genre: Poetry

the Banjo Player explains

the Banjo Player explains

By Matthew E. Henry (MEH)   

no. he weren’t no kin of mine. not my pa or grandpa. no grey-headed uncle neither. just some drifter mister Henry paid to be painted, same as me. but he was told to really teach me how to pluck and strum—told it made it “more authentic.” so I set there listenin’ to one mumble ‘bout… Read more »

Every day I wake up & get dressed for my own funeral

By Quintin Collins   

after Enzo Silon Surin Some mother said to always wear a clean pair of underwear in case of emergencies in which EMTs need cut off your pants, and some other mother said dress like every outfit is your last as if the funeral walks in lockstep. I iron wrinkles from my jeans, shirts, and chinos.… Read more »

Your Sister, Wyeth, Shoes

By Liz Abrams-Morley   

This morning you’re thinking about shoes, of a painting your sister is trying to complete, socked feet of all those young men, her son’s friends come to make a shiva call, to visit a mother in shock, grieving, boys removing sneakers so as to not soil her carpet. Fifteen years later, she paints what she… Read more »

Every Time I Sharpen the Knives

By Rachel M. Dillon   

or clatter them into the sink, I think of John Muir, suddenly blind by an awl snapped upward, piercing his eye. What remained? A hunger for holiness, like when I realize everything outside was made by someone’s hands—even the rats, boundless and loud, fat on trash. All of it, I fold into the suitcase of… Read more »

something about Miles

By Bonita Lee Penn   

-after So What, by Miles Davis complex kind of blue man in a silent way     kind of complicated man who birth coolness miles ahead his sounds    this kind of mellowness his groove flawed and loved and feared even though his nothing or all stance towards women the drugs and all that    within a world of… Read more »

My Plot of Dirt

By Robert Carr   

after Octavio Paz Spring snows pink lips and you, beloved plot of dirt, take me to your lily-of-the-valley bed, rest my head on rising falls of flesh-drift and mudslide. I reach for your fumbling finger, you fill my gut with pebbles, roots. Lift me from your lowland, count half-children oozing from this body in the… Read more »

Storage Body Triptych

By Sara Dudo   

I To erect a greenhouse on a perennial farm: 1, 2, 3 group push of metal arches up to heirloom sun dipping underneath each metal line along the other side     rays peppering the eye we mourn spring eternal cycle: fingertips sweat along hot metal each ladder step             a tinny hymn, echoing edict of screw… Read more »

[I was told there’s a fairy tale where all the daughters]

By Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick   

I was told there’s a fairy tale where all the daughters heal their own wounds by completing their assignment before midnight. Every Wednesday, the daughters set fire to the village & everyone agrees the daughters should burn as the summer & just as welcome. Look! The warmth the daughters bring, an offering. I was told… Read more »

To the Men on the Porch

By Mary Ann Honaker   

She’s in her own little world, says one man to the other, as I walk by their front porch where they sit and drink beer with the front door wide open. Actually, I’m harvesting encounters: tiger lilies planted by a driveway, a bursting snowball bush, the curious way one tree’s branch turned ninety degrees to… Read more »

At St. Michael’s feet

By Martha McCollough   

in the dark museum taking the form of a little dragon burnt black, square-headed, crouching doggish at the angel’s feet the devil is so ugly-cute you want to take him home give him a cushion a little plaid blanket don’t you always make that mistake— what looked harmless enters the house begins to swell and… Read more »

Dos Generaciones / Two Generations

By Samuel "Sami" Miranda   

The jibaro builds his home on a mountainside the flamboyan adds its red to the view. The spaces between the slats allow the music of the pitirre’s call to enter the home and adds to the quiquiriqui of the rooster that struts his ownership of morning. The jibaro walks the mountain sees that it is


By Valerie Smith   

the sunflower aches her long neck under duress of a blue roof’s eave her seed draws evening’s edge thin lines of black and white pinstripe yearn for unity. wine poured out burns closer to the stem’s sacrifice. roots, unmentionable. deep seeking. whole as the hovered sea carried in. currents pull color in bright directions. cool… Read more »


By Amanda Rabaduex   

This is a desert scene. Imagine the cactus fever green hunger strewn across sands but we are driving 80 so Sonoran streams out the window. Morning moon shining white atop blue. Let’s call it cerulean. Imagine the eagles echo over fricative land. This is no Blood Meridian, this is a road trip pastoral where the… Read more »

