Two Poems by dezireé a brown

this poem is a movie

starring / Octavia Spencer and me both / we ride
down I-75 in a drop / top Jeep / she ain’t no mammy /

Nah / she a natural / siren / and I’m only / half girl
her lipstick / magenta / mine the color / of the moon

this a movie we // don’t die // in or escape
a plantation / in or watch someone else fall

in love / in / we both get the girl / we both the eye
candy / we both natural / sirens / and I’m only / half girl

/ Octavia ain’t worried / ‘bout the patriarchy
Nah / the music cues / she just take off / gold bars

in our backseat / yeah I said gold / bars / who
said we / wanted to be / some bankrupt / hero?


ode to olivia pope, the h.b.i.c.

first of all, yassss queen. can’t nobody
say you don’t look              like you burned                 a pyre

or two. like you our only                  president. this is a black
woman                 with the confidence of an                average white      man.

We always gotta hold                                    our breath. Wait
our turn. Lift somebody’s broke              son up to                                     our level.

Be like God           [the invisible version] – but you more like Goddess
[the run up a check version].         Remember                           when you bludgeoned

a man with bare                                   hands? Boss       shit. You decide fate
in a cape                                  and heels. Use men and trust                                     no one.

And these niggas                 BIG MAD.             Tell ‘em               fuck the white
hat. I do it              better than all                        you niggas.                                         Be selfish.

Be the villain. Tell Fitz you too busy                            for the sixth month straight.      Take your fists
and stiletto nails                                                    and turn them                 into wolves.


dezireé a. brown is a Black queer nonbinary Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, scholar, and sjw, born and raised in Flint, MI. They are the winner of the Betty Stuart Smith award from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where they are currently a Ph.D. candidate in the department of English. They were a Quarterfinalist in the 5th Annual Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship, often claiming to have been born with a poem written across their chest. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Berkeley Poetry Review, Hobart, ANMLY, Bayou Magazine, and the anthology A Garden of Black Joy, among others.

One Poem by Jess Silfa

Preventative Measures, 1949

“Women in labor can’t be laborers.” – Capitalist Proverb

It takes me a moment to realize that the doctor thinks dolor is pronounced like dollar, piece together that his thick mouth isn’t asking me for money but assuring me I will feel no pain. When money is mentioned, it is the promise of post-procedure prosperity. There is a tray of tools in the room, and when the doctor steps out, I hold up a scalpel, see myself reflected in its silver, and wonder how cleanly it cuts. My sisters work in la fabrica. They have better hands than I do. Delicate: both the bones of their fingers and the things they sew. They make bras with little bows where the cups meet. How many American women have had their breasts indirectly fondled by my sisters’ Black hands? I work in the fields like my parents and brothers. When I cut caña, I use a big and curved machete. Grasp the woody stalk with one hand and slice with the other. There is no art to it. Don’t go too low, not too sloppy, and not too slow. I can knock down five stalks with a single swing, and each will grow back stronger. But this tiny blade knows what to sever and its single cut takes out the root that should have branched out from me.


Jess Silfa is an Afro-Latinx, disabled, nonbinary writer from the South Bronx currently living in Nashville. They have received a Displaced Artist Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center, a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Ricardo Salinas Scholarship. They are working on a novel about a community rocked by the war on drugs and a chapbook about the sterilization of Puerto Rican women and infertility.

Two Poems by Rasha Abdulhadi

Sing the child insurgent

the young make the best revolutionaries, minds clear
as sapphire, hearts scythed, with diamond-dusted blades
they reap their elders’ retreats.
round faces whose gaze empties everything of intent,
leaving it naked as it is. There is no I meant.
Trust takes patience and they have none. Hesitation comes
from the past mistakes they have yet to make.
Their seeking will not hide you, or help you
out of this, your mess. Oh yes,
I sing the child insurgent who wakes up wanting,
for whom everything is first forbidden until permitted
or given an accomplice to drive the get-a-away.
If everything is placed beyond reach,
the impossible is not so far a leap.
They need wings to reach the smallest desire
and so practice flying, out of necessity.


