• Nonfiction,  Poetry

    Today as an American

    By Allen Ginnett I wake up everyday- with intention. Intention to change. I have the freedom to decide who I am. Who is that person? You may ask, but the answer is right in front of you. I am American. Watch me smile because I am happy; Feel me when I hurt. “Wow!” How do I express how thankful I am? By enjoying every minute of it. I am American. Today I told my mom, pride was a bad thing. But, I am proud to be American. Let me push forward, adapt. Be proud to be proud. Bring forth the bad habits. We can take it all on. American is…

  • Fiction

    You Belong to Me, I Believe

    by Johanna Kumpula This woman was different. Her eyes were alit with thousands of fires, yet somedays the smoke was all too apparent. The late night whispered words held more meaning to me than any heartfelt poem but her calloused hands wrote symphonies I couldn’t hear. She wove her way through my mind like a serpent, feeding on every doubt until, one by one, they all disappeared. I saw her – the beauty in her soul and the flaws on her sleeves. I was a ghost compared to her, wallowing in the shadow of her brilliance. When I finally decided to acknowledge her constant presence, I was unaware of the…

  • Fiction

    After

    by Allison O’Leary After it ended, Laura would sit on the bed in her room, eyes closed, fingers gripping, mind quiet, quiet, quiet. Being a practical person, Laura understood the negative consequences of psychological repression and allowed herself at most three minutes a day to sit and think as every muscle in her body yearned to scream. Calmly, she would go about her day: washing the laundry with a cupful of lavender soap, filling out job applications, wondering whether she should take the old cat into the vet. Decisively, she would will herself not to think about it, not to let her mind wander to places that would prevent her…

  • Nonfiction

    I Miss You

    by Johanna Kumpula I grew up missing someone I never knew; a role model turned monster. When I was born, my father started drinking. He would leave in the middle of the night and hole up in a musky bar with cheap beer and stale peanuts. Sometimes he would be gone for weeks, with no explanatory note or phone call to check in. When he finally did return home, he smelled of alcohol and fruity perfume. My mom would be worried of course, all she wanted was a simple explanation on why he didn’t call, but his excuses were pathetic. He would get mad, because she didn’t believe him or…

  • Nonfiction

    Isabella Becomes a Poet

    by Isabella Valdez Anyway, there’s this video circulating of me reciting Ocean Vuong’s “Anaphora as a Coping Mechanism,” and it’s a pretty clean read for the first minute and forty-two seconds, until, at one forty-three, I stumble over the phrase “smoke-soaked skin,” first straying, “snoke-smoked,” then sputtering out, “soaked,” so off beat it grows wings and abandons the poem, completely fucking up the meter, and it’s at this point that you, the viewer, can tell that I’m for real affected by this collection of words even though, and this footnote is not included in the recording, I’ve never actually lost someone I’ve loved. But, really, I’m concerned for myself here.…

  • Fiction

    when I was young and unafraid (it was all a game)

    by Aurelia Gonzalez The first time I heard “Tell Your Heart Heads Up” by Mutemath, I was in an abandoned cabin, half a mile from the AK-1 highway, just north of Wasilla. I was looking for food. I was with Em, the only other living person I’d met between Peters Creek and Wasilla. We had thought we were still in a dead zone, where even lightbulbs didn’t work, and when we heard the noise we jumped. Em went straight for her gun. I ducked under the table in the kitchen. We realized after a minute that there wasn’t really anybody else in the house, and we both felt pretty stupid.…

  • Nonfiction

    Sparrow

    by Allison O’Leary I hope you decide to come home one day. I hope that as the days get colder, your tiny house stays warm. I hope you treat her with kindness and patience, and your heart mends itself until the ice melts away.  I hope you can forget all the things half-said and the things we did to hurt each other. I hope you are as full of as much strength and love as the wool your mother weaves into sweaters for your father. I have so much hope for you, my sparrow. You were only trying the best that you could. I will love you and love you…

  • Nonfiction

    That Time I Almost Killed My Friend and That Other Time He Maimed Me; or, Childhood Memories Are Overrated

    by Sarah Cooley   I have a difficult time recalling my childhood memories.  Not to say that I have amnesia, but most everything from during the first several years of my toddling existence just sort of blends together and coalesces into a sort of dreamy mess where nothing is definite or distinct.  Sometimes this is annoying and disappointing, of course I want to remember my first time sledding or riding in a canoe, but even when trying to recall the memories as best as I can—I only ever seem to get vague a sensation of color and sound, like a blurry screenshot from an old foreign film.  Other times I suppose my problem is a bit of a blessing in disguise—there are some events that I know happened back then that make…

  • Nonfiction,  Poetry

    “You’re the only friend I’d pretend to be gay for.” 

    by a Friendly Neighborhood Queer ~~~~~~ “You’re the only friend I’d pretend to be gay for.”  The way you say these words is friendly, you’re joking, being playful, trying to get a laugh from me.  And I do laugh, your arm linked through mine.  But on further reflection, it’s impossible for me to find this phrase funny.  I don’t know exactly what you meant.  I’m constantly trying to eke out the complex meanings in exchanged words, assigning too much purpose to each syllable.  I have trouble seeing things at face value.  You’d “pretend to be gay” for me.  What does that mean?  Are you comfortable enough around me to not feel threatened by my queerness?  Do you think it’d be funny if we shocked and amused…

  • Poetry

    Your hands vs Mine

    by Oceana Gamel-Howes Hands. They all serve the same function, they all have the same basic shape. Some are old, some are rough, some are small. Hands tell a story, and not just through their appearance. The things our hands do are an extension of our brains, our minds, our thoughts; the hub of activity that lives in our skull. That place is where we come from, and our hands are the most important tools we own to express ourselves. Your hands may not seem too different from mine based on appearance, but it’s not about that they look like, it’s about what they can do. Your hands. Yours hands…