Shira Dentz

Subterranean Fires


When We Carousel to the Rhythm of She-Bang

We muster courage for the good. Resentment gets
the upper lip, corseting flames.


Does a Cat Have Your Tongue this New Year’s?

A cab revolves like a gumdrop, fancy masks for a
dance of limbs dressed as confetti, what an


Look Back at a Skeleton Torso Frame for Dresses

Eyes on silver strips accentuating the hollowness
lit from within, in imitation of a body in hiding,
cousin to the wig.



SHIRA DENTZ is the author of five books including SISYPHUSINA (PANK, 2020), and two chapbooks. Her writing appears in many venues including Poetry, American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, New American Writing, jubilat, Denver Quarterly, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Series (, and NPR. Interviews with her about her writing appear in journals such as Rain Taxi, Ploughshares, and Kenyon Review. She’s a recipient of awards including an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem Award, and Poetry Society of America’s Cecil Hemley Memorial Award. Currently, she is Special Features Editor at Tarpaulin Sky and lives in New York. More about her can be found at

Lucy Zhang

The baby has to wait until after the apocalypse



LUCY ZHANG writes, codes, and watches anime. Her work has appeared in Contrary, Lost Balloon, New Delta Review, Hypertext, EX/POST, Jellyfish Review and elsewhere. She is an editor for Heavy Feather Review and assistant fiction editor for Pithead Chapel. Find her at or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.

Isabel Boutiette

heaven or hieronymus

too many people ride one horse
the organs of the landscape:
acid water and rose quartz
teething towers
gems of desire + death
red / blue fruit now red / blue pills
even when it doesn’t look like hell
it is

body wears two cherries

like a crown

a giant duck feeds body

a cranberry

the earth is singing
in the gardens in the mud in pools
reflecting light like pupils do

sinners of the world
hear me
in this frame the world is finally an oyster
our bodies its pearls
free and by default completely insane
I don’t care if we look crazy
I just want to be losing it completely
with my friends
on this festering fault line
the owls surveilling us
through our phone jacks
right next to the heat of our breath
and still unable to compute

our very own chaos triptych



blithing wet
with light
the wand
the milkmaid
the czar
the tailor
the general
an epoch
sunflower seeds
now my name
on an official
my time
for me
in Ukraine
the churches
have no clocks
only bells
never hands
no tenderness
of touch



ISABEL BOUTIETTE is a poet, artist, curator, editor, and occasional book-maker living in Seattle, WA. She works at Wave Books and is an editor at The Quarterless Review.

Molly Schaeffer














MOLLY SCHAEFFER grew up in New Jersey, and has spent large amounts of time in the Hudson Valley, coastal Massachusetts, and the Pacific Northwest. Her work has appeared in the Poetry Project Newsletter, the anthology Text Means Tissue, and several small press publications. A writer and visual artist, and a recent graduate of the Brown University MFA in poetry, she is a founding editor of the journal Big Big Wednesday. She currently lives in Tacoma, WA.

Marie López


I was reading about a woman’s mental demise when the phone rang.
Smudging halts erosion.

You descend from the stairway,
I remarked, “you are not nude.”

I don’t hear you while your socks are on.
You could be at the last ditch behind the horizon–
You could be next to me.

I cling to the rules of domes,
A plastic sheen enclosing our world.

A straw basket or a cage for small mammals hangs outside the shuttered business.


Who gets to have a redemption arc

Not even to avenge
Or betrayal of indifference

Intimacy, a silo of smoke
Tunnel, lulls

Try translating
A gun into a color.

Found trinkets, fresh lawns sealed:
Brooklyn in May is the O in June.

Yielding after a jaunt
& the skyline with no guests for the first time.

A dive into wreaths, pollen, twins,
Misguided heat re-enters.

Inscribed or stolen?
I like this better, don’t you?

There’s two options to be had:
Bricks or accountability.

Rocked by a flux of never exhausted thought.
I have no wish–

To a circle of polished headstones.
Almost in reverse.

Is that what a gun looks like?
Against the veneer,

So far, it’s the door’s adornment.


