Summer/Fall 2021


The Ancient Art of Gematria

Nada Faris

It begins with a host (an immigration) of spirits clobbering / intestines. Think: “Longing as attention seeking,” or “attention / people, we are starting the show.” I will pay in tennis balls, carrot cake, / kangaroos, and quotes. Here are a few goblins. Take my heavenly glow.


Poetry, Fiction, & Nonfiction

Minimizer

Allie Spikes

The plastic surgeon, a short, blond-gray mustachioed man comes in to tell me he’s headed to the OR and will see me in there. He taps the rail of my bed twice, a gesture I take as doctorly affection, and turns to leave the room. I call after him, “Just remember—think small—like, real small. Like, just get rid of ‘em!” Dr. Haynes reminds me that this breast reduction is not cosmetic surgery.

Reverie

Daniel Garcia

Today I’m learning satin’s splendor, a tight ribbon-wristed free- / Dom orbiting my pulse. What is it that you want, love? To be tied / Is a [hypo]thesis on trust: not if pain should find me, but that / If it does, you’ll see me through it.

Oranges

Nadia Born

The first skin I tattooed was orange peel. Supposedly the texture is similar to humans. I bought a kilo of oranges to practice on before you agreed. You came down for the weekend, watched as I tested the weight of the needle in the nook of my hand. When I cut into the first orange, there was no thread of blood – just juice.

CCTV

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

a man covers his face with a rag / on video capture at five in the afternoon, / a woman cuts a round into a saguaro / on video capture at five in the afternoon, / a girl twists her ankle on a rock / on video capture at five in the afternoon

The Therapist

Armon Mahdavi

Jacob opened up an entirely new door for us. After that, we often spoke to the camera directly, to our therapist, when it felt like speaking to each other was getting us nowhere. I loved how cinematic it felt, how odd it was to speak through the lens. I was reminded of a moment in Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil, where the narrator says: Frankly, have you ever heard of anything stupider than to say to people, as they teach in film school, not to look at the camera?

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE, or, BECAUSE I WORRY THAT ANY PROFESSION OF DEDICATION WITHOUT SOME HESITATION MAY ULTIMATELY BE JUST ONE MOVEMENT AWAY FROM VANISHING

Valerie Hsiung

you see the trees / you know there are trees / you speak the word of trees / in a colonial language, aloud, to yourself

being afraid

Mehmet Said Aydın, Transl. by Öykü Tekten

i am hair and beard, / tea and rage i am in this world / sadness, diffidence, selfishness i am / still in this world. / minus two, twenty-seven / why doesn’t the world resemble me

Fatherly

Micah Dean Hicks

Mother and the children had never killed before. That was Father’s work. All month long the rain came down, and gray-faced Father coughed in his bed, shrinking into a yellowed quilt. Mother and the children waded in the garden leaves and plucked off the heads of squash and tomatoes, ripped hairy potatoes out of the dark. But there was no meat on the table.

Closeness

Taneum Bambrick

How long will I last before ruining this? / Escaping the heat that teethes from your chest / like barbed wire with little dogs in it. / Mess of your face cracked from sweat.

The Ancient Art of Gematria

Nada Faris

It begins with a host (an immigration) of spirits clobbering / intestines. Think: “Longing as attention seeking,” or “attention / people, we are starting the show.” I will pay in tennis balls, carrot cake, / kangaroos, and quotes. Here are a few goblins. Take my heavenly glow.

from Il tempo di una cometa

Stella N’Djoku, Transl. by Julia Anastasia Pelosi-Thorpe

something remains of our being / braided flesh and muscle / or we’re chilled / bags for bone.

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

With the swivel of a controller / an agent in a room of laced / concrete blocks is haunted / by bovine hitting their bulk // against steel bollards.

Dad's Crossbow and Other Stories

Steph Sorensen

One afternoon of his every-other-Saturdays, my dad took the crossbow gingerly, respectfully from its box on the top shelf of his bedroom closet and led us out onto the apartment’s second-story back porch, a cement slab overlooking the train tracks.

The Stag

Yunya Yang

I’m very good at these stories. The bitter-sweet, could-have-been, wish-it-was-so ones that are prettier and more precious than happy-endings. Stories are better cut short, end before it begins, so there is no chance of spoiling.

Alligator

Joselyn Takacs

It happened in a matter of seconds, this overlay of violence in my mind, that took us into another life, and then it was gone. Perhaps what I wanted was to have my future thrust upon me. No, I thought, just another anxious fantasy. It was just the mind’s preparation on overdrive. It all might have happened differently. The alligator had every intention of biting her. Tori’s face flashed with anger momentarily before Frank tried to pull her away.

Receipt

Ian Spencer Bell

Everything / is for sale. A blue-eyed boy / knocks his head against my hip, / reaches for the Styrofoam form / I hold in my hand. A halo or a hat, / I say and put it on his head, / watch it fall around his neck.

Aubade with Postpartum Depression

Chelsea Dingman

How to enter my own waking so that I might feel alive. I often want / to lay down in the snow now. To be a little numb, at first, / as I’ve been since I gave birth & my bones became trestles / yielding other worlds.

Still Life in 2 Colors

Suphil Lee Park

Lately I fear someone’s combing my brain / when all kinds of thoughts stretch in one direction.

The Hanging Hexagram

Sonja Bjelić, Cole Bjelić, & Jiaoyang Li

The Adriatic Highway, a ligament that holds the tectonic states together / A transparent field of magnetic vessels swaddling a crumbling desert / nosing the star-map a clan of deer migrate West / Sultry doe-eyed creature of darkness revolving around the metallic pole as a planet around its star in heat.

A Skilled Sport

Megin Jiménez

The logical conclusion of Despentes’ argument that femininity is equivalent to the art of servility is that a society of women made to worship femininity would have the most servile women. This may be why my American friends are horrified when I confirm the supreme reign of Miss Venezuela.

The Terrors of Intimacy

Xandria Phillips

Long before Tara met Eggs, she shelled out her funds / to get spat on in the woods, fed ipecac, and peyote. / From her perspective, the way out of cessation and substance / is through, so when the witch uncorks an amber bottle, / and passes it saying every last drop, she drinks.

THE LOCKHEED MARTIN INDAGO 3

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

The agent does not call an ambulance. / The agent does not wake the sleeping mother. // The agent does not file a report. The agent’s code reads: / No report is required unless a domestic threat is identified.


From the Archives

The Terrors of Intimacy

Xandria Phillips

Long before Tara met Eggs, she shelled out her funds / to get spat on in the woods, fed ipecac, and peyote. / From her perspective, the way out of cessation and substance / is through, so when the witch uncorks an amber bottle, / and passes it saying every last drop, she drinks.

Still Life in 2 Colors

Suphil Lee Park

Lately I fear someone’s combing my brain / when all kinds of thoughts stretch in one direction.

Tree of Life

Brandon Shimoda

Someday I’ll stand speechless / on a grand, forgotten tree of life. // The ornate order of existence / will be my partner, and my partner / will be my shadow // My shadow will be preaching, will be endowed with / all I cannot carry / in this life, // overcome with questions, The tree of life is / not but // total / illumination.