Katherine E. Young

Planning Your Suburban Affair

You’ll need a map, though there’s no substitute
for local knowledge. Consider the parks, scout
their parking lots: note any trees that screen.
Walk the quieter paths, hear mulch crackle,
cock an ear for barking dogs. Check shrubs
for cover, picnic shelters – you never know
when it might rain. Weigh the likelihood
of snakes against the certainty of joggers. 
Buy condoms at a place where they don’t keep
your prescriptions on file, where you won’t meet
the checkout clerk at back-to-school night. 
Quick, think what you’ll say when someone rifles
your purse for stamps: “Let me, Hon, you never
find anything in there!” Take up yoga,
poetry, something to get you out at night. 
Now you’re off, eyes conning the dark. You seek
the hole between lampposts: bone in the throat
of the universe that buys you time. Watch how
cars flow, see their headlights sweep the shadows.
Check your pulse, register its spasm;
take off your wedding ring. Pack a flashlight,
fine, but you can’t ever turn it on.

Katherine E. Young is the author of Day of the Border Guards, 2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist, and two chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. Young is also the translator of Two Poems by Inna Kabysh; her translations of Russian and Russophone authors have won prizes in international competitions and been published widely in the US and abroad; several have been made into short films. Young is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts translation fellow and currently serves as the inaugural Poet Laureate for Arlington, Virginia. katherine-young-poet.com.

John Rufo

rest in peace sound

    the alteration of the sense



                                          all too well    

                    what you know

    sensible            well-known    anterior

                             & interior motives

                 catch tenses    suck

                             in the two bells

    tuba halt                      breath



                 I hope you get the reference

                 I hope you get the message

    all too tell

                             alliteration of the rent

                 allusion to the curtains

                                          tears in the cut

                             written not spoken

    the archive casts its net

                                          I meant weeping

                                          I meant resisting


yeah abrasion after         all parts mumble apart         no more
       portions                   protons not porous               parallelisms
into your pillow    your locked-up eyes            your unafraid tongue

          who gets the final say on flower-names

its succession secession    a success        until slept in
       going out later                    growing into parts        paroxysm
sharpens sleep-gathering                    therapies for the first time

          I keep pointing and asking who took this photo

wall-writing         brawls with planar space             or onyx
           known                I thought         no wrong note
guilt is gullible     repeating after me             un-change loosening

          I confuse mountain pink and mountain peak

clocks calling the shots         mountain pink          sent back
       accomplishment     efficient          gently downed the screen
who gets the final say           on flower-names                who will

          I identify myself who told you to do me for me

how many placeholders                    within citations    
          who took this photo         grass deletion removal compiling
this shaken comic book cornucopia              of lasting rites

John Rufo’s work has been published, or is forthcoming, on Poets.org, Ploughshares, The Offing,Tagvverk, Entropy, The Journal Petra, NOO, and Dreginald. More information is available at dadtalkshow.tumblr.com.

Jenny L. Davis

Gifts Between Ghosts

This is a difficult place
to hold ground.
Removals and refusals
make apparitions of those of
us living in categories reserved
for dead. But today I am real
enough to hold a gift crafted and carried
here by others made ghosts
in their own lands
to drink hot tea together and suspend
our phantom states.

Bone Songs

Being the first Native
in this department is just
another word for only but
I am not really the first one here
these halls used to hold
my ancestors whole
but now favor cells and scrapings
horse nation
canine nation
primate nation
we are all gathered here in boxes and slides 
If I sang the bone songs
they would all sing back to me
I have lined this office with plants
books by southeastern women
Two spirit art
and ndn comics
sometimes I find the
echoes of my people here comforting
at least they tell jokes
with the same intonation
know removal cuts bone deep
the longing for home
and resistance to the
shovels and scalpels
of loneliness
I am here to call this
into being
peel the bark from my flesh to
bite the patterns of my thoughts
weave the honeysuckle vines
so resistant to squared pages
type the beads onto cloth
in the traditional patterns of
mutter prayers to do this
in a good way
a kind way
pray that no one will inspect
the back side where
the disorder of strings
betrays my shaking hands
When they sing the bone songs
I will sing back to them 

Jenny L. Davis (Chickasaw) is originally from Oklahoma. She is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she lives with her partner and spends most of her time tending her cats (and cat-sized Chihuahua), plants, and the students in her Anthropology and American Indian Studies classes. Her creative work has been published in As/Us; River, Blood, & Corn; Broadsided; and Rabbit and Rose, and recently appeared in the anthology Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance. @chickashajenny.

