Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Daniel Aristi

In the movie, the scientists wish

They’d be in uniform, and the US Marines actually

Dream of kissing the eggheads, but no one says nothing.

Always,

There’s a nuclear device with blood red numbers that

They all fathered in a Manhattan orgy—and R-Mann would say

‘It’s queer’.(More …)

Honey Ant

by Daniel Aristi

A hopemonger comes he sells

hope, in Spanish

esperanza.

Abuela used to say

They were so poor in Zacatecas they

Ate ant honey—

Miel de hormiga

Bees, hah, way too expensive, muy caro

mijo, carísimo, ja! (More …)

LatiNo

by Daniel Aristi

Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

On the map, the capital city black spot

isn’t there, like a hole in a golf course for God, like

an empty plate of frijoles big enough for the nation, like

the victory of some Ulysses campesinos that dared gouge the military government’s Cyclops—

(More …)

Ecdysis

by Emily Banks

Before a snake sheds skin, she goes half blind

for just a week or two. The fluid she excretes,

a grey-white lubricant to ease the slide,

pools under the scale of each eye

like warm milk filling up a metal spoon.

When the world blurs,

she searches out a rough surface

to rub against, loosening first

the old skin from her head, where it will split,

then working down. If done correctly,

the skin should come off in one easy piece,

a hollow tube of flimsy wax paper, a shroud of self

like the seat of jeans you’ve worn all week,

that absence so distinct.(More …)

She Had a Name, It Was Saint Catherine of Siena

by Raisa Imogen

Once I did not eat

I grew a fine coat of hair. loved my bright collarbone

more than I loved any boy—

hip bones, knives, apple seeds, dust,

I left a trail of paper behind me

personal confetti of tallied calories

oh, reader, you’ve heard this story before?

have you heard the sound a body makes as it absorbs itself?

like clocks ticking backwards.(More …)

I’m About As Sorry For Killing Myself As You Are For Telling Me To

by Khalypso

come to my wake

dressed sharp as a lemon rind

the trimmings of a hollow season’s harvest

scattered on the floorboards and

crackling like the heartbeat

you’re wailing to hear,

cauterizing your tear ducts and setting

whatever dance-crazed soul upon you

that will bend your toes in the way of

the light. praise my coffin. praise your

gilded sorrow. praise the burn i swallowed

and offered you, generous, like the good

blood brother and spook i am. those who

merely pretended to know me will say

do not weep.(More …)

Church

by Stacy Boe Miller

Muzzles gone white on old dogs church,

quadriceps screaming uphill

on gravel bike church, garbanzos dancing

in their dry rattles church, his finger finally

finding your clitoris church, alone

on the toilet birthing

a dead baby church, church of the first time

you kissed a girl, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

fiddled poorly in a park at

night church, tomatoes

ripe in a garden you planted

with your mother church, jukebox

that still takes quarters church,(More …)

Bells

by Lynne Thompson

Give in to your inner goat. Do not say I am not a goat.

Do not say I have only two legs. You give milk, run with

herds, graze. Remove the latch on your mind. Baaa

in moonlight even though you will be shorn or stuffed

at a time you have not chosen. (More …)

Detroit Crown

by Benjamin Alfaro

The years before my grandmother’s ascent,
each week a trip, my father’s hand would steer.
Her small apartment wedged inside the steel
tenth-floor suburban tenement, intent
to be a box for those we loved to die.
I asked my father why, rebuked silence.
A plan to die, her brave gift, defiant.(More …)

In this America

by Kathryn Smith

I wake at 3 a.m. in this America,
head split with migraine, pain
like a spear. I swallow
prescriptions, sleep until noon.
I’m sweat-soaked and dreaming
strange dreams of America. (More …)

Erin

by Laura Read

Erin is sitting on the floor
of our dorm room.
Erin with the thick red braid
and the freckles the sun had tossed
across her face. Erin who is pretty (More …)

“In the same way we misunderstand the child ballerinas of Degas”

by Laura Read

“In every alley of the theatre loom the silhouettes of portly gentlemen in top hats who have come to take their pleasure with these skinny half-naked adolescents. They too will have learned to mime desire.”
–Germaine Greer

But what if they have come instead to make pleasure
by force? Sometimes the body flushes
when it shouldn’t. Someone says,
I am going to teach you something.(More …)

The Whole History of Femininity

by Laura Read

At your wedding, you lifted up your dress
so I could attach your garter belt to your stockings.
My hand was shaking even though we still had
the strange intimacy of girls,
so you had to reach around and clip the belt yourself.
I failed you and the whole history of femininity.
But we lived in a time of elastic. (More …)

Near Belmont

by Jory Mickelson

Past dark fields of winter
wheat, each hill swells and troughs
the talk between my grandmother and me. The further we travel,
the less the landscape changes, just vague
waves in the blooming dark, the pollen
of yellow farmhouse lights. (More …)

Nothing Held

by Jory Mickelson

What it is to run without
restraint away from
anything: the wind, a car horn,

an aspen leaf that flashes
me to flight, to bound past
the boundless field leaving (More …)

Jamie & Rachel in Liza Lou’s Kitchen

by Janet Bowdan

It feels like coming home
only enhanced—like everything really is
easy, like the advertising illustrations:
housewife in heels, shawl-collared dress with
nipped-in waist and A-line skirt
dazzling beholders as she sweeps dust-
bunnies into a pan. The pan is beaded,
the broom bristles and handle and all
are beaded, even the dust-bunnies are beaded
(and shaped like starfish) (More …)

Beach Boy Flies a Kite

by Janet Bowdan


It’s windier than the day before but
they have the kite, a multi-color box
and he’s never flown a kite before,
only seen Charlie Brown frantically
running, even through a house, to
keep that diamond shape up and not
swooping down on him or tangling
everyone up in its line. And wonder
of wonders, this kite, labeled “easy
to fly,” goes up, stays up, pulls away
so they let out the string. It stays up!
The ocean crashes into the shore,
the kite crashes down unharmed; they
take it up again. Later that day, time
to go home: boy curls up under a blanket(More …)