When you leave the desert, your mind forgets the heat, but your body remembers. When you leave the desert, the smell of wet dust right after rain lingers in your nose, hopeful, electric, forever refreshing. When you leave the desert, the desert keeps a piece of you.
Mārta Ziemelis is a Toronto-based emerging poet and established literary translator. Her poetry has appeared in The Ice Colony and CRUSH Zine. It is also forthcoming in the Sapphic Writers zine “Out Of The Wardrobe”. Her Latvian-English translations include “Do you exist, or did my mind invent you?”, a poem by Gunta Micāne (TransLit Volume 11: An Anthology of Literary Translations, 2017), two short stories in the anthology The Book of Riga (Comma Press, 2018), and Narcoses, a poetry collection by Madara Gruntmane, co-translated with Richard O’Brien (Parthian, 2018).” Instagram.
Across the park, an old clock tower
surrendered itself to moss and vines.
Tendrils coil along the clock hands,
twine the gears and down the shafts.
Finches knit knobby twigs, grass, and leaves,
nesting in vents and through the hollows
where the eaves have rotted, remaking
what we leave behind into the life that follows.
Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared in numerous journals including Cimarron Review, Gargoyle Magazine, One, Rattle, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Facebook. Twitter
long rivers, long through the land you flow
long through us will you flow,
flowing from where the rocks widen,
from where pollack feed us.
Piscataqua, Androscoggin, Cobbosseecontee,
where water lies between the hills
through the sheltering place,
to where sturgeon gather together
to red ochre river, color of our children.
Shellfish place, treaty-making place.
our stories flow
through little channels,
bearing rocks and memories
from where salmon leap the falls
to broad open waters,
turning back to where wild onions grow,
With birch and ash along their backs,
long rivers of first light
through our families flowing:
Carol Willette Bachofner is an indigenous poet (Abenaki), watercolorist, and photographer. She is the author of 7 books, most recently Native Moons, Native Days (Bowman Books) and Test Pattern, a fantod of prose poems (Finishing Line Press) Her poetry has appeared in various journals, such as Prairie Schooner, The Connecticut Review, The Comstock Review, Cream City Review, Crab Orchard Journal and others. Her poems have been published in numerous anthologies such as Take Heart: Poems From Maine (DownEast Books) as well as Dawnland Voices, An Anthology of Writings from Indigenous New England (University of Nebraska Press, 2013). She has won several poetry prizes, including the Maine Postmark Contest (2017). She served as Poet Laureate of Rockland from 2012-2016. Her photographs have appeared in various journals, such as Harbor Review (2021) and Spirit of Place where her photograph, ”Rigged” was an honorable mention given by Maine Media Workshop in 2013.
My grandmother is the ocean now
roaring always somewhere
even when quiet here and now
her smooth surface breaks into waves
She resists and yields at once
in magnitudinal power tides
pulled heavy from the moon
in consort with the sun and
of service to the earth
I know her without seeing her
hear legends of her raging depth
feeling her live in each coastal drop
She swells around my ankles
to let me feel my roots
when instinct crashes over me
It is her—urging moments into eternity
Sarah (she/her) is a health advocate, activist, and poet who loves sunshine, storms, and quiet nights. She is a queer Jewish reiki-practicing witch, and poetry is how she understands and misunderstands Life . Sarah has been published in Stain’d Arts and South Broadway Ghost Society publications, and her work has been featured by the Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center. Her two self-published books, I’ll just hide until it’s perfect and Tend, are available now by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
the worst place to store medicine is in a medicine cabinet
the worst place to store secrets is under the tongue as they diffuse through the membranes, the capillaries, bypassing the stomach, the intestines, the liver, anything that could filter them, dull their potency, tumbling directly into the bloodstream filling up everywhere the secrets that hurt, that bite, that claw, are less painful than the one that could change everything, could heal and mend and dissipate all the terrors we live alongside the secret of loving those whom we do not tell
during WWII my german-born great-grandmother painted a WWI helmet red white and blue
stuffed it with dirt and flowers to match hung it in her front window next to the biggest american flag the neighborhood had ever seen and dared anybody to doubt her I think about her as I watch men and women straighten their arms, stretch their hands flat fingers that never held anything heavier than a cigarette accusing people who live on the same street of jobs stolen, livelihoods vanished the country my great-grandmother held her heart up to, dripping blood as red as anybody born on its soil, is not the country I live in, is not, even, the country she lived in all the things we caught by their tails, hate, injustice, a constant confusing of equality with oppression, only seem new to eyes socketed in white skin a flag as big as the world can’t cover a hate as deep as an ever-expanding universe all the galaxies moving away from ours so quickly no signal we fire, even at the speed of light, will ever reach them it’s just you and me, alone together, and when we die, nobody will know but us
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, NC with her cats, Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.
To hear the close distance,
your howl, when unable to find
one cold sliver of moon.
I opened warm window.
This frozen stuck body of me
shifting over to what it must be
in a house made of worry
and flammable things.
When survival is one hungry beast
lighting fires fast as
bear claws unleashed
in this box of a house, any house,
to find food, any food, feed
that soul hungry beast
eating sliver of moon
cooling fire on face of a moment
of hard-assed especially sweet stuff, any life.
I listen for line to connection.
Hear hot pulse of warm blood,
surprisingly bright, bursting
through like great wolf
shedding cloak of sheep's clothing
is this, yawping call I can't see, only feel
coming back like a boomerang self
to wild safety, close distance,
raw sound of one howl howling now.
