Sonnet For My Mother

by Riley Rennhack

I carried a dead bird into my house
to please my mother who was on the phone
believing the “dove” might just be sleeping,
stunned by the cold that took over Texas.
It was Ash Wednesday. She’s not a Catholic,
but she’ll take what she can get gladly–
so it was a sign, and I found it all
contagious: her believing, that maybe
life. I let myself hope for miracles,
picked up the bird, wrapped it up in red,
placed it perched in a basket near the heat
and waited. That’s what she told me to do.
Half an hour. An hour. Are you sure
it hasn’t moved? No ma’am. Yes, I washed my hands.

Riley Rennhack (she/her) lives in rural Texas with an old dog and a mule. Her students at the local high school call her “Miss R” and they’d be shocked to know she writes poems. 

On Deprivation

by Sarah Sophia Yanni

so many of my experiences
were about waiting

patience learned through
routine fasting, a child’s
rumbling stomach no match
for the joy of victory, the
joy of making my parents
proud. one day a
week, the first thing that
enters my body
must be holy. and then––years
of waiting to turn
into something
golden. in the dream my head
would leave the pillow
and my hair would have
no static. I’d awaken from
a restful, pleasant sleep a
beautiful girl, my teeth
lined up all perfectly straight.
in the dream you
sent me letters and time
passed slowly but in a good
way, like honey dripping
sweet, fat drops.

the flight is delayed, the suitcase
overweight. I push the red
button and it flags me
for a search. I wait
to be called and once they
zip me open
it’s rough. I take offense
to the way my shampoo
is jostled, and I feel
embarrassed to be a person
who requires socks
and underwear to live. silent,
I practice fasting from
words. and I can tell that
the bottles have not been
properly re-shut and I
know when I arrive that
everything I own will
bear remnants of a
stranger’s touch, every single
one of my clothes wet,
sticky and ruined.

Sarah Sophia Yanni’s writing has appeared in Feelings, DREGINALD, Maudlin House, Full Stop, and Metatron Press’ #MicroMeta Series, among others. She is the author of the chapbook ternura / tenderness (Bottlecap Press) and serves as Assistant Editor of The Quarterless Review. A gemini and daughter of immigrants, she lives and works in Los Angeles.

oh my darling / this is me in water

by Alicia Turner

sometimes, you see that i am not shallow puddles / i am swerving / fast-moving exits / bravery through books and bottles / you hold the baggage that is this hurt in your hands / while i twist off the top / dim the light / imagine i am as bright as your illusion of me / do a little work here / i think / “do i sacrifice the hardness of a moment for the softness of now?” / pause / your core / camping out in the dark / i get to know you / with each convulsion / “and, if so, what does that say about me?” / a cliché that occurs like clockwork / you knead into my sheets / my notebook / my bed / solemnly swear that you are up to no good / and I believe you / still, you whisper, “meet me” / but the train is slow-moving / no, not here / banging my head against the brick / it’s too much to carry / i know / all in my head / oh, my darling / this is me in water / my anti-manic pixie dream girl / siren song / you send waves / i lay atop rocks / we both hurt / no, not here / in these moments / i am not less because i need more / each time enchantress creature / or / most of all / when my body trembles like tides / no, not here / hardening my hope / i will not be metamorphosed into rock / we are world builders / you work with your hands and I, with my words / you frolic / freckle fields for days / under-think with your heart / refuse to be still / through currents / i have revised you / i have watched you sink / what i mean is / that sinking feeling / insist that you love to swim / drip sweat onto my cheek / only to retire when they wear me too thin / or too heavy / the weight of it all / i, too / salt my food before i taste it / i, too / pour salt in old wounds / the sound of stinging is no joke / oh, my darling / penance lives within these pressure points / a mediocre medley / that we all sing or singe / where we’re not here / no / “we’re lost and gone forever” / dreadful sorry that for me, there is no memory too messy to keep / keepsakes are what the sea breaks against / whether they are buried / is all in how they’re built

Alicia Turner holds an MA in English and is a grant writer/storyteller from West Virginia. She can mostly be found writing confessional, conversational poetry in an over-priced apartment somewhere in WV. Her poem, ‘The Anxiety (A),’ was published in CTD’s ‘Pen-2-Paper’ project and her piece on “flux,” or change, was published by Four Lines (4lines) and shared across multiple media platforms. She has forthcoming publications.

