Issue 1.35


Wintertime

We would wake up to deer in our backyard.
Feed each other oranges, a mellower fruit somehow.
We would stay away from nuts to avoid overheating.
In the midst of the cold, we would stretch ourselves bare.
Climb to the roof nude, try to look for passageways.
The too-big house, a transition. Between the walls, we
hear the ones who died too soon. How much longer?
Dead people stare at us until we, too, become dead people.
The other side of our dreams is a winter so dark we
cannot help but decay. Until then, we peel oranges
under the twin trees, tell each other
the rinsing will happen when it does.

Mitali Singh’s work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Canvas Literary Journal, Anser Journal, and The Weight Journal. She draws inspiration from the natural world and enjoys spending time outdoors. She is seventeen years old.

Gift

The man got out of bed but was on the floor. The man drank his coffee but it was clear. The man smiled in the mirror but someone else smiled back. The man admired his beard but he was clean- shaven. The man put on his hat but it fell off his head as a book. The man put on his coat to find it only a thin sheet. The man traveled to the seashore but woke up in a bathtub. The man met a beautiful woman at a restaurant which served chicken and oysters and made love that night and they knew it’d be forever but the man woke up on the floor. The man laughed with his son but he was someone else’s son. The man went to his kitchen but it was no longer there. The man hugged his mother it had been so long but it was his wife and she said his name and kissed him but it was his wife and he was so happy to see her, he held onto her for as long as he could.

Ron Burch’s fiction has been published in numerous literary journals including South Dakota Review, Fiction International, Mississippi Review, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His new novel, JDP, comes out in 2021 from BlazeVox books. He lives in Los Angeles. Find him on social media at: ron.burch.754 on Facebook, @RonBurc33786817 on Twitter, and @roneugeneburch on Instagram.    

transfiguration

lit by the soft glow     of maple
candles adorn     this large tub
filled with rainbows     ricocheting 
from quartz in every color     she
walks in     sits down beside me     smiling
a mother i didn’t know i had     wordlessly
washes my hair     hums a lullaby
in a dialect     before time became time
is of no importance here     i am allowed
to rest in the womb of this water     all night
if desired     she drops oil from cinnamon 
clove and nutmeg     into my palm    and i 
become the falling     Christmas Eve snow

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz is a Pushcart Prize and Dwarf Stars Award nominee who also works as a professional visual artist. Her poetry has been featured in Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Bones, NHK World Haiku Masters, The Mainichi, and nearly 100 other publications. Her chapbooks include: says the rose (Yavanika Press 2019), filth (Proletaria 2020), and tyranny of the familiar (Yavanika Press 2020). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter via @tiffanyshawdiaz or through her website: http://www.tiffanyshawdiaz.com.

wall up

She used to dream of crawling into the walls. Slipping down through a gap in the loft, the kind that mice and birds creep in through and scratch and scratch in the night. Traversing the bones of the house. But then the walls here are too thin. Not like those houses – American, mostly – that appear on the news, into which some silent stranger has crept to live amongst its residents. Anyway, she isn’t interested in spying or whatever those wall-people intend when they resort to living vertically. There is nothing interesting to pry on in this house, nothing she can’t overhear on her walk to and from the kitchen. She lives like those strangers already, in a way. Each day a game of how long she can go without being seen or speaking to someone. Sometimes she cooks her meals at night, speaks her first words that day into the mirror with a sinewy voice. Fancy seeing you here.

It’s the anonymity that attracts her more than anything. Wall-people don’t have to pretend to be anyone else. They just have to be quiet. She could shuffle through the cladded halls and it would be as though she and the house were sharing a secret. Unable to see even herself in that dark. And she would be quieter than the birds that scuffle her awake, trilling like they are laughing at her. Their rustling is so close sometimes it is as if they are inside her skull, pushing their feathers one by one into her eardrums.

She would find them first. Show them how to be silent.

Lydia Waites is an East Yorkshire based writer and MA Creative Writing graduate from the University of Lincoln. She is the Editor-in-chief of Tether’s End Magazine and former fiction editor for The Lincoln Review. Her work has been featured as part of the Refugee Poetry Project for the International Refugee Poetry Network and in The Abandoned Playground. Follow her on @lydiawaiteswrites on Instagram or @waites_lydia on Twitter.

my body is a graveyard

Every morning, I write prayer points
On my teeth so I could chew them
Like kola nut when I yawn.
The last time breakfast made a
Gloss on my lips, the earth was still green.

Watch me open my mouth &
See a brigade of grief jiggling
Like a fume of gas in a glass of beer
But my country put a damper on
My voice.

My body is a graveyard
Too much of my nation’s cruelty
Buried on the hectares of one flesh
My father was crucified for writing
Truth in his name
Our universities are more like an
Asylum — lecturers garbs on rags of
Students failures.

The sky is always dark here —
A firmament of bodies buried on bodies
Of innocent blood tapped in the mouth
Of a gun and sometimes bomb
Of teenagers, toddlers and grey hairs
Wailing in coven of bandits.

Ajani Samuel Victor is a writer, (performance) poet, author, and political enthusiast who hail from the pace setter state, Nigeria. He is studying Physiology at the University of Lagos. He is a Semi-finalist at the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, writer at the Invincible Quill Magazine, his works are/forthcoming on IQM, FeralLit Journal, Ethelzine, AlphaWrites, MadnessMuse Press, Solvicblog and everywhere else. He is a weird guy who loves everything soccer. Say hi on Twitter @solvic16 and Instagram @fab_du_solvic.