Melissa Stein

By the roots of my hair some god got hold of me. I survived that voltage and barbed wire. Now each day is clerestory, each night a palimpsest of scars. The militia pulls on its boots and waits. On the altars, doves peck each other bloody.   A spider traverses its unseen wire in the […]


Lisa Grunberger

1.   When my Father was moving from being to being nothing I was about to go for a bike ride.   His right hand rose up from under the blue blanket as he patted the bed for me to sit.   I sat and stroked his face so thin and unshaven it appeared slender […]

The Last Time I Hung Out With Baby D and Them

Sakinah Hofler

The twins— those grinning gangsters never seen without chains tethered around their necks and wrists, hold gold guns that glisten against the clever silver sky. Do you want to hold one? I grip the grip and for a moment I get deer hunting—that transition from boy to man or even girl to woman, like Latonia […]


Sakinah Hofler

at pathmark, you would sneak bottles of pantene pro v shampoo and conditioner into your momma’s shopping cart and each time, at the register, your momma would notice and tell the cashier you can take that one off, and each time you would scream, I wanna have hair like those women in the commercials! and […]


Elizabeth Langemak

Two days later, the surgery is already a moon landing, and I’m its plowed landscape of proof. In the bathroom mirror, my belly’s all unwavering flags and stitched tracks on an aching, windless set.  The Betadine sticks – a mustard slick – for a week, and I don’t know what to do with the photos: […]

Race Was Not a Factor,

Carlos Andrés Gómez

they said. He said, It looked like a demon. It charged [him], like [he] was five, It Hulk Hogan—   two legacies ghost-stenciled into concrete, one shadow sifted into ash. He sleeps at night—No regrets. His family certain as the closed lid of a coffin they will be safe.   It happened, he says, It […]

I Have a Father, I Have a Thousand Fathers

Lizabeth Yandel

They were telling jokes on T.V. late at night. They were driving the school bus, lifting me to drinking fountains I couldn’t reach. They were talking too much, telling us to quiet down, they were fixing broken stairs, they danced when they were drunk, cried when no one was around.  They sounded like smoking lungs, […]

Spear Side

Chelsea Whitton

Your lopsided father stuck the loose stars to your sky one summer. Even now they glow up there, as if, like you, they are still dumbstruck by the memory of his hulking grace. With one foot on the bed, one on the chest of drawers, his finger pressed each phosphorescent shard into eternity, too high […]

Oil and Candle by Gabriel Ojeda-Sague (2016, Timeless, Infinite Light)

Basia Wilson

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague’s Jazzercise Is a Language is forthcoming from The Operating System in 2018. In his debut collection Oil and Candle, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague writes, “if you must have the blood, you must also take my plantain chips and my unfortunate life.” The vulnerability and rawness the audience demands of the speaker must also be accompanied […]

The Hitchhiking Robot Learns About Philadelphians by Vernita Hall (2017, Moonstone Press)

Basia Wilson

Vernita Hall serves on the poetry board of Philadelphia Stories. Vernita Hall sends the reader on a tour without a tour guide in her chapbook, The Hitchhiking Robot Learns About Philadelphians, winner of the 2016 Moonstone Chapbook Contest. The hitchhiking robot is tossed into Philly neighborhoods, parks, historic venues and cavernous churches with even bigger […]