Tag Archives: Issue 9

Man from Earth and Sky

By Lili Bird

There is something volcanic 
behind his eyes 
that trowels 
nourishment 
like black soil succours
the wild gums

but not black 
they are the blue above 
the mountains 
with a little yellow 
just before 
the fade

perhaps he is the sky 
full of soft
and storm 
clouds that thrash 
deluge and bleed 
rainbows. 


Lili Bird is a writer and visual artist from the Blue Mountains, Australia. Having spent a long time in the wilds of Canada, Iceland, Scotland, and her own rugged bushland home, Lili draws inspiration from her love of travel, road trips, and remote wilderness exploration. Central to her work are themes of duality, vulnerability, beauty, fear, and love, encapsulating her experiences as a young woman.  Her writing has been published in Woman Cave Collective, and she recently had her first solo art show in Sydney.

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.

Nature unchained

By Emma Geller

I

the cat wanders by—
finds the end of her nine lives, 
in sticky sidewalks long empty.

II

the coyote howls
in the pale desert sand,
the wise man does too.

III

the moon wails to the sea,
a pearled old longing,
in their hug, they form the tide. 

IV

she walks alone, away—
splitting the highway,
the deer lay.

V

cherry blossoms rain
on her grave, springtime’s 
veil turning—into garlands. 


Emma Geller  is a young poet from Boston, MA. She is endlessly inspired by the natural world and is thrilled that her haiku collection has found a new home online.

Candy Girl

By Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick

“Your bones are made of sugar because you’re just so sweet!” my mother said the first time I was sent home from school. I was seven years old. My wrist had snapped during recess, the jagged bone jutting out of my skin and into the air. It was amber-coloured and slightly sticky and smelled sweet, like solid honey. My mother had to keep pushing the dog away so she couldn’t lick it.

“Don’t cry, love,” she said, wiping tears from my cheeks. “We’ll fix you up in no time.” She sat me at the kitchen table, still cradling my wrist. Then she pulled out a small saucepan and added sugar and water to it. She put the pan on the burner and turned on the heat, stirring the mixture until it began to bubble. I could smell the sugar cooking, a sweet, burning scent that matched too closely with what wafted up from my wrist. It made me hungry and nauseous. After a few minutes, she pulled the pan off the stove and brought it over to me.

“My candy girl,” my mother said lovingly as she forced the fragment of sugared bone back into the skin of my wrist. She whistled as she poured the molten liquid into the wound. I blacked out and, hours later, awakened to find myself in bed. Clawing at the bandage on my wrist, I ripped it off and saw how the sugar had hardened, attaching bone to bone again. The skin would grow back in a few weeks, and it would look exactly as it always did.

More from Goat’s Milk Magazine

It’s not so hard, living in a body like this. I like to tell people that I’m sweet to my core. I always laugh. They rarely get the joke.

I had a boyfriend once who was obsessed with the idea of my bones. When I told him they were candy, he said he didn’t believe me. But he couldn’t stop thinking about them. Sometimes he would spend whole weeks barely touching me, as though I would snap if he held my hand too tightly. Other times he got rough out of nowhere, gripping my arm or the back of my neck as though he could crush me into sugar granules with his bare hands. I imagined him fantasizing about turning my bones into crystals and stirring them into his coffee.

Once, when he was drunk, he got on his knees and grabbed my foot and sucked on my big toe like it was a lollipop. He gently, so gently, bit down. He begged me to let him eat one of them, just to see if it were true. To see if my bones would crunch like candy between his teeth. 

I stopped telling dates about my bones after that. There are a lot of weirdos in this world.

“My father once told me that I should donate my body to science to examine the candy girl when I die.”

Do you ever think about what your skeleton looks like? How it sits inside you, gleaming and perfect as a Halloween decoration? I’ve always been a little jealous of people who can walk into museums or rob graves and get a look at their future. It sounds dreamy to know exactly what you’ll look like when you’re dead and gone.

I haven’t seen my bones since I was seven. It’s not that I’m careful. In fact, I’ve been trying to break myself for years just to get another look at what’s inside me. No luck, however. Apparently, candy is quite hard.

