love.


E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and Hysteria: Writing the female body (Sable Books, forthcoming).  Kristin is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks), Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press, forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker. Find her online at EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter at @ek_anderson.

seeds in the chest

by Alexandra Corinth

a pomegranate pulsing
like rhythm wild

my skin is thick flesh canvas
for whim and work
patina on the clavicle
stardust in the marrow

I bleed every shade of street sign

blues gone purple with rust
greens like ever, like sick
soil in the belly, not ready
not for the fire that’s coming
not the water either
the salt, the flicker

I could ask any question of this body
and get the same answer

fingers in the sinew
reaching into the ribs
hungry for fruit
tart, sweet
yours to swallow
mine to bury

I don’t ask you to stop anymore

lamppost on the corner
dragging this shadow
into the darkest rooms
beat of the drum
slowing with the weight

Where have you been?

moonlight makes my smile ache,
never the shape of a perfect crescent
or white enough to illuminate
I will always be something else
the heart of me natural and somehow still damned
misplaced, confused
growing too big for the bones
nuance lost in transmission

I have shown you every piece

no more secrets to stow in my spine
to press against the storm
seduce lightning with wide hip clouds
cycle cyclone cycle
whichever direction feels wrong
against the grain of this wet sand
no beach
no sea urchin hanging from my kneecap
no lungs to hold the oxygen

the breathing stopped twelve years ago
I gasp sometimes but nothing sticks
all the glue releasing me, rejecting me

I am home now
the roof leaks sometimes but
I no longer ask for forgiveness
not for the living things
the ghosts or the violence of my dreams
a cobra sunbathing
blissful


Alexandra Corinth is a disabled writer and artist based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Her chaplet, Deus Ex Diagnosi, is forthcoming from Damaged Goods Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barren Magazine, Entropy, SWWIM, Glass: Poets Resist, and Atticus Review, among others. She is also an editorial assistant for the Southwest Review. You can find her online at typewriterbelle.com.

Three Poems

by Emperatriz Ung

Dear Imperial Lotus

Bloom away from muddy water
Train tracks run west to touch east
to connect you back home
San Francisco never had it easy

Roll into the mud
Clay mixture on angel island skin so soothing
Lie on the bridge it shakes
Sun kiss sun burn
Clouds
pinned to the sky
莲花 can’t touch home

We hug walls of the tunnel
Golden candles light our way
Roots torn when lifted
out of the Middle Kingdom earth
implanted elsewhere
美籍华人 bloom from 血统 drops

你是中国人吗?
Code for
are you one of us?

你是哪国人?
Code for
what are you? Where are you from?

Rare hybrid, 南美
Beckons la flor de loto to face el sur
tongues tumble
dance to catch unfamiliar tones

Bermuda

by Jacqueline Jules

The water is three shades of blue,

still as a warm bath, waiting.

The sands are pink pastel,

thanks to coral reefs, heads poking out

like the turtles paddling everywhere.

Passion flowers wave from every other tree.

Spice leaves share the scent of cinnamon.

Aloe vera grows wild.

The island has no snakes, no mosquitoes.

Only rolling hills with brightly painted houses.

Neon green and shocking pink. White tops

shining in the sun. Idyllic until

the tour guide explains how the ridged roofs

are coated in lime, purifying rainwater

cleverly captured in cisterns; how the cozy

cement structures can withstand

hurricane winds; how even in paradise

one must be prepared to weather storms.


Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Cider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit www.jacquelinejules.com

Intervention

by SK Grout

The porch table, levelled with food,
waits for the afternoon sun to ripen,
and sweep us all outside. Last night’s
disagreements limp between us

and we cannot build a bridge over blood;
we know its thickness and its cost.
After the meal, we must still perform our lives
as large machines that lie obediently.

The avocado dip, the ham and cheese omelette,
the artichoke hearts like bombs at our table
and who can talk when there is no listening,
just words of absolute that mute us, that scatter

like the aftermath of a knife fight. Love
and the law sit at this table, but they will not
pass the butter. The afternoon creeps on
with the light of a calling ghost and somebody

makes the choice, perverts the course,
and begins their next sentence with the wall

SK Grout grew up in New Zealand, has lived in Germany and now splits her time as best she can between London and Auckland. She is the author of the micro chapbook “to be female is to be interrogated” (2018, the poetry annals). She holds a post-graduate degree in creative writing from City, University of London. She was commended in the 2019 Verve Poetry Festival prize. Her work also appears in Crannóg, Landfall, Rising Phoenix Press, Banshee Lit, Parentheses Journal, Barren Magazine and elsewhere. She tweets @indeskidge.