One Poem by Kai Minosh Pyle

Treatise on a trans NDN love scene

I am ready for my close-up as lover of a cis gay boy.
A portrait of the artist as a young faggot. I am a wanted man,
wanting. I drizzle his lips with honey and suck out the poison
with my liar’s tongue. I am trying to be as beautiful as a poem,
as beautiful as a gay NDN love poem, as a poem made
of shards of glass reflecting starlight. My ribs a ladder
tied tight (can I keep my binder on) so no man can climb
to the moon on my skin. I am a shadow of a shadow, and you
are the rock formation I cling to. Staccato breath one, two,
three. The camera swings wildly, the way the world tilts,
as his blood sings through his veins under my touch.
Light speed travel invented via gay sex. Don’t stumble
on your words there, this trans body is a sacred mound
not a speedbump. By which I mean it is a place of sacrifice
and mourning. By which I mean let your fingers slip under the hem
of my shirt (yeah the binder is fine) and give me your heart in
the palm of my hand. It doesn’t mean anything. If I had a string
of wampum for every cis gay boy I fell in love with I could
replace international diplomacy with an oral history
of transgender longing, and maybe that would be alright


Kai Minosh Pyle is a Two-Spirit Métis and Baawiting Nishnaabe writer originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Currently living in Bde Ota Otunwe (Minneapolis, Minnesota), they have been published in both creative and scholarly journals such as PRISM Magazine, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Cloudthroat, and the Activist History Review. Their current projects include editing a zine of Two-Spirit writing, pursuing a PhD on Two-Spirit Anishinaabe history, and as always, learning their ancestral languages.

One Story by Sarah Cavar

Orange Season

In the future, we volunteer at the produce-distribution collective because we feel like it and because we really should and because we enjoy the smell of early-summer oranges as they roll toward us in great, eponymous tidal waves. Each has just been plucked by volunteers next door, who work in half-hour rotations so as not to succumb to the brutal May heat. 

The fruits grow farther north, now. The climate crept up here and we early waited too late to stop it—we, meaning they, the “they” for whom we take responsibility, whose mess we work to rectify. While sweet Valencias ripen close to home, we childrens’ childrens’ children are somehow still alive. In the future, today, we place May fruits—oranges, lemons, grapefruit—into crates by genre. We do not delineate between beautiful and ugly, but only between ripe and not-yet. The not-yet remain on the trees and all the ripe—the small, misshapen, the large, the in-between and the anomalous—wander equal into our hands. 

In the future, because this is the future and we childrens’ childrens’ children have learned better, we waste no strangeness. We do not cover it in turf grass, and we have mapped a new vegetal terrain in place of sprawling homes. The center, an open-air, solar-powered space, contains strategically-placed windows designed to facilitate a pleasant cross-breeze amid the blazing heat. It does not fix the 102º days, but it mitigates them. 

             We people, set on survival
             against our parents’ parents’ parents. 

Another batch of oranges rolls toward us, sparking a citrus-something in my nose. My partner, gloved like me in last month’s plastic now-transformed, plucks an orange from the crowd. It has legs. Its circular body turns pointy, and from two parallel places at its base sprout limbs of equivalent length to its body. Each limb is plump as if inflated, curving delicately inward. 

They hold the orange up to the sun, which shines down through a UV-proofed skylight. “Even after everything, I feel like this would still freak them out a little,” my partner says. Those who rarely volunteered in distribution and did not know quite how normal abnormal fruit could be. Turning the fruit in their hands, first gripping its rounded shape and then pinching the end of a leg, my partner lets its fat body hang. 

When they gesture toward me, I take the other leg. We pull the two apart like a wishbone. The remainder lands on the counterful of fruit between us. 

“If you wanted a snack break, you could have just said so,” I tell them. Breaks no longer require excuses and food no longer costs money. There is no shortage when there is no waste. 

“I’m not really hungry. I just want to know the taste,” they reply, peeling back a leg of fruit and popping the remains into their mouth. I do the same and chew slowly. (In the future, breaks also have no borders.) It tastes orange as does every other orange, bitter at its pointed toes which turn from fruit to fiber. 

My partner halves the remainder of the orange, popping another section into their mouth with eyes shut. Looks aside, the fruit was sweet and juicy, picked at perfect ripeness. I close my eyes as well. We stand silently for a moment, chewing into the backs of our eyelids, until the sound of the monorail outside returns us to our task. We hear the volunteers’ laughter on their way into the center, the sound of scraping crates as they heave them into the monorail for community-distribution. When they are finished, several come inside to talk, and we tell them of our perfect mutant fruit, all the way up here in Massachusetts, and we laugh together, sad and hopeful. When my partner and I reenact our wishbone-pull, they laugh again, only out of joy. 

