Issue #11 – The All-Fiction Issue – paparouna
Born and raised in Athens, Greece, paparouna currently resides in occupied Arapahoe and Cheyenne territory in so-called Colorado, USA, works in social and environmental justice education, writes queer speculative prose, translates Greek literature into English, and daydreams about life as a marine mammal. A 2018 Princeton Hellenic Translation Workshop and 2018-2020 Lighthouse Book Project participant, paparouna has been published in Progenitor, Asymptote, Exchanges, New Poetry in Translation, Denver Quarterly, Timber, and The Thought Erotic.
alternate fifth colours of the rainbow
i wear the name you give me for / three years before it thins out threadbare / which is to say for three years / i let you call me a moonshard / a toxin-bright bloom / forktongued and lovely / poison-flowering snakeplant / jade slipped cold into a colourless throat / lined by ghosts with ink-stamped faces / smiling tight-lipped to hide the teeth / call me sovereign of little sorrows / time-lapse of ungrowth / call me anything / but a treasure again / i stole the jadestone from my name and / sold it for gold / melted it down into rivers / and like the drip of mountaintop snow / one day it will all be swallowed / by the ocean / all of its mouths opening and closing fishlike / around their own once-names / forgotten —
bright in the way of cerussite: too soft
to be metal-touched. all flash
& glimmer, saying goodbye
once every year you’ve known her,
the routine of the runaway act
something safer to measure by
than a nebulous new year. don’t worry
what my hands will do.
in every story i’m the only one
who winds up with an open throat.
one time a girl with signal-fire hair
knelt over me on slick-glowing floor,
laced me back up
& promised to do it again
long as i needed it. & next time
her back was turned i asked someone
to burn down the building.
this is the damnation
of the rabbit-heart. i don’t know
if those ever want anything more than to see
the warmth of home last beyond
your own meaning, to live
a little longer, to not
freeze in the field as the shadow of death
falls from above. it’s not
that i think i had wings in the womb,
or that they snapped off at the first touch
of this world’s air
but i should’ve come out something
that makes its home high
instead of tied landbound, left
lovesick for flight.
don’t you dare give me to the ground. i’ll come back
just to tell you
you’ll never be forgiven.
Quinn Lui is a Chinese-Canadian student who has been described as 1) mostly made up of caffeine and bees and 2) dedicated to being a menace. Their work has appeared in Occulum, Synaesthesia Magazine, Okay Donkey, and elsewhere, and they are the author of the micro-chapbook teething season for new skin (L’Éphémère Review, 2018). You can find them @flowercryptid on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, or sharing a fire escape with raccoons.
I am watching her on the internet like an ex.
The famous white male poet at the poetry reading who during the first BLM Movement said there was nothing left to say said I should write more love poems, he said, That’s what Eileen is so good at, That’s what Adrienne was so good at.
All the white men’s books stuck on the shelves of closed stores, coughing
Listen to the
behind the paywalls of song, sounds of the
their voices dim pages
& dimmer—I’m listening to my pulp
country cringe. Cringe
& forget where she got that [cotton garment] forget
If she ever really knew you
If you ever really knew her
R/B Mertz (thee/thou) is a trans/non-binary butch poet and artist. They wrote the memoir Burning Butch (Unnamed Press, 2022), the essay, “How Whiteness Kills God & Sprinkles Crack on the Body,” the foreword for John J. McNeill’s Freedom, Glorious Freedom: The Spiritual Journey for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone Else, and many poems, including “(We all end up in) the CAN,” published by American Poetry Journal. Mertz taught writing in Pittsburgh for eleven years and was honored to be a finalist for City of Asylum’s 2020-21 Emerging Poet Laureate of Pittsburgh. On January 1, 2021, Mertz left the US for love, and they now reside in Toronto, Ontario, traditionally the territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples.