Blue Water – Natalie Crick


Blue Water

When my Mother dragged me out
I wasn’t cold.

My breath was blued
By the light, seeping through

Trees, black as night
With all that nothing in-between,

Mother already grieving
For the other who drowned.

Tonight the storm broke,
Clouding the colour of

Mother’s necklace with the broken clasp.
The wind whittles your apologies

To blue bone beads
Small enough to swallow.

Natalie Crick from Newcastle in the UK has poetry published in a range of journals including The Lake, Ink Sweat and TearsPoetry PacificInterpreters House and Jet Fuel Review. This year her poem “Sunday School” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

2 Poems – Barbara Black


Faith in a Nordic Country, 1935

In church the Virgin sweats
some portent
that never arrives

The plate is passed
she drops her coin
like a letter hesitantly mailed

Once her ancestors ate
brittle pages
from their hymnals
to survive

She thinks she’d like
to be reborn as a swan

even if the pond
were iced over.


The Killing Fields, Cambodia

I stand on bones
of poets. Gone the
bleeding drops of red.
“Somemoney!” child beggars screech
behind the metal fence.
Ghosts, don’t listen. Your
fearful trip is done.

Barbara Black was a 2015 Canadian Authors Association Vancouver Short Story Contest finalist, and semi-finalist for a 2014 Disquiet International Literature scholarship. Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, FreeFall, and Poems from Planet Earth. Other publications include non-fiction in Island Writer, and fiction in The New Quarterly and Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal. She lives in Victoria, BC.

Two Liner Contest

flash fiction, poems

Our birthday is coming up on February 22! (We much prefer birthday rather than “anniversary”.) And we want to celebrate with a little contest! Send us your two line story/poem and win a copy of the Dying Dahlia Review: Winter 2017 ebook.

Rules? There are none. Just send us your very best two lines. We’ll choose the best three and feature them in our upcoming Summer 2017 ebook.

Winners will be announced on (you guessed it) February 22nd. No time to lose! Send us your two line poem/story to or simply #DyingDahlia on Facebook or Twitter. 

Happy Writing!

Recovery – Sneha Subramanian Kanta



She wrote in the silence of night –
after pangs of childbirth and gasps
slowly, drinking water, catharsis
escaping her billowy shadow.

Poetry editor for her university magazine INK and a GREAT scholarship awardee, Sneha Subramanian Kanta is pursuing her second postgraduate degree in literature at Plymouth, United Kingdom. Her work has appeared or is to appear in moongarlic (Stoke-upon-Trent, UK), The Rain, Party & Disaster Society (USA) and in poetry anthologies such as Dance of the Peacock (Hidden Brook Press, Canada), Suvarnarekha (The Poetry Society of India, India) and elsewhere.

Letter from the Editor

letter from the editor

January 28, 2017

Dear Readers,

This letter comes a bit delayed and for good reason.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I, the editor of a women’s literary journal, would address the current events happening here in the United States.  To not address it would be unfair to you and to myself.

First let me say this: I know there are women who are on both sides of these issues. Those who are strongly against Trump, and those who are with him. There are women who marched (or wanted to) and there were those who had no interest.  I know there are women who are pro life and many who are pro choice.  But let me say this-

The beauty of being a woman (or a human for that matter) is that we get to choose.   And no matter what, the power to choose is one of the greatest powers of all.   But.  If you choose hate or cruelty or discrimination or abuse, be prepared.  Because I believe that women (and again, people in general) are filled with a lot more love and compassion then they are given credit for these days.

Here at Dying Dahlia Review, we welcome all voices with the exception of voices filled with hate and discrimination and cruelty.  We do not have the patience or tolerance for those who choose to spend their lives being cruel to one another.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own thoughts and views.   But being that as it may, we believe in empowering women – hearing their voices and stories and sharing their art.  I wouldn’t have started this journal if I didn’t believe that women’s voices are amazing and unique.

So here is my plea to you:  I want to hear your voice.  More now than ever.  Dying Dahlia Review  wants to hear voices from all women: women of color, women from the LGBTQ community, women from around the world, and above all, women who have something profound to say.

With all that being said, our submissions have opened for our 2nd ebook, the Summer 2017 edition.  So send us your very best poetry, flash fiction and art. Check out our guidelines for complete details.

I’ll leave you with these words by Maya Angelou.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

Keep love in your heart.  And keep creating.

Much love,

Abbie Copeland

3 Pieces of Art – Savannah Loebig



“Self Portrait”



“The Hands”



“The Plight of a Woman”


Savannah Loebig is a perceptual painter who lives and works in the Washington, DC area. Savannah is currently a senior at George Mason University and will graduate with degrees in Anthropology and Painting in 2017. She is currently preparing for her Senior Thesis Show at George Mason University in 2017. Her current projects explore the relationships between cultural constructions and women in our society.