As the sun’s gaze relents behind the evening we remain among the fruit, until the next shift greets us. Another monorail will arrive soon. Though hot during the day, there remains a chill in the air at night, promising wind against my hands still damp with juice. 


Sarah Cavar is a student and writer of indeterminate gender. A 2020 graduate of Mount Holyoke College, they are now pursuing a PhD in cultural studies at UC Davis. Find Cavar’s work in Vulture Bones, The Offing, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. They read for Stone of Madness Press, tweet @cavarsarah, blog at, and definitely haunt your local library.

One Poem by Levi Cain

Creation Story

bury your girlhood in the backyard,
underneath the lilacs and 
snap peas. say no prayers for it,
hope it is laid to rest and will
not follow you home. build the memory 
of your father teaching 
you how to shave on a sunday
morning, the way the sun filtered 
through the blinds and dust. stroke
the razor down a smooth cheek
and do not cry. do not stop
to mourn your stillborn boyhood,
you have missed enough.
walk home alone at night,
avoid the hovering streetlights,
leave the pepper spray unopened, 
laugh off the worried phone calls.
you—a boy,
impenetrable as an era,
stalking home defiantly,
will cause your own trauma 
this time. check the spread 
of your legs on buses, the
bristles of hair on your legs
and chin. when the
whitegirl on the street runs 
when you ask for directions,
say nothing. dig up the memory
of your mother showing you 
how to thread a needle and sew
your lips shut before the 
hurt escapes. re-form your body 
as a fist. re-form the part of
you that aches and cover it
with spit and menthols.
when your father says
he has never known a boy
like you, tell him you learned
your own creation myth. tell him
you cannot pull from dust 
so you have to make due with
what is leftover—the burned
easter dresses, the mustache
left in its infancy, the layers of
flannel baptized in sweat
year-around. from this you emerge 
stumbling, not a not as a man
but a mimic malformed, 
composed of pink ribs and 
plastic sinew, half-boy,
half-girl, all of you 
new and raw around
the edges, hurtling towards
whatever will have you
whatever looks like home
when you’re beaten enough
to squint.


Levi Cain is a gay Black poet who was born in California, raised in Connecticut, and currently lives in Massachusetts. Their work has been shortlisted for Brain Mill Press’ 2019 National Poetry Month contest, as well as nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Their first chapbook, dogteeth. will be available from Ursus Americanus Press in 2020. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter @honestlyliketbh.

One Poem by Jaisha Jansena


Once, she told me that I came gliding in like a summoned spirit from the pit of prophecy, black-eyed, skin the color of burning bark, born to the depth of winter, at the dying of the light, born to the in-between, part exit and part entrance, pain wider than the hollow moon, breath as warm as fury, blood rich with poison. 

She called me half-dead.
That’s the miracle, she said. 

I’m aware I’m a palimpsest; destruction is tethered to my paltry DNA. 

She wants solid print to skim over but I have only traces. 

Once I was whole and perfect, entirely tangible and real.  Now I’m a mix of rumor and myth, practically unseen. Most of me has been redacted. And I can’t pronounce what was lost. But I feel the emptiness between things, between then and now, between her and I.

I reach for something in her silence and her silence reaches back.  

I know she wants to hear a story made up of graceful curves and smooth transitions but I can’t do tidy storytelling with so many potholes wrecking my body. 

I have only the name my rejection has given me and when the vowels of my name come crawling out of her mouth, I want to flinch. I remember the first time I picked up a pair of scissors and decided to cut myself free. I remember the first time I tried to lay down inside a new pronoun. 

I never felt that stark line of liberation press so close to my throat.


Jaisha Jansena is a writer, multimedia artist, and Academy of American Poets college prize-winner from Cincinnati, Ohio. Find their work in Luna Luna Magazine, Burning House Press, and at

Three Poems by Xuan Nguyen


               Who are you, who are you,
                            I am a man who will become God.
                                           No, not Christ—who is Christ to a man raised Buddhist? 

                             God, I say, in the same way some people say Human,
                                           it is a species; some people become Human,
               I will become God.

                                                             To become divine, 
                                                                              you have to bring God inside you.
                                                                                        No, not through fucking,
                                                                            though that is one form
                                                             of possession,

              I mean through consumption.
What do the Christians do? The wine is the blood of Christ,
                                                                      and the bread his flesh?
              If that’s wrong,
                                             I don’t care to know

                                                                                                     I am a learned man,
                                                                                                                                   (or mostly a man),
                                                                                    but there are things even I disdain to know.