Cold War Among the Sexes

I mourn the long cold war among the sexes:

how men talk to menfolk of manly things
leaving so much softness unsaid
and wound their hearts on hard expectation
surrender so much to cross that boundary

how the women speak of dark and daily magicks
only to their sisters, mothers, and daughters
fearing the men in their lives, hiding the smell
of blood, children and kitchens, of the ill and dying

how we who make the transit
unchoose sides, catch the scent of something farther away
and follow a pilgrimage past the edge of the fields
where once we wore uniforms and fought those wars.

hajji, we pass with the power
to decide what to show and what to hide
with a scarf, an earring or a spit-shined shoe.
some risk little and lose themselves
some risk everything and lose.
some make a zone of truce, give
medicine and shelter where they can,
however briefly, to those who find the village door,
and the same is true in every war.


Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner disabled by Long Covid. They grew up between Damascus and rural Georgia and cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. Rasha’s writing has appeared in Poem-a-Day, Electric Lit, carte blanche, Anathema, Shade Journal, FIYAH, Mizna, ROOM, and Lambda Literary. Their work is anthologized in Mid/South Sonnets, Essential Voices: A COVID-19 AnthologySnaring New Suns, Unfettered Hexes, Halal if You Hear Me, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. A poet, and speculative fiction writer and editor, Rasha is a member of Muslims for Just Futures, the Radius of Arab American Writers, and Alternate ROOTS. Their new chapbook is who is owed springtime. Portrait by JJ Dumont.

Three Hybrids by sterling-elizabeth arcadia

poisoned! at the buffalo wild wings

i’m at the south street wawa at 1:15am reeking of sex when i text kale that it turns out not only do i like being bitten, i like biting. this coupled with the fact that i like blood – kale asks me what the difference between me and armie hammer is. when C was biting my lip i almost asked her to make me bleed, then remembered the pain, which i don’t particularly like. okay, yes, that’s obviously a lie, but it’s true i don’t like the amount of pain it takes to bleed by teeth. my own or others. i do it because i’m the less stubborn bottom but causing other people pain makes me squeamish. and still i like to bite, but the sturdier the better. watching bones and all with kale last week i was disgusted w all the tearing of flesh by teeth. it reminded of the time i bit the top of E’s left breast and felt something give. they cried out and i recoiled from their body, from my self. i went somewhere far away from my mouth.



further out in the desert the saguaros get weirder and weirder. they grow tails, wooden legs, hemorrhoids, eyes like angels. i don’t see a gilded flicker but i do spot a cactus wren and a black throated sparrow. both lifers. on the way back to the airport, a saguaro riddled with buckshot. i want to commit an act of terrorism against the NRA when i drive by their headquarters on my way south from philadelphia. i see a lot of cows in virginia. i think about playing KENO but as soon as i get to tennesse i take a terrible shit. i wonder what makes cow patties so round, and have to stop at every rest stop to wreck a toilet. the hills and hollows are just foggy enough that i can see sunshine made material. i make it to knoxville and watch one waitress manage an entire restaurant, peyton manning staring me down over my cobb salad and cheese bings. if you see a good omen about a bad omen, what does it mean?


[i go to the movies, but when i get there]

i go to the movies, but when i get there all i want to watch is porn. i split the difference by doing poppers the second time i see the batman in theaters. also the second time i see the new spiderman. every time i see a new piercer i say im not a bleeder, but when my first bridge piercing went funny there was so much blood i thought i had somehow started weeping. it pooled in the corners of my eyes. narrowly missed my white cotton dress. i both started and stopped doing poppers shortly after i left rehab, but ive been measuring my life in terms of movie releases for years. when i dont think ill make it to the next marvel movie, i get a new piercing. today i lived long enough to see wakanda forever. when i saw my piercer last week they told me no new piercings, but tomorrow im getting dinner with a friend.


sterling-elizabeth arcadia (she/they) is a Best of the Net winning trans poet and lover of birds, cats, and her friends in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in Delicate Friend, Stone of Madness Press, ANMLY, and elsewhere, and has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

One Poem by Hy Libre

Trans Day of Remembrance

They put the moon on trial a while back,
on TV. We shouted the charges to the stars:
the murder of sophie,
died while stargazing, struck down
by a blunt moonbeam.

