banana cream pie

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Marta Dzedyshko

wafting to the old porch swing
where you told me stories about
fauna on the prairie and
mischievous schoolboys
like your life was a folktale
from a world beyond mine
the scent of banana cream pie
promised happiness
warming in the oven at your house

your eyes would grow distant
and my tummy’s grumbles would fade
the seconds blurred faster
on the timer in your hand
that awoke to pull me inside
a hug in your warmth
and then pie in my heart

I never liked bananas but
it’s all i’m hungry for now
just a taste of your sugar
to remedy the sour scar
you left behind

my biological body

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Sora Shimazaki

this body is the one meant for me,
the one meant to encapsulate my soul
and bring me to the heavens,
the only thing I can call my own.

but I don’t like what fate has in store.
the stars aligned askew and
gave me skin that fits all wrong.
I don’t want to claim as mine
this body riddled with epigenetic scars.

I want to erase the past and
demolish the genes that give me bouts
of anxiety and sadness and exhaustion.
my brain is wired wrong, too high strung,
curled in the cold blanket of darkness and
hell-bent on destroying its home with hatred.
I can’t genetically engineer my way
out of self-loathing when my whole genome
is a disease, an incurable cancer attacking
until everything is deleted.

they’re unethical, designer babies,
and apparently perfection is overrated.
luckily for me, there are no perfect genes anyway;
they arise from the confusion of genomes
and the body’s love for mutations.
clearly, in the creation of this body,
my DNA shifted too far from normal.

at this age I’m done growing,
unless you count the hole under my feet.
but there’s a way out if I find it,
if I forget the enticing shortcut of science,
if I forget how I’ve narrowed my chances,
if I remember there’s a god of chances to worship.

it’s true that this is the one body I’ll have,
the body that will take me to the heavens
and claim its rightful place among the gods;
this body of mine, it embodies me
as a god of chance in disguise.

people change as they grow.
they make choices that restrict their composition
and express alien behavior,
make memories that stain their past and future
and gift children with a new mix of abilities.

if I recognize myself and my power
to edit the future, crispr has nothing
on my ability to expel unwanteds
from this body of mine.

Blast You Away

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Liza Summer

The meeting of my nose and a Kleenex
is a nasty natural occurrence,

but today my nostrils trumpet
in celebration of you and me.

If I could yank you out of my life
I would blast you away like snot,

A vile specimen not meant to cling
within me, but meant to be choked

In the folds of a tissue–lotioned because
at least I have a conscience.

You’d end up discarded
in a rank alley where you belong

with your foul green bestiality,
an alien invader in my eminence.

All I needed was to sneeze,
to cleanse my aura of your pollution.

I am struggling to breathe through
your blockage of my dreams.

Just one more whiff of air
and I’ll smell victory.

Drowning in the Sky

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Ayyub Yahaya

The sky is everywhere,
crying on my skin
stomping on my crown
tugging on my feet and
I wish the sky would
let me go.

The sky tries to distract me
with games of flame and
jokes of smoke but
it can’t hide its inner colors
of darkness and defeat.

The sky jerks me into line
by the weathered strings
of my puppet limbs and
I am too close to snapping
from its unattainable forecast.

The sky meets the sea and
parches my lungs with salted
reality and I find that
everywhere I drown.


Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Elina Krima

time warps in a body’s
unnatural self-defense

denial and destiny pretend
rationed bread is honeyed

isolated victory of warmth
unending war against frostbite

fingers unfeeling and despondent
slipping down your cheek

dusty trails of soot and blood
nowhere to hold so plunge

enter dreams of marigolds
and sunshine rivers

drift me far away
i’m losing and lost

i must have let go
logic blurs with pretense

graveyard groaning questions
corpses without names

you and i among them
warped under life or death

When Plants Cry

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Peter Fazekas

Teardrops from the earth
float up, invisible upside-down
rain from the bloodless veins
of foliage. Liquid leached and
subsistence stolen, from pores
with shattered hasps leak gifts
into the vast beyond that devours,
depletes, destroys. The sky
is the limit.

The sky thrashes the earth,
a torrent of godly grief and
bitter brutality. Thirst unquenchable and
roots unshakeable, from stalks
with straightened spines arises golden
foliage into the storm that floods,
feeds, fortifies. The storm
is the crossroads.