A snake once said,
            The kingdom of god is within you
because you ate it.*

                                                                                                                So I’ll eat the kingdom of god.
             What else could you call the folk who live on this earth?



             six feet under,
                             I wonder, I wonder what I would’ve turned out like,
                                           had my parents’ hearts been full of spite,
                                                          instead of nothing for me, nothing. 

II. I want to be honest with you, Severin, can we be honest?
            If you can tell me the truth. Plain and simple.
I am not plain, and I am not simple, and–
            You are not honest. Try for me, just try. 
                        Just once.

III. I never had the chance to be honest.
                                                                                                                   IV. I was fed and watered until
                                                                                                                   the fathomless age of five, at which
                                                                                                                   I had a bag of raw potato, a single 
                                                                                                                   tomato, and flour from the mill.

                                                               If I couldn’t figure out how to eat that, I wouldn’t eat at all.
                                               I was not alone, but I would be the only one to take the fall.

Even still, even still,
               I wonder what it would’ve been like,
                                              had I not been a knife
who developed a taste for–
                                                                                           Meet me for dinner dear, the usual place?
                                                                                                         Never fear–you need not worry about what 
                                                                                                                        that bitch said about you.

                                                                                           Except it was true, it was always true.
And it was always being said.

Of course we won’t take a child to a restaurant.
No, no, not even a child we want,
And I was not that child. 

My sister was.
                             My sister was cherubic, 
                                                           and I wanted to love her,
                                                                                        I wanted to love her more than I loved myself,
so I could see what my parents saw,
instead of something I wanted
to rip red, raw,
                                                              but of course, I didn’t.
                                                                             LOVING WAS A SONG I NEVER LEARNED,
                                                                                   loving was a task I felt unearned.

V. And I never knew it until I met you, Severin Lacandola.
My lingering fetter, this is my love letter:
                                                                                                                                               I See you.



[CN: Suicide attempt]

I. Medicine is not a place where the ill can thrive.

              Only the strong survive. 

                             Pity he couldn’t meet the demands.
                                                          That man had the Lord’s hands.
(Lord, what Lord
               I am my own,
                              and any Lord of yours,
                                            means little much,
And it is such 
that I am: 
                             Lord of the Butterflies, 
                                           Lord of the Moths-Who-Have-Eyes,
                                                                        I am WEAK+DIVINE.
                                                                                                                                    Believe it or not,
                                                                                                                     I will take what is mine.

II. I died once in the hospital.

They cut inside of me,
Just to see.

Something kept blurring their imaging, they’d still  
                       not gotten used to medicine without machine, 
                                                                              instead being forced to rely
                                              on Celestial 
                                                                            Amadeus Ex, 
                                                                                                           They liked to say in medical school.

I would date: Ravens, Stags, Beetles, 
               really anyone that could wheedle
their way into my eye.

I would be perfectly kind,
but I couldn’t conceal
               which part deigned to dine

on the most forbidden fruit.

They knew better not to root
                              inside the sublime.

III. Hands sloshing through 

all of it a liquid,
               shining like mercury,

Couldn’t help but to take it.
How were they supposed to know 
I wouldn’t make it?
                                           The lovers knew.
Unlike the surgeons on the operating table. 
My death, they’d say, was just a fable.

IV. Do not presume to ask me why.
              Like the cat, I have nine times to die.

            I had used one already, as a boyling,
strange thing,
            Oh, he will only misfortune bring.
                           And once declared, so I brought it.
            Foolish of my parents,
                                         to ever have fought it.
Unlike my parents,
My sister loved me.
                No matter how many times I led her into the woods–
more than nine, let’s leave it at that–
                she would never cry, and she would always come back.

                              The woods behind the house,
                                                                               little her, like a louse,
                                                                                             were ever-blooming
                              in shades of rose, forget-me-not, and lavender,
                                                and I would tell her, Let’s pick some bluebell,
                                                                                             Let’s see what the fairies sell,
                                                                                             but in her life, she never saw a fairy.
                                                Am I the fortunate creature,
                                                                                           or is she?
                              Me, oh my, oh me.      

              Just as I was determined to leave her behind,
                             Mother and I would always find
                             her in the same ring of iridescent mushrooms,
                                                                             in front of the same luminescent tree,
                                            that was never the same tree,
                                            but she and I were not you and me,

Severin Lacandola,
Neither of us then could See. 

The fairies tried to eat her once.
               It was their gift. It was their Hunt.
               And every time they fattened her on
                             goblin fruit, they gave her the gift
                                             of haruspicy, a better gift
                                                                                                                                                    than you or we
                                                                                                                                     could fathom. The gift
                                                                                                                                     of divinity.

