Two poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Non Minoris Aestimo me

As I apply my mascara, I tell you—
I have always been the oracle.
I don’t need to hold your palm,
read your love lines. I am more
than a fortune teller on the side
of sagebrushed highway.

I know how you rage in your dreams—
destroy brick walls, cut your knuckles
so deep you taste metal from the spray.

You are safe here in the valley.
You have found the lotusland,
feast on sweet honeysuckle—
there is still an oasis in this desert.


Dreams in the Wasteland

Roadside diner in the desert,
serving up everything, but salvation.
It’s easy to end up plastered in the torn
leather booths, writing hymns on napkins—
drinking the newest version of Jim Jones Kool-Aid.
Everyone is a prophet these days,
when the apocalypse is a promise ring.
Here is the plot-twist: you’re already in purgatory.

The local beauty queen knows leaving is important—
knows you can’t keep returning to the same place
expecting a different story, especially when casting
the same characters. She’ll ditch her sash and crown,
expertly apply a fresh coat of magenta lipstick
as she kisses the what ifs of yesterday goodbye
in the rearview mirror. Everyone expects her
to become the prodigal daughter, but she’ll never
return to small town-fishbowl life, it’s not for your
viewing pleasure; she’s not an Instagram reality star.

She will send postcards from paradise,
no return address, let them think she’s living
in hell where the palm trees are burning. She’s curled
up on her crushed red velvet couch, with her faux fur
blanket, popcorn, and 3D glasses. She’s the nostalgia dream,
making it another Blockbuster night—away from neighbors
with a thousand eyes. Maybe one day she will fade into oblivion.


Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, ArLiJo, Pink Plastic House, Sledgehammer Lit, Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine. Her second chapbook, “When Goddesses Wake,” was released in December, 2021 from Maverick Duck Press. Her first full-length collection, “Allison,” was recently published by Querencia Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @thesweetmaris. To check out more of her work go to

Two poems by Kerry Trautman


She stumbles to the cornfield due for plowing under, crackling brown under sandaled feet with chilled toes, under woolish night with mothhole stars, her body raw beside dry stalks, why, she thinks, why does every surface her skin touches—every fingertip reaching for her armskin in the dark of a velvet movie theater or palm on her lower back in a crowded club—spark and rub her raw. Thinking how sad the corn’s been grown and given-up and still there’s some left that got missed, she figures this must be how the pebbles in a stream feel.



You look like you don’t have a mother, mine would say, frowning at my rumpled plaid school uniform skirt, my wrinkled white-ish blouse. And I understood it to mean I should shake them out good before dressing, should hang them on my closet doorknob or bedpost after school, should keep them as near to ironed-looking as I could, though the pleats could never crisp themselves, would instead widen with crosshatch yawns like a bored bedspread. She would sigh at me then drag her tote-bag to the public school, leaving me to take the Catholic bus. I would wear the skirt as many days as possible, until I spilled chocolate milk at lunch, or slid down the slide too fast into its mud-patch terminus, then I tossed it sheepishly into the laundry pile, used skirt number two. Until I taught myself the machine, learned laundry like a mother, knowing it was supposed to be enough that I had been given the plaid at all.



Kerry Trautman was born and raised in Ohio. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Slippery Elm, Free State Review, The Fourth River, Thimble, Midwestern Gothic, and Gasconade Review. Her poetry books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020,) and Marilyn: Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas (Gutter Snob Books 2022.)

Ballet Bun by Jeremy Szuder

Ballet Bun

You, my daughter, face the horizon
of these California mountain sides,
sitting in a wooden chair
and brushing your hair to the South.

First you fan it out from the center,
the tips reach to touch all of the beaches,
and then you gather it sternly and
twist it taut into the perfect bun.

Today you will dance while the gulls
fly over sandcastles whose moats
melt away with every
crash of stone cold saltwater wave.

Today you will laugh as the foam lips of ocean
lap back, and forth and back again.
The coastal seasides have got their work
cut out for them as they continue
bidding nature’s call,

and being beautiful simply because
it is what the miles of beaches
do best in our observant eyes.
But only after shadowed under you,

my child, who spins and washes
nimble legs across shiny floorboards.
It all lies sacrificially under you,

waving graceful arms and
pooling in quick circles,
gliding that ballerina glide.
They were the dances that had been

best left to the salty winds of Earth
and the tides from gravity’s most
difficult school for students.

Jeremy Szuder (he/him) lives in a tiny apartment with his wife, two children and two cats. He works in the evenings in a very busy restaurant, standing behind a stove, a grill, fryers and heating lamps, happily listening to hours of hand selected music and conjuring ideas for new art and poetry in his head. When his working day ends and he enters his home in the wee hours, he likes to sit down with a glass of wine and record all the various words and images that bear fruit within his mind. Jeremy Szuder only sets the cage doors free when the work begins to pile up too high. In this life, Szuder makes no illusions of being a professional artist in any way, shape, or form.

An Art Deco Intertitle Says She’s Sad by Kristin Garth

An Art Deco Intertitle Says She’s Sad

The oversized eyes & emotions don’t translate
in the era of high definition,
surround sound which only exaggerates
the decibels of this desperation,
the thud of platform Mary Janes, shin bones
collapsing alone on reproduction
Victorian fainting couches to moan
in iPhone Voice Isolation mode one
too many Facetimes & modernity
makes one incomprehensible in DM’s.
This suffering belongs in a silent movie
with photoplay accompaniment — then
the muted howls won’t bother you as bad;
an Art Deco intertitle says “She’s sad.”


Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist, the author of a short story collection You Don’t Want This (Pink Plastic Press), The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and many more books.

Two poems by Taylor Emily Copeland

The peach is bruised

on the dull kitchen countertop,
a lesson in what neglect can do,
what the lack of touch leaves
behind, in the wake of a silence
deepened when one body finds
an escape plan, when resentment
steeps like tea in boiling water on
a morning that has become an
emptied milk carton—the piles of
junk mail left on a chair to tumble,
a reminder in name only, that he
lived here, that you once were the
pulse in his veins.


These necessary violences

The broken stems of rotted flowers
poke up from a kitchen trash can,
the aftermath of a masquerade,
how death is never as pretty as we
paint it. Touch sensation becomes
a phantom to fingers, muscle memory
in early onset dementia—love is a
painting on a wall, a throwaway novel
in a dollar store. The heroine has
taken up arson, will cross her legs
and watch the field burn from her
window. No love letters remain.
The cleansing ritual begins.


Taylor Emily Copeland is a poet from Eastern Pennsylvania. She is the author of two chapbooks: “Caffeine kisses and long sleeves” and “Monarch”, and a micro-chapbook, “The girls no one can find”, all available from Maverick Duck Press. She is a four time Best of the Net nominee and also was nominated for Best of the Web. She reads obsessively, likes pink things, drinks too much coffee, drives aimlessly and falls in love too easily. She is unashamed of all of it.