by Nancy Huang

Circadian Rhythm

Your jaw is a beam of rotting wood/ It is where sadness starts 

The mouth carries apple-cradled jewels/ & a heat-dipped horizon, 

First Child clipping crimson out of the sky/ So the birds miss their own singing 

The boy on the corner is pretzel-throated/ Shows you alcohol under a microscope 

While First Child carries jade circle death in her pocket/ Weaves ribbon into soft lungs 

Someone painted whiteout on your eye/ & it quieted you 

Locked, an eggshell jaw/ Where screams start

Nancy Huang grew up in America and China. She was a finalist in the James F. Parker Award for poetry, a 2015 Young Arts finalist in fiction, and a winner of the Michigan Young Playwrights Festival. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, This Bridge Called Language, Barrio Writers Anthology, Winter Tangerine Review, and others. She lives in Austin.

by Mariama J. Lockington


i don’t know what stops me exactly except to say that the whole forest begins to throb around me like a fresh bruise. i can’t remember how long ago at what curve or how far i have strayed from the voices of my parents my sister. i have simply hiked at my own pace. ahead of the group and taken the wrong fork. i have been thinking of names los manzanos how strange to name a whole mountain range after the mealy red fruit tree. this wild stacking up around me is nothing like the polished piles of apples at the grocery store. but now as i trace my way backward the path winds ahead of me like a diamondback rattler. the dusk settles like venom in my veins and i begin to count my footsteps. i become a black ant marching and carrying all my food back to the queen. so focused on my task am i so focused that i barely hear the voices or shrieks of rescue whistles in the shadows ahead. so focused that when i run straight into mama’s arms i cry out not because i am relieved but because i have almost been free.

Mariama J. Lockington is a writer, educator, and transracial adoptee who calls many places home. She is a Voices of Our Nation Arts alumni, a Literary Death Match champion, and the founder of the womanist project the Black Unicorn Book Club. Mariama is published in a number of journals including Prelude Magazine, Washington Square Review: Issue 36, Read America (s) Anthology (Locked Horn Press), and BuzzFeed Reader. You can find more of her work here.

by Warren Joseph Fong

Living with Others

Unlike the roach whose body collapses under my hand,
the gnat disassembles.
Their bodies dot the walls of our apartment.
A few spin above our heads at night.  Lynn says “like a halo.” 

She believes death seeps.  It doesn’t scare her.
She watched her grandfather laid up in the family room.
Filled with the sun’s light,
the bag of intravenous fluid 

made a face as wrinkled and deaf as his. It attended him.
The two yelled back and forth.  It wasn’t Mandarin,
so she can’t remember what they said.
A village dialect, it sounded like gossip.

Warren Joseph Fong is a writer and office worker. He lives in Los Angeles with his cat, Figaro, and friends. His work has been published in Meridian, the Rumpus and Zocalo Public Square.

by Warren Joseph Fong

“A woman walks into an open cabinet…”

A woman walks into an open cabinet.
I close the door. There is a trust 

that spans the amount of time before
she screams. 

I let her out the second before,
she is smiling and smells of escaping moths. 

I let her out a second after.
She smiles. She smells of cut grass.

Warren Joseph Fong is a writer and office worker. He lives in Los Angeles with his cat, Figaro, and friends. His work has been published in Meridian, the Rumpus and Zocalo Public Square.

by Emily Temple

A Clean Egg

She is washing eggs at the kitchen sink when she feels it. It feels like a little pulse between her palms. She looks down at the egg she is holding, which has a large green smear across it. Eggs must be washed carefully. Eggs come out of their chickens covered in slime, and then they roll around in their nests and always wind up covered in chicken shit before she can come out to collect them, so the washing is important. She has a special brush for washing eggs. She’s using it now, against this smear, when she feels the pulse again. She sets down the brush. There is something moving inside the egg.

It is not, of course, a baby chicken. She has no rooster, and so all of the eggs her chickens lay are merely eggs, unfertilized. They were never going to be baby chickens. It is not even a tragedy. Besides, the thing moving inside the egg does not feel to her like a chick. Don’t ask her how she knows that. She cups the egg in two hands. It is warm, and whatever is inside is tapping at the curved walls rhythmically, steadily, like the egg is not an egg but a heart, or a room.

Could it be a little naked fairy, like the ones in the pictures her aging aunts send her, the ones they seem to think she’d like to hang on her clean walls? Could it be something more extravagant, like a little giraffe, its neck all curled up inside the egg like a fiddlehead, or a miniature tiger with wet fur and sharp, tiny claws? Could it be the other thing, the thing she has been waiting for, alone in this white house, with her chickens and her one goat and her resistance to the society of others?

A crack appears in the smooth white wall of the egg. The thing inside is trying to get out. She will, in a moment or two, finally find out what it is, how many legs, what it looks like, if it looks like her, if it looks like him.

The crack becomes a dark slice. The slice becomes a dark hole. She closes her eyes. She tips her hands apart. She stomps the egg into the carpet.

Emily Temple holds an MFA from the University of Virginia, where she served as the Editor-in-chief of Meridian and was a recipient of the Henfield Prize. Her work has recently appeared in The Indiana Review, Sycamore Review and The Fairy Tale Review.