BOY FORGIVES IN TIME, ACCORDINGLY - shannon elizabeth hardwick

He used to skim the water,
a glass of milk at moonlight
in hand, to the place where he fell
off rock and water-weeds, listening
for the song of bugs. Blood wasn’t
the only thing rushing toward him
that night, into ears. He hears
whimpering, still. Stillness is
its own assault. He crawls back
to the house in anger after the drunks,
fallen asleep, cannot speak, remember
the grace of God, or his wrath.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick
The Traps
Louise Mathias

TELESCOPE HEAD SEEKS ADVICE - lindsay doukopoulos

Dear Newton,
My lover can uncrack eggs and promises
there’s no such thing as being alone.
He tells me need gives us identity,
asks to brush my hair. Is there no end
to his useful advances?

Dear Lindsay,
You are full of faulty
reflections, you lack
certain light.

Dear Newton,
Lately, I don’t wear anything
under my blazer. The voice in my head
calls for loud music, red gum,
sex at the oddest hours. Will the moon
always have such a dramatic effect
on my pants?

Dear Lindsay,
It is a circle of confusion.
You are not really suffering.

Dear Newton,
Disturbing trends. The silence
after I scream is so different
from the one just before. I don’t
mind the pain, I just want someone
who can make me laugh
at least one time per day.

Dear Lindsay,
A year’s worth of scientific observation
might record no more than a single
astronomical phenomena.
Recalibrate expectations.

Dear Newton,
If fresh starts don’t matter, what does?
Could I stop being everything that turns
at the sound of my name?
Could I be the kind of planet
that holds a better one inside?

Dear Lindsay,
If you’re counting planets
and one looks like two—
you’ve blown it.

Lindsay Doukopoulos
Beautiful in the Mouth
Keetje Kuipers

IN TIDAL RELIEF - sara fitzpatrick comito

elixir of desiccation, seawater
frays the thin layers of lips offered prostrate to a jealous sun
like jellyfish spoiled to a soup on hot jetties

peeled off indelicately, raining down
as powdered glass out of quarreling beaks
the world slips under the waves

we ignore the loss: our green pedestal darkens
and the horizon curves dizzyingly
for our floating

berating as the fence
quakes with native urchins who scatter
in the practiced nightstick wave

let the sand cram no more infant folds,
crown my flimsy land-ankles in vagrant algae
grasp my knees with tendrils

bear up my webbings and lick my hollow ears
fill my caverns and make me
a tomb of fishes

Sara Fitzpatrick Comito
The Great Fires
Jack Gilbert

CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY - peter schwartz

for jesse eagle

like generals, no matter how small
the war, we discussed self-vigilance
even as we let go

we poked at our deformities
with a sticky nail and over-
endured like farmers

deciding what might seed
or disappoint the wife.


like tyranny itself, we invaded great lyrical spaces
where our lips could be seen
where she encouraged

transplant after transplant
onto some fixed point that wasn’t the sun
that much kissing,

while outside, normal violence.


like parents with no fabric
for a parachute, we made goodbyes of ourselves
we sold vacuums to

the most endangered, weaker interiors
that polluted the tiny mile in the river
by those farms.


like everything, the world is a chemical
reaction, a blur getting closer than it’s supposed to
making us cavemen

with astronomy for hearts.


like working graveyards, we still
beat back the puzzles inherent in a nervous system
and won our frozen kingdoms

back from those very
imaginary lands.


(like criminals, we ate from a plate
that doesn’t exist.)

Peter Schwartz