My mother said she had a glass heart, too easy to shatter. She lied.
She is a snow queen made of ice, eyes glassy by drink, tongue

a shard to slice through talk, a sliver chip beneath the skin.
We lived together in a glass house on a glass mountain blasted

by the winter’s cold. The roads were always closed, barred by gates.
My heart is comprised of scars, flesh thickened and hardened

like a cliff face, made jagged by glacier slide and snowstorm lashings.
I used to heave heavy, clumsy stones I found on the paths

around our home, ones buried under snow, frozen to the ground,
needing a pick axe to work them free. I made piles. I made walls.

I fashioned a slingshot to aim. Her cold hard glare never shattered,
only sent splinters, a sharp rigidity, a reflection like a mirror.

I learned to see as she saw—alpine slopes, hoary stags climbing
crags, clouds swirling with more snow, her judgment.

She said, All this is mine. I wondered, if so, what could be mine?
The crystalline air fragmented my tongue, taught me to speak

one truth, one against love, against the color red, against flush
of underskin burning, against that fire she claimed no one wanted—

not her, not I, not men. But I wanted her touch, any flicker
of warmth along my spine, a flash of sweetness in her gaze,

something soft, wrapped in bear fur. She had none to offer.
When she passed, she left me only the shiver, the snow heart, the ice.
Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks, including Drink (BlazeVOX Books, 2015) and Wake (Aldrich Press, 2015).

Andrea Blythe is writes speculative poetry and fiction, which has appeared in various publications, including Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, Strange Horizons, and Bear Creek Haiku.


Fact #24 by Smriti Verma

Posted: September 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

I was born in the year of the boar.
That was also the day my brother
came from the salted soil of his land-
with missing limbs, I greeted the
half-man half-ghost, and his wife,
standing still, like a perched fly
on the ends of death trap. Mother
tells I was most quiet that day- their child,
running about in the yard, the creek,
messing up the sunflowers, the
lilies. Now, the years have passed
and yet they have not. The home,
still empty, and the child, searching
for home. And his limbs- still missing,
lost somewhere, in the shadow
of the gunpowder and leather boots.

Smriti Verma’s poetry and fiction have appeared or forthcoming in Word Riot, Open Road Review, Alexandria Quarterly, the DoveTales anthology, and Young Poets Network. She is the recipient of the Save The Earth Poetry Prize 2015 and was part of the Adroit Journal Mentorship Program 2015 and GKA Writing Studio.

Loyalty by Michael Wayne Friedman

Posted: September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

I used to think of loyalty
as congenital. Tales
of canine heroism and the drilled bond
between soldiers in combat—
Not like my father
scurrying behind his walker
the mile home from the activity center,
to find my mother dazed
but unharmed. Her crumpled Corolla
broadsided by a Ford
in front of their complex.

I thought of loyalty as conscious, scripted,
cultivated from visible seed and metered
applications of water and sunlight, not as a natural
byproduct, like Proust’s madeleines
dipped in tea and laid end-to-end
in visceral strands of the familiar
cinching a life into a taut brocade,

a shared investment emerging through
the afterglow from ordinary rituals –
the setting of the breakfast table
each night before bed. Glasses and bowls
turned upsidedown, so as not to gather dust.
The discussion of which cereals to line up
in the space between the two place settings.
Michael Wayne Friedman is an MFA candidate in the Creative Writing program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and works as a medical writer, preparing drug regulatory and scientific documents. His poems have appeared (or are slated to appear) in Golden Walkman Magazine, Wherewithal, Yellow Chair Review, Camel Saloon, The Second Hump Volume V, Plum Tree Tavern, East Jasmine Review, Silver Birch Press, Eunoia Review, and Stray Branch.

[lullaby] by Jenuine Poetess

Posted: September 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

my voice got swept away
in this torrent of tears

loving arms should have cradled
rocked and lulled
these babes
into gentle dreams

tender cooing
should have been their
slumber song

not raging tides
not cruel currents
swallowing them whole
spewing them out
upon unwelcoming shore

I do not blame the sea

I blame war
I blame oppression
I blame poverty
the greed of those in power
that makes mothers &
flee homes
flee familiar
flee one evil
for the hope
of a
lesser hell

empty arms
empty hearts

all the oceans
are not vast enough
for this grief

*for Aylan. for refugees everywhere. now hear this lament.

Jenuine Poetess is the founder of Waco Poets Society and of ITWOW International–a writing circle project for womyn with chapters in Los Angeles, Texas, and Lebanon. She lives rooted in the fierce conviction that fostering the creative health of individuals & communities is a matter of justice. Jenuine currently writes and creates in Central Texas where she enjoys finding new ways to disrupt the homeostasis of her city.

In the white of this country, Germaniums bleed no more than ten weeks. Ten weeks past, the babies stopped. No belly. Nothing could hold us far from the ultrasound report.

“Sorry about what happened to your wife yesterday”, I heard and heard it again. Yesterday‘s grim ray riddled me again. Thanks extended to everybody again.

The shadow of the two lying in the bottom of her body was scooped out. No belly. Scraped out. End of summer. So then, we headed off on vacation to unplug. No Germaniums.

The writhing worlds fell silent to become still near Baie Pasha. Still as the lake surrounding our cabin that came with a boat down-in-the-history of the New World. Stillness was called to sprawl out under the dead summer sun.

Forest trails, canoe lines, hand in hand, at every movement, the wind passed though our hearts. The slopes darkened after the sundown, when we had no longer to face our faces but our bodies.

The bodies wanting to burst open, Muskellunges traversing the water of innumerable lakes & rivers of Portneuf reserve, breasts gusting against the mouth until eternity. Colostrum ran everywhere to bring back the dead ones to life. No Belly.
Originally from Calcutta, India, Debasis Mukhopadhyay now lives in Montreal, Canada where he has earned a PhD in literary studies. His recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Eunoia Review, Silver Birch press, Of/With, and elsewhere.

Life Lesson #82 by Bunkong Tuon

Posted: August 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

My wife and I
are English professors.
But we just don’t understand
our one-month old daughter.
To communicate
with us, we tell her:
use your words, honey.
Instead, she grunts,
moans, smiles.
Then she farts.


Bunkong Tuon is the author of Gruel (NYQ Books). He teaches literature and writing at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.

People know this about you.
The latter day saint of you,
that miracle hat trick you pulled off
in the flatbed, on the way to Taos.

The magic inside your belly
that the last ride took
away. How you cried
as the blood washed down the arroyo.

How you sang, to the blessed Mary
moon and took some dirt
at the Sanctuario de Chimayo
to bring home for your shrine

to that last one you lost.
The little boy named Joe
or Cameron or Jessie.
You hadn’t really decided.

The truth was in the needle.
It read the weaknesses and future
like your palm, cradled in the palm
of the gypsy

She said it and you were so offended:
You will lose.
You will lose.
You will lose.
Elizabeth Cohen lives and writes poems up near the Canadian border. She is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Plattsburgh and the author of fours books of poetry, a memoir, and a book of short stories, among other works. She has a daughter, Ava, and far too many cats.