Category Archives: Scorpio

(NHI) by Jeremy Jacob Peretz

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Blue lives don’t need to tell Black lives
that they don’t think their lives matter when
it’s encoded into (in)justice system’s jargon of
technical term cyphers of different alphanumeric
combinations color categorized levels of threats
acronyms distilling down values for efficient tidy
responses easing communication yet concealing
meanings meant not to be understood except by
those on the “inside” deploying the language in
secrets only law enforcement personnel know
and maybe their allies and kin who could have
been the ones who revealed hidden definitions
to researchers press and other interested parties
that to the police and state certain persons are
not persons not humans at all but when sighted
houseless disabled black brown gay caught out
of place in a wrong zone selling gang affiliated
are nonpersons conspiring to commit crimes
that somehow have no humans involved.

* Note: Sylvia Wynter writes “that public officials of the judicial system of Los Angeles routinely used the acronym N.H.I. to refer to any case involving the breach of the rights of young Black males who belong to the jobless category of the inner city ghettos. N.H.I. means ‘no humans involved.’” David Berreby adds that “NHI — No Humans Involved” is “American law enforcement slang for crimes by prisoners against other prisoners.” Observing that police and other state authorities “admit to using the term,” Elizabeth Sisco references an example in a 1990 news article wherein “the Sacramento Bee quoted a San Diego police officer: ‘These were misdemeanor murders, biker women and hookers. We’d call them NHI’s-no humans involved.’”

Sources: Sylvia Wynter, “‘No Humans Involved’: An Open Letter to My Colleagues,” in Forum N.H.I.: Knowledge for the 21st Century, (Institute N.H.I., 1994); David Berreby, Us and Them: The Science of Identity, (University of Chicago Press, 2008); Elizabeth Sisco, “NHI-No Humans Involved,” in Critical Condition: Women on the Edge of Violence, ed. Amy Scholder, (City Lights Books, 1993).

Jeremy Jacob Peretz

Jeremy Jacob Peretz is a doctoral candidate in Culture and Performance in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA. He is currently teaching, conducting fieldwork, and writing a dissertation on intersections of religious and racial politics in Guyana. Jeremy has received numerous awards and fellowships in support of his ethnographic field research and writing, including the Ralph C. Altman Award from the Fowler Museum and second place prize in the 2017 Ethnographic Poetry Competition hosted by the American Anthropological Association. His writings have appeared in Anthropology & Humanism, Blithe Spirit, Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Ufahamu, and elsewhere in print and online.

Time is a Circle Crushed by Jonathan Louis Duckworth

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Time is a Circle Crushed

What is loved can’t be dead,
             as a liquid cask of honey
separates the flesh from its rot.
             You who’ve not yet passed,
I’m mourning you now.

             You who I’ve not yet met,
I’m loving you now.

             I’m stripping for you,
swathing pale hide
             in Spanish moss stoles, skin now
host to a host of mites,
             just to see your cheek
become a paper lantern
             illumed by the world’s
smallest hydrogen bomb.

             I’m burying you
in the shade of the myrtle
             you sang from a seed,
I’m waiting for my foot
             to bloom with a patina of roots
knot into the soil &
             walk no more.

We’re fucking
             for the first time
& in confluence our bodies
             become pure verb, voices
loud with thorns to braid
             the night in brambles.

Jonathan Louis Duckworth

Jonathan Louis Duckworth received his MFA from Florida International University. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, PANK Magazine, Thrice Fiction, Jabberwock Review, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.

The Poet Falls in Love by Anthea Yang

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The Poet Falls in Love

poetry enters—
brings me flowers
and a hundred different words for them:
bloom, spring, the rise
and fall of your breaths.

comes & shows me a way in a different light.
says here are your metaphors
use them wisely,
or not at all.
i listen, i write,
i turn my hands into blood
and paint the skies with
my heartache,
my falling in love,
my wars on land and beneath skin,
the sacrifices of a heritage
i am only beginning to know again.

poetry enters—
i kiss her on both cheeks
and once on the nose for good luck.
i whisper into her
            i didn’t realise it was you
i was looking for all this time.
she says follow me
and then leads me into the sun,
strips me naked and
exposes hundred year old scars.
i learn to love myself
by writing love letters to every body part
i tried to shrink.

