Tag Archives: Issue 12

Place Settings

By Samantha Malay

in the still air            
of my mother-in-law’s livingroom        
I kneel on the rug            
to nest dishes in boxes

and I see her
hair sleek as bird-wings
in a sleeveless geometric print dress
hosting parties with these archaic vessels
in officers’ quarters when she lived overseas
lifting a gravy boat amid tablecloth clatter
the rosebud-shaped handle on a sugarbowl lid

as guests carry drinks to smoke on the deck
ashtrays like seashells 
in the dim light of storm clouds
where seedpods crackle 
and pine branches arch 
over an ornamental riverbed of stones

at her kitchen table
now crowded with ghosts
she translates a recipe for cucumber salad

and unfolding lawnchairs 
in patio shade
we talk about the cherries 
we can see from down here


Samantha Malay‘s work recently appeared in TINGE Magazine, In Parentheses, and SHARK REEF, and will soon be published by Kind Writers and Five South. She was born in Berlin, Germany, grew up in rural northeastern Washington State, and graduated from Seattle University’s sociology program. A theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, she is also a mixed-media artist and poetry editor in residence at Flying Ketchup Press. Her published words can be found here

Onion Creek, 1979

By Samantha Malay

two boys and a middle girl 
the Miranda kids
knew motorbikes 
BB guns and cigarettes
french fries 
and pocket change

cooked spaghetti
danced the hustle
tan toes poking through sneaker canvas 
hair clumped and streaky 
from pond-swimming days

white teeth 
dirty jokes 
serial killer stories
told in sleeping bags
mosquito song 
in silky night


Samantha Malay‘s work recently appeared in TINGE Magazine, In Parentheses, and SHARK REEF, and will soon be published by Kind Writers and Five South. She was born in Berlin, Germany, grew up in rural northeastern Washington State, and graduated from Seattle University’s sociology program. A theatrical wardrobe technician by trade, she is also a mixed-media artist and poetry editor in residence at Flying Ketchup Press. Her published words can be found here

A Sycamore’s Scream

By Rachel McCarren

Wolf Creek, Slippery Rock, PA, 2017

The sun’s white metallic sheen and smell
tells me I’ve awoken mid-winter. It’s morning.
The cool grass glides between my fingers—
gives and breathes like the fur of a great beast.

I open my eyes, spread my palms wide, feel the soft ground,
marred by the occasional coarse stone or brittle bone.
I’m buried ankle-deep in fall’s skirting of crumbling leaves.
Downhill from me, there are signs of human crisis:

empty beer cans, broken glass bottles, crumpled plastic bags.
I watch the ice-choked creek roil round the ringed mouths
of bald tires. I see the empty nests of eagles tangled
in the thread-bare branches of birches, trunks hollowed by plight.

The skin on my shins is rippled and scarred at eye level,
ruined by so many lovers’ knife-tips. I reach and twist, 
crack my back and knuckles, stretch my limbs.
I look down at the pit, glower at the strewn garbage,

at the piles of worm-eaten corpses, of beetle bowered towers, 
the bodies of my friends long fallen and devoured. I beckon 
the rumbling ground to awaken with my howl. 
I pause for the sound of a thousand wings ascending,
but the sky is deadly silent, and I am lonely, waiting.


Rachel McCarren‘s poetry has appeared in The Honest Ulsterman, Lupercalia Press’s debut anthology Vulcanalia, Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, The Unexposed Mag, and more. During her MFA at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, Rachel studied summers at Trinity College Dublin in IE. Rachel is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA, but she plans to permanently relocate to Ireland with her Irish partner within the next year.

THE KNOX MINE DISASTER

By Rachel McCarren

Exeter, PA, 1959

When the mine tunnels collapsed,
the river dragged fistfuls of horses into its depths,
uprooted trees and swallowed train cars whole,
trapped a hundred men inside and drowned them in darkness.

Now, the river carries the miner’s bodies back to the surface.
They float belly-up below the docks. Their dead eyes shine 
like so many dimes wasted at the bottom of a wishing well.
I wade in knee-deep with the other miners’ wives.

We sift their lovers from the black water, lay them out in a line.
When my eyes finally rest on the shoulders of my father,
I go deaf. I cannot shake the sight of his body,
bloated and bound by willow weed, face-down in the creek.


Rachel McCarren‘s poetry has appeared in The Honest Ulsterman, Lupercalia Press’s debut anthology Vulcanalia, Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, The Unexposed Mag, and more. During her MFA at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, Rachel studied summers at Trinity College Dublin in IE. Rachel is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA, but she plans to permanently relocate to Ireland with her Irish partner within the next year.

Cake

By Lindsey Morrison Grant

“Cake” Mixed (Found/Rescued/Reclaimed/Repurposed) Media, 2018  The Arrogance of Affluence is depicted with repurposed “French Lady” Barbie oblivious to the sea of impoverished faces in the ‘landscape’ below her. Frankly, this piece was inspired, not by Marie Antoinette but rather by Melania Trump.


