ISSUE 22 SNEAK PEEK
Bad Habits on a National Level
by Clara Trippe
The news declares the number of people dead every hour:
they had drowned in their own lungs. Meanwhile:
flowers across the deserts of the Southwest open
their petals at night to avoid the heat.
They stain landscape
in ink while inmates in New York are offered
six dollars an hour to dig mass graves. Spring has come, cherry
blossoms escape into the air or else
are eaten by green,
all while a virus blooms in white blood cells
across the District. The Met Gala has been canceled;
even those encrusted in diamonds must bow
to someone. The specter of public health hidden in their closet.
Still, some things will remain holy even in end days:
the divets I chewed into the skin by my fingernails
burn when I touch citrus. I keep dreaming
of all the ways we could disappear, and each time
I awake less of us return. Sit cross-legged
at the edge of the grass
and concrete unrolls from my ankles into a city.
Infant oil spills coalesce in crevices, promising beauty
but killing my grass. Between two cell phone towers,
light cracks clouds and filters through voicemails,
missed calls, bated breath at the other end of the line.
There are tears on my cheek
and I don’t know why.
Once I wished for a world as uncertain as liquid:
the existence of a frog suspended in a jar of formaldehyde. Now,
we are swimming in our own lungs.
We try desperately to stay dry.
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Return of the Tenor
by Cole Eubanks
Last night I heard the cellomoan
of that hoot owl again.
Most evenings it sounds like
Pablo Casals, but this time he
was my dead father humming
Italian Opera. We rode arias
from Aida, Tosca, and Pagliacci
straight through to Maryland.
The second we crossed the Mason
Dixon, the curtain came down.
Your Fascination with Beyoncé, NASCAR, Crime and Death
by Elizabeth Marie Young
Our complexity, our creeds, our engineers, our shamans,
Our osteoarthritis, our legislative powers, our state troopers, our consent,
Our baby monitors, our tick-borne illnesses, our genetic information,
Our consumer safety reports, our escalating tensions, our irrational behaviors,
Our overwhelming evidence, our diesel-burning trucks,
Our irrigation systems, our decision fatigue, our future reincarnations,
Our skin, our spit, our sweat, our fireflies, our cousins, our gravitational pull,
Our primary care providers, our reusable plastic bags, our fucked-up circadian rhythms,
Our late night talk show hosts, our hypodermic needles, our fluidity, our fear,
Our Pop-Tarts, our inventions, our boss’s counter offers,
Our automatic weapons, our rookies of the year, our cases of bottled water,
Our close and loving bonds, our public broadcasting systems
To the Man in Line for Tacos Who Isn't Brian
by Kate Kearns
Portrait of a Small Town at Golden Hour
by Eli Karren
Surely this is the light you wanted. Everything turned
to amber in the afternoon. The windows peering out
over honeycombs, tessellated mountain ranges.
This, the only memory I have—
a twilight wash, haloed by nettles and pricker bushes.
The moon like a canker sore on the tree line.
Or maybe, I am remembering a dirt road at dusk,
a head angled out the car window, out past
Guernsey cows and paint-peeled steeples, out towards
the mechanized hum of campfire songs. Or was it
on a secret beach somewhere? Pruned hands
cupping the sunset, splashing it around, panning for what
lay at the bottom. What lay at the bottom of all this.
That has to be it. Us tap dancing on zebra mussels,
all tangled up in tape hiss, burnt away
in a lens flare we fed for far too long.
Maybe I Am Here
by Kate Northrop
and there you are, sort of, like a row of trophies seen through a picture window, very green-gold, but anymore, Lemon Drop, I am not a woman who can sleep with whomever she wants. In the house
my skin jitters, a wind picked up across a lake, and I keep opening windows hello? hello? but the sun just sticks, lozenged in trees wind-stripped. Some days, things
look strangely: a single shoe on the sidewalk or a pot, in sunlight, on a stoop. Some days nothing will jimmy the vision. Pop-Tart, what I’m trying to say is I saw mountains in the rearview too, I saw the girl running into the street. Nightly, headlights move across the neighbor’s field, empty as a nightgown, or they hover, like someone standing with a set of keys.
by Claire McQuerry
My friend sends an email linked to news
about women freezing their eggs—
as early as possible in their 30s,
she says. My fiancé is on the phone
with “his” jeweler about Christmas diamonds.
