Category Archives: Poetry

ROOTS

By Anukriti Yadav

I. Belongingness is never granted,

      or even secure in its acquisition—

      life teaches you that.

      you don’t want to be a metro coach

      at the busy Rajiv Chowk station

      exploding with abundance

      you cannot process. 

      you also don’t want to be lost

      at the token counter, 

                        or right before a map.

II. This language cannot really describe, ironically

      what it feels like to be colored—

      brown, yellow, black.

      to say namaste, annyeonghaseyo, or habari 

      (and Allah forbid if you use salaam)

      to an uncomprehending, white-washed room

      to be judged for not knowing their language

      but not expect the same in return: 

              the bloody history of English.

III. Some day you will find yourself 

      in an unfamiliar place, maybe even slightly lost

      it will make you question how 

      the life you had known until now

      could be so different, and yet. 

      but moving to a place that makes you 

      question your identity is the first step—

      towards discovering, 

      or rediscovering

                              your roots.


Anukriti Yadav (she/her) is an undergraduate STEM student from Delhi NCR. She enjoys poetry, book-hoarding, all kinds of tea, Grant Snider comics, taking pictures of commonplace objects, and speed-walking while listening to hyphenated genres of rock and acoustic music. She ardently believes in mint chocolate and mental health rights and can be reached on both Instagram and Twitter. Her work is forthcoming in Ice Lolly Review and Pop The Cultural Pill.

 

Derelict

By Matt Schultz

On the nights that he had worked past sundown
dad would park his tractor in our driveway.
The loose gravel popped under the weight of its tires
like fat dripping into an open spit; my brother and I
would knowingly spring from the dinner table
while mom pulled a plate from the oven and peeled
back the aluminum foil that clung to the mashed potatoes.

The break lights still shone against our neighbor’s garage 
like the dull bake of a wildfire glowing through smoke and ash
as our fingers tucked into the deep treads of the tractor’s wheels.
We hauled our small bodies up onto the big machine and sat––
side-by-side––in the cool metal bowl of the operator’s seat
tugging at levers that refused to heed our commands. “Be careful,”
dad would suggest on his way to the house, but we couldn’t hear
him over the rumbling auger chewing holes into the Earth. 

The moon glows mellow like a fogged headlamp


Matthew Schultz teaches creative writing at Vassar College. He is the author of two novels: On Coventry and We, The Wanted. His poems have recently appeared in Rust + Moth, Thrush, and Sledgehammer. Matt’s chapbook, Icaros, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in May 2022. 

Anamnesis

By Matt Schultz

Our stately row of Cypress trees
stand in formation against property line 
and elements: veterans of the frost 
and the scorch. No gust has yet
persuaded these old boughs to drop
the severed limb still hanging there
after all these years. Unrelenting 
clutch that won’t let go––or can’t, 
fearing the compost of forgetfulness.


Matthew Schultz teaches creative writing at Vassar College. He is the author of two novels: On Coventry and We, The Wanted. His poems have recently appeared in Rust + Moth, Thrush, and Sledgehammer. Matt’s chapbook, Icaros, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in May 2022. 

Stone Walls

By Matt Schultz

Here, along the field’s corrugated ridge and furrow,
the swell and swerve of moss-mortared stack-stones.
Here the Tridentine Mass of farm and pasture:
smallholdings, an economy of butter and beef.

Look how obstinate the rolling rock––
as if some proud gray-green rampart.
Again, wind-split hands uproot granite slabs:
frost and heave, the cursing of Uncle Scratch.


Matthew Schultz teaches creative writing at Vassar College. He is the author of two novels: On Coventry and We, The Wanted. His poems have recently appeared in Rust + Moth, Thrush, and Sledgehammer. Matt’s chapbook, Icaros, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in May 2022. 

If You Give a Girl a Pocket Knife

By Sarah Bean

The night we slept in a tent full of stars,
I learned how to use a knife.
How to hold it in my palm, just so,
how to slowly carve layers of life away,
revealing newborn green hidden from onlookers. 

The night we drank the sky’s tears,
I learned how to get in touch with roots.
How to connect to the soil and
facilitate rebirths.
Learned how to sharpen myself to a point,
to turn my canines deadly,
bite back at girl-shaped wolves, 
puncture jugulars to learn my left and right,
my soup spoon a sword.

The night we set the world on fire,
I learned how to tie knots in my tongue to keep from combusting.
How to fashion it around my prepubescent wrist,
lick my own wounds and develop a taste for salt. 
Learned that safety comes with silence, 
and that my knife couldn’t leave the grove.
Found a blade of grass for the trip home, 
kept the handle held in the back of my mind.

The night I buried myself in the forest, 
I learned how to wield a dagger made of flowers.
How to stick it in my bosom for safe keeping, 
to whittle myself down, cut off my offshoots, 
scrape off my bark.
To be just big enough to fit in wheel wells—
to be seen and not heard.