Yesterdays swept from the earth
stream away, gateways to buds
and blossoming belief.
Drought defeated and
aspirations achieved, from soil
with replenished vitality sprout seeds
into the cradle that heartens,
holds, harvests. The cradle
is the destination.

The Mortality of My Ghost

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Ryan Miguel Capili

It’s a slippery slope I’m falling down.
I’m tumbling through life backwards,
climbing mountain ranges that
should only be lush, green plains,
battling hindsight that blinds me
from the staircase ahead.

Each step up cracks the foundation
of yesterday and my heart plummets
five steps below, trailing my soulless
body that drags itself in circles like
life has chained its ankles with unruly
weeds from my backyard.

For all that this body has travelled,
I will leave no footprint. Memories of
smiles have been buried by fear of
the future, and I am but a ghost trapped
in purgatory, illogically wandering amidst
a storm of uncertainty, no light to guide
me through the gateway of moving on.

I watch other ghosts find relief, becoming
human enough to walk the path of happy
success. I wonder what their spirits carry
that mine lacks, and I wonder what brought me
to this haunted place. All I can remember is that
there is only this body and me, this life and my
friendship, this hope and my goals for tomorrow.

Cinnamon Apple Spice

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Charlotte May

Cinnamon apple spice
in the dead of winter,
a homely honeyed curtain
to sugarcoat the frosted windows
that peer out at the gloom
of a world without the sun.

A mug of mulled cider
is the antidote to the
frigid existence of passersby
who scurry to shut themselves
indoors and who bear faces
gray like ashen snow
contaminated by car exhaust.

This piping drink is all
that keeps the organs running,
flushing the despondency that
freezes around the heart
and throttles life from the
machinations of the mind.

Cinnamon apple spice
is the oxygen of hope
that the afterlife is
a brighter home
far, far away from
the murky horizon
of this world left to rot
on branches of indolence.

soul searching

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Bert Christiaens

into the starlit expanse
i lift my face from the void
to feel my mother’s eyes
searching for the soul that
once foamed to the breadth
of my rib cage.

she must wonder where the
little girl who played with
chicken bones as though they were
dolls and turned street signs into
songs has wandered off to.

i doubt she wants to know
that the little girl deserted
the beating of my heart
and i never thought to go
searching for something so
freely lost.

the little girl wouldn’t recognize
her childhood home blackened
to the point of near disrepair
and she wouldn’t want to come
back even if magic could restore it.

i want to wish upon the stars
for a good i cannot yet conceive
but the light dims from my
mother’s eyes and i will not
meet them in this lifetime.

Hand Me a Piece

Written by Gabriella Troy
Art by Luis Dalvan

say a lot about a person
                   Read between lines of age
                                      yesterday’s blame, point out
                                                         their shaping tomorrow.

If they’re friendly, they might wave
To the man walking his dog on lunch break
                   to the dog who’s probably nicer upon first meeting
                                      he’d get right up in your face and
                                                         bark some creative gibberish
To the colleague waiting to cross the street
                   to the sun trying too hard to be seen
                                      he’d block your face and white-out your name
                                                         remember there’s a meeting at 3 o’clock
To the homeless woman begging with her eyes
                   to the memories needed to be shared
                                      they’d slip right past your ears and
                                                         into an empty cup, cracked.

come in different sizes
                                                         of pain
High five to the winner
                   he trampled the loser in the hallway
                                      pat on the back, teacher’s pet has
                                                         jokes only the squad knows
A minefield of blisters
                   stealing energy down the river
                                      run into a wall of anger, self defense
                                                         against an ugly past of working hard
Stretched over keys
                   soulful melodies up the driveway
                                      jamming out, stuck in the door
                                                         between slapping and shaking.

What I need to know about you and
                                                                            your hands
Feel it in my gut
                   they’d fit perfectly in my eye socket
                                      bruised heart, beating like a pinata
                                                         full of your party favors, shattered
Feel it in my skin
                   they’d fit perfectly between my knuckles
                                      pull me up, hold tightly to the safety bar
                                                         rollercoaster to the sky, blue water slide
Feel it in my mind
                   they’d fit perfectly in my thoughts
                                      make lucid dreams, promises within eyesight
                                                         motion towards me, onwards.