Spring 2021


by Karl Michael Iglesias

I remember when one popped up on Easter weekend
family reunion. Where the primos stay home
as new parents, the titi’s go to service
as daughters under their mother’s roof

their father’s roof. All the abuelos and
abuelitas have gone home on a long road trip
to a church convention in heaven. No one is sure
where all the tio’s go. Maybe it births at a warm

near your sternum and when you look down
you’ve discovered you’ve been baptised
with your niece’s cheerio spit-up. There is a rag
for that and I don’t change my sweater. It opens with me

being the uncle. With the yuca soaking
in warm water before being brought
to blade. Begins with patience. And on the southside,
it always pops off because in every long family, there’s a couple short

tempers and I’ve been an uncle
since I was five. I know
where the hole in the hallway
comes from.

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Karl Michael Iglesias’ work can be read on Apogee, The Acentos Review, The Breakwater Review, The Florida Review, RHINO Poetry, Kweli Journal, The Breakbeat Poets Vol 4. LatiNext, The Westchester Review, Wisconsin Life, Third Coast, and The Brooklyn Review. His debut chapbook, CATCH A GLOW, is available now on Finishing Line Press. Karl now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

On Mirrors

by Grace Yannotta

When I first met him, he had a mirror above his dresser, facing the bed. I got nervous – I didn’t tell him this, but I got nervous, because I had read online somewhere (unreliable) that he was being foolish. With the mirror. Because supposedly any spirit, any being, could crawl through and replace us with other people as we slept. After about a month, he reorganized and the mirror was relegated to an alternate location. I wonder now if it was an omen – a good one? A bad one? I’m Italian, so omens are everything, but I’m also Catholic, so omens are nothing. Nonetheless, I find luck in bird shit, but I pray too, and I struggle for words when I’m asked if I’ve written any love poems lately. Because I’ve written love poems for every other man I’ve been with. But not for him. Something about the intimacy, the potential, the possibility, feels almost too frightening to dwell upon. The mirror’s leaning against the wall on the floor now. I can see my ankles, his bedspread, when I walk past. It’s better that way, I think. I can’t afford to take any chances.

Independence Day

by Kelly McKay

sitting on the front porch
of the poor house
staring straight into the sun.
iridescent beams fill both eyes
with sweating promise
to the brim like two
water balloons tied tight
by little fingers pinched
begging not to burst.
“my favorite movies are the ones
where everyone gets everything
they want in the end.”

answering to sobriquets; sweetheart
big guy, little one-
could grow up and two-
step off of this stoop
into almost, and almost
is immeasurable.
it’s unjust and one
might land fixed
in the center frozen
like a fly in the jello
on the fourth of july.

Kelly is a folk-loving home grown vegetarian and a collector of selfies at national park welcome signs. She works in the mental health field and lives with her partner, rescue dog, and fish. She is a poet who has had previous work published in Ariadne Magazine. 

From the Garage Floor

by Allyson Whipple

On any other Sunday we might be gazing
at the afternoon sky, but today we’re staring
at my car’s grease-splattered undercarriage,
flecks of dirt falling into our mouths
when I jostle a fixture too hard. Our fingers
leave grimy prints where we press them,
our gloves useless against 60,000 miles
worth of work commutes and road trips.

To fix the axles, we must remove
tires, unhook wires, slide joints
and bearings from their housings.

Your sweat drips into puddles, mingles
with dollops of grease that fall as we pry
singed metal rings apart. Grease running
all the way up to my shoulders, softer
and smoother than I’d imagined, more green
than black, more velvet than tar. Grease sliding
under my collar, into my bra, streaking across
your forehead, running down your nose.

Fixing what you’ve broken requires
dismantling even parts that work.
Then the hard part: rebuilding

My back aching from hours
of lying on concrete, your knuckles
ribboned with scratches, my head
a field of bruises from each time
I sat up too fast. Learning the body
of this vehicle, feeling the connections
between systems, understanding
a machine the way I never have before.

To fix a car, you must believe
in your ability to restore everything
you’re about to pull apart.

Allyson Whipple is the author of Come into the World Like That (Five Oaks Press, 2016) and We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and co-author of the interactive fiction Choice: Texas (www.playchoicetexas.com, 2014). She serves on the board of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and teaches technical communication at Austin Community College.

Morning Poem

by John Salimbene

On my block,
morning is
when the German
shepherd speaks
its fury at
a cardinal.
I have not
yet learned
how to speak
my fury.
Our lawn is
a teenage beard;
patchy and
with angst.
That mailman
always flattens
our garden, and
fills our box
with Christmas,
bigotry and
I lost two
friends before
I could vote.
The town journal
left out the
pills and ropes.
The air is thick
like the glue
behind our peeling
wallpaper, and
the birds clear
their thin throats.
I’ve become a
student of silence
since there is
so little of it.

John Salimbene is a poet and editor based in Philadelphia. He is currently
the poetry editor for Tint Journal and will be starting his MFA in creative
writing at William Paterson University in the fall of 2021. His work can be
found in a locally published anthology called queerbook, as well as
Typishly and elsewhere.

A Parable

by Cassandra Coale

I heart you. I lung, liver and lymph you. I tongue tendon.
Meet me at the bald spot of the day, in your quietest shoes.
Meet me under cover of night, features shadowed with eerie Frenchness.

How cool is the room inside my room: breath of dark.
In a skirt, I’m a skirt of steak; known not for my flavor
but for my tenderness.

You hunger, hunt, an evil so complex it can drive a car.

I leave to where there are no roads, but you are
God’s awful silence over corn. In cow eyes, in audio of rain.

Cassandra Coale is a student at Kenyon College and an astrologer. She likes to walk at night. 

Through the Fence

by Alison Lubar

Alison Lubar teaches high school English by day and yoga by night. They are a queer, nonbinary femme of color whose life work (aside from wordsmithing) has evolved into bringing mindfulness practices, and sometimes even poetry, to young people.  Most recently, their work has been published by or is forthcoming with Giovanni’s Room anthology queerbook, Apiary Magazine, MICA’s Full Bleed, Seven CirclePress, and Midway; you can find all published work at http://alisonlubar.com/.

This poem previously appeared in Passengers.

The Plums

by Shayna Hodkin

the plums were as big and dry as baseballs i waited weeks
for them to ripen all they did was rot
to relieve my guilt at their compost funeral i said
look at these atrocities
they were meant to be worm food

slowly eating yogurt in the kitchen haunted
by ghosts of rotting plums, i check my reflection
in my spoon and whisper to myself
you are a sprouting potato
an untouchable anemic potato rotting
like a baseball plum

Shayna is a poet and Yiddish enthusiast and is the author of hungry, a chapbook in the making. She is deeply indebted to the members of the Anarchist Poetry Collective, without whom none of her recent poems would exist.

This poem previously appeared in Non.Plus Lit.

distant, we watch

by Fox Auslander

Fox Auslander is a nonbinary poet based in Philadelphia. They are one of two co-editors at Delicate Friend, an assistant poetry editor at Alien Magazine, and probably happy. You can find their recent work in perhappened, Prismatica Magazine, and Eunoia Review, or on Twitter @circumgender.

This poem previously appeared in perhappened.