by Lindsey Webb

A Flexible Grasp

The moonlight stacked

like white arms in

the back of the car—I carry

them out to the farthest ditch

I know. Here

the world bleeds like milk

into the sky and something

could one day happen. I refer

to my dread in bruised

throats, a fire on the ridge,

etc. The clouds like fistfuls

of hair in the road, drawn

upwards like a thumb on the

sternum. Bone yields

like snapped candy, a broken

elevator. I hear it always on

the other side of the wall.

Lindsey Webb studies literature at Brigham Young University. Her work can be found in likewise folio and ILK Journal. She co-edits elsewhere magazine.

by Leon Hedstrom

Walked two moons and then gave up

Sometimes I want to be the dog, y’know? Running through the woods oh please oh please

let me be the firecracker. Let me rock your world. Let me be the teeth. Let me be the animal passion and the stream through the forest. Oh please I want to be the forest. I want somebody

to get lost in me. I want somebody to set up a tent beneath my evergreen trees. I want to shed my conifer needles above their lovely heads. Oh please oh please someday I want to be the god who shines a light over the valley at dawn. I want to be the poet at the podium. The heart in your chest beating beautifully. Oh please oh please somebody take me down to the river. Somebody show me the primeval trees and the water as it rushes. Somebody tell me that things will be alright.

Leon Hedstrom is a full-time student currently living in Minneapolis with poetry published in Switched-On Gutenberg and 3Elements Review and fiction forthcoming from WhiskeyPaper. He doesn’t take prisoners.

by Amy Dickinson

Sea Ice, Stage One

Schoolchildren of the mid-Atlantic, frazil ice exists.

How does one say this in a small way?

The variations on cold, the cracked pomegranate, the soft belly:

I prefer life as a grove of introductions:

when one steps from one’s leather pants,
when one recognizes the galaxy.

Something happens between within and without.

Once, a boy greeted me a dozen times each morning.

Schoolchildren of the mid-Atlantic, the trick is remembering the varieties of hello.

The beautiful floor stained with beautiful juice.

If one has ever protected anyone, if one has ever liked to dance.

When using the word “beautiful,” the trick is remembering one’s first awareness
of dimensions, how length is not height is not width is not depth.

Amy Dickinson lives in Washington, DC. Some of her poems live in Burnside Review, Sentence, and American Letters & Commentary; some of her poems live elsewhere.

by Erika Anderson

Geneva Vices

We’re leaning against your car sometime past 1 a.m. in a mostly abandoned parking lot in a northern suburb of Geneva, Switzerland. You’re wearing your sports coat and smoking, like always. The moon lights you up, or is it a street lamp? You face me, half in shadow, and ask me, in French, to say something: Dit-moi quelquechose.

I pause. I’ve never had sex for that long, I sayThe only way I know how to say sex in French—faire l’amour—means “make love,” which is factually inaccurate. That’s not what we’ve been doing in the backseat of your BMW for the last hour. My sweat is drying but my hair is slicked back and starting to curl.

Once the windows defog and you’re driving me home, you ask if I’m always this quiet. I tell you I’m bouleversé, turned upside down. Sex plays with my emotions, I say. Well, at least it was good, right? That counts for something, you say. (But what does it count for? And what are we counting?)

Though your jacket is black I remember it white, my imagination coloring you into a Portuguese hot shot. On the A1 motorway, you take the turns fast, the straightaways faster. Back in the city, you zip around Benzes, Audis and the odd matte black Lamborghini to trace the trajectory of Lac Léman, its promenade offering the night a pink glow, its jet d’eau a constant, sky-reaching spray.  As we accelerate, sometimes I brace myself, sometimes I get high on adrenaline, sometimes I wonder about the risks we’re taking. 

Last July I left my husband. Now it’s May and I’m having sex with strangers in parking lots. No, make that singular. One stranger, one parking lot. But who is this girl who only says yes? Where is she going and how long does she have?

We met two days ago, at 5 a.m. in a kebab shop in the rive-gauche neighborhood of Plainpalais after the clubs, everything closed. You eyed me. I eyed you back. You said au revoir on your way out, literally “to the re-seeing.” Factually accurate—I did see you again. Five minutes later you were standing at the door. I walked outside wearing a slip, gold platforms and a leather jacket—from a costume party, but you didn’t know that. You entered your number into my phone because I was too drunk to do it myself. You asked what languages I spoke. English, French and Spanish, I said. You asked what I was doing tomorrow. Not much, I told you. You leaned in and kissed me. Cuidado, I said. Careful.

