Categories
Poetry

Mouth Poem

by Kira Mesch| Poetry | Summer 2021

TERROR by Katie Frevert

CW: Gore

I. 

A woman is good for her mouth. Inject the lips, plump the pockmarks, fill the sunkenness. Harden the softness then soften the plastic, arch the eyebrows, pluck the hairs. Smooth the skin. A woman is good for her hunger. 

II. 

Something’s growing inside me and she’s a demon, she’s the devil. She’s so starving she’d eat roadkill raw. She says to me: Eat the man, eat the man. Make him dead, crisp his skin. His red meat, the digits, his cold raw fingers. I dip him in jam and I eat the man. I suck his marrow for the vitamins. I get full of bread and bone fragments. I want and I eat and the devil’s still hungry. I ask the men, Don’t you like me, think I’m pretty? My body all lecherous and whorelike? The sweetness of my spit? The darkness of my mouth? Wouldn’t you like to live here? 

III. 

Open the gullet, pollute the throat, bleed the stomach, pick the scabs. Burn the liver, blacken the tongue, bolt the ovaries. A woman should be greedy and selfish. A woman should pick her bugbites till they bleed. In a bug bite, the body forms a red hard armor over the hole left by a hungry thing’s sharp mouth. I pick at one and squeeze the poison to the top. Look there: orange liquid seeps out. It’s thick like oil. Now there’s two holes in the same place: the one the insect left and the one I made myself.

Categories
Poetry

Quarantine, Day ?, 2020

by Chloe Casdagli| Poetry | Summer 2021

Untitled I by Aislinn Cannistraro

A cracked white wall catches shafts of blurry sunlight, shadows dark as prison bars. A window smudged with fingerprints ripples with rain and streetlights, twisted gnarly trees.

Cars drum by full of chanting laughter and quiet hallucinations. The fire sunset grips you in its thawing yellow claws, pulling you from your world of bleach and aching dust.

A ceiling peppered with stick-on plastic stars, crude and manufactured compared to the real ones, arrange themselves into made-up constellations and pull your marionette-like strings until you’re nailed to your shallow bed. With thoughts alone, they draw truths on your skin, too terrible to say out loud. Remember when that car was your car, those laughs more than a pocket watch of time? When shadows weren’t prison bars and windows needn’t stay shut?

When you held the trees, rain, and burning day in your palm, too close to really touch? It wasn’t a dream, no, but reality is thinner than paper.
Soon, you’ll be left with nothing but the plastic stars, a shallow bed, and a cracked wall teasing you with sunlight.

Categories
Poetry

Herbert

by Ariana Hughes | Poetry | Summer 2021

Summer Courtyard I by Becky Trigo

On the hottest summer days, I like to be up early,
Racing the advancing blaze. I tiptoe to the balcony
Accompanied by a gleaming bowl of oranges,
And absorb the shy warmth, the distant groans of construction.
Before long I am lost in a memory—
If I squint towards the sun I see him smiling dreamily, Herbert.

The father of my mother’s mother, Herbert
A man who never needed an alarm to rise early,
His inner clock beat steadily, unlike his memory
Which chased itself in circles, looping around his balcony
Traveling faster, as he would turn to stare at the distant construction. The tiny people hurrying to catch their mornings, as he peeled his first orange

With the sweet slice of orange
Herbert
Would find his voice, and tell me “I like to watch the construction–
They start early,
Like me, so I cheer them on from my balcony.”
It awakened a memory

A memory
Of the view from a naval ship–and the juice from his orange
Sprayed like the sea off the side of his balcony.
And then I could almost see him, Herbert,
Amidst the chaos of time—and the war that stole his brother too early.
I believed that he could see all that amidst the construction.

He leaned back towards me, “I like to watch the construction–”
The freshness of the memory
Faded like the wispy clouds, “They start early-”
His half-empty bowl of oranges,
Hinted at the passage of time, but Herbert
Continued, “Like me, so I cheer them on from my balcony.”

