You sprouted these Orange King Alstroemeria from seeds
twenty-five years ago.
Gently you placed them
between strata of moist paper towels,
and when shoots appeared
you poked them one by one into the soil.
They bloomed only once, and afterwards—

Now, after two successive springs
fluent in rain,
they’ve suddenly ripvanwinkled.
Many blossoms
pop up from the ivy ground cover
eager as fledglings
greeting a parent bird bearing morsels.

I’m so glad that alstroemeria know
how to alchemize leaden skies
into golden petals
without any help from us
because we’re far from nature’s most dependable friend,
and long after we’re gone, flowers will rise up
toward brightness and starlight
and the muck of puddles.

ZACK ROGOW is the author, editor, or translator of more than twenty books or plays. His ninth book of poems, Irreverent Litanies, was published by Regal House. He is also writing a series of plays about authors. The most recent of these, Colette Uncensored, had its first staged reading at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and ran in London, Barcelona, San Francisco, and Portland. His blog, Advice for Writers, features more than 250 posts on topics of interest to writers. He serves as a contributing editor of Catamaran Literary


Within this ellipse

recall that it’s a process.

A glimmer of hummingbirds

circles the feeder, peacock, rust.

Beaking nectar, they hum back

to the rain-wet maple, still

bare-limbed, no leaves,

just buds waiting to open,

seed pods falling

in the yard below.

Inside, my piles grow—

today I’ll fold the clothes

that comprise the bedroom

desk-pile. The weight

of all my coats

hovers somewhere

between heft

and feathers.

Right now these coats

are my boulder:

a godsend.

CALEB NICHOLS is a writer and musician from California. His poems have appeared in Unstamatic: A Micro Lit Mag, and his music has been featured on Paste and Out. He records music along with his husband as one half of the indie pop duo Soft People.

self-portrait as erasure

It was summer in Iowa & our time together

brief: I swallow moonbeams & cola

& love sonnets until I bleed. Bled blue out on

the patio, barefoot & dancing in the rainstorm.

How long will it take to bury me, then uncover

my bones? Someday, I will only exist in memory,

in upside gritty Polaroids, floral perfume stained

on the sleeves of a silk blouse. I untangle myself

from dollar store linens, reach for a cherry cola

at midnight. My mother, the fortune teller, makes

rosaries out of dried baby’s breaths. Taught me

magic tricks, acts of erasure—tonight I sit in a

cold shower and sob, the soap bar skidding down

the drain. I eat glass shards and mounds of

sugar until my tonsils and stomach are bleeding,

rotting, combusting. She burns flowers at dawn in

a rented motel room in Louisiana, tells me don’t trust

men with biblical names. I make ransom letters

out of newspaper obituaries, naked and smoking,

creating fairy tales out of ashes. Ma, you wouldn’t

believe me if I set this place on fire tonight,

threw that cigarette at the velvet curtains, blew

the ashes all over the baroque ashtray, just wait—

ASHLEY HAJIMIRSADEGHI’s work has appeared in Into the Void Magazine and Corvid Queen, among others. She is a poetry reader at Mud Season Review, attended the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, and was a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. She can be found at

Mother Mirror, Mother Tongue

blue script loops & whirls 

this star-sparked

breath, an umbilicus

holding me to you, to her 

& her, back & back 

I remember myself


in an archway skip-counting 

for you, looking for the pattern

for the words that could call you

to me, the words entangled, what is 

from gdobri, good. yo ya me I & but—


m, mother, mat’, mater, madre you are always 

first, a bilabial hum before the burst

of air, the stop, the fractures, the infinitive 

of forbidden splits that come so easily 

to this language, in silence 


we trace the severed with two

fingers, what saint is this? what holiness?

and apart from us, in front of us, above us

with position and preparation, someone asks

with a borrowed voice, what 

man has come with good news?  

it is a gospel of sequence, binding us to 

in his name, whether we consent 

or not; even unseen pray

we, in the dark, our breath the only blue—


to Mary of the resurrection, 

to Katherine of the moon, each of us 

a goddess of her tongue: wordless, headless – found

millennia later, thick stone

bodies in the dirt

separate &

alone &


SHERRE VERNON is an educator, a seeker of a mystical grammar, and a 2019 recipient of the Parent-Writer Fellowship at MVICW. She has two award-winning chapbooks: Green Ink Wings (prose) and The Name is Perilous (poetry). Readers describe Sherre’s work as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical and intelligent. To read more of her work visit

a bird alone

after psalm one hundred and two

a tawny owl hops

over rubble: man

made crumblings.

bones burning coal.

dead grass a nest not

enough to call home.

eats ashes and shadows

grow long. shut eyes. wither

in desert winds.

blind stones pity

the still unheard

but the day hears.

this too shall


the east sky yawns

and mornings. perish waits

another day. rumblings

as the temple rebuilds

secret place quenched

in golden. owl’s

wing quivers, heartbeats: flight

a gift received.

to dwell in tremors

of a coming:

not safe, but good.

temple gates soften

ancient door roarings:

an open mouth

full of glory

CASSANDRA HSIAO is an undergraduate at Yale University, majoring in Theater Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration. Her poetry, fiction and memoirs have been recognized by Storyscape, Arts by the People, Rambutan, Animal, Claremont Review, and Jet Fuel. Her plays have been selected as finalists for national playwriting competitions held by The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, Princeton University, Durango Arts Center, California Playwrights Project and YouthPLAYS. She was also recognized for her journalism work as a Voices fellow by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA).

The Great Divide

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PAUL ILECHKO is the author of the chapbooks Bartok in Winter (Flutter Press, 2018) and Graph of Life (Finishing Line Press, 2018). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Manhattanville ReviewWest Trade ReviewCathexis Northwest PressOtoliths and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.