Sweet Samba

By Shauna M. Morgan   

    Sweet Samba Bellies touch in a full orbit, a navel and hip belt a Congo sphere a corner circle a Kikongo Semba, masemba from coast to coast and we move like two eager ocean waves lapping at each other conjuring up our old and new from Soyo to Bahia and ours is not… Read more »

I Dream I Am The Statue Of Liberty

By Lauren WB Vermette   

After the Overturn of Roe v. Wade, June 24th, 2022 New York Harbor has shoved itself inside me. Swallowed Emma Lazarus’ bronze words in reverse: I lift my lamp beside the golden door!… ..The wretched refuse of your teeming shore… …glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command… …Mother of exiles, from her beacon hand… Tourists… Read more »

What If My Father Not My Father

By Meghan Sterling   

with his metal legs of the walker and skin hanging like ears, his breasts like ears, what if he had his body back the body he knew in his youth shooting hoops what if he had the body that made me in the back of the Volkswagen bus in a parking lot in Oregon or… Read more »

swan songs

By Tramaine Suubi   

on this 10th anniversary of your grandmothers’ deaths pack a suitcase, buy a one-way ticket to the motherland to the first place you called home leave the airport, pass the city, drive into the dusk open the door to the bungalow, breathe in the dust sit on the narrow bed, tenderly lay out your dresses… Read more »

Don Hipolito

By Samuel "Sami" Miranda   

sometimes we forget that the connections for the batteries on our transistor radio corroded that the songs we wanted to listen to are in our heads that we remember them and sing as our feet travel a road not meant for the tires of trucks or cars just the soles of our shoes to visit… Read more »

My Mind Wanders Down to the Darkness

By Ellen June Wright   

some mornings, after prayer, my mind wanders down to the darkness  of the lower decks, to women  packed in like dry goods upon a shelf hardly room to stretch their legs, their arms. I feel them there in the discomfort of womanhood—  moon phases passing through their bodies  during the long ship’s journey or pregnancy… Read more »

Intimacy Among Young Men

By Juan Pablo Mobili   

The day belonged to the patrols and informants posing as early morning roosters, but the night was ours, distorted guitars bursting through cheap speakers, we were hummingbirds barely out of our cages, fearing to be arrested for the unlicensed nectar in our beaks, aware we’d be almost safe if we kept our humming to a… Read more »

[Creole is a daughtertongue, a cousintongue]

By Kalani Padilla   

After M. NourbeSe Philip’s “Discourse on the Logic of Language” Creole is a daughtertongue, a cousintongue but there’s an armed warden on duty      inside my mouth  he swings at all my sentences. What emerges is a resuscitated corpse of a lan lan l/an/guage/anguish     subordinate to a main clause as if to a Luna on a… Read more »

Black Tresses and Wild Eyes

By Arvinder Kaur Johri   

If I choose to be reborn, god build this world for me: Black and brown bodies cascading across the globe with black tresses and wild eyes. A riot of power that breaks white into red and red into deep red. Trees that shed leaves on our naked bodies and sun that folds into the hollows… Read more »


By Janlori Goldman   

from the Hebrew: to return, ask forgiveness, make amends A word lies buried at the bottom of the bluestone well,  obscured in gurgle and murk, holds a secret  and likes it that way— once this word called someplace home but it grew up  abandoned and feral, scissored its own hair,  with no wink back at… Read more »

Gay Voice

By Grant Chemidlin   

Little moon, little hilltop of the throat, little bloom— orchids petalled white, night-breeze like a silk dress. The queen peacock is fast asleep. Holes in the grass where crickets should be, but there are fireflies, star-flecks, a red, teeming planet. Keep it far. Keep it quiet. Keep mouth closed so the sun never rises. Light,… Read more »

“the secret is that the world loves you” waltz

By Amanda Rabaduex   

-after Kelli Russell Agodon in early morning’s quiet  rays murmur through the window warm lines on my thighs  my skin so in love with heat I’d kiss the sun if I could  how can we hold what we can’t grasp? at night in the valley  winter’s silence is shunned shadows rustle last year’s leaves  an… Read more »

