—Yes, it’s true, the bees here roar. Underground. Especially first thing
in the morning. Especially after dark.

—Yes, we have bees here that moan like the dead. Right creepy, if you
ask me. Would you like to see my collection of false teeth?

—What’s all this [buzzing] about bees? Mind your own [beeswax].

—The roses are roaring again, a favorite trick of theirs before
they splay themselves into nothing & sleep for another year.

—Have I noticed anything strange with the bees around here?
Nope. But the dead here are pretty strange—they think they’re bees.

—Darkening into deeper dark, the bloom, the bloom, the endless
bloom. I start awake—

the languid stink of rotting roses.

 


 

Amee Nassrene Broumand is a self-taught Iranian-American poet. She has a B.A. in Philosophy & English from Boise State University, where she tutored logic for six semesters, graduated summa cum laude, & was named a Top Ten Scholar. Afterwards she spent 13 years working odd jobs in San Francisco & writing thousands of poems in her spare time. Nominated for a Pushcart in 2017 by Sundog Lit, she also has poems in Word RiotA-Minor MagazineRight Hand PointingWindfall, & elsewhere. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon & blogs for Burning House Press. Find her on Twitter: @AmeeBroumand

Take your telescope and spin it around
until you’re too dizzy

to think. The length of the desert keeps changing,
heat rising in wrinkled waves.
We’ve travelled from
the polar caps for this, and there’s power
in that movement.
Three words, and they are

what you think, but maybe we can take the morning light
and fold it into our pockets, brush against it with our knuckles,
remember it’s there and smile.

We’re tremendously lucky, mapping the scratches
on the laminate floor. It’s useful as we move,
fighting the forces against us, shoving our backs
against stucco.

Find your favorite nebula.
Kiss me again.

 


 

Alana Saltz is a poet, writer, and disability rights activist living in Tacoma, WA. Her poetry has appeared in Words Dance, Rust+Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, LadyLibertyLit, and voxpoetica.

Twitter: @alanasaltz

 

Congestion

my pillow reveals a crater,
a center lacking stuffing.
shapeless piñata punched once, and more.
just a basin for stubborn groans
and salt that reminds me
of coffee drops sold at the nearest Walgreens,
the good stuff, keeping my back firm
in an unbolted chair, resolved to finish
and seek distraction in pastel acrylics.

tomorrow, I’ll walk to the local museum
and learn how to properly shade,
defining lines so they conceal the creases
seen for years, around my lips
that fold, confiding in jagged teeth
and the lingering breeze
I will always miss
after the thickest chocolate chai tea latte
that brought me to gurgle at intake.

 

 

Crack

modest mother sits between two women just as anonymous/ though receptionists often boast about that three-film résumé/ she wears no clips in her calcite hair, cheeks wooden squares he poured profanities over/ stumbling in the morning/ whatever brought life has left the campus/ and we refuse to complete the essays she listlessly assigned/ two men stop by with vodka thrashing against the walls of chipped coffee mugs/ we point at the lack of lids/ they shrug, smirk, and point at modest mother laughing behind the glass/ she only signs contracts blown from glass/ no one can really claim, with certainty, that she threw the glass.

 


 

On the weekends, Kristine Brown frequently wanders through historic neighborhoods, saying “Hello” to most any cat she encounters. Some of these cats are found on her blog, Crumpled Paper Cranes (https://crumpledpapercranes.com). Her creative work can be found in HobartSea Foam MagPhilosophical Idiot, among others, and a collection of flash prose and poetry, Scraped Knees, was released in 2017 by Ugly Sapling

Twitter: @dandyflight

They placed my body
where the yard ends
under brick and cinder block
three feet from the shed.
Eighty-eight years of decay
and nothing
but a single pillow of moss
decorates my habitat.
My name will vanish,
from paper, stone,
memory.
I’ll belong to the earth
slivering into sewer pipes.
They will think it strange:
finding things out of place
keys boxed in closets,
phones thrown into ditches,
glasses under the bed.
Or when I haunt them at night
to give one last kiss
of dread.

 


 

Caleb is from the Middle of Nowhere, SC, and enjoys growing avocado plants alongside of his trusty four-legged sidekick. When he has time, he is a children’s librarian. 
Twitter: @Octoleal

The combination of my body can change over time.

There is a potential for bruising that I never imagined.

The sky looks like pee and the dogs threw up grass.

He had a skinny torso & he asked, “r u interested in pain?”

I picked two cherry tomatoes and ate them immediately.

We’re just lying on his futon in his mom’s basement, & I’m getting felt up or something.

I’m staring at this pin-up poster of a cowgirl, I think about that poster all the time.

The bugs are so loud, leaving their bodies, remember when the eyes oozed out in the documentary abt death?

I want yr arm sewn to my arm, I think the string would feel so good.

 


 

Delia Rainey is a musician and writer living in the south side of St. Louis, Missouri. Her prose and poems have been featured in Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Spy Kids Review, El Balazo Press, Peach Magazine, Potluck Magazine, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Western Humanities Review, Water Soup, and others. She tweets often: @hellodeliaaaaa.

being falls out of the sky,

(in this case, you)

                                       silvered,

mistaken in binoculars,

by amateur astronomers,

          for a passing comet.

