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Some of the elements of life
will survive microbial disaster,
will refuse to recognize us,
will come up to the newspapers
and affect a response.

Descartes found himself in the bright blue
strong wind of the northern climate. There,
the erratic queen demanded he give her philosophy
at five in the morning and, calling in a cold,
he died.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea 

                                                                   ―E.E. Cummings

The angel who smells of my childhood
My mother, piano and oboe
Whose face the icon reflects
Auburn hair like a Modigliani
Eyes the color of rain

Nebraska

By Devin Kelly

Poem

If you know a quiet that sings
the song of footsteps, if you know
an open window is an invitation
to trespass on another home’s
scent, if you know the lesson
of the Bible that says the man
who holds the taste of blood
in his mouth is the one who holds
the truth, if you know tall grass

Maxine doesn’t only love men’s bodies. She wants to grasp the logic
of their internal organs. She craves blueprints, circuit diagrams,

sewing patterns. First time she saw Frankenstein she wasn’t afraid.
She wanted to know how the mad doctor did it,

where to get dead people parts, which graves were best
for culling, whether a whole family of ladybugs

could live inside those zombie bellies.
When the high school guidance counselor

asked the inevitable career question, she told her
all she really cared about was weaving back and forth

between the inner and outer life of people, what you could see,
what you couldn’t, writing down what she found there,

taking ideas apart and putting them back together
to make them more ecstatic.

we’ve places in our properties for them,
lots for growing them into lots more for us.
in the places, there, we can watch them,
our faces like hands having want. we, beaten

by a cooler outside, said they got a coat kind-of-
a-skin sewn up on their body until—beaten
by the cooler outside—we slip them out it
to wear it on us and so we

are we, for we wear their skin for us.

Janky Mojo

By Terry Wolverton

Poem

I came in with janky mojo,
head peppered with hard thoughts,
face painted with Kaiju’s blood,
skeleton in a spooky suit.

Who was that vampire in a red cape,
its song tracing through my pulse,
heckling my impatient choices,
talking shit about God?

When did I become a cold machine
that breathes frost and coughs dust?
My bone cage jumps
in the attic of my disappointment.

Food Pantry

By Soo Na Pak

Poem

Pack belly full of rotund cannot get in the way
Cannot drown or starve or die or be missed
Cannot be overlooked

Shields against the hunger
There is no
Shield against the hunger

Food pantry, rotting produce
Long lines, old white women holding clipboards
Bored-looking volunteers with
dark hair and judging eyes

Myth

By Ellyn Maybe

Poem

I wanted to feel the music of your shoulders
Watch the tension of C.D. turn to 8 track
I read your nonfiction – if that’s not a crush, what is.

You live twenty years away from Richie Havens turning up at a café.
I watch the liner notes of your wrists like a fortune teller.
Jerome Robbins choreographs your neighborhood with a pale peony.

First, attach yourself to the sky.
Go to the furthest edge of city, violet,
Starstruck, closer to god. Not everyone
Has the heart for it. Some hearts are less red.

Find yourself a cloud kingdom. Don’t
Come down easily, stay up in that thin air.
Don’t think about how you can’t breathe.
People have not breathed here for 11,000 years.

I tried to phone you, but we’d reached the very edge of the meadow. Now a felled tree, some thistle. It all reminds me of a book I read, the one where the field only seems endless.

In the book, everything’s haunted, even the flowers. Especially the flowers. And the chapters aren’t numbered, so you forget exactly where you are, and where you placed the key to the room that holds all of your things from childhood.

Future Angeles

By Zoe Tambling

Poem

With my fuck tank full
I keep the sun down
And the air on

I show grief in future Angeles by touching all the expensive pants on the rack
A man says macramé about my dress, then looks closer
No just knotted

On a map I see it’s a descent
Below eighth
It just keeps going
Where were you
That time
Eating dumplings

My favorite part of the act wasn’t the sparkle of red sequins,
the skimming of satin skirt flirting with thigh. I loved

the knife thwack, the shudder of pearl handle vibrating
when the blade landed true. I loved cartwheeling in space

when you spun the wheel, our love every day a game
of roulette, praying to always land on black but wearing

red just in case. I lived for you tying the blindfold, the whisper,
I love you as you fastened the manacles secure. Each second

a precarious balance between trust and chance.

The Hunter

By Magdalen Powers

Poem

The wild animal
in our bed

always leaves
before dawn.

DADDY

By George Wallace

Poem

I am the hand grenade
your daddy should’ve
jumped on, back in ‘43,
to save his buddies,
the snipers nest in
Fallujah, I am the lost
platoon, the lost soldier

we are at home in half houses
we house the fatherless sons
we weave together our fingers
form baskets of veins filled with blood