Category Archives: Poetry

Heart Stone (semiprecious)

By Allison DeDecker

For years I carried my grief with me
but the razor raw edges kept catching 
on my fingers

tearing up my pockets

So I threw it in a tumbler; 
set it to spin until it came out
smooth as an unbroken heart.

Now it nestles in my palm
weight pressing against my pulse
the polish reveals threads of crystal 
storms swirling across the surface

I wonder if those storms will ever blow over
spin smaller and smaller 
until they disappear.


Allison DeDecker is currently based in Yuma, AZ. She draws inspiration from day to day life, current events, and the natural world. Her work has been published in the Colorado Crossing Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Pile Press. She can be found on Instagram

Home Resurrection

By Allison DeDecker

I am a house with bees in the walls.
Beneath these sun-bleached boards, 
inside the jagged, gaping holes 
hums life.

Sweetness drips,
spills out of splintering wood.
The once silent halls 
buzz with a chorus of thousands.

I was naked bones unburied
abandoned to decay.
I’ve become a house of royalty.
A waxen kingdom gilt in honey.


Allison DeDecker is currently based in Yuma, AZ. She draws inspiration from day to day life, current events, and the natural world. Her work has been published in the Colorado Crossing Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Pile Press. She can be found on Instagram.

The Definition of Insanity

By Allison DeDecker

Left to my own devices,
I’d be coiled up on my favorite corner of the couch
from the time my son went to bed
til the scent of fresh coffee wafted my way.

Left to my own thoughts,
I’ll slash a slit in my consciousness
force feed it a stream of stimulation
til my inner voice is drowned.

Left to fend for myself,
I slip into the semi-feral state that
fits my nature like a well-worn glove
existing only for that which excites me.

I left to make myself the person
I’d always pretended to be.
Convinced a change of scenery 
would change who I am.

Like a ghost left to cycle
through their final violent breaths
who learned their history and are doomed to repeat it
I always come back to haunt me.


Allison DeDecker is currently based in Yuma, AZ. She draws inspiration from day to day life, current events, and the natural world. Her work has been published in the Colorado Crossing Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Pile Press. She can be found on Instagram

NIGHT-WALKERS

By Anukriti Yadav

There is this urban way 
of taking walks at night
under stars and streetlights
anywhere between the hours
from seven to ten.
This is how it usually goes:
on clear nights when 
Sirius is particularly visible
Venus makes its timely appearance
and music replaces the sounds 
of nightly household activity
you smell the lentil tempering
feel the butterfly effect of
mortar over pestle straight
through your headphones. 
You focus on the feeling 
of night air over your face
time slipping away under 
your steadily walking feet
leaving behind the daily grind. 
You begin your days at night.
Then shower and lights out. 
Ritual or prayer to pause
for a little while and live
when you don’t have
the rest of the world
pulling at your limbs.
There are only so many
you can spare for others
after the day has finally died.


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.

TO CRY SOMETIMES

By Anukriti Yadav

The neighbour with their offerings

    from a tiny vegetable patch

 joyful harvest, of food and love.

Two small, four-legged visitors 

    unexpected, happily sneaking

through the narrow metal grate out front,

stealthy as time creeping up on you

    quiet as the morning that 

carries stories of grief and stasis.

Ten times that I yelled at someone

    but the one time I did not

and instead chose to belatedly listen

to their quiet hurting heart, I learned

    what I did not know because

I had already decided I did not want to. 

The child who recognized me 

    on the street before I did them

the one who decided long after I had 

forgotten the good in the world, the tender

    no-exchanges, no-returns love

that lives between the mundane

everyday, between days that I like

    to sometimes quietly cry

at my own recurring inability to see it.


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.