Lindsey Morrison Grant self-identifies as a neurodiverse, two-spirit, elder storyteller deeply rooted in The Great Pacific Northwest. Grant attributes success and survival, if not salvation, to a superlative support system, mindfulness practice, and daily creative expression in words, sounds, and images.

Mother Knows Best

By Lindsey Morrison Grant

“Mother Knows Best” Digital Collage B&W (Reimagined Vintage Imagery and Ideology) 2009 In another life… another era… of mine.


Lindsey Morrison Grant self-identifies as a neurodiverse, two-spirit, elder storyteller deeply rooted in The Great Pacific Northwest. Grant attributes success and survival, if not salvation, to a superlative support system, mindfulness practice, and daily creative expression in words, sounds, and images.

death bouquet

By Tohm Bakelas

i pick up fallen 
petals and place them 
in my hand as if this 
withered arrangement 
could breathe life
into the flowers before 
the warm rain did
what warm rains do,
before spring and summer 
ended, before the weather
turned, before it died
in the fall. 


Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He has published 10 chapbooks. He runs Between Shadows Press.

cold spring

By Tohm Bakelas

throwing rocks at the sun
never mattered anyway,
you could never come close
to hitting it

the bones of the typewriter 
covered in dust
rests upon a table 
rarely touched

there are no horses here,
no horses you can 
see anyway

trains come and go
and our limbs settle
for this


Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He has published 10 chapbooks. He runs Between Shadows Press.

FOR THE WOMEN WHO DISAPEAR

By Rachel McCarren

In the darkness, her skin glows like white silk. Her mouth is bound by a ragged cloth she’s naked, hogtied on her side with triple-tied knots of red rope. Her blue eyes stare up through the jagged peaks of pines, trace the bleary outline that marks the rippling spine of the Wicklow mountainside. Inwardly, she knows why it’s here that only lovers go. Instinctively, she knows: that foxes will feast on her fingertips, crows will peck at her breasts, mice will nest in her chest, and badgers will bury what pieces are left in the bowels of the bog. She knows that she will become one of the loathsome lost.


Rachel McCarren‘s poetry has appeared in The Honest Ulsterman, Lupercalia Press’s debut anthology Vulcanalia, Anti-Heroin Chic Mag, The Unexposed Mag, and more. During her MFA at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA, Rachel studied summers at Trinity College Dublin in IE. Rachel is currently based in Pittsburgh, PA, but she plans to permanently relocate to Ireland with her Irish partner within the next year.

everything so far

By Aimée Keeble

I miss America in 1992 
and plastic clothes and every accessory smiled 
and I was afraid of the music videos 
that showed the world ruled by snarling men with mermaid hair 
I live in a time hiccup
I’m Abraham’s Sarah- womb like a treasure trove emptied of light and eggs 
but I’ll die looking 22 
All the important men in my life loved heroin more than art 
and I love art more than coked up boys with 
white chests and concave wrists and 
disproportionate blades
All these rushing years clipping my shoulders as they pass on by 
and you make me feel good enough to crack my back teeth
I miss being shown how woman I am- 
it spurs me to rage and without my rage 
I am an abandoned moon, sun-hunting and knife fingered
I am afraid of my ineptness at using a colander, buttering rice, using sugar just for me
The importance of soul feeding
When I smile at babies I want their eyes to glow
to see my reckoning because they are closer to whatever music fills me 
inbetween my dreaming

What country, shades, is this? 
This is the New World, no room therein for fantasy but the newness of blue & green eyed travellers 
They like to s p r e a d themselves until the color between things is pure 

I am lonely in the dying world holding my half page out 
to coax angel dirty tread/stamp on its blank, guide me to a 
newer crash, some ivory wet tower I can dissolve in
I don’t talk about love anymore because everybody else does
and so what can I give you, except my promise to be early on 
whatever platform your body glides in on,
no matter the weather
I miss a marble being passed instead of language, from the French palm of a girl to mine-
there is a remembering god that sleeps in my ear and wakes sometimes to whisper me
small poems of times when the sky was bathwater and off I warmed into perfect 
Now memory batters me the way I wanted love to
I am only on fire when someone shouts my name,
as if it were the last thing I’d hear 
before I tumbled upwards into a warrior’s ending 
We don’t know where it is best to be, but crawl
with your heart nearest to the ground,
if you give nothing in this life, at least give your
best beat to the world 
Here, we are here and I am unraveling in strings of gold, 
white hot sound 


Aimée has her Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and is represented by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at the David Black Agency. Aimée lives in North Carolina with her dog Cowboy and is working on her first novel. She is the grand-niece of Beat writer and poet Alexander Trocchi. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.