Summer Song

Written by Callan Latham
Art by Daria Shevtsova

I let my body sink. The dishwasher pushes out
a feather of steam. Summer begins to melt,
the way you used to look at me.

A quiet man in the dash of a streetlamp,
the woman with a moth stuck in her teeth.
I’ve been thinking of everything lately.

Thinking—each hair on my head; the quiet of yourself
between dawn and the next; jeans that pinch at my waist;
dust on the floorboards. The body as camouflage; the air
takes shape. I want to shrink until I can watch the water.

Fruit flies crusting the sink. Violets growing in an
empty room. The casual ache of home; I can’t stop
seeing you in the window panes as I pass.

Water Lilies

Written by Callan Latham
Art by Haw Han Lee

The light in the eyes; twin bowls of water,
wet petals hanging between a reality and

an end. Their bodies: not bodies, until they are—
until I try to remember that day in the rain.

I hold a stone in my hand, blue staring back
at me. Paint folds into the tongue, cypress

trees bending against a thunderstorm sky.
The light in the mouth, the way you try to

climb a mountain with one hand behind
your back. You pull over to the next town

and buy a carton of eggs. Just to smash
them on the side of the highway. The yolks

run like sunset down the asphalt.

The Unknowing

Written by Callan Latham
Art by necati

The pelican’s feather floats to you
and you send it back, amethyst under wings,
muttering of the next thing’s birth.

We are in a time of starlight, everything dancing on
its head. I sit in my car in the grocery store parking lot,
thinking it would be nice to breathe again.

All we have holding us together is the promise
of something inching closer. When it gets here,
we might not know it until it leaves.

To-Do List, Backwards

Written by Callan Latham
Art by Carlos Jairo

I don’t pick up the rocks by the river.
I don’t look up at the clouds,

I don’t wish for rain. I don’t go home,
and I don’t go anywhere else. I don’t wish

my body was a figment, I don’t want
my heart to choke on itself. I don’t like

sugar, or the quiet. I don’t wish for your
hands in mine. I don’t wait for the breath to

leave, or for the sun to stop crackling at the
night’s edges. I don’t remember the ache

of belonging, or of not being. I don’t remember
myself, stuck on the mat at the front door.


Written by Callan Latham
Art by Cook Eat

She moves into light, my hands
breaking off the little creeks

that end at the quiet part of the brain,
and rush in to form tired lines
at the crease of her eye,

only to pick the berries
bleeding from the banks

and she tells me about becoming,
and that it can never be dead

until we’ve put the sand back
over the door, because
how are we human if we are not hiding

but the cage was here before we were,
its eyes glistening wet through the
ribs like the bottoms of tongues

smoothing into a body that has too many
ways to be broken


Written by Callan Latham
Art by Karolina Grabowska

We stand in front of the mirror
to move. I open my mouth and

you press peonies into me,
pushing me through glass

like I could fly. My wings cannot
be broken because they have

not been made. I lift my fingers
to the coolness of a pond, wish

for it to be a mirror too, and
for my head to be a space

for koi to swim and cattails to grow.
You pull me back this time,

your fingers like vices around
my shoulders. My mouth, the silt

in the river, clinging on. You, the broken
reflection that echoes the oblivion.

We hold each other in a dance like this,
echoing our bodies with gray and white

and gutted stars. The celestial bodies
hold up their heads

like they have missed home.
We stand in front of the mirror.

We cannot see the other side.

Morning Song

Written by Callan Latham
Art by Daria Shevtsova

I wish I could tell you more,
but my head has been haunted lately.
I’d like you to see my eyes as I see them,
hollow on the inside and always turning.
The flowerpots on my windowsill stare back
at me as if they expect me to say something
interesting. I want to live near a river and
let the bees sit on my balcony as they search
for something to find, too loud in the morning
but just right. I want to make you a cup of tea.
You’ve never had peppermint before now.
When I think of what is to come, my mouth
forms the word future. It spits back at me
and I am hopeful.

Basil Flowers

Written by Callan Latham

Dad sends me outside to cut the tops off the basil. 
We must avoid their pollination, so we kill 
the flowers. I kneel to the ground, still wet 

with the frosted dew of spider webs. My feet, 
inches from the stems. My fingers, reaching, 
pinching off the beauty. I watch the blooms fall, 

tiny heads separated from their unknowing body. 
And so they collect at my feet, bloodless 
and too fresh to be dead. My hands smell 

like home now, a sharpness that reminds me 
why everything always comes back to how it was. 
We replant the basil each year, cut off the flowers, 

then the leaves, feeding ourselves on the killing, 
on the collection of what we have given, 
of what we must now take.

What Becomes Us

Written by Callan Latham

Together, we are not an island. We don’t say each other’s 
names as much anymore. Water collects in the bowl 
and I can’t see your face. I imagine what it would be like 

to close a fist over earth—wet and solid and digging 
into my nails. I learned that my favorite part of you is the part 

I can’t always see. We were hummingbirds back then, 
sucking up false nectar to survive the day. I want to disappear 

just so you can find me again. Imagine the future, a blood-soaked thing, 
but blood as life. We hold the fireflies in our mouths 

because we have been lightning-struck. Our hopes are of glass. 
We shatter like stones being made into something new. 

I dig into the soil, my hands finally breaking through. 
When I am at the core, I plant the seeds we will never speak of 
again. They will bloom some day, red and gold in the loneliest way.

The New Year Before You

Written by Callan Latham

A quiet stillness at dawn. I think of you now, 
not yet a beginning—a cluster of eyes on the horizon,
blinking in the dark. I awake to a slivered window. 

It stares into other homes, glittering orange 
bulbs in the half-light. It’s a new year 
and I am being pulled in three directions. 

My mother’s body is warm beside me as she stirs. 
We go out in the city, watch the locals in the rain. 
It is in our blood to speak this language, 

but we have forgotten. The city wakes slowly. 
Even in the storm, the harbor is untouched—
a mirror, shining our way to the center. 

I ache for the sea’s knowing, for your inevitability. 
The light bulbs glow again. You are a long way
from home. You don’t see me yet.