ISSUE 4

The poems that follow explore heavy themes.

I have made an effort to identify content warnings.

When I was reading for this issue, I was struck by a common thread, as often happens. In the process of finding happiness, so many of us spend periods painfully adrift. Some of that is by circumstance. Some of that is by choice. All of it must be addressed, plainly. All it must be engaged.

My hope is that this issue will be what it needs to be. A torch. A mirror. A path forward.

At the start of a new year, take time to reflect. We do it together.

THE DESTINATION IS IMPORTANT TOO

Thushanthi Ponweera

CW//masturbation/nudity

Little kids have to be allowed
to touch themselves
if they are to grow up to be adults
who know how they
want to be touched.

Purity is overrated.
Orgasms are much better.

Thushanthi Ponweera is a writer from sunny Sri Lanka. Her identities as a wife, mother, and creator are constantly vying for the main role, and she is constantly trying to satisfy them all. You can find her on Twitter @thushponweera

Do Not Become a Drug Addict during a Global Pandemic

Naoise Gale

CW//drugs

Starved of opiates, my wounded body skins itself,
sheds its snakeskin and sweats in the humidity of
My cold English bedroom. Buttery roses curl up the
walls and prick me when I sleep. There is something
Inside my calves – gnawing, gnawing. My tongue wets
when I think of it.

Naoise Gale is an autistic poet who has been published by Cephalo Press, Anti Heroin Chic, Rabid Oak, Versification and Sad Girls’ Club. She was runner up in the Parkinson’s Art Poetry Competition 2020, and commended in the Poetry Space Competition 2020. You can find more of her work at Naoisegale13 on Twitter.

Drinking Games

Taylor Rossics

CW//alcohol

Girls who taste like
whiskey
tend to taste like
heartbreak

Taylor Rossics is a queer artist from Maine currently residing in Burlington, Vermont. Her work has been published in such places as Coffinbell Journal and Littleldeathlit.

I used to want to be a pastor

Magi Sumpter

CW//religion/sexism

I used to want to be a pastor

before I knew that girls weren’t allowed to be pastors
and that was like rule number four
of Christianity:
(one) don’t kill,
(two) don’t steal,
(three) don’t worship not-God,
(four) and don’t let girls be pastors.
from then on a parable

meant a flashlight under the chin and marshmallow laughter,
and how great thou art on the same playlist
as (see recommended:) weird al yankovic

Magi Sumpter is a part-time paralegal, part-time college burnout situated in West Monroe, Louisiana. She is currently finishing her BA in Political Science, all while attempting to immortalize her brief existence on this earth

Your favourite green

Lucy Elizabeth Allan

CW//body image

Your favourite green is the moss that grows dirty and rank on a dead tree, and makes you shiver
with awful delight when your fingers brush over it, like being dared to touch a snail –
even though you touch them willingly, take them by the shell and lift them,
suction cup, from the ground,
holding them in the air for a moment to take in their ugliness and their subtle texture,
before setting them down in the palm of your hand.
You hold them sweetly, like you would a little mouse or a baby bird
if you could get your hands on either of those things,
just to let it know that you aren’t disgusted by it,
just to give it a little skin to skin contact, like an infant needs from its mother,
just because nobody will if you won’t.
You see the green in it, and it sees the green in you.

Lucy Elizabeth Allan (she/they) is a Scottish writer and illustrator, currently studying towards a DFA in queer readings of Frankenstein at the University of Glasgow. She tweets @LEAllansGhost

Hook x Line x Sinker

Maia Joy

CW//drowning

to the boy that threw me into the ocean
and told me that it was my own fault
if i drowned
for not being able to swim well enough—

thank you for teaching me
that sometimes, treading water
and staying alive is plenty.

(ps. fuck you.)

Maia Joy is a queer biracial poet and musician from Boston, MA. A two-time Silver Key recipient from the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, she is currently studying music and creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she is a member of the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House. Some of her work can be found in Star 82 Review and The Mark Literary Review, as well as on her social media @maiajoyspeaks, and her website, maiajoyspeaks.wixsite.com/website.

high tide

Madi Giovina

CW//blood/menstruation

sometimes we need an intro
to get to the conclusion,
but sometimes we only have a body

& sometimes we only have a spot
of blood on new underwear,
& no bleach in sight

Madi Giovina writes poems and stories. she has work in/forthcoming in fresh.ink, Polemical Zine, Feels Zine, Second Chance Lit and more. Madi is a co-editor for Backslash Lit and the founder of Perennial Press. Madi lives in Philadelphia with her feisty cat, Shrimp. She has no known allergies.

Notes On Waiting For The Train To Take Me Away

Luke Bateman

CW//anxiety/depression

The fields are brown.
The guy next to me is mumbling ‘Pure Imagination’ to himself, out of tune. 
The sky looks like dishwater ten plates into a big wash.
The train is running three minutes behind.
There’s a chimney giving off smoke, but it goes sideways like it can’t be arsed
to rise.
The joyous announcement of a sixty miles per hour zone is undercut by
roadworks.
A woman in the car park waves at someone on the platform. No one waves
back.
I sit there and I don’t cry, because I can’t, and I wonder if there’s something
wrong with me.

Luke Bateman is a 19 year old poet from Lancashire, UK, who studies History at Merton College, Oxford. When not exploring the strange and beautiful worlds of the past, he dreams up his own in poetry and fiction. You can find links to all of his writing at linktr.ee/lukebateman