Poetry Feature: Schools Out – Elliot Brady

“School’s Out”

By Elliot Brady

Underneath the awning that stretches

toward pine boughs, you glide through

the zoetrope in your mind as aquamarine

jelly squares beg for cannonballs.

Two mourning doves visit as dawn’s

ambassadors singing the stories of their

province over trucks yawning distant

dragon roars. There was a shooting

in America yesterday at the high school

you are assigned to. We were created

to work in this garden where I keep you,

where summer is kneeling to autumn’s

vapor. I picture our conversations in

spherical time as cicadas sing along

the tree line. The pool is our space

station and we are baptized in our

weightlessness as astronauts that must

return home to questions of property

values. Shame. Clouds hide scarlet

sunlight behind their bellies west over

the high school you will go to if we

stay in this neighborhood. A whole

afternoon slides away in moments. The

sky aches as ash stains its corners, just

as you’ll ache tonight when a deep sleep

falls upon you.

Poetry Feature: there’s too many fucking cows by Ethan Turner

I’m in a cornfield somewhere in Delaware
and I miss you. 
Come pick me up
on the side of this one-lane
country road and 
take me back to the mountains.
Even if there’s a drought,
even if 
the tide will eventually take us,
even if the wildfires might 
engulf everything we ever dreamed of
while we were still young and
couldn’t sleep a wink,
at least we died trying.
That’s all I ever wanted. 


Ethan Turner holds a degree in English from Towson University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New Critique, Quadrant, Bullshit Lit, Spirits Arts & Literary Magazine, and Blue Marble Review. He’s also the former social media director of Grub Street Literary Magazine (Volume 71).

Poetry Feature: The silent journey between strangers in a subway by Abdulrazaq Salihu

To every lover I’ve grown to unlove;
I burn my conscience like a thin wildfire.         

There’s a separate silence between 
The weight of this slim quiet

Between lips of all the silent people 
In this subway and every stranger

I want to hug wants to hug me back
Like a part of a psalm eighteen 

Holding onto a psalm nineteen 
But, to be a stranger in America 

Is to yearn for a thousand hugs
In silence; is to wish to kiss

Strange boys in illegal clubs;
Is to wish to let a weak part of an 

Ocean tide rinse you clean of this queerness;
Is to be so close to a woman 

That would love you, yet
Let her skin color determine your relationship 

This is America, & you’re only given

What you ask for; yet,  
You’re only allowed to ask for  

All the wrong things you already own:
Your Gbagyi accent; your thick dark mole, 

Your empathy, the thing around your neck—
The small tag of slavery.

Earlier today, on a slow-paced journey,
In a subway with brown broken angels,

I asked for a skin colour to cloak my accent 
I asked the gap between myself and the blonde 

Woman with a thick gap between her two front teeth
To bring us closer, I asked the silence to [ ]  us;

The silence mistakes my silence for fear and I pass.
For this, I water my right fist for all the boys

Whose left cheek were unfortunate enough to taste
The wrong prayer I’ve grown all my life holding onto.

Five minutes to my stop, loneliness buffs out of 
Strangers mouth and it’s this communal hug 

We all seek; this slow love song to leave a strangers mouth 
To come flourish before our scattered accent & rhythm & loneliness. 

I shift back into my body and 
Let the night carefully arrange the stars to my favour;

Let my shadow hug all the silence between us strangers.
I offer this child a chocolate bar and his mother slaps my hand,

There’s a dark cloud beneath her left eye, I’m too human to ignore 
So today, a stranger hugs a stranger on the subway

Every passenger doesn’t care in silence—every other passenger wants this hug,
But, this is America so we unhug 

We do not say a thing, we let the silence win,
We let the child sob and the chocolate rot in its floor silence.

On a scale of night to sadness, I would walk straight to a girl
With just the right gap between her teeth for my own to fill

I would hug her; the night would hold
Us in her embrace—in perfect harmony like strangers.


Abdulrazaq Salihu, TPC I  is an award winning poet from Nigeria. He has his works published/forthcoming in Bracken Magazine, Brittle Paper, MASKS Literary Magazine, The Kalahari Review, The Pine Cone Review, Better Than Starbucks, Jupiter Review, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. He won the MASKS Literary Magazine poetry award, BPKW poetry contest, Nigerian prize for teen authors, Splendors of Dawn poetry contest, and more. He is a member of the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation and a poetry intern at Eboquills. He passionately loves flowers and can be found on Twitter @Arazaqsalihu 

Nonfiction Feature: Massacre by Callie S. Blackstone


It began on the couch he defined by his heartbreak—hauled alone one winter during an unexpected move when yet another woman dumped him. It began long before my turn at the game of dumping him, kicking him out of my own home unexpectedly. He had not learned how to treat women better as he aged; his cruelty had sharpened like a pointed stick.

