transmission, planet-to-planet

by Kavi Kshiraj

Kavi Kshiraj is a queer, Indo-American poet found in New Jersey. They spend time on hobbies such as writing, D&D, and their various identity crises.

To Come Here and Sit

by Zoe-Aline Howard

at the edge of everything a child with a fist of cherry cotton candy
soaking water from saline air and who brings cotton candy to the beach
sugar sand water waves that fold between walking legs
and soak my grown thighs, so the denim rubs.

loggerheads nest within walking distance of crystal pier. mother,
I am always reminding that child to take one breath. hold her hold me.
I am still that child walking where turtles wait in pong balls and
who can grow in shells so hard.

mother, your stomach pressed flat with juice and lemon
made me taffy-moldable and waiting for the sun always but
the shore rushes to our feet. when september ends and the gulf currents
wash the turtles into rip and wharf. what then.

I will have the cotton candy no more than a bag of pink water.
I will sip it pink wine and sip it in silence. where are the mothers
of these children in overalls. where are their leather backs and beaks.
I will miss my mother, who I never miss. and I will sit. what then.

Zoe-Aline Howard is a BFA student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She splits her time between the sand and the red clay of her hometown in Kernersville, North Carolina. Find her on instagram @papyrusandwax and on twitter @zoealinewriter. 

Mop Water in the Kitchen Sink

by Ani Eacy

how you ask for so little & get so much. how we ask for so little & get what we ask. back scratches & rubs & go light & light & lighter still & harder. how you love us through the confusing & the outbursts & the godforbid the illogicalities. how you love us through. how your hair grows wild, wild everywhere & migrates down. how your hair falls out, puddles on the pillow. how my hair falls out & tangles. we pull it from sweatshirts warm from the dryer, we pull it from mouths & food, from brushes, out of butt cracks, we pull it back. arch the back, harder & harder, too hard. soft heads sweet brains hairy legs. mine & yours. how you live with naked walls & no water, no want. how things are good & that’s good enough & never enough. for me. for i. for me. the fragility of the ego & the wilting herbs on the window sill & the let go let down the election the leftovers & the hairline, the heart. heart in your mind, heart in your heart, heart in your pants. how it is nonsense. onyx nights & tonics & taunting. taunt skin & responsive. wanton women & wontons for dinner. again. again & let’s do it again. how you are right, that we would be fine eating the pasta that spilled into the kitchen sink & how i am right that that would be disgusting.

Ani Eacy studied writing in Burlington, Vermont. She has since been selling books (new, used, and otherwise) for 5 years, while working on her own. She traded one city on a lake for another, and now lives in Ithaca, New York with her partner in a tiny apartment that sits among the treetops.

Life Cycle

by Akosua Zimba Afiriyie-Hwedie

Memory: There’s the sound of the car lock
snap, smack shut like sucking teeth. An old me, child
strapped into the back seat of my mother’s Nissan, whistling.
Whistling What?
I don’t remember. God knows.
So does my mother.
So what woman couldn’t do His job?

Now: I try to keep up with my body. My left hand cleaves to my right
breast under my shirt for want of something to un-idle. Each finger
spreads like a wide tooth comb, then one
around another, tangles.

If lucky, I won’t have to be any more human
than I am right now.
I don’t want to return in the next life
Unless I’m an animal perched
in its own language.
A fiction, unalive
in 2D spun on paper
from a child’s pen.
Whatever is safe
from this life
from what it cannot know.

Akosua Zimba Afiriyie-Hwedie is a Zambian-Ghanaian poet who grew up in Botswana. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan. She is the winner of Button Poetry’s 2019 Chapbook Contest (Born in a Second Language, forthcoming July 2021). She is a finalist of Narrative’s 12th Annual Poetry Prize, The Brunel International African Poetry Prize, The Furious Flower Poetry Prize , Palette Poetry’s Spotlight Award among others. Akosua has received fellowships from Tin House, the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, Callaloo and the Watering Hole. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian, Kweli, Pank and elsewhere. (AkosuaZah.com)

We’re Only Picking This One Kind of Mushroom, But We Know What It Is

by Nomi Stone

What a summer! Our basket
isn’t big enough. We look near the roots
considering each neck, proof
that after a good rain, the sleeping

fructify, moon-pale threads
tessellating together under the soil.
My mother & father have stayed
together: they love each other

& usually are good, each to
the other, & my mother’s
mother & father both loved
the other and when young they rode

horses together, & my father’s
father harmed my father’s mother
but my father is so astonishingly
kind, to my mother and to his son

and daughters; he taught me how to give
whoever it is I love the bigger half,
to hold the thread together. After
rain, you can count on new

mushrooms, lit fruit in the moss.
I’m not afraid of anything. Ok, I am,
oh god I am. But, sweetie, look:
all these tiny trumpets.

This poem previously appeared in Plume.

