In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Kate Ross

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Before dinner,

I take long showers,

long as Christmas Mass.


The shower’s mouth opens

And spills warm breath onto my head –

and water’s comb

unbraids my spinal chord.


Candle drip water drops pinch like letters

off my skin. They kiss the tile floor in

a congregation of shhhs

slithering beneath my feet,


only to rise again. Steam


clouds and clings to the

glass door of encompassing chrysalis font -

thick and patient, licking like the muscadine legs

down the bowl of father’s wine glass.



father slurs the blessing.

His voice rises like the tide

then drains like his bottle,


presses his eyes like hot oil on our plates

as if to nail the supper to our gratitude –

bruised red Psalm book

asleep in his hands.




holy spirit

our patron saint is Dom Pérignon!


But only when mom is asleep at the office

or hiding awake in her daughter’s bed.

Only when God is left near the shower –

a cold, forsaken puddle stuck wet from my feet.




Kitchen (Percussion), Elise Nardi

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Once we were in the kitchen, by we I mean:

You, Her, Me, well He somewhere’d around, but not in the kitchen.

Thrift store vase with unnoticeable nicks; full discord of discount red-roses, us.

I hate that table if it still exists.

She was shrill like a yap dog

Just shut Her up, Quiet Her

Bark, I’ll

Let me remember:

She said,

Don’t Press Too Hard 

Pens, but not then

Shrill like a yap dog

Shut Her up with a

Swing, smash, String

Discount Discord





I try to remember if it’s real

Not, or


Don’t Swing Too Hard,Yap dog

Watch that Vase, those

Rose, Rose, Roses

Would sound just as sour by any other

Name, Bark, Bite, I’ll

Remember, Kitchen Weather

You, Her, Me, well He

Well, Piano Keys, Well, Harmony, We’ll

Touch Trusses Timbre, Somewhere’d near The Kitchen

Our feet on feet of

Dipped Dampers’ Discord

I tell You:

            rove backyard edges and deciduous rot

            don’t stop at border, brother 

Our feet on feet of

Mud, Snow, Rain

Shrill like

Sirens on Tables on Doors on Houses on

the Violets of our Violins   

Kitchens, I tell You:

            Shut up that Yap Dog

            Ill Quiet, Youll Quiet

                        Rose, Rose, 

At tables, at kitchens

in Keys that bloom on

Broken trusses

Wallets that bloom on

Broken Fences;

Backyard Edges;

She claims contralto cantata.


She was shrill like a yap dog

Just shut Her up, Quiet Her

Bark, I’ll

Let me remember:

She said,

Don’t Press Too Hard

I try to remember if it’s real,

Not, or



This is Kansas, Elise Nardi

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Motel Six is one of few businesses that still offer smoker-friendly services.

We lit cigarettes to cover the stale of

wallpaper, nicked tables

toasted microwaves

and dangled cable wires


I laid our coats, hats, scarves

on the God-Knows-What

bed spread,

grandma-blue and magnolia


you will mock

small soaps


guide us there

with the turn

of your wrists,

knuckles stretched

skin taut

rolling around



Light slices across the dashboard;

 To you I will point out every beautiful thing.

See, I couldn’t let you

miss it,



How many

miles of escape

has this car


now, nights roll before us

we will drive:

always you first


You and I shared a mutual delusion that physical distance would distance us from ourselves too.

how many states has it been

of ebbing orange streetlights

dirty windows and


vast evergreens

tunnels and

feeling small



dulling metal constructions in harmony

with lavender transcriptions


Cry mutually over

Your new home,


I do, at least.


I imagine you walk streets not ours

new routes to grocery stores

new routines, new lover


Ad astra per aspera

Ad astra per aspera

to the stars through difficulties


They say if you kiss someone

on that bridge

over the still green lake

you’ll marry.

I blush and hope

You never kiss in Kansas


drive states to Kansas

without me

Ad astra per aspera

Nil sine Numine

Ad astra per aspera

Nil sine Numine


I steal flowers from gardens

and you pick-pocket graveyards

I navigate through the passenger seat

and fade to black, back

here, where snow falls on

no one’s eyelashes

worth noticing.


She posits it’s an existential crisis at twenty-

I tell her it’s sitting in the driver’s seat

with can’s and can’ts     


freedom is a carrot

strung by barbed-wires

and that mileage racks up,

racks up.


Sure, Ryan Stadheim

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Warm dull word stasis,

deep in overdrown

buried in sleep work,.

eat fuck,




When the mind goes,

it is not a quick thing.

It is slow, desperate shaving,

with blunt and ragged blade.


You can tell

who a man is

by where his marks are.

By what’s been burned,

or boiled, or butchered

away from him.


There’s a probable exhaustion

of usefulness

in late youth.

Chance to

cut out cold

shaking midnight,

or piss away

last frantic heartstroke,

during bright bourbon morning

with red leaves on the windowsill.


Unready but Willing, Megan Foley

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And so let the bastard grant us
sharp teeth and soft cells,
fiery inverse wings.
Peel back the cattle

at dawnfill our mouths with melted sticks

of hot white glue.
We have a lot of horns to kiss before dark.
Grant us whips for elbows
and tuning forked tongues.
Today we throw our bodies
against the sound barrier
in the hope that it will rupture
and let us fall
into silence.

And so let the bastard
heel bit and bitter in the doorway,
pin our shoulder blades to the ceiling with a word.
This wasteland sustains no fire
no shelter no bombs no wind
except the breath of bats rushing down
over needle teeth.
We are hoisted up by this thread of
madness pulled from the sea foam’s mouth.
We are inside out from it
we lay back on our bones
like uncarved steaks
with knife blade knuckles.

And so let the bastard catch us sleeping
and spit black into our lanterns
and split back and break our lanterns
and break our fingers and throw us back
and break our necks and throw us back
and break our backs and throw us bones.

And so let the bastard
as he does
press his temple through mine,
command me to listen
then refuse to speak. 


Lapsed, Megan Foley

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Some poor soul mistook the sun for snake venom and sucked all the light from the open wounded sky. Sometimes when the clouds crawl over the border, they cut themselves open on the barbed wire of the mountain range. They spill everything, like a suitcase with a broken hinge spills black cotton socks.

Yesterday I asked you to start hiding all the felt-tipped pens. Two days ago I filled the kitchen floor with lines of sandpaper cups and put motor oil in the ice maker. Somewhere in between I showed up to work and took off my jacket to find both my arms up to the elbows were still wearing sorry sorry sorry in orange teeth-shaped curls.

This place—all of it—is an intimidation factory. Let there be no mistake- my chest is a knife block. You cannot impale me with blades that are simply returning to their home. I am a brawl in the break room. I am the hearth packed with cotton balls. I am the liquid skin of your tongue dipped in molten copper. This is not a mercy killing, this is not a cry for help, this is a chemical burn and you are not my solution.

I think you mistook my light for snake venom, you made me an open wound strung out on your barbed wire smile. I spill everything, like your suitcase did, the one with the broken hinge. 


hollow, Kinsey Weil

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written on the dirty bathroom wall in your hasty whiskey scrawl

I recognized your signature

cryptic literature.


a broken literary cemetery

where hollow little words

and dirty desires drift,


fall, like I,

for you

one word at a time












Louisiana is a Four-Syllable Woman, Charlie Kieft

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traipsing chintz-wise

bayoued calves white-

r than blackstrap

monarchs descend

to taste her o-

pen hominy

boys owe every

                       last ribboned kiss                                                                             

                       to mother’s milk

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