ONLINE ISSUES

12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017


Fiction

THE PEACEABLE NIGHT

Suhaila toed the mass of jellyfish and thought, At least they don’t sting. The tide had deposited thousands of their bodies up and down the beach in thick clumps, clusters of sand-spackled flesh so glossy it might be mistaken for cellophane from far away.
Poetry

TONGUE TO TONGUE COOL

We were on the inner tube, you were in 8th grade. You said Sam with a voice meant to inform me I was doing something annoying.
Poetry

HOLOGRAM

Sometimes it feels like I’m collecting you: the ones who chase despair. The ones who carve into the skin of their own minds like cutters, mining every hurt into a wound.   Sometimes I know this carving is involuntary; a chemical reaction. But other times, I think you’re crying wolf.   Other times, I think I’ve managed to collect the ones who make a habit out of melancholy. Who dig and dig at every psychic paper cut until it’s deep enough to bleed.  
Poetry

THREE POEMS

Barn, Do not insult the division between predator & prey. I am not like the others. No bird, no ghost, I am bodied & wingless. I wring wild turkeys limp in my jaw & open them still-feathered. Farmers go bent & sallow at finding their hen houses bare.
Poetry

TWO POEMS

    Regala un huevo con una mano y con la otra, mata la gallina Some people are encyclopedias. I’m more like the ashes after a book is burned. Every burned tome dissap- pears. The Apples will also vanish.
Poetry

KEEL

Who hasn’t declared in the echo-chamber of herself, I am the kind of person who falls in love easily, smells magnolias, loves a good steak? On the outside looking in, the mind as mentor is always a few paces ahead of the sluggish self, goading it to be identifiable.
Poetry

FOUR POEMS

    — Elaine Vilar Madruga is an author, poet and playwright, and Founder and Coordinator of the Fantastic Literature Workshop Open Space (Espacio Abierto, 2009-2016).
Poetry

ALLEGIANCE

You are told not to touch paintings for the same reason you are told not to touch yourself or other people But with the night- light casting stars on your lilac walls you press against your childhood doll until your insides unclench in waves and waves in the punctured darkness At a museum on a
Fiction

WHAT STRANGERS DO

The third time Tyler was raped, he was walking home from a leading role on a Broadway stage. He saw the three masked teenagers coming toward him, didn’t run, didn’t flinch when they grabbed him.
Poetry

FERMENTED

Fermented Pepper paste stamps her crimson. It seeps up   her wrists, forearms, elbows, so I leave. From my room   I imagine her knee deep in the kimchi, nestled against   the steel bowl filled with cabbages painted red.   She sprinkles the pepper flakes speckling her skin.
Fiction

THE DRY SEASON

Meghan O’Donnell, our Refugee Resettlement Coordinator, helps us find the small square on the map where we came from; say “I came from Mauritania” and “I was born in Mali”; sort through the mail that we keep unopened in a plastic bag under the sink; shake our mattresses for scorpions, though she tells us there
Poetry

SEARCHING FOR YOUR SALIVA: TRANSLATION

In this constellation of screams, this swing-and-sway of diverse human tides, I search for the crisp current of your saliva, that salve sizzling with words and wild laughter. I strip off shirt, fear, and shoes, and rise through scales of air and nothingness, to tackle and deflower the stripped-bare truth of your desires.
Fiction

REVOLUTION

Fall He presented her with a canvas bag the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. “A new project,” he said, prodding the bag across the breakfast table. Inside were patterned gloves, miniature metal rakes and trowels, and an array of ready-to-plant bulbs.
Poetry

TWO POEMS

POTHOS Suppose my bones could grow so long and my flesh swell so much that Heaven would become my bedroom and the sky, my floor. Suppose we humans could become nothing bigger than clusters of ants crawling in corners and walls of wardrobes.
Poetry

ON COMMUNICATION (1880)

The new telephone lines and poles stood between trees. Soon, it happened. Here, again. Rope, then bodies strewn— same old ingenuity, same innocence, killing me.     — Aaron Coleman is the author of St. Trigger, which won the 2015 Button Poetry Prize, and Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, forthcoming 2018).
Poetry

TWO POEMS

Do you feel destroyed by the way we were raised? Tell me what you fear and I will tell you who you are.
Poetry

HALLUCINATION

  Last night, I saw a man and wondered what his heart felt. While one eye sees unreality, one’s rather stuck managing meals. A cat passed many times. He’s drunk. He’s a child in the reel—I’m choking. Dear horse, come to me in sleep. You radical. I saw the white flickering in your eye.
Poetry

RELAXATION TAPES

Relaxation Tape Nightmares were spreading like oil on water, but there was a tape for that. As we lay on our rawhide cots, the woman’s voice asked us to imagine a scary situation we couldn’t escape from. We imagined quicksand. We imagined being handcuffed and pushed out of an airplane.
Poetry

TWO POEMS

Wolf Jeanie baby, it was by that Pumping station, same one You ate that greasy fried egg Sandwich. Where lil’ chickens, Called for momma or father, Anyone with big teeth and fat Knuckles. You convinced him To be in love with green tomatoes, The flesh of plums.
Poetry

ASSAY / ESSAY

Girl as fay, illusory, she moves through rooms as draft. Girl as snowdrop, asleep under soil. As fawn, fox from nearby wood. Linden blossom. Girl as girl unwound, younger in an achromatic drawing: charcoal outline, white oven mitt shoved in the mouth, gray nail polish spilling over black floor, walls.
Poetry

FOUR POEMS

STEREOGRAM It is a way to leave the body— fuzzed, pulpy, blunted edges. The doorframe moves like anything stared at. Flaming light darts down the long hallway. Sound stutters out an open window. Certain angles burn warm so orange almost blue.
Poetry

MADRUGADA AT GRANDMA’S

I cut my hair short and I like it that it doesn’t fall on your face making you frown as you scratch your cheek in your sleep A dog barks, a motorbike buzzes and the sounds reach us as if through liquid, the darkness wet like tar the mosquito zig zags around you a halo