an. cinquepalmi

an. cinquepalmi sublimates her doubt & irks for pay in los angeles. she was a transparent extra in the extended universe. find more ursa any online w ApogeeSUSAN & Bathhouse, & a tape with Emily Lucid, deep girl 2000god, on Practical Records.  her orchid’s name is *lilith too*; it’s not dead yet either.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder

On Ghazal Shaa’irii versus Natural Shaa’irii:

Being excluded from a universe, too, is a type of dance. Still,
so often, we write of the moon.


The first three weeks of war

Someday I will forget
to think of you.

Like a fawn drinking water,
the azure disappearing beneath her tongue.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani-American poet and translator. She translates Urdu and Persian poetry, and cannot help but bring elements from these worlds to her own work in English. A Best of the Net finalist, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glass PoetrySolstice Literary MagazineWashington Square ReviewPBS Frontline, and the Huffington Post among other publications. Adeeba received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, and is a 2017 Poets House fellow.

Mg Roberts

from the refusals of eschatology

for J.J. Hastain


is it possible that pheromones track location like that biblical saying; “faith without works is dead?” is it possible for something to appear from nowhere? i’d like to refer you to the natural process of life arising from molecules containing carbon. biopoiesis?
algal blooms, water, everything is cellular—recedes—comes from nothing.

snakes shred i mean shed in one piece—modeled, thin, cloudy skins. a pale, blue-white with scales.

P. Carrara, NPS — National Park Service


snakes travel great distances to chase tail. i want to shake you naked and eat you alive. i want to swallow you whole and learn all the impossibilities of depth perception. some snakes return to the same den year after year to nest in large groups: an inclusive bed.

climb into me, you will find my vagina a soft and infinitely prolific place for you to lay your head.


what happens next?

molecules listen, cup up against, reproduce, couple, populate: some vowels grow over time. a transmutation of cells, a place for gathering, an opportunity to edit, become something else. 


an ovary can grow legs over time
gather body, gather sex

surround muscle, in limbic motions

                                                                                    appear starward 


stretch into the multitude of geography, over time a direction becomes a system of information large enough to hold you, safe enough to edge muscle, press bone—grow fur.


the tops of all of the tulips are walked on and bent from breathing

                                                                   between symptom and educated guess

housing a seed, a coat, an extension of skin awaiting extraction.

Mg Roberts is the author of the poetry collections Anemal Uter Meck (Black Radish Books, 2017) and not so, sea (Durga Press, 2014). She is a Kundiman Fellow, Kelsey Street Press member, VONA/Voices Alum, and sits on the Board of Small Press Traffic. Her work has appeared in Dusie, Bombay Gin, Web Conjunctions, Elderly and elsewhere. Currently she is co-editing Responses, New Writing, Flesh with Ronaldo Wilson and Bhanu Kapil; an anthology on the urgency of avant-garde writing written for and by writers of color. She lives in Oakland with three daughters, two hens, one puppy, and geologist husband.

Sean D. Henry-Smith

isosceles, serial

aerial sermons in sequence, unbothered

                                                            sequentially, his mouth a sonic playground
unsought on sight

                                      a treatise a treat a tease a testimony

                                                                        slick wisdom shift swiftly swiftlets

lefty loosely sixty swallows swans starlings swinging atmospheric

pushed to the outer edge

in sweet succession

when the moon is ready

she will drown you

The garden at the Underground.

drenched in purple and possibility. lil edges all laid. horseback bandits. naked and illuminate. share a spirit with Ms. Lawson after the orange. are you surreal? dancing with the Woods on your birthday. that fucked up Gober; motherfucker’s just as complicit. the widow, forlorn. the hood hang, citizens of the world.

we are all undeserving of Nina Simone, but especially white people.

are you here for fashion or for poetry? or the pity part. all the same. that’s sage you’re smelling, I swear. the cat’s missing larynx, from that fight long ago. are you surreal? fuck around and get got, or another earring. paintings of your friends for your friends. you gotta work with who you know. rewrite it all for your own sanity and victory. pleasure always creeps up. you can’t really plan for it, but make sure there’s a seat ready.

leap over the ocean and gesture with ecstasy.
ultimately, I want to change.

