Summer 2023

What Were You Wearing?

I don’t know what exactly i was wearing that mid-march day The lunchroom was buzzing like usual with a group of girls in front of us gossiping It was probably an oversized shirt hanging from my shoulders & barely touching my budding chest Maybe a purple plaid skirt Maybe tiny black shorts that wrapped around my legs like a boa constrictor I’ve forgotten the name you gave me I don’t know what exactly i was wearing that day at school But i know that the clothes i wore have been erased from my memory Censored & barred & burned from my mind I don’t know what i was wearing but i know that as soon as i got home i slept for hours Years I know my clothes were baggy & soft The events of that day have meshed together Thrown into a witches pot Stirred together to make a mothers pumpkin pie What color were my nails painted that day Did i paint my nails that day? You told me i made you cum Am I looking at the boy i knew from elementary school anymore? My porcelain hands were shattered that day and the dollmaker couldn’t fix her I remember every time we kissed To reroot your frustration to me I don’t know exactly what i was wearing & maybe i’ll never know But i miss us before mid-march

erin nuttle (she/her) is a writer and poet based out of michigan. she enjoys listening to crazy electronic music as well as petting her cats, penny and roxy.

The Magic Church Bus for Sinners

Julia Mallory is committed to being a good steward of, and vessel for her ancestors’ stories. Julia’s first creative love language is poetry and she works across genres with a range of mediums from text to textiles; the latest which include mixed media collage, sonic collage, and short stories.

Julia’s written work can be found in Barrelhouse, the Black Speculative Arts Movement’s “Curating the End of the World: RED SPRING IV – Wildseeds & Black Futures”, The Offing, Stellium Literary Magazine, Sugarcane Magazine, Torch Literary Arts, 68 to 05, petrichor, and elsewhere.

As an emerging filmmaker, Julia’s short film Grief is the Glitch (2022) has screened at film festivals from Toronto, Canada to Salvador, BA, Brazil. For more information, visit www.thejuliamallory.com.

The Carnival at the End of the World

Roll over the dead jester & check the pockets hidden deep in his pleats, then repurpose the leather, convert it into a longer leash. We make do, each a lemon tree steeping our own sweet tea, the happy pig on the butcher’s sign grinning over slices of our own glistening hinds. From these unlike parts comes my jackal heart lost to the pawn shop.

Friends, what if we kissed in the palace after stripping it of copper wiring & Formica? I’m bankrupt but upcycling. I’ve got this patch of land & a blank backdrop before which to await an eighth veil’s parting, a thirteenth month’s turning not found on any calendar.

Chris McCreary is the author of several books and chapbooks, including the chapbook Maris McLamoureary’s Dictionnaire Infernal (Empty Set Press), co-authored with Mark Lamoureux. More recent work appears in Apartment Poetry, Cul-de-sac of BloodDumDumZineHeavy Feather ReviewResurrection MagazineSortesVulnerary, and Works & Days. He lives in South Philadelphia. 

Sunset Before the Apocalypse

I see it as the most natural thing in the summer
find a hazy orb that floats in that thickness
until it gets too heavy and it slides away from us

before that happens, there’s still time
to catch the lake breeze
notice kids making a future home in the sand

the laughs surrounding barbecues and the sizzles
of burgers make innocence climb up
from the depths of sage and warm words with friends

we know it will be bad when we wake up tomorrow
the sky will already have melted away
our civilizations scrubbed clean by smog and smoke

what do we have to breathe for now
when every single memory is buried
and silence is all we have left

Kevin A. Risner (he/him) is the author of Do Us a Favor (Variant Literature, 2021) and You Thought This Was Just Gonna Be About Cleveland, Didn’t You  (Ghost City Press, 2022). His work has recently been published or is  forthcoming from 50-Word Stories, Pinhole Poetry, The Daily Drunk Mag,  Midway Journal, antonym, Pilgrimage Magazine, and more.

Summer Recreation

The summer rec program
was like a sad day camp.
Our parents dropped us off
at our public elementary school
in the morning, before the heat
seeped into the tiled floors and walls.

Our teachers were teenage counselors
tasked with our suburban boredom.
We played kickball in the mostly-dirt field,
choreographed dances in the empty gymnasium,
and on days I was the luckiest, we drew pictures
on flimsy construction paper for sticker prizes.

One of those days, I heard another girl ask
to style our counselor’s hair, stick straight
and blonde as dead grass. I looked at her,
filling out a plain white tank top and denim shorts
in a way I thought I never would. I kneeled in front
of the teacher’s desk and asked to try next.