Fallen – Sarah Clayville



Lately I’ve been falling apart, not into pieces but into places,

locales I avoid as if I’m a soldier careening over our memories like landmines.

Because wars and love never really end. Instead they wither down

to infinitesimal fragments that are meaningless without context or clues,

impossible to wash away or pry from our pores or the synapses of our brains.

So I skip our cafe and sidestep the homeless woman who witnessed our dissolution,

creeping home at night to extract those millions of tiny moments and try

to piece them back together again in hopes of a truce.

Sarah Clayville is a high school teacher and freelance editor in Central Pennsylvania. An assistant editor for both Identity Theory and Mothers Always Write, her fiction and poetry can be found in The Threepenny Review, StoryChord, Literary Orphans, 1:1000, and other journals. Visit for other works and her blog, on writing.

Peace – Lisha Ruan



the pitchfork the shovel
the orphan teaches himself
to make hats

unpickle the octaves
the grandmother’s needles
go click clack
knitting a silver ear

how cold your house is
a gauzy butterfly curls in on
itself in a bathtub
the parade the uniforms

never forget
that the wolfskin is but a cover
for a sheep
more terrifying

Lisha Ruan is a Computer Science major and writer at Princeton University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jersey Devil Press, By&By Poetry, and Sweet Tree Review. In her free time, she likes learning languages and playing Avalon. She grew up in Rockville, Maryland.


2 Poems – Alicia Hoffman


This Haunting We Know

by the way our mother speaks a salt language,
sharpens her blade on our tongues, sings a lullaby

so cutting when we meet the spirits of the children
we were meant to be the song on the street is charged

as a choreography. By the way we do not need
the milkweed bursting like cloud when winds blow

and we are only seeds caught in the net of our own
drifting. Piece by splintered piece the fleece of our bones

breaks apart, sifts like silt through the air, by the way we
share slumber only with the sheep, dream of jumping

off the cliff near the yard we grew to fear, too near
the cemetery ghosts who joked with father nights

whiskey flowed thick as blood through his veins, nights
fists iron-pumped the walls, hit like small bombs,

by the way spring continues even now, somersaulting
the grass, by the way we wish this will all blow over,

these hauntings of the past, drifting in thin as dust motes
to settle like filaments of lead in the corners of the house.



Asafoetida. As in not knowing what it meant.
The way I said crick, not creek, unapologetically

peeked into other people’s windows on long walks
down the street right when dusk fell soft as silt

through a glass two story house—when lights
came on but drapes were not yet drawn

how I craved to insert myself into the family
tableaux. That was the same summer I kept

a journal counting all the numbers I knew.
I wished to only keep going forward.

To discover anything infinite and mine.
That was the same summer I ate a whole box

of orange freeze pops—arranged an entire rack
on my legs as I lay in a bunk consuming

The Babysitter’s Club—as they melted into slush
I’d scissor-snip them one by one. Slurp them up.

Now, I only remember I sometimes wanted to be
Christy, but mostly I envied Dawn. Flowers

in her hair. Friday night football games. Fireflies
in jars. That first kiss. That time I was so sick

with want I carved I love Bobby into the headboard
so many times I could squint my eyes together

and see hard through the grains of wood filtering
soft August light right into the future of another life.

Alicia Hoffman is the author of Like Stardust In The Peat Moss (Aldrich Press, 2013). Her recent poems can be found in Word Riot, Radar Poetry, Redactions, One Throne Magazine, SOFTBLOW, Hermeneutic Chaos, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

Letter from the Editor


Here we are.  The year is coming to an end.  And it has been a wonderful year for us, here at Dying Dahlia Review.

I am so grateful for you.  All of you.  The contributors, those who submitted work to us and of course, the readers.

To those who submitted and weren’t accepted, we know your work will find a perfect home.  Don’t stop writing and don’t stop submitting.  The world needs more writers.  Probably more now than ever.

To those who contributed, we are honored to have showcased your work on our site and in the ebook.  Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.

And to the readers, thank you for subscribing and following along to great work every week.  Without you, there would be no reason to keep going.

We have big plans for 2017, so please, stay tuned.  And keep those submissions coming.  We are taking a break this month (December) from posting any work.   If you haven’t heard already, we published our first ebook collection, the Winter 2017 edition of Dying Dahlia Review.  Click here to find out how to get yourself a copy.  We are really proud to be featuring such great work by some very talented ladies.  We know you’ll like it.  So buy a copy for yourself.  And perhaps another one for a literary lover.  🙂

So from all of us here at Dying Dahlia Review, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.  Please join us next year as we continue to grow and feature great work by women writers and artists.

Much love,

Abbie Copeland