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.




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.




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.




[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




Gretchen Rockwell

I Hold a Gender Reveal Party for My Shadow Self

At first, I couldn’t decide on the colors for the cake. I settled finally on the dark charcoal of a pencil’s smudge and a bright verdigris: the color of inspiration striking, the result of age and exposure. We are in an echoing cathedral, or maybe an old library; the room is full of something holy, something whole. To festoon the room, I hung silver tinsel strung with tiny raven lights. Candles wrapped in green and black tourmaline sit at each table, flickering gently. There are no balloons, but the room is fragrant with bergamot and leather. I was considering an eclectic mix of music, but decided on the fullness of silence. This absence pulls everything into hushed anticipation. The party is about to start. I am the only guest. There will be no games, but that does not mean there will not be joy. My shadow self is hovering somewhere outside the room, waiting for a cue to enter. It will not be long now.


Gretchen Rockwell is a queer poet who can frequently be found writing about gender, science, space, and unusual connections. Xe is the author of the chapbooks body in motion (perhappened press) and Lexicon of Future Selves (VA Press) and two microchapbooks; xer work has appeared in AGNI, Cotton Xenomorph, Whale Road Review, Palette Poetry, and elsewhere. Find xer at or on Twitter at @daft_rockwell.




Kayden Vargas


Tear open the curtains;
Open slammed doors;
Let the light in.
How we survived
The solstice.
Today, Joy Again
Inhabits This House.
Tonight, we dance. 


Dr. Kayden Vargas (they/he) is a non binary parent, psychologist, and poet by moonlight. Their first love was, and always will be, the Columbia River. He currently lives, writes, and teaches on the traditional lands of the Yakama people.




C.M. Green

The Story of a New Name

Like submersion in cool water after a run in August, this name, the one I don’t yet speak, makes me shiver. Metaphors aside, it came to me in the shower. My body is my body, a thing I try to ignore but one that I know doesn’t define me. When it is just me and my body and my pine-scented soap, I can feel suds on my skin and revel in that: sensation, divorced from perception. My body is my body.

I stood there, warm water raining down on my bare skin, and like Athena cracking out of Zeus’s skull, mature and ready for life, the name appeared in my head. I said it out loud, felt it push through my teeth, and I felt a new kind of aliveness. There are now pages in my journal with this name written in cursive, traced over and over. Like I have a debilitating crush, but the person I’m in love with is myself. 

And I’m not ready to share this infatuation with the world. It’s fragile, this name, but when I think about it, when I write it down, it sends a thrill up my spine, a lover’s touch, and I know that this name will wait for me. I can hold onto it, save it, keep it for myself for as long as I need to. It smiles at me, warm and inviting, and it makes me feel like I always have been who I always will be. 


C. M. Green is a Boston-based writer with a focus on history, memory, gender, and religion. Their work has been published in fifth wheel press, Roi Faineant, and elsewhere. Their writing can be found at, and they are on Twitter @cmgreenery.




Joseph-Kass Tomaras

Feats of Strength

I am freshly vaccinated against coronavirus and attending a goth/industrial dance in the Catskills region of New York, during the calm before the Delta Variant. There are two on-stage performers, each single bodies with band-like names, and a DJ who will spin the most rhythmic expressions of horror and Todesangst. I am there to show support for my friend E., one of the performers. Also present for their sake: M., E.’s current romantic allegiance, and Z., a young woman I met through E. We are a transfeminine clique, two they/thems and two she/theys. It has been a year since I first came out, and this is, in a sense, my first outing.

The venue: Somehow a 1970s tiki bar was grafted onto a Korean restaurant, and together they spawned a gender-diverse performance space on the side. We have to walk through the bar on the way to the entrance of the venue, through a cloud of squinting boomers trying to figure out what we are. The skinhead stamping entry in exchange for $7 seems oddly solicitous, offers help with anything I might need. Later I notice he is hanging green and yellow hankies from his left pocket. Since I am not interested in paying to be pissed on, I see no need to ask him for anything further. I was wearing a red mask; perhaps he misinterpreted it as expressing interest in fisting.

