Category Archives: Aquarius

My Momma Knows All The Monsters’ Hidden Teeth by Karla Cordero


art by Elena Blanco | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


My Momma Knows All The Monsters’ Hidden Teeth

my momma foresees mocos & gripa. she’d say: i dare you. bare your feet on the tile floor & watch a glacier swallow your ankles into sickness. go ahead. sleep wet-haired & watch water take nest onto the pillow then ocean your throat into sickness. my momma knows all the monsters’ hidden teeth. she’d say: go on. befriend the fire. & the vela’s wick will bite all the little fingers & make a burning church of your body. when the moon demands closed eyes. do so. el cucuy still thirsts. y ya sabes de la llorona. her trickery a result of sadness. be a good girl. too many lonely mothers whose children found wind a loved embrace.
                                                                           then found mtv. & drogas. & sexo.

those poor mothers. who will they feed now. all that pan & leche gone to waste.
                                                                           what a waste of pan & leche.

mija remember your mother & the vaporu. how they clung to your feet to save
                                                               you from ailment. remember you are

a floresita. rooted & hungry. hungry for sun. & sun too will be hungry.



Karla Cordero

Karla Cordero is a descendant of the Chichimecha tribe from northern Mexico, a Chicana poet, educator, and activist, raised along the borderlands of Calexico, CA. She is a Pushcart nominee and the recipient of the Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion fellowship (Minneapolis, MN). Cordero’s chapbook, Grasshoppers Before Gods (2016) was published by Dancing Girl Press. Her work has appeared and forthcoming in Tinderbox, Word Riot, Poetry International, The Acentos Review, Toe Good Poetry, among other publications.



716.4 mi. or Sometimes I Get Dizzy Because a Stranger in the Supermarket Smells like Colgate Toothpaste and Black Coffee by Kristian Porter


art by Michele Maule | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Twitter


716.4 mi. or Sometimes I Get Dizzy Because a Stranger in the Supermarket Smells like Colgate Toothpaste and Black Coffee

We are a taffy pull,
a tango with tired feet,
a never fully unpacked suitcase.

Two years ago, we met in the middle,
two sets of shaky, familiar hands,
and I’ve been running to you ever since.

Through a bus window somewhere in Wisconsin,
I watch billboards for cheese and clean gas station bathrooms
blur together, a space inside me hollowing,
scattered pieces leaving a trail down I-90.

Every mile marker a field of dandelions,
I close my eyes and blow.

Crying in an airport isn’t like crying for real.
I remove my shoes to the muffled sound of a security guard,
a mosaic of myself on the metal detector screen,
but no one stops me. 

Our love, a cold cup of coffee
we’ve let go to waste on a bedside table.

I want to bury myself in your bed
and melt into its seams. 
I’m so tired of ripping myself out by the roots.

I check the weather where you are,
desperate to connect our dots.
My sun is shining, but there are storm clouds over Minneapolis.

How jealous I am of the rain and its nearness to you.

My toothbrush sits
on your bathroom counter,
dry.

My hands claw through the dark and
find nothing but discarded
calendar pages,
red X’s bleeding all over the sheets.



Kristian Porterr

Kristian Porter is a soon-to-be graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Most of what she’s written on the internet has been in the Journalism vein, but her heart will always lie with Creative Writing. When she’s not curled up with her notebook, she’s either making coffee or snuggling with her two cats, Percy and Oli, watching competitive cooking shows. Because, if there’s anything Kristian loves as much as writing, it’s Alton Brown dishing out sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen. : kristianporterpoetry.tumblr.com



Chai by Kait Forest


print by Michelle of Chaos & Wonder Design | Website | Etsy Shop | Pinterest

Chai

I bite
an urge and
my tongue stops
a name
–on a hot day
in June he slides
up my dress and I smash his
hand on my thigh. I think
about my words before I speak.
if not I will say
what I habituate
like warmth and
skin and names.
don’t you like it? he asks.
I like chai. I ask
the barista what she likes most
and she says, I don’t know,
have you had matcha?
it’s earthy. I imagine eating
dirt. not bad, she says, and sometimes
it’s sweet. I order chai. everyday
I order chai. at home we open
the windows and let the wind blow
the heat over our bodies
like a slow fan, but there is no fan,
I tell him to buy one and
he says maybe. maybe instead
we could read at a coffee shop
across from each other in the
cold. and I could rub my hands on your
legs and you could kiss me.
while there
the table separates us and
he can only touch me
by reaching. his hands tire and he
reads and I drink chai,
move a name around my mouth
but don’t let it leave. in any life
I am a liar. the lie is
always
a name and
after long
smokes the body
of reason.




Kait Forest

Kait is an obscure riverside city dweller with a useless fiction degree. Sometimes she writes but most times she sleeps. Fond of corner tables in coffee shops near windows and foreign dramas and tossed paperbacks. She has been featured in Persephone’s Daughters, and currently resides on their editing and film devision teams. : kaitwrimo.tumblr.com



Daughter of Atlas by Ameena Chaudhry


Painting by Elizabeth Mayville | Website | Etsy Shop | Instagram

Daughter of Atlas

Did God join you on the roof with his head bent?
He says the word shame but as soon
as his lips meet on the ‘m’
you forgive him.

