ISSUE 2

There’s magic here. Fear, pain, growth, transformation. Ultimately I feel this issue is about hope, about building a strong foundation for ourselves on the unpredictable ground of memory. I am very humbled to be able to present this collection of astonishing poets and their words.

Kris Hiles, EIC

Ambition

Nachi Keta

I fear
My feet
are too small.

They don’t
make permanent
marks
on sand.

A dropout of various institutes, Nachi Keta is a Kidney Transplant Recipient. His name is a combination of two terms Nachi, which means “death”, and Keta, which means “a creative force”. He lives with his parents, plays online Ludo, reads Existentialists, and tries to write. As of now, he has published three full-length works and a few stories and poems in various magazines and publications like Howling Press and Bombay Review. One can find an updated list of his works at www.nachi-keta.com

trophy child

Demetria Dawn

find your own worth—

for when you are stripped
of your accolades,
your achievements,
your accomplishments,

(& all the titled attainments
you hold so dearly
in your heart)

you will be nothing
but scrap metal.

Demetria Dawn is a British-Filipino writer based in London, England. A lover of modern art and classic literature,
her written works are inspired by angsty nuances and chaotic infatuations of the everyday.

Touch [is not my love language]

Caroline Dinh

I can’t wrap my mind around drawing
an embrace, graphite arm around a charcoal waist,
face nestled in shoulder, palms pressed against

spine. My pencil cracks in the crook of an elbow. My strokes
scratch savagely, etching dents into the sketchbook as if replicating
the press of form against form. But more desperate:

devoid of the affection and devoid of the trust and covered
in=hatches||and=crosses||and\lines//lines\lines//lines||lines.

Clasp becomes chokehold and warmth becomes wrath. I clench
my pencil so tensely that its tip turns to dust.

If I press the charcoal hard enough, maybe diamonds
will emerge.

Caroline Dinh is a Vietnamese-American writer and artist. She edits for Backslash Lit and writes stories and
software, sometimes both at the same time. She’s mildly obsessed with leitmotifs, hackathons, and the color cyan.
Visit her online at https://cyborg48.github.io/.

Sometimes I see the ghost

Elizabeth Bates

Sometimes I see the ghost
of who I once was. She walks
past mirrors with different lines
and through corridors where
nobody speaks. Sometimes I
wonder if anybody knows
she was ever there at all.

Elizabeth Bates is a teacher and writer from Washington state where she lives with her husband, son, and two
Siberian Huskies. Bates is the editor of Dwelling Literary. She is a columnist at The Daily Drunk. Her writing has
appeared or is forthcoming in Versification, Seaborne Magazine, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @ElizabethKBates.

beyond

Grace Alice Evans

in the cradle of my heart / i treasure the child
i once was –
lingering for eternity within a fading yesterday /
hushed by the lulls of my soul, soothing the daybreak / unlearning the lies
shedding its skin of shattered glass.

Grace Alice Evans (she/her) is a LGBTQ+, mixed-heritage poet, writer, sound/visual artist, survivor, and a witch.
Her work explores living with mental illness, trauma, recovery, and the dichotomy between the inner and outer worlds.
Grace’s social media handle is @gracealiceevans.

A Child Recalls a Flower Dress

Samuel Strathman

“She wears the dress
that is all
of Rhode Island,
a flower climbing across –
blooming into a rosebush.”

Samuel Strathman is a poet, author, educator, and the founder/editor-in-chief of Floodlight Editions.
Some of his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bengaluru Review, Orange Blush Zine, White Wall Review, and elsewhere.
His second chapbook, “The Incubus” was published by Roaring Junior Press (2020).

Social Situations

Cassie Birk

Creaking under my feet
The soil of concrete
that terrifies but what
I crave
 
Isolation
 
Feet melding with dirt
Legs only different
from corn stalks
by their desire
to unroot

Cassie Birk is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa. Her poetry has been featured in Funny Looking Dog Quarterly,
The Daily Drunk, Fearsome Critter’s “Quarenzine”, and more. She currently exists in the Pacific Northwest.
Find her on Twitter @BirkCassie.

Sealskin Reclaimed

Alison Bainbridge

White light, dark water;
the anchor you gave me sinks,
shimmering,
a tether abandoned on the sea floor.

I drift. Home is out of sight.
Wrapped in reclaimed skin,
my finger bare,
I wait for freedom to feel less
like drowning.

Alison Bainbridge is a PhD student, witch and poet based in Newcastle, UK. When not researching horror podcasts,
she can be found collecting bones, talking to cats, and photographing mushrooms in the woods. Her poetry has previously been featured
in Wormwood Press magazine.Find her at @ally_bainbridge.

Shower you with stars

Bethan Rees

I can’t hang the moon
I can’t name every star that’s ever survived a black hole
I can’t just lay and watch the clouds roll by with you until eternity ends.

But I’ll make you a cup of tea,
and for a day like today

that’s enough.

Bethan Rees lives in Swindon, Wiltshire and has appeared in Fly on the Wall, Atrium, Persephone’s Daughters, Domestic Cherry,
Daily Drunk, Fresh Air, The Poet’s Haven Digest, I am not a silent poet, Lonesome October Lit, Amaryllis and Three Drops Press.
She currently studies MSc Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, runs Wellbeing Writing groups and can be found
sharing wellbeing work on: www.safeandsoundpress.com

— bring back you

Noah Letscher

those are sweet, stick to the roof of your mouth memories
your voice stutters over them, speaking around them
just like it used to,
just like it is

Noah Letscher is a nonbinary writer from Chicago, recently graduated from St. Olaf College. Their day job has very little to do
with writing creatively, which they hope changes someday! They have work previously published/upcoming
in Hypertext Magazine and Capsule Stories. Twitter: @noahmeredith97