Dirty

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Muffin Creatives


In the end we’re only dirt.
We cake each other’s arms
with smears of tears and promises,
with little scars that no one sees
but no one forgets.

This earth is a tether, and forever
I’ll tidy your distraction and detritus,
roll my eyes and make you breakfast;
you’ll hug me when I lose heart,
hate me just a smidgen and weave stories
to fill my silence.

You’ve seeped into my flesh
and I’m a ring of freckles upon yours,
but our love isn’t quite symbiotic.
You’re a condition of my survival
and I’m the benefactor of your success.

After our dreams have blossomed and withered
and our ashes are scattered together
on the wind, we’ll tangle in the skin
of another and dirty their beginning
with the science of liability.

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o, winter

Written by Jules Descoteaux
Art by Maria Orlova


winter tucks us under his blanket again
with hot cocoa & extra pillows. i am not
his biggest fan, yet i thank him, tell him
i like the way the marshmallows float &
the way tree branches bend under his luminescent weight.
he smiles back at me & tells me he likes the
way his cool breath reddens my cheeks &
the clothes we layer in attempts at warmth. i know
what he means because i feel it too. i am fond
of the sweaters & blankets. i am fond of cloudy exhales
smoking out my mouth. i am fond of fireplace-warmth despite
not being fond of winter himself. however each year
he gets a little more bearable, a little more beautiful.
his falling snow becomes a blanket of polar perfection,
freckling the windows & my hair with snowflakes. his smile
draws warmth into it from the air. his ice teeth shimmer
in what little sun there is. every candied word shows itself
in the air. it’s a Hallmark movie ending when i look over things
i used to view as decay– barren trees & no sunlight,
lonesome red & white & gray all over–and find only
new life–icicle teeth happily calling me friend & family
as though he’s dotted my windows for years wherever i’ve gone.
winter stays out from under the blanket but smiles
so i know he’s warm. he watches us sip our cocoa & asks, is it good?
people have told me it can be too bitter, or i am too cold, but i think
warmth is subjective & the sweetness is too.
i smile back & say,
o, winter, it’s amazing & so are you.

A Fireside Winter

Written by Niamh Kelly
Art by David J. Boozer


The snowflakes danced in the chilled breeze
And I gazed out of the window at them.
The glass glaze between the winter air and fireside warmth
Was a barrier separating elements
And prevented the meeting of oppositions.

Cold hands gloved outside,
Afterwards inside, held a distance from the log burning flames.
The raw redness slowly fades
And fingers twitch as feeling returns
To every limb’s extremities.

As visitors are welcomed,
The opened door allows sneaking drafts to enter.
The entrance is shut again and the fire chases out
The coldness of each breath and the room.
So I looked out the window.

Farewell Nineteen

Written by Keri Stewart
Art by NEOSiAM 2021


  1. she no longer exists, existing not in her past self.
  2. her death sprouts closed-lip demises with the mere exhale of her final breath.
  3. forget crisp-cut eulogies for they will not follow her current image.
  4. formaldehyde solution clings to her pre-mortem apologies.
  5. she deconstructs the oblivious nature of other-preservation, conserving her inner strength for ethical, selfish deeds.
  6. during her autopsy, she surgically replaces her silent-movie organs with unruly eager-expressing one’s stitched and sewn in irreplaceable individualism. 
  7. she attends a funeral, and in the casket: her mirrored body mocks stillness symphonies and the time-crunching nerves of crackling rubber skin.
  8. medley of dissected dislocation otherworldly shrieks of her transformation.
  9. from larvae to far-fetched feathered crow, she emerges.
  10. unbound from botanical interpersonalizations that could weepy wilt her surplus of self.
  11. cliff jumping in adrenaline resolution, a body resurrected by the axe of candor.
  12. escaping the womb in a coat of vernix caseosa, not with a cry but with a strident step.
  13. the undead ditz of dancing towards self-preservation for body and mind.
  14. rejoicing in the massacre of her previous self as she lets the blood climb up her legs like a hungry cat and pleading child.
  15. black widow killer dressing in the revival of survival, heels clicking on cracked tiles.
  16. painting her face with the ashes of her past self, a skin enveloped in the particle grips of burned-away foolishness. 
  17. mansion smirking in the mirror because the case of her past self remains cold.
  18. her revival sprouts second chances with the mere inhale of her first breath.
  19. she no longer exists, only in metamorphic versions of herself.

