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Part I –
June 2018: Palestinians protested at the border for the 70th anniversary of the Naqba (catastrophe) which signified when Israel forced hundreds of Palestinians from their homes. These protests went on for months. Layla was number 59

We are trapped inside *** an open air prison.
***** The only safe place / is within the womb /
Inside the womb, a fire burns, knowing what it once carried,

*********************************************************************** has left the earth.

Oh mamma of martyrdom/17 year old/not quite girl/but barely woman,
whose second born Layla, is named ‘beauty of the night.’

You ask, is it too much? for your second to be laid next to your first, who burned to
death, from a small flame, that lit the dark room
******************There has been no illumination in your eyes,
since the souls that you held inward, have continued,
********without your reach.

Even when we light a candle, it s W a l l o W s someone.
Even when the baby cries
for its’ mother,
or in search of her, it g a s p s soon after.
There is no wrinkle of remorse
from those who turned off the lights,
from those who aimed
at the smallest human.

All that she did was protest
*** silently, *** rightfully, *** peacefully
for their freedom. *** For our truth *** that we have hide
behind, *** but do not walk ***** in ***** front ***** of.
We are no martyrs, just watchers.
The daughter of the night
was not born for battle,
just born within the battlefield.

Layla, eight months old,
one hundred sixty nine days***** 1 6 9
in a war zone.
*** Eyes cracked O p e N ********** as she searched for her mother ********** one last time;
Only to return back
to the One that created her, and her mother’s soul.
She awaits His Gardens,
where she will meet her brother.
and he will touch ********** her tender face ********** for the first time.

Part II –
Brown women can’t leave,
can’t go back,
Back like black;
when black women
couldn’t have babies;
Couldn’t have babies
like unarticulated birth control
masked as immunization.
No black babies,
always an enigma.
Black woman
can’t have baby;
Baby stays with God;
God then welcomes back
brown baby;
Brown baby
that died alive;
Alive are the mothers’ screams;
Alive is the non-violent protest;
Alive are those in cages.
Cages contain our people;
People were once our babies,
Caged are the babies;
Babies die before
they enter the womb;
Babies die after
they exit the womb;
The womb is
the only safe prison;
The only prison
that has mercy.
Womb in Arabic is rehm,
rehm derived from
its’ root RA HA MA;
Ra ha ma then
becomes rehma;
rehma means mercy;
Maybe mercy is taking
the life of a baby,
so they don’t
have to go from
prison to cage;
Maybe mercy
is not letting
black babies
exist in the womb
in the rehm.
Because outside
the rehm – everyday
they will die —
a slow death.
Death is the
brown baby
on the news;
Death is the
final cry of
their mothers;
Death is living
in the realm
without feeling;
Maybe death,
death is life.


Fariha Tayyab is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from Houston. As a writer and photographer, her work revolves around the themes of identity and social justice. Fariha’s poetry and creative nonfiction are published in a variety of journals and publications. She has facilitated workshops with many programs, including the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. Fariha has received awards and grants for her artistry, mentored emerging artists, and built community through local organizations.

Rinse Away


Audrey Spuzzillo (she/her) is an illustration artist and recent graduate from The Cleveland Institute of Art (2023) with a passion for writing about women’s rights, ethereal and celestial subjects, as well as the personification of nature. Audrey utilizes her illustrations to further refine her poems to the next level of visual storytelling. Her illustrations mimic her poetic voice, often depicting spiritual concepts and whimsically romantic compositions to get lost in.

from “Twenty Collars”

Life itself signed
The pock-faced earl
Sitting and looking down and straining over the atlas
As diapers climbed out a cloud, and dubbing over his chains,
“I understand ALL TOO WELL what you mean! Understanding while on
foot kills me instantly.
And that has dangled in its dullness for so long
we need the threat of violence to sense our attachment. But this value was
never dull.
As diapers climbed out of a cloud.”

A treble clef entered the vault with a baby hung from the teat
A hand of circus fire was making sexy flamingos in the air ==
“all this—she lowed—where hair would be”

For it is a friend like me who ever haunts me and at the surface feeds me
the poison of everything I am to see otherwise—


Farnoosh Fathi is the author of Great Guns (Canarium Books) and the forthcoming Granny Cloud (NYRB Poets) , editor of Joan Murray: Drafts, Fragments, and Poems (NYRB Poets) and founder of the Young Artists Language and Devotion Alliance (YALDA). She lives in New York.