I don’t like diamonds, the way they look
obligatory and mean. My eggs, I’m told,
degrade a little more each year. There’s
a surgical mesh—I don’t quite understand this—
I could have implanted in my breasts,
“to give them a natural lift again,” to make me
look like a woman whose eggs are still intact,
who men still want. I read this in an in-flight
magazine. “You know how women over 40
are invisible,” says the man ahead of me
in the grocery line. “I don’t have any problem
getting laid. She’s gonna know she screwed up
real soon though, my ex.” Snow comes
early this year and turns the roads to diamond
lacquer. My affianced canceled his flight
for uncertain reasons, and I might brave the drive
to my parents’. I remember when Thanksgiving
was fleece by a fire. We’d ice cookies
and decorate a tree. At 16, ferrying
deviled eggs on a cut-glass plate,
I overheard grandmother telling mother
I had a nice figure—my breasts, then,
in no need of mesh. Still, the feeling wasn’t
gladness but shame. “If I come out, you’ll only
start a fight,” the fiancé says because I am,
like the rest of my sex, irrational, though
on the upside, I know how to bake a pie
and I like, he says with certainty,
cleaning things. “Your house is always
so clean.” I hate to clean, just less
than I hate a mess. The line between
when he means it and when he’s goading
often erodes. Snow keeps sifting through
the streetlights like static, like the silver
notes of an oboe. It’s true I’ve wanted
a wedding, photogenic with tea lights,
a real band. It’s true the venue’s already
booked. Of my one book, the older
male writer said, “It’s too feminine—
the title and also that dress on your cover.”
The woman’s body, her diamonds,
the gown, an embarrassment
of curves and froth. “Emotional,”
the fiancé says. “You get emotional.”
I froth yes, in flounces of poems. It’s true
mom taught me how to make sauces,
true she taught me how to just take it.
It’s true I’ve already tasted the cake
and found it much too sad.
by Adam D. Weeks
For the Welsh Marches
with lines from “Distortion to Static” by The Roots
This isn’t what we wanted, because who wants a road
without lines or a song that seems to bleed into elegy—
because it isn’t the time for that. It isn’t liminal, isn’t
your words as they sing so loud into sky, some slip and carry
to say rhythmically, you got to be in one place or another. You won’t
tell me to move my body like that. It isn’t all about
the static, baby, not the unbecoming. It isn’t on the plane,
not flying low over Wales like a bird looking
for space to land, it isn’t time for that either. It’s on my arm
on my drive home, it’s singing so soft I can’t help but turn
my head and tell it shush, and isn’t that all we know to do
now? It’s stitched into the sky, singing through teeth
to tell my part of the song, it’s goin’, it’s goin’,
it’s gone—and you’re welcome to that too.
Hussain Ahmed is a Nigerian poet and environmentalist. His poems are featured or forthcoming in Poetry, Passages North, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Transition Magazine, and elsewhere.
Josette Akresh-Gonzales is working on her first book and was a finalist in the 2017 Split Lip Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published or is forthcoming in JAMA, The Pinch, The Journal, Breakwater Review, PANK, and many other journals. A recent poem has been included in the anthology Choice Words (Haymarket). She cofounded the journal Clarion and was its editor for two years. Josette lives in the Boston area with her husband and two boys, and rides her bike to work at a nonprofit medical publisher. You can find her on Twitter @Vivakresh.
Britt Allen is a recent graduate from Utah State University, where she got her Master of Arts in literature and writing to supplement her bachelor’s degree in creative writing. She teaches freshman composition for the university and is interested in the eroticism of violence in female confessional and lyric poetry, contributing her own experiences and voice with her art. Her first chapbook, Harvest, will be published by Finishing Line Press in July 2021.
