Satya Dash

Elegy for the movement of elegy

arousal          the harbinger of a flood of blood
blood sprinkles on a country’s fresh map          vermillion—

          vermillion           parting desire on a wife’s perceptible head
          head butt to crash a legendary World Cup           dream—

dream           emboldens synonyms into antonyms’ golden teeth
teeth not transmitting from master to apprentice        smiles—

          smiles           an earnest man signing his marriage certificate
          certificate the nature of my clumsy talents          forgettable—

forgettable          first words of manhood clasping a cresting wonder
wonder how you tolerated for so long my gasoline           breath—

          breath           taken away from those who went to schools unblessed
          unblessed light in sooty warehouses crossing out little    cheeks—

cheeks           docile turning right to left found blued indescribable dead
dead clad themselves in shrouds of roses smelled wholesome sad—

          sad          the untainted hurt of fruit ripened swallowed unbitten
          unbitten remains the altar of my tongue’s accomplished lack—

lack          in the shape of grace every vanquished body realized
realized a future mother waist deep in marriage miscarriage—

          miscarriage          a world I sailed past pushed by inconceivable arousal


Satya is shown, against blue and grey walls upon which a red firebox and extinguisher are visible. Satya has light brown skin and dark hair—shaved at the sides and longer on top— and a short black beard and mustache. Satya wears rectangular eyeglasses, and a mauve high-collar athletic jacket, unzipped to shown a chartreuse yellow lining and a light colored shirt beneath.

Satya Dash is the recipient of the 2020 Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Waxwing, Wildness, Redivider, Passages North, The Boiler, The Florida Review, Prelude, The Cortland Review and The Journal among others. Apart from having a degree in electronics from BITS Pilani-Goa, he has been a cricket commentator too. He has been nominated previously for Orison Anthology, Best of the Net and Best New Poets. He grew up in Cuttack, Odisha and now lives in Bangalore. He tweets at: @satya043 




Hibah Shabkhez

Just The Absence

Stone trees laden with pendulous fruit
     Clack: We’ll be your volcano, 
Grant you just the absence of the boot
For one spurt of lava. Go
     Baltering then to defy the storm

Your dreams are now entangled
     With the threads of this tapis woven 
By small hands gnarled and mangled
Hunting in lurching looms their stolen
     Bread, water, school uniform


Hibah is shown against a white wall, and a brown wooden board ceiling above. Hibah has brown skin and dark hair. Hibah wears a red headscarf.

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Bandit Fiction, Shot Glass Journal, Across The Margin, Panoplyzine, Feral, Literati Magazine, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.




Fleur Beaupert

Our bodies are not crime scenes

Every morning
       ‘I want the President’ to answer the invitation—
              not crime but aftermath of statistics laws colonised language

I babble in aching logics, curling
       watchful onlookers
              into microselves. My rage writes      Nudity’s script

soothes tired habits. A deregulated algorithm observes
       every precipice, kicking        words won’t cut it
              still I come to them        Flesh ushered

onto an upholstery train
        can only follow the Paddy Wagon
               of direction      ancient rhythms      humming their lines

Love is rejuvenated in spectral conspiracies
      against the woman’s protest. She consecrates every sin
            Naked passion postpones catharsis, is catharsis

Pulled out of the building, she swims strange backstroke
       through the camera’s gaze       reordering distress
             with the authority of an apocalypse

Reckoning maps around her ankles
      her movement an ablution

genderless strength, loosening along
      its equations. And in that dream my woman laughter wanders
              forever. She is narrative unmoored       throwing facts into the sea

Morning spills out      infecting neighbouring villages
        I am just a schoolgirl      sampling
               the cave’s warm tang—clothes around my ankles—

And in that dream I fall but I keep moving. Her protest
       shapeshifts, slicing waves      alive to the body’s continual
              palimpsest      how it remembers backward      to an unmade choice

Note: Quoted text, including the title, comes from footage of a woman arrested after a protest in Pretoria: News24 YouTube.

Fleur is shown against a white background. Fleur has light brown skin and short dark hair. Fleur wears a jacket with notch lapels, all of a deep plum color.

Fleur Lyamuya Beaupert (she/they) is a queer Australian writer of Tanzanian and Anglo-Indian descent. Fleur’s poetry and prose have recently been published in Not Very Quiet, Speculative City, Rigorous, Social Alternatives, Scum and Meniscus. They work as a policy officer in disability advocacy.




