Late last winter the world as we knew it shut down.

I kept a list of words that echoed across early pandemic conversations: grief, dead, sick, wait, prognosis, we’ll see, stay safe, be well. 

I unearthed this list this winter. I noticed how each word revolved around time: its ebbing, passing, ending; how much we have, how much we want.

So, this month, we offer meditations on time: a tented foreign god, pieces of a swan, and a tattoo, buried deep in flesh.

If you would like to support us, our writers, and our work, we would be grateful and humbled. You can do so here.

Next month’s theme is:

       nuance

Defined as: a subtle shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

Submission guidelines can be found here.

Love,

 amanda lezra 
Editor-in-Chief

Perhaps not Everything Burns into Embers 

in a clan where Sango lives in obscurity
because you tented a foreign god.
And to prove your supremacy, you burn anything
that touches you or otherwise. I tell a boy too afraid
to love anything or anyone – not even his brother –
that I’ve witnessed nearly three decades of fireworks here.
I mean my body is golden, and each time fire comes after me,
I’m refined. The way my body tussles with luminary bodies,
I am sure I shall live to declare the glory of fire.
But because I’ve watched enough non-fiction scenes
here, like the hole a kinetic bullet leaves on brittle bodies,
the formation of river Borno with the blood of farmers,
the boom bap of bombs in the city behind my place of birth,
I conclude that you can’t live a century here without been scarred –
the reason I define molecule to be a body with the imprint of fire.
Blessed be the body found here which does not burn yet.
Blessed be my body, a compound of blood and water surviving fire.

 • Sango – the god of thunder and lightning

Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian teacher and author. His work has been featured in various local and international anthologies. He has written for Roughcut Press, Artmosterrific, Con-scio, Lunaris Review, Praxis, Parousia, Wax Poetry Journal, and others. He was a 2020 semi-finalist for Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the winner, 9th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize (Ambassador Special Prize). He is currently a creative writing instructor at Jewel Model Secondary School, Abuja, where he has coached winners of national and international writing prizes

pieces of a swan

C. A. MacKenzie (she/hers) is an MSW student on the Interpersonal Practice pathway at The University of Michigan, from which she also holds a B.A. in Psychology, English, and Creative Writing.

Suburban Trajectory

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her next, full-length collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, is forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Books. Please contact her through her website.

Late last winter the world as we knew it shut down.

I kept a list of words that echoed across early pandemic conversations: grief, dead, sick, wait, prognosis, we’ll see, stay safe, be well. 

I unearthed this list this winter. I noticed how each word revolved around time: its ebbing, passing, ending; how much we have, how much we want.

So, this month, we offer meditations on time: a tented foreign god, pieces of a swan, and a tattoo, buried deep in flesh.

If you would like to support us, our writers, and our work, we would be grateful and humbled. You can do so here.

Next month’s theme is:

       nuance

Defined as: a subtle shade of meaning, expression, or sound.

Submission guidelines can be found here.

Love,

 amanda lezra 
Editor-in-Chief

Perhaps not Everything Burns into Embers 

in a clan where Sango lives in obscurity
because you tented a foreign god.
And to prove your supremacy, you burn anything
that touches you or otherwise. I tell a boy too afraid
to love anything or anyone – not even his brother –
that I’ve witnessed nearly three decades of fireworks here.
I mean my body is golden, and each time fire comes after me,
I’m refined. The way my body tussles with luminary bodies,
I am sure I shall live to declare the glory of fire.
But because I’ve watched enough non-fiction scenes
here, like the hole a kinetic bullet leaves on brittle bodies,
the formation of river Borno with the blood of farmers,
the boom bap of bombs in the city behind my place of birth,
I conclude that you can’t live a century here without been scarred –
the reason I define molecule to be a body with the imprint of fire.
Blessed be the body found here which does not burn yet.
Blessed be my body, a compound of blood and water surviving fire.

 • Sango – the god of thunder and lightning

Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian teacher and author. His work has been featured in various local and international anthologies. He has written for Roughcut Press, Artmosterrific, Con-scio, Lunaris Review, Praxis, Parousia, Wax Poetry Journal, and others. He was a 2020 semi-finalist for Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and the winner, 9th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize (Ambassador Special Prize). He is currently a creative writing instructor at Jewel Model Secondary School, Abuja, where he has coached winners of national and international writing prizes

pieces of a swan

white half-circle pear blossoms : pieces of a swan in your palm / sliver beneath enamel pupils. a fresh coat of paint on a picket fence one hot summer. tiny red labias / tip / filaments stitched into the body of a gold star. you came outside to chew mint leaves / scarred with cream-colored lines from leaf-miners balled inside. say ovaries are full of pearls / not ova / too similar to a metal tin of green acorns left somewhere. become someone who turns the solid flesh of pears into shimmering yellow glass / babies into violet quartz at the core / of an elephant-skinned rock / someone who is not / so weak / vacant. among dark columns of trees / fireflies / almost like a splatter of shiny gold: except you forget the dreamlike motion of stars untied / their ropes shed in dead flakes on the forest floor. say you can taste the iron on their breath / as strings of light spin around your wrists / ribs / abdomen / pieces / of a woman / with the bad / habit / of falling apart.

C. A. MacKenzie (she/hers) is an MSW student on the Interpersonal Practice pathway at The University of Michigan, from which she also holds a B.A. in Psychology, English, and Creative Writing.

Suburban Trajectory

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her next, full-length collection, How to Board a Moving Ship, is forthcoming from Lily Poetry Review Books. Please contact her through her website.

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