After Francisco Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son


Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Joanna is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015) Marys of the Sea (The Operating System, 2017), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016), Sexting Ghosts (Unknown Press, 2018), No(body) (Madhouse Press, 2019), and #Survivor (The Operating System, 2020). They are the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing By Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017), and received a MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the senior managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine.

The Mall in My Hometown is Underwater Now


Sun in an Empty Room
after Edward Hopper


Rachel Sandle (they/them/theirs) is an MFA-dropout-turned-crisis-counselor whose writing has appeared in Bad Pony Magazine, What Are Birds?, Indicia Lit, and others. Rachel lives in Lawrence, KS, where they write, draw, and photograph vanity license plates. You can find them on Twitter @floating_orb.

A Letter From A Million Crayfish

My love said
she wanted me to eat more
and tickled my ribcage
like a xylophone. The day she left me

a million crayfish laid siege upon a restaurant
in the heart of Paris. A stranger threw an orange at me,
it turned to stone and broke my arm.

I didn’t strike him back because the orange
that became a stone that broke
my arm turned into a small bird and flew away. I hated it
though I love flying things
and I loved the crayfish though I revile crawling things.

At home, I put socks on
rather than go to the hospital.
I make foie gras out of spite.
The floor leaks water and fills
with a million crayfish who
want to give me hugs and eat me
after I cook in some butter.

They puncture my eyes with cloves
pulled from my Christmas oranges that
then become stones and then birds
flying away. They tickle my ribcage
and titter about all the good fat there.

I want to tell the stranger and all of Paris that
my love has turned into a million crayfish, stabbing
me, eating me. My speech comes out
in a series of rushed eighth notes. I am dispirited,
I have no clue what sort of bird an orange becomes.


My Friends

Most weekends, bats fly
into my mouth at odd hours.

I spit them out and invite them to sit for a while.
I make them tea and dote on the winged things.

I ask them if it is true, about Dracula.
They tell me it is all true, about Dracula.


Evan Williams is an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. His work has appeared or will appear in DIAGRAM, the Rockvale Review, and Belt Publishing’s LGBTQ Anthology. He can be found on Twitter @evansquilliams. 


After “800 db cloud” by 100 gecs

I paid two demons twenty bucks and the boof
weed to build me an evil radio with a bone dial
that screams when you turn it — a knuckle needle
rotating in giggling counter clockwise between stations
of damned souls watching cartoons and drooling

into bowls of forlorn cereal and white dudes doing
podcasts which are really just opinions which are really
just the diggings of an archaeologist who thinks
he’s discovered a dinosaur but the whole time he was
digging over a landfill so he puts a toilet bowl on

his head and runs around screaming I’m a
diplodocus I’m a diplodocus until he plummets
into his own hole and is later dug up by an even less
competent archaeologist who thinks this is evidence
of neolithic plumbing. He will probably get tenure.

I do not hate him. I too am addicted to myself
and need the future to be eaten by wolverines.
He said is this radio FM and I said yeah it’s FM:
Fuckin’ aMazing. He did not laugh. I was
Fully Mistaken. I am a lonely hominid.


Nicholas Holt has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Florida State University. He is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets award. His work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The Kudzu Review, The Shore, Peatsmoke, and Okay Donkey.

Twitter: @goblinluvr

How to Perform A Bad Reading
of Lee Edelman


The narrator clings
to the epithet, the child
to the queer faith
of theory. I say this

to say that boys grow chain
to the site of meaning.
Meaning, I do not want
to drive the void machine.

I want arbitrary, pathetic
pleasures. A billboard
proposing a fictive passage
through a foreclosed bar.

Or one waif day,
spinning a tomorrow
unseen by the future.
A gap in the grave.

Language scavenged from “Queer Theory and the Death Drive,”
after Tyler Bradway’s “Bad Reading.”


How to Perform a Bad Reading
of Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick

Gap pleasures. Delay
the spectacle. Part
the texts. Lose
a few objects
in evacuation.
Lump the double
entendre. Attach to
the markers. Demand
the fantasies you think
the text denotes,
hurling to find
the pushy
impulsion
of the
self.

Language scavenged from “Tendencies,”
after Tyler Bradway’s “Bad Reading.”


How to Perform a Bad Reading
of Jack Halberstam


Dani Smotrich-Barr grew up in Michigan and recently graduated from Wesleyan University. They have work published or forthcoming in Vagabond City, Birdcoat Quarterly, giallo, Cease, Cows and STORGY, and won the 2020 Dorchester Prize from Wesleyan. You can reach them on Twitter @smotrich_barr.

If god can feel anything, it would be guilt
For the red futon in the middle lane of the highway
His skinned hide
detones the pride of a meteorite
as tireless, flagrant grins strict around.
screech the pavement
and a rusty pick-up lowers onto an unfolded road

each day,
a fist stuck in the air
stuffed Japanese pastries at midnight
under tickling July Christmas lights
waking up the ring app

dipping watermelon in thick, spiced chocolate
carmine slurps a multicolored popsicle—
reaching blue— the text of his teeth
spared a tinge of tint in the wooden stick
while squinting with magnetic scars of outburst.

If anything could strike a collision.
It might collide at a distance.
It would collide right away.


