Dirt, Dust, Den

By A’ Ja Lyons

Mud, sticks, and stones
The bare bones of life
Dirt which incubates growth
Sticks sheltering the most micro of Earth’s harvesting hands
Stone measurements of pressure we extract

Stumbling through the rolling woods,
Not unlike the yellow sac spider stuck
clawing out of its own trap
Fumbling for food,
unaware of the crumbling black, silty, soil
Swallowing wholes, parts and particles
Roots worked in nets
Systems
Breaking and holding
The topsoil as bottoms work
Absorbing, supporting, containing –
Rainfall

Up in smoke
Feel the heat
The flame ignited by life –
Crosses, touched, a speck of luck
Dusted like the crops in the depths of a Fertile Crescent
Ashes, dust
Sometimes ever and all is still
never enough

Circling ‘round bluffs searching for
chemical compositions to strike a desire
For fire to roar in places and spaces
Where seats are gathered ‘round
far from town
To inhale, exhale, expel
Munch, crunch, grunt
And escape in moments of make-believe

Buzzing and humming along,
sights and songs of sweet dreams
Dripping like sweat down backs,
honey down combs,
Beehives working week after week
Making samples to treat
Something sweet we steal and eat
As the dry weather winds carry
soil, sand, and sense loose cross countryside


A’ Ja Lyons has been published in several print and online publications, including Sinister Wisdom, Decolonial Passage, Response, and Lucky Jefferson. 

The River Flows and Now I Know

By A’ Ja Lyons

I weep, but I am not a widow
I divorced her, left,
Walked out
Learning that I could be loved by another
Many others, if I let them
Didn’t have to settle, no longer meddle
Muddling in waters that could not quench my thirst
I tried, often lied
Pushed aside rocks, bugs, and fought bears to fish
in search of nourishment and to nurture
To let the river flow
Upstream, downstream, and anywhere in between
To where the sun would shine, glisten, and glean
In places lying fat and lean

How much meat can I get from a doe or a buck?
I’ll take both
My freezer has many shelvesI packed an ice chest in my trunk;
I like a lot of junk back there

Stepping away from the cold concrete
Onto the gravel
Down the dirt paths
To walk among the rocks
Along the stream
To sit among spurts of green things
Whispers from flying foes who wish to snack on my flesh
Whispers from the wind who talks through the trees
Whispers from the water passing over layered ground
That rises and falls
In some spots the water is standing
In others it bubbles and flows
Rocks direct, protect, parry – 
But what lies beneath commits no small feat
The dips and trenches affirm direction
Whether standing strong or flowing freely


A’ Ja Lyons has been published in several print and online publications, including Sinister Wisdom, Decolonial Passage, Response, and Lucky Jefferson. 

Metamorphosis

By Allana Stuart

i.

exuvia breaks at 
the edge of 40
shell splits to reveal
a tender unfurling
iridescent wings
once dry in the sun
shimmer with shifting colours
and in flight
everything old
becomes
new again 

ii.

my words used to fly like bees
floating on a summer wind
until they holed up and hid  
just like the rogue colony that
built a hive in our porch roof
one July

in the heat the walls dripped with  
sweet syrup
but my mouth stayed 
sealed shut
sticky with silence
like I had honey
smeared across my lips

after I licked them clean
my thoughts took flight again
like the bees 
after the keeper came

but it was me that reached in  
pulled them free 
hands dripping words
like fists full of
honeycomb

iii.

writhing and sinuous
she sheds 
inhibition like a skin
the past slips free
as silk 
slides to the floor 
puddles at her feet

reborn 
she rises up from the
basket of her bed
sways under her own spell 
moves to her own music
marks this moment as

an arrival
an arousal
an awakening.


Allana Stuart was once an award-winning CBC Radio journalist, and is now a wrangler of children and a writer of poetry and fiction. She is also the producer of the podcast Rx Advocacy. A child of the boreal forest, Allana was born and raised in northwestern Ontario, spent several years in Northern BC, and currently calls Ottawa home. Lately, she spends most of her free time roller-skating in her basement. She can be found on Instagram and (sporadically) on Twitter.

Bound and Crawling

By Megan Hamilton

I’m intimate with the darkness buried inside me,
with my heart that beats with your pulse
and my blood that carries your name
to my wrecked and ruined lips.

I know the precise shape of your exquisite torment:
of beasts with claws caressing my throat,
of wicked kisses tasting of sweet poison,
of holding myself to your burning pyre.

You have reduced me to this
desperate, flaming, burning creature,
something even less than human,
a molten girl of ash and ruin.


Megan Hamilton is a School Librarian from Bognor Regis, currently studying for her MA in Creative Writing with The Open University. Her poetry has been published in Up! Magazine and Visual Verse. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Codicil

By Dylan Willoughby

for Jamie

Break me in two:  
Bury one half of me,
And plant the other.

This is a race past the finish.
Ghosts percolate.
It’s not that I have left you.

