#MeToo: Persephone by Caroline Zimmer

You went down, dragged
with eddies of dead,
foaming heads in the current
that welled like spit.

I went down,
his whore
on the trap house floors
that crumbled and caved in.

You went underground,
where triple hound maws
snapped. You spilled your blood
for their bruised tongues to lap.

I went, 90 pounds
with one clock to the jaw,
heard cockroaches in the walls
and his roommate fap.

He showed you his cock,
his sinkhole mouth,
bulge and roll scrotum
of pomegranate beads.

He showed me the jail lock,
the carnal brink
and bloodied my ass—

Our mothers don’t sleep;
who knows what they know?
When we come staggering back,
they stare, ash faced and blank.

The earth opens up like a woman, to waste.
Do they too suffer our surrender?
My mother picks scabs off her face.
We tie knots in our souls to remember.

The return is inevitable for us,
thawing through winter’s atrophy.
Pollen fails to mix with our hair’s death dust.
Mother’s leafy arms do nothing for me.

With the clotted seeds of the first dead fruit,
You descend again, stolen child, sovereign trapped.
Barefoot from the ER, I also get back,
fumble dreamily there with the needle in my lap.



Caroline Zimmer’s poetry, as well as her visual art, has appeared in The Maple Leaf Rag, Umbra and Unspoken magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where she lives with her Doberman, Iris and her fiancé, fellow poet, David Rowe. Caroline tends bar and reads tarot cards out of her home.


Detail of The Rape of Persephone by Rupert Bunny, 1913.

chimerism by Beth Gordon

fresh-boiled bats exit the atmosphere hungry balls of sonar an endless Icarus
serenade crystal quartz and crystal water vie for room in a melting
womb the vanishing twin reimagines landscape compositions still life
with skeletal bears flocks of flesh-gorged vultures empty mockingbird
nests you say sand you say snow you say white swallows white with no hope
of flame of reunion at journey’s end you say they died of broken hearts I say
we will roam future streets frozen ghosts in frozen ghost towns we will search for dead things forever floating in jars if this was a list it would be endless



Beth Gordon is a writer who has been landlocked in St. Louis, Missouri for sixteen years but dreams of oceans daily. Her work has recently appeared in Into the Void, Quail Bell, Calamus Journal, By&By, Five:2:One, Barzakh, and others. She can be found on Twitter @bethgordonpoet.





Related Article: It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying

Images via Wikimedia Commons.

Oxtail Soup by Tanya Ko Hong

Leaf_Print_on_Sidewalk oxtail soup_02

I look at the bruise on my left hand
dark purple

mung—holding in the pain
silence of sorrow
ashes spread on the ocean
settling in layers
palimpsest of lives
like maple leaf

impressions left on the sidewalk after
they’ve blown away
a raven on the roof that said
Disconnect the phone

Turn on the gas
making Oyako Donburi
tears come
cutting up the onions—
the best gift

I crack cold eggs
Whip pour over
boiling napa and chicken broth
close the pot lid
turn off the gas

pour over bowl of rice
feed child—

Empty unmade bed—
a summer river where
I didn’t want to see his body—

one poet said
after his wife’s funeral,
he found a strand of her hair
on the pillow and wept

I made sukiyaki the day my dad died—
I had to feed my children.

Oxtail soup
That’s what Daddy made—
suck out all the dead blood
and boil until broth turns milky—

When I leave
I want to leave beautifully.


Previously published in Paris Press Spiraling Poetry.



Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, poet, translator and cultural curator, has been published in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Entropy, Cultural Weekly, Korea Times, Korea Central Daily News, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Mother to Myself, A collection of poems in Korean (Prunsasang Press, 2015). Her poem, Comfort Woman, got honorable mention in the 2015 Women’s National Book Association. Tanya is an ongoing advocate of bilingual poetry, promoting the work of immigrant poets. She lives Palos Verdes, CA. http://www.tanyakohong.com


Photograph by Ryan Hodnett.

(Three Little Words) by Alexis Rhone Fancher

 For Francesca Bell.

M has never said I love you before.
Not to me.

He cries at weddings, like a girl.

The sex is only good if we’re totally fucked up.
It blurs how wrong we are for each other.

English is not M’s native tongue. It eludes him.

Maybe he misspoke?
His prepositions hang mid-air.

He says it’s hard to think when it’s hard.

M’s white teeth nibble at my clit like a ferret.
The two front ones indent slightly;
it makes him look goofy, like a joke.