It has been over twenty years since my last attendance at a show like this. For two reasons. First: early in my relationship with my former partner, we both mistakenly believed that, as much as possible, we had to do things as a couple. I feared that my existence was so charged with desire that if I ventured too often into settings from which she was absent I would never be able to keep myself aligned with her. I limited our separations to those mandated by political work, which I conceived with such rigidity as to be wholly uncontaminated by sex or its threat. And she hated this music, so why would she ever go to a show with me?

The second reason was that I did not own the right clothes, could not do the right makeup. Tonight I own the right clothes, and I have done the right makeup. I am getting better at the Siouxsie eyeliner, though on me the effect may always be more Robert Smith. My nail polish and lipstick advertise themselves as being wine colored, but in this setting that shade evokes blood. I am confident enough in my tits to wear nothing but a black camisole as my top, confident enough in the lighting not to worry about the week-old stubble on my chest. I just bought a new belt at my favorite consignment shop, black leather studded heavily with cowrie shells, red beads, and a single turquoise. Worn off center, the teeth of the cowries make my black denim cutoffs look sinister.

The other performer is younger than E., and some of the people in his entourage look like they might even still be in high school. I am also pretty sure they are all cisgender. Most of the guys on that side of the floor look like they got lost on their way to a Vampire Weekend concert. I am offended at how little effort they have put into their looks.

I did not know it was possible to slam dance affectionately until I saw E. and M. precisely calibrating the force of their impacts—soft enough to say, “I don’t want to hurt you,” but hard enough to warn that it’s a possibility. Midway through E.’s set, a bottled blonde wearing sandals and a sky-blue princess dress wanders in from the bar, takes a look at all of us and gets a look on her face that signifies that she is willing herself to think, “wow, this looks like fun!” She starts noodling her arms like a hippie at a Phish concert in the middle of the floor, impinging on M.’s hardcore steps.

During the outdoor smoke break, we sit in companionable silence until someone finds something kind to say about someone else. The first target of praise is E., who has expressed some doubts about their own tunefulness. I end up comparing their work to Christian Death.

We return to the dance floor, then go out to the bar. Somehow our bar table conversation turns into a friendly round robin tournament of arm wrestling. M. is indisputably the strongest, followed by E. I surprise myself by besting Z., and apologize to her profusely. I suspect each of us has bad childhood associations with feats of strength or relative lacks thereof. I do my best to counteract whatever humiliation she might feel.

We talk about coronavirus, and masks, and when to wear them and when not and what we like about them. M. says she likes that it hides her goofy smile. I say I like how they hide my grouchy scowl. Z. says she likes that they hide her face. “Stop it,” I blurt out. “Your face is gorgeous.” E. and M. add their praises. Z. points out that her mask bears a design that makes it look like she has amazing fangs, and we all concede that fangs are amazing.

We dance some more. Everyone is beautiful in the strobe lights.


Joseph-Kass Tomaras (they/she) is a writer and translator living in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Their fictions and unfictions have appeared in Salvage, Lackington’s, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, among other places. She is currently working on translating a collection of short fiction by the Yiddish writer Der Nister. They blog occasionally at and tweet somewhat more frequently as @epateur.




nat raum

gender euphoria as a toadstool

after Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

is there a clear obsessively played
as an anthropomorphic mushroom
person to extremely gay pipeline?
i’m asking for a friend who once
loved Toadette deeply, but changed
their main to her boyish adventure
buddy around the same time they
dropped two syllables of their birth name. 

is it evidence enough that we know
Toads have no gender either, and isn’t
that way of phrasing it the very thing
i’m searching for here—the knowing
why woman was a disguise and why
man never fit either? all of this is
to declare my infatuation with this
particular style of void, this particular
glowing toadstool of future euphoria.


nat raum (b. 1996) is a disabled artist, writer, and genderless disaster from Baltimore, MD. They’re the editor-in-chief of fifth wheel press, as well as the author of you stupid slut, the abyss is staring back, random access memory, and several chapbooks. Find them online: