Where the Ladybugs Go by Dahlia Garofalo

    We painted little red circles for the ladybugs strewn across the windowsill legs tucked up into their dry bellies for the baby ladybugs, small specks of red kids on the playground smashed between rocks   We painted round black spots for the ladybugs grandma pinched between her cracked fingers and the ladybugs she flicked from the raspberries into buckets of sour bleach   We painted bulbous antennae for the ladybugs auntie smashed against her ceiling with the end of her broom handle for the ladybugs who fortuitously flew into the rainwater buckets on the side of the garage…

Soup Bone Says by Fred Shaw

    Put a fan on it, because that’s how we parch what spills here, caged metal blades carving the air, blowing loose scraps into crumb-lined corners. A recipe for disaster is what we call this place, built on fried zucchini and foot-size fish sandwiches, its brown kitchen tiles iced tea-slick. Septuagenarian, Soup Bone moves bear-hunched and bowlegged, surveying his dining room with its walls decked in gimcrack, tables ringed with those teal leather chairs our aging regulars love, his red tie swinging from a starched shirt steeped in woodsy cologne. He greets everyone by name before chirping, kick it…

Space by Ray DiZazzo

SPACE (Mistakenly untethered at the of rear of the craft, she leaned away to view the earth.)   The slightest turn.            An unintended push            and                   suddenly              you are                        out of touch                 out                     of                           reach                                                            rolling                                   slowly    in a muffled crackling of    radio static    and a depth of night              …

May’s Onion Moon by Emma Lee

    I hold a slice of onion to the only window in this reduced world. The rainbow opposite acts as a reminder this isn’t a prison. Watch the slice turn translucent, transform into an opalescent sphere. Light pollution has been diminished by people settling into more natural rhythms. I crack the window open for the first time and steal a breath of purer air.     Emma Lee’s publications include The Significance of a Dress (Arachne Press, 2020) and Ghosts in the Desert (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2015). She co-edited Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for Those Seeking Refuge, (Five…

I Brought My Pitchfork to Dinner by Maria Santa Poggi

  Because I wasn’t in the mood for agreeable conversation. My ancestors, who summoned me here, are drunk. They are slurring their words. Someone at this table committed murder. I’m betting it’s my distant uncle, Andy, who is also a third cousin. My parents are dead but still are fighting about a trip my dad took to the red-light district when I was five. Some things never change. The Italians are yelling, while the Polish are playing cards. There always have been tensions on both aisles of my bloodline. Another great uncle just called me a horse’s ass for sucking…

Dark Violet by Daniel Romo and Steve Castro

    Eggplant or plum or the shade of an index finger tightly woven with string. Restricting circulation in body parts deemed trivial is a favorite activity of young men simply hoping to stay afloat. After all, boys will be buoyant. A surplus of blood is a matter of breadth and breath. A surplus of blood also helps to spread the undead curse. Vampiros lining up victims like groceries, drained purple, then white like a bone picked clean, lying in powder snow. A string, like human hair, can be used to sever limbs. Some people think breathing is underrated. Some…

A Thousand Miles Deep by Yvonne Higgins Leach

    Fifteen years, she’s still cleaning shit out of the kennels at minimum wage. Still saving the dogs too far gone. The biters. The aggressors. The overly anxious.  Hello, Chance, she’d whisper into his dark cage after work. I’m here for you, shutting quietly her truck door. Come along now, singing the long road home.  Scraps-of-life dogs. Year after year, more hay-laden makeshift kennels. Word of “the dog lady” spread. Dogfight-dogs. Amputees. The dogs of PTSD. Hello, Kona. I’m here for you, Hank. Come along, sweet Gunner.  Under the stars, or in the rain, or among the arrowleaf balsamroot…

2002 (When Ryan Dies) by Kindall Fredricks

    We are moon-smacked cheeks all sugared up with candied Presbytaria and boys’ names stranding tooth to tooth like taffy   When we tangle our bodies around the collective love letter to Ryan the silver legs of the desk are as cool as peeled fruit against our skin still brandied with sun from PE    Ryan sits next to Tanav a name Mrs. Liam flicks from her mouth with an ear- tipped smile         Who delivers it? We are supposed to laugh at Tanav when he stubs his tongue on redcoats at the way his shirt gums “M cha l Jack on”…

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…

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…