At the Intersection between Broad and Jefferson St. by Emily Tian


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

At the Intersection between Broad and Jefferson St.

A five-and-dime store leans on the road
like an old man ironing the young.
For an instant the glare of the three o’clock sun
washes away its tarnish.
Against the steel rod apartment buildings,
find some relief in its
nakedness, the white paint
like cigarette paper trundling
into ashes. In this town
the tradition of initial-carving
still stands, so there is no shortage
of names fisted against each other
in half-eaten wood.

Buy an apple whose skin is
gathering red. The girl at the register
is daughter to poplar and cinder block,
a kedge drowning. Knuckles and nickles
scraping, tell her to keep the change.
Her hair is slicked back but
for a few dusty capillaries. She hums to
Bob Marley on the radio,
won’t you help to sing,
these songs of freedom.

The copper in her eyes oxidizing,
saying: Look, look, listen.




Emily Tian

Emily Tian was born in 2001 and is a high school sophomore in Rockville, Maryland. Her poems have been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Reflections program, among others. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cadaverine Magazine, The Claremont Review, and National Poetry Quarterly.



Directions to Jackson Square by Jennifer Boyd


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

Directions to Jackson Square

1. South on Dauphine

Shiver the shrill warmth of the approaching subway, feral birds croaking a sestina into the iron plumes. Spend a millennium dwindling eye contact with a vacant stranger across the platform. Fan a blank canvas under cellophane steps. Suffocate your name in bourbon and seize parallel lines.


2. East of Moon Wok

Wander deliriously in the familiar anguish of streetlamps and starlets whose youth erodes sweet as vinegar. A street performer will play “Piano Man” on his guitar. Seek solace in the nimble refrain. Stumble over a crevice in the sidewalk scavenging wallet folds for a dollar because you owe him. Find the carcass of a nickel.


3. Right on Saint Ann’s

Gasoline and smog everywhere, they will taste like the Marlboro you tried when you were 13. You vowed never to smoke again as the pewter filled your lungs. Sputter like a tea kettle, drown for a moment in the arid fog. The tendrils engulf you, but the sensation cradles and you find yourself bitterly wanting.


4. South on Gold Mine Saloon

Make love to the rooftops bleeding constellations, home to breeding gypsy coyotes and tigers with bleached stripes. You’ll pass a brown girl wearing white. She loves a blue-eyed boy who promises her oysters and haloes and larks and cello strings. Laugh for her. He’ll shatter her with four rings and five unclasped promises.


5. You Are Here

Whistle thorns for a canary taxi. Loiter in the 7/11 parking lot, moan about traffic, wring your sorrows in gnarled leather. Wager a morning and let your destination become past tense.




Jennifer Boyd

Jennifer Boyd is a high school student from Boston, Massachusetts. She is a blog contributor at both the Huffington Post and Voices of Youth, UNICEF’s global online platform. Jennifer’s poetry has been published recently in New Plains Review, Glass Kite Anthology, the Critical Pass Review, and Tower Journal. Her work has additionally been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Hollins University, Smith College, and Princeton University. When not writing, she enjoys playing the piano, singing, and learning new languages. Instagram: @jenniferrrboyd



Exploring Mother and The Quran as the Sea by Orooj-e-Zafar


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr


Exploring Mother and The Quran as the Sea

before we breathed, we swam. it is believed no memory
made in the sea stays. me, I remember the scratch
of turning pages well before I ever held a book. 

I was birthed with the warm date under my tongue, 
the azan whispered into my witness, 
a cry mistaken for help and a name holding
the weight of expectation on my barely boned shoulders.

I was born here, in the half-open eyes of my mother’s hope. 
sometimes, all her lips rolled at tahajjud was my name. 
I came from prayer, dream alike. quiet like independence day
never is. independent like children never are. 
concrete like the summer I breathed before. 

sometimes, memory snaps sharp: my mother turning 
the Quran page – her belly scratching against paper. 




Orooj-e-Zafar

Orooj-e-Zafar is a storyteller/spoken word poet whose work has been widely published online in places such as Quail Bell Magazine, Off the Coast, Rufous City Review and Melancholy Hyperbole. Offline, Orooj performs at local and national events like TEDx PIEAS and Islamabad Literature Festival 2017. She was also the recipient of the second annual Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize and the winner of Where Are You Press Manuscript Contest 2016. Her debut chapbook HOME AND OTHER DEBRIS is scheduled for release in July 2017. : facebook.com/oroojezafarwrites



To Love A Volcano by Deeksha Verender


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

To Love A Volcano

I wonder if Vesuvius ever knew its own
                         capacity, because it buried an era in the
             folds of its skin without thinking twice,
encasing lungs in ash and bodies in stone.
                                      You make coffins from your words
             as though your feet are wrapped in boulders
and your skin is still covered in the embers
                         that he scattered across you so long ago.