When it was my turn, I gathered the soft strands
into a hair elastic, twisting it the way
my mother did in front of our bathroom mirror.
I didn’t know how to form a ponytail;
I only wanted to be close to this perfect girl,
to absorb her femininity by proximity.

I pulled my hands away to reveal a tangle of hair,
knotted like a tumbleweed. I watched her tug
at the mess I made from across the classroom,
tried to glue my eyes back to my paper,
wishing for an out-of-season dismissal bell
to come and carry me home.

Sweating through my cotton kids’ clothes,
skin stuck to the floor, I tucked away my shame,
a shoelace under my sneaker tongue,
and looked outside the window of girlhood
toward a lens flare of a future—
a woman obscured by the sun.

Anna Szilagyi is a writer and public health professional based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been featured in Hooligan Mag, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Luna Luna Magazine, among others. She earned her MPH from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy in December 2022 and is also a scholar of the reality television arts and sciences. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok @anna_szil

Speak my Language

“Is your dog’s name Oreo?”
I message random Bumble guy

He starts speaking my language
when his reply is a stanza

“Roses are red,
violets are blue,
my dog’s name is Chewbacca,
but his nickname is Chew.
Oreo was a great guess,
your curly hair is awesome nevertheless.”

In Italian, stanza, la stanza, means a room
I am in my family room, il salotto,
when he asks me how to pronounce my name before he calls me for the first time
He speaks my name fluently
Three syllables that fit in his mouth
better than he rhymes
Get stuck in his teeth
and linger under his tongue until he knows they mean “light”
Until their aftertaste is a flicker that makes his lips curl and ears rise

In the kitchen, la cucina, he speaks my language when
he learns that crushed tomatoes
aren’t sauce yet
When his shadow over our pot is enough
to make a chopped onion soften in extra-virgin olive oil
When pinches of dry basil and oregano
brag about how well he simmers
When he compliments me
for the sauce our pasta
without realizing I just reheated his own

We write our own language with
the jar my grandmother kept sugar in
Alternate between using it the way my Nonna Maria did
and as cookie jar like his Zadie would have
With the Mezuzah outside our bedroom, la camera da letto
Protecting a Jewish boy and a baptized Catholic
With the tiny teddy bear frame
encasing a photo of the holy family
on a shelf just an arm span away
Used to sit on my Nonno Francesco’s desk
With a connection to religion that is not to God
but to our grandparents

We share a language when we eat his latkes
in the dining room, la sala da pranzo, during my cousin’s Christmas Party
When we have bruschetta on matzah during Passover
When his favourite cookies are ones I bake instead of Oreos
Says amaretti instead of “those almond cookies”
Wants me to make an extra batch for his dad
because he enjoyed the ones he dropped off two days ago
Splits the cost of almost flour
We don’t own a vase
The smell of our amaretti fill la stanza
in a way that is less scripted than violets or roses

Sons and Solstice

Sally Anderson Boström is the author of the chapbook Harvest (Kelsay Books, 2021), and numerous essays, poems, and short stories. Her most recent work can be found in Ms. Magazine and Blood Moon Poetry. She holds a degree in Creative Writing, Poetry from UC Santa Cruz and a PhD in American Literature from Uppsala University. She has a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa and as she loses her sight, the sonic qualities of poetry are becoming increasingly important. She currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden with her husband and two young children. 


Alice Agro-Paulson is a Brooklyn-based developmental editor, story coach, and poet. Her work has been supported by Roots.Wounds.Words. & Tin House, and has appeared in HADSpark to Flame, and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review. Alice is currently working on a hybrid speculative memoir and can be found on IG: @alliagroedits


My hips are so heavy. At night they ache;
they groan, as if to signal that rain is coming

They say:

This is for the burden of those who
have laid on and have pressed against,
for those who loved you or used you
or missed you before you left or
those who didn’t understand their own

This is for the first pregnancy,
the joints and ligaments loosening
a few weeks worth of centimeters,
and for the second pregnancy,
where the same joints, the same ligaments,
were allowed to unravel like a spool
of thread.

This is for all the miles you choose
to run alone, all the bricks you carry,
all the books you rest against your hip,
all the ways you bend and stretch and
pose and stand alone.

They ask:

Do you remember how your husband would
wake up at two in the morning (walk to the
other side of the bed) gently take your hands
and pull you out of bed (the weight of his child
pressing against your bladder) because your hips
hurt too much for you to get up on your own?

Do you remember how good it felt to
crouch low, to let the grief be carried
on more than just yourself?

They know.

Katie Ellen Bowers is a poet and educator living in the rural Southeast with her husband and daughter. Her work has been recently published in Qu Literary Magazine, Haunted Waters Press, and The Dewdrop, for which she was nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

This poem previously appeared in Flying South.