I linger awhile on the splendor of rust 
Slowly dying wrought iron,
Its death so much slower than mine.

You once imagined things 
And printed them in 3D.
Consider me an imagined thing.

Among the diffuse abandonments,
Find me.  Whisper your joke about
Muffins in the oven.  Abide.

We spend our lives thinking of the opposite of here.  
But here is everything, here will never leave.


Dylan Willoughby is a permanently disabled poet and composer, born in London, raised in Canada, the US, Chile, London, and elsewhere, and currently living in Los Angeles.  Dylan’s poetry has appeared in Stand, Agenda, Shenandoah, Salmagundi, Denver Quarterly, Green Mountains Review and other journals, and Chester Creek Press has published three limited-edition chapbooks.  He received an MFA from Cornell, and fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell.  He record music as “Lost in Stars,” and have been featured by The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Echoes (NPR), KCRW (NPR), Nylon, XLR8R, Insomniac, Impose Magazine and elsewhere.

Trashed Sunsets

By Dominic Loise

The best sunsets 
are in back dumpsters 
put out to pasture
lighting up the alleys 
stretching out the spectrum 
shining off the stench 
no one bothers 
to just sit and lay
their eyes across these skies
sipping in this kicked to the curb 
light give one last burst of colors 
before it falls to grey



Dominic Loise is open about and advocates for mental health awareness as seen with his essay writing for F(r)iction. His work has appeared in Alchemic Gold Poetry Society, Alt.Ctrl.Jpg, Analogies & Allegories, Calm Down, Clementine Zine, Collective Realms, Emotional Alchemy, Frances, Goat’s Milk, Innsaei Journal, Mulberry Literary, October Hill, Ouch!, Push up Daisies!, Raven Review, Re.Collective, Refresh and Silent Auctions. Dominic was a finalist in Short Editions’ “America: Color it in” contest.

A Smirk on the Clock’s Face

By Dominic Loise

As the hands move
marking the halfway passing 
our final evening hour
I know you want me 
to smile now
when I am here 
sharing the present 
you match my stoic face
with a silly grin
and plead for a laugh in return 
it’s the moment for me to frown 
but I am thinking how I will
save this time for later
when we are apart
and smirk a little 
after uncapping this memory 
never said these rules were fair
time is funny that way


Dominic Loise is open about and advocates for mental health awareness as seen with his essay writing for F(r)iction. His work has appeared in Alchemic Gold Poetry Society, Alt.Ctrl.Jpg, Analogies & Allegories, Calm Down, Clementine Zine, Collective Realms, Emotional Alchemy, Frances, Goat’s Milk, Innsaei Journal, Mulberry Literary, October Hill, Ouch!, Push up Daisies!, Raven Review, Re.Collective, Refresh and Silent Auctions. Dominic was a finalist in Short Editions’ “America: Color it in” contest.

Buggy

By Dominic Loise

Searching throughout
her insect kingdom options
The Blue Fairy chooses 
The Cricket over The Termite
for wooden boys can not 
listen in good conscious 
based on their fears of being 
eaten inside out


Dominic Loise is open about and advocates for mental health awareness as seen with his essay writing for F(r)iction. His work has appeared in Alchemic Gold Poetry Society, Alt.Ctrl.Jpg, Analogies & Allegories, Calm Down, Clementine Zine, Collective Realms, Emotional Alchemy, Frances, Goat’s Milk, Innsaei Journal, Mulberry Literary, October Hill, Ouch!, Push up Daisies!, Raven Review, Re.Collective, Refresh and Silent Auctions. Dominic was a finalist in Short Editions’ “America: Color it in” contest.

peel

By H.R. Parker

peel the layers
laid bare
truth hides
in the darkest of places 
slithering lies 
bask freely 
in stark white sunlight
warming cold blood
the past: 
scar tissue 
old wounds never forgotten 
the present:
blade in skin
slicing wide
cutting deep 
red-black blood
freely flowing 
the future: 
crouching tiger
hidden hydra
it lies in wait
ready to pounce
to peel the layers
and find my truth


Heather R. Parker is a freelance writer, editor, and published poet from Georgia. She works as a writer and editor for the self-publishing platform Fictionate.me. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Medium, and others. Heather lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pets. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram, Facebook ,and Fictionate.Me.

crash

By H.R. Parker

you hear my cry
as it crashes 
through the night 
I feel you 
coming darkly
made of earth
and ancient truths
my voice
my howl from the deep
has bled into you
seeped into your soul
making imprints of shadow
and desire 
words entangle
in the silence
I taste your hunger
and hesitation 
it floods hot 
all through me
into my veins
into the dark 
and hollow places
now alive


Heather R. Parker is a freelance writer, editor, and published poet from Georgia. She works as a writer and editor for the self-publishing platform Fictionate.me. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Medium, and others. Heather lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pets. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram, Facebook ,and Fictionate.Me.