Angela Peñaredondo


I. Grandfather

A clenched foot is to a body object that strikes with fists around a wooden rod or slippery metal that pushed heavy hooves through a field’s shallow rainwater I grew around acres of mud and the seeds we planted under its weight dug

a fist equivalent to a machete         as rifle         as Beretta       as pistol
above a skull               it opens into a plume

from the world it hides all five fingers can fit into a womb or a mouth
a man seated tied with hemp rope a strung-up rooster eyes widened to the ivory

names & coordinates he confesses once I remove my fist the rain stops
                                                                                     heat rises to ten

II. Grandmother

I cannot recall how early I knew or how it was shown to me as a girl in the parlor of my mother’s living room the piano the mahogany floor smelling of a wet earth fingers elongate to each personality

legs crossed in a schoolyard my hands folded like gowns over my lap
                                                                                                     open open open

old woman slices okras tawny roots a fish laid out glassy and gutted I clutch meat
and foliage cutting with precision and speed                          I cannot keep up my own
fingers       I cannot help cutting into them                                           yes the fist
                            I can speak more       on slicing 

III. Granddaughter

It transforms into a comet when used right curls to meet the invisible rendering
them quiet they cannot fit into this mouth I always try but teeth get in the way

because I’ve been called small men have said my cavity is not equipped to protect
me from such things I’ve learned this first from my mother that night I dreamt of pummeling
                    a man to paint                                I brushed the ground
                                          with his own stain                                      with my fist          

                                                                          how to break his nose

I do but without breaking my fist first

then there’s a gift above all gifts                      this nautilus of skin
I can make love with it talk into my endless self         with or without grief          
   through this portable cave



her body a tiny lake dwells on the tabletop before plunging into the cool bowl her hands of sticky rice full she eats nothing else only craves (the taste of clouds) like dewy pearls mashes them to impermanence (before swallowing) the kitchen continues to smell of jarred rain stinking of silver ghosts


she powders her face to almost snow porcelana that’s what her mother calls it (the right kind of sheen) there’s no time to stay (herself) she has a prized date it is night in a vacant parking lot (the open trunk of a car) what she steals she smokes slow the taste of silence that comes as she presses a glass bottle (to the swell) of her lips tanduay dark with the gold seal oh that medicine of sugar cane


with some friends at a bar their tailbones in triangulation with a hard angle of light (in usual red) she sits underneath a print of Paula Rego’s painting snow white playing with her father’s trophies (in cruel) satin lush thighs and in between (the severed) animal head (antlers arched upward like yeses) smiling she does not forget to signal him the bartender with a nod (before the bill) another one for prosperity


at a window seat of a moving bus (or a train) the presence of a television (that cannot be seen) flashes suggesting pleasure of pale flesh naturally she turns (away) looks out the window an (indecipherable) map beams across her forehead as the vehicle accelerates her face (from clay to ash) becomes a sterling mise en abîme the map pans & pans


inside an expensive restaurant knives and soupspoons dipping in fatty omegas over a telephone call she discusses how men (also women) along with adoration will go (like this broth and oil) and sacrifice (a reunion of adventures) of a body’s departure (not made of or from crust or callous) and that you are a voice on the phone’s receiving end says that’s how you ended up in that hole i mean the woods i mean into a bright monster made of birds

Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a Pilipinx poet and artist. Peñaredondo is the author of the book, All Things Lose Thousands of Times (Inlandia Institute) which won the Hillary Gravendyk Poetry Prize and the chapbook, Maroon (Jamii Publications). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in AAWW’s The Margins, Four Way ReviewCream City ReviewSouthern Humanities ReviewDusie and elsewhere. She resides in southern California. apenaredondo.com .

Alfredo Aguilar


            after Ada Limón

if my lineage is forced into a white van in the middle
of their lives—if every family photo album i own is seized
by customs—if my abuelo doesn’t have a face when i speak
of him in this foreign language—if we call a thing
what it is not until it is—if history becomes a redacted text
book given to children—if the future is a shelf
of bricks—if i look on the nation & my voice becomes
a block of salt—if i have sunken so far
that not even harp strings can reach me & you are patient
as i climb back out—if i tell you this may be me
at my best & you do not leave—if we vanish into light
clinging to one another & still think ourselves lucky—
i will climb onto the moon, look back on the ravaged
world, reach my hand out to you, & say come with me. please.



the children are born to a world that is as hot
as it has ever been & having never seen
it any other way, believe it has always been
so. they cannot imagine a sky without gaping
punctures. they stand to inherit our empire
of smoke. its busted oil pipes spoiling
water, ransacking the bodies it passes through.
they familiarize themselves with an animal
through its bones. an animal whose fur
we as children had placed our small hands on.
we cannot show them the world
that exists in our memories, so we show
them photographs. in their palms: glaciers,
forests, & mountains vanish from film.


[an erasure of Barack Obama’s speech at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris]


is immune

this means.

                the sea is faster               

    than our efforts   submerged  

               more floods      seeking 


that future                          is one fragile


that hour

is here,           we place our 

interests behind 




skiffs pass between towering steel buildings jutting
from the ocean. skyscraper’s windows reflect
the sun. on some roofs, gardens. sea life
finds a new home in a library, a subway cart, a brick
building. in the desert, the opulent palaces
are abandoned to reptiles & even they do not emerge
until after the sun sets. here the paint peels off
every wall & sign. rows of houses lie empty.
in drought, the salt was taken out of an ocean
along with the ocean. somewhere there is an island
made entirely of garbage. if there is an after world
i am certain we will waste that one too. inside the last glacier,
the fossils of fish. when it melts, the fossils will be given
back their muscle, their sparkling scales, their ancient teeth.

Alfredo Aguilar is the son of Mexican immigrants. His work has appeared in Winter TangerineThe Acentos ReviewVinyl, & elsewhere. He lives in North County San Diego.