Category Archives: Capricorn

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

Thanksgiving Exeunt by Rodney Wilder

Painting by Elizabeth Mayville | Website | Etsy Shop | Instagram

Thanksgiving Exeunt

Is this the year it finally tired
of the fictions seasoned over its gristle?
Because turkey and aroma have never been
such unveiled sacraments, mouths
straining to carve grenade…teargas
where wishes would shawl with poultry.

There never has been room for indigenous skin
between tablescapes,
but Standing Rock is coughing something
acrid and black across these platters,
and where’s the throat glutted enough to not
notice this shameful resemblance? Revisionism

                                b  u  r  n  s
beneath the firebrand-coils
glowing molten to show the pyres lying no
outgrown cinder in the reciped script of tradition;
they are here, today. Their smoke,
a stolen mist sicced on nations once again
told their place and gifted with wounds to prove it.
Disneyfied renditions of theft and beheading wax
translucent today, as this country
once more assumes ownership of soil that, if
it could be bought, already has been by
the ancestral bodies returned to its inertia.

But the water-cannons come,
an inhumanity true to the day’s predecessors in
the morbid fork it foists on those only offered water
as weapon or as petroleum backwash. Neither
option spoken without a throat of funibrial wood

insinuated behind it.

And we are seeing now that glint of westward teeth
our need for clean hands would deem
a younger country’s problem.
What necessity, this sickly river,
the stink of these white-diverted waters.
What justice, these hypothermic proponents of
not swallowing what Bismarck knew a poison
and was weighed American-enough to be listened to.
We are seeing the colonial dream’s misbegotten admen
twist their tongues toward treatied waters, laws
tossed overhead like overgnawn tibiae while

the White House chooses its side. A pardon
wings our country’s preference across the lawn,
as the fable’s cornucopia-knolled legacy
             s      t      r      a      i      n      s
to stave off the wake
of this squandered mercy,
the allegiance of its brawn.

May our entrees continue to sour.
May our traditions bitter, our dishes
burn and burn further until this chosen sleep
doles no more the kind of comfort that thumbs
for a bloodline to snuff,
that ladles coincidence over the history retching our
bloodiest tendrils back atop a tablescape
tidied of their upheaval.
When a people
as intimate with this land as to
know its sustenance something holy,
when they can call a water source sacred and not
get proselytized by the pepper-spray response
of a more suicidal theology,
when survival stops being read like a temper tantrum,
when we can prioritize compassion over profits,
we will have a day that deserves the joy we’ve twined
to our complicit celebrations.

Then, this sleep might actually be the peace
pretended by these blood-drunk solemnities.

Rodney Wilder

Rodney Wilder is a biracial nerd who bellows death-metal verse in Throne of Awful Splendor and writes poetry, with previous work appearing in FreezeRay, Tales of the Talisman, and his first collection of poetry, 2012’s Ars Golgothica. Currently writing his fandom-fueled followup, he likes nachos and analogizing things to Pokémon.

The Roughest Language by Elijah Noble El

Painting by Elizabeth Mayville | Website | Etsy Shop | Instagram

The Roughest Language

It’s your name that comes up with the blood. Half a cough, half something that’s going to kill me one day. This, I know. This, I knew when I first laid eyes on you. I knew that love would be the thing that ends me. I wanted it then, a tongue that slid like a blade.

All I noticed looking down the sink was how the pain settled. All this blood. All this I miss you settled at the bottom. Empty and the begging like mementos, laid on the bathtub. This hope staining my hands with black, rubbed off on you, on the four walls, on everything I tried to keep from coming down. Nothing saved us in the end. Not the marriage, not the children, not anything that we thought would.

They’re so young now that we can still pass me off as the uncle, as the family friend that comes round. I look my boy in the eyes and see how he’ll grow up to be just like another man. My daughter enters the room, a walking memento, a love story that breathes. She has your smile. She has your smile, baby, and that shouldn’t hurt like it does.

Nothing like the years we stuck it out, huh? Nothing like the nights we left the day feeling like heroes. I remember your hand in mine as a declaration, as the beginning of spring. Like morning, like light, I remember you like one might god.

Countless nights writing you letters. Countless nights thinking I was still a hero, that I still could save everything. Drunken stupors. Drunken “I know I’m not him. I can never be, but I try for you.” Countless “You said you’d choose me in every life.” Countless nights just trying to stay alive.

Driving down the highway with our hands out the windows, the wind on our face and laughter there. We lived good. We were good. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know which way the wind blew, but it took you from me in the night, and a cold winter began.

