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Reverse Lightning Rally at the US Embassy

by Troy Osaki

after Matt Rasmussen 


The president’s face on fire becomes a face 

again, unburnt. Smoke rolling skyward 

now caves in. Kara unclicks her lighter 

& every flame is inhaled into it. We lower 

the effigy. Take it apart. Guards uncircle us 

running backward into the gates. Their escrima 

sticks falling to their sides. We crumple protest 

signs & tuck them under our T-shirts. We cross 

the highway. Our backs charging into traffic. 

Our lifted fists sinking. In the air, our chant 

flings back at us. Imperialismo! Ibagsak! 

Manila Bay spits out sunlight, flattens. 

In the news, the Pentagon. Plans to airstrike 

Mindanao leap into an official’s mouth. 

SHR_issue 27_Winter 23_cover.jpg

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Ghazal for Familiar Women 

by Dominique Ahkong

In the way we can spot kinfolk from the back 

by their gait, these women unknown to me, backs


facing me, feel related. More than the long sleeves 

and bucket hats, it’s the eroded downstroke of their backs 

that’s vernacular, it’s what they do not do, even while 

their eyes are watching God disrobe and back 

away. They hold out their veins, unblinking, while black 

bags are hung from their necks like ropes. Back-

aches persist but do not fracture their language in this way. 

Comfort is a drained infusion pump, three days a foe. Back 

at home, as night falls, a husband holds his wife’s hand. 

His daughters will rub their mother’s unrobed back 

and cover it after her body’s churning. Her 

requested balm: atonal invocations back to back. 

Will you embody your name, Dominique? See your mother 

plunge into the cold ocean, then turn to float on her back. 


The Idea of Community

by John Gallaher

In the cartoon version, the protagonist is left in charge of a baby 

who is in some fashion courting disaster. It’s accident prone. It’s a maniac. 

And the little creature’s delivered, last second, back safe 

like nothing’s happened. Perhaps the protagonist, by this time, 

is heavily bandaged or smoldering, Tom & Jerry version, Daffy Duck 

version. In the Chick Avenue version, 

I put the dogs out to run, and hear a parent bird going crazy 

before I see what’s going on. A little bird, not yet able to fly, 

is in Daisy’s mouth. I do the “make angry face 

and shout DROP IT” routine, and Daisy drops it, flopping 

and spinning in the grass. I shoo the dogs into the house, 

and go to see to the bird. I hate days like this. 


I’m trying to be positive about life cycles. My father’s in his 90s, 

declining. It’s God’s machinery, but what exactly 

am I supposed to do with some flopping, mostly dead thing? 

It turns out, though, that the bird isn’t dead. A bit of a limp, but otherwise, 

looking steady-ish. Except it can’t stay in the yard. This 

is the dog yard. The parent bird is still going nuts above us. 

It’s a standoff. And I’m not convinced that evolution has done a good job 

with birds. My father called the other night. Actually, I called him, 

but halfway through the conversation, he said 

                                                                         the reason he called me 

was to find out how things are going, and I didn’t correct him. 

That’s how things are going. The nest is twenty feet up. That’s also 

how things are going. So the best I can do is usher the bird 

to the other side of our fence. I’m helping things along. Here you go, 

little bird, on your way. And the thing about cartoons 

is that even in cartoons 

                                     death intrudes, with bigger and bigger fish, 

in sequence, emergent phenomena swallowing each other. 

Baby birds don’t know these things. Parent birds aren’t equipped, so 

before I’m even into the house, the little bird is into the road. 

Busy road. And then it’s a car, just like that. 35 mph. And 

the parent bird is no longer carrying on and the day grows quiet. 


10 pm, And She Says the Moon Is Beautiful

by Todd Robinson 

And it is, though skylight glass blurs the ball rolling in its practiced groove 

and she hasn’t left the house in a month, vomits mercury-poisoned fish, 

sleeps alone in the lumpy king bed you shared. You have learned so much 

about neurology, psychology, immune response, but still manage to pretend 

you live with a healthy person instead of a silhouette. Who’s Frankenstein 

and who’s the monster, your analyst asked in a flourish of rhetoric. Hours ago 

you ate a loaf of bread the size of a fawn like that actor ate an entire pie 

in A Ghost Story and later you might dance to Joy Division, thinking of Ian 

swaying from his rope, but the twelve-step friend said you are thriving in spite of 

tinnitus yowling in your ruined ears and twenty drugs she takes to function 

and the ghetto bird just now flaying spring’s first night and even the hyper 

acute imagery on the new smart TV is just more dukkha. Better slur the 

serenity prayer, 

get grateful for yellow 

grass and cracked birdbath. 