Did it start there? Or did it start at a birthday sleepover, in which I was allowed to pick out the movie at Blockbuster to celebrate my arrival in this world, undesired even at that young age? When my friend selected Children of the Corn 2 and I nodded eagerly, always so ready to please, my mother took a second look. Really? She asked. I was young, second, third, fourth grade. She shrugged, laying the problematic nature of this decision at my young feet. 

While I have always been a people pleaser—someone who gave away her own gifted pajamas at her own birthday sleepover when asked, someone who let a man tell her how ugly she was only to come back begging for more—I was, before this, a spooky baby. I was born three days before Halloween under a Scorpio sun. I was born to a father who loved heavy metal and nazi zombie movies. I was always meant for darkness in all of its forms, and I grew up dreaming in vampire, in Bigfoot, in serial killer. Long before I was a people pleaser, I was a spooky pleaser. 

Growing up as a baby goth, there were certain horror franchises that I respected so much I grew to fear them without even seeing them, although very few movies actually scared me in the long run. Besides my dark scorpio nature, I believe I have always been drawn to horror because I am someone who was generated through trauma and continues to develop amidst trauma. I would test myself growing up, sitting through Children of the Corn 2 and watching Chucky alone in my basement. I could be exposed to all types of terror without breaking, without even emoting. I was resolute in my resilience and I would brag about it to others, laughing off film titles. The Ring? Please, that didn’t scare me. 

As I grew older, I consumed more and more, leaving little untouched. It got to the point that I wasn’t really lying—very few horror films scared me. 

Yet, there were those chosen few that seemed so sacred I had not touched them. Funny Games? No problem! I was even tempted to write the name of a more extreme horror film to make sure you, my reader, take me really seriously. To make sure you understand that I am not playing around. I am Big and Bad and Nothing Scares Me, so when I was abused by the father who created more horror than any movie or by any number of boyfriends, an uncontrollable army of zombies, it doesn’t really matter because I am brave and numb and nothing can touch me. I burn so clean and bright. 

But there are those films that I grew up respecting so deeply, feeding into their mythos, that I feared enough to avoid. 

I first watched The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on my abusive boyfriend’s heartbreak couch. That’s where it all began.



The film which you are about to see is an account of the tragedy that befell a group of five youths, in particular Sally Hardesty, and her invalid brother, Franklin. It is all the more tragic in that they were young. But had they lived very, very long lives, they could not have expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see that day…

It is within this universe, defined by the mad and macabre, that some suggest the modern malefactor has his origins: massive, lumbering, obscured face yet still inherently male, wielded chainsaw, all that deafening noise, brought down on fragile flesh. 

The original film depicts five deaths. Only two involve the titular weapon. In reality, the true weapon of the film is the sledgehammer—artifact of the old ways—of how men slaughtered cows before they were replaced with machines. The Sawyer brood is the symbol of American men who have been robbed of their livelihoods, who are now aimless and churning with violence. Where can all of this violence go? What can purposeless men do with all of their anger? 

The creator of the film, Tobe Hooper, lists several influences, including the “lack of sentimentality and the brutality of things” as they were depicted on the news—he observed that the world was a brutal place, and his film would reflect this. 

The majority of the actors were unknown Texans, selected to portray real people—to portray someone the viewer could know, or could even relate to. Due to the low budget, filming days could last up to 16 hours for a month in a row; the farmhouse was decorated in real blood, the copper odor suffocating the actors, especially the man who portrayed Leatherface, who was only given one mask that had to be worn day in and day out.

Hooper noted that, “everyone hated [him] by the end of production,” because each actor feared their only violent scenes in the film, and none walked away without some level of injury. 



It began on the couch he defined by his heartbreak. He owned a DVD player and had a great movie collection. It was one of the things I had initially loved about him before I learned that there is likely a reason why several women have left a man before they reach a year together. He owned Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and he had scheduled it for our first spooky month together. 

He asserted that he loved horror, but throughout our relationship, I came to find that his tastes were mundane. He didn’t like black and white classics from the fifties, unknown exploitation romps from the seventies, cheesy films with low production values from the eighties. Can someone truly consider themselves a spooky baby if they get no pleasure from watching Basket Case? I mean, really? 

