Issue 1.36

The things you’ll forget

In a graveyard of rusty cars
I try to remember the smell of bleach.

It’s disorienting to realise
just what it is that upsets you;

the things you’ve forgotten
that you can’t pull back into being.

Here at the end of the world
the haze of the chemical air

and vertigo borne of a digital dizziness
have evaporated and retired. Only

the dust spirits the skies
as the tumbleweed measures time.

The analog and organic ticks onward
like the virginia creeper fondling forward,

using our clean bones and myths
as a trellis to cover the world.

Burying our apocalypse; to break
ground on their verdant future.

Sean Chapman is a British writer living in Cornwall. His prolonged and wayward adolescence included working in a Taiwanese astrophysics department, on a Salford mental health ward, on the Liverpool docks and in a Manchester disability support office, before washing ashore in a Cornish surf shop. He writes poems, dedicated to Maggie, some of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Marble Poetry, Raceme, Squawk Back, Prole, Dreich, The Pomegranate London, Trouvaille Review, and Anti-Heroin Chic. He can be found on Twitter @seanchapman_1.


I used to excavate rollie pollies
shake the land off my palm
watch them roll into tiny balls
sometimes it was enough to hold fear
watch it tremble from the light
feel the air raise my skin
I knew that instead of conquering fear
I should get to know it
use my eyes to look at its religion
touch it to know its softness, roughness
taste it with the tip of my tongue
like dipping my foot in the ocean
because I’m afraid to drown,
to be buried without getting to know what scares me the most.


            after Valerie Mejer

Everything’s in the light. Heavy warmth. Sweat.
At first it was formless, darkness surrounding la faz del abismo,
stars guiding our days and nights, comets like bullets unseen.
In the light, shadows surround.
Ice cream runs through your sticky fingers.
Maybe brain impedes obscurity, neurotransmitters deny void.
Pitch black, swallows me. A spoon to my mouth.
In the light, optical. The day is the night. Open wide.

In the moon, everything. Something, yes, it shines insufficiently.
Take me. Lift me up with you, I can gleam, promise.
A celestial object pointing away from the sun.
Stars glowing in the dark, five year old dreams intensifying
la oscuridad. Ven a mi. Radioactive beam. Beautifully luminous moon.
Ignite a spark, feed me electrical current and see me,
look at me, visibility, see me flash before your eyes
in darkness I am radiant.

Tanya Castro is a Guatemalan-American writer from Oakland, California. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California and holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Tanya’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Acentos Review, Anser Journal, and Floresta Magazine.


another siren
& we are still so far away.

time for a new anthem, i think.

           past the break
           of trees                        between us

                          & that next neighborhood; construction

           last week. an injunction

against pushing more dirt, terraforming the Indiana farmland

           into hapless
           an                    influx   of round-a-bouts.

how far are we really, in
           this march

           of progress,

                        from where we started?

Michael Prihoda lives in central Indiana. He is the founding editor of After the Pause, an experimental literary magazine. His work has received nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology; he is the author of nine poetry collections and the flash fiction collection The Hypochondriac Society (Weasel Press, forthcoming 2021). You can follow him on Twitter @michaelprihoda.