MARIE LÓPEZ is finishing her poetry MFA at The New School. She has published work with Bodega Magazine, Newest York Co., Another Gaze Film Journal and Shit Wonder amongst others. She is originally from Miami, Florida and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Liam O’Brien

Rest Lawless
(fragments from The Complete Home, Julia McNair Wright, 1879)

I don’t know about all these wonders. Dozens of cheap
little husbands, their severance from society—if they set about
being companions and friends, making companions

for themselves—in the back of the hall, wonderful
curiosities. With him, a relief. Great pleasure also to satisfy
his growing thoughts. Come in, trust me. Invent and contrive:

what a house it would be. A place for such work: a corner
of the wood. A place curtained off somewhere. No separate
room. A small room, a kitchen; a room with a stove

running through it. A boy like a girl. The boy is yours.
I remember one day: his new high silk. He had taken
the crown. He tried to straighten it: getting ready.

Setting the shoes in rows, observing. Making buttons, mischief.
Believe me, we must never weary. We must build them:
honesty, unselfishness, kindness. Rest lawless, become lawless.
Never grow up into citizens.


She Serves Variety
(fragmented from The Complete Home, Julia McNair Wright, 1879)

Not always of one kind: the kind a prelude. Here she serves variety,
nicely cut. The beginning is generally
of bones. A stone, the bones, trimmed closely out of the salt.
A cloth kept very cool. Almost every day, a few bones, and variety.

Clear, the spoonful, the few slices. The remnant shall not be cast out:
all these fragments are to go therein. They do follow, that nothing
be lost
. In one, a cup of milk. A slice, a saucer. Drink it up.
To have, to wash. The cake is given. The cup of milk, with an egg,

thickening. The cake is cut and laid. It goes. The white
of an egg, a little cream, a little wine. We eat it. Delicious! What dainty
people, thrown away, provided for. Not half so wholesome. Refuse
very little. The nourishing and richest lies closest to the skin.

Even a summer can be scraped, the skin pulled off with a knife:
this saves. The knife is sharp, the peel is very thin. The eyes are all.
How long the meat should last: made to reach that requirement.
A very small vessel will hold the waste. It is turned to further use.

Far less than we do, he prefers. The scraps kept for the purpose.
A handful serves, to be repaid. Less cost. Expect what is needed,
and nothing to be wasted. So many people live, made in that way.
I feel heart-sick when I see the mighty trunks and branches

rotting on the ground. The possible ruin, standing cedar. Waiting.
They call this a line. Swamps and barrens, fortune, fuel. Burned over,
in the burning. Every particle that will burn. Cord-wood, small branches,
twigs and slender bundles. A blaze, tied up. The mullen and thistle,

the bramble, carried into the city. The olive trees, the roots of dead
olives and vines, the vine and olive roots are gathered up.
To keep a fire, you wish. Go out: from the pine woods on the hills
are gathered resinous wagon-loads from the dark. Here living,

our waste. Trouble and sorrow bring in these kingdoms, bearing,
renewing themselves. By famines, plagues, by armies shameless,
they have been turned to use. The land cannot endure the drain.
An effort, a thrift and thriving, sacrificing time. In all our lives,

the duty on hand: its proper uses. It takes more time. Many things
kept to be useful. One must save ice. A close cover, every fragment,
scalded and scoured. A growth by seeds, the germs of decay. Like ice,
the bones. Keep that wet. A wet cloth, or a stone. A piece of meat.

All this is very nice to know. Far better, the spring-house. The freer air
and shade, closets and store-rooms. The need of keeping. Some people
will wonder why they taint so fast. Other people do not give
enough air. Too much light. Careful, our lower halves. The boys make

latticed shutters, bowed all day, in these places. Wire covers.
Things in deep basins of cheap red earthenware, carefully tied.
Some people did themselves more damage, and were not careful. Take
a stout cloth before the last end. Set into the ground, to rest.

I think any one is wasted, your hand left to rot, making hard and soft.
Wood ashes, always. Old bones do not lie around. No weeds
overgrow. The earliest are raised here. Saving, escaping, saving,
three times a day. The bridge which carried in little things.

