Category Archives: Aquarius

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

Sweetheart by Julian Shepherd

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


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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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

Nose by Phoebe Lyons

Way Up by Alex Garant
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To my fat Italian nose,
skip church on a Sunday nose,
smile to your face and talk shit behind your back
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
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

This get out of bed and into a book

I have sent you to a
certain kind of
Hell and back,
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

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

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

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.

Night-watch by N.L Shompole

Valley, #122 by Kris @ EcclesiastesOneTen


N.L Shompole

N.L Shompole is a writer, artist and poet. She was born in Kenya where she spent her childhood. In 2013, Shompole authored a poetry chapbook Cassiopeia at Midnight, featuring 30 spellbinding poems that later evolved into the 2014 yearlong poetry project Twelve Names for December featured on her blog. In December 2014 Shompole published her first full length collection, Heaven Water Blood, poems that delve into the reality of love, loss, war, and hope with vivid intensity. Shompole is currently working on Spectre Specter Blue Ravine, due Winter 2015. She lives, studies & creates in the Bay Area.

The Way We Rise by Judson Lewis

At Sunset by Clare Elsaesser
Connect w/ Clare :: Website :: Facebook :: Etsy :: Instagram ::

The Way We Rise


Here is to the unraveling of everything on a nightbeam,
to the seers and the truths they can’t unsee,
to the unwanted/unavailable/undiscovered
here is to the nighttime that knows you.

Here’s to the stairwell knife symphony,
to the jukebox in reverse.
Here’s to brilliance,
here’s to it’s curse.

Here is a toast to the toaster waiting to turn,
to breathing backwards until you’re not born,
to the musk of another expiring night,
to the cuckoo clock splashed with shimmering light.


Here is to a sunbeam’s persistence…
to the everything in a sliver of dawn!
Here’s to the gravity,
to the rising grass.

To the schemers, the sleepers, the self deceivers,
to the dreamers, the seekers, and all the believers.
Here is to this revolving miracle:
to the sunrise on repeat.

To the triumph of the morning dew,
to the routine of this early air,
here is to daylight:
daily and delightful.

Judson Lewis

Poet and comedian Judson Lewis boasts eccentric charm and performance chutzpah; he’s performed at universities, performance festivals, bedrooms, and even a coffee shop or two. Advocacy masked in laughter, his poetry is vividly creative and emotionally evocative. A seer in darkness, he shares spiritual illumination through verse and humor. As Producer of The Encyclopedia Show DC check out his hit poem from his forthcoming chapbook of the same title: Chick-Fi-Gay: The Quest for The Forbidden Chicken on Judson’s Youtube Channel.

My Lover is the Sunlight by Lydia Havens

Delicate Chains by Jon & David Swartz
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After Hozier & Azra Tabassum

In nomine patris, et filii, et spiritus sancti.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit. In the name of her parents,
who say I have tainted her chance at Heaven.
In the name of the rosary beads that shattered
between my palms in anger. In the name of
the desert I am drowning in. In the name of
the gorgeous girl I never meant to make a
stained glass window of.

Forgive me, Father, for she and I were not chiseled
from the man’s bone, from the man’s fingers
or the man’s lust. We have hearts that are cracking
whips across our insides; we have hearts seeking
atonement. Each lashing is another letter to Him:

Dear God, she is my keeper.
Dear God, I am meant to lie with her.
Dear God, we are meant to be in Your eyes.
Dear God, please. Please.

I want to hold onto my faith. I want to see
His face turn into Hers when she is next to me.
I can’t hold my heart down much longer.
Grant my heart its wings, grant our love
the sunlight. God, we were not born of ill bones
or sick minds. The weight of the world
is beginning to feel like stones in our pockets.
They plant another poisonous fruit, and
we drown again. Dear God, she and I
refuse to believe we are sick. But if we are,
do not heal us.

Amen, amen, amen.

Lydia Havens

Lydia Havens writes and lives in Tucson. She is the Executive Poetry Editor/Assistant Editor in Chief of Transcendence Magazine, as well as an intern for Spoken Futures, Inc. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in FreezeRay Poetry, The Pulp Zine, burntdistrict, and Vademecum Magazine, among other places. She blogs at, which she uses mostly as a moodboard and a place to talk about her passions.