by Mara Beneway

Girl in Five Parts

I.      Girl as Planet Girl

I peel off a scab to see underneath my skin,
the maggots                do not surprise me. So sick
and so smart, I’m all indigo veins and watching. A big, fat
planet, I bite back, I                come undone.

II.      Girl as Adult Girl

comes undone. Girl in me unzips,
a sick planet.                                I am my mother’s
big girl. I ride my bike with eyes closed,          no

hands, in the dark. Other peoples’ problems
in my lungs. If Queen Ann’s lace wants to grow
by your mailbox, let her. Love her

common poison. I fill a notebook with night
and am surprised when I wake up

next to the day’s ordinary color. Some part of my life
is always            ending. How bright and horrible
is childhood! Little nightmares that never left,
they live in my never              mind.


III.      Girl as City of New York

I am surprised when I wake up           with eyelids
like sticky gates. I wonder, where in Manhattan lives

my heart? Did it fall out of someone’s purse
on the 6 train? The plant store on 10th street?
Surly somewhere        green.

The subway is just cityveins. You transfer
at Union Square, you’re always making
connections. You can’t hide

a skyscraper. Girl, my girl, you can’t cover up beauty
this big. I’m a swimming city
and one scary bitch. A mother

octopus with three hearts, pumping blue blood
to my nine brains.

IV.      Girl as Scary Woman 

My dad says Shirley Jackson reminds him of his mother
and sister and he asks is that why you love her? I say
all my favorite things scare me.         

Women who keep dead flies and loose          tonsils
in glass jars, let the bat make a home in the attic. Oh,
what a peach               pit does to the back of my neck!

Metal dental utensils. Aunt Sharon
only hexed a man once. All my favorite women bad
daughters, cluck like               hens, keep the myrrh smoking.

Mostly Gemini or otherwise twofaced. Selfish or otherwise
liars, all of them. Most of them               dead or otherwise

V.      Girl as Staring Contest with Space

This girl, this song, this          touch, a blue slap
of vocal chords. I scream at the universe like she’s my sister.
She is my               sister. When I look in the mirror, I see my sister.
Her star-freckles, her         constellations.

All this time I was trying       

to tap into a world beyond the veil, I was trying                  
to connect                                  to my ancestors, scary
women. It turns out, that world is just my bedroom. I dream

under a veil of stars in a city that doesn’t care if I go
missing. Days I imagine          night, and nights I dance
with girls, bad              daughters, made of dead

universe,         decked with scabs and glittery          


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Mara Beneway is a writer, visual artist, and teacher from New York. Her poems and poetry comics have appeared in HobartVagabond CityWillawaw Journal, and Bread Loaf Journal. She was a finalist for the Spring 2021 Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence Press) and Bateau's 2020/21 BOOM Chapbook Contest. She is currently a graduate student studying Creative Writing at the University of South Florida and English Literature at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English.

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by David Wojciechowski

Something We Remember

When looking over the edge of a deep hole
it becomes difficult to not fall in and vanish
from the surface of the Earth.     Some might find this
fun. It’s a sudden disappearance, abrupt and not that unusual.
Like looking at a bird calmly drinking from the birdbath then
you look away, you look back, and the bird is gone. Of course
there’s no sense in looking for it.
                                                         I’ll put my shoes on and go outside.
Another not-that-unusual disappearance. When I go outside
I feel the air and it reminds me that there’s a world.
Maybe too much of one.     I’m receptive to the wind
and the open spaces, to the small cloudlets just trying to become
something larger over time before they decide to go to the earth, dripping.
I know you think it’s a crazy thought, the clouds filling the ground
is something inconceivable, but we will all find ourselves
standing in the mist, relentlessly querying into the grey, looking for our familiar.

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David Wojciechowski is the author of Dreams I Never Told You & Letters I Never Sent (Gold Wake Press). His poems have appeared in Bateau, HAD, Hobart, Meridian, Sporklet, and other great places. Find him online at and @MrWojoRising.