Perhaps one thing he loved more than horror and hurting women was planning things. He was an earth sign, so you may be able to attribute it to that; he was a man whose father had severe OCD, so you may be able to attribute it to that; he came from a cultural lineage of trauma and terror, so perhaps that’s why he enjoyed taking control. No matter the reason—and it was likely all three—he loved planning and had scheduled our October down to the minute. Each film was selected carefully, and they were decent for an initial Halloween together—I figured shit could get weird later on (spoiler alert: The movies didn’t.) 

I looked forward to watching Texas Chainsaw. While I can’t remember that night very well (it was likely viewed through the foggy haze of liquor, his secret cocktail ingredient tripling the amount of booze, something he would do because he claimed my sober body and my cunt were boring), I can picture it like any of those early nights: I clutched his large bicep with both of my hands, and he liked that. This was when my double-fisted approach still thrilled him. This is when I still held some worth. 

So there we were, likely drunk and on a run-down, budget couch from IKEA, watching Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I do know that I loved the physical quality of the film—give me anything 16 mm, anything gritty—I loved the way the shots were framed,and all that delicious screaming. If there is one thing that should be taken from this essay, it was that I discovered that Sally is the best screamer of any horror film. I say that with expertise, of course. 

I can easily imagine the tension I stored in my body going into the film: the way my muscles tightened, the way I gripped his arm like a giddy school girl (despite him telling me, later on, that I wasn’t sexy because I was too old—that men are primarily attracted to teenagers). I was afraid. 

But as the film went on, each of my muscles released like a blooming flower. I probably broke when Grandfather needed assistance while slaughtering someone: Something about the mask the actor wore likely led me to crack up, my laughter lining the night—especially if I was drunk. Then, the way Leatherface dances and dances at the end, moving the chainsaw like a baton—yes, I’m confident that by the end of it, I found the whole thing aesthetically pleasing and rather silly. 

And I’m quite confident because we had only been dating for five months by that point, and I hadn’t learned my lesson yet—that while I was too old to be attractive, I was definitely too stupid to have anything valuable to say—that when I opened my mouth and told him how I had braced myself for the movie, how it had washed over me, how I had emerged wet with blood alongside the final girl, Sally, he would have rolled his eyes and made the snarky comments he usually did when I shared my feelings or inner experiences (Not another trauma?)

I smiled through the blood. 



In 2020, true horror did not come to the world in the form of a faceless, unknowable, violent wave of masculinity; it came to the world in the form of a global pandemic. It came to the world shortly after he moved in with me. I found myself held captive by Covid, by a man who thought I was ugly and dumb, by my own trauma response to fawn instead of flee. I told no one about how he was treating me: I had ruined the reputation of previous men by complaining too much to friends. I kept my mouth shut and I wore my mask and I moved forward in the world, as everyone else did. I did my best to survive my home, which came to be a true haunted house: hands around my neck, insults rained down on my body while having sex—complete humiliation. I could find no relief from the poltergeist. Covid, an abusive work environment, an abusive home: I could not escape, I could not see other people. I was alone in a very small condo with a very small man who haunted my mind and body with his noisiness.

How can I describe how small I felt, what I was reduced to? What is it like to live with someone who you disclose personal things to, like a previous suicide attempt, and are only answered by being told not to use one of his guns because it would make him lose his pistol license? All while he wears his own form of mask—male progressiveness—and he just tells everyone you are the crazy one? And everyone believes him because he does so much good? And he gets very good at telling you that it is in fact you with the problem, that you are unsexy and stretch-marked out and that you should just relax and take it—it meaning his cock—and then punishing you when you do. 

Terror, complete and endless terror, no relief

only massacre



I have always loved October: fall, my birthday, Halloween. Despite being raised amongst explicit messages about my worthlessness and the fact that I was alone in the world and would only know terror, despite this worthlessness being reinforced by every man I would date: I have always defiantly relished my birthday. 

Yes, I am that person who may celebrate for the whole month or the whole week; yes, someone I went to my second elementary school with and reconnected with when I returned to that school district years later knew my birthdate down to the day and time. When I acted surprised, she stated that I had always made a big deal about it. 

I have always relished this month, this birthdate, this holiday, it is all mine despite what the world tells me—despite how my ex ruined my birthday tattoo and left me alone all night saying he was anxious, so he could go lay in bed and look at instagram models instead of watching a movie with his girlfriend–

it is all mine, deliciously mine 



And yet, when I finally fled him, lurched out of the relationship with literal wounds on my wrists, when I was finally free, when October emerged six months later, when it could finally be mine, I was terrified. 

