From Issue 16: The Disposal of Mormon Garments

    Dayna Patterson

    This ritual, for me, used to entail careful cutting, excising the horizontal line over knee and navel, the compass’s V over the right breast, the square’s L over the left, four white rounds of cloth with their holy symbols I’d hold between tweezers and carefully burn over the sink, rinsing down cinders and wiping away scorch marks on porcelain.

    Their sacred bits stripped, I ripped the remaining cloth to rags, perfect for soaking up lemon oil polish on the piano and bookshelves.

    V — — L

    I remember putting them on the first time—I was 21, prepping for …

    From Issue 16: Boxing Life

    Nancy Christie

    “There are years that ask questions and years that answer”—Zora Neale Hurston

    This is the year that asks questions. It must be, because I have no answers, no answers at all.

    I have spent the better part of the past month packing boxes—writing directions with a fat black marker on rectangular white labels: “Put in storage room,” “Put in bedroom,” “Leave in garage.”

    I keep thinking that, if I write out enough labels and put them on enough boxes, all the scattered bits of my life will come together like giant jigsaw puzzle pieces to form a new …

    From Issue 16: The Visitor

    Brittany Ackerman

    Duncan Leeds used to go to my school, but transferred when his dad got a promotion and his mom wanted a house in Wellington Gardens, a house that had an elevator and a trampoline in addition to the standard two stories and a pool for Florida mansions.  Wellington was thirty minutes away from where I lived in Boca Raton, and in Florida time, that was a whole other world.  He was my first real boyfriend, even though we only saw each other on weekends.

    “I love you,” Duncan said on the phone.  It was late, past eleven o’clock …

    From Issue 16: Giving Birth at the End of the World

    Meghan Joyce Tozer

    The most mundane of all things
    was the birthing of new small things like ourselves.
    Before the fall, things like this happened every day.

    The world did not need new things
    to unravel and undo things even further.
    Yet we grew things in our bodies anyway.

    We knew what we were doing.
    There is nothing more to say.

     

     

    Meghan Joyce Tozer is a film music scholar, editor, and activist in the San Francisco bay area. She holds degrees in English and Music from Harvard University (B.A.) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (Ph.D. and …

    From Issue 16: Visit to a Small Planet

    D.G. Geis

     

    No telling
    what He thinks—or if.

    His ears,
    a zillion light years wide,

    pressed to the fizzy heart
    of the universe,

    a hydrogen gasbag
    folded in on itself

    like table napkins
    on the Hindenburg,

    an omelet,
    or a quantum quesadilla.

    What we call spiral galaxies,
    He calls soup and sandwiches.

    What we call supernovas,
    He calls shoe polish.

    What we call black holes,
    He calls a paycheck.

    What we call space,
    He calls the barstool.

    What we call the Big Bang,
    He calls Louise.

    It’s why the sun’s
    so hysterical

    and the moon
    so matter of fact.…

    From Issue 16: The Empty City

    Douglas Cole

    In the plaza on Howard Street
    you’ll find the unlikely fountain
    prohibited by iron rails
    beneath a walkway encased in bronze glass
    and surrounded by red – brick
    would – be windows if the concept made it
    through the financing,
    and tucked up in there like an afterthought is
    Benjamin’s Café with one woman serving
    through the grim afternoon,
    her face a relief map of untreated tumors.

    West on Main
    Lincoln stands a mute copper witness
    to the convergence of afternoon drivers ,
    an d further west find the Shrine Auditorium
    with soot black colonnades of Corinthian dolor…

    From Issue 16: Winter Solstice

    Noorulain Noor

    The moon, only a half-arc wafer,
    and the darkness discordant
    with rush hour traffic.
    This throng of lonely souls,
    in accidental communion with each other,
    their heartbreak heavier than night.
    Together, we wear a shroud of invisibility
    under the same barren stretch of sky,
    inching along the same patch of road
    amidst the sinusoidal symmetry of hills —
    sentinels of many other sorrows.

     

    Noorulain Noor is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and a two time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry has appeared in Spillway, Sugar Mule, Santa Clara Review, Muzzle and other …

    Featured: June 19, Palais de Rei

    by Sean Denmark

    A field disgorged,
    to the bishop led there
    by a star, a saint’s
    remains, a shallow
    to attract ever more
    distant folks until
    the catchment of
    St. James’s bones
    engulfed kingdoms
    & more & more
    farmers along the way
    battled shortcuts
    through their wheat.
    Pilgrims attract coins
    & miracles attract
    pilgrims & a solid
    miracle—a healing, say,
    of some medieval’s
    blindness—could sprout
    a little chapel along
    the path its wings, to flourish
    & to crow, till some
    fresher miracle erupted
    somewhere, draining off
    the blessing seekers.
    Whoever has will be
    given more & whoever
    doesn’t have, even …

    Featured: Good Luck with Your Hobby (excerpt)

    Holly Coddington

    Olu thinks it’s funny how hard white people try to avoid calling someone black.
    It is normal to have no faith in the justice system
    And nice to be surprised
    Although that is not what happened today.
    I go to the Bronx in my best white guilt
    Convinced everyone black hates me. Why not?
    Just the other day I was walking Charlie
    And a black man approached me quickly
    With his hands in his pockets.
    I was scared.
    Charlie wasn’t scared.
    Charlie sniffed a bag. Ayanna gives me a ride to
    The train station because it is dark …

    Featured: Monday Morning

    Maximilian Heinegg

    Off Church Ave, old men do cartwheels
    on the asphalt of a middle school playground.
    When they begin their Tai-Chi, they remove
    jackets, & smooth the wrinkles out of the air.

    I come courtside with Anthony- tarnished skills,
    freshly inflated ball. We lay our jackets & keys
    on the fence beside our water & any pride,
    trying to recall the form & follow through.

    Our opponents are ourselves, until three
    ten-year olds demand a game. They talk smack,
    have handles, rebounding elbows, cursing
    like those they’ve observed, but play hard, fair.

    A good shoot-around follows, as pigeons, the …