Words for the various levels of hell.
Words for the forest, the trails worn against it.
To name such places was to name limbo,
the way shot through with longing and starlight.
Each journey begins with loss
though when young we were taught to call it setting.
Then, to list it with other devices.
To touch it and put it down when we’re done.
On the floor, a mess of needles and soil.
Under the moss, rocks and water.
In the corners our forms moved
against each other, if movement was right
for the chosen word.
It’s important to write the ending first.
Not that you met someone else
but that frost is an alternate ending for night.
They called it the end but this was a circle.
Wasn’t the beginning a forest?
Wasn’t it dark?
In the underbrush branches shuddered.
Birds called how they do
when animals move through the distance below them.


Michael Goodfellow is the author of the poetry collections Naturalism, An Annotated Bibliography (2022) and Folklore of Lunenburg County (2024), both published by Gaspereau Press. His poems have appeared in the Literary Review of CanadaThe Dalhousie ReviewThe Cortland ReviewReliquiae and elsewhere. He lives in Nova Scotia.

Synthetic Girl

Some edible heiress, lapsing as hot
wax, her lavender bones
spooning with glacial, inconsiderate drape:
encased, transparent, opaque, and primmed.
Yet the I slithers inside the skeletal drift,
imagining fresh, glowing aspirations
like the pricking wound of embarrassment:
ah, beauty dissimilar, slinky in dissent,
a revoked invitation. She is far and unfair,
a petulance enviable for its mobbish acquiescence.
Ghost, Euridice, what of his singing rocks
assembling the staircase to the basement?
I’ve heard of them, but did you?


Annie Goold is from a small farm in rural Illinois. She graduated from Cornell University in 2017 with an MFA in poetry. She is currently pursuing an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Eastern Illinois University. She lives and writes in Champaign, Illinois.

Uterus Revolt

“[Women] already make all the people […] You make all the humans. That’s a big fucking deal.”
Joe Rogan, Strange Times Netflix Special

Year one would be mostly medical:
midwives, doctors, hospitals, NICUs.

The diaper industry would take a hit.
All uteruses in quiet agreement.

The second fallout: downsizing daycare.
The silent shockwave of kindergarten.

1.5 million kindergarten teachers in the US
set up to enjoy a solid extended vacation.

Let’s set the record straight:
there is no miracle rib.

Babies grow in utero
and burst out of vaginas.

What happens when the government can no longer
procure babies from female bodies?

An IRB would frown upon growing
Homo sapiens in petri dishes.

Historically, power belongs to the oppressor.
Religion: a primer in female suppression.

Maybe, like Mary, we should all aspire
to parthenogenesis. Virgin birth.

No earthly penis is worthy of uterine holiness.
The sacrosanct womb holds no place for patriarchy.


Angel James is an easily distracted creative person from a sleepy, rural river town in Central Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English and a graduate certificate in Institutional Research and Assessment. Angel’s first book of poetry, Becoming Friends With Chaos, a collection of works inspired by the life and music of Bob Dylan, was released in 2022. You can learn more about her at


You can look God straight in the eye
It’s not fun

but don’t flatter yourself, it’s not a challenge. It’s outside of what is restricted
It’s outside of what is forbidden to you. And it’s outside of all that hates you

You bring your slack jaw to it

The Eucharist was insisted upon
Christ and man provoke each other now

(Christ the provocateur)
(Emily the provocateur)

That is the Christ-Man’s perpetual
motion machine

And I haven’t even decided yet
I’m just looking. I’m trying to think

Christ Pantocrator looked at me from the Eucharist
Yet I willed it

But we knew each other. And there was a stress on nothing. Which I resent
And I had to carry that home with me

I have inherited a pallor, a gait, a watchful eye
Not a brilliant eye


Emily Tristan Jones was raised in the subarctic and prairies. Her poems have been in Harvard Review, Denver QuarterlyDalhousie Review, and several other journals. Her first book of poetry, Buttercup, will be published by Verge Books (Chicago, 2024). She is an alumna of the University of Chicago, Banff Centre, and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She lives in Montreal where she edits Columba

The Feeling Again

Foxes run borders
of vision. Draping
moss and calling
birds—it was long
before I felt
the cold depress
my dress & through thread
paired ivories. What it was
I was thinking I hadn’t
said, the feeling
again come over
me. Dreams of
children every night, looking
like you we
sang the Kyrie & luciferous
corners echoed
woozy. All our prayers
to a god unearthed.
A god who is & is & is.
Nothing more.


