Reading Time: 2 minutes


Kathy Duke

Music playing,
artist singing,
lyrics flowing,
hearts racing,
you reach for me.
I see your lips
and need to kiss your mouth. Moist, warm, soft.

Inhaling your bitter stench,
I turn my head refusing your tongue,
wondering if this final performance makes me a whore,
knowing I emptied the bank account this morning after filing for divorce.



Questioning the Object of My Cognition

Bonnie Shiffler

You are beautiful.(?) Kant, you— satisfy, categorically speaking, prove your faith, utilize/rule/enlighten,

satisfy, imperatively speaking, what I really mean is,
Kant you synthesize

Theoretically speaking, Kant, you love me. Why?
Why, Kant? You love me. Why Kant you love me?



Dead end

Emily Fairchild

How should you
feel when you see
the man you believed
was dead, who
tried to take your life? Filled with burning
relief, still I lost
my appetite when
I saw him,
that secret gagged
and bound behind
perfect teeth, captivating
the woman hanging
on his arm, dazzling expectations strangling
her left ring finger. He will take her home, bury her
alive in his
parents’ basement.



Imitating Sleep

Jordan Freytag

The springs squeak as you slip out from beneath my blankets.
I hear the soft rustle of that tight black dress forming to your curves once again.
I imagine your hair in tangles framing raccoon eyes and smeared lipstick.
I remain still as your feet patter across my floor to the door.
I’m hung-over.
I need to piss.
My mouth is sticky, aching for water,
but I glue my eyes shut ‘til the door finishes creaking and clicks shut.





Austin Anderson

The perfumed page
in my hand,
the burning back-glow pushes the black, ball-point letters

off the paper.
These words—words
that meant summer nights under half moons, ukulele lullabies after dancing,
and grilled cheese
with bowls of peaches— between my thumb and finger. I hesitate.
But you didn’t,
and I burned.
I release—
the white, lined sheet,
the words gone
orange and red
This is me
burning you
burning me.




My Generation on Love

J. Kondratieff

They tell me love is madness, that it buries us in blinding fog, shuts our eyes, holds our tongue. They tell me love is sacrifice,
to lose myself in a lover’s wants. Love is random, void of reason, slobbering, following, damaging, dependent,
a myth,
a noose.



A Marriage in Iambic Pentameter

Bonnie Shiffler

He vacuums when I won’t respond to words that say no more than that he’s always right. The martyr cleans to stack the odds against my claims that nothing ever changes. Here in rooms in need of cleaning, arguments

are made, and Christmas disappears along
with dust that’s gathered on the shelf and left an outline where the condoms used to be.
We will not speak until he’s done, and I
have offered my regrets for being wrong again.