In that tent full of stars,
I learned how to use a knife.
How to ward off enemies in a fighting stance,
firmly planted and prepared,
and I earned the badge for best technique.


Sarah Bean (she/her) is a library technician and poet from Alberta, Canada. So far, her poetry has only appeared in zines that she photocopies at her local public library. She thanks you for being gentle.

The Great Red Spot

By Sage Agee

My chest leaks liquid sentiment. 
Sustaining another life sometimes
means forgetting my own.

There is darkness in pumping white 
milk from a chest on lease. 

I can’t wait to return it to the hospital room, 
nipples and all.

My doctor says I can start 
testosterone in ten months—
when I am an independent country
tethered only by treaties
an agreement to continue to grow their food.

My hormones read my texts, 
and overcharge my system 
with what makes me bleed Jupiter’s Storm.

I stare at my Great Red Spot
knowing what this could mean 
if I don’t choose a new birth control method soon.

My bathroom’s trash can 
is filled with hidden messages, 
I spend the night scrubbing blood 
from thick material that covers me up 
breathable enough.

The search bar pulses: 
“Why is my baby’s poop green?”
“What are the easiest seeds to grow in Oregon?”
“Whose land do I occupy?”

“Whose body was I born into and are they missing it?” 
When will my chest 
stop fucking
leaking?


Sage Agee (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary poet and parent living in rural Oregon. They are currently inspired by the works of Billy-Ray Belcourt and the unbelievable evolution of their brand new baby, Otto.

Messages

By Cat Dixon

We text back and forth—volleying 
hello, how are you?, are you okay?, hang in there,
and we promise to get together someday
in the distant future when we will sit side
by side at a table in a Cold Stone Creamery
and pass our poems back and forth—
a tennis match—our pens such sturdy rackets,
the subject a ball, filled with feathers stitched
with thread, we could never serve over
the net. In such an open stance,
feet parallel to the door, torso coiled 
like a snake ready to strike, I always lose
my balance. I’m wobbly and small
like that table waiting for us. Your
calf steadies the table leg to keep
it from teetering. One foot, closer to the exit,
the other ahead, the neutral stance
allows you to shift your weight,
maintain your composure. Do you
remember that Coke bottle I purchased
just because it had my ex’s name on it?
Remember that giant milkshake
with that giant straw? Remember how you
made me laugh until I cried? No, you don’t 
because it hasn’t happened, and we 
are trapped, separate, and the score 
remains love-love.


Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLocked, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.

Meteorology

By Cat Dixon

Had I known the forecast, 
or seen the clouds on the horizon, 
I wouldn’t have made contact. 
I can’t interpret radar. In school, 
instead of science class, I weaved 
worlds in a notebook where fear 
reigned with its complicated 
cues and insidious hunger 
devouring all the paper.

He had spent time in the lab 
with the Bunsen burner and beaker;
hours in the classroom studying air flow. 
So when the moment came to experiment
and hypothesize, he had it pegged. 
I had to learn the lesson there
—shoulder to shoulder. Had I known 
the chemical clouds spewing 
from the table meant indifference, 
I wouldn’t have stayed. Now 
my taste buds are burnt off
 and at the sound of the word
“love” like him, I run. 


Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLocked, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.

Sunk

By Cat Dixon

It was deemed necessary 
to evacuate the submarine—
oxygen levels low and water
flowed through the vents.

Legends of ghost ships with ghost mates
circulated—men who hunkered in the head, 
munching tangerines as they flipped through
ream after ream of blank saturated
pages as if reading magazines. 

Our motley crew caught without a ship,
from a distance, looked like
little dots keen for water—fish
fighting the net, the hook, the land. 

What we sought in the waves had
rusted and sunk. What we found 
inside of each was rot. I wished 
for a massive yacht—sails that touch 
the sky—eighty meters long with 
an inflated lifeboat like a tumor at its side.


Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLocked, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.

overwhelm somebody

By Lucy Cundill

memory of you begs the best of me / 
every night this week down on 
two knees relearning / the word bloody 
relearning the word sorry / I wished 
for every part of you but got nothing 
back / but ashes / this is insidious 
this is warfare this is Saturday night 
and Tuesday evening and ‘I love you’s scattered
between kissing / you are a part
of the worst parts of me / to say the least 
about it you are a part of everything
to say enough to overwhelm somebody / 
overwhelm somebody / live this life the hard way
live this life the heart’s way / live this life on your knees
in chapels and cathedrals in city after city / not yet memorialised
in sandstone but close / but close / not yet memorialised in flagstone /
but close / not yet memorialised in acid / but close


Lucy Cundill is a poet living in Norwich, England, where she studies English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She has been published in Full House Literary Magazine, Bandit Fiction, Concrete, the Life Lines zine, and the UEA Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology. Her work and further information can be found at futiledevicez.carrd.co.