Lonely Spiders / Motor Vessel Sewol

She doesn’t feel my moist hands trail up her chin, up to the wings of her eyes tracing the buttery suns—of my bloated body keeping me afloat.[…]

Home-Grown Daughters/Salt

daughters imported from afar and grown
in monocultures, like bananas or oranges,
start to attract fruit flies in August. real
daughters should be grown in a terracotta
pot from seed or else they resist root
training.

Yellow Filter/ Mother lies/ when ready to sky

where can i pull
a kind of madness from—

from perilla leaves?

Life’s a Gamble

Quinn knew that his night was spoiled as soon as Monique Zambrano had walked down the grand staircase leading to the casino floor. She was in her usual choice of formal attire—a strapless, floor-length dress that was blackened velvet, much like how she described her soul.

Time and Through

It is hard to believe how fast time can travel. Before you know it, an on-going event will become a precious memory. As time passes further, these memories will slowly dry, “decay”, as if they’re something solid. No emotions will be stirred up again thinking of these memories.[…]

Saccharin / The Great Wenhua Family / A Brochure for Powdered Faces and Black Dresses

The bike, sleek and glacé, was a gift from her bàba.Made of maraschino cherries, the sugar syrup dripped, coating her hands. The food color dyes her fingers.[…]

Popcorn Machine

Courtney sailed through her mother’s Facebook page hastily and yet steadily. This was the act of an expert browser who had seen every corner of that familiar and cherished page a countless number of times and knew where every mundane click would lead to. She knew how many pictures were posted and where, how many status updates there were, her mother’s favorite music, books, and upcoming events. […]

Mental Colonialism / A Promise of Promise / Clipped Wings

I often wonder of the women before me, what if they were encouraged to soar? What farther heights could we reach? if half our wings were not caged away.[…]

Odessa

One of the mountains of belongings had seemingly collapsed into the negative space, leaving a sloping pile that scattered out several feet on either side. But amongst the avalanche of things, the hill of hard, solid, tangible objects, was something organic.[…]

Writing a Memory Down to Save It

ink is no different from skin, hair, spit and sweat: it bleeds, it weeps, it cakes like peat. And writing a memory down will not save it. […]

Adam’s Apples / LITANY FOR TRANSIT / 12/21/12

on the day the world ends you pray for a portal to open above the teacher’s head, shining deep cosmic blue saying you weren’t wrong, that you deserve better than the ones who say you deserve better than the futures you already predict in cold-handed silence, in the words you read and will read again […]

Overhoard

On nights like this, I’ll watch Hoarders to learn/unlearn empathy (for my mother). I love them, I cry with them, and I think I understand. Sitting criss-crossed in a pile of clothes, I fix ramen, wait (for you) to come home […]

Harth rem ir Estevan is Dead

Harth rem ir Estevan is dead. It is the first time that I have read The Left Hand of Darkness, and I find that I have fallen for the brisk, deep honor of its principal nation, Karhide, and the empirical myth of its glacial world, Winter. In this place that LeGuin has created, an immaculately curated, textured oral tradition sits with craft and tact, unfurling honor clean and easy like butter.[…]

Beautiful Like Us

We’re fourteen years old, with pudgy cheeks, flowered Converse and crooked teeth. It’s the summer before freshman year, and we’re lounging on couches in my living room with our eyes narrowed at the TV screen. My best friend, Lindsey, sighs quietly and says[…]

The Fort Jackson Dam Can Take No More, DICTIONASARUS, Roman Prelude #1

What’s left is
the local newsreels;
the WLTX women staring pixelated […]

School Lunch: Time Zones

The day after he left the city, I fluttered awake feeling gloriously pretty. The night before had been so surreal, so bittersweet, that just thinking about it made me a little dizzy. And he was supposed to call soon. I looked down at my fingers, reminding myself that they had touched him just hours before, and realized that they were shaking.[…]

Girlhood

i am six when i am called fat for the first time.
late spring, snack time at daycare, two oreos on a paper plate.
a still life, if you will: outside the window the peonies are blooming,
so swollen & violent with the fullness of being. i feel overripe,
too soft, like a cosmos-bruised plum from the supermarket clearance […]

Ujjwal Sagar, Nightingale and Nature, Photograph

Nightingale and Nature

A brief idea about “True Love and Nature”: A nightingale had laid three eggs in a nest of a small Christmas plant at my house. Since then, the nightingale cared for all three eggs.[…]

Poem for Graph Paper / Three/One

assignment
unfinished

summer days
spent in the
windowless
science lab […]

To Live

[fiction] Emma Williams woke up at ten o’clock on Saturday morning, darkness flooding her window. She blinked twice. She forgot her dreams. Shouldn’t there be sunlight? she thought to herself. Peering helplessly around her room, she fumbled for her glasses in the dark, stupidly discovering that they could not help her see a thing in the pitch blackness […]

Skins / For Helena

skin(s)
sparks of lust shoot from it
yet with our fingertips
we create a circle of trust
a circle of us
the misunderstanding: […]

Blood Drive

flowery wine-scented air rises from cotton
swabs that have cleaned so many arms.
now they are little litter-poppies
loitering about the needle and syringe […]

One of Your Ceramic Angels Fell from the Mantel, It’s in Pieces

[creative nonfiction] In Philadelphia. I don’t normally carry a backpack, but today, practicality prevails, and my shoulder bag has been replaced by a maroon two-strap from an earlier decade. With it I am wearing a white dress shirt, green cotton pants with an unforgiving elastic waistband […]

American Alien

I am an alien
My eyes, my skin color, my being
Jump out like a wilting wisteria in the midst of
A perfumed garden of pruned, perfect, and pretty pansies […]

A Time for Dying

[fiction] My grandfather’s eyes turn old before he does. We watch them as they yellow—changing from a pure white into an egg yolk, runny and discolored. The way he watches the world around him changes too; he seems to watch now in quiet anticipation […]

This Vision Makes Us Beautiful

we have folded into a day
where we can see any
color we want: royal purple,
recesses of indigo, […]

Letter to the Intelligentsia

In this cage of preconceived notions,
—in the crevices of God’s palm,
You’ve seen me wallow in my sorrows in the cortex
And scream to the heavens of insanity […]

Four from the Graveyard

[creative nonfiction] In China, you are expected to conceal your emotions. Sometimes, it helps to comfort yourself with a fictitious, whimsical story on death, like that of the bone carver. But when you are helpless, lost in the sea of your emotions, there is nothing left to do but to let the waves pull you down […]

Treehouse

[creative nonfiction] The magnolia tree in my front yard blossomed in early March; the branches weighed down with huge white flowers, only a breath away from the ivy-coated ground. My brother and I used to swing from these branches, flipping over them and putting our weight on thinner […]

from a queer man who grew up with whitman

I. “In the stillness his face was inclined towards me, while the moon’s clear beams shone, And his arm lay lightly over my breast—and that night I was happy.”
that night i was happy. and it was not moonlight i saw but instead the orange glow of the lights[…]