Hair Brushing - Syd Peck


The golden water of her hair

Cascading over her shoulder,

Spilling and filling my fingers

With smooth cool fragrance

Of lotus blossom,

Smelled long after she rose

And left the room.




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About the Author

SYD PECK is a high school English teacher. He has written many poems and short stories. In his spare time, Syd enjoys singing and playing folk music. 

how to be in love - Sarah Brunkhorst


sing my name

in a bouquet of ten


a thousand songs.

don’t give it to me.

play it for the world.

scent them with your smile.

and give them my songs too.

pick them from my head.

pull them by the stems

and watch the ribbon

come through my follicles.

it will play the more you pull.

plant me a mixtape

I can dig up and digest.

tend a garden full

of your love songs for me.

and when winter’s white embrace

freezes the record in its tracks

please hum a tune

that sounds just like you.





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"I remember giving silly poems to my mom and grandparents to make them laugh when I was young and the feeling I had when I saw I had created a reaction in them is one I have never left behind. When I grew, it was into a quiet girl from rural Missouri, but through writing I have been able to make my way to anywhere on earth and share myself with anyone." - SARAH BRUNKHORST

The Incredible Contracting Man - Andrew Darlington


Harvey wrestles briefly with his conscience,

it proves a devious adversary,

it favours some tricky holds,

pins him down to the canvas

in a headlock,

grapples him this way and that,

but the end is predetermined,

Ruth is way too tasty

to resist for long…

Ruth returns Harvey’s smile,

hands it back to him

in an empty pizza box,

she never liked it anyway,

something creepy about the sneery way

his lip curls up at the edge…

Ruth returns Harvey’s smile,

a bloodied twitching thing

while he groans in the corner,

the last time he’ll ever

badmouth her…





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About the Author

You can also find ANDREW DARLINGTON here:


Red Popsicles - Jessica Mehta


I had a sister—it’s hard

to turn a have into a had, snip

off a quarter like split ends.

She used to tell me

I didn’t act Indian. I wanted

to tell her she couldn’t ride

on that brown skin alone.

When she died, I wasn’t there.

After the call ended, when the numbness

kicked in, I let myself

for once

have the cherry popsicle first.

Didn’t make myself

pay penance by choking

down the bad flavors. And I sucked

that cold redness straight

to my center, right to the core.





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About the Author

JESSICA (TYNER) MEHTA is a Cherokee poet, novelist, and storyteller. She is the author of five collections of poetry including the forthcoming Constellations of My Body, Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo, as well as a novel, The Wrong Kind of Indian. She has been awarded the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Prize in Poetry, and numerous poet-in-residencies posts, including positions at Hosking Houses Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Paris Lit Up in France, and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, NM.

You can also find her here

The Mystery of Blue / The Reinvention of Language - Paul Ilechko

The Mystery of Blue

Do you remember how to distinguish between 

cerulean and azure? One of these must clearly

describe the color of light reflecting from a tall

glass building on a sunny day — cloudless, perhaps, 


or at least with only a scattering of fattened, 

drifting cumulus cotton balls, pregnant with the

possibility of rain, heavy with their mass of vapor.

A lowering sky, balanced between the city and the 


heavens.  And as you stand, somewhere between

the shadows of those clouds, and the shadow 

cast by the towering walls of glass, you begin, at

last, to understand the depths and mystery of blue.

The Reinvention of Language

The time of silence was ended with the crashing sound

of shattering glass. We thought that we had forgotten how

to speak, our tongues apparently stitched in place, unmoving. 


But now, the babble is unleashed. A rising tide, an echoing

of nonsense sounds, of meaningless syllables that approximate

the words of anger and dismay, of primitive communications. 


Soon, all this will settle, and from this swirling morass of savagery

a new language will emerge. Once again we will be able to

discuss, to argue, to lecture; on art, or science, or even poetry.






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About the Author

PAUL ILECHKO was born in England but has lived in the U.S. for the majority of his life. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat. Paul has had poetry published recently by Dash Literary Journal, Gravel Magazine, Full of Crow, MockingHeart Review and Slag Review, among others.

Land Flowing with Milk and Honey - Kelsey Fuson


My mother is fallow ground, 

dry and cracking. She shows off

her lack of vitality in every shaking step, 

sways and almost falls. 

There is no more grass here, 

but she's moving forward, yellow 

spreading to everything she touches

like watercolors in rain. I say mama, mama 

I say, don't you know your body is dying?

Yes, she says, yes but you can't take my living anymore.