Living Without Suffocating

By Samuel "Sami" Miranda   

We were prepared to endure. We were prepared to endure. But kids imprisoned without their parents? But kids imprisoned without their parents? We were kids without parents, imprisoned but prepared to endure. This is a suffocating desperation, This is a suffocating desperation, trying to live crowded. trying to live crowded. This is a trying desperation,… Read more »

There Are No Lessons for the Dead

There Are No Lessons for the Dead

By Enzo Silon Surin   

There is no longing for the dead, no remorse or regret of not having lived a fuller life—the Dead Sea does not wish to be ocean or river, a frozen finch perched under a tree is no more alive than the leaves that contain it. We are aware of this but are creatures of ceremony… Read more »

ghazal to the moon

By Mishal Imaan Syed   

Every fourth week, the floodgates unbuckle and part the sea. Blood eddies in a river dance and I find myself suddenly wildened, fifty milliliters rising to the moon’s pull. I sorrow fully, releasing my soul to the dappled pelt of the night sky. I am not with the waves, but I want to be. In… Read more »


By Shauna M. Morgan   

This deep ocean of melancholy waving through me, and all the doubts and suspicions snapping like little turtle neurons, flashing bulbs of insecurity and a truth I have come to slowly accept. These are the songs you hear from my body. You stretch and press your feet against my belly, the top of the fundus… Read more »

Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room by Cynthia Bargar

By Christine Jones   

Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room Cynthia Bargar Lily Poetry Review Books 2022, 76 pages, $18.00 “You know we are miracles, don’t you? Don’t you?/Are we? Are we?” questions the speaker in the poem “After Infinitely Polar Bear at the Coolidge Corner Cinema.” Are we worthy? Are we capable? What is the meaning of our

What Drifted Here By Barbara Siegel Carlson

By Mark Walsh   

What Drifted Here By Barbara Siegel Carlson Cherry Grove Press $18.00 There is an arresting moment in the middle of Kristof Kieslowski’s 1994 film, The Double Life of Veronique, where Veronique lies on her bed in the late afternoon watching what she thinks is reflected light sent into her apartment by a neighbor boy from

Five Questions for Betsy Sholl

Five Questions for Betsy Sholl

By Robbie Gamble   

Betsy Sholl’s tenth poetry collection, As If a Song Could Save You, winner of the Four Lakes Prize in Poetry, is published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Robbie Gamble: I’m intrigued by the genesis of book titles, and your title, As If a Song Could Save You, draws me in because it encourages different readings.… Read more »

All Things Are Born to Change Their Shapes by Jennifer Martelli

By Kathleen Aguero   

All Things Are Born to Change Their Shapes by Jennifer Martelli Harbor Editions Harbor Publishing, 2023 61 pages Jennifer Martelli knows things: hidden truths she reveals through repeated images and themes in her latest book, All Things Are Born to Change Their Shapes. Many of these motifs have to do with violence perpetrated against women,

Cold Turnpikes

By Clarissa Adkins   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

Poem Against the Rich

By Daniel Lawless   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

War Torn History

By Zibiquah Denny   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.



By Brittany Adames   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.


By Christine Jones   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

Renunciation of Death

By Sara Dallmayr   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.


By Aïcha Martine Thiam   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

Many Jagged Stones

By Jennifer Leblanc   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

Narrow Valley

By Dara-lyn Shrager   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

The Bones

By David P. Miller   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

Burn My Fear

By Cammy Thomas   

This piece is part of our Winter 2022 print issue, available for purchase here.

Polar Bear

By Carol Hobbs   

Her glassy muzzle beats back the salt squall to be here. She who in her time swallowed seal cub after seal cub, sets out from Iqaluit, sprints the Arctic platform from leeward ridge to longing, dividing sea from tundra. When pack-ice grows too thin, fishermen catch her like a ghost in the trawl. She rakes… Read more »

Dijon Kizzee Loved Anything on Wheels

By Sarah Browning   

While America is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we in Black America are dealing with the 1619 pandemic. – Benjamin Crump, attorney for the family of Dijon Kizzee (1991-2020), killed by LA County police deputies, CNN, 9/23/20   Dijon Kizzee loved anything on wheels – bike, go-kart, motorcycle    Family calls him Mama’s boy, broken by… Read more »