Space Cowgirl by Madeline Augusta Turner

i am not an extraterrestrial. i am
leather-sewn and blistering

detritus at the cusp of an Appalachian summer, that kind
of amber decay hemmed with fungus and arrogance. here

i am safe, knowing that
the fruit the apricot tree could not hold is still light incarnate

lying sun-warm on the ground, rotting
to become new. the astral is a body too, and two

nights ago when i slept
next to my mother in her lover’s bed she told me

she didn’t know it would be like this, told me
that when the line is drawn

in my mind, the line of decomposing honeysuckle
cast aside and fractured, dissociated

nuggets of coal held together
sharp with multi-flora rose, to touch

the last place my feet hit the ground. it’s okay
to disappear from your body, i think–

we leave this world briefly, melting
to protect ourselves. what lies beneath

the sun and the dirt are no farther
than my hands, and enough


Madeline Augusta Turner prefers to be covered in glitter. Currently living in Northampton, MA, her heart is always somewhere at the intersection of industrial decay and endless cornfields. Madeline has received a Brooklyn Poets Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Smith College Elizabeth Babcock Prize for Poetry. In 2022, she was also a Kenyon Writer’s Workshop participant. Say hello anytime at

HEALING SONATA by Pamilerin Jacob

In my dreams, I am so pure
I don’t need a bath,

or a secret pill to keep
my liver from exploding

like a piñata. There is an artery,
I believe, for safe passage of faith

through the body’s dark. Fickle,
I am almost alive as the next

person. Brimming with desire, a real
boy, except for the bones lighter

than plastic. An Ostrich’s eye is bigger
than its brain, God’s eye is bigger

than my desolation. The expansion
of the universe is the expansion of us.

I hope no one looks me in the eye
ever again, I remember saying when

I caught wind of my prognosis.
You should know I tried counting down,

scattered my heartbeats like seeds
upon things that watered woe.

Whereas, God was busy, leagues above
tilting sunlight into my bone marrow.


Pamilerin Jacob is a poet & editor whose poems have appeared in Barren Magazine, Agbowó, Lit Quarterly, IceFloe Press, Palette, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He is the curator of the PoetryColumn-NND, a poetry column in Nigerian NewsDirect, a national newspaper.

Still Yellow by Katie Oliver

I am thinking about the flower
my son picked, insistent
that we put it in a glass of water
or it won’t survive, he said.
I didn’t know what to tell him.
Rootless, it floated
in a bottle. I knew the colours
would never glow so bright again.
That night, as the sun went in
the petals closed, and when it rose
again they opened. They were
still yellow: defiant
as a dying star.
There have been so many times
I too have strayed, adrift
on open water, with life seeping
from the very stem of me
but still I turned towards the sun
and here I am. And I am grateful
for the thing that keeps us
going through the motions,
trying: reaching
for the light.


Katie Oliver is a writer based on the west coast of Ireland, whose work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfiction. Her debut short story collection, I WANTED TO BE CLOSE TO YOU, will be published in December 2022 with Fly on the Wall Press, and she is a first reader for Tiny Molecules. She can be found on Twitter @katie_rose_o.

Haibun for a Day in the Life of a Hikikomori by Jemma Leigh Roe

Exit signs hang above every door, but I do not obey them. The lavender walls of my bedroom, baby-soft, lull me into sanctuary. In the hallway, my mother leaves cold fruit and a letter. It tells me her childhood friend’s husband has become a billionaire. We cannot pay the electric bill. Under a lightless roof, I split ripe grapes and expose the flesh with impatient teeth. The seeds lie fallow in a sealed throat.

I fold myself in the sheets and speak with the deer skull my father once brought home. It whispers in his voice about a bullet’s kiss and the caress of a knife’s edge, glints of solace in a long dark. Hearing the hum of a lonely moon, I open my window and throw the head out into umber woods. Everything falls on it. Endless needles, endless snow. The fossil breaks more easily than I under the pressure of winter.

I, too, fall apart,
year after year, until spring
will awaken joy.


Jemma Leigh Roe has poems and artwork published or forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, The Ilanot Review, The Fourth River, and others. She received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University.

Comet as Paperboy by Samantha Blysse Haviland

He packs a lunch of phosphorus and amino acids
and enough water to cool a dwarf star. Overworked

and underpaid, he crash lands on an insignificant rock.
The heat from the nearest star thaws out his frozen meal

which he garnishes with iron from the planet’s core.
The home office calls him and asks why he has taken

his lunch break so early. Comet as paperboy tells
the home office to fuck off. The next day more comets join him,

each one carrying a tv dinner that he helps bring to life;
the shelves fill with meatloaf and lasagna. Home office calls again.