Stephanie Gonzalez is the daughter of Nicaraguan immigrants. She is a graduate of the Accelerated Master of Architecture program at Florida International University. She treasures her old Moleskines full of chicken scratch and loves indie and folk music, watching things grow and everything tea and topped with strawberries. You can follow her on Instagram @stephiee_xp


Anna Saikin’s writing can be found in Potomac Review, Per Contra, Abstract Magazine, and Pretty Owl. Her chapbook DEAR CARO was recently published by Desert Willow Press. She received a PhD in English from Rice University, and currently teaches at a private high school in Houston, TX.

Twitter: @AnnaSaikin
Instagram: @AnnaSaikin

That was the first in five. Away. She washed dishes; I walked near the jetty thousand-fifty miles away on our fifth. 

I thought of her. Dan. Like every year.

On foreign shores, three months without friends. Needing somebody to talk to, I plucked a man in a hat tugging a flat-bottomed country boat. 

‘Halloo!’

‘Oye, Halloo, sir!’

‘I’m drowning!’ There’s great bravado in anonymity. I just spilled.

‘Life, sir?’ He offered.

I nodded.

‘We take a sleep. Under stardust. Twelve years stretched!’

‘Yes?’

‘Fifty plus expenses.’ He laid bait. A cheap one.

‘Aye? Think I’m a foolin’ ye?’

I could be indifferent. I chose to get that hook between my teeth. 

He let me on his rickety fishing boat. 

Rosy Starlings were flying in formation after sunset. The bay opened up and a gap in the surf marked where the river channel ran out to sea. On both its sides, a thick deep green showed the outlines of a virgin forest. Above them rose the grey-green hills, like clouds cast in stone. 

We approached the island enveloped in brooding silence, anchored the boat he’d named Castaway, lit a lantern, and walked inland in the eroding light. 

Wading through the marshes, negotiating long grass, we reached a clearing.

‘Here it is, sir! Make yourself at home!’

He abandoned me, disappeared into one of the shanties nearby.

A little afar, the condescendingly burning lantern in my hand revealed a merry group around a bonfire. They were strangely warm, welcomed me to a feast. I know not what we ate. 

As darkness firmed up, the group prepared for the stardust that they said lasted until everyone was asleep. 

‘First celebrations, then long sleep!’

For some unknown reason, I didn’t want to disbelieve. 

I watched awed as the sky lit up in due time and stardust rained bountifully. A discernible glass-like air coalesced nearby. The men got up, danced around the fire to a sickening beating of drums. 

I felt drowsy: effect of a rush of pure oxygen from the stardust? I still had time to reason.

My heartbeats became slower and slower. I noticed the dancers increasingly unsteady, falling one by one. Imagine a Ferris wheel slowing down, but moving yet, nobody to stop it. Stream of light like a firecracker show gone wrong. Hitting the ground like pounding rain, a thousand drops all at once. Like when Lila and I drove into a ditch. Was it blinding rain, or were we too drunk to notice directions? And too young to be annoyed by clothes caked in mud! That was the time I had just pried her away from Dan. Six months later, we were married!

I watched in trance, not asleep yet, not awake enough to escape. The drummers continued to beat to a crescendo around the men. One of them made an effort, dragged his feet to the women huddled just beyond the circle of light. The woman he gestured to, stood up. She embraced the male not very unlike Dan. 

I narrowed my eyes.

Lila? 

Lila who’d be home with our kids? Dan who’d be on the trading floor on Wall Street! 

The two of them, barely able to stand, staggered towards a giant Mahogany, whose top was already on fire. 

Stardust was falling still and the sky illuminated like on Carnival Night, our trailer parked on the right of the roundabout, our happy family giggling, kids running about with pinwheels in hand. Like the Sunday before I came here.

I could see Lila and Dan, silhouetted against the growing flames, still in tight unison, insistent drumbeats driving me to lunacy.

Something trickled in my skull, something like antipathy. I stumbled, fell a few times. When I came really close and hovered over their clasped forms, they did not even notice. A minute later I made the strike.

Then I slept.

I’ve recollections of being dragged, shuffled about in huge courtrooms, ending up in slithering lines with compartmentalized steel plate in hand waiting for meals.

I woke up today, twelve years on; to change into tee and jeans that feel like dead skin, hug my body like a long-lost friend. 

The prison overalls lie in a heap at the corner of my cell.

***


Mandira Pattnaik writes in India and considers herself lucky to have appeared in The Times of India, Eclectica, Commuterlit, Splonk, Heavy Feather Review, (Mac)ro(mic), Nightingale&Sparrow, Lunate, DoorIsAJar and Spelk, among others. Her work is forthcoming in Ilanot Review and Watershed Review. ‘Adab’, one of her short stories, is currently showcased under Editor’s Picks at Juggernaut Books. She was also included in NFFD NZ and Flash Flood UK 2020.

Find her at @MandiraPattnaik





Joe Nasta is a queer writer and mariner who splits zir time between New York, Seattle, and the Ocean. Joe is one half of the art and poetry collective Eat Yr Manhood and runs a communal studio at the Sun and Moon House in Beacon Hill, Seattle. Zir work has been published in The Rumpus, Yes Poetry, Pidgeonholes and others. Ze co-curates a zine of unconventional art and writing at stonepacificzine.com and serves as prose reader for The Adroit Journal. Find Joe on Instagram and Twitter @roflcoptermcgee and at joenasta.com.