Issue #23

Under the Melody

Carol McGill

My hands in yellow gloves

I say

“I like how this song goes low

On ‘coming up roses’.”

And the sister says

“You and your stories”

She says

“I love the way you listen to music,

The way you choose what you like -

It’s always about

what’s under the melody”

And no one

Has ever said that to me before

Made my strange and strangely specific taste

So positive

The sunlight’s making rainbows in the suds

Carol McGill lives in Dublin. Her short stories have been published in Sonder, Crannóg, Number Eleven Magazine, Silver Apples Magazine, and the anthology Words To Tie To Bricks. She has also had work appear in the online magazines Brilliant Flash Fiction, Rookie and Germ. She was the 2019-2020 chairperson of Trinity Literary Society. She tweets at @WordsByCarolx.

When We Listen to Music

-from Runaway Horses by Yukio Mishima

Maria Picone

When he pictured himself                          folded, 

nothing at all,                                          he        imagined

himself as                                                                    a posture

as                                                               inescapable as the

earth                                                  or         air               

he                 would become 

                      another form                                                to draw

                                from                                              Only      doing

so would      join                       sin                                    and glory,

atop the                                          breeze                           rising

                     reason                               to enter  

                                      there ready-made  


                             to attain the  

mind            begun to love

Maria S. Picone has an MFA from Goddard College. She’s interested in hybrid and experimental forms as well as free verse. Her hobbies are learning languages, looking at cats on the internet, and painting. Her poetry appears in Mineral Lit Mag, Kissing Dynamite, and Vox Viola. Her Twitter/IG handle is @mspicone, and her website is

The Last Time I Was Out Drinking, Drinking

Sherre Vernon

to be drunk—we were downtown, past Sixth street, two doors

from a hole of a cigar shop, in a hazy bar I couldn’t

name if you asked me—the best me out 

& loud and oblivious & my wit

so sharp that even my teeth had to compete for cuts—

I hadn’t yet taken that long look in: asked myself

why I was the only woman there sipping Old

Fashioneds, smoking clove after clove, in a din

so loud that the smoke unpolitely made a point

of squeezing itself between the ruckus and the bodies

of us, my hands on Augustin, rough in the car

& sometimes desperate, because I didn’t know

how many seat belts there were or if I was in one

only that we were eating street tacos, one

after another, the carnitas falling from our mouths

like curses laughing at their own haphazard sway

and swaying under the streetlights, our feet

intertwined like dancing, through an empty street—

I did not check myself, as I switched between

Spanish and English, my tongue fracturing

even this, in my ache that is always other—

and when Tony kissed my cheek and waited

for me to make it inside the gate, I still didn’t realize

that this was a late-night wake, a mourning howl

for a life that was slipping past me. The next drink

I take will be warm whiskey in tea & honey, soothing

& as unfamiliar as the pregnancy hives crawling up my arms

my feet swaddled in sleepy socks & propped up

on the couch of a man who stays in nights, my body not yet

ready to tell me that I will never again be anything other

than this child’s mother. I don’t yet see the close binding

of women’s clothes and the desperate search for pockets—

the weeks upon years of sleeplessness, teatotaled

to an absolute stillness, a softness so unyielding, a new desperation

this need to hear her breath beneath the moonlight—

retreat and return.

Sherre Vernon is a seeker of a mystical grammar and a recipient of the Parent-Writer Fellowship at The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She has two award-winning chapbooks: Green Ink Wings (fiction) and The Name is Perilous (poetry). Readers describe Sherre’s work as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical and intelligent. To read more of her work visit and tag her into conversation @sherrevernon.