             Sometimes it is enough to trust blindly,
                         when he saw the sky
             turn to smoke, he told his people that they would
survive, and he died an innocent man, and they died
                                      unafraid. You know too well what lies can do
             when the truth is still to be found, he sleeps easy
at night believing you don’t remember that it
                         was his hands that burnt you, and not your own.

             You forget that life isn’t always
                         easy, that sometimes, there is a choice, always a choice,
             always a decision hard to make. When he felt you
tense against him, he knew that he would never
                                      be able to find your consent in his sheets, he never
             even thought twice when he flung it aside, and you
spend hours awake wondering if there is daylight now
                         elsewhere in the world, because you have forgotten.

In 79 AD, a volcano erupted and tore through
                         500 years of civilisation, ravaged its history
             till it could not be rewritten without its downfall’s
name within it. He chained you to his ribcage
                                      and left you balancing on the tips of his fingers,
             so your throat was always choking on the fumes
falling from his mouth. You won’t forget his holocaust
                         on your skin, he won’t remember anything else.



Deeksha Verender

Deeksha Verender is a student based out of India, and loves tea, sad poetry and cats (of course). You can find more of her work on her instagram account @diazepamandyou



An Elegy to the Sky by Rachana Hegde


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

An Elegy to the Sky

Each month is damp with the silhouette
of a typhoon unstrung, arched over wire

coat hangers & thrusting up against a glass of
hot chai. Rain reeks of men slurring her name &

an unfinished stump of a poem perches in
the hollow of my cheekbones. The sky is

wrestling with a sheet of water, draining clouds
that exhale in unison. Breathe & wash the pollen

off your hands. The breeze bucks, thrashing against
the underside of the night, siphoning fluid from

the gap in its thighs. I take a bite out of moons
drizzled in honey & the exit wound closes instantly.

Sky is undressing, body flecked with leftover raspberry
gloss from girls kissing & translucent windows swinging

open beneath weathered hands. Sky razes the crow in mid-flight,
its wings swaddled in smoke. Watch it draw a rattled breath.



Rachana Hegde

Rachana Hegde is an 17 year old Indian writer from Hong Kong. Her poetry has appeared in Lockjaw Magazine, Hypertrophic Literary, Diode, and The Blueshift Journal. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Hollins University. She serves as a poetry editor for TRACK//FOUR, a literary magazine for writers and artists of color. Find her at www.rachanahegde.weebly.com.



Pretty Name by Sydney Vance


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr


Pretty Name

I don’t know how to write you without the word best. I looked at you
for years, you were my favorite winter scarf of black curly hair, unedited
Word document, the bridge in my favorite park that the homeless men
would sleep beneath. You were your own stomach the morning after
too much stout beer, summer. Timelessness of girlhood. Awareness of
this woman-ing. Breathlessness after poorly-executed drunken dance. My
baseball cap falling off the hook on my bedroom door. My favorite dog
licking my middle finger. Scar on my leg from a broken bar glass on the Fourth
of July. Airplane crash over the year two-thousand and fourteen. The time
that I forgot to carry the zero. The unruly mouth on me. Nosedive into the toilet
seat at the house that I hated. Two girls walking alone in the woods at night.
Residential apotheosis. Culmination of a circus show. The block of ice
in that riddle about the man hanging by the noose. Weight I promise myself
I will not carry anymore. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Last dying flame
of last living lighter. No more candles. No more cake. Step, crack,
shattering of twigs in the Tuskahoma dusk. Envy that led to late nights
led to work led to more work led to passion led to competition led to pride
led to better.                                                                            In other lives
I have been the weak thing. In this one you try to feed me grass, pat my head.
You say, You have no idea what you’re missing, like we didn’t walk this garden
together, petal by burlap petal, heartbreak by heartbreak. In other lives
I have been the thing the weak thing eats for a midnight snack.



Sydney Vance

Sydney Vance is a poet who resides in a suburb just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is in her final semester of undergraduate studies at The University of Central Oklahoma where she is currently Senior Poetry Editor for The New Plains Review and is pursuing a major in creative writing. Her work has previously appeared in Jazz Cigarette Magazine and is forthcoming elsewhere. : instagram.com/sydmariev