Rebecca Baggett is the author of The Woman Who Lives Without Money, winner of the Terry J. Cox Award (Regal House Press), as well as four chapbook collections. Her work appears in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Southern Review, New England Review, Southern Poetry Review, New Ohio Review, and Tar River Poetry. A native of North Carolina, she has lived most of her life in Athens, GA. When not writing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and trying to keep up with her one-year-old grandson.
Blair Benjamin’s previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Threepenny Review, Bluestem Magazine, Lumina, Spillway, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Typehouse. He is the director of the studios at MASS MoCA residency program for artists and writers in North Adams, MA.
An MFA student at Western Kentucky University, Prince Bush’s other publication credits can be found through Prince-Bush.com.
Lauren Camp is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Slice, DIAGRAM, and other journals. Winner of the Dorset Prize, Lauren has also received fellowships from The Black Earth Institute and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic. LaurenCamp.com
Patricia Caspers is an award-winning poet, columnist, and journalist. Her poetry has been published widely, most recently in Barren Magazine, Atticus, Barnstorm, and SWWIM. She won the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry, and her full-length poetry collection, In the Belly of the Albatross, was published by Glass Lyre Press and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has an MFA in poetry from Mills College and lives in the foothills of California where she edits West Trestle Review.
Star Coulbrooke is the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Logan City, UT. Her most recent poetry collections are Thin Spines of Memory, Both Sides from the Middle, and City of Poetry.
Michele Penn Diaz is a neurodivergent writer living in Portland, OR. She works as a glorified receptionist and has a BA in English from San Francisco State University. She loves schnauzers.
Cole Eubanks is retired as an educator for the Philadelphia, PA and Atlantic City, NJ School Districts. He was the featured poet for Atlantic City’s Sovereign Avenue Black History Jazz Celebration for eight years. Cole’s work can be found in Poets Against War, Apiary, The Journal of Baha’i Studies, F(r)iction, and Haiku in Action Gallery.
Taylor Fedorchak is an MFA candidate at New Mexico State University, where she teaches and is managing editor of Puerto del Sol. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Moon City Review, decomP, The Shore, Bluestem Magazine, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere.
Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, WA. She’s the author of five books of poetry, including her most recent, Field Guide to the End of the World (Moon City Press). Her work appeared in journals such as Ploughshares and Poetry. Her website is Webbish6.com. Twitter and Instagram: @webbish6.
Malisa Garlieb is a mother, teacher, healer, and metalsmith. She is also a poetry editor for Mud Season Review. Her poems have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Calyx, Tar River Poetry, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere. Handing Out Apples in Eden is her first poetry collection, and there’s a second manuscript in the works. Often employing myth, art, and nature, she writes personal histories, while simultaneously unfolding archetypes.
Matthew Gilbert’s work has appeared in PANK, Green Briar Review, Powder Keg, Phoebe Journal, and elsewhere. They live in Connecticut and measure the general success of life by the ratio of trees to people.
Sarah Gridley is the author of four books of poetry: Weather Eye Open, Green is the Orator, Loom, and Insofar. Loom was awarded the 2011 Open Book Prize by Carl Phillips, and Insofar was awarded the 2019 Green Rose Prize by Forrest Gander. Other honors include the 2018 Cecil Hemley Award and the 2019 Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is currently pursuing a masters in theological and religious studies at John Carroll University.
Trish Hopkinson is a poet, blogger, and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Utah, where she runs the regional group Rock Canyon Poets. Hopkinson happily answers to atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, wine-tasting, and craft beer.
Natalie Jill’s most recent work has appeared or is upcoming in Free State Review, Oakland Review, and Pendemics Journal. She is a member of the PoemWorks community in the Boston area.