He always planned everything down to the letter, and I always did whatever he wanted, and to be fair, it was often fun, but would I have gone to haunted houses in the middle of a pandemic and had people yell inches from my face? Likely not. And now that I was single? I definitely would not. And what was left for me, that hadn’t been tainted by the complete horror of that man? Would I skip Halloween altogether? Move on as if it had never been mine, as if the me before him and all of the others hadn’t existed, as if they had stolen everything from me? 

If only I could be so clean and empty, if only I could burn so bright, if only I had easily broke down all that I am and packaged it and given it away, so everything, down to the consciousness of pain and existence could leave me, my bones barren and sun-bleached, my soul long ago departed 

if only 



The first day of October arrived tentatively, a Saturday. I had no plans; I was still hiding out of fear of COVID-19 and my own pale face in the mirror. I knew I would watch a horror movie to honor the first day of spooky month. I opened the streaming service and moved to my favorite genre, folk horror. Simple enough. I wanted something classic, reliable, dependable—something I wouldn’t regret. Something that proved my tastes were good despite how he reacted the one time he let me plan Halloween—how I let him down so deeply—how everything about me, both body and mind, let him down so deeply. 

Folk horror is a lot of things; it is in part a commentary on what occurs when urban people encroach on the countryside and discover a different culture–a culture that appears backwards—a culture that is often violent. 

Texas Chain Saw Massacre stared back at me from the screen. 

Who will survive and what will be left of them? 

Leatherface is hunched over his chainsaw, in the midst of pulling the cord to get it going again, the teeth sharp and hungry. She waits for him on his hook, her mouth open in a dark scream. 

What happened is true. Now the motion picture, that’s just as real. 




Sally is in a gunny sack on the front seat of the proprietor’s pickup truck. She is screaming and sobbing and moving like an animal caught with her paw in a trap. The proprietor is laughing and laughing, watching the movement of her limbs against the burlap like a fetus stirring in the womb. His eyes light as he predicts the angles of her flesh through the fabric, stabs at her with a sharpened broom handle. Her shrieks are his pleasure. Her pain is met with his glee. 



How could I tell you what it is like, to be trapped and unable to breathe? 

Callie S. Blackstone writes both poetry and prose. Her debut chapbook sing eternal is available through Bottlecap Press. Her online home is calliesblackstone.com. Additionally, you can check out her work in Grub Street’s Volume 72, which features her piece “My body as the subject of a series of sketches drawn by my non-artistic (unless abuse is an art) ex-boyfriend”

Poetry Feature: nothing hurts more than a candle loving the sun by Jess Roses

soft wax sharp wick, eterna-lit
     my crayon melt candle rainbow
          my craving metal cage ache
                my great mess on the floor of the bedroom

what can i say, noah opened the closet door and 40 days and 40 nights of tears flowed out of me all at once. is this the gods, finally, speaking to me? is the pain big enough yet, for the gods to see it? how much hot air can fill this balloon before it bursts and all my bubbles with it: compartmentalization in the fragile iridescences that abound around me like the pearl glow of the moon on an almost cloudy night. please, the thin layer of soap film is all that holds me, i couldn’t take

the bursting
and still be her. no one is ready for it.
everything matters.

i wish you could watch me become. i hope you hear what i would say, if i could
say it, i hope it faces the fear in you;
through the radio waves
and the stories i tell, the messages
in the bottle

are true
and so often,
they are for



Poetry Feature: True Crime by the Campfire by Bryce Johle

We discuss past lives,
their roles in our currents,

children, pets, and nuptials, or
don’t speak at all. 

When we’re silent, we nurture ourselves
with fake sausages, kneading our minds, our eyes

on the tongues and coals.
Someone narrates pedophilia in their family

and the light whips sickles on our faces,
beating time and rain wind in the pores

and choking off the fresh air, peace.
Crows land on our tent in the morning—

we wake up wondering how God’s souls are recycled,
how they could take nature’s calling for creation and

turn themselves into dark artists with talons, 
cawing lies about their sins from the rooftops. 

I can still feel the coals as lozenges burning speech,
sautéing our tongues in our mouths.

Bryce Johle is from Williamsport, PA and earned a B.A. in professional writing from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Litbreak Magazine, Eunoia Review, Literary Yard, October Hill Magazine, and Maudlin House, among others. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and stepdaughter.

