“Lavinia’s Tongue” by Kate Shakespeare

Image by Cole Rise, used with permission.
 If Lavinia had been able to,
she would’ve cupped her severed tongue
between her palms, its warmth
trickling in the creases of her lifeline
until it began to move.
If given the chance,
Lavinia could have carried her tongue
in her pocket, felt its outline in the silk
as a reminder, the pulse
quickening in her fingers, so they would have written the words,
then danced them.
Disability is not a new invention,
nor are the mutilated girls
who must carry on with ordinary lives.
But they cut her hands off,
of course.
Sent her tongue crying off into the woods
where it fell in the dirt
and lay, unseen and unheard
by any audience.
Somebody else spoke Ophelia’s death into our minds,
just as Lavinia’s mutilators cackled about her tragedy
while she bled offscreen.
But Lavinia’s tongue will return to tell its own tale,
someday, will dance again
tapping against teeth until released
onto a new stage.

Kate Shakespeare graduated from Vassar College in 2016 with a degree in Psychology and currently works as a technical writer in Seattle. She has been previously published in Pidgeonholes and Asymmetry Fiction.

“The Widow Does Love the Living Plants More than Cut Flowers” by Jennifer Schomburg Kanke

Image by Cole Rise, used with permission.
Today she separated the plants so they could thrive
then put the purple ribbon in a drawer.
The basket, much too grand for her,
had been claimed by some niece in the city
who hesitated at first, she didn't want to push.
You cannot ask for the dismantling of the dead,
the cleaning of their closets, sorting of cupboards.
Who will throw away the nutmeg and ginger
when she has gone, drink the last of her wine?
Who will find homes for every ficus and fern,
see the purple ribbon and remember
what a beautiful arrangement it had once been.

Jennifer Schomburg Kanke, originally from Columbus, Ohio, lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she edits confidential documents for the government. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Pleiades, and Sou’wester. She serves as a reader for Emrys.

“Cosmology” by Mark Thomas

Image by Cole Rise, used with permission.
 When I used to drink
my portion of the universe
made sense.
Hand heavy on the glass,
glass heavy on the table;
table legs splitting the lithosphere
probing the core of creation.
Formidable and dark,
worshipped by belts and moons,
I firmly anchored
the eccentric orbits of waitresses
and lesser drunks.
I filled up the bar
like a smiling planet,
pushing up mountains and draining seas,
bending the sky on my back
and sweating asteroids.
When I used to drink,
I exalted within my surface storms,
watched continents swirl
on discs of liquid rock
and settle where I willed.
Warping matter and twisting time,
I rolled through the emptiness,
ponderous and cold,
unaware of the sun.

Mark Thomas is a retired English and Philosophy teacher and ex-member of Canada’s national rowing team. He has previously published work in Electric Literature, Daily Science Fiction and The Globe and Mail.

“June Resurrection Loop” by Andrew Sutherland

Image by Cole Rise, used with permission.

when street cats
stare snake-eyed
and each snake carries
a cat’s-eye

when pot plants
only starve
or drown; and
even the dishwasher
looks super disappointed

when you put your fucking headphones on.

when the past
keeps breaking
its commitment;
perpetual resurrector,
these flowers
from a nec-
romantic heart

though the original is always chosen
over the re-make. and even now
I suspect I might be one of the
violent men, after all.

when the cum
is dopamine,

when paradise
is desire or
disgust, and it
never mattered which

when you tell a person how they are mistaken,
before they ever find the words to speak.

although maybe we are all here for
you to feel a little less alone –

tell me what I don’t know.
I’m waiting for you to say when.


Andrew Sutherland is a Queer writer and theatre practitioner working between Western Australia and Singapore. Theatre works include a line could be crossed and you would slowly cease to be, Jiangshi, Unveiling: Gay Sex for Endtimes, Chrysanthemum Gate and Poorly Drawn Shark, which was awarded the Blaz Award for New Writing 2019. He received Overland’s Fair Australia Poetry Prize 2017, and his poetry and fiction can be found in various publications including Cordite, Westerly, Margaret River Press’ We’ll Stand in That Place, Scum Mag, Proverse Hong Kong, Thin Air and Visible Ink.