Eli Karren is a poet and teacher residing in Austin, TX. His works have appeared in the Harvard Review, Cimarron Review, and the anthology Turn It Up: Poetry in Music from Jazz to Hip Hop.
Kate Kearns is a Maine poet with an MFA from Lesley University. Her chapbook, How to Love an Introvert came out through Finishing Line Press in 2015, and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Goose River Anthology, Soliloquies, Literary Mama, Aurora, Gyroscope Review, and other print and online journals. Find her online at KateKearns.com.
Sean Kelbley lives with his husband on a former state experimental farm in southeastern Ohio, in a house they built themselves. He works as an elementary school counselor. Among other places, Sean’s poetry has appeared at Crab Creek Review, One, Rattle, Sheila-Na-Gig Online, Still: The Journal, and Up North Lit.
Marcel Legros is a poet and fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA, and New York, NY. His recent writings attempt to explore the seams between connections, loss, care, alienation, communication, and growth. His poetry has been featured in jubilat.
Angie Macri is the author of Underwater Panther (Southeast Missouri State University Press), winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize. Her recent work appears in The Cincinnati Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, and South Dakota Review. An Arkansas Arts Council fellow, she lives in Hot Springs and teaches at Hendrix College.
Lynn McGee is the author of the poetry collections Tracks (Broadstone Books, 2019) and Sober Cooking (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2016), as well as two award-winning poetry chapbooks: Heirloom Bulldog (Bright Hill Press, 2015) and Bonanza (Slapering Hol Press, 1997). “New Leaf” is from her new manuscript, The TV in the Other Room. LynnMcgee.com
Claire McQuerry’s poetry collection Lacemakers (Southern Illinois University Press) won the Crab Orchard First Book Prize, and her poems have appeared in Tin House, Waxwing, Poetry Northwest, American Literary Review, and other journals. She is an assistant professor at Bradley University.
Megan Mary Moore is the author of Dwellers (Unsolicited Press, 2019). Her poetry has appeared in Rattle and is forthcoming in Plainsongs Magazine. She lives in Cincinnati, where she teaches dance and looks for ghosts.
Kate Northrop is a recipient of the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writers Award and fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Her recent poetry collections are Clean (Persea Books) and cuntstruck (C and R Press). Northrop is a contributing editor at The American Poetry Review and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wyoming. She lives in Laramie, WY.
Dayna Patterson is a writer, textile artist, and amateur fungophile. She’s the author of Titania in Yellow (Porkbelly Press, 2019) and If Mother Braids a Waterfall (Signature Books, 2020). Her second full-length poetry collection, O Lady, Speak Again, is forthcoming from Signature Books in 2023. She’s also the founding editor-in-chief of Psaltery & Lyre and a co-editor of Dove Song: Heavenly Mother in Mormon Poetry. In her spare time, she curates Poetry + Fungus. DaynaPatterson.com
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Reflection in a Glass Eye published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library in 2020. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at SimonPerchik.com.
Austin Rodenbiker lives and writes in Texas. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spillway, Hobart, Tin House, Prelude, Narrative, PRISM international, and elsewhere. He’s received funding support for his poetry from the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Michener Center for Writers.
Martha Silano is the author of five poetry books, most recently Gravity Assist (Saturnalia Books, 2019). She is co-author of The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice, teaches at Bellevue College, and enjoys paddleboarding, hiking, and cuddling up with her favorite feline, Nacho.
Callie Smith is a PhD student specializing in poetry. Before entering the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, she received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Arkansas. She loves birds and the color orange.
Emily Spacek daylights as a writer and educator and moonlights as a musician and poet. She is from San Jose, CA and currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT.
Dianne Stepp lives with her husband in southwest Portland, OR where they raise hens and grow garlic, cabbages, figs, and more besides. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. Her chapbooks, Half-Moon of Clay and Sweet Mercies were published by Finishing Line Press in 2006 and 2017 respectively.