poetry enters—
tosses my bedroom wild.
teaches me how to be angry.
curls her hands over mine and says
fold your fingers and swing.
i come home with knuckles stripped bare
and life gutted right out of me.
over ice i tell her i am tired
and she sings me to sleep.

poetry enters—
wears the same skin as mine,
has the same colour hair
and speaks the same language and a half.
tells me i am your sister.
this is a good fight.
this is a good fight.

poetry enters—
is the wolf.
the moon.
the bird with a collapsed wing.
is my grandmother.
is God.
is Eve before the world
wanted more from her.
is this new world.
is the old one.
is my father.
is my mother.
these hands that are both.

poetry enters—
is me
and this voice
covered in coal.
is me
and these words
rising from the chimney.

poetry enters—
sleeps in my bed
the first night we meet.

poetry enters—
stays for breakfast.

Anthea Yang

Anthea Yang is an Asian-Australian poet from Perth, WA. She is a recent Creative Writing graduate from Curtin University and her work has appeared in Hypertrophic Literary, The Rising Phoenix Review and –Ology Journal. Apart from collecting poems, she also enjoys driving with the windows down and conversations about outer space. You can find more of her poems and musings on her website:

Grocery Lists and Eviction Notices by Autumn Runyon

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Grocery Lists and Eviction Notices

Baby, some days I make lists of all the things I wanted to say to you but couldn’t. Things that never left the safe haven of my mouth, things I choked back down, things that silenced me. I throw them out like crumpled grocery lists. Words like love and agony, words I used to say without skipping a beat; now they struggle to leave my lips, instead, they come out as your name.

Things like, “I just wanted to tell you that I miss you,” and, “Please don’t leave me,” and “You’ll never understand what goes through my head when someone says your name, like it doesn’t belong in their mouth the way it does in mine.” Some days the lists go on for pages, each page bleeds like an open wound.

Baby, some days I wish you could understand the way my heart aches when you say my name and I wonder if it hurts to leave your mouth; I know you have to tear it from your lips. I know I’ve tried to make a home there, despite there being no vacancy in the hollows of your cheeks. Despite the fact that she evicts me every single time.

Autumn Runyon

Autumn is a psychology student in Florida.

Eidetic & Blind by Marie Ungar

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Eidetic & Blind

You were So Cool with your red converse & knee socks
& that nail file you kept tucked into your
boot like a weapon. When we found straight sticks
we made them wands, at recess we were
witches, I could’ve kept playing
that game forever.

You told me sometimes I need to stop
following & let others come
to me, like self-confidence could be bought
with the four-fifty we made
selling lemonade on the sidewalk
outside your house.

We are digging through your junkyard attic
again, it is a summer that never happened.
We are digging through the Maybes that hang
in the air like heavy flies, like Maybe
if I look at my feet less the world
will be smaller, Maybe growing into
another person isn’t growing
up, Maybe I am the cicadas chirping your name
because I think if I understand you
I can understand the world.
How glad I am the world cannot fit
between the lines of this poem.

I remember finding cicada shells strewn
across your backyard and stink bugs on your bedroom
floor. I remember your quiet smile and thinking eyes, the foreign
taste of whole milk and strawberries with cream, but I don’t remember
your mother ever getting out of bed. I don’t think
I ever asked why.

Marie Ungar

Marie Ungar is a writer from Charlottesville, Virginia and Co-Founder of Sooth Swarm Journal. Her work has been published in Eunoia Review and Sincerely Magazine, among other journals.

House of Dreams by Katie Clark

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House of Dreams

Katie Clark

Katie Clark is a queer poet on the verge of the twenties who belongs to a lot of places: Jacksonville, parts of Georgia, the pioneer valley. Currently a student at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. Katie is figuring it out. Katie’s poems have been in Alien Mouth, Vagabond City, and Spy Kids Review, amongst other kind pages. @octupiwallst

Asleep at the Wheel by Charles Kell

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Asleep at the Wheel

Father was here again last
night, wandering around with

a hole in his hand, blood
dripping down where he drove

the nail between forefinger
and thumb thirty years ago.

Should be used to these things
by now. The way every time

I pass a window my reflection
darkens, grey clouds rise

from an ocean, bolted
there. His hands were

always moving, little cuts
and callouses from constant

work. Mine too: splinters
from the sawmill taking three

slow weeks to work their way out.
I drink and drive less often now.