I think my skeleton must be beautiful, like some macabre confectioner’s masterpiece. Every Día de Los Muertos, I look at sugar skulls and think, that’s what I look like, underneath all this. I hope I’m decorated just like that, a riot of colours against my caramel bones. I will be the loveliest skeleton at the cemetery one day, even if no one will be able to see me. My father once told me that I should donate my body to science to examine the candy girl when I die. But I think I’ll keep these sweet bones to myself. I’ll be a treat for bugs until the day I melt, leaving only some sticky earth to mark that I was here.


Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick (she/her) lives in Philadelphia with her husband and black cat. Her fiction has appeared in Maudlin House, Ellipsis Zine, New Gothic Review, and Coffin Bell Journal, among others. Find her on Instagram at or on Twitter.

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.

TO A WOODPECKER

By Mark Jackley

Once again, you knock
on the door 
of my inattention.
I open it,
those daffodils
are flowers, 
not stars.
A nuthatch 
squeaks, a pulley 
in my brain
anthro-
pomorphosizes
helplessly,
long after the fall.


Mark Jackley‘s poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Sugar House Review, The Cape Rock, Talking River, Cagibi, and other journals. His book Many Suns Will Rise is forthcoming from The Main Street Rag Press. He lives in Purcellville, Virginia.

I see you’re tired

By Luca Massimo Lombardo

while pouring grapefruit juice in your prosecco 
stretching sadness
that you’d last forever.
In your blue eyes, cold as ice 
burns the shadow
of what you’ve never said;
you tired of standing on that stage 
which gave you nothing but weariness 
while your love is now in someone else’s arms
and you
still consumed 
open another beer 
before lurking in your bed, 
early 
as you do 
every night.


Luca Massimo Lombardo lives in Milan, Italy. He writes short stories and poetry. He’s the author of “Rats Chewed Up My Doormat” published in Italy. He’s interested in everything that happens after 2am. His works appeared in literary magazines and webzines such as “Unpublishable Zine”, “King’s Daily”, “Runcible Spoon”, “Brave Voices Magazine” and “Peeking Cat”.

Folding Hands

By Dominic Loise

For me- 
the best story 
of transformation at church
was not loaves and fishes 
or water into wine 
but my father 
quietly showing me
how he learned to fold
his Sunday Palm 
into a cross during mass


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.

PHENOMENA, A PLAYLIST

By Mark Jackley

  1. Gospel of the cat’s wet fur
  2. Soft rain on the trailer
  3. Frying pan at midnight sputtering of cold graves
  4. Sword of light from a cracked door
  5. Wet basketball in my hands
  6. Gardner in straw hat dreaming over the steering wheel
  7. Mailbox like a hunchback trying to thumb a ride
  8. How of the air but heavy we cut the air, ripples
  9. Book clutched like a weapon
  10. Warm laundry, humdrum zen
  11. Braille of wet pine needles on bare feet
  12. Mourners softly drifting
  13. Pills like Christmas lights
  14. Waking like Adam and Eve, nothing between us but time
  15. Crow, little black king
  16. One darkness and one me
  17. Stranger on the train dropping blueberries in my palm

Mark Jackley’s poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Sugar House Review, The Cape Rock, Talking River, Cagibi, and other journals. His book Many Suns Will Rise is forthcoming from The Main Street Rag Press. He lives in Purcellville, Virginia.

Your portrait

By Luca Massimo Lombardo

Diving in a Milanese shower of sunshine
sitting on a bench at the races
in your deep and dark sunglasses loneliness
hiding your hollow eyes
worrying about eternity.
I feel your blues, distant
you already know darling
there’s no Mr Tambourine Man 
waiting for you 
at the end of your day.


Luca Massimo Lombardo. He’s the author of “Rats Chewed Up My Doormat” published in Italy. He’s interested in everything that happens after 2am. His works appeared in literary magazines and webzines such as “Unpublishable Zine”, “King’s Daily”, “Runcible Spoon”, “Brave Voices Magazine” and “Peeking Cat”.