m/ryan murphy

Horse Blood

However determinate one’s genetic inheritance, it must still, as it were, be woven into the present, an activity that necessarily involves both receptivity to the specific shapes and textures of that present and a spontaneous creativity in adjusting oneself (and one’s inheritance) to those contours…that we speak of by the term “perception”.
-David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

The abject is an end of one kind of organism,                     meaning

we are birthed into the rhythm of                            human

until shocked into the pace of a flayed antelope     seeking safety.

How this run from community      undoes         all dialectics.

Art loses value.           Only speaks toward         commodity.

We call this the near future               or a parallel now.

A human                       on all fours

or injected                      with horse

blood.                      A beating heart           beaten

backward taking           vitality soaking          the sun

red or                               ridding                       we.

Personages                    swell into         disarticulation.

The shape of stratum then rounds into

an engorged                           timeline  ;

it’s gritty with bits of                  fossil too

much death to contain it all.             We

say take time to grieve                         to find

a creativity that erupts out from         nothingness.

We suppose a nothingness    always         we say

sight will lead us without worry             no

touch to lead us through             “those     contours”.

We call this growth        really           booming

out from the inherited                   forcing

everything into                    something     ,

but what of                         entropy    ?

Grossing your         self out            enough

to shock the system         into change.

An antelope        with thread and needle

cannot suture                itself–       withers.

Upending the Illusion of One

Borrowed Catharsis

The ground rips open &
I know this isn’t cosmopolitan
but it feels productive.

At dusk, I grow
as vibrations charge
& settle in my feet,

reaching roots
infused with
total chaos.

I shiver, then
the chasm

Dirt falls
inward like
a fragment.

I borrow a neighbor’s
catharsis, craft a ball
of it-gets-better

suck it dry
hand it back.
It’s how I know

I’m alive.
I’m hungry &
my arms stay put

like wet tree leaves,
I glow briefly but
been boundless

too often unaware
of the heaviness
peace harbors.

I dim.
The sun’s down &
fog leaves me

all milky
slick &

A corpse
A this-work-needs-grounding
A finger flinging dirt

Or my father’s
arms in water,
around me –

The quotidian is gross
like that. A sentence
working in tandem.

A winter cloud is grey
never pink
nor white.

Perfect strangers lay
against grass against
me in this thicket saying:

when you say, oh no division
you say, oh no division
say, oh no division

oh no division
no division

& if the voice
no longer heals you,
cradle the body.

m/ryan murphy lives in Brooklyn, NY via Mississippi. They were named a finalist for The Poetry Project’s 2018-19 Emerge–Surface–Be Fellowship. Some of their work exists in or is forthcoming from Entropy, The Felt, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Bone Bouquet. The rest explores nonhuman rights, caesurae, queerness, and language’s existence beyond the confines of the page. Virtually friend them @mryanmurphy.




Kathryn Merwin

To Woman (Persona as Dirt)

Litany in Addition and Subtraction

Figure 1:

If a girl has six plums and gives five away, how many plums does she have left? How many seeds? How much skin?


A girl has one plum. No seeds. No skin. Just a moon-ripe fruit, bitten down to jagged core.

Figure 2:

If a girl has six children and gives three away, how many children does she have left? How many fingers? How many eyes?


A girl has six eyes. Sometimes brown. Sometimes blue. A girl has thirty fingers, all of them stained with plums and plums and plums.

Figure 3:

If a girl has six hearts and gives two to her mother, two to her daughter, two to a stranger, how many hearts does she have left? Will they grow back like rough-cut violets? Will they bruise when they are touched? When they are not?

Kathryn Merwin’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Cutbank, Passages North, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Birdfeast, Sugar House Review, Prairie Schooner, and Blackbird. She has read and/or reviewed for the Bellingham Review and The Adroit Journal, and serves as co-editor-in-chief of Milk Journal. She received her MFA in poetry from Western Washington University and currently lives in the District of Columbia. Connect with her at kathrynmerwin.com.




Kinsey Cantrell



give it to me straight, doc

a medical event, in 3:

Kinsey Cantrell is a Brooklyn-based poet. Her work has appeared in Datableed, New Delta Review, Bomb Cyclone, petrichor, Rogue Agent Journal, and elsewhere. She is on the social media and events teams for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and she received her BA/MA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio. She can be found online at kinseycantrell.com and on Twitter @kinseymads.




Kate Schapira


with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you because I worry what
you’ll do if I do. Jenna said it seems like you,
letter, should just kill yourself and I said
that seemed like a copout, like oh
it’s easier to imagine being dead than to imagine
changing. We were at the antiques mall
lifting old things and putting them down
till we ran out of steam. We can always imagine
driving into a powdery sunset, low flare
like a relic we notice without information.
Every tiny darkening will be a letter.
Every hint of rot will be a letter.
Is a letter now, age spot drawn on by hand.
In my dream someone was saying how much
they love trees marked with a rot that looks
like the mark of fire and I knew it was a dream
because it wasn’t me: I don’t feel guilty
about not wanting to manage the night.


with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you. Maybe I’ll just explain it in
a really blank way: how thing used to mean
meeting and how that reminds me that people
in a song called a strike meeting and I didn’t
know what that was and still don’t know why it’s
called a strike, is it like a strike at the root
of a plant you don’t want in your life,
nightshade camped in the gutter ruining
not everything, but the gutter: the thing
I like about that is
it sets you up as a garden with self-interest
and its pleasant cells only some of the things
in it, but not the whole thing—anyway only
one other person came to the meeting
and the nightshade tapped its root deep down
and I felt what it felt, not guilt,
but the name of the night.


with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you, because I can’t without calling
myself the kind of names you’re not supposed to
put in the world. It’s like I have to
be vicious and I can’t to you, but to myself—
it’s like that, but it’s not that.
I’m vicious to you all the time in the course
of my lawful occasions, my meetings and partings,
my perfectly loving and generous actions in the short
distance that still can’t be wholesome
to you, a word that to hear
brings an aching for you to stitch yourself up
around my hands, letter by letter and law
by law I didn’t make but only find,
the laws that make you up and might let you
shake me off and move on. If you do, please
don’t feel guilty about not wanting to manage the night.


with 2 climatologists and they walked me through
multiple scenarios. All very stark. I won’t
describe for you. I don’t want coffee but it’s one
of my chores so I make it and try to remember that later
I’ll be writing to ask you: what would your life be like
if it was a quarter better? How about a
quarter worse? How would you ask that
to someone whose math was not that great? I want
our math to split for you. I want to sag it out of how
we are into a catenary. Coffee
tastes how I’d expect it to: full of injury.
My stack of things to do for the current order
is so high, my list so long. In the current
dragging other orders under first, and further,
I don’t feel guilty about not wanting to
manage the night.

Kate Schapira lives in Providence, RI, where she writes, teaches, co-runs the Publicly Complex reading series, and offers Climate Anxiety Counseling. Her sixth book of poems, FILL: A Collection, a collaboration with Erika Howsare, is out with Trembling Pillow Press. Her prose has appeared in The Toast, the Rumpus, Catapult, and as a chapbook with Essay Press, Time to Be Something Other Than Human.