A distant drill pauses, pulling me back to my own balcony
Facing oak trees and closed windows, only the sounds of unseen construction
Permeate the air, and I yearn for Baltimore, and the distantly moving crane, and Herbert.
I cannot quite grasp a hold of him, or time, or his whirling memories,
But my bowl is full of peels and my fingers are sticky with the juice of oranges.
So I turn my face to the sun and soak as the wind tickles my skin, pleased to be up early

Categories
Poetry

bariatric daydream

by Cora Lopez| Poetry | Summer 2021

Drawing I by Maya Das O’Toole

i am thinking about what it would be
if my fat melted like polar ice caps.
as grubby money men (in their prime!)
bungle the jungles to build new gyms,
i’d melt
away
away
away
to grease some archetypal, cosmic pan
with all of my arm fat, be folded into cookie dough
as profiteers and warmongers fiddle idly with fountain pens, ink gushing
the surging, the skin stippled and sore
i am becoming a drain
in the name of the father, the son, and the holy Adam Smith (praise be unto him!)
no more dues or processed foods—
no more flab or love handles to grab—
a slurry of squelches sound;
as the dieticians dance in this liposuction deluge
for the day has come for my BMI to see green, green, green!
I wake with surgery scars from an invisible hand
and sigh contentedly, emaciated at last!

Categories
Poetry Uncategorized

A Summer Night

by Chloe Casdagli | Poetry | Summer 2021

Untitled by Teagan Hughes

Slow sinking of a lava-orange sun,
as moonbeams rise; the laughing day is done. The
blazing smell of smoke as embers gleam a dancing
prayer, dying quicker than it seems.
Stars streak across the sky in shades of white,
casting bats in a shining silver light.
The air turns cold in gusts of rolling storm.
But summer raindrops patter soft and warm.
The crackle of the logs and fading flames
roast marshmallows as people play their games.
With words and stories they wish for finite glee,
ignoring quiet thunder warning them to flee.
They drink and sing as embers turn to ashes. With
time, will they remember only flashes?

Categories
Poetry

call transcript to my friend on saturday morning 

by Kira Mesch| Poetry | Summer 2021

Missus by Anna Harberger

CW: Alcohol use

the speaker of my poem told me to tell you she’s actually really fucking sorry that she left you alone at that party last night but her boyfriend was just really drunk and she was actually just getting him home and she’s sorry she didn’t text you and she was going to tell you earlier but 

she lost all her contacts she’s been totally off the grid i think she put her new number on her instagram or something so if you could text the speaker of my poem’s new number with your info she’d totally appreciate it and also if her boyfriend said anything mean to you he didn’t mean it he’s actually super nice if you talk to him 

no but it was actually crazy i’m not making it up last night there was a second party after the speaker of my poem took her boyfriend home and we really missed you the speaker of my poem totally would have invited you but it’s the whole phone thing she actually needs you to text her first but anyways the speaker of my poem got into a fight and she broke somebody’s nose but it was actually so funny because the girl totally deserved it the speaker of my poem pulled her hair so hard it came out into a clump in her hand and she punched the girl’s nose there was so much blood it was like a murder show it was crazy no like it was actually crazy 

the speaker of my poem stole a purse last night the speaker of my poem vomited into a thorn bush last night i held the speaker of my poem’s hair last night while her blood-stained hands were gripping her knees the throw up had chunks of pepperoni in it it smelled like melon vodka the speaker of my poem put on such a fucking spectacle it was pathetic to watch don’t tell her i told you that but yeah no we should do lunch sometime you should definitely text her

Categories
Poetry

Orchid Story

by Ally Chase | Poetry | Spring 2021

Image by Katie Frevert

My grandmother told me a story  
about an orchid in her garden.  
She said the orchid is white,  
she said she does not water it. 
She does not move it into the sun, or away from the sun,
never from beneath the sprawling clarity of the kitchen window.
I said I don’t understand, she said she only touches the orchid
to finger the weight of its soft, dense petals. 

Everywhere she turns now, after fifteen years 
in the lush green of her home, there is an orchid.
Some hang suspended from the gnarled branches in her yard.
Some have put down roots in the dark Florida earth, and she
tends to these in a wide brimmed hat,  
bending gently to the soil beneath a solitary palm. 

These are the orchids which have allowed for her devotion,
yet she chose to tell me about the only one  
that receives nothing. I try to make sense:  
there are the orchids she must touch to keep alive,
and there is the one that refuses her hands.  
Together these hands are all my grandmother has to offer,
but somehow it is nothing for her to fold them together,
to accept the presence of wonder with ease.  