There is a fire, left clinging. Scattering all the scrapings. Your life
is made of trifles. It costs me. The walls, the hard ones, doing
this work. A knife blade, broken, fasten. China, glass, and earthen.
Well enough to come: such things I keep. One must work quickly.

Fit for nothing else. I need it, always keeping muscle besides. Kept
corked, clam or muscle, ten times as good. I don’t send them,
I mend them. I mentioned a city. Nothing is like it. Looking
for black silk, your best, your house-plants. A little ammonia,

glass and silver, weaker for flowers. We clean them stiff. A half-pint
of warm water for our heads. Nicer, in a bath when one is very warm,
engaged in dirty work. Indeed, a hundred times. House-cleaning,
it saves soap, brushes, wood-work, windows. It is a grand thing,

after the dust has settled. It destroys.


LIAM O’BRIEN grew up on a small island. Some of his work can be found in the Denver Quarterly, New Delta Review, Hobart Pulp, and Nightboat Books’ forthcoming We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. He received his MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and lives in New York.

Lyric Hunter



The first line of Crush Index by Anne Boyer, from her book of essays A Handbook of Disappointed Fate, I understand as an assignment: “1. Notes Toward a Theory of the Crush, Crush Discourse, Ma Vie en Crush.”




In Like Someone in Love, a lyric-essay addendum to her film-essay, Love Dog, Masha Tupitsyn writes of fatedness, of destinal qualities. Moments are fraught with philosophy, singled out for significance. Love never materializes, or rather, relations with romantic potential never shift into the romantic. “I am waiting,” she says.

I have waited/wasted time for so many crushes. The duration of the crush is a larger waiting, and in the waiting, a wanting and, sometimes, an approach, a hope. Tupitsyn writes of agency in her quest for love. We are our own protagonists. Straight white men have written our books about love and have disseminated the narrative of the often-feminized passive lover. It is a myth.

I am haunted by the image of Tupitsyn’s Marnay moon at the blue hour; it is familiar, I have lived it, it is a mirror, this moon hanging over the fields at a writing residency. Loving and crushing and wanting and desiring is ancillary to creation, a necessary by-product of the writing, which is procreative; desire energy is creation energy.




It is possible to love in a dozen different simultaneous ways, so that you alone are responsible for your love. What is a crush? It is not (only) romantic or sexual, it is astrological, interpersonal, friend-ish. It can be kind, gentle, a reaching across space.

There is pleasure in enjoying the company of a person you are attracted to. In listening to the rumble of the bass in their voice, of watching the muscles move under their freckled skin, in watching their faces change as they talk, as they listen, as they laugh. To see them live in real time does something to you. What is the thing? According to Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, fascination is “the end of language.” At the end of language is the beginning of the haptic, the tangible, the “common characteristics” of the other: their hair, their teeth, their freckles, their knees, the shape of their lips, their smile, their height. What is desired in the other’s body speaks to something about the self, in other words, one is reflected in the crush, twinned.




A pattern of preoccupation that I have: L’s wide curls framing his angular jaw, the way J’s haloes his ears, the thickness of T’s dark mop, A’s dark, contiguous eyebrow, M’s singularly black scruff, D’s tight, springy black coils fingered into twists.

The city as crush pulls together Boyer’s theory of longing as cosmopolitanism. “The way all the people of past longing combine with those of the present longing.” Barthes finds in the notion of Paris as adorable the notion of the adorableness of the other, as a Whole. The city: its architectures and the movements of its populations (they enliven the city) contain my affect. The city is my crush. The city, or a particular building or stretch of street or apartment.

The stone steps of the Foundation Building in the sun
rue Monge between rue Censier and Rue de Mirbel
the ateliers of l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts
the sloping architectural space of the Glassell School of Art
the branches of live oak arching over North Boulevard

These cities have gently held my desire, their architecture absorbing my affect: New York, Paris, Houston.

