Bailey Cohen-Vera

Intervention with Debt in the Time of Climate Change

The lowest estimation by conflicting news sources suggests seventeen months. Anyone who believes this bullshit deserves to die says the egg profile picture. More specifically fuck the new Tesla cybertruck. My first failing grade was on a seventh grade geometry quiz. Right now my heart is beating sixty-four times per minute. Please refrain from smoking littering or playing loud music. There are people here. They are trying to sleep. They don’t care who you are but I do. I didn’t have an answer when you asked me where my name came from. It’s like how when I say sleep I mean escape but when you say people you mean people. I don’t think January will be a good month. Did you know the world ended in 2012? That’s why nothing since has felt real at all. I feel like I give off short person energy. I’d smack Joe Biden up the head on sight. Kanye West bought his own mountain. It’s okay to steal from CVS. We didn’t do anything to deserve this world but we did everything to get rid of it. I remember when you paid for my hemp milk vanilla latte and blueberry donut. You told me to watch my sugar intake. I spent an hour rubbing my thumb into your wrist. Is there any way this can happen again? No, this jacket isn’t real leather. My baby sister turns eleven tomorrow do you remember her name? I never put her in my poems because I know that everyone in my poems is going to die. Some people are way ahead of me. When Ricardo asked me to play soccer with the Dominicans in Queens I wanted to kiss him so badly. I hate every single piece of excess in my life. Calvin says Trader Joe’s organic coconut oil works surprisingly well as lube. Is colonizing Mars really the most important mission of our time? An earthquake might never bring you home. You’re in France, you’re in the mountains. Greenland is disappearing just for next century’s conspiracy theorists to claim it never existed. Maybe that’s why I pushed you away. I don’t believe in the refugee crisis. I’m such a peaceful citizen. Will you please come back and lay your head on the despair my shoulders held? I’ve been planning this for weeks. I’ve loved the way your purple socks looked when you wore them with your brown loafers. I still have bits of your eyelashes stuck between my teeth. Give me the rope, I need it, give it back to me, where are you going? I promise I’ll stop with the silly questions. I’ll be your pretty little doll for throwing. Help me shave my beard.


Intervention with Desire and Police State

Good morning. I’ve done my best to have a productive day so far. I’m calling because two nights ago you were in my dream and today I woke up having forgotten yesterday entirely. Did you hear about the riots in Ecuador? I’m about to spend three dollars on a very small coffee. I like doing my laundry early in the morning so I can spread out all my clothes without taking up anybody else’s space. There are some things that would make me happier but it’s so hard to get them done. This has been the worst month of my very short life. Each week feels stranger than the one before it. With enough weed I can go through a half-gallon of passionfruit juice a day. The only reason you remember my hands is because they get clammy when I’m anxious. I hate how things just keep on happening, what do you mean by that? Do you think of me in the shower when you use the eucalyptus exfoliant you recommended to me the last time we spoke?  I still want to meet you. I know it’d be better if we just blocked each other’s numbers, but have you ever thought about what would happen if we eloped to Mexico and just lived on a farm? In all my memories of the moment I slaughtered the chicken in my uncle’s backyard I can see the moon in its eyes but it was only two in the afternoon. Time’s made such a concept of me. I’m sorry I keep rambling. Believe me, all I want to do is listen to you breathe, I want to map the sound with the rising and falling of your chest, I can never let it get quiet enough. There’s a word for the moment in a tragedy when the protagonist realizes everything’s been going wrong. There’s a book I’m reading that I think you might like. I wish you were here so the man in the Burberry scarf would stop looking at me. I’m wearing the silver coat we picked out together, I sent you pictures, I had purple hair. Every morning I make an extra cup of coffee for the abuelita that sweeps the floor of the entryway of my apartment building and takes out the trash and she absolves me of my sins. It sounds less formal and more genuine in Spanish but we still don’t know each other’s names. I don’t miss Martín, I miss his asshole. I’ve never understood why I can’t just invent my own words. On October 30, Adrian Napier was held at gunpoint in a subway car after jumping a turnstile to avoid paying the $2.75 fare. Can you explain to me what the market wants? You’d look so sexy in a crown. There’s this restaurant that’s full of mirrors full of mirrors full of mirrors and in one corner they align so perfectly that the exit sign is reflected into infinite versions of itself; when you say loneliness, that’s what I imagine. I wish I was sober more. I wish the chocolate industry didn’t waste 70% of the cacao fruit. A male PhD student sitting next to me is telling his tinder date about how he wants to design a course merging philosophy and biology to better understand our place in the universe through science and she’s nodding and I’m counting the amount of times that she nods. I’m eating strawberries, banana, kiwi, figs. Is everything this hopeless and unfulfilling? If you’re not doing anything right now, I’m spending my weekend masquerading as any possible version of myself that could feel right beside you, you can dress me in your favorite face. Don’t grow old. Don’t move to Europe. Can’t you forget me here instead?