Nonfiction Feature: Tea Training by Zary Fekete

I wave to the security guard as I approach. He smiles and takes out a little stool for me to sit on. I reach into my backpack and take out my latest purchase. It took me a while to find one just like his, but I finally found one at the big market behind the mall: a Chinese tea thermos. 

Since moving to Beijing six months ago, I have been impressed by the differences I see in the people walking and moving all around me in this city of 22 million people. There are thousands of different hair styles, clothing choices, personal phones. But one thing seems common to almost everyone—they all drink tea.

Tong Lei is the security guard who sits in front of my neighborhood compound. He serves as a kind of neighborhood watchman, handyman, and conversationalist all in one. I had my first conversation with him one week after moving into my apartment. He noticed that my bike chain was hanging loose, and we managed to understand each other through gestures. When I tried to pay him after he tightened it, he waved me off with an oh, you gesture. I brought him some chocolate chip cookies the next day. Our friendship began.

I moved to Beijing to teach English at a university downtown, but, like most foreigners here, I also hoped to learn some Mandarin. I take regular language classes, but the most important part of language learning has proven to be having one’s own language helper. For me, that’s Tong Lei.

The first few weeks were mostly filled with small talk about the neighborhood, about our families, about where his home town is (a small town in Anhui province). That was all my language could handle. But I felt like we had crossed an important language threshold when we started to talk about tea.

Tong Lei is forever sipping at his tea thermos. At first, I brought it up because I had just learned the Chinese word for tea (cha or 茶). I wasn’t ready for his response. He settled himself on his stool and thought for a moment. Soon he had launched into a long monologue, 95 percent of which I couldn’t understand, except for his repeated use of the word “cha.” 

After letting him finish, I responded with my most used Chinese phrase, “I don’t understand.” 

He thought this was very funny and slapped my knee. But from then on, he always brought up his tea. He measured his weekly days by which tea he was drinking… and why. Green tea for moods. White tea for teeth health. Weekends were dedicated to oolong tea. He spoke about oolong with a kind of careful reverence, claiming that his father had been cured from a long illness because of its medicinal value.

When he first told me he grew his own tea, I was intrigued. I asked if I could try it. His face changed slightly. He stared off for a moment and then asked me if I could be free for a chat after he finished work that afternoon.

I met him at the gate just after five, and we began to walk through the neighborhood. The apartment buildings nearest to the subway stop were the newest and best kept. Block by block, the buildings became shabbier. After about 10 minutes, we were walking through back alleys that weren’t paved. We finally came to a stop outside of a small concrete shed.

Tong Lei told me that this was where he lived. He stood for a moment quietly and then beckoned me to follow him. He brought me to the back of the grounds where the dirt sloped suddenly to a sunken pond ten feet below, its surface oily and studded with trash. It was one of countless water collection troughs that dotted the city, usually on the outskirts of a built-up residential area. The water was a dumping ground for a variety of trash that couldn’t find a home in the trash bins of the apartment complexes we had just come through. Tong Lei pointed to the far side of the pond where there was a small gathering of plants. 

“That is my tea,” he said. 

I realized why he hadn’t wanted me to try it. It grew very close to the black water of the pond.

I asked him if I could look at the plants. We walked to the other side of the pond, and soon I was surrounded by soft tea leaves. He stood next to me quietly and touched the leaves as he spoke. He said the plants were from his father’s garden. For the next few minutes, we walked back and forth between the rows. Birds flew quietly across the pond.

By the time we were walking back to my neighborhood the sun was low in the sky. I told Tong Lei I could find my way back, but he said he wanted to join me. We didn’t talk much, but the silence felt comfortable.

When we arrived at the gate to the neighborhood, I turned to him to say goodbye. 

“We will practice Chinese again tomorrow?” he said.

I held up my thermos. I said, “With tea?”

After a pause, he nodded and smiled.


Zary Fekete has worked as a teacher in Hungary, Moldova, Romania, China, and Cambodia and has been featured in various publications including Zoetic Press, Bag of Bones Press, and Mangoprism. He had a debut chapbook of short stories released in early 2023 from Alien Buddha Press, and a novelette (In the Beginning) was published in May by ELJ Publications. Fekete enjoys books, podcasts, and long, slow films. He currently lives and writes in Minnesota. 

You can find him on Twitter: @ZaryFekete

Poetry Feature: An Elegy for Ogbe Osowa by Vincent Nwabueze

Who would have thought that time,

               Can obliterate that tragedy in Nineteen Sixty-Seven?