Cities hold other cities, and their affects: Houston’s light rail contains something of Paris’s tram. Paris’s elevated metro contains Queens’s elevated 7 line. These liminal spaces have all contained my feelings, train cars full of feelings. The breathlessness of standing electrifyingly close to L on the line 13 as it pulled into the Gare de Lyon, a kiss imminent. Climbing the stairs out of station Censier Daubenton, glancing up at the lit window where friends and crushes gathered. The heat in the face as my knee pressed hotly against D’s knee, before we part at Museum District. A city inside a city, affect within affect, continuously retracing, and finding more, more.




In writing my crushes, I participate in Jonathan Flateley’s “antidepressive melancholia,” avoiding, in my case, and by way of interrogation, feelings of melancholy. A distancing. A coping strategy. Tupitsyn on embarking for the residency at Marnay, pulling the four of swords: intellect in retreat.

As Barthes illuminates, the crush (an amorous exercise) and melancholia are inseparable. Boyer’s line from her essay Erotology: “You hold their face in your face.” Geminal, the Lover’s card is an echo.

“We are citizens of longing for the world.”

If the lover’s discourse is one of solitude, or of one and one, the crush is the common: many of us find community by confessing our crush. Germinal, the crush is a seed: for later love, for friendship, and for revolution.




Texts referenced include:

Barthes, Roland, and Richard Howard. A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, 1978.

Boyer, Anne. A Handbook of Disappointed Fate, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018.

Flatley, Jonathan. Affective Mapping, Harvard University Press, 2008.

Tupitsyn, Masha. Like Someone In Love: An Addendum to Love Dog, Penny-Ante Editions, 2013.


LYRIC HUNTER’s poetry and prose can be found online at Counter, Cordella, and Organism for Poetic Research. She is the author of two chapbooks, Motherwort (Guillotine, 2017), and Swallower (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2014). She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Pratt Institute. She currently lives in New York.

Yuan Changming

Woman-Radical: A Feminist Lesson in Chinese Characters

妇:lady is a woman who has overthrown a mountain
好:wo man spelt as one word simply means good
妙:young women supporting each other are always wonderful
嫁:to marry a man is for a girl to have her own family
妖:weird would be a woman if she goes broken
姣: handsome is a woman standing with her legs crossed
婢:maid is a girl who is by nature humble
婵:beautiful is she who remains single
娘:mother is perforce a lady who is good and kind


To Be [Or Not to Be

Whatever or whoever you are]
To have [or not to have]
Whoever or whatever you may wish]
To do [or not to do]
Anything or nothing you would prefer, &]
To say [or not to say]
Nothing or anything you may intend to]

Given these four most common English verbs
We are all rendered equal as we cross
Every borderline, filling in every gap
In action as in thought [or otherwise]


If ever at all, if only once
If you were
To have such a chance

Just keep driving
Drive forward
With no need to take a shoulder check

Despite so many beside you
Despite so much more ahead & behind

Along this new street, your car
(Like your body or thought)
Will adapt its shape like a stream
Of water running its own course
From past to future, amidst
Programmed sapiens, through
The flow of data

Until at the meeting point
Between yin & yang
Between 0 & 1
Between time & space



YUAN CHANGMING edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, the Jodi Stutz Award in Poetry (2020) & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others across 45 countries.

Kelly Clare


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KELLY CLARE is a visual artist and writer currently pursuing an MFA in Sculpture at the University of Iowa. Before attending Iowa, she graduated from Knox College in Galesburg, IL. Her visual and literary work can be found at Hobart, Natural Bridge, Dead Alive, and pulpmouth.

