Winter’s Repent

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Pixabay

Wavy winter
Whispers woes,
But with or without,
Her dissonance shows.

Leather binds
And meads the tide,
With white-eyed woes,
And wounds inside.

Snow laughs piercing
That my wife,
And keeps her frozen
Far from life.

The willows shake
Like fallen stars,
And moon-shed teardrops
Wilt cigars.

Where pine were needles,
Scream her scent,
But why so feeble,
Did winter repent?

As hymn from frost
Do nip my nose,
But pay that cost,
As warm blood knows.

And as washed up winter
Worded white,
The queen did cry,
And slip her might.

A Mother

Written by Allison Lee Riechman-Bennett
Art by Dale Chihuly

There must be a way to both constrict and construct a mother:
To talk through the distortion in favor of a parasite a blessing,
hold the deepening curve and support it past the days of birth.

There must be a way to confess a mother.
To hope due of the few nights stay and a spinal tap,
hold one another while the plastic cradle exits the floor.

There must be a way to confine a mother
To speak unspoken fears to a midnight shift nurse,
hold that truth so tightly that it seeps through the stitches.

There must be a way to breathe without a mother.
To simply dream of drain bags and nothing more,
hold something that drinks from you rather than through.


Written by Atticus Payne
Art by Salvator Rosa

A week ago, you bugged me—practically harassed me.
                   you weighed down every thought with a tiny stone, sewn gently, seeds of doubt into the high-strung knit of my heart just where you knew the seams would be. Because you sewed me: from dust to bone to this reckless mind. But just a speck and nothing more, borne by every thought till it coalesced in—
No. Certainly something close, though. The same colour, in a different shade.
Funny, what unseating a mere day’s thoughts will do to you; gentle waves working at hardened silt formations, dissolving rough ridges into something a little softer. You’ll pause, choke; your eyes blinking, search for some way out. 
At least let me understand what this is. Discomfort? Too general.
Guilt? Warmer.
There it was: the thought that had been sinking its sharpened roots in. “This is not right.” There. There it was. Now that it’d been named, I could barely think of anything else without the words taking all the space. It is how some describe love, and yet, infinitely worse. Love is a haze, not a blinding light. Right? 
It was night, and the lamps were dimmed. So with a silent room and locked door, I…knelt. 
I have not done this in a longvery long time. 
Fine. So I did the speaking. The more I spoke, the more the words came, till with the torrent, the pressing weight of shame had lessened somewhat. I could think again. 
How I thought. 
The world’s a rather judgement-based place. Yet when your knees are bruised and your neck a mess from bowing the head; when your lips are cracked from speaking of everything you could possibly think of, it’s hard to get unsettled again. There’s a steadiness to being on your knees—a kind of peace.
A week ago, you bothered me, and it was the best, most uncomfortable bothering. 
Why would you go silent now? 
What have I done to stop it? To block you out? How can I bridge this gap?
Bother me again, will you?
I miss you.
Am I mad? 
Blind me, bind me. 
Without you I’m now left, stranded in the in between, floating between two ends of complete and incomplete. 
Come on, now. How could you do this?
There’s no cleverness to this. No hidden commentary or thought, nothing weaved in the narrative. I am nothing but

Let me Remember your Sunshine

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Andrea Piacquadio

Memory doesn’t usually work in my favor.
I lose what I love
and I replay what I fear.
Why is my brain so set against
my happiness?

I want to remember yesterday forever:
sweet strawberry bursting onto my tongue,
bubbles floating up and shimmering in the sun,
the warmth from your giant bear-hug.

It’s not fair that
I only get this once a year.
I want to replay your laugh
over and over
until the next year comes.

But what if it never comes?
And I can’t see
through the fog in my brain
to the happiness that surrounded us?

I don’t want to be stuck
in this storm of what-if:
winter will come
but it’s still summer now.

You’re already 247 miles away
but I pretend you’re still here with me,
sitting in a green field of wildflowers,
fresh air brushing my face–
or is that a dandelion tickling my nose?

I’m lying face up,
looking right into the sun:
my eyes are closed
but the sun is still there.
If I burn you into my memory will you stay?
Or will I be blind until next summer comes?


Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Rizky Sabriansyah

I’m a disaster walking
down the street.

Too many pieces to hold together;
as I glitter in the sun
they slip
and I wait
to come crashing down after them.

My mind and my body and my mind
I’m a robber of my own future but
I can’t disguise in daylight
so I melt
                          a shadow
bruises under my eyes.

I see everything in a haze
                          see nothing
a lost wanderer
who won’t ask for directions.

Spinning in circles
                           my mind
down the gutter I’m fruit
once sweet but now
too far gone.

Just need to leave
away, anywhere.
I walk into the street
but don’t raise my hand
                           yellow car
light flashes.