                                at distance,

                this light is everything

                   that may be seen,

body burning up

on re-entry,

meat sloughing

off the bones.

                     (you were warned;

     immolation is an awful death).

as yet, you are more

than the inevitable crater,

                a carbonic soot-stain of

 

                    i am

                   i am

                  i am

 

                                      embrace

                           terminal velocity,

                                         enjoy it.

   

while they were up the mountain,

        hiding from god,

you wrote your name

        on the moon

                                  in rocket fuel.

 


 

Amy Kinsman is a genderfluid poet and playwright from Manchester, England. As well as being the founding editor of Riggwelter Press and associate editor of Three Drops From A Cauldron, they are also the host of a regular open mic. Their work has appeared in many places, including Bombus Press, L’Ephemere Review, Pidgeonholes, Rust + Moth and Up The Staircase Quarterly. Their debut pamphlet & was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize and is due out in April 2018.
akinsman.tumblr.com // @shemolrows

The trick requires separate compartments : several different women : perhaps
she is unduly flexible :                              a contortionist : extremely patient

Above the waist, she must be neuter: a minimizing bra or binder; a button-down
shirt with no gaping – no suggestion of burgeoning or tumescence; a jacket
with a least two buttons, preferably three (the key
is containment); any fitting, any feminine touch (a peplum, or bit
of lace) must be balanced by conservative neutrals:
grey, navy, black.

Below the waist, she must be all femme: a fitted skirt
that hits above the knee. Her legs exposed, shapely
and hairless. The legs must
hint at the way she clefts & clefts, how she will
cleave & cleave.

In some variations, there is more than one blade, serrated or dull. For instance, perhaps
the shoes – always high-heeled, pointy toed – are also
severed.

For instance, in some iterations, members of the audience are invited
to wrap ropes around her arms, legs or neck, and hold tight. The “Wakeling Variation”
utilizes a collar around her neck, weighted with heavy chain.

For a woman to maintain her bodily integrity
has always been a parlor trick. In boardrooms, conferences,
statehouses, a smattering
of polite applause for her, thunderous
for the man who points & flourishes, who wields
the tool, who holds out his hand to gingerly
assist her back to her feet.

 


 

C. Kubasta is the author the chapbooks, A Lovely Box and &s, the full-length collections, All Beautiful & Useless,and most recently Of Covenants (poetry, Whitepoint Press) and Girling (a novella, Brain Mill Press). She is active with the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, coordinates the Lake Reading Series at the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, and serves as Assistant Poetry editor with Brain Mill Press. Her work explores place (the Midwest), the body (our imperfect perfect flesh), and language (its slippages). Find her at www.ckubasta.comFollow her @CKubastathePoet.

If I could sing there are songs I’d sing all the time// and I don’t know what I’m you for so// it looks like the owl went through a small child// again a piece of paper// the shelf to salvage// a season with my graft infection// when I clutched on this particular story about the beeping noise if// I could sing I’d never shut// up unannounced to netherworld// for all of the trash in the ocean is going to be for a long// time since I did any drawing a blank// page is one of my favorite colors that// gives me a stupid question// whether or not someone made me so angry// at least five recently published peer-reviewed journals// give us the opportunity for unbridled passion// of the Christ// child again for all those who are projected to be// without changing their minds// think alike of this// the most bummer road trip playlist ever since// my flight to feel nervous// about driving the// ocean is going to be a big fiction// and fantasy world where// you can have fresh air by// the time we get to meet up with// subjects to write about late last night// I had a very specific pattern of notes that// the themes would have felt stronger if// I could sing there are songs I’d sing all the time.

 


 

Kerrin Smith was born in Maryland and she lives in Baltimore. Her poems have appeared in The Avenue, Banshee, Rock & Sling, Seltzer, Skelter, Welter, and the anthology Nasty published by Babe Press. She has contributed a short essay to Cartridge Lit, and is also the author of several ten-minute plays. If she’s sitting, she’s knitting.

Twitter: @infinite_ugh

We shared our first kiss beneath his adopted baby brother’s blanket,
the brother his parents returned before their divorce a few weeks later.

He gave me my first pet name in the 7th grade, but that was after
we played guitar in his basement with the lights off, before
he left without telling me good-bye.

Three summers later, he found me drowning in a Sugar Run lake
with an anchor of whiskey and gin fishhooked at my ankles.

I was his first.

The wildflowers he left in my garage wilted in motor oil,
but the ones he sent after I was discharged from the hospital
remained tokens on my vanity throughout junior year.
I stayed alive because of him.

On Christmas Eve, I weaved a bracelet of pearls around his wrist.
Bottles of Old Fezziwig Ale and New Castle chimed in the kitchen
when I told him I had to go, and the lights on the tree
flickered as I showed him my back without a spine.
He did not follow me.

I wonder if he is happy, too.
Still I taste saltwater when I hear our song.

 


 

A Pushcart Prize nominee and a two-time Best of the Net nominee, Amber D. Tran is the Editor-in-Chief for the Cold Creek Review literary journal. Her work has been featured in Calliope, After the Pause, Spry Literary Journal, Cheat River Review, and more. Her award-winning debut novel, Moon River, was released in September 2016. She can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using @amberdtran.