As soon as he pulls a crushed daisy
from his back pocket
you forgive him.

Your ankles shake in a small house
with a small mother and
a father making love to a wine glass.

On the roof you ask
a nervous god for evidence
and he plays you
a recording of your little sister’s laugh

and you forgive him.



Ameena Chaudhry

Ameena Chaudhry is a 21-year-old Pakistani-American writer studying English, Gender/Women’s/Sexuality Studies, and Anthropology at the University of Iowa. She is the adoptive mother of her roommate’s two cats. Ameena enjoys breakfast foods, tattoos (sorry Mom), and any TV show that involves Lauren Graham. Her work has been featured in Ink Lit Magazine and the Oakland Arts Review. She is currently working on her first novel.



Interfaith Relationship by Shanti Weiland


Repent by Ioannis Lachanis | Facebook | Etsy Shop


Interfaith Relationship

The flaw hangs above us
like a water moccasin.
The morning is bright, but you
see a cross, a terrible thing
that happened once. You say
it’s your fault
and mine.

There are birds that sound
like death. Morning
Glories feel shame for this.

In your eyes, my wealth
stinks like a body long
forgotten, hanging up there
and judged.

I place coins in the eyes
of my dead and dance
sky-clad as you circle
the last of the rosary.

We both bake bread.
Who will eat first?



Shanti Weiland

Shanti Weiland’s book Sister Nun is the 2015 winner of the Negative Capability Press Book Competition. Weiland received her BA in English from the University of California, Davis and later moved to the desert, pursuing a Creative Writing MA at Northern Arizona University. She then traveled to the humid and friendly south, where she earned a PhD in Poetry from the University of Southern Mississippi. She currently teaches writing and literature at The University of Alabama and lives in Birmingham with her partner and a menagerie of pets. You can find her at shantiweiland.com.



Sweetheart by Julian Shepherd


Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram

Sweetheart

I think I met you when I was very young, but I don’t quite remember the place or the time, so I count every brush as the first time, so slowly, like

empty swing set, broken door lock, shouting voices, house after house after apartment after dirty shared room. The whole of my childhood is our anniversary.

Love, do you remember the first time I couldn’t get out of bed because you were holding me, and murmuring in my ear that there was no point? Every time I get close to leaving you snap your long teeth and roar, look at me, you belong to me.

Mental illness is not romantic, it is unwashed hair and dishes from last month in the sink, it is a generation of poverty despite test scores off the charts. But you are there with me, on the bathroom floor sobbing, staring at the clock without noticing it tick, licking my wounds with a salted maw so they never heal. You are there, you are there, and what is romance but staying?

Oh, the shame of unclean love. The possession of a body in parts, divided into fifths and eighths and shared custody, you get Tuesdays and Thursdays and weekends and whenever you feel like slipping in unannounced, or hammering the door down in the middle of the night, or screaming in the next room just to remind me you’re there.

My therapist says you can’t personify something without a face, but you never manage to acquire one, even if you like to wear mine so much. You’re just screaming mouth shaded eyes nose tracing the back of my neck, only exist as a weight with figure and voice. I narrate our conversations and you watch, arms folded and nodding along like a director honing in an actress, pulling strings I did not give you permission to wrap around my neck.

Light shining out of your mouth like the moon is tucked under your tongue. Light glinting off your eyes so bright it makes me look away. What of our history of violence, the blood and tea stained scroll containing our rose scented legacy, primed for a cautionary tale but only coming out I love you, I love you, I’ll never leave. How do these things happen? How do we get from the kitchen of broken plates to the bedroom of Eros’ hymns? How do you ignore the cracked plaster on the walls in the hallways in between, roaming your own home like a ghost, unseen and unseeing. I write the sigil for blindness on my wrist and pray for rain so I don’t have to leave the house for days.

What of sanity? They will ask this. What of gardens and sunshine and showing up to work everyday?

People say they love my work, my phrases, my twist toward the darker edges of the universe, the strange bend unbend of an artist. Mostly I just hear you’re the most interesting thing about me.

Other people describe their depression as unruly pets, ever present storm clouds they keep on a leash, but whatever you are, you own, you own me and no other way around, and you put your thumb to my gums and make me sing like it’s our love song.

I reach out to touch your hand in the muted dark, soft and blue and the fuzzy indistinct of too­early­to­be­alive, and find that maybe you aren’t there, in the way I am. But you are there. You are there.



Julian Shepherd

Julian Shepherd is a sophomore at Ohio University, where she studies English and sneaks an alarming number of cats into her dorm.



Untitled by Tamara Franks


by Sammy Slabbinck
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Untitled

you call this an emergency, 

shoplifting your way down Triana boulevard, 

shouting angry vernacular to the powerline birds; 

I waited for you all night, kept the engine running 

until the lights went out one by one; 

above me, above 

somewhere, this is only happenstance. 

this is dirty nails where some other girl 

dug through the mud, 

white leaflets of written brain 

running out. you call this an emergency; 

but oh, you haven’t seen just how heron-

flushed I can be, emerging from 

urban brush, hounded by

your hungry dogs.



