If You Leave Now, This Is All Going to Stop by Julia Black

By Julia Black It was a full flight to Tampa, which surprised me considering how little I wanted to go to Florida, but I suppose all flights were full in those days. Jason insisted on arriving at the airport two hours early, even though it meant waking up when the city was still dark and rang with that empty sound that always made me feel homesick before I’d even left. He still huffed audibly when we were held up in the security line by two TSA agents flirting behind the baggage x-ray. We sat at the gate for over an…

A Perfect Life by Kailash Srinivasan

By Kailash Srinivasan In Karol Bagh, New Delhi, the streets are narrow, crammed with low-rise houses, people and bicycles and the housewives prefer buffalo milk to cows’. You’re Bala, you’re twelve and your hands are soft, your school uniform is white and boring, and your handwriting is right-slanted and cursive. You live with your grandma, who perhaps hasn’t seen a penis other than her husband’s, and now, even he’s gone. The last you heard of him, he was somewhere in Thailand with his lover, a fairly young man, a practitioner of nudism. But his pension still comes to her, and…

In My Spanish Speaking Mouth by Lisbeth Coiman

By Lisbeth Coiman I love you in Spanish because in my mouth your name sounds thick like honey A slow drip down my thighs   Each vowel open                    accented marking the syllables like a poem in Braille My fingers sliding softly on your chiseled biceps   with dexterity on the darkness of your skin The rhotic erres roll from the tip of my tongue onto your robust legs   After a pause               they produce a trill My voice quavering    laughter           relish calls your name with diagraphic elles   Spell love with the friction eñes in the palate of…

A Certain Kind of Happiness by Adaora Raji

By Adaora Raji When sand flies with the whirlwind and lands in my eyes, I do not close my eyes because I know that if I do, they may never open again. I am not afraid when a dust devil takes a fierce swipe at my face. I am not afraid of the rattlesnakes that hide in the sand or the bandits who watch my every move from behind the mountains. I am afraid of falling, falling again and being unable to get up. I am afraid because my feet have turned sore inside my worn out sneakers. That my…

To Have Breathed All These Days by Jed Myers

By Jed Myers To have breathed all these days and crossed another winter’s start— to have ridden this rolling pebble through the light’s narrows again! To weather the long dark falling on toward the chance of skunk cabbage clean out of the mud— I spotted a hummingbird poking the shrubs for buds in the lean sun, days past the solstice, and thought, let the frackers erode what they must, let Betelgeuse explode if it wants, and those nests of mutant cells in any of our organs’ lobes see what they can conquer. I’m not alone on this heart’s stretch of…

St. Jerome Writing (1605) by Miguel Murphy 

By Miguel Murphy  St. Jerome Writing (1605), Caravaggio   Memento mori as apology for assaulting the lawyer Pasqualone, earning him Papal favor! There, in his brow, not Lear, let’s say, but Hamlet, if he’d survived to annotate his latest on guts, tears, and semen: Some Notes on Treatment as Prevention, in which he’d snigger, Don’t eat the malus. pate. What appears His stylus, paused and feathered. Thumb, forefinger (he needs a manicure) that same hand in the anecdote removed thorn from lion’s paw, curing it. Sometimes, I can’t get in the catheter, said my friend angrily after the plane crash…

my week off by Aïcha Martine

By Aïcha Martine i ask for the room by the window   they say, honey, you know this isn’t a hotel, right? but kindly, like i just don’t understand things yet   i heard doctors don’t have a sense of humor, that if they do, it is phone-cord extra-twisted   so i don’t ask about the “cleaning fee” and the “checkout early” discount or quip, “send you a postcard when i’m out”   in fact i know not to ask for much i’m supposed to revel in the multiverses they show me and promise never to scoff at tenderness again…

I scared off my past self by Sean Cho A.

By Sean Cho A. and everyone else followed. It was December and the trees were bare and unrecognizable. I welcomed the Canadian geese to my back porch with stale rye bread. My past self used to howl for this and that but I tamed him with daily meetings, ugly proclamations, and long prayers.   My body has been silent in all the right ways: motionless as a January lake. The next task: make a list of people to make amends to. Family that gave me too many last chances, friends who by now could only recognize me by my voice.…

His Mother Locks Him in at Night by Matt Dennison

By Matt Dennison Don spends his days walking up and down the street, now, for the exercise, with a straight black cane to support his white Bermuda legs. He waves. I raise my hand from across the street. Between the passing cars he knife-motions the black threads stitched into his throat: lung removed. Points to hip, leg, and side: twenty-foot fall at the baseball game. Waves his cane all over: blood disease, manic-depression, slight touch of schizophrenia. Can’t sleep, cannot stay awake. He does not point out the thick purple splotches quickly covering his arms and legs, all that I…

Devourer by Elya Braden 

By Elya Braden  Devourer (2007), Dana Schutz   inspired by Devourer  by Dana Schutz What if people could eat themselves?                                                       – Dana Schutz, 2007   Before satisfaction, the abandonment of restraint. How long have I craved the particular salt of my own skin? My four-year-old thumb in my mouth, nesting in hunger’s soup. For years, tiny pricks and cuts bloomed red on my fingers’ ridges and valleys—clumsiness or a thirst for my own…