Bailey Cohen-Vera is the Assistant Editor for Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. A poet, essayist, and book reviewer, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Iowa Review, Southern Indiana Review, Waxwing, Grist, Poetry Northwest, The Spectacle, and Cherry Tree, among others. Bailey is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU, where he serves as a Wiley Birkhofer Fellow, writing obsessively about bananas. His website is




Asmaa Jama

aubade with alternate endings (on leaving somalia, while durdur band plays for the last time)


Photo by Yun Pei-Hsiung.

Asmaa Jama is a Danish born Somali poet and multidisciplinary artist. Their work has been published in print and online, in places like The Good Journal, Popshot Magazine, and Ambit. Most recently, they were a resident at IBT’s Creative Exchange Lab and a writer-in-residence at the Arnolfini. They are a co-founder of feminist art collective Dhaqan Collective.





Saddiq Dzukogi


He shifted his body from the fragment of the world,
where all the atoms of your departure are sustained—
your grave, his agony, the polyethylene bag
brimming with breast milk.

He can’t break away from the things that remind him you are gone.
The napkin they used to wipe your face after you ate,
he tucked into his bag
after your funeral. He stretches, swallowing all the screams
in the earth, with limbs still devoted to memory.
The night is solid on his skin—his stomach
growls in a broken voice.

Trapped in a loop he can bear no more,
the brink, where the world becomes custodial—with barbwires
that rend its nooks into small rooms he cannot enter.

So long in the dark, pupils adjust to a new gloom,
and his hands become eyes—leading him
through the walls to a doorknob.

It’s been a month since you left.
He wishes he could step into your mother’s prayer
and swap it with the harvest of his silence.



The dancer walks between the dead and the living
while the courtyard stills in a seethe of bees, a chimera.

He’s dizzy from this funeral dance of revival.

Against a foul smell, he kneads his bones
back into childhood. Grandmother says children possess

eyes that see everything, even the empty spaces under the dome
of a haunted masjid. They reveal the deeper understanding of loneliness.

If he goes on and says something from the flawless abundance of God,
birds will come to the window wheedling grief out of his eyes.


Saddiq Dzukogi was born in Minna, Nigeria. He is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021) and the chapbook, Inside the Flower Room a selection of New Generation African Poets Chapbook series. His poems have appeared in Prairie SchoonerKenyon ReviewWorld Literature TodayOxford PoetryOxford Review of BooksSoutheast Review, and others. He is currently a PhD student in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he received the Vreeland Prize for Poetry.




Noor Ibn Najam

unhappy isn’t the word at all


but what do i know?

Noor Ibn Najam is a poet who teases, challenges, breaks, and creates language. She’s a Callaloo and Watering Hole fellow and a recent resident of the Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have been published and anthologized with the Academy of American Poets, the Rumpus, Bettering American Poetry, Best New Poets, and others. Noor’s chapbook, Praise to Lesser Gods of Love, was published by Glass poetry press and mulls over the ever-shifting role love in the human experience—and how best to worship such a multitudinous deity.




Shay Alexi

an American Sonnet

as a crow to the field after rain so goes
my Land Lord to my door come a good long month;
i forget him as the worms do, wet with time-
o god what a gift to forget, come that hot blunt
beak, come the first of the month, come that cruel glossed shriek;
they arrive in flock, Murder tidy and familiar;
from each home familial yet untethered they draw
out the squirming, the ungraspable, the wealth
of the soil; trade a body for a hole in the ground
in the wall, in the sky, in this world, I’ve found
every spider vein gifted by a ten hour shift-
how they shout from my thighs at the hint of a grift;
each day in this country they scream and rot
as birds early to the field claim the first worm caught.


Shay Alexi is a poet and performance artist based out of Atlanta, GA. They are the author of Diary of a Ghost Girl (Glass Poetry Press), and their work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Rumpus, Apogee, WUSSY, and Homology Lit, among others. They are a Pisces sun with a Pisces moon and would like to remind you to drink some water. Learn more about Shay and read more of Shay’s work at




Chavonn Williams Shen

Press Release


Walthall County

I. Ode to the Sidewalks that Lead to My Grandfather’s House

My father once told me 
how his father often pushed him 
into the street. No traffic to fear
in this small town, just white folk mad
that a Black boy almost brushed
the hems of their shirts.


II. Ode to the Tree Near My Grandfather’s House

Its branches built for swinging,
rope wrapped round its boughs held
a cast off tire in place. Older cousins taught
those younger how to lean back before their feet met the grass.
How to twist the rope so tight
that heads spun with each release.


Trees (noun)

A plant native to the Americas, trees are like graves, except trees can grow by themselves.

Used in a sentence:
Magnolia trees are a pastoral scene of the gallant south” *
That tree across town has the best figs. But after last summer, I won’t go near it.”

Synonyms: uncle, cousin, brother

* This line contains a quote from the song “Strange Fruit” written by Abel Meeropol and
performed by Billie Holiday


Chavonn Williams Shen was a first runner-up for the Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction Contest and a Best of the Net Award finalist. She was also a Pushcart Prize nominee, a winner of the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series and a fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. A Tin House and VONA workshop alum, her poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in: Diode, Yemassee, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others. When she’s not teaching with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, she can be found in her house obsessing over her plants. Photo credit: Peter Limthongviratn