Our regular and occasional Amuse-Bouche series offer little bites each week to keep you satiated between issues. Dig in!
Spotlight is a regular series published every other Monday throughout the year, showcasing an individual writer or artist. Writers Read is an occasional series showcasing craft-based reviews of published works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and translation. À La Carte is a curated occasional series featuring short pieces by writers from underrepresented or historically misrepresented communities and/or writing that engages with issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. Litdish is an occasional series of interviews with writers and artists in conversation with our staff about literature, art, social justice, and community activism.
You’re waiting tables in Gunnison;
Grand Junction. Fruita is blood-orange dark.
Your hands are covered with silt, dry from the hard water
as you scale the Book Cliff mountains. No matter what
“I wish I could say I had a strategy. I clung to poetry like a lifeline in my grief, and what got written, got written. I will say that, early on in the grieving process that followed my boyfriend’s suicide, I wrote a lot of catalog poems. Writing in lists at that stage makes sense.” – Jenn Koiter
When the apocalypse comes, I won’t be allowed to have Cheerios anymore. Not because at the end of the world, there will be no breakfast cereal, but because if the world doesn’t end, my sister actually thinks there will still be beds to make and carpets to vacuum, and she says she’s tired of stepping on the little O’s that I just can’t seem to keep in my bowl.
As a child, my oldest sister kept a cage of guinea pigs in the garage, and she’d made a deal with the produce manager at the Lucky down the street—well not really a deal; he just gave her all the expired lettuce, which she fed to them. On weekends, she took them out of their cage and let them run around on the lawn…
A paradox is something that contradicts itself. It seems that all human beings are a paradox within themselves. People hold on to their own moral sense of right and wrong, yet go against it every day. This pattern unleashes us to many different paradoxes of human behavior. We see this loop show itself in many aspects of life, such as defense mechanisms, hypocrisy, and the commonly known paradox of choice.
It must have been hard, growing up with transparent skin,
when even then, no one wanted to look at your still-beating heart,
your outstanding insides
rotting in rainbow colors.
Everyone else was getting X-rays
When she died, they were buttery smooth and still, and buried under mine, palms pressed flat against dry, cotton hospital sheets. I suffocated them with my grief, pressing the fear of going on living without her into the skin, into the stiffness of the bed. When she entered the hospital just days before, they had been trembling…
Clare is alone in the hotel swimming pool when the boy and girl appear, hand-in-hand, at the door in the tall perimeter gate protecting the pool and its authorized users from everyone else.
The boy speaks first–he’s a man, really, somewhere in his mid-twenties, sandy-haired and hefty-jawed, a wad of gum stuck in his cheek.
An infant, I startle, flinch, and boom
When she touches me. Burning pistol,
She says, years later,
“It only takes one bad shrimp
I did a lot of research on human experimentation. I enrolled in several soft contact research studies because I did need to know two things: how it felt to be in a research study and what an ethical, by the book research study looked like. At the same time, I was reading a lot about how most of our knowledge about gynecology is based on deeply unethical methods.
Past the dry cornfields and cobblestone roads, surrounded by forests barren of leaves, lay the sleepy village of Lumbrow where rats scurried down the streets. A rumor about a mysterious key swirled in the village square and tangled in crooked branches. Supposedly, the key was buried in the dark woods, but no one in Lumbrow knew anything about it.
I cut my life into small slices
And freeze them, to prevent them
From going bad like bread, or coffee.
With my life too, I keep my hand hovered
Over its railing, close enough to grab,
The journey south is always easier. A northern haul is cruel. See those trees leafing plastic shopping bags; that is how they see us. The soft gifted thin tents and sleeping bags. If lucky, a truck will stop, open a freezer gate, conduct us elsewhere, the fence will already be cut, the police baton will wave and not shatter as jackhammers may brick.
scrambled. For weeks, I’ve been nursing a strange, unproductive, overwhelming urge to egg my abusive ex-boyfriend’s house. Strange because I am not usually one to waste food, especially on rotten people. Unproductive because revenge fantasies are only so cathartic, especially when you don’t intend to act them out. Overwhelming because, well. It’s all I think about.
The world was on fire and men were to blame. Not all men, of course. The
book club members said this reflexively, as though Marc still attended.
“Men aren’t empathetic enough,” Allison said and glanced at Joanna,
who may or may not have voted for Trump. There had been whispers.
Joanna leaned in, “You know who should be in charge? Women!”
-For friends and for myself.
The tip of my pen leaks forgiveness.
Jotted spaces between lined pages, I seek your redemption.
My encapsulated words remind me, I swallow
memories like the Xanax you popped, and the whiskey you chugged to forget me.
Then, I glowed lattice and ladder.
A boddice of between. In the dark I left the ground.
My gender cutting holes in shadows. Portholes
and gloryholes. Meeting selves on the other side.
Across an invented expanse, nothing arrived
It was cold the night Faruq let Narmina go. The draft climbed over his bare legs, sank into his pores and frosted through his insides. He shivered as he sat at the edge of the bed. He bound his knees in his arms, tried to tie up his naked body so that it would disappear into itself and rid the world of its ugliness.
Imagine a world in which removing your lover’s eye is normal.
You don’t come from this world, but at a house party in New Jersey, in an apartment across the street from an A & P, you meet someone who does. You’re sitting on someone’s bed, half-drunk and navigating a potential threesome, when they walk in, sunglasses on indoors at 11pm, holding a bottle of beer in a way that judges you.
Twenty three from you, my mother
half my body/mind
for sure my blue eyes
but not my right-handedness
which has made my life easier
I have always hated writing about myself
I’m not photogenic
And I am afraid that my horniness
Would get in the way
But this is where we’re at
They were in the car, Lee concentrating on pulling out of the driveway when Zack announced he was moving to California.
“All the best skaters are there.”
“Your family’s here.”
“I’ll visit. Once a year.”
“Ah, you’ve got it all figured out.”
Vic acts like the world is ending when he discovers my computer has been infected by malware that has deployed a Bitcoin miner to consume over 50% of my CPU and a size-able chunk of my electricity bill, but I shrug because I hardly notice my computer grinding to a halt, and even though I believe cryptocurrency and blockchain will only ever amount to vehicles of Ponzi profits and social harm
Our daughter has put herself
in hospital again.
I spend the day beside her,
talking, laughing, abiding silence
At the beginning of my professional career, after graduating Yale University’s School of Arts MFA program, my artists soul was torn between Flemish painting of the 15th-16th century and the ideas imbedded in the 20th century DADA art movement. Specifically I was drawn to the Apocalyptic visions of artists like Van Eyck, Bruegel and Bosch and simultaneously to the anti-art of Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia.
Hi Dad, When you died, I figured there wasn’t any point in writing to you. But since the world broke down last year, everything has shifted, including how I want to communicate with you. I know it’s been a while since I last wrote to you. Yes, I know—15 years. You value precision. You were devout about following the news, but has it all been too much, or what?
my neighbor drapes the strings the first weekday in december,
neon gold cords for inflatable mickey, santa, & snowman
melted simulacra until sunset when the front lawn descends
into a madness of bright blue icicles, rainbow garland
across the garage, pink orbs of love encircle a glittering present,
My art is mostly inspired by Haitian artists or memories of my country as well as the Impressionist era. You’ll find that most of my artwork is faceless because I associate them with my fading memories. I’ve always found it hard to remember faces and features. My other creations come to me in flashes or my dreams.
I cocoon myself
from memory’s chill
layer upon layer around
heart and bones; flesh upon flesh. . .
Water is the first mother
but thunder roams in my body
for days before it
cracks me open: