Issue #6

Love and Light

Isabel Rae McKenzie

dad worries i’m having a miscarriage

but i’m just bleeding in weird ways

that went unlisted in god’s bodily SOP.

when editors accept my work and publish

as-is i feel like i’ve duped someone,

using phrases like “vintage leather suicide letter”

in reference to the old samsonite i keep

empty bottles in.

god, are you listening?

you didn’t give me directions for any of this.

i waited for a golden light

and all i got was parking tickets.

so many fucking parking tickets.

[i joke about being the reckless child

because that’s easier than admitting

i don’t understand parental love.]

i walk to work and throw the bottles out,

choking on love and light

i’m so loved it’s unbearable

that’s not why i drink it’s why i drink i don’t know why

i drink.

i drink.

because i’m bored or lonely

or bored, mostly bored,

because everything, nothing, something,

evening, morning, light, love,

nothing, fear.

Isabel Rae McKenzie is an essayist and devout Chicagoan. She is a regular contributor to Queen Mob’s Teahouse with forthcoming work at Plough Quarterly. You can find her on Twitter at @birdpoems or at

Women’s Work

upon viewing Dark Iris No. 1 and Calla Lillies on Red by Georgia O’Keeffe

Vanessa Vigneswaramoorthy

The artistic scientist put her findings

on a plain white canvas to be viewed

by a general public. Grabbed her

subject by the throat, pulled it apart,

splayed it on vibrant reds, dark greys,

pinned it down. Used blood and laurel leaves

and charcoal to recreate

Mother Nature’s body in detail, a sign

of daughterly affection, and put it out to the world,

where men in suits cry out

about a woman’s sex on the page.

Vanessa Vigneswaramoorthy is a Tamil-Canadian community organizer and writer. She is currently working on a chapbook through the Poetry inPrint Artist Residency at inPrint Collective. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram as @vandoesthings

Four Frogs

yuan changming

For the past half century, I have never seen

A single frog in this city, not even in the whole country

But there are four big-mouthed frogs leaping around

Afar in a ricefield of my native village, four frogs

Squatting under the rotten bridge on the way leading

To an unknown town, four frogs playing on a big

Lotus leaf in my heart, four frogs calling constantly

From the dark pages of history invisible at midnight

Four frogs meditating under a puti tree transplanted

In a nature park, four frogs swimming into a fish net

Like bloated tadpoles, the same four frogs whose

Monotoned songs resonate aloud in different tongues

With different pitches, yes, the four frogs still there

Yuan Changming  published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) and BestNewPoemsOnline, among others.