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Issue #29

GIVING UP THE SUN

Kaylee Duff


To rip the colors from the sky,

to stretch the horizon across the street.

To crash, to tear down walls

built around bodies as if they belong there.


To remember, to forget—

to lose and find and lose again.

To absorb turpentine like water.

To swallow the desire and throw


armfuls of air into the air. To boil

and bubble and pop—to consume

the self-portrait in the mirror,

to crack and crunch. To eat


fistful after fistful of glass

streaked with yellow and gold

until the only thing left is the floor.



Kaylee Duff is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults at The New School in New York City. She is also an alum of Bowling Green State University’s Creative Writing program. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Gertrude, Superstition Review, Prairie Margins, and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, where she makes a lot of soup. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @kayleeplease.







SURRENDER

Courtney LeBlanc


During the short summer months we hung

our laundry on the clothesline, linen

flapping in the wind, announcing surrender.

The only battles I knew were the ones I raged

with my sister, fighting imaginary foes

and sometimes each other. We dutifully hung

the bras and underwear on the inside lines,

sheltered from view by the towels and t-shirts,

just as our mother taught us. The clothes smelled

like summer sun but were always stiff, no matter

the fabric softener my mother added to the wash.


When I followed a man I loved to Puerto Rico,

played house on that island, we had no dryer

so once again I strung clothes along a line

that stretched across our balcony. Every

afternoon a thunderstorm rolled through

and every day I made a choice: mad dash

to collect the nearly-dry clothes or let them

get soaked and dry again. Eventually I left

the island, his jealousy a battle I could no longer

fight. I left the linens drying on the line,

waving in surrender or goodbye.



Courtney LeBlanc is the author of Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press). She has her MBA from University of Baltimore and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Read her publications on her blog: www.wordperv.com. Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79.







The Good River

Mery Concepción


all good places have a river, nadia says

as we cross the bridge over the river that

splits waco in two.

she must be right, I think,

or as close to right as is possible these days


we see two teenage girls by the water,

wisps of dark hair sticking to their necks.

they’re wearing doc martens in the dead of summer and

the thick, gummy platforms make welts into the pavement,

reminding the ground that they’re still young, still here


it was the summer of innumerable death.

it was the summer of George

and Breonna

and Elijah

and Robert

and Naya

and Daniel

and Jacob.


it was the summer that was not just summer but

spring too,

every day pressing into each other and suffocating us

as if there was not enough space

for all the lives that deserve to be lived.


naming them here is no memorial but an

insufficient tomb.

incapable of holding lives too ordinary,

too grand,

to be allowed to run their course.


we who are left, for now,

find patches of grass to sit on

and rivers to cross

hoping for small bits of today to stand on

before we’re ravaged too


our topo chicos clang against each other inside nadia’s red tote

as we walk back from the bridge

under the blackbird speckled sky


this must be a good place

and we a good people

to have earned all these rivers.



Mery Concepción (she/her) is an Afro-Caribbean writer and poet based in New York City. Her work deals with themes of embodiment, Blackness, womanhood, family, (un)becoming, and healing. She hopes her work can make space for the messiness, and beauty, of our collective survival. You can probably find her on the A train, in a messy kitchen, or curled up with a book.