DONIA MOUNSEF grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. She is an award winning, Pushcart nominated Canadian-Lebanese poet, playwright and dramaturg. She splits her time on either side of the Canadian Shield, between Toronto and Edmonton where she teaches theatre and poetry at the University of Alberta. She is the author of a poetry collection: “Plimsoll Lines” (Urban Farmhouse, 2018), and two chapbooks: “so why not cut the whole” (Olive Series, 2018) and “Slant of Arils” (Damaged Goods, 2015), reviewed in Fruita Pulp, http://www.fruitapulp.com/2015/07/06/review-slant-of-arils-by-donia-mounsef/ Her writing has been published and anthologized in print and online in Cordite, Poet Lore, Mortar Magazine, Matter, Pacific Review, Harpoon Review, Rabid Oak, La Vague, Toronto Quarterly, Yes Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Lavender Review, Linden Avenue, Bookends Review, Gravel Magazine, Skin 2 Skin, Iris Brown, etc.

Mornings For Eternity

after Divyasri Krishnan’s ‘Girl as an animal of regret’

in a perfect world, i am ageless. 

chrysanthemums stay in bloom. 

chai leaves swirl down as spring 

rain. milky mists rise from the earth, 

frothing. in the mornings, my father 

wishes me a good day, his hand on my 

mother’s far shoulder as i leave. his 

hand still normal. his irises not 

bleeding. his brain    not    bleeding. 

but in this real world, red poppies 

fill the garden. fill the yard. fill his 

mouth. when he speaks, scarlet petals 

peel off his tongue like a scab. bandaids 

don’t heal wounds. i am disheartened 

and unlearning hope the way a shovel 

conceals graves. and in this real world, 

he is in that grave, and i am the shovel,

spilling my regrets from the lips, 

down the walls, onto a glorified box. 

i can live because he died. 

in the mornings, i drink tea by myself,

reminded of how now weeds grow 

in place of my body. how the air 

stinks of 1 part guilt, 1 part shame. 

i will die eventually, just like my father,

alone with my thoughts, answering to

an unrelenting gust of bitter leaves falling 

into stained cups like my childhood dreams. 

remind me again of the everlasting chrysanthemums. 

remind me again why i dream at all

k.p.fen (she/her) is a Filipina-American who resides in New Jersey with her loving husband and cat. She tries not to define herself by occupation or her mental illness, but recognizes they continue to shape her life. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Post Grad Journal, In Her Space Journal, and New Note Poetry. You can find her reading at open mics throughout the state and on Instagram at @inkdroplets.

Ways My Grandfather Says I Love You: A Duplex

Let me stop you right there—see how my love revolves around you?

This is the day of the bird, & I always bring birdsong on a warship.

            Hear the worship twittering in the eaves:

            Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

No, it’s time for all good men to come to the foot of the family.

Let the warriors come home unarmed.

            Let the worriers come home unharmed.

            May the lessons of the colonel not harden your heart.

May I lessen the kernel of doubt in your heart?

I learned my son was born across the prime meridian.

            Learn that my love is like the sun: primordial, quotidian.

            You were born from war, riots; your first cries were a protest.

You always wore my chin & nose as a birthright; don’t protest.

Stop right there, let my love absolve you.

OLIVER J. BROOKS is studying creative writing at Florida State University and is the current poetry editor of The Kudzu Review. His work has appeared in Antithesis Journal, Beyond Thought Journal, Cantilevers Journal of the Arts, and elsewhere. Find him at oliverbrooks.weebly.com or @OBrooksBooks on Twitter.


Today I will watch you hold the violin

bow so delicately, and every harsh word

I’ve said will become the shrill

sound of learning

how to place the hair between the

bridge and the fingerboard.

Your face becomes the muscle

memory I will tap out on the

tablecloth when everything else

is forgotten.

ALIX KLINGENBERG is a poet, artist, and Unitarian Universalist spiritual director. Her forthcoming collection Bread Sex Trees will be published with Central Avenue Publishing in October of 2023. Alix lives near Boston, MA with her family. She is queer and polyamorous and writes on themes of love & loss, sex & commitment, healing and family dynamics.

Two Poems

a poem about peaches

imagine joy instead: a single daffodil,

a minuscule robin

pulling pleasures from soil, from

stark branches. imagine

how dense a carpet of green

dots awaits, coiled within these colds.

allow warfare to end:

no mustard gas, no digging your own

grave. we did not cross bridges,

we did not thieve, did not survive

for you to invent a burden

of black pebbles. unclasp those dead


spontaneous remission

how sonorous

your silence this morning:

flock of starlings

scissoring mottled clouds,

clank of a spoon in a cup of

green tea,      miniature echoing.

having escaped the narrative

captivity of dreams, i sit

opposite the window, weaving

minutes into a cast, a sling,

spreading dawn like a balm

on every scab.

it is not glorious. there will be

no medal or photograph.     

but i will live. 

LORELEI BACHT grew up all over before settling in Asia with an Albino Enchi ball python and a stack of Welsh poetry. Her work has appeared in Miracle Monocle, Roanoke Review, The Night Heron Barks, Jet Fuel, and elsewhere. She makes infrequent visits to Instagram @lorelei.bacht.writer and Twitter @bachtlorelei and has not yet found the time to arrange her poems into a collection.


I sow the seeds in the bellies of my children,

tiny firecrackers brimming with possibility.

I plant them—authentic joy, thoughts

of their wildest dreams coming true.

In their open palms, I rub dirt, polishing

the creases, tracing little maps like a way home,

the underside of tiny fingernails caked,

salty beads of sweat trickling down their cheeks.

I tell them about the helpers.

I water with platitudes,

selling a world of which I’m uncertain.

But it’s safe here, mom, right?

It’s safe here.

I offer my lies like a delicious, cozy comforter,

encasing them with reassurance, the power of parental love.

I would die for you, I think.

It’s safe here, I say.

They won’t know until they’re older.

They’ll get older and know their mother was a liar.

But the garden cannot grow if I don’t sow the seeds.

I toil in the sun, I clutch the dirt, holding the lies I tell myself.

I plant my garden knowing there’s a chance it won’t grow.

MOLLY WADZECK KRAUS is a freelance writer, poet, and essayist. Born and raised in Waco, Texas, she moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York, where she worked in animal rescue and welfare for many years. Her work has been published in Arkana Mag, Red Ogre Review, Papeachu Press, among others. Her creative nonfiction, an Editor’s Choice Award winner, was nominated for a Best of the Net award by Arkana in 2022.

The Thaw

And, again at dusk, I find the madwoman

– Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Come in. Sit. Take off your coat,

scarf, the hard-soled boots you wore

through the deepest drifts. It’s winter.

Dark and long. Clouds descend,

swirl your body, black fog infects

the creed you believed was yours

and is no more. You go on until

there are no signs, the track arcs

in circles, ice sheers the hills.

Imagine spring. It’s coming.

HARI B PARISI’s (formerly Hari Bhajan Khalsa) poems have been published in numerous journals and are forthcoming in Thuya Poetry Review, The Blood Pudding and The Moving Force Journal. She is the author of three volumes of poetry, most recently, She Speaks to the Birds at Night While They Sleep, winner of the 2020 Tebot Bach Clockwise Chapbook Contest. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Website: https://haribpoet.com/