Nomi Stone is a poet and an anthropologist, and author of two full-length poetry collections, Stranger’s Notebook (TriQuarterly 2008) and Kill Class (Tupelo 2019), a finalist for the Julie Suk Award. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright, and broadcast on buses across Rhode Island by the Poetry Society of America, Stone’s poems appear recently in POETRYAmerican Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, and elsewhere. She is an Assistant Professor of poetry at UT Dallas.

Love Poem, Midwinter

by Joely Fitch

Night: fog rolling in
again, misty violet clinging

to the quiet
limbs of pines. Moons do pull
on everything, even now,
which is at least part of the reason

I’m awake here with you

in this forest— its lacquered, gentle
silence. Warmth buried deep

within the frozen ground.
As for myth, I’ve spun you one
(although I didn’t mean to)
from the strands of my own

hair. Please— take this golden
thread and let it lead you to the bridge crossing
the creek that runs between us.

So we stand on it.
We look at one another
saying nothing; we don’t even touch
and still all this snow that’s been dusting
over everything for years
and years and years begins to melt.

Joely Fitch was born in Ohio in 1993, and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Idaho and the associate poetry editor for Fugue. Her work exists: online at The Shore, and forthcoming from Dilettante Army. 

Don’t get too worked up over it

by June

White light pulls a center out
from its abundance,
shadow always proportionate
to the sun.
Scientists say there is no difference
between fruit and vegetable,
prophecy of cell division
deals with objects
all the same.
The human head weighs 8lbs
familiarized with subjects before it,
how a child picks up
flipping through the mail
expecting the worst;
every bad thought
a primal instinct,
a map, metaphor
to get around the Earth.
Cubism picked up
on the second person You
revealing abundant perspective;
a more porous assortment,
moments that could have been,
time wasted.
Leave it to chance
which work of art
stares back at you,
which is debris;
which random and meaningless
hypnosis jacks you
with its volition.
What can science say of thirst,
of cacti who keep water
at bay, anxious to sing
from their desert mouth
the intensity of pulp
in love with the sun.
The world has no age
like the pennant on a boyish wall,
what is so uplifting about vision.
Who will remember
reasoning with trust falls,
in spite of belief beyond oneself
scarcity is criteria for a lifetime;
nevermind image of light
suddenly withdrawn, horizon
leveled to one solid tone.
The beginning is sure of itself
as if intact, as if forever
the dog will fail
to seize language, worship
the opportunity to run
so as to enter the house outgoing
gasping for air.

June is a writer and performer. 


by Claire Sosienski Smith

a bad lover pretends things have always been this bad & things will always be
this bad so you’d better get used to it but the revolt has already begun

it’s a shame it requires so many boring tasks
phone calls & late nights

I’ve always hated anyone telling me what to do
these days I blame it on my Capricorn moon

I tolerate this witchy shit out of nostalgia
for the first time Justice became a card I could hold

it was barefoot Jesus himself who said do not touch me
there’s beauty in requiring impossibility to exist

meanwhile I’ve been learning
how to see in the dark

so when they force us into the grave
we claw ourselves back out

Claire Sosienski Smith (she & they) is based in London and thinks a lot about poetry and prison abolition.

My Favorite Joke

by Jazz De Nero

is the one where the girl has to come out
twice to her family. Once for being queer
and the other for being a mycologist.

There are little ways to tell
small things that give me away
a bitter taste, a terrestrial smell,
My Venus in scorpio

A damp canopy only good for growing ramps
I’ve become a magician who only fools myself.
In the story where the loch is dragged, I am both:
The lake under investigation for drowning
and the soft boiled child at the bottom.

Yes, I’ve poisoned myself.
Yes, I’ve sickened the ones I love
Yes, I’ve shaken my partner
awake in the middle of the night,
“Wake up…don’t be mad, but…”

Symptoms include feeling a sense of doom
At least getting sick off me is cathartic.
Oh, lonely picnic and the stink of milk caps
How I’d like to think of myself as Lactarius
Deliciosus, (Alas, lactarius deterrimus to most)

What’s my label, besides mycorrhizal, one of the poorest
esculents. What’s my netflix genre: false morel,
something palatable, choice edible, or poisonous
to the unseasoned stomach.

To fill the body with toxins so that no one
wants to eat it, spoon-feed it unboiled milkweed
pods to build a tolerance, thicken the skin,
turn it bitter and resistant.

My intention: an olive spore print. My middle
an unripe persimmon. I remember trying to rub
away the astringent that swells the tongue
to a pucker, worried it would spread
to the soft horn of my throat.

Oh, delicate resilience, I, too, bruise blue,
Used to subscribe to the mythology that nettles
are found near their cure, used to brandish myself
with the stalks to prepare myself for battle.

The crescent blade of my knife disappears into my hand
and again I am the woman who threw her ring in the garden,
only to find, in autumn, it had grown around one of the carrots.

Not a secret left or a partial veil, no cobweb-like
protective covering, but a little red headed bolete
A funeral bell strung round sweetbread
A bitter poison pie covered in a bloom.

Jazz De Nero is a poet and artist living in Buffalo, NY. Her work can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue, perhappened mag, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Ghost City Review, and Peach Mag.