   Eight and Forty years have fleeted on, and still counting, 

                   Yet memories have refused to die,

       Still etched in our consciousness like a sore wound.


That fateful morning as the Sun bestrode defiantly above the tall palm trees in the neighborhood,

                    Her powerful sunrays cuddled the frail ferns of the ageless coconut trees,

           Like a mother will do her suckling babe,

               Merchants of death in military camouflage 

         All armed to the teeth invaded the serene enclave.


  O, beguiled to show solidarity to one nation hued in diversity,

                               The young, the old, the feeble; all crept out from crannies,

                 Whereto they had fled to escape the flying shrapnel of death.

                     And adored in their trademark AKWAOCHA, 

           The traditional handcrafted white wrapper the people are noted for,


All danced gleefully to entertain their August visitors.

                 Boom: Boom: Boom: Boom:

                        The bullets sounded and rattled, 

          As they jumped out menacingly

               From the smoking muzzle of their article of destruction. 

 OLISA; is this what they deserve in return?

              In place of applause and a thunderous clap,

          For entertaining their August visitors,

                  The invading forces pelted hot bullets from their mortars, howitzers, — 

             On the defenseless poor souls.


And when the sound of mortars and heavy artilleries had ceased,

                  Heaps, and heaps of mutilated bodies strewn the killing field,

                           Like some prized trophies for the invading troopers to take home.

        And to remind posterity how merciless merchants of death once visited a peaceful enclave,

 And left behind trails of tears, blood, anguish, and sorrow.


 Brother, great was the massacre on that day,

                   That the goddess ONISHE, the custodian of the great river, 

Has refused to be consoled.

          Day and night, her ululation could be heard, 

As she grieved the death of her children.


Vincent Nwabueze is a poet and author who studied sociology at the University of Abuja, Nigeria where he started writing. He also holds an LLB degree in law. He has written a collection of short stories and poetry and takes part in writing competitions. One of his short stories was shortlisted at the African Writers Awards in 2020. His poetry has been published by the Society Voice Project and the Voices Project. The manuscript of his debut novel has been completed and his latest books, THE BROKEN DREAMS OF THE INTELLIGENT THIEF and HONEY OUT OF LAMENTATION (a short story) have been released on Amazon.
He can be reached via email at: vincenttnwabueze@gmail.com or on Twitter @VincentNwabuez5
Nwabueze currently resides in Abuja, Nigeria.

Poetry Feature: Picnic by Erin Jamieson

Dunk sliced celery in     muddy water
your lips tasting the
garden where as a child you dug
                                     for earthworms, their mottled bodies 

            ing.   your     hands stained with intestines, food

                                                                       < not yet digested>


you ask for ranch dip but in its speckled surface
you see fly antennae, torn ant legs. 
You eat because you can but the sun is blistering your 
lips, breaking these bodies these bodies climbing down
                                your bloodied throat &


nothing like new plates stained 
rust, from 
                    peeled oranges  or       apricots
for you form you’re F
                                     R            G                    a story you’ll tell
                                         M      N

your own child, her painted fingernails
dusty with lady bug wings                             

              sipping        lemonade

(powdered, not        fresh).           

Come here. We have      a feast.
carrot sticks & gorged    pill bugs,
             cricket legs in your potato          chips flavored
just for you. I only thought of      you.



Erin Jamieson (she/her) holds an MFA in creative writing from Miami University of Ohio. Her writing has been published in over 80 literary magazines, and her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the poetry collection Clothesline (NiftyLit, Feb 2023). Find her on Twitter @erin_simmer

Poetry Feature: Cool by Pino Pograjc

my body needed to cool,
i begged snow to cover
the scorching concrete

he stood before me and i sizzled,
his breath froze
the oleander blossoms,
introduced the sun to the grey
of thunderclouds

our tongues were not compatible,
he spoke of feasts,
of bodies on display,
of preparation for consumption

i spoke of rest

as he was fucking the daylights
out of me
i thought
there must be
a better way

Pino Pograjc, born in 1997, is a Slovene poet. He is currently in his last year of dual-subject MA studies of English and comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana. In 2022, the newly-formed, alternative publishing house Črna skrinjica (“Black Box”) published his literary debut, Trgetanje (a portmanteau of “trganje” and “drgetanje”—“ripping” and “shivering” in Slovene), which received the award for best literary debut at the 38th Slovene Book Fair. Pograjc is also part of the selection jury for the Ljubljana LGBT Film Festival, the oldest film festival of its sort in Europe.