My Mother Recites the Birds

by Chelsea Harlan

I haven’t really
taken any notice.

Finches, cardinals,
blue jays, titmouse,
nuthatches, crows,
yellow grosbeaks,

I said titmouse…
um, some woodpeckers.
I have sparrows
nesting in the planters…

What else:
but they don’t come to the feeders,
red-tail hawks,

though I couldn’t
tell you what they look like.
You should be calling Becky.

Chelsea Harlan is a poet from Appalachian Virginia. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Sixth Finch, CutBank, Southwest Review, The Greensboro Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology. She lives in the Blue Ridge.


by Zinnia Smith

A beautiful sound: citrus season.

I’ve never lived anywhere. A hammock part in the shade,

     part in the sun. We should move without reason

     to a place with warm rain, midday. A loan with bees in

the lantanas and surprising places: screens, kettles, or dirty cups.

Listen, a beautiful sound: citrus season.

We will grow full under the lemon tree, breakfast and black coffee, ease in

to our days. How could I be loyal to one thing, if I’ve never lived anywhere,

     part in the sun. So let’s move without reason,

    See, look, there a soft color to be gathered, deepened

like emerald green and khalo blue, freeing us from fading eyes and

what a beautiful sound, citrus season.

We’ll fill up a bedroom with scrap paintings and linen, trustees in

lemons, the twist in our martinez, sitting in our kitchen garden dusted in rain and thunder,

     part in the sun. We should move without reason

     because what are we to do? Here, bodies are beaten

legs are crocked and old. Our mothers’ ghosts dancing where we cannot go.

What if we wake up alone? Filled up with a future awaiting…

for a beautiful sound, citrus season.

Zinnia Smith has been published with TSR: The Southampton ReviewEast, and Peach Mag, among others. She won Fugue’s 2018 writing contest in prose, and was nominated for Sundress’s Best of the Net in 2019. She is currently at work on a haunted house novel.

volver, volver

by Salma Alejo

Salma Alejo is a 19 year old writer based in Los Angeles, California. She is currently a college sophomore studying Marketing and Creative Writing at Mount Saint Mary’s University. When she isn’t writing, she’s the Marketing Director for Zenerations and the Editorial Director for A Little Louder Project. She also occasionally dabbles in digital art and loves a good cup of green tea. She can be found on Instagram @sunnnysidesal and on Twitter @sunnysidesalma. 

the moon is pro-palestine

by Summer Farah

On April 11th, 2019, Israel sends a space probe to the moon. It explodes on impact.

BORN of Holy Space, she is sister

to stone. knows each smooth defense

littering occupied Ground. Holy

Ground. she whispers stories of how we built

our homes / laying stone gentle atop one another

dabke hard on soil

sending stories of how children see if stones,

too, float in the dead sea.

israel sends a space probe to the moon & it explodes on impact.

LISTEN. the moon is pro-Palestine.

moon remembers when she was part of the earth / remembers when land was one / craters filled with water waiting to be named holy / a people knowing what it always was, tending to orchards with twisted roots older than sea level / sung prayers tucked into breakfasts of bread and cheese / throats uneroded / calling on our daughters / ya ‘amar ya ‘amar ya banat al ‘amar / asking of us beauty / strength

holy earth sends stories of children / gripping rocks so hard their life lines become granite rings.

Children scratching at empire / criminalized. what is a blemish to an empire? man-made death machines plummet into the surface of the moon / scratch for conquest.

o holy Ground. those who separated us will not be forgiven.

there is no blemish to her light. in eulogy of the Children who have joined the stars

she fights back

Summer Farah is a Palestinian American poet and editor. She is the outreach coordinator for the Radius of Arab American Writers and co-writes the newsletter Letters to Summer. Her work has been published in Mizna, LitHub, Vagabond City Lit, and other places. You can follow her @summabis on Twitter.