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Crescent Heights

The desiccate syllable
solo and trashblown
against a chain link
fence. The sky occasioning
itself impossible and blue
above us. So it’s come
to this? Is it what it is?
It’s tough out west
and the sea and this dead
city have locked us in
as far left as we can
venture. Left-margined.
Left at this remove I
can’t hold you, but baby
you’re smooth as shoreline
when my wet evidentials
collapse, drip castles,
your sedimented brow
a trap
As verbs, are we heavier
or lighter than water?
No longer certain, we
no longer have need
to remember. Only that
we should swim, and fast,
so we finally have something
to do with our hands.

Adrian Dallas Frandle

Adrian Dallas Frandle (they/he) is a queer fish who writes poems to and for the world about its future. They are Poetry Acquisitions Editor for Variant Literature, a Best of the Net 2022 nominee, and a poetry first reader for Pidgeonholes and Okay Donkey Lit Mag. Find their work online at

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Still Quitting Kansas

Charlotte, November 18, 2021

Eleven years ago today, at four-thirty
in the afternoon, just eighteen months
after I buried my son, I shuttered the house
my father built and drove my mother
back East, the veil over her lungs
undiagnosed, a squamous-celled secret.

She died seven months later. We hauled
her home, laid her in Kansas dirt
next to my father, a few feet
from my aunt and uncle, my grandparents.

Now, in this city’s dank and dead-leaf air,
the dogs next door worry their yard,
wear the grass thin. Untended, alone,
they bark and bark their switchblade barks,
moan their crimson moans.

Justin Hunt

Justin Hunt grew up in rural Kansas and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. His work appears in Five Points, Bellingham Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, New Ohio Review, Sugar House Review,, and many other journals and publications. He currently is working on a debut poetry collection.

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point beach

hometowns have thousands of little ghosts
that do not stay in the cemetery. they are
pushing up through the renovated sidewalk,
catching you between the cracks. they are
littered alongside the main road; when it rains
they wash into your yard once again. they are
floundering in the baseball dugouts around the corner,
cracking the cinderblock like it’s skin-thin. they are
in your childhood friend’s window, gnawing at the glass,
reminding you that she isn’t there anymore
to chase them out.

Georgia Riordan

Georgia Riordan (she/they) is an MFA student at Rosemont College with a BA in writing from Ithaca College. She served as a poetry editor for Stillwater Magazine and a writing consultant from 2019-2021. Her work primarily focuses on her personal struggles with mental health, trauma, and identity within the genres and cross-genres of poetry, magical realism, and horror. Her previous publications include The Asbury Park Press, Il Giornalino 2017, Odyssey’s online platform, Vermilion Magazine, and Poets’ Choice Spring Anthology.

Open post


They materialize at dusk at the edges
of driveways and sidewalks, in the middle
of the quiet dead-end, hands asway,
intermittent wipers desperate to clear
clouding swarms of gnats.

Head nods greet and the babble
begins about the old Hathorne mansion
with its plywood windows and piles
of rust, about spectral sightings of
the neighborhood doyenne buttoned up
in plaid flannel in the August heat.

Next comes caution for the threadbare mama
and her cubs crossing the Albany rail
trail, later stationed at a garden
bed’s edge sniffing at a frisbee toss.

And what about the Parish schoolhouse,
empty shell in a vacant lot, remnants
of separate entry for boys and girls
preserved, weathered for sale sign, lonesome
invitation wooing a cavalcade of cars
with out-of-state plates.

When dusk turns to dark someone recalls
how we rallied against that developer’s dream—
train loads of city folk adventurers
on a Tough Mudder course,
sure to trample the woods, pollute the river,
and flood the night sky with fluorescent light.

Darkness settles with no streetlights to fight,
cicadas yield to crickets. The congregation
disperses before anyone thinks to imagine
that long gone September day when
the Half Moon ran aground on a mid-channel
shoal in the Stockport Creek and Henry Hudson
spent the day gathering chestnuts waiting
for the tide to set her afloat.

Now that must have been something
to talk about.

Elise Chadwick

Elise Chadwick taught English at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York, for 30 years. She draws much inspiration for her poems from the time she spends upstate New York in her 200-year-old home coexisting with the deer, groundhog, fox, bats, rabbits, and squirrels who got there first. Her poems have been recently published in The Paterson Literary Review, Literary Mama, Wingless Dreamer, and Gyroscope.

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I Want to Take You Home (That’s Dying, Baby)

I’m an acolyte of the corn fields. Baby, if you fall in love
with me, you will have to convert. My family only knows

songs of assimilation, of Catholicism and her hungry
bloody mouth. It is our nature to settle, to swamp.

Follow me home like a dog who doesn’t know any better;
I will never admonish you for the dead bird in your maw.

Follow me like a fisherman in want of deep water.
Follow me like a God in want of an endless sinner.

Early Catholics held Mass in the catacombs,
and those tunnels never closed, oh baby,

let's buy a place down there and make it our home.
We’ll sleep in on Sundays, we’ll sit and stay.

Come on, baby. I want the long driveway, the two-car
garage, some kids and some beasts, all the trappings

of an altar to us, piss-drunk in the backyard
with lighter fluid and fire, our backs bursting feathers,

hawk-spawn, grim fangs, oh baby, let’s build a tomb
and get around to this good honest business of dying.

Kimberly Ramos

Kimberly Ramos is a queer Filipina writer from southern Missouri. Currently they are studying philosophy, whatever that means. They dream of becoming a cryptid and haunting the Midwest.

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They’ve posted their warnings

on trees on fence posts on telephone timber
   at the entrance to access roads
      because admit it

you are scheming right now this very
   as these words gather and guide
      how to trespass how to elbow crawl under their

barbed wire hop their
   electric tape barriers beat their
      motion-triggered fast-acting thousand lumen

slink past their strategically placed active
   infrared night-vision
      studying when their

gate opens when they leave for work
   for grocery runs for naps
      in bivouac hammocks

learning from the ways of the black morph
   squirrel who catapults bough to bough
      over their property line into their

maple stands oak stands hickory
   blueberry patch bendy willows
      studying the ways of

the emerald ash borer Agrilus planipennis
   whose larvae tunnel until until
      they make it unnoticed to the other side

Jeff Schiff

Jeff Schiff is the author of That hum to go by, Mixed Diction, Burro Heart, The Rats of Patzcuaro, The Homily of Infinitude, and Anywhere in this Country. Hundreds of his poems, essays, recordings, and photographs have appeared in more than 150 publications worldwide. He teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

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