What’s this? You’ve formed a union now? Well, what
are your demands? Comet as paperboy hangs up. The comets burn

their phones in the lava pits, sulfur smoke sits in the air.
The stars shine brighter with jealousy, with bitterness—

their readers can get their news the old-fashioned way from now on,
the comets decide. They can wait for the light to reach them.


Samantha Blysse Haviland is from Mamaroneck, New York. Their work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has previously appeared in Ninth Letter, Blue Marble Review, and Lumiere. They enjoy writing in all genres and are especially fond of experimental work.

No Residue by Samantha Samakande

I have always known
that before I shed
my mother’s body,

                I was planned,
                waited for.

I flirt
with this knowing,
let it irrigate me

                from the inside out, let it
                drift in my hallways
                unpinnable but crisp,

what it means to be
shamelessly permanent.

                Still, when I slip
                out of bed I want it,
                that pop,

that blink,
that quiet dissolve,
that immediate

                oblivion bubbles do.
                I want it neat,
                I want no residue,

but I will loiter in the sacks
of my father’s lungs,
kink up my mother’s gut,

                gouge a pit ravenous
                as a tapeworm, crust over
                my husband’s lips, another stale

husk of skin between him
and the lovers who will sip
him after I am finished—

                brand them all,
                stubborn as girlhood
                scrapes on knees.

When I leave
it will not be clean.


Samantha Samakande is a Zimbabwean poet currently based out of Bloomfield, NJ where she resides with her husband. She is a graduate of Allegheny College and is an Editor for F(r)iction. Her work has appeared in The South Florida Poetry Journal, Sugar House Review, Pif Magazine, The Indianapolis Review, and Gordon Square Review, among others. In 2020, she was the second-place winner of Frontier Poetry’s Award for New Poets.

How have I made beauty a prerequisite to belonging? by Rachel Stempel

I don’t answer
questions as asked
because I’ve my own
agendas. The dawn birds
wait for me to face the mirror to sing
their aubade—a lament whose ringing
never calms the tremors I’ve brought
to the table from furious
dream logic, the same
fury reddening
my cheeks, and I call it flush
because it sounds more romantic than truth

If I can pluck three eyelashes
              Today will be good

All good things come in threes

but I’ve lost count. Sometimes
you do something bad to prevent yourself
from doing something worse.

              Today I am a white horse caked in rouge, hellbent
on seduction


Rachel Stempel is a genderqueer Ukrainian-Jewish poet and PhD student in English at Binghamton University. They are the author of the chapbooks, BEFORE THE DESIRE TO EAT (Finishing Line Press), Dear Abbey (Bottlecap Press, 2022), and Interiors (Foundlings Press, 2022). They currently live, laugh, and love in New York with their rabbit, Diego. You can find them at

Edible Maladies by Angie Kang

my mother calls the day after the shootings, but
            between us: a fence of teeth. firewall

of bone. this shared red tongue, coated with
            papillae of yellow stars

we’ve knotted into a nest of fragile
            domesticity. here, in the frozen umbra

of new news, our tongue
            does not know how to contort

to discuss it. instead, it ribbons.
            my mother asks: what is this tune?

and then a tinny hum. vibration around
            our useless appendage. the melody dark

and angry. I never knew anything
            to hold so much blood.

as I listen to my mother’s quivering
            voice, I worry my square incisors

with my tongue. when I got my braces
            off, this metal cage, my dentist

shaved off two millimeters of enamel,
            and when I got home my mother

cried. a week of calcium silence.
            mourning what she created and

could no longer protect.
            my lips are pursed as I listen,

trying to place her unfamiliar tune and give
            the yearning a name. together my mother

and I try the impossible: grasping at something
            out of reach, an answer that might

offer relief, satisfy us if only
            for an instant.


Angie Kang is a Chinese-American writer and illustrator living in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Believer, The Rumpus, Narrative, The Offing, and others. She enjoys playing online chess, swimming in the ocean, and separating quarters by where they were minted. She can be found online at or on Instagram @anqiekanq.

On the night my uncle dies i sing a little song by Alyssandra Tobin

I dance a little dance. I let the Jersey Devil talk me down. I listen for the sound of that big voice in my head and find it loud. I pray before the altar of see you laters. I scoop poison out of our rivers. I plant trees in our cities. I think it is no small thing to die and yet it’s also the most ordinary. And what of it. I click my heels and I’m in a smaller world again. One where fewer people who loved me as a child are still here to love me as a bigger child. It’s the vanishing I can’t stand. The sudden jolt of empty stair. The switchback to nowhere. All of it’s got to mean something. What if I told you I had an uncle once named Harry Tacelli? You don’t care. And why should you. I care tho. I’m gonna care until they finally get me. You know, the ones who get everybody, in the end.


Alyssandra Tobin is the author of PUT EYES ON ME NOT LIKE A CURSE published by Quarterly West in 2022. Her poetry can be found in Poetry Northwest, Bennington Review, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere.