sterling-elizabeth arcadia

two texts


both of my legs are bruised and it has me thinking about you. the blue-green-yellow-red hues. the rainbow between us. the rainbow between us

i think about your clumsy, about your 11-something cats & your late grandmother (like mine)

i think about the all-female brooklyn brass brand we saw, in prospect park. i think about when i got to meet your wife & didnt know what to say, so i commented on her haircut. how i miss you. how i love you


hey bb, been thinking about you,
praying to bb trans gay jesus for you,
etc, etc

ive loved you longer than a year now
& still it stings, thinking about you
alone & cold, in that heartless chicago

so when i pray to bb trans gay jesus heres what i say:
may mathilda be safe. may mathilda be a bird.
may mathilda be called a faggot by her friends at the next transsexual brooklyn orgy

i would top a twink to see you stay warm this year


sterling-elizabeth arcadia (she/they) is a Best of the Net winning and Pushcart Prize nominated trans poet, diy tattooer, and lover of birds, cats, and her friends, living in Philadelphia. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in venues including Delicate Friend, HAD, New Delta Review, beestung, and Verse of April. Her debut chapbook, Heaven, Ekphrasis, is available now from Kith Books.




Chamomile Wheatley

Sunsimmer gratitude

for Isa Pickett

    Porch cactus  catches the sun 
and lights-up like a cellphone with good news

       Below the balcony  
the young family from Bethlehem
roasts salmon  over  charcoal
    Conversations   of warm weather  at-last  and
pinewood derbies             rise
                                  with zucchini smoke           
                                                carried away
                                  with cicada  ocean  song

       I-40 stirs a lazy tide
   even the willows  wave  safe morning

               I know holy neighbors!
                  Robins bawuing from brown sugar nests
           Brier Creek testing new directions  
                 the wild honey caps   ready to spread on toast       
and   You      
                                                          four-hundred miles away   picking figs  in a cemetery
                                                                        under the same trans-pride   sunset

                                           I have news!                   I started HRT! I caught this song in a jar!
                                                My hair   is wisteria
                                       and my body is sunsimmered chapel glass!
                                           Look through me from each direction
                                           That’s where god rests


Chamomile is a peripatetic word wrangler & a friend to small critters. Her work has also appeared in Five South.




Keagan Wheat


and cheeseburgers; glinting
red car. I only recently 
learned your wrong pro-
nunciation. An idol 
of a group I thought excluded 
me. I never got Felicia
to roll such a melody.
You are spotlights 
and J Lo for too long in my mind.
I’ve missed dangling glitter,
unknown words; missed 
the obstacle of family
as song swinging hips,
queering a school 
dance within my context.
I too would take 
a medium pizza alone.
Dieting never was 
my thing. A sotha 
water refilling always 
with a fresh tortilla.
Glimmers of memory: incanta-
tion of continuity from mija 
Catalina to dancing
on my own bursting
to mijo; chant 
along with mom, with ever-
extending family of room-
mates and uncles 
and pallbearers and Cuz and Cuz
and Cuz I love you;
I’ll write more,
speak more without 
whiskey breath.


Keagan Wheat writes about trans identity and congenital heart disease. His work appears in The Acentos Review, Kissing Dynamite, Variant Literature, and more; he’s a Pushcart Prize nominee. They are the author of microchapbook, Come to the Table (Black Stone/ White Stone 2022) and a forthcoming chapbook, Pressure Come Back, through Bullshit Lit. Check out his interviews with Brooklyn Poets and Latinx Lit. Living in Houston, he enjoys collecting odd dinosaur facts and listening to many podcasts. Find them @kwheat09.




Isaac Campbell


People change
Many say this in a lamenting way
“He’s just not the same” 
“She’s a totally different person”

I love to change
My hair, my style, my viewpoint, my location
It’s one of the best things about being alive, being human
Being nonbinary is a gift I never tire of receiving and opening each day

Some try to ignore change, but it lives everywhere 
Between the couch cushions,
Spilling out of pockets when trying to find your car keys,
In the tip jar of your local coffee shop,
In the cup of the beggar one street over
I keep my change with me, always aware of it

Change is one of the fundamentals of life
Its cousin, variety, the spice
They say nothing in life is guaranteed except for death and taxes
I disagree
One can say change flies in the face of Death
To change is to live, to grow, to evolve


Isaac Campbell is a queer and nonbinary creative from Massachusetts. They have always been a writer but this is their first publication. They hope to use their poetry as a way to challenge others’ perceptions and get people to question the roots of their own identity.




Gwyn Hill


As a child I collected cicada exoskeletons—in my closet, a box of ruptured enclosures.
I wondered how they knew when to wake up; what to leave behind; where the edge is?

Struggling to parse where “I” end and “you” begin, I reach for where the pressure holds
all of me without crossing your limits—stretched taut but not cracking—testing my edges.