Sean D. Henry-Smith is a poet and photographer intrigued by their intersections. His first chapbook, Body Text, was selected by Lucas de Lima for the New Delta Review 2015-2016 Chapbook Competition. His work has appeared in Tammy Journal, New Delta Review, Newspaper, and Tagvverk. He is a recent recipient of he Poets House Emerging Poets Fellowship. You can find him online at @surrealsermons and

Su Hwang


Hosanna Dry Cleaners

He spits chemical phlegm into metal
pails with a kind of reptilian vigor
to free the knot of unknown poisons.


A foot to pedal to wheel to needle
stitching hems, mending tears, she pecks
away in a cave lined with cellophane ghosts.


Counting colored pins––make-believe
wampum beads to trade for another
life.  Oh God, how have we sinned?


Ironing press shoots scrims of steam,
odorless fumes of mushroom-shaped
fists, salt of their years dissolving into mist,

I shall bury them here.

Su Hwang was recently awarded the 2016-17 Minnesota Emerging Writers Grant from the Loft Literary Center and Coffee House Press In The Stacks Fellowship at Dickinson House in Belgium. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she grew up in New York then moved to San Francisco before transplanting to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota, where she received her MFA in Poetry. She is also the recipient of the Michael Dennis Browne Fellowship in Poetry, the Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize, and her first poetry collection was a finalist for the 2017 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Book Prize with Pleiades Press. Her poems have appeared in Ninth Letter, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland,, and elsewhere. Su currently lives in Minneapolis.

Momina Mela

Current Affairs

Once the pain entered, I sensed my planet end into me but none
of my friends were there. When asked about family I replied: still. When
asked about depression I replied: nah. I was full of myself. All this religion
and a hunger for praying correctly (back should be flat enough
to balance a fruit bowl). I slowly discovered I was a swayback—my spine was
all genetic and no spirit. My sex, cash money spilling into an oily sea
where fish burn the white sky diaphragm and implode. The actual blue
is hardly a metaphor for the way I’m looked at, the real rot is a lone fickle
human on a cliff. As a child, I hoped to bonsai—turn simultaneously towards and away
from the sun. Twist into a thing commendable. When I was nine I pledged my
allegiance to the flag of the United States of America until I didn’t. I put my right
hand on my heart and didn’t know where to look. Everywhere I turned I saw kids with
the sea in them—serious and un-explanatory, holding out for an affect.

Self-Portrait of Being Seen

mother father I asked to be born in spite of jinn
with backward feet and the havoc of village snakes

oh to be bitten without consequence
oh to expose my calves to the park

let me sit with my legs open for once
I’m learning to walk with my head on

against the rule of ligament—my hair
my institute cultured by eyes and I

dirt-green for boys who occur in spasms
they rip open their shirts to unearth a mouth

so secure in upheaval but let me shiver
lay me glassy for the gleam to rupture

loose and fluttering like a wild synapse—
a current for a god to swim against


            August was the month we learned how to breathe
her heart collapsed, blued wild for oxygen—grief, that rattling copper doorknob
that deserves to be turned gently unscrewed and fell from the hardness of knees
            hitting the floor.

            My mother and aunts rolled up their sleeves
tied their hair in the veranda—passed tubs of boiled water under the thick slab of night
combed its splintered chirrup down the cat’s stumbling back.
            Pass her the cotton, pass her the scissors

            pass me the white sheet with God’s speech written on it
The sky unstuck its sticky palate behind the clothesline and we took turns to perfume
her plush neck—the lemon tree stirred its fruit to awake the acidic peel.
            We sat on her bed and talked about her body

            that white fat fermenting stomach
that forgot to rise—her brother is in the other room, earning heaven via
the benevolent weave across his torso, ghosting for her hand, still.
There are three different kinds of love in my language:
mohabbat will keep the body alive like an heirloom newly dug,
pyaar will negotiate with the sun to intensify its heat over an open vessel,
ishq is the place where the universe hits the skull like a sledgehammer again and again and

           Ask me what it’s like to kiss the feet of someone who never held you and

I’ll tell you that bodies were not made for comparison
even thin lips can kiss big enough to join two split pieces of skin together

Let me enunciate the tumble of my name for clarity—
born within the faith, cut from the underbelly of a beehive sick with honey.