Justin Davis

Critical Whiteness Studies (2020)

In this highly-unanticipated documentary
series, we examine the life of
critically-unnoticed artist Justin Davis through the whiteness in his immediate vicinity. We follow the drunk white woman running her fingers through his hair as she passes him in the brewery. When he drives through Missouri’s bootheel, we ask the white state troopers how many armadillos they’ve run over. As he fills up his tank off I-55, we shine the matte white ulnas of John D. Rockefeller. The whole time, his Vampire Weekend CD plays louder and louder in the background. And make sure you catch the series finale where we air an exclusive, never-before-seen interview with the artist as a newborn, sickly, so pale that the nurses thought his mom was trying to steal a white baby. This series has already received acclaim in places like every black square on Instagram, a $5000 bill, and the cheeks of NSA agents who may or may not be dropping in on Davis’ calls right now. We’ve been told it feels more honest than honesty. Like a case, it feels like it’s still making itself. We’ve been told it feels compulsively rewatchable, that the leery hills keep growing their eyes. It’s a cultural juggernaut you won’t want to miss stealing.


Justin is shown before lightcolored siding or cladding, and the fasica, of a dark asphalt roof. Justin has medium black skin, black hair, held back in a bun or puff, and a chinstrap beard and shorter mustache. Justine wears roundrimmed eyeglasses, and a black collared shirt fastened at the neck with a white or creamcolor button.

Justin Davis is a cultural worker and an MFA candidate at the University of Memphis. You can find his poems and hybrid work in places like wildness, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Apogee Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, BOAAT, and Freezeray. He’s a past Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. He’s a proud union member.




Danielle P. Williams


I come from families where men don’t understand how to
love me I’ve seen their eyes I’ve lied to myself and everyone
else and still can’t seem to get it out of my thick skull It’s not
anybody’s job to love me I don’t think it’s a job at all I’ve seen
more women scarred than I’d like to I hate compliments as
threats Threats as men who should have been protecting me
Don’t you know what love means I come from families who
carry their secrets to the grave And we’ve all just been
endangering ourselves Lives whispering tomorrow away And
I can’t say that any of them know me Though I’ve cried and
stared dead in their eyes Open and shut I shout when I’m
alone and call it thick skin All these familiar hauntings I have
trauma and pain and knots that grind Sometimes I think
about men like fictional characters People who know what
love means Not the men I know God only knows the lives
they’ve lived and buried What other women hurt of them
And everyday I carry them in my worry like sling-stones to
my back I never know who to throw back I never know who
I’ll weep for first                                                    


Danielle is shown before dense green foliage. Danielle has medium dark skin and dark hair in long braids. Danielle wears roundrimmed eyeglasses, large earings of brightblue or silver, a black tanktop, and bluegreen skirt or pants.

Danielle P. Williams is a poet, essayist and spoken-word artist from Columbia, South Carolina. She is a MFA candidate at George Mason University. Danielle strives to give voice to unrepresented cultures, making it a point to expand on the narratives and experiences of her Black and Chamorro cultures. Her poems were selected for the 2020 Literary Award in Poetry from Ninth Letter. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Hobart, The Pinch, Barren Magazine, and elsewhere. For more, visit




Mihee Kim

sun choke

The Korean American is a prideful sunflower
Twisting to its own image, rebellious as a
Mottled pear. Chartreuse hums juicy promises
Olive pigments lose to the cool and warm
Shades of skin flash dance in an ad for girls 12-14
Our colors baffle biological discourse
The pantone wheel shows no shade can be marketed
To all of us. At recess, I’m tired of identity so I
Sign up for sports. I dog the ball and shoot to
Shatter. Barely miss the goalie who withers thin before
A basket mouth of redwood limbs. As the ball connects
The goal shivers, grows tumescently above the field
I am frozen in my leap and kick. I blink
Darkness and collapse.


The Korean American disintegrates
Twisted nettle. Proud armor for a lunchtime
Game. The goal shivers, ruptures grass in the field
Unctuous earth bubbles loam and in the
Turnover, a pear hums to keep its
Juices. Baffling biological discourse
Olive pigments army crawl in the
Skin towards each other
The pantone wheel shows no shade can be sold
To all of us. At recess, I’m tired of identity so I
Become a worm. I dig in the earth for
Shatters of dirt. Barely register the basket
Mouth of redwood limbs creeping above
I normally feel everything around me.

a beating

we tongue our losses
we weave songs from pulsing
and nothing else
a jubilee of blood butting
tenderest wrist
we      beat       the air in C-major
until our shoulders shake
center keys lightning eye between eyes
central root ruptures
earth-made filia fray down
a red-centered plume
takes the belliest cake
we        tongue        our     losses
we weave stories
from what’s happening
and nothing else
it happens now
everyone I’ve ever scared is
already scared
everyone I’ve lied to is here now
all the music of my youth
has gone to bed
fifth chakra        stutters
as I swallow kumquat
my neck reads : a debilitating mass lives here
trust no neck no wrist
no frail parts of you
hidden in pits
we tongue-sing a happening
and nothing else
we beat ourselves pink
we bust down
we bus it downtown
we ride our crowns to after home
we take the drum in our skin to mean
our bodies live
we        tongue        our     losses
we        weave ourselves into cilia
until the room is warm


Mihee is shown, before the trunk of a tree. Mihee has light skin, long bright blond hair, and black eyebrows. Mihee wears a light grey turtleneck.