When I cut my hair short and saw the boy hiding in my own jawline for the first time, I snapped 
photo after photo, finding just the right light to show off my new-found edges.

On a hike, I stumble across a speckled kingsnake, admiring how rigid scales together link 
to shield a spiraling body, and lean toward this lesson on the fluidity of edges.

Rewatching New Girl to confront my inner Nick Miller, I realize that I, too, relax 
into myself in a flannel or henley with a wink of collarbone exposed where the neck slouches.

As muscles harden and form new angles, I’m surprised I now admire the soft curve 
of my unbound breasts after years hiding—hunched and out-of-place in dresses.

I always felt trapped by the name my mom claimed meant crone: White. Woman. 
Witch. Magic I may be, but bent for a better fit—call me Gwyn—king of the fairies.


Gwyn Hill is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and earned their MFA from the University of Arkansas. As the former grant writer and accessibility coordinator for the Open Mouth Literary Center, they spearheaded efforts toward creating accessible literary programming. Their work was named a finalist for Wick Poetry Center’s 2020 Poems for Peace and Conflict Transformation Contest, received support from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and appears in Prairie Schooner, Painted Bride Quarterly, Split Rock Review, and more; under another name. They are excited to start building new credentials with their real name.




Reyna Rosales

First Love in Moon Park

In a drunken daze words pour from my mouth of their beauty
of their gorgestness as the world’s rotation counters my own 
spin on the dance floor and I am trying to write 
of love because I know now that it exists

Planetarium shows us among the stars and our newest
journeys through telescopes and it’s silly how we look
up into space to compare it to home Pillars of Creation 
are elephant trunks or desert rocks but made of cosmos

Me and my love are made of stardust too we change
our silhouettes by our own command and
leave people wondering in awe of the constellations
of stories we write for our own bodies

I pour out my heart knowing they will live
because of the stars and because of my writings


Reyna Rosales is a Queer & Trans Filipinx writer born in the Philippines and raised in Los Angeles. Their work has appeared recently in Rituals from Marías at Sampaguitas and elsewhere. You can find her @tsismosx.




[sarah] Cavar

to they for whom I am in the passenger seat

i spent all my lyric years
against slim and straight-
haired girls                             their           dyke-shaped
                                                   mouths and

believing with my everything this thing this sing
         ular & special                we

were akin to light
moving behind itself              trees growing down
instead of up
                                    wrong insofar

as without right’s smooth having-

& true           we have not ever  & always & already right

& yet

still    we drive to

           w/ our shared & sour music

                   & I am still loving & eating
baked potatoes & belting & bumping

& your uncensored songs still get me               right
         in the girlhood
                   says i love you
                   in my sugarname

i mean to say       unsuddenly
we are have always been in
the together


[sarah] Cavar is a PhD student, writer, and transgender-about-town. They are editor-in-chief of Stone of Madness and swallow::tale presses, and their writing can be found in CRAFT Literary, Split Lip Magazine, Electric Lit, and elsewhere. Cavar’s debut novel, Failure to Comply, is forthcoming with featherproof books (2024). More at, @cavarsarah on Twitter, and at




Leo Smith


Somewhere, an opening. Chests. Scars with heart 
behind. It doesn’t matter who breaks the rib 
or takes it. I see the love in myself, so I see the love 
in you. Oh, baby. Our passion sips from equal bowls; 
bodies baptize in sun-flooded sheets. Divinity lingers 
in my dimples and your array of speckles. The cleanest 
water comes from: a mouth, a palm, parted legs. 
God smiles at the still-sprouting dicks. She promises 
to shape us one way until we decide another. 
Look. How we’ve spoken ourselves into being. 
Laughter tinkling, followed by a gentle clasp. 
Let’s name ourselves with sounds that feel like freedom. 


Leo Smith (they/them) is a Black, queer transmasculine poet from Inglewood, CA. They are a Smith College graduate holding a B.A. in English/Spanish with a poetry concentration. Leo’s first chapbook, The Body’s Owner Speaks, is forthcoming with Black Sunflowers Poetry Press (Summer 2023). Their pieces also appear in Arcanum Magazine. A former Roots.Wounds.Words Poetry Fellow (Winter 2023), Leo’s current work centers on race, religion, and queer childhood. You can find them on Instagram @sun.ruled.




Aspen Clark

Top Surgery


Aspen (they/them) is a trans, disabled artist who enjoys creating across a variety of mediums. When not nerding out about linguistics, they can be found playing Dungeons & Dragons, cuddling their blind old cat, or fiddling with a Rubik’s cube. Raised in the scablands of Eastern Washington (stolen Snxʷme̓ nʔey land), they have a deep appreciation for agriculture and the cycles of the desert’s seasons. They now reside on stolen Lummi & Nooksack lands (Western WA) with their partner. Their work can be found on Twitter @elysiumsoul and on Instagram @elysiumsouls. They are available for commission through their website.