J.J. Starr-McClain is a poet and writer in Springfield, Massachusetts. She attended the New York University creative writing program and has received support from Wesleyan University and the Community of Writers. Her work can also be found in The Common, Cosmonauts Ave, Juked, The Journal, and elsewhere.

13 months

you’ve been dead and here I am still trying
to fix you, waking in the morning with a cure
in my mind — for the cancer, yes,
and all the old ills, too, all the things you never
reconciled. I want to lock you in a padded room
called health. I, too, want to draw your body
into some other rubric. My daughter refuses to sleep
alone. I am thinking of having another baby.
Perhaps the next one won’t enter the world
on the heels of so much death. So what if they do?
Isn’t that always how it happens? If not your death
someone else’s. I don’t know when it happened,
Mother, but somewhere in the day, a knot blooms
in my throat, and I realize I’ve barely been breathing.
Suddenly and for no reason, I’m gasping for the air
that presents itself freely to me. These strange things
that come upon us when we were so careful to resolve
our grief. All the while, robins in the long grass
pulling worms, red brush strokes
of cardinals flitting branch to feeder to branch.
Even the one who’s lost half his beak
manages to carry blonde seed
to his beloved when the snow falls.


J.J. Starr-McClain is a poet and writer in Springfield, Massachusetts. She attended the New York University creative writing program and has received support from Wesleyan University and the Community of Writers. Her work can also be found in The Common, Cosmonauts Ave, Juked, The Journal, and elsewhere.

Plus Ultra

In the stained glass factory, the glazier pinned the violet upon the crucible
with purple and gold, set upon the metal frame.
She dabs molten glass into the lapis lazuli not by choice but necessity,
as hotness melts the ultramarine, the plus ultra.

The sea of the sky beacons, broken by the rising sun.
The great-granddaughter of the glazier does not remember the waves
of the Hudson River, only the echoes of failed pronouncements at Ellis Island
reverberating years later, as she frames the drone frequenting the low skyline.

In the intimacy of disparate parts, the girl whispers into the ears
of the passerby, fractals of true artistry which went beyond the intensity
thought possible in photographs, as centuries pass upon the metamorphic
bedrock filled with towers of Babel made of glass and steel.

The lore of fables which once bound rapt audiences now long forgotten:
on the New York City subway, the girl studies photos of sights she beheld,
the smell of unwashed bodies and marijuana in refashioned vintage 7 trains.
She thinks of how she is the last of her tribe.

Memories of her lineage hug her legs like cold air when the train door opens,
fickle like the red twin trees in her night lamp, or memories
of downing defrosted frozen fruits, its sugar already gone.
In a lab of molten glass, her fingers burn like Prometheus.

Gatsby’s junkyard once shown proud with the Unisphere
now a swamp for Canada geese and mallard ducks.
The girl walks, as steam rises to occlude sight
with fog the color of mist in the grass.

At home, the girl recounted the sun in its octagonal beauty,
the life beneath the stillness of the turquoise green pond.
Mama laughs before turning down the lights and kissing the girl
on her head of hair, wishing her a kaleidoscope of sweet dreams.


Tiffany Troy is the author of Dominus (forthcoming, BlazeVox) and the chapbook When Ilium Burns (Bottlecap Press), as well as co-translator of Santiago Acosta’s The Coming Desert /El próximo desierto (forthcoming, Alliteration Publishing House), in collaboration with Acosta and the Women in Translation project at the University of Wisconsin. Her reviews and interviews of emerging and established voices are published or forthcoming in The Adroit JournalThe Cortland ReviewThe Los Angeles ReviewThe Laurel Review, EcoTheo ReviewRain Taxi, New World Writing, Hong Kong Review of Books and Tupelo Quarterly, where she is Managing Editor.