Never really nod off unless
I’m up for days on end. Was this

the last time I saw him? Silent,
mouthing words I could not quite

make out? The hospital in Ohio?
No, it was behind the wheel

of his red truck, eyes barely open.
I was asleep in the back under

the cab, and we were driving
somewhere far away and warm,

a place we would never reach.

Charles Kell

Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, floor_plan_journal, The Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Meridian by Jonathan Louis Duckworth

I am a Forest and a Night of Dark Trees by Jennifer Henriksen | Shop | Website | Facebook | Twitter


In a cobblestone market
a woman sells potatoes
and other scabs of the earth.

But only at strange hours,
so that she can blot her features
with the ink of night.

Her face is two halves
bisected by a meridian
of blisters.

The one hemisphere smooth
and freckled like pear skin,
the other raw and marbled,
hard and cracked like
the shingles of a chateau’s
sun-blasted ruin.

Once she saw and felt
the entire world catching fire,
but only half believed it.

Jonathan Louis Duckworth

Jonathan Louis Duckworth is an MFA student at Florida International University and a reader for the Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction, poetry, and non-fiction appears in or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Fourteen Hills, PANK Magazine, Literary Orphans, Cha, Superstition Review, and elsewhere.

On Nuns by Shannon Hearn

Boxed by Sammy Slabbinck
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On Nuns

Nathan tells me his parents were okay, but not great, when he came out to them. I think about my mom. If god existed religion wouldn’t be a box. Scissors slice my pinkie finger every time I try to cut my way out.


I tell Nathan my mom would send me to Jesus camp; tell him she’s basically a nun and I probably wouldn’t tell her unless I fell in love with a girl and in that case I’d tell her via email, but she’d probably kidnap me and try to brainwash me again; tell him I didn’t know how my grandparents on my mom’s side would react, but probably heart attacks; tell him my dad’s mom has dementia so she’d forget in two minutes and it wouldn’t be a problem.


Nathan says I am hilarious. I grin and nod, but the nod is more in agreement with myself, more in reassuring myself it is the right thing to remain silent like the Barbie dolls I used to kiss when I was five.


Nathan nods when I tell him Lila makes me nervous, not the kind of nervous that’s sweaty, but the kind of nervous that makes you fumble with the hem of your shirt and the dirt beneath your nails and suddenly the People magazine on that end table looks so interesting and there’s an article in it you’ve been dying to read.


I tell Nathan about the nuns my mom made my sisters and me talk to when our parents got divorced. I wanted to ask them if they kissed each other in the back room where they all slept and where no one else was allowed, but I knew my mom would sneak back in to talk with the nuns about what we’d said, so I didn’t.


Nathan tells me he slept with a girl to prove to his mom he’d tried. I tell Nathan about the oranges and apples and the tiny, tiny desk I sat at for years. My mom wasn’t maniacal; she just needed order. Order over the fruit and the way it was stored in separated drawers of the refrigerator and order over the little bodies waiting to learn.


And I tell Nathan about how when I walk next to my mom, I ask her where the separation comes from, like the walls around and between the nuns, but not really because she knows. Not know knows, just knows there’s something between her and me that’s not getting said. It drains my arteries and I feel the pumping slow down amidst the silence and the tiny, tiny desk.

Shannon Hearn

Shannon Hearn is a student studying journalism and creative writing at the University of Connecticut. Her work has been published in the Long River Review and the Free Press.

My Mother’s Ashes by Sarah Kate Osborn

Goodbye Baby by Alex Garant
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my mother’s ashes

i buried my mother a long time ago
in a bedroom instead of a coffin but
just as dark inside
we stay quiet in the halls because
even the dog knows the word ​depression

when i say no one has seen my mother in three days
i don’t mean she’s been abducted or run away
i mean the lights have not come on in a while
i mean it’s been three days since something moved
i mean she is less tenderheart and more tombstone

in my house
we spin sadness into gold
and call it monday
we shake orange plastic bottles like maracas
because the doctor’s signature
gave us permission to forget
we string christmas lights on caskets
and warm our fingers by the fire
that burned our home

sarah kate osborn

sarah kate osborn is an amateur poet from north carolina who hates describing herself and rebels against capital letters. she is trying to toss her voice into a world already filled with noise and may have nothing meaningful to say. she has previously been published in “the rising phoenix review” and can be found at