Issue 2.13


you are the high ceilings
and gentle hum
of an empty airport
at 4:01

in the morning
when the orange
colour of the sky
kisses hues of purple
bidding them goodbye

your voice feels
like the first day of summer
like blood rushing to my face
like building sandcastles
in the fourth grade

i hope one day
you see yourself
as the world sees daybreak hues
because you burn

like a lakeside bonfire
like fireworks on the fourth
and i am only human so
i am selfish
for that warmth

Assia Messaoudi is a 25-year-old Algerian poet born in Toronto, Ontario. Assia’s work has been featured in Descant Literary Journal (defunct), the Humber Literary Review (2017), tenderness lit magazine (2020), and her book I Promise I Still Love You (2018). Assia’s poetry has been described as “evocative imagery [that] opens up your view of yourself and the human condition.” You can get in touch with Assia on her website or on Twitter @assiamaybe.

Lakeside Alms

The birds with their round, brown bellies
remind me of rosy, fat monks on beer labels,
except these mendicants went begging for cicadas
and were answered with plenty.
Drunk on red-eyed screamers
they lazily ride the wind that sends ripples
across the green glass of the lake,
little waves in the shivering shape of a thumbprint.

I grow chilled too during this Prime observance:
the words come slowly
and my begging bowl waits.

Annie Powell Stone (she/ her) is a writer, tutor, and fan of peanut butter toast living in Baltimore City with her husband and two kiddos. Read more of her poetry on Instagram: @anniepowellstone.

Gallo Pinto

we are gallo
like yesterday’s
rice and you,
seeds of grass or
starches, all the
same, simply of
alternate leaf and
stem, and when
we mix, there are
elements of each
on our tongues—
salty gifts of earth
in our growing bellies;
we are a duet
of Neil Young and
Marc Anthony
that somehow works—
Spotify on shuffle
in the morning,
humming whoever of
the two, and
someone serving
breakfast: huevos
enteros suaves and
a heaping plate of
painted rooster.

Saline Valley Step-By-Step


Water, spare tire, microfilter,
gas. Paper maps, granola bars, each
other. Weigh the many unseen dangers
of following miners’ footsteps—those salty
pioneers who stripped the hills of everything
that’s sacred. Pack carefully your conversations—
any thought that you may later want to tell your
elder brother when you come upon a Joshua tree
three times your age but less than half its lifespan
through. What is hiding there to say? Eye the rocks
for serpents of this ancient, crystal ocean. Count the
sunset rattlers. When you see the Batman sign, keep 
going. Speak. The wilderness is strange. Speak,
but only when the time is right—when you emerge
from silence by the fire, as California cradles you
like Mother might: her tender, jagged bosom
lulling thoughts to things forgotten, begging
you to tell. Begging, then, for you to stop
and listen to the wisp of wings once fingertips,
now webbed and dipping into pools that
blessed the heads of Manson and all who
soaked in her mineral rich or laden baths.
Bats will kiss the water. Brother sinks,
submerging eyes and ears. You taste the night.
Feel the darkness on your tongue


Then, when our children come, they
will be white and brown and brown
and white and you and I and not.

And my strange hope is that cuando
se hablan, my family cannot understand.

Benjamin Faro is a green-thumbed writer and educator living in Asunción, Paraguay. His recent poetry and prose can be found in The Madison ReviewVassar ReviewPassengers JournalInvisible City, and elsewhere. Find him online at and Instagram @may_your_problems_end.