Air Poem

by Mirande Bissell

Loft Mountain after a day of midges 

and sweat. I sleep long enough to start over. 

Night wind lifts the tent’s fabric like a tongue 

plays on a tongue, has waited for us 

to want something more than rest. 

The air has the calcium sweetness 

of well water. It’s bone-building air. 

I have a collarbone to cool, blushed-apple 

shoulders to round. All these years, we 

should have comforted each other. 


Looking for Duende  

by Juan J. Morales


My parents had a sprinkler 

that sputtered water whenever 

the tap was off, and mom surprised me 

when she casually said 

duende was watering the backyard again. 

I heard duende as Lorca’s captured inspiration 

in college. I asked how to translate it 

into English, and my parents couldn’t, 

settling on “the mischief of a goblin.” 

Mom added that it’s like 

the movie with small green Gremlins terrorizing 

the Pennsylvania town 

during Christmas. 

When I left home, 

sent out to find duende, 

the muse gifted deep wells of dream, 

podcasts about skinwalkers and tricksters 

orchestrating mischief, winds singing 

through deep woods 

to echo like ocean waves. 

I didn’t know I first encountered duende 

in the Looney Tunes cartoon 

where Bugs Bunny saves 

the B-52 bomber from the small saboteur 

and William Shatner’s Twilight Zone plane ride, 

watching the monster dismantle 

the engine before flying into the lightning 

and leaving him in lunacy. 

Duende coaxed me to pedal faster 

on my childhood’s rickety bike, 

to follow shadows mistaken 

for witches, to welcome déjà vu 

on mountain trails I’ve never hiked before. 

I still search beyond Lorca’s execution 

and mass grave 

whenever I study full moon’s grief. 

I accept the medium’s summertime warning 

that my dead father has become duende, 

promising to meddle 

until we safely make it 

into the chilly months of 

November and December. 


Technicolor Sonnet 

by Michele Santamaria

Just to be longing, belong to it, 

the color created through prismatic 

beams, light, so much light that the denizens 

of Oz lost gallons of water from the heat, 

lights burning for saturated color, 

an ideal, an idea, an id amok 

on set, tearing through costumes, yelling 

more light, more light, or as Batty says 

in Bladerunner, more life, I want more life, 

I want my reds redder than red, ruby 

slippers to take me back to ground zero, 

apocalyptic wheat fields, me, naked, 

umbilical cord unwrapped from my neck, 

a new mythology for me, more life. 



Dominique Ahkong is a London-born, Singapore-raised, Arizona-based writer of Chinese-Mauritian descent. Her work has appeared in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. She holds degrees from Middlebury College and NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and coedits Shō Poetry Journal. Find her on Twitter @domkeykong.


Devon Balwit’s work appears here, as well as in The Worcester Review, The Cincinnati Review, Tampa Review, Barrow Street, Rattle, Sierra Nevada Review, and Grist, among others. Her most recent collections are We Are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books, 2017), Dog-Walking in the Shadow of Pyongyang (Nixes Mate Books, 2021), and Spirit Spout (Nixes Mate Books, 2023). For more, visit


Ruth Bavetta’s poems have appeared in North American Review, Nimrod, Rattle, Slant, American Journal of Poetry, Atlanta Review, Tar River Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.


Allison Field Bell is originally from northern California but has spent most of her adult life in the desert. She is currently pursuing her PhD in prose at the University of Utah, and has an MFA in fiction from New Mexico State University. Her work appears in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Gettysburg Review, New Orleans Review, West Branch, Epiphany, The Cincinnati Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Hunger Mountain Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. Her micro-essay “Girls Are Always” won Quarter After Eight's 2021 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest; her story “Of the Eating Variety,” (Ruminate), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021; and her essay “The Body, The Onion: A Balagan,” (Shenandoah), was a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2021. Find her at


Mirande Bissell is a teacher in Baltimore, MD. Her first book of poems Stalin at the Opera was selected by Diane Seuss as the winner of the 2020 Ghost Peach Press Prize.