“Chemotherapy and the Tasmanian Devil” by Jaclyn Piudik

“Through the Woods” by Sydney McKenna, watercolor, 30″ x 32″

An elephantine drip aglow
fortuitous bubble gum – pop – à la Bazooka Joe
Her appetite undergoes treatment for disarray
in the dark archives of University and College
Joan of Arc or Jones New York
have no place in these toxic gardens
Jab her with poetic justice, a heartfelt grunt
a rasp and a slow-borne growl of plasmatazz

The curative act [sic] becomes art
of the omnivorous kind, the hellishly tired veins

swig their pastel cocktail
a seeming infinity of cranberry masks

the sterile byways, the benign gleam
of cartoon English and wigged-outness

Looney music pacifies the buzz, the nauseated
floral-spin in the afterworld desert

Distant from eloquent drawl, she is so radiant
Shine on crazy diamond: omnia mutantur


Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and two chapbooks, Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar press 2005/8).  Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Burning House, Barrow Street and Contemporary Verse 2.   She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. Piudik has edited three collections of poetry for award winning Canadian publisher Book*hug. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, as well as a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.

“Ten and Two” by Melanie Perish

“Rapture in the Postmodern Era” by Sydney McKenna, Oil on canvas, 60″ x 62″

In the first year, even after
she worked the steps
love was crazy as
driving under the influence.

Like that time the car started to slide,
slide across the double yellow lines
into the on-coming lane;
and she couldn’t remember which way
to turn the wheel.

No time for prayer beyond
God help me.
Her right foot down once
down twice on the brake,
then lifted, so her heart
could catch up.

Black gloved hands at ten and two
turned the wheel
toward the spin
out of hope the size of a tear drop
while life moved in geologic time.

When the spin stopped
the car pointed in the right direction
in its own lane; and again
she lived by minutes and inches.
With the car, with any new person
she could have sworn
she was going slowly enough.


Melanie Perish lives in Reno, NV and commutes regularly to Bryan, TX, Northern, CA, and Santa Fe, NM.  She is a member of Poets & Writers and Alcoholics Anonymous. She is old and sometimes crabby and does not care that she’s just broken her anonymity.  Her poems have recently appeared in the Austin International Poetry Festival anthology, DiversityThe Avocet, Brushfire, and Emerging Poets (Z-Publishing, 2018). Her poetry collection Passions & Gratitudes was published by Black Rock Press in 2011. She is currently working on a second collection. She is grateful for the generosity of other poets and writers, her history with women’s writing workshops, her online writers exchange, and the current poetry workshops she participates in. She is indebted to small press publications, little magazines, and on-line publications because she knows how much effort these require.

“The Hippocratic Oath” by Melissa McKinstry

“A Gentle Lifting” by Sydney McKenna, oil on canvas.

The DNR rests on my desk.
I’ve signed it in my mind
over and over for 21 years,
but only once with a pen
and a witness, and the father
of my son, a child
tangled in a dysfunctional genome
for no particular reason. Every
day since his birth has felt like
a penance, and more recently,
a rebellion against
the doctors who want
to put another hole in him
but don’t want to talk about
his life or ours.
But, this evening
the garden is a rose window,
and I confess uncertainty
in its glow and the exhale
of the canyon.
To practice singing
a big song from a small body
I listen to the goldfinches,
and my son clicks his tongue
in what may be a response.



Melissa McKinstry grew up on small farms outside of Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, learning how things grow and how people take care of each other in small communities. She is currently a student in the MFA poetry program at Pacific University. Her poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review and Quaint Canoe, EcoPoetry Washington, and is forthcoming in the first issue of Heirlock. She works to follow the advice of poet Joe Millar: “Sanctify yourself as a poet. Sit down and write every day.”