Momina Mela was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, POETRY, The Blueshift Journal and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate and instructor at NYU and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Milo Gallagher

hansel & gretel


funny to see you here, gretel,
though neither of us is laughing
again we walk through the bluebell woods,
holding hands and yours are
sticky with candy — licorice tangles,
saltwater taffy sticking in your teeth,
the spit too bright in your throat —

because what you crave
causes you to ache, also


once we slept on an air mattress,
cradling us like a tremulous cloud
i wished to become a boy
overnight, for you to wake
and find me bearded,
chin soft as river moss


some days i want to chop my breasts off
and feed them to the wolves
i want that scar tissue: cherry petals


in my dream it is last winter
and your mother is red-faced in the kitchen again,
her hair coming down in cobwebs
and all around us that same old lemon-chicken smell
she asks if kissing other girls
we two are the same, now,

if you are confused like me,
if there are parts of your body you want to chop off
and feed to the wolves
she asks, why do you hate yourself — the oven
starts to smoke — why do you hate me


and then you went back to whispering into a locked box
and then we started visiting the witch’s house


we have to mark a different path each time,
skirt quickly past thickets
of fangs and yellow eyes,
but then there’s the open door,
spiced light streaming out

the witch feeds us bone-marrow broth,
tells us stories about these woods
she wants us to be strong
no one has told us these stories before  
no one even told us the woods were real


at midnight her coven drops by,
dressed the way you and i dress in our dreams,
draped in jewels and fox-fur,
their cackles loud and unfraid —

though they have the right to be —
wine-drunk, they dance around the blue fire
for us, but mostly for each other
they are not confused at all
they know exactly what they are

Milo Gallagher lives in Asheville, North Carolina. His poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review and online at The Fem, The Grief Diaries, Crab Fat Magazine, and elsewhere.

Maya Phillips

The Kindly Ones

Dear Ms. Phillips,

We at – are interested in taking care of
your real estate needs [we can take this
from you] and it has come to our attention
that, as administrator of the estate of –

[who? will you know him even now?],
you may now be in ownership [you, kin
of your father, in whose image – ?
you inherit – ?] of the property at –

[will you still call this home?].
We would be happy to work with you. 
Whether you are interested in renting
[what does he owe?] or selling

[now we come to receive you,
we, your cousins, your home]
the property, we guarantee [as we are we,
as we are here with/in you] we will protect

[vow tucked under his tongue—what now
will he say for himself – ?] of your fiscal
interests—no matter the state
of the property [flooding, rotting, falling,

the house of Atreus, of Cadmus, again]
we have a team of talented professionals
to aid you in this time [how long
has it been since you’ve lost,

since the house, since the man,
do you remember – now, what now?
since then? now, after – ].
We will assign a qualified real

estate agent [should he wander, should he rest,
we will find him, again, even now, after – ]
to handle the property [ – after fury,
what do you do with the remains, after – ]

in any way you see fit [we have seen him,
we have seen the body – let us feast]
and serve as a consultant [sister-cousin,
ask us how we know]. From sales

[what you’ve chosen to mourn]
to mortgage financing [what’s fitting to note],
property management [as you create him,
with fury, so you we – ] to homeowner’s

insurance [villainous he, furious we],
we are here every step [sister, we have been here,
have seen him, have spoken the name
of the dead, have gathered, perched

on the rooftop of this house, nails tap tapped
on windowpanes – let us in let us in – the man
on the couch breathing, not breathing, he was here]
of your real estate journey.

We have thousands of agents [we are]
in several offices [here] across the U.S.
[we are here], all ready [we are here]
to serve [with/in] you [we can take this]

and your property [we can take this from you].
[Sister, we have come to you for the feast,
for the shelter, your guests, we are, kindly
sister, furious sister, we will call you home].

Thanks again, and we hope you choose – for your real estate needs.

Theme in Red

Instead of an apartment,
we decide to live in a pomegranate.
We search for the proper size and ripeness,
the right richness of color,
the perfect shade of velvet, an essential
red. We are the masters of real estate,
discovering such a steal buried in a pile
of wrong picks at the farmer’s market, just $3
for a mouthful of home.