John Blair's seventh book, The Shape of Things to Come—Poems, has just been published by Gival Press. He has published poems with various magazines, including Poetry, The Sewanee Review, The Georgia Review, Colorado Review, and New Letters.


Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, published by Indolent Books, as well as The Unbuttoned Eye and The Heavy of Human Clouds, both from 3: A Taos Press. Among other publications, his poetry appears in Crab Orchard Review, Lana Turner Journal, The Maine Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Shenandoah. He is the recipient of a 2022 artist residency at Monson Arts. Find more at


Camille Carter is a writer, poet, educator, and traveler. She currently lives in Harlem, MT, where she teaches at Aaniiih Nakoda College on the Fort Belknap Reservation. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, SWWIM, The American Poetry Review, Hotel Amerika, Concho River Review, Cherry Tree, and Broad River Review.


Wyn Cooper’s first novel Way Out West was published in 2022. He has also published five books of poetry, including, most recently, Mars Poetica. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, AGNI, Five Points, and more than one hundred other magazines. Cooper lives in Vermont and works as a freelance editor.


Shira Dentz is the author of five books, including Sisyphusina (PANK, 2020), winner of the Eugene Paul Nassar Prize 2021, and two chapbooks, including FLOUNDERS (Essay Press). Her writing appears in many venues including Poetry, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Plume, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, New American Writing, Brooklyn Rail, Apartment, Lana Turner, Berkeley Poetry Review,, and NPR. She’s a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, Poetry Society of America's Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Awards, Painted Bride Quarterly's Poetry Prize, and Electronic Poetry Review's Discovery Award. Shira holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a PhD from the University of Utah. Currently, she lives and works in upstate New York, and more about her writing can be found at


Jordan Deveraux has poems published in Bodega, Tilted House, The Meadow, Blackbox Manifold, and elsewhere. Originally from Woods Cross, UT, he now works and plays in Queens, NY.


Lawrence Di Stefano’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Journal, RHINO, Southern Humanities Review, and Santa Clara Review, among other journals. He holds an MFA in poetry from San Diego State University and is coeditor of poetry at The Los Angeles Review. He is currently working on his debut chapbook. Find him at


Will Dolben holds a master’s in writing from the University of Southern California. He was a quarterfinalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences international screenwriting competition. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.


Nathaniel Dolton-Thornton’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Vallum, Griffith Review, Gulf Coast, Lake Effect, Magma Poetry, Poetry Salzburg Review, Salamander, Sycamore Review, Constellations, TAB, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Account, Raritan, and other publications.


Michelle Donahue is an assistant professor at UNC Wilmington, where she is associate editor of Ecotone. Her prose has been supported by the Kentucky Foundation for Women and published in Passages North, CutBank, and Arts & Letters, among others. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the University of Utah.


Kinsale Drake (Diné) is a poet, playwright, and performer based out of the Southwest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry,, Best New Poets, The Adroit Journal, MTV, Teen Vogue, Time, and elsewhere. Currently, she is an Indigenous Nations Poets Fellow and winner of the 2022 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize.


John Gallaher's forthcoming collection is My Life in Brutalist Architecture (Four Way Books, 2024). He lives in northwest Missouri and coedits Laurel Review.


Chris Gaumer’s writing appears in The Rumpus, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, Best Microfiction 2019, Citron Review, The Under Review, and elsewhere. He won the 2019 Poetry Society of Vermont’s National Poetry Prize and is a founding director of the Randolph College MFA program, where he also serves as managing editor and art director of Revolute magazine. Chris also writes and directs short films.


Robyn Groth is an autistic poet and bookmaker with an MA in linguistics. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and sons. She is the author of Hello, Robot (Defunkt Mag + Press, 2023), and her work has been published in CALYX Journal, Gordon Square Review, and Ruminate Magazine. She is a reader for Chestnut Review.


Tim Z. Hernandez is an award-winning author, research scholar, and performer. His work includes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the American Book Award, the Colorado Book Award, and the International Latino Book Award. Hernandez holds a BA from Naropa University and an MFA from Bennington College, and is an associate professor with the University of Texas at El Paso’s bilingual MFA program in creative writing. He lives in El Paso, TX, with his two children.