IV. Diviner Lacondola,
             Tell me:
                            Do you see where this is going?                    
Amadeus, you don’t have to–

              I say they tried,
                            because they didn’t.

                             V. After the Wild Hunt, 
                                                         it’s a celebration.
But the killing blow
               is a cessation
of sound.

                When I reached the fairy mound,
I’d caught a breath of silence,
and a spray of blood–

               It was everywhere, the flood
of it covering cheek and face,
gown and lace,

                               And even the leaves alone,
             they were not spared this own
Horror, I thought then.

                                           I wouldn’t, now.
Amadeus, don’t–

                                                                                    I SAW THE FAIRY PUT HER LIVER
                                                                                                 INSIDE OF HIS MOUTH,
                                                                                                              AND THEN WITH A SHOUT,

I ate it.

VI. I ate nothing she could live without.
                            and I died for the first time that night.
                                                                                                                                      If it had taken,
                                                                                                       it would have been without
                                                                                        The Fairy Sight.
I wouldn’t have seen what it’s like
to find the green.
                                                                                        I wouldn’t have seen the world or its wonders,
                                                                                           my flesh sundered 
                                                                                                                        in two, for this,
for you.

VII. The time on the table had been
                                             Time Three.

                                                                                                            The second time was me.
                                                                                                                       I DO NOT REGRET 
                                                                                                                                     TAKING POWER.
              THE WAY I DEVOUR
                            THE NEWLY DEAD,
                                         THE DEAD WITH HEADS,

                                                                                               THE DEAD WHO FOUGHT TO LAUGH
                                                                                                                                              IN MY STEAD.
                                                                                                                   I regret only that you had to see it.

IX. A bird is a bird is a worm,
                                           upon the firmament of the kingdom of heaven.
I hold heavenfirm. 
                                                                     And I will not be the worm.

So you see, Severin, lilylove,
If you’re going to kill me,

Remember that you are the hound:


* “Love is choosing, the snake said. /
The kingdom of god is within you / because you ate it.”

— Margaret Atwood, “Quattrocento”


Xuan Nguyen is a writer and artist who does music as FEYXUAN. They focus on the intersections between transgender identity, divinity + monstrosity, and stigmatized mental and physical health. They consider the creative process to be one of making mirrors. When not writing, drawing, or producing music, they can be found hanging out with their princess of a Siamese cat, drinking cold Viet coffee, or wondering what it would take to make a work like Revolutionary Girl Utena. They can be reached through their website at or on Twitter @feyxuan.

One Comic by Lichen

Different Nourishment
ritual ritual ritual


Lichen is a Cherokee artist from California that identifies as ᎠᏎᎩ ᎠᏓᏅᏙ (twospirit). Straddling a line strung between magical realism and weird fiction, Lichen operates in the realms of comics, audio engineering, and videogame design, working to inspire a decolonized future. They are on Twitter at @ritualdumpster, and their projects can be found at

Two Poems by Emma William-Margaret Rebholz

state of the union

like any good American, I pull my tattoos on each morning
and double knot my neckties. chew chipped paint from the walls.
chant curses for the landlord two cities over. I’ve been working
on a manuscript. it’s a living art piece where I scream my name
into a shoebox until my throat gives out. so far, it’s a hit.
I’m pouring the news out from the bottom of my cereal bowls.
can somebody please turn down the brightness? can someone please
focus the spotlight? I’m mulling over my own syllables again.
if William means protector, is to go by Bill a cowardly act?
I, most certainly, am not Spartacus. turn your attention elsewhere.
retune your channels. if my phone’s really been listening
this whole time then where’s my applause? I’m not in the business
of giving good advice, but blink once if you can hear me.
blink twice if you can’t.


despite my best efforts I remain painfully domestic

what’s new in biology? mostly, I’m doing everything I can to not appear heterosexual. but yes, for the record, I could fit a full Barbie up my vagina if I found the right angle. like a vodka-soaked tampon. like, if I wished hard enough, Barbara would slip into my bloodstream and we could forget about this whole genderqueer thing. I’ve never seen Teeth, but someone somewhere did and thought you know, not a bad way to go. is that problematic? my body’s no powerhouse I just chew on glow sticks and talk a big game. I break things but don’t get sentimental. nobody wants to know how the blizzard feels but the power lines, but I’ve got my tongue on your wrist to check your pulse, just in case.


Emma William-Margaret Rebholz aka Billy is a nonbinary poet living in Boston. Their work has been recently published by or is forthcoming from Sixth Finch, Glass: a journal of poetry, and Gigantic Sequins. They read for the poetry journal Underblong.