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About the Author

KELSEY FUSON is currently studying at Furman University. She has fractured both her wrists and her right hand and was once hit in the face with a baseball bat. She loves her dog a lot. She hates carbonated drinks. This is her first publication. 

Mid-Morning, Minnesota - Martina Reisz Newberry

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About the Author

MARTINA REISZ NEWBERRY’s most recent book is "Never Completely Awake" (Deerbrook Editions, 2017). She is also the author of "Where It Goes" (Deerbrook Editions). "Learning by Rote" (Deerbrook Editions) and "Running Like a Woman with her Hair on Fire: Collected Poems" (Red Hen Press). She is also the author of "Lima Beans and  City Chicken: Memories of the Open Hearth"—a memoir of her father (one of the first men ever to be hired at Kaiser Steel in Fontana, CA in 1943)—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989. 

Newberry has been included in "It Happened Under Cover", Ascent Aspirations’ first two hard-copy anthologies, and the anthologies "In The Company Of Women," "Blessed Are These Hands and Veils" and "Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women". She has been widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. 

Newberry has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a media creative.

You can also find her here:

My Uncles - Kimo Armitage


My uncles


heave the sea turtle onto

the makeshift plywood table and

sharpen their knives on a wet stone.


By the time they are done

the turtle’s bones and carapace

are cast aside in a pile.


I put my hands in,

feel the force 

that it once was,

and understand its majesty,

this life that swam oceans.







About the Author

KIMO ARMITAGE draws upon the rich stories of his childhood, spent in Haleiwa, HI, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents.

Armitage published his first novel, The Healers, with the University of Hawaii Press in April 2016.

Wrinkles - Amy Kotthaus


People stare at the wrinkles on my hands.

I’m pretty sure they do.

These hands shouldn’t look this old;

I’m not. 

It’s the constant washing.

Change diapers- wash.

Go to the bathroom- wash.

The moisture is gone,

and the skin puckers,

especially at those knobs

of bone at the wrist.

The soap triggers a rash 

along with tiny cuts that sting 

under scalding water.


Making chicken soup leaves a mark.

Start with clean hands- wash.

Rinse and peel carrots- wash.

Repeat with celery- wash.

Cut ends off and peel onion- wash.

Dice onion with new knife- wash.

Rinse and cut chicken- wash twice.

Cook soup- wash.


The lines on my knuckles deepen

like so many hash marks

keeping track of how many times 

I’ve cleaned them today.


I wonder if people question why

there are so many bandaids

on my fingers.

I once told a phlebotomist

that I got attacked by a rooster;

to explain the bandages, I mean.

Really, I didn’t want to chance

getting blood from the last patient

in my cuts. 

It seemed more polite 

than questioning her methods. 


Cleaning bathrooms is a process.

Start with clean hands- wash.

Place clean hands in gloves.

Spray vanity with bleach cleaner.

Wipe faucet, 

then countertop,

then sink.

Throw out gloves- wash.

Don new gloves.

Apply toilet bowl cleaner.

Throw out gloves- wash.

Don new gloves.

Spray toilet and seat with bleach cleaner.

Wipe down.

Scrub toilet bowl gently

so as to avoid splashing 

toilet water up towards face.

Throw out gloves- wash twice.


I don’t touch buttons with my finger tips

but with the knuckle on my pointer finger.

Too late I forgot there was a cut there,

and I pressed the elevator button.

I called my primary care physician

to see if I should get tested for…something.


I called my OB to be sure.

They’re in the same system.

Did I just call my regular doctor? 

Yes, but the OB would want to know, 

like when I shook that moth

off my belly and thought,

perhaps, I shook the baby too.







About the Author

AMY KOTTHAUS is a writer, translator, and photographer. Her poetry has been published in Ink in Thirds, Yellow Chair Review, Haiku Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Gnarled Oak, and Section 8. Her photography has been published in Storm Cellar, Ground Fresh Thursday, Crab Fat Magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Digging Through the Fat.

You can also find her here - Twitter: @amy_kotthaus

One Thing - Hayden Bergman

The one thing I think I know

About mythology is that Apollo

Pulls the sun across the sky.

With a job like that

His house must be amazing…

But it must be gloomy when he’s gone

Me, I’d like to take my pitchfork

And break in while he’s working,

Use my star to light it up again.

I’d rearrange the furniture

Give it that mortal feng shui

And get drunk on his head-splitting wine.

Also (If I know me) I’d jerk

Off cause from that view

You’d look damn good.





About the Author

HAYDEN BERGMAN is a writer living in Abilene, TX. He is currently enrolled in the M.F.A. program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.