She slipped and fell while looking up, it was said.
Supposedly it was a coincidence that we looked up
and saw the moon well-lit, well-photographed,
cowered into a crescent.
Just like they murder people in the movies
or grope people in the news.

Eventually we settled down.
We became sympathizers,
people who believe in accidents.

But our bodies told us
there are no accidents. People
like us die tragically
in adolescence.
                                We die
like trans people die, not like matter dies,

not from gravity
not by chance
not from light.


It’s Hy Libre! (she/sie/they) Hy Libre is a poetess, dyke, and antihumanist dweeb currently in Colorado. She believes in the destruction of the veil between the real and metaphorical, and in the spiritual power of semicolons. You can find her hawking poems, tabletop RPGs, and works on the limen between them at, or at @bigstuffedcat on Twitter and Cohost.

One Poem by n.l. rivera

the first time we showered together

was before we’d even had sex, before we’d even seen each other naked and vulnerable, before i’d seen the deepset scar like a bite mark on his right shoulder, had caressed the divot with my thumb—a gift from u.s. immigration—but anyways we had just spent the last five hours in the emergency room and he kept apologizing for bringing me but i just sat there and wished there was a way to love away his hurt hurt hurt and when we got home after midnight we were covered in hospital and terror and uncertainty and relief so when he wordlessly handed me a newsoft towel i took it, and like i said it didn’t really matter that we still hadn’t even had sex, so we undressed each other for the first time and we let the water run over us, hot and stinging our brownskin red, and that whole time—that whole time my eyes didn’t even linger on any part of his naked body, all they could do was stare silently at the showerhead, or maybe heaven, and i prayed he didn’t think it was because i didn’t want to look at him, willed him to read my silence, hear me thanking someone that maybe was god or the universe or, shit, maybe even myself, just repeating ‘thank you for making him okay,’ over and over again, ‘i am so grateful that he’s okay.’ 


n.l. rivera (they/he) is a queer Latino writer living in New Jersey. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bullshit Lit, Spare Parts Literary, Whale Road Review, The B’K, and elsewhere. One of these days he’ll develop a strong sense of identity, but in the meantime, they plan to keep writing poetry. Online, he lurks on Twitter @nl_riversss and Instagram @n.l.riversss.

One Flash and One Poem by Ivy Jones


He had me suck his blood on the first date. It wasn’t a moral dilemma at all. His mother had fallen face-first into her oatmeal the previous morning of a heart attack and he hadn’t wanted to cancel. He was to be a pallbearer, he already knew this, with his uncles and brother. A mama’s boy who had spent the previous night in a waiting room. DO NOT RESUSCITATE. Blood bank arrows in the corner, white lights harsh as sandpaper rubbing along bare stomachs. I didn’t care because he didn’t care. His limbs didn’t shake, and he was not weeping clovers or coins or things for me to count. So what I did in the back of that car was I licked along his skin to find the best place to bite and eased my teeth into him. He tasted tangy, like tears, and leaned his body into me for that comfort only felt fully with pain.


when given the chance to do anything with no consequences

You’ll fuck the bell in the steeple. You’ll cut me up
and lick the folds. I’m ribbon slices of dress and
skin. I’m third degree burns. Touch me to the
roof of your mouth and you’ll like-like me. You’ve
had a crush on me every iteration. Death breeds
life in the locust season. You’ll suck on my fresh
bones. I’ll have given them to you. You’ll say my
blood feels silken as water when it fills up your
mouth. You’ll fuck the bell in the steeple. It’ll
ring when it cums. You’ll consume my ruins
in the empty ballroom, you’ll open my valentines
from the sixth grade. My email hasn’t changed.
Life breeds death like soldiers marching
around my sternum. I’m waifish on the run.
Touch me to the empty in your stomach. You’ll 
love me. You’ll love me. You’ll
love me.