Tamara Franks

Tamara Franks is a graduate of the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a BA in English. She’s lived in all regions of the U.S. and has been writing poetry for ten years. Aside from writing, she’s passionate about horses, film, and folk music. Her two horses have been her companions and guides in life for the last several years. She maintains a Tumblr blog at thewrittenpoet.tumblr.com.



Nose by Phoebe Lyons


Way Up by Alex Garant
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Nose

To my fat Italian nose,
skip church on a Sunday nose,
smile to your face and talk shit behind your back
nose.
To this nose of mine
that doesn’t seem to end.
This doesn’t seem to care
that, hey, I am trying to kiss this boy without poking his eyeball out with my nose
nose.
This unadulterated,
crooked profile nose.

I have watched you when I lower my eyelashes,
this failure at hide and go seek
this roadblock to my 20-20 field of vision
nose.

This get out of bed and into a book
nose.

I have sent you to a
certain kind of
Hell and back,
nose.
I am sorry for the Biore strips and
trendy sunglasses.
I am sorry for the softball
my dad could not pitch.
I am sorry for the fake septum I try to pull off as real,

my fat Italian nose,
my Barbara Streisand,
“people with big noses always end up famous, Phoebe,”
rested on my mother’s fragrant shoulder
nose.

To my fat Italian nose,
my Eskimo-kiss nose.
To the bane of my existence
and my one true confidante,
to the reason everyone in Saugerties, NY
knows my last name
nose:

You’re the only trophy I’ve ever received.

And this is my acceptance speech.




Phoebe Lyons

Phoebe Lyons is a Creative Writing and Bilingual Childhood Education major at the College at Brockport in Brockport, NY. She is a part-time musician, a part-time Chance the Rapper enthusiast and a full-time party. You can find more of her published works in Germ Magazine..



impulse:momentum by Lily Zhou


The Shell by Alex Garant
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impulse:momentum

i. it occurs to you one day, while flipping through the ink-bled
pages of your physics textbook, that the world is bound together
by analogies, spider web threads connecting one dusty corner
to another. red, maybe, like fate. a cause, and then a flurry of effects,
unraveling much too quickly for you to grasp them by their tails.
like how, on that september-brittle night,
you purchased a one-way ticket to new york city,
but only because your mother locked you out of the house, and that was
only because you called her a monster, and you said that
only because it was the truth. or the time you tried to call the police,
except your voice got lost somewhere between your lungs
and your larynx. and that was only because of the purple-red
bruise blossoming on your left cheek, swollen wine stains, ripe
like bloated peaches. how it stung for five seconds too long.

ii. you ride the train alone, station a fluorescent lull, skies swirling
                 with the coming of dawn. the click of tracks. the hum of electricity
in the steam-stained air. one hundred ten miles per hour
                 through this shadow-streaked landscape. you pass
a wheat field in oklahoma, an expanse of corn in illinois.
                 it makes you think of the way san francisco looks
in november: penny-mosaic sidewalks, dappled murals
                 like war paint on the cheekbones of libraries, shop windows
that are more mirror than glass. now, on the tobacco streets
                 of new york city, you think of how you still manage
to find san francisco in the chiaroscuro of passersby:
                 trick of the light, a haunting, a past revived.





Lily Zhou

My name is Lily Zhou, and I am a high school sophomore from the San Francisco Bay Area. My writing has been recognized by Scholastic Art & Writing, has appeared in Phosphene Literary Journal and Textploit, and is forthcoming in Glass Kite Anthology. When not writing, I can be found drinking bubble milk tea, solving a sudoku puzzle, or playing the flute.



There is Another Version by Anna Binkovitz


Ocean by Bella Harris
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There is Another Version

In bed, the laptop is on one side
                                                           and
the phone on the nightstand
                                                           and
the bedroom door is frosted glass
                                                           and
metal
                                                           and
the bedside lamp is glass
                                                           and
metal
                                                           and
in the head, blood is an ocean
                                                           and
the body rolls from side to side
                                                           and
it pulses behind the skull
                                                           and
the ocean is just looking for a shoreline
                                                           and
it’s liquid creeping up the glass
                                                           and
it reminds the body of fogging up Josh’s car window
                                                           and
the body rolls over again
                                                           and
sometimes it is the ocean with metal
                                                           and
glass men all around
                                                           and
and sometimes they are the ocean
                                                           and
the body, glass
                                                           and
metal that want to float, but were made to sink
                                                           and
this is how it feels, to love
                                                           and
drown
                                                           and
keep loving
                                                           and
drown




Anna Binkovitz

The punk-ass lovechild of Betty Boop and Morticia Addams, Anna Binkovitz is an internationally-touring performance poet. A graduate of Macalester College, with honors from the English department, Binkovitz has performed on finals stages at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam, and the Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up. Her work has appeared in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere. Currently an MFA candidate at Lesley University, most of the time Binkovitz can be found drinking red wine, reading, and bemoaning the poor lighting at Minneapolis bars.