My Mother Is the Statue of Liberty by Mathieu Cailler


Art by Michelle Lanter | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr


My Mother Is the Statue of Liberty

Dragging her body out of the Buick,
grocery bags cradled in her arms,
eyeshadow matching the half circles
under her eyes, she shuffles to the front
door, wedges it ajar with her foot. Her
apron covered in coffee, mustard, some
sloppy-joe sauce (the blue-plate special
on Thursdays at the diner). Setting her
purse down, she shuts her eyes, grabs
what she can of blackness, then asks
about my day, asks my brother the same,
asks about our spelling and math tests, then
asks dad about his truck and if he was
able to find work at the Hy-Vee on I-80.
With one hand, she works off her apron,
mutters in a whisper that she can’t believe
she wore it home, then funny enough, puts
it aside as she prepares a dinner of elbow
noodles and ground beef. No one asks
how her day was, and even if we did, she
would smile and say, “Good. Why don’t
you get washed up… you finish homework?
Want to read together later? Checked
out a book at the small branch.” Her back
hunched, she starts the burner and I
already know the rest of her hour: get
supper ready, set the table, carry out
the dish in red oven mitts, call for us to
get to the table—give me your tired,
your poor, your huddled masses—before
setting the casserole down and holding
out her hands to say grace.



Mathieu Cailler

Mathieu Cailler’s poetry and prose have been widely featured in numerous national and international publications, including the Los Angeles Times and The Saturday Evening Post. A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, he is the recipient of a Short Story America Prize for Short Fiction and a Shakespeare Award for Poetry. He is the author of Clotheslines (Red Bird Press), Shhh (ELJ Publications), and Loss Angeles (Short Story America Press), which has been honored by the Hollywood, New York, London, Paris, Best Book, and International Book Awards. His poetry collection, May I Have This Dance? (Black Magic Media), is slated for publication in December of 2017. : mathieucailler.com



Eight Minutes Down the Appalachian Highway by Kate Garrett


Letting Go by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

Eight Minutes Down the Appalachian Highway

She can’t hear his screams
to slow down in her slip
over hills, trees, sleet;
the clouds cloak a hidden
sunset, the bend of this road
steady and close as her spine.

Today is the day she’ll learn
to hold a man’s terror gently,
a silver dagger crossing her palm,
its glittering risk in her peripheral
vision as she drives.

Softening, she’ll relent—but she
will regret not leaving her lead
foot on the gas; she’ll wish she’d
closed her eyes, turned the volume
up, kept her sorry back.




Kate Garrett

Kate Garrett is the founding editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron / Three Drops Press and Picaroon Poetry. Her own work appears here and there, in online and print journals, including Rust + Moth, Prole, The Black Light Engine Room, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among others. Her next pamphlet, You’ve never seen a doomsday like it, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2017. She lives in Sheffield, UK with her husband, four children, and a sleepy cat. Find her online at www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk.



May by Christen Dimalanta


Renegade by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

May

We are in my bed.
The lights are off. We are not tired.
You are flying out tomorrow morning
for who knows how long. We don’t know.
We forget what time is when we are not together.
We only remember how skin feels like.
When it is under our fingers. When it is pressed against us.
I am quoting lines from one of our favorite books:
How love misses, how love hurts, how love longs.
To remind you what comes with what we’ve made.
Your shoulders start shaking. I don’t ask anything of you.
I only whisper, I will never leave you.
The softest parts of your skin are under my fingers now.
They are pressed against me.
Not ever.




Christen Dimalanta

Christen Dimalanta is a 20-year-old poet from Guam. She is majoring in Literature because she is in love with words. When she is not writing about wolves, she is running with them. They inspire her poetry, found on: shewolfwritings.wordpress.com.



Pareidolia by Eve Boyle


Collector by Katherine Renee | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Instagram

Pareidolia

I look for gods and monsters in the clouds,
while on the ground
and when I fly through them.
I spend the descent to New Orleans
in the company of Hercules, whose
thorned crown grows to cover his
eyes when we pass by,
blind to Venus inching closer, parting her thighs.

            When I arrive, I scan the lobby
            like I always do. I look for you,
            my god, my monster.

In St. Louis, wispy nebulas wrapped around the Arch,
sticky vapor palms hesitated
at the hotel window.
I begged you to press me into the glass,
to graze my scalp with your teeth.
One by one, you lifted
your fingers from
my hips, then asked me to leave.
Bacchus—bloated, satisfied—laughs when the door slams behind me.

            You don’t come on Wednesday.
            You’re not here on Thursday.

I tried to be more careful in Chicago,
but somehow agree to dinner.
On the way to the restaurant,
Diana broke into the skyline, rabbit limp between her teeth.
We talked about your wife. You let me try your wine.
Later, I replayed it all, under cold, scratchy sheets.
The hunting dogs come for me. I don’t bother to scream.

            You never make it to Louisiana.
            I find no clues in the clouds.
            You’re not here. Where do I look now?




Eve Boyle

Eve Boyle is a PhD student studying evolutionary anthropology at George Washington University. She minored in English at Boston University, and sometimes writes poems when she should be working on her dissertation. Twitter – @evekboyle