Issue #5

a song for my winter blues

Madeline Freedman

Footsteps pinked like October leaves.

Pillow deep, chords soft as dead wood

wash all over me, too heavy to leave

my body behind for good.

Beg for something from that blue

heaving, lifting with my lungs

or my legs. Some kind of star, or blue

clicks of guitar, peels me. Wrung


A drum.

I become a whistling pot

burning steam and cups of tea

to fill the sink. Why this urge

to sink my fingers in a red rolling

boil, why this ache to submerge

a body in miles of river

spoken for now, papered with ice.

I miss dizzy. Geese

form such perfect

V’s. Something about a storm.

Madeline Freedman is entering her senior year at Macalester College, where she’s studying creative writing and data science. She currently divides her time between her copyediting internship and writing escapist fantasies. Originally from upstate New York, her hobbies include hiking, baking, and feminist embroidery. This is her first published work.

[excerpt from It is not my hand, it is not my mouth]


Janet MacFadyen

That time again when nothing

stops the body from turning inside out. The teeth

in the stomach grind and grind,

the waxed moon bloats.

The body

drinks black milk, swallows nails

thirsting after iron, obsesses

on phosphorous, magnetite, kermes,

transfusions of quicksilver and lead. By now

it must be magnetic, and yes

I am attracted to screwdrivers

and chain link fences, the burr

of cold metal on the skin.

So the blood comes. So the scarlet

alchemic stone is wrung

from the cone of the volcano.

What should have healed and dried up

trickles around the dam, spurts, and floods.

Sometime—not now—when the earth

no longer needs blood sacrifice,

the iron goddess beaten into gold

dropping her pups kits calves colts kids

two by two from the leaky ark

when I

have learned to comfort myself

wrapped in a simple woman’s body,

then the baby will come

head first and howling

out of the flood.

Janet MacFadyen is the author of five poetry books, most recently a photo-poetry collaboration Adrift in the House of Rocks (New Feral Press 2019). When she's not writing about rocks, she's writing about hunger, dirt, the body, dreamscapes, and power. She was a writing fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and is the managing editor of Slate Roof Press. You can find her at or on Facebook