Erika Anderson is an editorial assistant at Guernica Magazine and teaches for the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction, Guernica, Interview Magazine, Hunger Mountain, Electric Literature’s blog The Outlet, the Brooklyn Rail, Sarah Lawrence’s Lumina, Arcadia, and Freerange Nonfiction. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and other awards. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Brooklyn's Crown Heights, where she co-hosts the Renegade Reading Series for emerging writers.

by Adam Dalva

How to Listen to This

Hi, everybody. Thanks for coming out tonight. Wasn’t that last poem great? It was so emotional. So real. It was nice having the background about his mom being sick when he wrote it—and Chad, I’m sorry for your hardship—so that we knew the whole dryad returning to the dusty seeds of earth thing was supposed to be a sad metaphor. And let’s be sure not to forget our wonderful MC tonight: Sarah, stand up and take a bow. Amazing. She’s in the bathroom? There was just a ten-minute break and she was in here the whole time. Well, anyway, if you can hear me in there, Sarah, take a bow. And let’s make sure to thank the bartender. He’s had a long night on his feet but at least he got to listen to all of the great readers. Oh, and I’ve tipped him extra to not dig through the ice bin while I’m up here so maybe order beer.

Okay. So what I’m going to be reading tonight is a thing that I’ve been working on my whole life, in a way, and it’s for all of you, of course, but it’s really just for one special person. She’s perfect, and I wrote this for her and only, she’s not quite here yet, but I bet you she’s going to come through those doors at the back any second now, and when she does I’ll hopefully have started reading at that exact same moment, like it was fate, like it was impossible for her to have missed this. Maybe I should just start going, right? Start with the first word of my story and in she’ll come, that long black hair tangled around her small, sweaty face, apology in her eyes, wearing that dress I like with the sash and the sneakers that she keeps in her bag in case she decides to go for a run, holding her heels in her hand. Let’s do it.


No. It didn’t work. But, for when she does come in, this is how I would like you to listen to this. Lean forward raptly with your elbows on your tables. If you are a poet, close your eyes like a really professional level woman dancing the tango, give the impression that you are thrilled to be following along. Laugh when I smile, freeze with tension when I increase my cadence as we come to the action, store my descriptions of bodies for later, for when you’re alone. If you must drink, pick up your glass without looking at it, take a tiny sip, and place it back on the table with exaggerated care. Maybe sway a bit. Cast envious glances at the girl who came in at the exact same moment that I started reading the story, and speculate over how great she must be. Stare in resentment at your own work, at the pieces that you just read out-loud, and watch what you thought were highs and lows be relegated to middle ground. Unobtrusively pull out a pen and plagiarize, dip into my language. Photography is permitted. Recording of all kinds is permitted. Draw me, draw me fast so that the edges of my hair look like water. If we make eye contact, sit stark still and just enjoy the electricity. Sigh at the end, loudly, or stand and cheer. As a favor to me, do all this when I start reading. This is a team effort.

So I’ll start talking now and she’ll come in the door, maybe holding the lost child she must have found on the street, or bleeding a bit out of her elbow from diving to push a sweet old lady holocaust survivor out of the way of a cab running a red light, or with her mascara just starting to dry on her cheeks because her mom called and said she was sick—oh, sorry Chad. Alright. Let’s do this, people.


Okay, false start, sorry, we’ll wait a few seconds and try again. What? I have how much time left? I haven’t even started reading yet. This is all preamble. You said we could introduce our works. You let Chad do it, didn’t you? No one interrupted Chad when he was talking for like three hours about how his mom always loved to garden. This is important. You know, before I wrote the story I tried to write her a poem for this too, and I even did write her a poem, and it sounded like nothing else I’d written.


Or how about this for an introduction; I wrote this as a back-up: This is what it boils down to. I have a little virtual post-it note—the idea of which, when you stop and think about it, is pretty absurd, a virtual post-it note. Okay, sorry, Sarah—so this thing pops up right in the center of my computer screen every time I hit f4 to see how many layers of winter clothes I need to wear if I go outside. It says in all caps




So that’s what I tried to do




And, you know, I’ve read that there are countless universes that contain every possible alternative, every outcome, every flip of the coin from cosmic to microscopic levels. That means there are universes where I’ve never met her, where we don’t exist, where we kill each other in bloody warfare on a post apocalyptic battlefield, where we are ectoplasm, but I don’t care about that, any of that. Because in one of these alternate spaces in infinity, the only variation is that she is already here. One flip of the coin, one variance, one misplaced word, that’s all it took, and even if in 99.9 percent repeating universes I end up never knowing her, if I exist at all, the idea that somewhere out in the 5th dimension in a universe super like this one, she’s already applauding, already hugging me, is ridiculous. I know what she said. I know she said that she wasn’t sure if she was going to make it, that she explained all this to me already, that we’re not together anymore and she doesn’t have to go to any more ‘goddamn readings,’ but this still could be an okay universe. Right?

Time—Time was

Adam Dalva is a graduate of NYU’s MFA Program, where he was a Veterans Writing Workshop Fellow. He has written a novel, The Zero Date, and his work has been or will be published in The Millions, Connu, The Golden Handcuffs Review, and elsewhere. Adam currently works as a French antiques dealer.