The girl who invited me
to live in her tent camp
so she could teach me Chechen

sat staring in the corner,
fearing that any motion
might trigger an explosion.

Grozny’s flats were levelled.
Dolls lay disembowelled on the floor.
Glass shards covered the earth.

The road’s yellow ribbon rolled
like a carpet, limning the edge
of my escape to Vladikavkaz.

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Memories by Kathleen O’Neil
This translucent organza covers my skin like snow;
the innermost part of me is burning away. It just smolders. Oxygen, the air, it’s everywhere. The cold poison will seep down through soft delicate shoulder, under the left collarbone edge through bone and the shield of muscle.

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God & The Invention

Artist: Nicola Esposito by Ally Schwam I created the rain. It’s one of the first things I created. Two years ago I started as an assistant at the Creation Center and then a year later got promoted to junior programmer. The first task I got was to program what a higher-up called “rain.” Rain was…

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The Dead by Maura O’Connor

The Dead by Maura O’Connor

I fled your deaths.
They happened anyway.
the missing witness.
I will miss you most.
The roses you gave me
the night you told me
you hated me.
The song you wrote
comparing my eyes
to ocean
my dreams

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Eighth Grade

Artist:  Mohamed Sobeha by Catherine Zickgraf We were empty-eyed cinder blocks, ringed keys unlocking the doorknobs. Among junior high’s sleepy congregation, an audience of our class’s generation, only some of us showed up praised and amen-ed. School taught me typing for college essays and gave me chances to run away. We’d flood from the school…

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Honeymoon on the Volga

artist: Michael Hedges by William Doreski This is our third honeymoon and the first on which you’ve spoken to me, to anyone. The Volga flows under our little room. The innkeeper wields no recognizable language. Your native Russian means nothing to him. When English falls from my mouth it writhes on the carpet, where he…

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