Summer/Fall 2020


A Prayer for the Swamp Phantoms, 1865

Allison Pinkerton

Our boys didn’t come home to the swamp after fighting the North, but James did. He came back with a phantom limb, believing he could feel the clench of the muscles that had been amputated in a surgical tent, bloody saws and chloroform rags and dirty knives.


Poetry, Fiction, & Nonfiction

One White Deer

Kara Vernor

Mom says a white deer means blood is coming. When I sleep, the forest floor is a lake of red, no matter if the deer are white or brown. A gunshot sounds.

2 Poems

Samyak Shertok

Do we all migrare: pass into a new condition? / Are we all natives—nativus: born in bondage— / walking toward no-border?

Eighty-Three Questions About the Death of De’Sohn Wilson: An Ongoing Investigation

Catina Bacote

Who called Mirrellez C. Elliott and told her that her son had died in police custody? How many minutes did it take for the police to drive De’Sohn from where he was arrested in New Haven to the police station at One Union Avenue?

Rivals

A. J. Gnuse

By the base of his steps, there was a flower pot with a sad, half-dead plant. She lifted the thing. Felt the small force of its weight against her. Stupid, she knew. But she was a container brimming over. And she needed to let something go.

The Blessing of the Neva

Sarah Crossland

And it was ordinary, that year, / when the artillery fired blanks, / and the glass hail panicking / the crowd vanished / where it landed, / and there was no hail, / but only the prosody of sleet.

Something I Did Once Which I Thought Might Be Enriching

Tamar Jacobs

and the tour guide said what a shame how awful the heroin in Kensington but we would not be focusing on that today because this was an African American Iconic Hero tour and she smiled beatifically at the Black couple and the Black couple only...

Who Would Rather Stay at Home Alone?

Elizabeth Miki Brina

It’s approaching midnight and this is not how I would have wanted it to happen: sitting by myself on my porch, drinking wine from the bag of a box and chain-smoking cigarettes...

4 Poems

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

But dying is a specific outcome of the world’s game. / I ask the AI what a Black solution would be. // “One that does not kill the player.”

Apology

A. M. Kaempf

I let him stand there for a few minutes, waving his arms while he rambled on about the wonderful days of our youth. When he finally fell silent, I told him that I had no idea who he was.

2 Poems

Stephanie Jean

how easy it is to erase rusting yellows? / how easy to let blues blue into zombi? / how easy / is ease?

Pareidolia

Chris Ware

For a while I thought maybe something was wrong with me, like you sort of hope there is when you're a teenager.

Marigold

Ananya Kanai Shah

Three shades of afternoon light—gluttonous— / Salt me when I open the door / I wasn’t expecting it / Marigold mouths pout / Fresh leaves threaded to greet newcomers / What a betrayal then, to curdle with sweetness!

A Prayer for the Swamp Phantoms, 1865

Allison Pinkerton

Our boys didn’t come home to the swamp after fighting the North, but James did. He came back with a phantom limb, believing he could feel the clench of the muscles that had been amputated in a surgical tent, bloody saws and chloroform rags and dirty knives.

from Catacombs

Luciana Jazmín Coronado, transl. by Allison A. deFreese

My mother warns me / that Grandmother has awakened / from death, / taken a shower / and put on a dress / over her naked body

Homage to Córdoba

Jason Christian

Late one night in April 2006, I heard an unexpected knock on my bedroom door. I lived at the time with a loose coalition of punks, anarchists, hippies, and nondenominational nonconformists in a squatted block of flats, across from rumbling tracks, in a working class suburb of Barcelona, Spain.


From the Archives

New: Now Contains Zinc

David Kirby

Artist friend of mine works part-time at a store that sells Red Rooster pills to any guy who thinks he needs a “male sexual performance booster” or any gal who wants a 60-tab bottle of that reliable blend of proven herbal supplements,

The Machine is Trying to Make You Lose

Liam Baranauskas

Pinball takes place in a more liminal environment: those may be your physical fingers hitting flipper buttons and your real voice cussing out Bride of Pin-Bot, but your vision, your concentration—everything about you that’s more consciousness than body—moves outside of yourself and behind a thin layer of glass.

Kiddo

Nathan Spoon

What was it that slid through the field of my hand? / A mountain. I will say it was a mountain, although / it is no longer here for any other to see. It is elsewhere / and doubtless sitting like a toad whose voraciousness / desires to be appeased.

2 Poems

Wendy Xu

And if they’re missing / in inaction, forgive them / Their useless pearls, nouns