Katherine Indermaur is the author of I|I (Seneca Review Books, 2022) and two chapbooks. She is an editor for Sugar House Review and the recipient of prizes from Black Warrior Review, the Academy of American Poets, and Colorado Humanities. Her writing has appeared in Ecotone, Electric Literature, Ninth Letter, The Normal School, and elsewhere. She lives in Fort Collins, CO.


C. E. Janecek is a Czech-American writer who received a poetry MFA from Colorado State University in 2023 and was the managing editor of Colorado Review during that time. Janecek's writing has appeared in Poetry, Gulf Coast, Cream City Review, Booth, The Florida Review, and elsewhere.


Sarah Koenig lives in Seattle, WA. Her poetry has appeared in Barrow Street, PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, Bellingham Review, Cutbank, DIAGRAM, Sixth Finch, Poetry Northwest, and Faultline, among several other journals.


Raised, educated, and then educated some more in New Jersey (PhD Rutgers, 2005), Julian Koslow was formerly a professor of English Renaissance literature at Virginia Tech, but left academia to take care of a child with special needs. He is currently a stay-at-home parent and increasingly concerned citizen. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Columbia Review, SRPR, Cumberland River Review, New Ohio Review, Atlanta Review, Journal of New Jersey Poets, and Paterson Literary Review. He lives with his spouse and two sons in Fair Lawn, NJ.


Sandy Longhorn is the author of three books of poetry. The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, her latest book, won the 2014 Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press. She teaches in the Arkansas Writer’s MFA program at the University of Central Arkansas. When not writing, her obsessions include cataloging the often hilarious means of murder in innocuous British mysteries, collecting and cutting up pounds and pounds of magazines and paper ephemera to use in her collage art, and bowing to the will of her two feline companions (#TeamCat).


Emily Kay MacGriff is a writer and bookmaker living in Detroit, MI. Her work pulls from working aboard expedition vessels as a wilderness guide in the polar regions, South Pacific, and British Isles. In 2022 she earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, founded the MacGriff Writing Studio, and joined the MA/MFA Design for Climate Action faculty at the College for Creative Studies. Emily’s work has been published in Australia and the United States.


Melanie McCabe is the author of three collections of poems: The Night Divers (Terrapin Books, 2022), What The Neighbors Know (FutureCycle Press, 2014), and History of the Body (David Robert Books, 2012). Her memoir, His Other Life: Searching For My Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams, won the University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, The Georgia Review, The Threepenny Review, Lake Effect, Alaska Quarterly Review, and many other journals.


Kevin McLellan is the author of in other words you/ (winner of the 2022 Hilary Tham Capital Collection selected by Timothy Liu); Ornitheology (Massachusetts Book Awards recipient); Tributary, Round Trip; and the book objects, Hemispheres and [box], which reside in several special collections including the Blue Star Collection at Harvard University. He makes videos under the name Duck Hunting with the Grammarian. Dick won Best Short Form Short at the LGBTQ+ Los Angeles Film Festival and was also shown at the Flickers’ Rhode Island Film Festival, Berlin Short Film Festival, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, and others. Kevin lives in Cambridge, MA.


Daniel Edward Moore lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His work is published or forthcoming in I-70 Review, Tar River Poetry Journal, Bryant Literary Review, Book of Matches, Deep South Magazine, and Triggerfish Critical Review. His book Waxing the Dents is from Brick Road Poetry Press.


Juan J. Morales is the son of an Ecuadorian mother and Puerto Rican father. He is the author of three poetry collections, including The Handyman’s Guide to End Times, and his fourth collection, Dream of the Bird Tattoo, is forthcoming from University of New Mexico Press. Morales is a CantoMundo Fellow, a Macondo Fellow, the editor/publisher of Pilgrimage Press, and the associate dean of the College of Humanities Arts & Social Sciences at Colorado State University Pueblo.


Cecil Morris retired after thirty-seven years of teaching high school English, and now he tries writing what he spent so many years teaching others to understand and (he hopes) enjoy. He has a handful of poems published in Cimarron Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Evening Street Review, Hole in the Head Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The Talking River Review, and other literary magazines. He is trying to learn the names of all the birds that frequent the yard he shares with his patient partner, the mother of their children.