Moving is difficult, as it always is
in this city. But we fit inside the palm
of the mover’s hand, and we split the rind
into a doorway wide enough for years
of heres and theres, the unabridged
history of the soles of our feet.

Each seedless pocket of fruit is a room,
and they are infinite, a room for recalling
the things we’ve forgotten, a room
for the unpracticed waltz and improvised tango,
and a room for considering impossible things,
where we live most of the time, dreaming
of mansions cut of dragon fruit
and summer homes furnished
from blood orange and red pear.

Every morning we eat
ourselves out of our rooms.
We fill all our pockets with seeds.
We are never hungry for anything.
The juice seeps into all of our clothing,
the linens, the furniture, this stubborn red
we picked, so we are stained
with the evidence of our living.
We are a mess at dinner parties.
We apologize for nothing.
We crimson with laughter.
We lick the joy off our lips.
We wake every day singing
from the fevered red rooms of our hearts.

Maya Phillips was born and raised in New York. Maya received her BFA in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College and her MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. She currently works as the associate content producer at the Academy of American Poets and as a freelance arts journalist. She lives in Brooklyn.

Lisa Low

The Way White People Speak

Ying Kit had seen a handful of Asian people on TV, like Connie Chung and Lucy Liu, their black hair like his sister’s, like a waterfall at night. Only, when Connie Chung spoke, she sounded like no Chinese person he knew. He pictured her voicebox as a radio she would program every morning. How hard it must’ve been at the beginning, shaping her lips to the words, like a ventriloquist’s dummy, a moving hand inside her throat.

Lisa Low was born and raised in Maryland. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Passages North, Quarterly West, Vinyl, Day One, and elsewhere. She lives in Bloomington, IN, where she recently earned her MFA in poetry at Indiana University. 

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza


gangrenous love fills everything. a mind made blank
by careless hands turns purple in the sun. the fear

of closeness ripens. she had threatened to split her lips
open while the ocean made sounds in the distance.

every crashing wave gave water to the air as an
offering. the boys were off rolling blunts and laughing

too loud to hear all the violence. time stretches
and folds in on itself. time is a body full of damage

that is constantly trying to forget, though it always
remembers on the long drive home. the freeway is

such a beautiful trigger. machines like cold fruit
falling from city to city until one day they find

the soil. the same soil she moved her fingers through
when she thought of the love she gave away. the love

she held onto. all wrong, all backwards, all pus-
covered memory. she slips into something more

comfortable, another reality. somewhere things are okay.
somewhere she is hacking off old limbs and dreaming

                                                      of velvety silence.

I Don’t Want To Be Understood

i don’t want to be understood
i want to live in the air
with all my sisters
floating free around me
like dandelion seeds
no blood
no language
no speaking
no border between body
and subjectivity
just feeling
pure feeling
leaking out from her skin
while she twirls her hair in her fingers
and blows kisses to the sun
she will fall in love
with the way the star will expand
and eat us
she will not fear death
because she does it every day
when she leaves her house
to walk in front of men
who beg for the tangible
who want to know her
more than she knows herself
and she laughs
remembering how
coming to understand her body
was like reconceptualizing water
how moving through their spaces
was all about displacement
how she became one with me
when she realized
we’d been touching beneath the soil
all along

Loss Ritual

This one involves stretching
the skin until it begins to break.

There is light that escapes, and
light that enters. We call this

an even trade, but I am still
without family. Poured myself

a glass of womanhood and drank
until the bones became enough

to live in. Said you can have this
old thing. I don’t need it anymore.

Lick the salt from its surface. I
don’t need it anymore. I can cry

whenever I want, all it takes is
remembering. You wanted to

be holy and righteous because
this is one path to one kind

of heaven. I wanted to be holy
and righteous because life is short

and sad and we all deserve to be
loved. Even you, alone with your

god. Even me, alone with myself.
Neither as complete as we hoped

the loss would make us.

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a trans woman poet living in California. Her work has been featured in The Offing, The Feminist Wire, PEN America, and elsewhere. Her first book of poems i’m alive / it hurts / i love it was released through boost house in 2014, and her second collection THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2016.