The Chilopod

︎︎︎ C. James

︎ July 22, 2021

The chilopod bears a shield
And kills other insects.
But I killed it first
like a needless cigarette.
Mandarin has no verb “to be”
It smells like somewhere else
You think that’s air you’re breathing?
I’m one with shit so
when I saw the black mold
I saw a band-aid
And I was not afraid

C. James
was born in Texas in 1991. Raised in California, he moved to New York after schooling and pursued various jobs. This piece is from an unpublished collection, A Fish Fry at the Elk Club. It was written over winter from a small home in the Hudson Valley, where he lives and works as a cook.

Grinning Ghost

︎︎︎ Aaron Lelito

︎ July 12, 2021

Among the marl,
the settled attention of an old arborist

who sees
an ordinary inch

as if
it was wrought with a dense mile.

The earliest
ringlets yet to be willowed.

The gleaming vantage at
the approach of incandescence.

Aaron Lelito is a visual artist and writer from Buffalo, NY. In his photographic work, he is primarily drawn to the patterns and imagery of nature; his images have been published in LandLocked Magazine, EcoTheo Review, About Place Journal, 45th Parallel, and Alluvian. He is editor-in-chief of the art & literature website Wild Roof Journal.

Just Chew, Damn It

︎︎︎ Yulia Aleynikova

︎ July 8, 2021

You haven’t been practicing the chewing
I showed – disoriented, again, in between

your woman’s falling in and out of love like a berry
on a tree, always a bit out of reach - you must hover

in the air without hucking off the fence, caught
in stillness. I have had enough of your whining like that.

The only thing that can save you is the bean soup.
My studies, as a slow eater and your student,

gave me the authority to say:
you have already digested that soup.

Now practice: take a bite of strawberry, close your eyes,
chew deliberately counting to twenty. You are

too bloated to do this because you haven’t done this.
So swallow the rejection. Cut out trying to impress her.

Just chew. I can always tell when you go too fast too
soon like a premature kiss on a first date, bare chest.

Yes, I know you are lost. But didn’t you agree
that if you hear my jaw’s proper movements

you won’t hear yours? And stop
checking your bloody phone, damn it! Just chew

the sound of mucus running down your throat
and call me next week on an empty stomach.

Yulia Aleynikova
was born and raised in a Siberian town nobody knows. Her work has appeared in Filling Station Magazine, Event Magazine, The Gyroscope Review, The Columbia Journal for their special Women History Month online issue, and recently in the Shanghai Literary Review and Room Magazine. She currently lives in Spain where she’s inspired by fruit and cheese to create things like mascarpone mousse and Tarot card spreads for friends’ birthdays.

Who is Quien?

︎︎︎ Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith

︎ July 7, 2021

Quien es who?
El General Motors lowrider at the park.
La Proctor and Gamble piñata wacked at the fiesta.
Los Major League Baseball game vendors yelling Chu-rooos.

My great-grandmother crossed the frontera
during the Revolucion. Settled in the
territory, a company mining town.
Smelter. The sheriff knew my
grandfather’s name, Manuel Rubio,
before his sixteenth birthday.


Sometimes he took my brother and me
across the line. We went for haircuts
in AP. Visiting the apostles who sat
in the red vinyl chairs lined against
the piso to techo windows. They all
held magazines with boxers or baseball
players on the cover, and they all greeted
my grandfather with smiles and, “hola,
Manuel.” Then they’d see my brother and
me walking at his side.

Tio’s putting on The Stones
“Sticky Fingers” and
later my grandfather placing
Jorge Negrete on the turn table.
Who is quien?

La Family

Son tus nietos?
De Raquel.
Ella es abogado?

The apostles would run their calloused hands
over our heads. A veterano
blessing. They would look at our
blue eyes and smile at my grandfather.
Los ojos son azul.
Estas seguro que son tuyos?

The room let the declarative hang.
My grandfather was a man of few
words but when he spoke, no one
was confused by his intention. We were
his first two grandchildren.

The tierra meeting el cielo.
The ocean overcoming the horizon.
An imagination Villa could never have claimed.
Quien es quien.

Christopher Rubio-Goldsmith was born in Mérida, Yucatan, grew up in Tucson, Arizona, and taught English at Tucson High Magnet School for 27 years. Much of his poetry explores experiences growing up near the border, being raised biracial/bilingual, and teaching in an urban high school where over 70 percent of the students were American-Mexican. Many years ago, Chris graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. His writings have appeared in Gigantic Sequins, The Laurel Review, Fourteen Hills, the anthology, America, We Call Your Name, and other publications. His wife Kelly helps edit his work.


︎︎︎ Don Narkevic

︎ July 6, 2021

I did not agree to be
ninety-seven, widowered,
nursing-homed, children
scattered like dandelion planets
blown away by me as a child, playing
catchup with the bigger kids,
how I outlived them all
without telling them to go
to hell.

This afternoon a nun visits,
holds my hand,
her thumb rubbing the tributaries
of my blue-black veins.
She clips my fingernails,
tells stories about Jesus,
how the nails fused him to timber
he would never fashion
into a yoke or winnowing fork,
how sometimes the things that hold us
let us go.

Don Narkevic
lives in Buckhannon, West Virginia. He received his MFA at National University. Recent work appears/will appear in Rattle, JMWW, and Solum Literary Press. Don grew up in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, the son of a homemaker and a welder.