Chiagoziem Confidence Jideofor

Answering Whatever a First-Time Feels Like

newness starts you off on the page asking no questions,
like book knowledge opens to you when people do not

new kid, def not from here

with a hot cup of coffee staving off proper addictions 
you fill up pages of good and bad,
stressing on the first of dents, their odds and ends

first real loss//first grounded ignorance//first real joke//first interstate pullover

                                                       you save first fear and first scare for last

darkest face among rows//pining tears// and buoyancy that launches itself

in a new life, how often you are asked for the proof
                                                       of commencement
                                                       to explain why life continues and there is no viability

how often the steps questions come. like how many of such you took to split. 
“how many official renunciations…? 

                                                       and you answer truthfully, 
                                                       say “you’d see to believe.” 

with thoughts unresolved on the page, 
this newness unfixes you

your craving of latter days//and their simple greens//the new sense of duty a place fixes you with //junkie of labor//in and out of creased worlds//sometimes lost as casual forgetfulness

and when there aren’t more of these worlds to traverse, 
intensity, or more magic to thread with
horror starts you off on a closed page 

with no words in view
your new sight begins as a first prone to things 

a cat struggling to reach//some weird shit called music// tongue growing alien//while still attached


Chiagoziem Confidence Jideofor is Queer and Nigerian. Her poems have appeared or are scheduled to appear in Reunion: The Dallas Review, the minnesota review, Yaba Left Review, Passengers Journal, Rigorous, Untitled: Voices, Versification, Ghost Heart, and so on. Also a self-taught illustrator, Agoziem has worked on several book covers and digital arts collaborations, and is currently an in-house digital artist at Arts Lounge Literary Magazine and Cooking Pot Publishing.




K.L. Lyons

Cocaine Bear

Cocaine Bear is a bear 
who ate a duffel bag of cocaine.

The man who performed its necropsy 
said it died of everything

stroke, heart failure, renal failure, cerebral hemorrhaging.

shame to waste a perfectly good, dead bear… 

So it was stuffed, sold to a pawnbroker 
who sold it to Waylon Jennings.

The Outlaw gave it to a hustler in Vegas. 

When he died, it was bought by a Chinese herbalist.  
Then he died, so his widow sent the bear back to Kentucky
Home state of the man who had dropped the cocaine,

who did a poor job bailing out of his plane,
found dead in a driveway 
(Can you imagine – your driveway?) 
His parachute opened too late.

Now the bear stands up in the bed of a pickup
where he takes pictures with tourists. 
He wears a jaunty, Kentucky hat 
and a gold chain that says Pablo EskoBear

But the bear is not aware
of his impact on any of them.
He’s not privy to this piece of his own story. 

He just got into something he shouldn’t.
And it tasted so good until it didn’t.


Cowboys and Indians

As children,
my father and his brothers
played Cowboys and Indians
and always wanted to be cowboys

So while they ran around 
looking for Indians to kill

My grandma would turn 
to my grandpa and say,
“You need to tell them that they are the Indians.” 


KL Lyons is a writer from Tulsa, Oklahoma and a citizen of the Muscogee Nation. Their work has previously appeared in ANMLY, Room Magazine, Eye to the Telescope, and Variant Literature. You can find them on Twitter as @dystopialloon.




Umang Kalra


someday we will die        digitally
& biologically         too & nobody
will be left        to hurt from our
absence:        do we call this
the         end-times        or some-
thing        less        extravagant?
where will you be        when it’s
my turn        to decompose? will
you feast        on me again        the
way        you have done        in this
life? will you make friends        with
the maggots         & the wires        that
will live        in my lungs from now on. 
where will we put        all our heart
emojis        & what of        surveillance?
are the ones        who watch us a special
kind/breed/thing/        /sort of object? 
will they become earth also? or is there
somewhere else they must         die? what
of this apocalypse: the waterfalls are waiting
to murder us. some of us        are waiting
to let them.


Umang Kalra is a writer from India and the founding EIC of VIBE. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Wax Nine, Lucy Writers’ Platform, and elsewhere. They are a two-time Best of the Net Anthology finalist and a Pushcart nominee. Read more at