Mihee Kim (she/they) is a Queer, Korean-American artist and poet. Her work has been nominated for a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize. Recent publications include: Asian American Writer’s Workshop, Foglifter, JetFuel Review, Apogee Journal, and poems are forthcoming in Anomaly. She earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an MFA at California College of the Arts. She lives, organizes and creates on Chochenyo Ohlone land, also known as beloved Oakland, California. Mihee is also Managing Director of Kearny Street Workshop, a longstanding arts nonprofit for Asian Pacific Americans.




Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Echolocation with Self and Body Parts

It’s the eyes slit into walls, half open lids
that tricks. The lips beneath the eyes blue & frost-bitten. 
Corpse pose. But a crowbar jams against cut and quartered,

clicking tongues to find the jigsaw of other parts.
A foot in the door, a silent wrenching turning beneath the ground.
Nearing exhaustion, slit eyes with lids half closing. Half breathing.

Feeling for the one other body part, a hand, a rib, a foot, 
a labia at a time. Where are you, the inner thigh calls to vastus lateralis.
Furrows of corpse flower, quartered and twinned yet firm against cuts & crowbar.

A jaw’s gotten free and is having dinner with the dandelions. 
Behind the supper party, a knee and a femur knock on the door
with cracked walls, shutters half open. Let us back in.

Outside loose limbs make cacophony with their reaching 
and clacking, hitting elbows into table corners, crowns into leg bones.
Knocked out into corpse pose. Waiting vultures in fours opening beaks like crowbars.

The unpeopled people make slits into walls, can see half 
dissolving selves in parts, whole, or half-rendered.
The crowbar useless to the coffin. 

But it’s corpse that feeds the fauna, forests the tree its crowns.
& only the mouth drops into the earth, only voice textured in fur, 
velvet in fissure and sediment. It can never be lost without its tether. 

From under the earth, waiting to hear what I’m doing 
just yet and what mercy opens its eye.

 Muscle Memory (2020)

A sculpture made of various cloths, spattered with red paint that looks like blood.

Illness and Origami

Inside ourselves, we 
are folded:

lines for future folds, reference
points, hidden or interior lines. 

An old recipe of heart songs
and nightmares.

Folds get unfolded: the blood, the veins,
the cells, the bones. 

Collapsed, secreted, warped.
A traveling purse that takes a virus whole
and lets it burrow into the spirit-matter.

This is how a year of illness 
sheds leafs from a fever-tree.

The in-and-out sight of your last love, his dark lashes.


Bloody coughing, half-sleeping, breathing cut 
and rough,

do the body and the mind exist in the mirror images, 
combined with double squash, swivel fold? Everything hazes as they 

exist side-by-side, in this common valley of sick.
Points are brought together at a single spot of destruction

to believe that we are so irreducibly complex—all it takes is one blow.

Folds get unfolded, in any case. The inside reverse fold, used to change
direction of a flap, and inside the body’s well sits mountain, 
valley, rabbit-ear folds creased along the walls: 

birthing flaps that wave like tattered flags
the white flutter of surrender
or the triumph of a woman’s skirt in spring.

I’m going to die like this.


Winter had ended and still I could not sit up.
Leave me here, I tell my husband.


The mind the body the mind the body
I am the object combined in three easy steps:

pre-crease forever, then collapse and collapse.


Leslie is shown, before the trunk of a tree, grass, and a wooden closedslat fence. Leslie has light brown skin and shoulderlength dark hair. Leslie wears eyeglasses or sunglasses pushed up above the hairline, a necklace of variegated metal or stained glass plates, and a short-sleeved shirt or blouse, with a scoop collar and black trim and patterning on khaki ground, the pattern of mammal- or reptile-skin.

Leslie Contreras Schwartz is the 2019-2021 Houston Poet Laureate. Her fourth book, Black Dove / Paloma Negra (FlowerSong Press, 2020), is a finalist for the 2020 Best Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. Her work has appeared in Missouri Review, Iowa Review, [PANK], Verse Daily, Pleiades, Zocalo Public Square, and Xicanx: 21 Mexican American Writers of the 21st Century (University of Arizona, 2022), edited by ire’ne lara silva, among other publications. She is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Collective, and is a proud disabled Mexican American poet with roots in Texas and Houston going back several generations. She teaches writing workshops in the community. She is also currently a faculty member at the new  Alma College’s MFA low-residency program in creative writing.