Roseanna Frechette is a longtime member of Denver’s thriving bohemian underground. Spoken word performer and host as well as multi-genre writer, her work has featured at art galleries, rock stages, and festivals including Poetry Rodeo, Boulder Fringe, and Arise as well as indie publications including Stain’d, Lummox, Semicolon, and Suspect Press. Former publisher of Rosebud Forum magazine, and one of Westword’s Colorado Creatives, Roseanna holds great passion for the power of small press and the beauty of literary originality.
This poem is from the Thought For Food anthology, a poetry collection benefiting Denver Food Rescue. You can purchase a copy of the book here.
clouds still roil, dark as wraiths
who invade my sleep. A shaft
of light pierces their folds, brightens
the field where cattle graze
as though the storm never bruised,
as though they never bawled, eyes flashed
with lightning. They have forgotten, lower
their heads for grass made sweet again,
while I still feel the drench, remember
how thunder crippled me with dread,
how I flattened my soul against the earth
to escape notice by the gods.
Sarah Russell’s poetry and fiction have been published in Kentucky Review, Misfit Magazine, Rusty Truck, Third Wednesday, and many other journals and anthologies. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has two poetry collections published by Kelsay Books, I lost summer somewhere and Today and Other Seasons. She blogs at SarahRussellPoetry.net.
beads of sweat lick
my sunburnt nape
paddle and soap dish in hand
off some nameless bank
I slip into the Colorado
the Rio del Tizon
the cool lifeforce
of this southwest desert
as easily as I do
into freshly washed sheets
(I’m still working
the Colorado, he/they and I
have rinsed ourselves
of many a lover
many a male admirer
like John Wesley Powell
like the first time
I skinny-dipped kissed
the first boy
I thought I loved
I don’t find it outlandish
to suggest the Rio del Tizon
branded flaming by colonizers
is a he/they gay
reject the stubborn American West
its invasive cis-het
white male explorers
naming monoliths [ego]
bodies of water [conquests]
assaulting the feminine [recreation]
if the Maricopa
is to be called she
let it be by reflection
by her own accord
as he/they is with me
on this board
cutting through this spectrum
an exercise and practice
of self-love at once
we try and keep things caszh
this river and I
too thin to plow
too thick to drink *
if you know what I mean
we both know
this flight of fancy is seasonal
an afternoon delight
a summer fling
sure to wash out
around this bend
I look for coupling trout
whose rippled darts
fleeing my invasion of their coitus
promise the end
of my own courtship
I have always struggled
even when I cannot tell us apart
submerged in him/them completely
there is peace I won’t grant myself
as surely as my head
will break the surface
I will eddy out
return home to routine
to khakis and button-ups
to commutes and spreadsheets
and plastic promotions
he/they/I/we will be
just another commodity
given back empty
at a cost
for tourist development
as a force that’s agreeable
and funneled, reshaped
efficient pools of labor
that’s not wild
and free and roaring
to an ocean of love
that doesn’t know the meaning
of binaries and borders
the nature of our familiarity
our temporal sojourn
privy only to that
our downy stilt-
is not about the permanence
of our gender but
the uncertainty of our futures
* commonly attributed to Mark Twain (to “the Mormons” by Edward Abbey) but unconfirmed by this author
Caleb Ferganchick is a rural queer, slam poet activist, and author of Poetry Heels (2018). His work has been featured and published by the South Broadway Ghost Society (2020), Slam Ur Ex ((the podcast)) (2020), and the Colorado Mesa University Literary Review. He organizes the annual Slamming Bricks poetry slam competition in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and coaches high school speech and debate. An aspiring professional SUP surfer, he also dreams of establishing a queer commune with a river otter rescue and falconry. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado. Website | Instagram | Twitter
Languid clouds drift by in a fever dream's haze, unmoved
by imminent trouble brewing overhead, anxiety
casting shadows on our pale, upturned faces
Below, cardamom pods three lone messengers
release fragrant whispers of a bygone era
when innocence abounded, unquestioned. I awoke
from a foggy dream crudely imitating memory,
unwelcome specters from my past infiltrating
fortresses erected to withstand any disturbance
This damp unease seems to permeate my being
at odd intervals, too often coinciding with this
foreboding I have inadequately prepared for
Melody Wang (she/her) currently resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband. In her free time, she dabbles in piano composition and enjoys hiking, baking, and playing with her dogs.
It doesn’t take too much
Leave the Bramble Cay Melomys
out of the next dictionary.
Those rats are already dead,
homes wiped out by rising tides.
Not many know their name,
same as the Kittlitz’s Murrelet.
No kid dreams of seeing
the Murrelet’s mottled body blending
into the sea spotted with sunlight.
It’s safe to delete
If the name’s not
in textbooks, postcards, or magazines,
no one will know to search.
Move the erasures
more and more inland,
low tide dragging away
wolf spiders and honeycreepers,
Sierra Nevada Blues and golden toads.
Readers won’t learn
how far the damage’s gone—
just keep erasing.
Afterall, people forgot
they once could be singular.
Victorians hid that
under grammatical change
so keep erasing
until nothing remains but
a white sea.
Emma Ginader is a bisexual poet and editor from northeastern Pennsylvania. She recently graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in writing. Her poetry has appeared in The Moth Magazine, Vox Viola, december, The Rational Creature, and FU Review [Berlin]. She has work forthcoming in Mantis, Lavender Review, great weather for MEDIA, and They Call Us. Ginader previously worked as the online poetry editor for the Columbia Journal and as the social media editor & business reporter for The Daily Item newspaper in central Pennsylvania. Find her Twitter account, @EmmaGinader.