Current Poetry

“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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