Ivy Jones is a trans masculine author and poet from Atlanta whose work appears in locations such as Moss Puppy Magazine, Thimble Literary Magazine, and isacoustic*. Ivy can be found at @ivyintheroad on Twitter, ivy.twines on Instagram, or

One Poem by Jubilee Finnegan


The first time I felt them beneath me, they called me Daddy.
Daddy hits a lot harder when you’ve tried to rid your body of masculinity.
It’s a bit terrifying to see them invoke that with so much pleasure.
Maleness becomes visible in your most intimate moments.

That weekend, I tell my other queer friends.
All of us are dressed in gaudy roller-rink-80’s-arcade clothes.
They nod along, either to me or to the thuds of the hyperpop above..
One says she would like being called daddy, smoke fluttering between her lips.
The cloud brushes past me, her eyelids half open, and I wonder if she sees me this way, too.
She says it so easily, like it wouldn’t even sting. It’s not a dirty word for her.

That night, I’m tracing the shape my tongue makes as I mutter the word.
It touches the roof of my mouth, then bows in some form of erotic reverence.
In those moments of closeness and delight, they look at the deepest parts of me.
No matter how many thrift stores I go to, how many layers of concealer I apply,
what they see is the wingspan of masculine shoulders, the gruff chest hairs of a man.
Shaved jawline bristling against their inner thigh, aged man’s sandpaper stubble.
Biology that overrides years of interbody warfare.

We’re wrapped up together beneath a blanket. Through the window, I can hear music.
Our skin layered, I listen as my fingers trace the shape of them.
Humming along, their head falls against my flat breast. The vibrations reverberate through them.
When I was young, I imagined vocal chords as these massive cello strings in my neck.
Starting voice training, I imagined them snapping under the pressure.
The bow of my instrument scraped against my lungs, and every failure denied me my femininity.

I bent myself into terrible shapes that I dared not look at
Here though,  am I the mixture of my feminine energies and masculine form?
My body is not my whole body, my arms are not my whole arms. 
Synthetic form of transgender artifice,
we are a tied knot of flesh and words. My voice hums, and my heart sours.


Jubilee Finnegan (they/them) is a junior English literature student at Chapman University. They emphasize transcribing their lived experience into their work as a form of self-reflection. When not writing, they are often reading, walking the beaches of Southern California, or caring for plants with their friends. They can be found on Twitter at @finneyflame or on Instagram @jwfinnegan.

One Poem by Travis Hedge Coke

Tenpin Buttons

Fantastic at what cannibal love story is found at Reddit
but, there will bean ending at Grandma’s house in 1985.
The more I don’t care, the more one of the most annoying
choices are presented to me, the peyote in one hole in one.


Bean ending?

Surely, the human bean.
The illiterate cactus button.


Some people come out strong talking hard of drugs they have never seen
experts in cold fusion theories of MK-Ultra politricks they do not understand.
Make website connections and social media collateral in tenderqueer tinpan
set blue Hello Kitty alarm clocks and doxx children and dragons in quotetweet tenpin

Tower of Babal, Children of the Earth
Digging translucent large heads through dirt and food,
mulch is good, in mulch we thrust, in mulch we trust, in much
much time we know growing is good

In our Earth, all your heroes will be blue in their alarm
the the the need for more non-Indigenous people to get involved
in racism in colonized places

In our Earth, the displacement is so anticipated
the removal of what lives in our Earth is expected
delays are irritations to the diggers and plowers
the strangers invading this dirt

Tick of Banks, Bellecourt, Thunderhawk.

