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HURT MUSIC by Melissa Cundieff-Pexa

The bell’s emptied space has no name. I would like to call it my never-born. I’m there and the metal clapper and bowl are asleep. My never-born is awake, very quiet. I don’t want to reach for him. I don’t want to fall from the rope’s fray or draw nothing from the naming. I call, […]

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TWO POEMS by Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams

LETTER IN EXCHANGE FOR Painting all the spines of the books blue, for example. Tasting me so absolutely as to know the monsoon of my sickness. Licking my lips clean of disturbance while hunting for the trees I want at every window, that wanton green. What if, in reciprocation, you gave me every song you […]

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TWO POEMS by Tyree Daye

SAME OAKS, SAME YEAR My cousin kept me and his little brother saved me from our uncle’s pit bull, then spent seven years in prison for his set. Every other word he said was                                blood.             *** Uncle Nagee showed us        how to make a […]

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THREE POEMS by Jenny George

DEATH OF A CHILD   This is how a child dies: little by little. His breath curdles. His hands soften, apricots heavy on their branches. I can’t explain it. I can’t explain it. On the walk back to the car even the stones in the yards are burning. Far overhead in the dead orchard of […]

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TWO POEMS by Leslie Harrison

[No. 118] How snow and distance equal absence the page untouched the page a white blankness the way ink recedes from these cold vistas its absence a kind of reverence how the moon is also an absence untouched as if he knew it was beyond mere wood mere blade how burdened the humans are in […]

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TWO POEMS by Marlin M. Jenkins

DRINKING GAME I. When the pastor spits while sputtering any variation of God’s name.             *** When the swing of preacher’s head streams sweat into the pews.        (House rules: capture both spit and sweat in the elder mothers’ hats. Use it either as holy water or anointing oil.)   […]

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UNDERSTANDING HEAVY METAL by W. Todd Kaneko

Begin with a savage cry,                                                         a spray of cardinals             gouting gorgeous             from gut to tonsil,                                                         from a boy’s lips, glossed in crimson & fire—                                                         teen angst dashed by             bat wings, mouthfuls             of graveyard sugar,                                                         bruise shine & stars— in leather & choke chain,                                                         a boy can separate into             curses a man will one day             remember […]

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MISSION CREEP by Jeffrey Morgan

How a groove is a prayer for a needle and a hollow is a prayer for birds, how music fills a space and makes you aware of emptiness, somewhere my brother is not where my brother is supposed to be. I tell the sky how and the sky replies in sunlight on the river meaning […]

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LETTER TO YASHA IN MY THIRD PERIOD AP LANG CLASS MORNING AFTER THAT GIRL SHE LIKES BLOCKED HER ON INSTAGRAM by Mamie Morgan

There must be something that can fix me, you say, but in sixteen years nothing has. Lexapro, Oleptro, Thiopropazate. Eighth grade, Hal Stoddard chased me into the Rosewood Lane cul­-de­-sac by the butt­ end of his BB gun yelling, C’mon piggy­piggy, open up you whale, while I recited every word that had ever made me […]

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CREATION by Gerardo Pacheco Matus

babak

They made me with bones,
white, yellow, brown & dusty bones,
heavy & hollow, broken & shuttered,

they made me with bones
no one has ever claimed,
bones no one will ever bury…

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ARGUMENT FOR LOVING FROM A DISTANCE by Katie Condon

condon_2

Raining this morning & the foothills are dusted
with the gray light that comes with bad weather.
Even through the water’s falling sound
the train makes itself heard across the city
like church bells at midnight…

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DEAR MISS GONE by Ben Purkert

I’m hardly alone— like most men, I’ll gaze at anything to avoid looking inward. Like a stream reflects what surrounds but never the face of itself. I mean force, I mean— forget it. Let’s cast ourselves into a pond: a still surface standing forever without a break. Let’s freeze at the tipping point when you […]

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