It clogs the drain when I open my mouth, all this blood coming out. All this giving up settled at the bottom. All this come back to me. I’ll never know why you gave up. I might not live that long. I’ll never know why you chose him, when you had a good home right here. Just know I love you when the days begin to forget me, when the grass grows tall.

You once taught me that we were put on this earth for light, so know I forgive you in the next life, and I’ll find you there. I’ll find you and I’ll choose you, like now, like always. I hope you’ll remember me as a good man, as someone with a good heart. We can open our eyes and try again. I’ll take your declaration and smile.

I hope you smile then too.

Elijah Noble El

Elijah Noble El is a twenty two year old actor and writer from Livonia, Michigan. The author of The Age of Recovery (2015), a debut full-length poetry book, he is also the co-founder of Girls Don’t Cry, the film division of the literary magazine Persephone’s Daughters, a magazine aimed at empowering women who have experienced various forms of abuse and degradation. In 2013 his short story, “Oblivion,” received the Award of Excellence in Literature from the Michigan PTSA Reflections. He co-wrote the play Off with Her Head (2013) which won the Special Award at the 2014 Lansing State Journal Thespie Awards. He also wrote the short film, Dog-Faced Honey (2016), which was nominated for Best Writing from the Top Indie Film Awards. His work has been featured in The Rising Phoenix Review, Straylight Magazine, Hooligan Magazine, Persephone’s Daughters, Exist Magazine, Soul Anatomy, The Odyssey, L’Éphémère Review, Erstwhile Magazine, and elsewhere.

Espíritu Santo by Olivia Wolfe

Art by VH McKenzie | Website | Etsy Shop | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

Espíritu Santo

“I’m worried about the polar bears,” you tug at my sleeve. 

“I’m worried about the ice capsules,” you scratch at your elbows.

“I don’t even know how to swim,” 

and you aren’t making a joke.

“I’m worried Mount Rainier will be flooded and
I’m worried about the irony of a land mass that sounds like rain
being washed away.”

“I’m worried about where we’re going to bury the honeybees,
if there will be flowers left for graves.”

“I’m worried about us,”
you bite your knuckles

“I’m worried about you”

you throw back across the room

“I’m worried about you”

you kneel, you beg, holy, hellish,

“I’m worried about the cold fronts and the heat waves,

about La Niña, quédate, about the erosion of the sand dunes. Say


I’m worried that it was a high of 65 today,

and that no one seems to know what to do

when December is able to keep itself warm.

Olivia Wolfe

Olivia has western Pennsylvania roots, a weird overbite, and a Gemini habit. She has some other scattered publishing, including little words in Literary Sexts and Black & Grey Magazine.

Like Religion by Natalie Wee

Reprieve by Jennifer Henriksen | Shop | Website | Facebook | Twitter

Like Religion

          In this dream we
are five years old again.
          small enough to
be swallowed
          by furniture. Hide
and seek where               I
          find more than
your phantom
          limbs climbing out
of my ribcage.

          In this dream we
invent each other.
          Delicate shells
of flesh & wonder
          to split open
if our voices
          fly true.
The pulse as
          magnetic waves
compassing me
          back to your
moon eyes.

          In this dream I
stop looking.
          You did not leave.
Not this house
          that is not a house
but a mausoleum
          of forgiveness.
No wine here, we
          inherit blood
by the tongue.
          In this dream I
wait. The devout
          don’t leave church
even when god
          stops talking back.

Natalie Wee

Natalie Wee is a writer and poet whose work deals with the intersectionality of experiences, primarily that of queer women of colour. She is currently an Associate Fiction Editor at Broken Pencil Magazine, as well as a Cultural Studies & Critical Theory MA Candidate at McMaster University. Her book, OUR BODIES & OTHER FINE MACHINES, will be published by Words Dance publishing this year. You may find more works and a complete list of her publications at

Hands to Heart’s Center by Olivia Wolfe

Vintage Sunflowers by Elle Moss | Shop | Facebook

hands to heart’s center

it’s raining
and I’m watching my step for snails.
I’m thinking about salamanders
darting in the dry brush about
the wet smoke of Marlboros
and the mouth of Malbec.

there’s certain anxieties about
the rain, about
the bus
that comes four minutes late
or not at all.

the man waiting speaks small things inside himself, he mutters:

too much teeth, never enough hands, too much teeth, never enough hands.

we have words for the way this seven o’clock sun
the side of your face, but
don’t dare call it

it’s easy like how we only ever fought after drinking, so that’s when I call to say
they fixed that crack in the road in front of your old house.

it’s easy like finding
the words
pollen and poison
when my mouth swells with Spring and
I am
full of your neck
all over

it’s easy like a hula hoop, when it starts to fall,
you swing your hips that much sweeter, that much lower.

the bus will come four minutes late
or not at all,
and at least we can always
count on that.

Olivia Wolfe

Olivia has western Pennsylvania roots, a weird overbite, and a Gemini habit. She has some other scattered publishing, including little words in Literary Sexts and Black & Grey Magazine.

Songs from River Styx by Natalie Wee

The Siren by Sammy Slabbinck
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


oh for an age we built
empires with the wishbone
of your spine / left halfmoon
constellations down
to the milk of you / all
starlight where our bodies
were primal things / clawing
each rib and what
lay under it but fireflies in

darkness where you
were lilac & poppy seed / ocean
swift-body roiling like horses
trying to shake off masters’ hands / mine
faultlines where time
had come to break itself into tangerine
blossoming roses / in
golden curls / skipping stone
jugular caesura / caesura / ceases

/ cut
my mouth on temple floors / asking
for the best thing I stole back
from the dead un- / poach you
from the fire no / oil
only the river inside us / deeper
than our fingers have
been under the earth & what
good is memory without
your fruit

Natalie Wee

Natalie Wee has been published or has poems forthcoming in (parenthetical) magazine, the Rising Phoenix Review, Apt Magazine, METATRON ÖMËGÄ and Words Dance. This aspiring slam poet struggles amidst a precarious balancing act between graduate school and writing. You may find more of her works at

Letters From Persephone by Natalie Wee

Across the Universe by Alex Garant
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Letters From Persephone

After Tara Mae Mulroy

          Waited so long
for fruit mama
          I found it               ripe
between antlered thighs
          in the fields my
skull was a crown
          set on foundations
of desire                          he
          was my first
act of godhood
          resurrected from un
-speakable places to
          be mine

          Mama I did
not forget                        sweat
          from my palms
          the animal of
him marble
          the way you
taught me
          to cradle wounded
          cleaned those
bones with my own
          good mouth
                    my jaw open

is how
you break the earth
for desire

          Beneath dirt
my skin blooms
          nightshade             oh
          mama we
are luminary                    doves
          where nothing
          flies his
hair river
          reeds full
moon every night
          he coaxes
from inside me

Natalie Wee

Natalie Wee has been published or has poems forthcoming in (parenthetical) magazine, the Rising Phoenix Review, Apt Magazine, METATRON ÖMËGÄ and Words Dance. This aspiring slam poet struggles amidst a precarious balancing act between graduate school and writing. You may find more of her works at


Waking, #127 by Kris @ EcclesiastesOneTen


now is the time to make the bed, fluff the pillows,
arrange them on the queen mattress for one sleeper,
not two.

now is the time for pale fingers curved over steel
and resin, a thin soprano rising, haunting, over
the silence that has its roots in living alone.

for once in my life i have turned my back on pain
instead of making my body a cradle for more. instead
of falling for skittish boys, i am finding handholds
in the new bedrock of my soul.

i am playing love songs for every woman that arranges
a single place setting at dinnertime.

let the seduction of our self

Jones Howell

Jones Howell is a graduate of the Northwestern University Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg Creative Writing (Fiction) sequence. She grew up on the Maryland waterfront, went to school by Lake Michigan, and now calls suburban Georgia home. She misses the sea. More of her poetry can be found at

Seven Months Later by Leah Hodgkiss

Tattooed Hands by Inna Mosina

Seven Months Later


I don’t love you like that anymore. Like waves before a storm. Like tattoos on
bone. Like a forest fire. Like a plane crash. Love you like Saturday night.
Like “let me kiss your pain away.” Love you like hand holding with a purpose.
Like small children’s laughter. Like your first roller coaster ride. Love you long,
love you hard, love you fully. I don’t love you like that anymore.

I love you like body aches. Like looking under your bed and realizing the
monster no longer lives there. Like leftovers in the fridge. Like a Monday

Love you like small talk. Love you like “how’s your sister doing?” Like puddles on
the sidewalk. Like a morning run. Love you like remembrance of things past.
Love you like a series of almosts and shoulds.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I love you the way I love you. I love you
like I’ve moved on. And I have, but I still love you like a bedtime prayer.
It’s just nothing like holy holy.

Leah Hodgkiss

Leah Hodgkiss, avid cereal enthusiast and dog lover. i will speak to your dog but i will most likely not say anything to you. loves greeting strangers and sitting in traffic jams :) also, a little rebellious against capital letters. but usually only on weekdays. or really, all of the time.