Sometimes when we have sex, M’s calico meow trips
across my back. Rakes a claw. Caterwauls.

She doesn’t want me here.

Sometimes when we have sex, I am the one in heat.

Outside, the tin roof rain suicides
on the hard-packed earth.

M is fucking me from behind, his
body melded into my ass, fingers kneading my breasts.
He’s mumbling up the courage.
I know what he’s trying to say.
I want to fuck him mute.

In the bedroom there’s this
Dennis Hopper photo of Tuesday Weld,
driving, top down, blonde hair streaming.
Circa 1968. She’s unfettered.

Why can’t he see that
I am that girl, my top down,
my hair streaming,
my consequence-less life?

M. bought the print for me but
I don’t want it.
I want nothing from him but
a silent film, a carnival.
I want him to want that, too.

I want him to shut up but
he zeros in on my ear

and says it.


First published in Cactus Heart Magazine, 2014.



Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.


Photograph by Adhvaith.

Channeling by Martin Willitts, Jr.

The heat is hissing, and the lake is lower.
If rain ever comes to the rescue,
will it be too late? A few murmured sentences,
not offering relief? There’s a weariness to this
silence, just a stone’s throw away, a ghostly,
eerie light — hovering, a damselfly
barely making noise. This is channeling; but what,
we do not know, and we do not like the unknown.

We may not know restraint. We question.
We may not appreciate it if we do not get answers.
The lake is emptying with heat, hissing.
It’s light at its cruelest. It’s a damselfly whisper.
Like a thread unraveling, it’s the soul-light
emerging from a skull at death, I’ve seen it.



Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks and 10 full-length collections. He has 3 more full-length collections forthcoming including “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press), “News From the Slow Country” (Aldrich Press), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press).

#MeToo: Two Poems by LeeAnn Meadows

When I Told

When I told my mother
she held me in her eyes,
wide and moist for only a second,
then she straightened her face
make herself presentable
and said,
”Your father could never have
done something like that. . .
You must be mistaken.”

When I told my brother
he listened unresponsively.
Later said he thought of me like someone
who had been abducted by aliens.
All other aspects and belief systems
are normal except this one aberrant belief.

When I told my lover
he held me in his long wiry arms
and let me cry.

Previous Published in Take Back the News.

Forewarning, 1969

I see you, Mother,
your bare legs crossed
in the wingback chair
outside the rental on the riverbed,
walls still stained waist high
from the 64’ flood.
A bright bold print stretched
across your pregnant belly,
full with your firstborn.

I want to warn you.

The handmade sweater
you are knitting
will not always fit
the tall, thin man you married.
His prominent forehead hidden
under reddish brown curls
Working as a civil engineer
he will survey the centerline
for Highway 101,
an important task.
Nightly you will greet him
with a ready smile and dinner.
I want to warn you
pack your walking shoes.

After your second born,
your husband will not come
straight home from work.
He will start drinking
lie down with strangers
then sleep with every
best friend you make
until eventually, you stop
making friends.
I want to warn you
leave now because later
you will think about leaving,
but find yourself without
the courage to lace your shoes.

I want to warn you.
Your smile will strain
and you will start
to believe his lies.
Eventually, you will join
the False Memory Society,
as you become unable
to cradle the truth
in both hands.

Previously published in Sin Fronteras: Writers without Borders.



LeeAnn Meadows was born and raised in Humboldt County, California and now calls New Mexico home. She lives on the outskirts of Las Cruces with her artist/husband, Glenn Schwaiger, and two dogs in an old adobe motel surrounded by pecan trees. Her work has appeared in Sin Fronteras, Adobe Walls, and Malpais Review.


Art is detail of Knitting Girl by Anders Zorn.

#MeToo: Problem Solving by Mary Panke

Metaphorically, because math is metaphorical
and that’s all I have available now, I reach back

to my behind, call it point A and pull his hand,
call it point B, out of my 14 year old underpants.

Too often, his irrational digits, call them x’s and y’s,
plotted themselves in my lower quadrant. I was not

a Real Number to him, not real enough to balance
the equation, father daughter, more

a convenient outlier used to connect visible invisible
lines, upend vertices, split axes from bloody axes.

His engineer’s slide rule can’t calculate the loss
or comprehend the nonlinear distance traveled

to land this steely edge on the back of his hand.



Mary Panke is an emerging poet and Pushcart Prize nominee with work published or forthcoming in Word Fountain, Ekphrastic Review and Whale Road Review. She lives near Hartford, Connecticut with her three favorite people.