Bleeding Heart Dove

Written by Keri Stewart
Art by David Clode


bipedal fools
bare candied crimson
atop hill-crested chests.

rustled reds acquaint peers
in full blossom,
ripened to maroon flight.

bleeding heart dove
soars shared waters
with pigeon-plucked birds.

flower feathers taint
in communication commotion,
ruffled from falling.

bleeding heart dove
solitude soars mundanity,
the insanity of passage.

centerfold cherries
rot heavenly-white plumage.
a canvas struck crimson.

bipedal fool
displays claret hues,
naive to eventual aches.

Seirenes Secrets

Written by Ari Chattoo
Art by Hans


my god,
won’t you swallow me whole?
i am nothing less than devastated by the fecundity of my love for you.
distance spans between us like an untraveled continent
and yet
if you asked,
i would crack myself open like persephone’s pomegranate
sweetly offered up on a silver platter.
i would take glorious honor in watching you feast
on my deepest, darkest truths.
do away with my mere mortal desires as i drip down your chin.
consume me.
i want to drown in your deluge,
suffocate,
be held under the water until my lungs are filled,
in the exact same way that my heart is.
take all this love that lives beneath my clavicles,
spin me into fragile sugar floss,
let me be the lemon drop that you pluck so gracefully between thumb and forefinger.
watch me crumble.

Fairy of the Stairwell 

Written by Varrick Kwang
Art by Nina Hill


Dear Fairy,
Are you lonely?
At this little altar of yours,
All alone, handling mail for the occupants of this building.

Dear Fairy,
Has anyone reminded you of the magic you ooze.
Has anyone told you a “thank you”
Has anyone noticed you when they need you?
Has anyone noticed you ever at all?
Has anyone even said hello?

Dear Fairy,
Thank you for existing.
Thank you for taking care of the mail
Thank you for safeguarding the stairs.
Thank you for the magic you put on show everyday.
Thank you for being here
Even if no one else notices it.

Your voice is a melody.
The song of your spoken words lift my heart from its sunken slumber.
For when you smile
The day goes all bright,
And the lights are all fixed.

In you, I see the heavens sent an angel in the form of you.
But only living in a little stairwell…

Why, oh why do you stay, Angel?

The world is bigger than a stairwell.

Citrus

Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Andy Warhol


There is sourness in the winter canned citrus.
It is beneath the sugar-sucked peel, ridden of the pithiness.

It goes well on toast, a slice held against the cathedral light, and then placed on a child’s slice with butter fingers stained iodine.

It must have been your steady hand on hers that sealed these jars so fine,
gorgeous, almost idyllic as the families we dream of over low-burning embers and popped chestnuts.

It couldn’t have been mine,I fill the jar too full every time.

Musty shelves take up salmon and catfish, though the salt is a bit too much to get rid of the divined slices—
it is beneath the wax table and beside the shallow shelf pantry that hides our salt stash, depleted with each harbor.

Our yellow token brings red bags of green herbage and blue eggs and the Amish coconut pie that weighs the bag unevenly to one side.
May cabbage packs pork with a broth bath and the heat goes all day because of the rain showers that have cooled down the house.

My hands packed the cabbage and held the tokens because it was tough and misplaced and cooked unevenly.

Dreams on fire

Written by Luke Carmichael Valmadrid
Art by Luke Carmichael Valmadrid


If my younger self could see me now
they wouldn’t understand what is still
being taken. They couldn’t know
how my skin bubbles, afire every time
one of my dreams realizes it might bleed out
before becoming. The fear ends.
The stress stares into the abyss. The abyss
stares into loss. Yet, the feelings of inadequacy do not overflow;
they remain inside me, viscously surging,
and demand that their container conform.

Admiration for your craft

Written by Luke Carmichael Valmadrid
Art by Luke Carmichael Valmadrid


My bubbled inner thoughts that loftily pop at your errant evocation are a packet of textbook pages with the corners folded over, natural bookmarks for a story being written, one well worth its weight in chaos, in shambles, or in order. Even if the plot plummets to pieces, your cliches scatter clever consequences into the cherry orchard, so the stalks soar even as the rain strikes and the sun scorches, fruiting the kinds of metaphors that invoke words onto paper, to pen a kind of banter and prattle that can only stand as a hyperbole in tatters when the image realizes what the real thing is.