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by Michelle Moncayo

Dispatch from the Psych Ward: 02

I am preparing for the limits

of my wound—
29 and not yet properly diagnosed

I thumb open sutures
throw stones at myself like a song

the water of my body rippling.
I once swallowed a gas lamp

after the psychiatrist told me
there were too many things wrong

with my body—
but he couldn’t see where

couldn’t see which

the lamp turned into wolf eyes
furnace                             ash

I appeared as an absence

in his hands.

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Michelle Moncayo is a Dominican/Ecuadorian poet in New Jersey. She received a 2020 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Michelle is also a recipient of fellowships from SPACE at Ryder Farm, Vermont Studio Center, Sundress Academy for the Arts, CantoMundo, and VONA. Her poetry has appeared in No Tender Fences: An Anthology of Immigrant & First-Generation American Poetry, Palette Poetry, Ninth Letter, & Winter Tangerine Review.

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by Tyler Raso

Material History of the Closet [Axe]

In green pen, the child ladders their wrist

to elbow, this the type of ritual that has no 

center like wilderness or a bluejay. This is

a type of measurement the way the wind measures

the grass or the child builds their boyhood

into a box of pine, now a box of pine made car.

The child in their father’s garage is not a monster,

shaving the dead wood to curve and blunt like a bell,

curling its skin until it snows, meaning the sand of the wood

statics on the floor like blood. No, the child is not

a monster, but they love this sand at their feet

and the brush of sting red when they lower their hand

into the etch of the wood like soap. They practiced boyhood

this way, their flesh made doll with perfect boy teeth

perfect boy collar perfect boy hair that parted

like an answer. They remember buzzing away their hair

in the kitchen, the smell of red sauce with the fragile

meat, the sound of a blade being lowered. There’s something

to this ritual, the planet of their head fragmenting

to the floor like clearing your throat or an impossible

distance. And sweeping it away. Their father was home

then, their father trusted this boyhood as a hand trusts the 

thistle it grips. Their father held the razor

to their head and of course the father drew blood

like a carnation or a baptism. The child didn’t know what

the blood was evidence for, though the child remembers

one night in the forest when they learned to build

a campfire. The child is not a monster, but here

they are with an axe in their hand, severing the wood

from itself like a prayer. The stars hiding in the far film

of the sky. The same branches tossing with notice.

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Tyler Raso is an MFA candidate at Indiana University, where they act as the Nonfiction Editor of the Indiana Review. Their work is forthcoming or featured in DIAGRAM, RHINO Poetry, The Journal, Salt Hill Journal, The London Magazine, and elsewhere.

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by Dale Cottingham

The Possible

You have your reasons, that much

is sure, gathered like a storm,

striking with lightning, thunder, 

wind even in low places

as you slide the ring back to me,

across the greasy fast-food table,

saying, I can’t go on like this.

From deep in the plains, I say,

Do what you must.


More than the open road

leading away, more than the silly efficiency apartment I

take, its layered silence drilling

holes through me, more than women

on the street who leave me skeptical, jaded,

it’s the flickering flame in the cave,

lighting the farthest, darkest reaches.

Imagine a river

silty and red, usually at low ebb,

but of a sudden pulsing in flood,

tearing the innocent bank.

Now imagine you’re riding the current,

passing houses, fields, watching water

open its folds like a narrative.

How can you judge what turns

are critical to your oeuvre.

As a hazed sky hovers, I see

a small girl playing at roadside.

I want to stop, bend to her. I want

to tell her so much, but

she won’t understand till

she finds out on her own.

It’s too late for a night cap,

or the family pics on the mantel,

or the year books in the attic

to give much solace. So, let’s

course on, take the road to the lake,

find a sense of humor

in the predicament,

never mind how much I thought

was possible, but learned otherwise.

Let my mind be jester,

and my heart, still king.

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Dale Cottingham is of mixed race, part Choctaw, part white. He is a Breadloafer, won the 2019 New Millennium Award for Poem of the Year. He is a finalist in the 2021 Great Midwest Poetry Contest and has been nominated for 2021 Best of Net.

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