“Diving In” by Jennifer Campbell

“Salt Run” by Sydney McKenna, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″

“Emerging research suggests that not one square mile of surface ocean anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution.”  —Center for Biological Diversity

Diving to see coral and clownfish,
instead Snow White is submerged in trash—
a plastic bag becomes a jellyfish,
translucent floating shape shifter,
the spikes on a puffer fish jut out,
red and white striped straws stabbing its back.

Snow went to explore the sea life
and finds death, evidence
of a trillion crimes against purity.
The longer she lingers, the more
waste floats at her, disguised as fish.

After her first dive, she becomes
obsessed. The sea calls out to her
and she needs to see the unreal colors
of a right pink flipflop, neon applesauce pouch,
orange doll arm, fingers chewed with worry.
She finds it hard to return
to the surface, wonders how the mermaids
could have wasted so much time
with their useless song.


Jennifer Campbell is an English professor in Buffalo, NY, and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters. She has two full-length poetry collections, Supposed to Love and Driving Straight Through, and was a finalist in both the 2017 Fairy Tale Review Poetry Contest and the 2014 River Styx International Poetry Contest. Several of her poems appear in journals such as Pinyon Review, Little Patuxent Review, The Healing Muse, Sow’s Ear, Comstock Review, Pennsylvania English, Saranac Review, Oyez Review, and Fugue, and her work is forthcoming in the AROHO Waves Anthology.

“Sabine” by Bryan Price

“Rossore d’autunno” by Lisa Boardwine, Oil/Cold Wax on Panel, 8 x 8.

I am as unmated as a stray, liberated by flight and put to bad use—floating beyond the back of beyond. This is not unlike the outer space that follows good breathing. It has been a year without a recognizable kitchen, without the gurgle of the cat fountain, without the wet sound of the radiator interrupting all good sleep, without the steep drop from the bedroom window, without crosstalk in bed. Unmoored, I am trapped without your night voice. The half kitchen with electric griddle is no travesty, but it reinforces bad habits: hardly standing, drinking too much, eating from the cold cases at the liquor store. Against all good advice I take to the streets for air. I go to buy cigarettes. Flags pop in the wind. I sit against a chair fastened with a bicycle lock to a parking meter. She tells me I am saying Angela Merkel’s name wrong. She is laughing. She does not want to talk about politics. The look is one of remorse. We are silent before the sound of a fistfight moves like a storm across the asphalt. We are in its path.


Bryan Price’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Manhattanville ReviewMenacing HedgePortland Review (online), and Posit. He lives and teaches in the suburbs of southern California where he writes about time, memory, utopia, and its opposite.

“The Hospital” by Suzanne Burns

“Ricordi rosi” by Lisa Boardwine, 12 x 12, Oil/Cold Wax on Panel.

For a week I sit by your bedside
while nurses come and go, medicine
to clear the alcohol from your blood,
your bones, rising and falling,
your thin finger, now bony, sheathed
at the tip in a steady red beat
to monitor how well you breathe during sleep.

Mostly, you sleep. Hardly touch
any food I try bringing while your wife,
moved south with all of your things,
feigns concern on the phone, while women
you dated, sexted, who knows what
after she left, text you as I hold your hand
until I block them all for my peace,
my family thinking I am such a good friend
to never leave your side while we fight
on and off about your indiscretions
but never about your drinking.

As you sleep your way to sobriety
I cry into tuna salad in the cafeteria downstairs,
a larger scoop given to me each day
by the man behind the counter who wants to know
if I need a punch card, I’ve been there so long.

I try to pray my Catholic prayers into
your Buddhist heart—
we both carry around a lot of beads—
but the hospital chapel sits closed for repairs,
a leaking roof, the worst storm in years
I drive day and night and day through
just to watch you sleep.

Suzanne Burns writes both poetry and prose. This poem is in her full-length collection, Look At All the Colors Hidden Here.