Mutilation by Hayley McCullough

I sliced the feet from my legs
So they could dance free of me.
I sliced the fingers from my palms
So they could write without my hesitancy.
I sliced the tongue from my mouth
So it could sing and speak
Beyond the limits of my capabilities.

And now, I sit against the furthest wall
In shadows, silent and unmoving.

I see the motions and the movements of my feet –
Like forest leaves and flower petals
That soar and twist on wind and river currents.
I read the words and sonnets, the novellas of my fingers –
Emotions and sensations born by pen and ink.
I hear the songs and speeches of my silver tongue –
Pure vocalizations of a living soul.

And so, I sit and watch and experience,
One of ten thousand faces in the crowd.

I see these creations of my body’s pieces –
Things of art and substance,
Things I can never claim and do not really know…
Because I severed more than flesh and muscle,
More than blood and bone.

And so, I sit and think about tomorrow,
And the fleeting possibilities it may hold.

I wrap the shadows around my shoulders.
I push the wall even further back.
And it is not long before I decide
My eyes and ears will be the next to go.

Hayley McCullough probably spends more time reading fanfiction than is strictly healthy.

My Inheritance by Richard LeDue

Our Prime Minister’s father was also Prime Minister,
like how a President can be a son of a former President,
and some swoon at such a legacy,
but it makes me spoil ballots,
or even not vote
because my father was a steel worker-
the plant closed when I was in high school,
and the closest he ever got to politics
was throwing a chair at his union president.

Richard LeDue (he/him) currently lives in Norway House, Manitoba with his wife and son. He is a Best of the Net nominee, and has been published in various places throughout 2021. His first chapbook was released in 2020, and a second chapbook in 2021. As well, his third chapbook, “The Kind of Noise Worth Writing Down,” was released in October 2021 from Kelsay Books.

Faraday Cage by Maija Haavisto

so what if it’s a Ferris wheel
that lets you see the whole city
in the golden hour of the setting sun
getting cotton candy fingerprints
on the camera but eventually
you decide to just ”be in the moment”
and to forget the photos
wouldn’t it be nice if we could
always ”be in the moment”
leave sugary evidence everywhere?
it would be utterly exhausting
only reserved for short rides through the air

everything is tacky burnt sugar
it’s not a Ferris wheel but old bumper cars
that you’re not supposed to bump
but where’s the fun in that?
sparkles flying in the conductive ceiling
forming a complete circuit with the floor
surrounded by a current of sticky tackiness
and the buttery whiff of popcorn
you may ask: isn’t that more for movies
in this cinematic universe everything goes
sweet or salty, as long as it’s sparkly
carrying electric impulses
that send little particles flying wildly
into your faraway Faraday cage

Maija Haavisto has had two poetry collections published in Finland: Raskas vesi (Aviador 2018) and Hopeatee (Oppian 2020). In English her poetry has appeared in e.g. Cosmospen, Topical Poetry, Discretionary Love, Littoral, Eye to the Telescope, Shoreline of Infinity and Kaleidoscope.

2 Poems by Howie Good

Angels and Crows

I was eight, maybe nine, when my little cousin stuck out her foot and tripped me, and my father, in a rage because I had chipped a front tooth, bounced my head off a wall. Forty years later, my cousin would be found dead in her bed from a drug overdose. If there were actually angels, would they fly in a V-formation like geese, you think? Someone was just telling me that crows can hold a grudge for a year or more against a person who has mistreated them. When I walk, wherever I walk, my shadow walks ahead of me.

Author Bio

I could advertise the network of scars I bear from a neurotic upbringing, or say I live mostly in my head, or even joke that I am a noted writer of blurbs for other people’s poetry books, and I could do it, just as required by your submission guidelines, in “50 words or less,” but it wouldn’t be the whole truth, more like the article of clothing given to a search dog to learn the scent of a person who has gone missing.

Howie Good is the author most recently of the poetry collections Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing) and Famous Long Ago (Laughing Ronin Press).

To Carrie Fisher— by Kim Malinowski

Were you all Princess Leia?
Was it really you in metal bikini
AND General’s uniform?
You knew my path—
I have wandered it seeing your carved initials,
as I am traipsing behind.

We both had our pills.
That yellow one, the two reds, that fucking Xanax
that falls into the passenger seat every Monday in traffic.
I don’t get to shove people that joke about first days, up, down, off
medications out of an airlock.
We both know that third days are a bitch.
You knew that with all those fuck yous and middle fingers.
Let the camera see fake strength, attitude,
hide the carrying-on strength.

I want to embrace the hydrosteel armor,
strap on my lightsaber but know to have a blaster at my side.
I want to sit with you on the Millennium Falcon.
Chat about our medications literally killing us—and us letting them.
We’d joke about Lithium, and that damned—blessed Xanax,
and still you died with medicated breath.
It happens.
It will happen to me.
Isn’t that what makes life pulse—all electricity crinkling spine
even when slugged on couch?

Metal bikinis avert eyes from eyes.
If I looked, right at that flash,
would those eyes be mine?
Would you know how my story ends?
Would you hum some space melody and wink?

Say—Kim, this is how it is.
We fucking live this shit.
And then we tell other people to live with this shit.
But we fucking show them how.

Kim Malinowski is a lover of words. Her poetry collection Home was published by Kelsay Books and her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work has appeared in Mookychick, BLUEPEPPER, Illumen, Gone Lawn, Enchanted Conversation, Enchanted Living, and others. She writes because the alternative is unthinkable.