BELT OF VENUS

By Anukriti Yadav

On open rooftops by humming water tanks
in the slow burning minutes after sunset, 
you pause. Take stock of a dying day. 
By the fruit stall at the local vendor’s
you look out the open door
box of seasonal strawberries in hand. 
On the walk back home from evening classes, 
the taste of berry popsicle on your parched tongue, 
you look up at the pink sky. It is funny how 
you learned to weed out early on 
that color that was too feminine
to ever be taken seriously.  
Yet, the web-footed geckos, roseate spoonbills, 
pygmy seahorses, pink axolotls, amazon dolphins, 
sea anemones and orchid mantises—
in their knowing zen stances—
all disagree. 

And what of the periwinkles in your balcony
overlooking bountiful bougainvilleas on the busy street
the cherry blossoms awaited all year, 
the blooming magnolias in late spring? 
There is also the frown you wear looking
at finished laundry forgotten to 
be separated in the wash. The reds,
quiet naturally, bleeding into the whites. 
Baby blanket and ballet shoes cackling with delight. 
Afterwards, the color of blood just under the skin 
on your cold palms when you scrub them 
raw as raisins, trying 
in vain to smother 
a natural existence from the world.


The Belt of Venus is an atmospheric phenomenon, the pinkish glow that surrounds an observer shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset.


Anukriti (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.

The Visit

By Claire Marsden

The unhurried weight of your embrace, 

familiar, 

at first touch. 

Your tongue, gentled 

with sunshine, 

circles upon circles. 

And our curiosity 

swept clean. 

Cleared. 

Like the skies above. 

Holy, empty, and filled 

with knowing. 

An unholy homecoming? 

Perhaps. 

Yet, even the angels smile.


Claire Marsden enjoys writing poetry, CNF and flash fiction, and is thrilled many of her pieces have found wonderful homes, both in print and online. When she isn’t tramping through the West Yorkshire woods, she can usually be found squirrelled away writing or on Twitter.

Cadmus gazes at Thebes in ruins

By Penel Alden

Horror held me in place 
Held my arms at my ribs 
Wide thirsty nostrils clutching for the air 
Throat and soul gaping and parched 
As the ash rises and falls like dark feathers 

My daughter, in the palace of her son, 
The shadows on her face falling terror, all wrong 
Her eyes shaded glass gazing towards heaven

Already the great city had begun to burn 
Not even Thebes can grow bones strong enough 
To wage war against fate 
And the ivory structures of our grandsons 
Are now mere offerings to flame and carrion bird 

Behind me the cool breeze from the forest 
Is the last of the breath of the Maenads 
Their hymns offered to a void I cannot see 
Their torn flesh the body of the trees

Now the smoke is punctuated by crows 
And in their frenzied piercing prayers 
Is the song of the gods in their violent ecstasy 
Gloating over the vanity of man


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).

County Road 18

By Penel Alden

A piercing cry cuts through the canyon’s stillness

A hawk

Whose aerial circles are seen only in fragments

Elevated above the mountain’s old oaks

You’ve seen their beginning
At first sparse punctuating across the hills
West of the highway
But have you seen their heart
At the center of veins
Dirt marked by the tracks of
Tires and coyotes?

Thick in the ravine trees eager to scrape
Their dancing limbs against
The sun sweet marbled sky

Inaudible is the cry that cuts through the canyon

The curve of my eyes leaned up to the pastel firmament

The vulnerable pink skin under nails

Pointed upwards between sight and sun

My limbs are also dancing


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Tracking madness

By Penel Alden

I asked Leslie Hunter
If any of the old miners
Could describe the darkness
The way they could describe their trucks

Warm familiarity
Ambivalent hostility
Caressing the machines
Tracking madness through stone’s marrow

She said their hoary beards
Smelled of things that their eyes
Knew should remain buried

What the proletariat will achieve
By expelling the excrement
Through the pipes of our collective nightmares
Is no clean exit
No flight from the Minotaur’s labyrinth
Each of us still Pasiphaë

And perhaps our only salvation
Is enveloped in the violent
Chaotic crashing of the submerging ocean


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).