Charles Theonia


I agreed not to describe even vaguely
each thrilling although unpretty anything
wasn’t for me but you liked it so I did

anything we do is now called glitter
unlearning touch my face
trust in consensus reality

everyone clicks til we get here
evening’s executive functioning drift
you ask and I do something sideways of it

small glitter is made from bigger glitter
I don’t like everyone but you
know those inklings once in awhile

break down mid word and keep on wording
worried about tomorrow when it comes
they don’t want anyone to know it’s glitter

disposable takes one thousand years to degrade
when the light goes purple and you whisper Prince
can I come in?



before I went too far and added violet
at the last minute without exchanging
a word we forgot to break the rules
I could have popped the bottle when
Mona said champagne on the road is better
absorbed I dream you’re mad at me waiting
outside the front door we fuck on the soft
air above a pond expectation
is a narrative error marking the hours
by how often you have to empty
the rain bucket is better than labor
it is recommended that we reserve
dream reenactment for the third date
or later walk in the belly between our
apartments full of news I kiss you against
a public wall to trade the morning for
warm winter sun prosecco a bad secret
with each new person arises an ever
more highly specified self-consciousness
I would like to believe you don’t mind that
I reset skin distance at each beginning
could go on forever as the morning had
extended itself down a pink hallway
we met without sending our thoughts ahead



say what you will about cats, but I don’t see
any of you breaking into the bathroom
out of love for me

I really do savor the moment I open the morning
door and liquid cats spill in

a favorite thing about plural cats
is, listening, you have no idea
how many there are

their foreheads’ light milk smell

a likeminded person across the world
designed a perfume called Fluffy Brow

I’d like to visit the island
where cats outnumber people

and the parallel islands of foxes, rabbits

lucky for us we dream in landscapes
beyond our experience

desert mountains scrolling by

into silver monkey and capybara
hot springs float with steamy oranges

into passionfruit, its pink egg
into two white cups, form
holding itself open
messy hair of the rambutan
its pearly egg into its own glow

blueberry vinegar
in a canker sore
brightens the mouth

a walk on the sunny side

into Kelly’s 7-hour disco
research playlist

the extended cut, a technology
for sensing forever

Wild Heart dressing room video, 1981

into mallet instruments, when Carly
drops the beat on don’t give it UP
when Gerard says my heart
in hiding / stirred for a bird

the bouquet in my lobby said Kayla I’m an idiot
and an asshole

every year I can hardly believe we live
on a planet where flowers grow on trees

our gay beach nutcracker sociality
communal limearita into pink plastic chalice
the piss fence, rainbows, literal dolphins, all of us
human chain into riptide, vomiting
saltwater back on shore to straddle
each other on hot sand, cheering
when the clouds part back
into octopuses underwater
turning colors in their sleep

their arm brains, visible
thoughts, light
they see with their skin

Hannah says we shouldn’t stop
eating octopuses because of how smart
they are but how hard they try to escape

into pleasure of knowing
how something works, revulsion
at how we found out

into our expanses of bleached, silent reefs

I haven’t even made it into human pain
I spend my time writing poems
and Wendy says we need those
less than a brick through a window as she
keeps writing them too

if the poem into is all those
who swipe it forward
sit for court support, manage
a bail fund, spark a rent strike
bring meals, share
meds, walk friends home

there’s a lot to go looking for
via Agnes’ room at Dia I had no reason
to worry it wouldn’t be there each
time I returned, by cellphone
photos of the 17th-century still life
lizard reaching their forked tongue
up to a tulip, via Picard arguing
before a Starfleet tribunal that Data
should be referred to not as it, but he
by June becoming, in front of us, a menace
to her enemies, via Alice always crotch
-naked for music, unowning all seeds

and when Bernadette goes nothing outside
will cure you but everything’s outside

when Arthur goes it’s a big old world
with nothing in it / I can’t wait to see you
another minute

I feel both of that

my external endocrine system
advances in vegan cheese
your ass ascending a staircase
into rain on the shower skylight
I look forward to pickles especially pink
endorphins, of any origin
what we do after the nation and after the police
my hand up your overall shorts and happy
animals running into me



“THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS” incorporates language from Caity Weaver’s investigative journalism on glitter.

A recording of “EARTHLY REASONS” previously appeared online as part of The Poetry Project’s House Party.



CHARLES THEONIA is a poet and teacher from Brooklyn, where they’re working to externalize interior femme landscapes. They are the author of art book Saw Palmettos, on hormones, community, and the brain-time continuum (Container, 2018) and chapbook Which One Is the Bridge (Topside Press, 2015).