the thyroid is shaped like a butterfly

︎︎︎ Vanessa Kowalski

︎ MAY 28, 2022

i knew i saw it coming
but it wasn’t part of the plan she said
i fear a crushing, fatal blow to the head
all the while my cunt becomes a home to a copper monument erected in your honour
the middle of america is somewhere in Kansas,
and so i too fold in half
the first time i saw my cancer was on a screen while my eyes rolled backwards
almost back into my head and back inside
trying to catch a glimpse of a red hot sun cyst
my lymph nodes and my butterfly ablaze
cooled by the anti friction gel
the closest i’ll ever get
to seeing the only thing that’s been growing inside of me
i’ve always dreamed of being so expansive, so expanded
spreading my wings and fanning them out on the petals of nonnative species
now all i want is to be small

Vanessa Kowalski
is a Polish-American independent curator, writer, editor, and artist. She received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and an MA in Curating, Mediating, and Managing Art from Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Her artworks and writing have been featured in books and publications such as Clog x Artificial Intelligence, Take Shape Mag, Precog Mag, Speed of Resin, and more. She currently lives and works in California where she loves making a mess and cleaning it up.

Also by Vanessa: i am already tired

Puzzle Pieces with Rough Edges

︎︎︎ Clay Hunt

︎ MAY 27, 2022

Voices spoke after a long hush.

“If the puzzle piece doesn’t fit, get a new puzzle,”
a low voice said.

“I am afraid the edges are gone. Can’t seem to shove them in anymore,” a
melancholy voice said.

“Throw all the pieces onto the ground,” the low voice said,
“If you can’t picture the puzzle the way it is intended to be,
get a new puzzle.

“But I love this puzzle.”

The low voice spoke in a whisper:

“Those words will echo and ache
when new puzzles enrich your brain.
Effort and care rule over stress and despair.
You can always come back to the puzzle
you love,
but your heart will never know honesty
if you can’t see your reflection
from a framed puzzle.”

Clay Hunt
is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent being Sewn-on Patch with Between Shadows Press. He has been published in many journals and magazines, including Paper and Ink Literary Zine, The Raw Art Review, and others. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife, Laura.

Also by Clay: Lonely Streets Near Needham

on america

︎︎︎ Natalie Mariko

︎ MAY 26, 2022

the sky laid a hand on sheets
& cut like widening scissors,
cajoling the hem

the clouds protected
from fraying
but the heat said

& breakthru green
       reached up
the neck of the sky;

so the blind
sheets swelled
       & locusts
       & night                 came
& everything      blind-

until clouds were just
sheets in the sky
& what

         was naked
         was red.

& the locust-dead swelled.
                                           & rot
                           & vim
        like comments
the wind around it.

& the blocked
             sky stunk
w/ green

& above shone white white stars.

Natalie Mariko
is a poet from New Jersey. Her works have appeared in TINGE Magazine, Cixous 72, trains zine, feelings journal, bridge poetry, Lazy Susan/blue arrangements, and have been featured on various programs on Cashmere Radio and rebootFM. She is currently based in Athens, Greece.

Also by Natalie: dates/dates/dates, been, a river

Variations on a Theme by Schönberg (Piano Concerto, Op. 42)

︎︎︎ Evan Benedict

︎ MAY 24, 2022

You keep thinking of midnights in Maine,
cold that cut through bone like a mortician’s
saw—clean, quick, slick; empty the body
cavity and sew it back, or zip it shut like a purse.

Your breath billowing in the night air:
screaming into a phone, words
dissipating in white clouds, ghosted
by streetlight and January snow.

You recall shaking ice from your hair
at the piano, four hand piece fumbling
from numb thumbs still frozen, swollen
with February, like Everest-preserved corpses.

Take those cold hands, press fingertips to bone-
white keys. Remember the melody?
Of course. How could you ever forget
being awake, again, at midnight?

Evan Benedict
is a high school English teacher at Norfolk Collegiate School in Norfolk, Virginia. He writes poetry in his spare time, which he has because he neglects other things. His poetry has been displayed by the City of Norfolk, and featured in Flying South, Silver Rose Magazine, and Wild Roof Journal.

The Sun Eats Itself to Sleep

︎︎︎ Lora Mathis

︎ MAY 23, 2022

This is not my home
It is a body
I found it on the ground and slipped it on

I live here now

Where the sun sizzles and drinks its own puddles
Splitting the sky as it goes

Lora Mathis
is a poet, artist, and student living in Oakland, by way of San Diego.

Also by Lora: The Thing Is, The Snakes Came Back