Open my eyes
                           my mind
partially gone
partially whole
I can’t make a collage out of my ugly

A Midwest Spring

Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

Unfurl my warranted design and point towards each pen stroke that never served you.
The snow in March was still of ice, freezing petals edging fall fast on their branches.
A death toll stamps the ears of young deer across the highway rather than the sirens you’d expect in late May.
The scientist’s love of lye stained into his cuticles and danced in the bubbles of the bath for the daughter whom he’d never bathe.
The snow in March was still of ice, though sinking through the dirt at first touch.
The church bells ring for union and burial, both still for love.

Sincerely, Where The lights do crash

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Lena Glukhova

Send me seven
Moons and stars,
Where drunk are
Cats on white cigars.

Me, I like
The latter two,
Of cold the iris,
Pierced with blue.

Kissed by Summer’s
Burnt surmise,
And murmured softly,
Pink clouds rise.

Make me honey,
Make me sweet,
Of Eros winged,

Flutter flutter,
Butter melt,
Then in your heart,
My name do smelt.

Sincerely, where
The lights do crash,
Might sparkle sparkle,
Hope I splash.

The Attic in The House of Soleil

Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Lany-Jade Mondou

Baby blues are skies anew that simmer
Swimming, oceanic, like those eyes,
Love you, love you, I do, I do, I tell her,
Myself, although I think I know, by next sunrise,

I’ll be an eagle, drifting, lullaby, beneath
The conquered, frameless, punctured shapes of souls,
Where girl, she died, taking full her breaths,
A woman scarred by time, scooped empty, empty, eaten bowl.

The wrinkles map your skin where life, she’ll touch,
And love her with your body you do, you do,
Making moans as at, her flowing locks you clutch,
But slips like water, burning bones, and shriveling you.

I think that we’d do best to die, but better yet,
We live, I live, and endless hurting hold it in,
Because I don’t think that I’ll have truly met
You, loved you, until I’ve killed you with my own two sins,

These hands that roll up a boulder to the skies
My shoulders strong beneath what heaven weighs,
I swear that I am Sisyphus, I swear I’m going to die.
I bleed here on the knife I picked, and choose to day by day.

I wonder where the rainbow ends and when he’ll sire with the sun,
An ending for my withering hands and aching flesh,
I wonder, wonder, when I’ll finally be done,
When I’ll be sorry to the body that my soul’s a-meshed,

With pain, with whips, and flaming tongues,
Lashed within by the silent tremors here made mine
By me, I’m sorry, sorry you were young,
And that I drank that youth up as I traced this line,

To the ocean that, we’ve drowned beneath,
A thousand seas, and mirths, and pains,
I think it’s funny how I choked you with a wreath
Of my own words, and for courting Nike, blood mine drained.

I think we try too far, too hard, to run along,
The hands of time, to race against with the golden king,
As Helios beckons us to dance his song,
To make upright our broken knees, and waltz around his solar ring.

I’m tired, you say, of the water seeping in my bones,
Of choking, drowing, flailing, screaming into gags and chains,
Aching like a muscle under the golden mountain of your throne,
And I’m sorry that I laugh at you and stab you more with pain.

But maybe one day we’ll make peace.
I think it lies there, someday where I suffocate,
In clouds and sleep and happy; where the lease
Is mine and ours alone, a silent fate,

Where there’s no need to rise again,
Where you won’t have to kneel and wake at day,
And heed the beckon of moon, sun, when
I’ve freed us from the attic in The House of Soleil.


Written by Callie Cheng
Art by Daria Nekipelova

So you’ll pass between a door and a door,
And lingering, you’ll stay; oddly looking,
Unpassing, and confused in the corridor.
But of what? You whisper, spine shivering.

For you’ve crept there too long, and fallen asleep,
Of mirth, you’ve forgotten, that lies the way out,
You’ve made it your home, permanence to keep,
But DEEP! Whispers the exit, by its commanding’dness shout.

Cracks, they disturb you, by the jagged surreality,
White walls, the uncanny, made mother your soothe,
Remembered, but ignored—the second door that must be,
But of now is trivial, white walls and thinned paint your truth.

THE JOURNEY, THE JOURNEY! Oh, what’s it to you?
LIMINAL, LIMINAL, I’m lost in it too.


Written by Allison Riechman-Bennett
Art by Allison Riechman-Bennett

Instrumental, we seem, to our own surmise.
And yet it is a blessing, a substantive reminder that we are also of our own falsities, when another adds a note to our chorus.
Here lies a place unseamed.
Untitled to rain, to crystalline flakes swept into known unknowns.
It is where Penelope lets loose her threads, and where Hestia pulls them into her hearth.
And where the Mother’s skin grows a porcellian familiar with the sun.