Rose Strode is a poet and essayist whose most recent (2021) work appears in Dillydoun, Buddhist Poetry Review, New Ohio Review, and Florida Review. She is a managing editor at Stillhouse Press. When not writing, or helping others with their writing, she rehabilitates overgrown gardens, bakes vegan cakes, and attempts to learn the mountain dulcimer.
Elizabeth Sylvia is a writer of poems and other lists who lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she teaches high school English and coaches debate. Elizabeth began submitting poems for publication in 2018; her work has been featured in Rhino, Main Street Rag, Literary Mama, Noctua Review, Pleiades, and Chautauqua.
Nancy Takacs is the recipient of the 2016 Juniper Prize for Poetry, a 2019 Pushcart Prize, and two 15 Bytes Best Book Awards for Poetry. Author of three books of poetry and several chapbooks, Nancy is currently the poet laureate of Utah’s art hub: Helper City, where she directs the Steamboat Mountain reading series. She is also a member of the Board for Utah Humanities. Though she lives most of the year in Wellington, UT, she spends summers in the north woods of Wisconsin, walking the woods and beaches near Lake Superior, and living in a small cabin there with her husband, poet Jan Minich. NancyTakacs.org
Elizabeth Theriot is a queer Southern writer with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She earned her MFA from The University of Alabama and is writing a memoir about disability and desire. She is a Zoeglossia Fellow and a teaching fellow with the nonprofit Desert Island Supply Company. You can find her work in Yemassee, Barely South Review, Winter Tangerine, Ghost Proposal, Vagabond City, A VELVET GIANT, Tinderbox, and others. She lives in Birmingham, AL.
Clara Trippe is a Midwest poet who grew up on occupied Chippewa and Ottawa land. She is a graduate of Grinnell College’s English department, and her work has been featured in The Normal School, The Shallow Ends, Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry Press’ Poets Resist feature, and Paperbark Literary Magazine. Clara is a lover of queer theory and freshwater. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @mid_west_dad.
Matthew Tuckner is a writer from New York. He received his BA from Bennington College and is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing at NYU where he is Assistant Poetry Editor of Washington Square Review. He received the 2019 Green Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets, selected by Rick Barot. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Bear Review, Coal Hill Review, Crab Creek Review, Kestrel, The Missouri Review, TAGVVERK, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others.
Tyler Wagner is a poet from Indianapolis. He lives in Seattle, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Washington.
D.S. Waldman teaches creative writing in San Diego, CA. His work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, The Gettysburg Review, Copper Nickel, 32 Poems, and Colorado Review. DSWaldman.com
Adam D. Weeks is an undergraduate student studying English at Salisbury University. He is the social media manager for The Shore Poetry and has poems published or forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Poet Lore, Puerto del Sol, Slipstream Press, Prairie Margins, The Allegheny Review, and elsewhere.
Jamie Wendt is the author of Fruit of the Earth, a poetry collection published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company, which was a winner of the 2019 Illinois Women’s Press Association Book Award and the 2019 National Federation of Press Women Award. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with an MFA in creative writing, and she received a BA in English and a BS in secondary education from Drake University. Her poetry has been published in Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility, Lilith, Raleigh Review, Minerva Rising, Third Wednesday, and Saranac Review. Her essays and book reviews have been published in Green Mountains Review, the Forward, Literary Mama, and others.
Elizabeth Marie Young is a queer, Boston-based poet and classical scholar. She has served as an assistant professor of classics and comparative literature at Wellesley College and a research fellow in Greek and Roman studies at Vassar College. Her poems appear in journals including jubilat, The Chicago Review, Green Mountains Review, and New American Writing. Her first book of poems Aim Straight at the Fountain and Press Vaporize won the Motherwell Prize from Fence Books. She is also the author of Translation as Muse: Poetic Translation in Catullus’s Rome, a book on ancient Roman lyric translation and notions of literary creativity (University of Chicago Press).
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. HolliZollinger.com
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 recently published Carrying Her Stone, a collection of poems based on the work of Auguste Rodin. ShariZollinger.com