POETRY: Arushi Singh – In Between


In between grandmother’s scandalous stories

and the little prints of thumb

in between Carol’s secrets whispered and the

Genesis of the long gone rum

in between howl and forgotten ancient words

and fickle minded dreaming sons

in between sand and time and life and wine

She breathed her last as a corpse


in between.

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I walk in the shadow of skeletal trees,

their fearsome, naked branches reaching out

in desperation, pleading for redemption

like ghostly soldiers back from war in search

of peace, an end to dreams

of screams and shattered flesh.

Scattered underneath, concealed among

withered, blood-red remnants of last year’s

flowers, lurk spiked seed pods,

tiny, inobtrusive land mines

set to detonate at slightest touch

exploding everywhere new seeds

prepared to sprout, to conquer, and

to dominate all lesser growth

exhibiting their red magnificence.

Until, again, the glory ends

in stark, bare desolation.


POETRY: LAURA MANARDO – Lemon Water in Lake Michigan

Lemon Water in Lake Michigan


Midwestern boys use tongue. And I’ve sprouted

from cracks in concrete. Midwestern boys use their fingers.

And I’ve used my hands

too. Trust me. I’ve used numb hands

to mold Midwestern boys. I know how they form words

in their heads before slapping asses

in beds that I’ve made.

I don’t wash my sheets anymore.

I used to know Midwestern boys, but they don’t bleed

with the vigor that I do. They don’t smack

ball of foot to earth the way that I taught them to.

And Midwestern boys use pretty words

like “only child” to water me,

make me grow, spread me

out, lick me clean. Midwestern boys borrow

my knitting needles and use them

wrong. Midwestern boys show me their photographs,

let me put finger to gloss. Let me put finger to mouth,

Midwestern boys. I’m stuck

between two slabs of planet

and all of the Midwestern boys are drinking

lemon water.

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POETRY: Laura Manardo – Irrawaddy Dolphins and Casual Sex

Irrawaddy Dolphins and Casual Sex


Like the Irrawaddy dolphin,

I have sex for pleasure

and it ruins me

because I need you to hold me

afterward in the Mekong River.

I need you

to swim alongside me

and let me take a breath

from your blowhole.

It is estimated that 91 of us still exist,

still swim together.

Well, every time I leave

your bed I feel the dead

dolphins lining the river’s bottom. They lived

their lives trying to breathe

in each others exhaled breaths,

trying to buoy themselves to see

the sun rise and fall

on each others backs.

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