by Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto

This lonely night is not a reflection of the moon, and

A town spread under its light.

I am no stranger in this soil.

What walks into my head

Walks out through another body close to it.

The sea settles at my feet;

Its wind wrestles by, un-trapping bumps cornered at my skin.

I offer my appreciation as an ablution:

A halo straightens out at my head.

A boy tucks at my shirt

And his ice-cream melts away.

I remember the day a girl saw me at a mall

And carted her smiles away.

I’d wanted to stop her and drop

A pint of sunray into her palm.

But you know sometimes some things halt and disappear.

Like I said before, it’s night: a lonely one.

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Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto (@ChinuaEzenwa) is from Owerri-Nkworji in Nkwerre, Imo state, Nigeria and grew up between Germany and Nigeria. He has won the Association Of Nigerian Author’s Literary Award for Mazariyya Ana Teen Poetry Prize, 2009; Speak to the Heart Inc. Poetry Competition, 2016. He became a runner-up in Etisalat Prize for Literature, flash fiction, 2014. He won the Castello di Duino Poesia Prize for an unpublished poem, 2018, which took him to Italy. He was the recipient of New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and also the recipient of the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 scholarship to its MFA Program. Some of his works have appeared in Lunaris Review, AFREADA, Rush Magazine, Kalahari Review, Palette, Knicknackery, Praxismagazine, Bakwa Magazine, Strange Horizons, Whale Road, One, Ake Review, Crannòg magazine and elsewhere.

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by Josette Akresh-Gonzales

Meleke, the Royal Stone, a White Coarse Crystalline Limestone

a teenager at the Wailing Wall         I pushed a pinched scrap into a crack 

the width of God       a millimeter thick 

handwritten           a note that asked God/wall

to quarry back from stone         my father’s legs 

I bent my forehead to the sandstone cool          and wept       God/self

a cistern in the quarry       in the evening my friends and I            swayed

singing           let brothers sit together             the desert breeze     dry as dust 

the Jerusalem air       crown-daisy cupped faces      the way it sifts around our skin      

looking back I know            childish melodies     the whole world

a very narrow bridge     our foolish glow         our cheeks like domes   shining

shevet achim           and the main thing       is to have no fear at all

but the cobbled                     streets/God    and crowds     gam yachad     and reflections 

in gold          inhaled       exhaled prayer

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Josette Akresh-Gonzales is working on her first book and was a finalist in the 2017 Split Lip Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart and has been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, The Pinch, Breakwater Review, PANK, and many other journals. She co-founded the journal Clarion and was its editor for two years. Josette lives in the Boston area with her husband and two boys and rides her bike to work at a nonprofit medical publisher. You can find her on Twitter @Vivakresh.

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by Lara Longo

We All Tremble

Mrs. Cintrone had a cane and when she was up, it led her around the room. When she was down, she sagged into her teacher’s chair, gripping the cane like a staff. Her bones poked through her sweaters like a clutch of broomsticks. She would raise a pointed finger to the chalkboard and I’d marvel at her copper green veins. 

When I acted out at home, my mother pressed the telephone receiver into her ear and say, Oh yes, Mrs. Cintrone, I will tell her you’re on the way. I fluttered with panic and prayed deeply even as I saw her fingers hold down the telephone hook.


But in a year, I moved on to another grade and classroom. No more staring at her crocheted skin. No more sinking into my school chair. I grew bolder. I talked back to my mother and I hit my sister. 


Years passed and the small panics of childhood, once taut as cables, lost their pull. I rarely thought of Mrs. Cintrone. I cast off the bile, the nerves. Then, the shame came, just as my mother's hands turned to lace.

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Lara Longo is an Associate Director at The Atlantic and has an MA in cultural studies from King's College London. Her writing has been published in Peach Mag, Reflex Fiction, and detritus. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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by Courtney Causey

Fish Dreams

Aunt Marceline dreams of fish. Which means, the man with the green eyes who liked my shoes and my hips who left a piece of himself inside of me. For months, I do not shower. I moon in the bathtub, the hot prickly water running high past my knees. I sit there. I breathe air. I sink in and breathe water. I hope the little fish inside me grows fins. I hope it swims out of me and into the tub. I hope the little fish inside me goes down down down the drain. Finds a beautiful ocean, in place of my body.

Instead, the little fish inside me grows nine months and is born with small lips and little fins.

Aunt Marceline says green eyes are bad luck. An omen like two egg yolks in one shell. Last time that happened, she went outside for the mail and witnessed her neighbor run down by a Chevy Supersport. I look at him and see that night as clear as sitcoms playing across the TV. My pink silk shoes, heels so high. That feeling of an eye-level sky. I’m walking on clouds. I drink. To be a fish. In it all again. I meet people and dance them to tomorrow. Warm lights, a smile, our bodies. I meet green eyes and dance him to cheap motel, closed eyelids so tight the grainy reds behind them burst and ripple to nothing. A silence.

The little fish who was inside me grows and grows and one day asks why me and Aunt Marceline aren’t fish too. I ‘shhh’ him. When he is hungry or sad, I tap flakes into the water above his head. I give him a bit less than he needs. I try to keep him little. Aunt Marceline asks what happens next? What happens when the fish bowl is too small? I watch the little fish growing outside me, and hope for now it is enough.

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Courtney Causey holds a BA in Writing & Linguistics from Georgia Southern University. She teaches and writes out of Riverdale, GA, and is published in Moonsick Magazine.  

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