The grandson of Filipino immigrants and the great-grandson of Japanese immigrants, Troy Osaki is a poet, organizer, and attorney. Osaki is a three-time grand slam poetry champion and has earned fellowships from Kundiman, Hugo House, and Jack Straw Cultural Center. He was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation in 2022. A 2022–2023 critic-at-large for Poetry Northwest, his poetry has appeared in Crazyhorse, The Margins, Muzzle Magazine, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Seattle University School of Law where he interned at Creative Justice, an arts-based alternative to incarceration for youth in King County. He lives in Seattle, WA.


As her grandmother once said, Callie Plaxco flew the coop when she left South Carolina to journey west to the University of Wyoming for her MFA. Still in Wyoming, Callie lives with her husband, two small boys, and two big dogs. When her children aren’t stealing the poetry from her mouth, Callie might be found running, baking, hiking, or doing yoga. Her chapbook Dear Person is available at Dancing Girl Press and individual poems have been published by Carve Magazine, Tinderbox, and Gingerbread House.


Todd Robinson’s work has lately appeared (or soon will appear) in Notre Dame Review, The Pinch, North American Review, and South Dakota Review. He is an assistant professor in the Writer's Workshop at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and caregiver to his partner, a disabled physician.

s.d.s. is the pseudonym of a writer who has written five books as well as two chapbooks of visual poetry. The poetry, fiction, and nonfiction of s.d.s. have been published in, among others, The Guardian, The Atlantic, New York Times, McSweeney’s, Mobius, Mudlark, Cafe Review, Storm Cellar, Tupelo Quarterly, and Clapboard House, where s.d.s. won a short story prize.


Samantha Samakande is a Zimbabwean-American poet based out of New Jersey, where she resides with her husband, and is a graduate of Allegheny College. In 2020, she was the second-place winner of Frontier Poetry’s Award for New Poets. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in, The American Journal of Poetry, The Indianapolis Review, Hobart, Okay Donkey, and Gordon Square Review, among other journals. 


Michele Santamaria’s poems have been published in Cimarron Review, Bellingham Review, The Canary, and Bayou Magazine, among others. She is an assistant professor and learning design librarian at Millersville University in Millersville, PA.


Brian Satrom’s poetry collection Starting Again came out from Finishing Line Press in 2020. His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, most recently UCity Review. His work has also been featured on Verse Daily and Vandal Poem of the Day. After completing his MFA at the University of Maryland, he lived in Madison, WI, and Los Angeles before settling in Minneapolis. You can find more about him at


Allie Spikes’ poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Los Angeles Review, The Rumpus, River Teeth, Bellingham Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection manuscript was a finalist for BOA's A. Poulin, Jr. Prize, and her nonfiction has been listed as notable in Best American Essays 2022.


Emily Stutzman is an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where they study creative writing. Their poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rainy Day, Montage, and Euphony.


Paige Sullivan is a poet, writer, and communications professional living in Atlanta, GA. A graduate of the creative writing programs at Agnes Scott College and Georgia State University, she has recent work in The Journal, Florida Review, Cherry Tree, and other journals.


Millie Tullis is a poet and folklorist from northern Utah. Her poetry has been published in Rock & Sling, Cimarron Review, Juked, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. She is the editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre, an online journal pushing the borders of the sacred and secular. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @millie_tullis.


Mike White is the author of the collections How to Make a Bird with Two Hands (Word Works, 2012) and Addendum to a Miracle (Waywiser, 2017). His work has appeared previously in Sugar House Review and in other journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, Rattle, Copper Nickel, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, The Threepenny Review, and The Yale Review. He lives in Salt Lake City and teaches at the University of Utah.


Holli Zollinger is a self-taught artist who has made a career of her talents: drawing, painting, and surface design. She is continually inspired by her surroundings living in the desert town of Moab, UT. She is highly motivated by the art of creativity and incorporates the color, texture, and pattern she sees in the world around her. Holli’s work has been published and featured worldwide.


A native of Utah, Shari Zollinger divides her time between her work as a professional astrologer and independent bookseller. She has been known to write a poetic verse or two with published work in Sugar House Review and Redactions: Poetry & Poetics. She is the author of Carrying Her Stone, a collection of poems based on the work of Auguste Rodin.

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