All we have to live on is dirt and mulch and mulch goods.

Colonials talk of cactus buttons and bussed trips and 
in Grandma’s house in 1985 there was a revolution
a shower of swag in a cookie tin cascading AIM buttons
felt banners, old prayer ties and seed beads

Tick off Banks, Bellecourt, McCloud, Sanchez

Yellow, fat-legged crack-it of the Earth
Circuit of the urn in the good much of the dirt
in Grandma’s house in 1985 in colonized places
there is, in the distance, in someone else’s house
discussion of which genocidal white-run organization
has the better right to drive you all to death
while their proponents, on their off time, talk about peyote and timers
and those AIM buttons accrue scratches and fade

Tick off McCloud, Sanchez, Connie Redbird Uri.

They used to sell Native peoples on sterilization by saying they could remove the womb and later, when they felt like it, they could have a womb transplant.

January 2022 is the first time anyone received financial restitution for this crime.

While they talk about cactus button trips and the sacredity of fetus.

As much as fifty percent of Native people who had wombs, in the United States, living in the Twentieth Century, were sterilized. And, in other houses, not that far away, the conversation is still which genocidal white-run organization has a better right to drive you all to death.

What have are seed beads and old prayer ties in a cookie box in the shape of a circle. 


Travis Hedge Coke is a queer, mixed Native enby from North Carolina, living in California. The author of Us Living in Fictional Cosmogonies, Examining New X-Men, and the forthcoming, There Is Nothing Left to Say (On The Invisibles), and a former editor of Along the Chaparral, Future Earth Magazine, and About Place, Hedge Coke has been a guest presenter at Naropa University, University of California, Harbin Institute, and taught at Shandong University and University of Nebraska Kearney. They write a weekly column for Comic Watch called Patricia Highsmash.

Two Poems by Jessica Rowshandel

ex gf moon landing

okay so naturally you were commander
neil armstrong. i was buzz. 
it’s the 80s now. the moon is long gone.
some souvenir rocks are safe at nasa.
it’s 2012 now. neil, man, you died.
it was your heart of course. 

so your wife finally came clean.
it’s her time now, maybe a book deal.
call the national enquirer! 
call the sun! tell them! 
the apollo program. 
a hollywood hoax. stanley kubrik
does excellent adaptations. 

your name is michael collins 
and you’re still alive, but 
neil armstrong was 
a better name, a man’s man name,
even has the word strong

michael collins is a plain name
the one in the story who never 
got to walk on the moon 
even after traveling all that way.
he hung back in the space taxi. of course
buzz is my real name. the rocket
sounds our bodies made. 
i guess i should have known 
neil, you were just as real 
as that moon mission. 
it was critical 
to beat the russians.


Landscape of an Apartment Rental

My reflections stream from ceiling to floor

an ocean gyre spins the dishes of clothes. 

I wash myself in white rapids and foam, 

sing of old trees peeled from antique stores. 

Instead of owls in the cabinets, 
trinkets for the crows. 

I summon twelve stark suns, 
call both the dusk and dawn, 

fasten time to a film reel 
at half and double speeds. 

The springtime creatures frolic in the mirage that hangs

from a gypsum wall and I can shut them out

as with the stars. What is left— 

me and my dog, 
two lazy hogs who sleep all day 

on the cotton mountain dropped in this place

by the Black skin in my blood 

whose hands hold us. 
Then we were dynamos. 
Now we are lost in the heath.


Jessica Rowshandel (they/them) is a nonbinary Afro-Taíno Puerto Rican + Persian writer, visual artist, and musician. Their creative writing has been published in HiConcept MagazineEpiphanies and Late Realizations of LoveFever Spores: The Queer Reclamation of William S. Burroughs, and Mid-Level Management Literary Magazine. For more information please visit Twitter: @JRowshandel.