She expects the orchid to bloom because by growing,
it has created her faith. How can faith  
keep her hands from wringing over what she cannot give
this anomaly of nature? Instead she trusts that her eyes
see what she knows. She looks at this orchid—a glance
and then a glance away. She witnesses a miracle. 

But a sense of peace, like the white flower, feels so precarious.
Still the story doesn’t make sense, 
and I haven’t seen an orchid since my last visit. 
Now I can only watch through the phone as the miracle replaces
the central act of her hand. There in the window
is the orchid’s final reflection, and there is my grandmother,
ending a life she thought went on without her,  
just by sitting down to rest.

Categories
Poetry

The Mathematician and the Ant.

by Desmond Hearne Morrey | Poetry | Spring 2021

Vincent Zhu, Crack (series)


I am following an ant, 
watching its shiny black carapace 
scuttle, (patriotically), into battle. 

II 
I’ve read that they smell each other 
(or, whatever an ant’s understanding of smell might be)
and separate themselves from the enemy with olfactory banners.
I myself having no scent of war, 
am invisible. 

III 
My friend tells me: 
“Spiders are fine, they 
don’t know 
that they’re creeping around 
on a creature (a person, 
a whole subjective unit) 
But centipedes 
will fuck you up.” 

IV 
The color of the world (on bright days)
differentiates things, and I find joy in their multiplicity.
The same light reflects, refracts, many times, many ways, 
and I touch these borders of brilliance, 
grasp and rip them from each other, and 
set them up in a little row. 
One thing, two things, three things…


A ladybug lands on a poem. I am 
fascinated and so 
I drop a cookie crumb to her. She 
finds it, tastes it, and 
the sugar is too sweet, 
too much, and she 
runs in circles over it. 
(I, on the other hand, 
have eaten the rest of the cookie) 

VI 
They say (my professors) 
that we must start with nothing (the empty set),
and then continue to add (and 
rephrase, and bound, and contain) itself,
and this is how we reach 
infinity. We start with one 
leaf, and find another 
and soon we have collected 
everything (and more).

VII 
If I flew away from here (on gossamer wings)
and turned back, would I see 
so many colors? The bright reds of 
autumn leaves, the grays and 
yellow lights of urbanity? 

VIII 
I say 
that I walk across poems and 
do not know if the land I love 
is a creature, and do not know 
when one ends 
and two begins.  

Categories
Poetry

Lacuna

by Madeleine Feola | Poetry | Spring 2021

Ava Chessum, Grace

the betta fish is regrowing his fins. they come back frayed and translucent, the slightest edge
shimmering the water around him. we had steeped him in antibiotics that turned the tank green, 
dredged the life from his pores. whatever was eating him alive. 

living is an ugly thing, I’ve learned. at the frayed ends of it you’re making phone calls and
buying medicine. paying hospital bills. 

oh god but it’s tremulous and yours. 

my life used to be large enough to drown in— a cup of blood, a pillar of salt. is this what getting
better feels like? cutting down the heavy flesh that killed you slowly, that made you, until you hit
the bone? 

these days I’m that kind of slender. I walk home in the dark, peering into the corner spaces of 
people who are not me. the cooks locking up, walking past the quiet shadows of tables and
chairs, the boyfriends waiting outside, awkward hands in their pockets. these things mean more
to me now—more than me, maybe, more than you.  

Categories
Poetry

Seedlings

by Dorothy Levine | Poetry | Spring 2021

Ava Chessum, Lemons

Mama picks up maple leaves and ties stems together
the same motion used to tie my shoes and undo necklace knots
her rings shine against dry, freckled skin.
“Isn’t this cool?” She shows the gap between her teeth.
“Yes, very cool.” I smile.
I feel her love seeping through
as she points out each tree to identify.
She wants to plant knowledge in my head
so when I walk through these same trees
lonely and homesick
I know what is around me:
ginkgo, sweetgum, maple—a red one, not sugar—
horse chestnut.
“This one is called an Ohio buckeye,” I tell her.
We pick out two buckeyes 
one for her to take back on her plane
to rest on her nightstand and shrivel up to its hardened core
and one for me, to keep in a pocket until it’s forgotten.
But for now, she holds both in her palm.