2 Poems – Deborah Chava Singer



well, isn’t this grotesque
me crying
and your mouth all wet


Woman, Fractured

a woman, broken
fractures fused
if not stronger
more complicated
than before

Deborah Chava Singer is a product of San Diego, California, the Mesa College Theatre Company, Queer Players, and other “stuff.”  She currently resides in Washington state.  Recently her writing has appeared in The Human Touch, MUSE, Jonathan, Cirque, Chaffin, Heart & Mind Zine, Snapdragon, and Twisted Vine. Her website is www.latenightawake.com.


For Unwanted Truths – Kara Dorris


For Unwanted Truths

Just to let you know, my brother says, “tattoo”
in Samoan means open wound, 

life is a regression to the mean, the clear pocket of air
in an ice cube that heat releases

Just to let you know, my lover says, when fire ripples
so violently wood splits from itself,

experts call it “alligatoring”
Just to let you know, I say, I like to mirror fire

Just to let you know, my mother says, car, star,
stonepit—we are all made of carbon,

we end the way we came
Just to let you know, my grandmother says, it’s time

to travel to that foreign country,
to be carried by Saint Menas across the flooded river

Just to let you know, I say, “have a nice journey”
doesn’t mean “may you walk in beauty”

& “may you rest in peace” really means “may your ghost
not haunt the living

Kara Dorris earned a PhD in literature and poetry at the University of North Texas where she teaches writing. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Southword, The Tusculum Review, Harpur Palate, Cutbank, Tinderbox, The Tulane Review, and Crazyhorse, among others literary journals, as well as the anthology Beauty is a Verb (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011). Her stories have appeared in Wordgathering and the anthology The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked (Cinco Puntos Press, 2016).  She has published two chapbooks: Elective Affinities (Dancing Girl Press, 2011) and Night Ride Home (Finishing Line Press, 2012). She is also the editor of Lingerpost, an online poetry journal.

A Love Poem from London – Margot DeSalvo


A Love Poem from London

I ask about your work,
the house, the flowers
and I miss your feet.

Margot DeSalvo has been teaching college composition in NYC for over a decade. Drawn to poetry from the very beginning, Margot’s poetry aims to illustrate the artifacts of intimacy, the complexities of depression, the nuances of introspection, and highlight the beauty in the mundane. Margot’s poetry has been published in the academic journal TETYCWriting Raw, and she is currently the poetry editor and co-editor of Flatbush Review.

By the Bayou – Valerie Westmark


By the Bayou

You turned up the music until we became
porous and leaked into each other,
in your car, by the bayou.

It was all sound and heat,
one of those nights the earth breathes,
and skin is all you need; potent
heard again and again.

I’m sure you don’t know
that when that song plays now,
I pause. Not for sentimentality,
no, too small. But instead
for what it is like to feel
something so large and infinite
that I cannot touch it.

Valerie Westmark graduated from Samford University with a concentration in creative writing. She currently adores the work of Mary Oliver & Rainer Maria Rilke and often wonders if she has consumed too much hot tea. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and she is the current recipient of the 2016 Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper Award from the Door is A Jar Magazine.

Deferred – RaShell Smith-Spears



She wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up.
But there are no swimming pools
in the Foote Homes Projects Apartments
and besides
Black people can’t swim
her flaxen-haired teacher told her
which was better than the deluge of words
from her mother’s mouth
Girl, that’s just stupid!  You dumb
just like your daddy!
And when she thought about it
Ariel’s hair was like a flame
too hot to really touch
and she had never seen a black mermaid
so she damned up her dreams
of swimming
or even taking swimming lessons.
They sat stagnant,
muddied with mosquitoes and silt.
When she grew up she got a job
on a stage.
Her body rippled
like the waves in the water
she was now too frightened
to enter;
Her hips swerved and turned
like a river around immovable
land masses;
her bottom flopped effortlessly against the air
like a giant fin.
And when she wore her emerald
suit with the iridescent pasties,
sometimes she remembered
her flighty little girl dreams
then she dipped to the floor in an
earth-scrubbing split
and drowned herself in the music.

RaShell Smith-Spears is an associate professor at Jackson State University where she teaches literature and creative writing.  Her creative works have been published in several journals and anthologies, including Short Story, Black Magnolias, A Lime Jewel: An Anthology for Haiti, and Mississippi Noir.

A Mother’s Advice – Marina Sofia


A Mother’s Advice

Who could love you?
She said:
You are perverse, you delight
in contradiction, raise your voice
too soon, too far
impatient, you won’t listen
to any sage advice
you want to make your own mistakes
no learning from my own.

You are hard work, she added.
I pretend it’s operetta-froth chorus,
whip my cream, point down the nozzle.
You should be grateful…
You should remember…
You must not expect…
She gave me all the ingredients
never taught me how to bake
each word sweeping away kitchen essentials
till there was nothing

mere square inch of mottled dishcloth.

Marina Sofia is a global nomad, reviewer and writer, who’s recently moved back to the UK after spending several years in the French Alps. She has published in online and print journals, and thinks poetry is the best procrastination when she should be working on her debut crime novel.