Epilogue by Julia Guez

By Julia Guez A cistern full of asters, notes from the split–risk ward above the lindens tops of poplars wave in the long light, an agitation of birds. What they fever after, I have fevered after— in tight swaths—circling the only one who makes all the seasons more beautiful than they really are. Coming now to the place where no word is apt, parting. Wendy Videlock, Chaco Canyon, photograph

Poems by Cristiana Baik

by Cristiana Baik Autoconstrucción¹ My second life began with fabrication my other name plucked from a book by Auntie Kyung, in a plane ride to California from Seoul. In the breach that was the Pacific what was familiar became interpretation that always-constant point of reference: ghost-shades of adolescence toward transformation—that different place rewritten: where I was born. Life became about arriving, property lines and furniture, new rooms thus dividing walls, eating spaghetti with chopsticks, a washing machine and never drying clothes out in the sun. My father’s absence and golf clubs, cardboard boxes and accumulation. That’s why we marry, my friend Alex explains. That’s why we write and get tattoos. Objet Trouvé Mid afternoon hour’s changing light—fetching. Thunderstorms in distance resemble washed-over paintings, blue sanded down pale. In a dream, there were no paths or roads. Just piled-up stones where trees began to grow. In another dream a hat, obsidian, wire mesh, broken shells and plastic buoys. Hula-hoops. He said, This is an encounter, all the while I thought it impasse, watching the delicate rupture, flood of light darkening into vast open space. I was left with found fragments, possibilities after points of convergence becoming equilibrium. I told him there...
Read More

Issue 04 Masthead

Masthead Executive Editors Managing Editor Alexandra Watson Literary Editor Chris Prioleau Editor-at-Large Melody Nixon Publisher Zinzi Clemmons Genre Editors Fiction Editor Scott Dievendorf Poetry Editor Joey De Jesus Visual Art Editor Legacy Russell Nonfiction & Blog Editor Cecca Ochoa Administration and Development Designer & Webmaster Ingrid Pangandoyon Development Manager Crystal Kim Events & Promotions Coordinator Joe Ponce Multimedia Coordinator Belal Rafiq Social Media Manager F.T. Kola Copy Editor Marina Blitshteyn Founders Melody Nixon Zinzi Clemmons Jennifer Ohrstrom Aaron Shin Advisory Board Cathy Park Hong Margo Jefferson Marie Myung-Ok Lee Victor LaValle Roger Reeves Keith Solomon David Mura Paul Beatty Gary Shteyngart Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Sea Psalm by Becca Liu

By Becca Liu Where evening meets a shell-shocked lover is a distortion of light on water. The shell-mottled sidelines are a construct of winter, contouring a melody nestled in return. We hear the clip of persistence, pearly presence of this gargling world. Gulls plummet in circles and low clouds swagger in. I carve the beach to bring you to water, to forge you a one-winged bird in shallower pits. In the low country, winters are not enough. Heaving seabeds dry to salt. Slowly you peel the skins off a grapefruit, fingers clinging to the cottony pith.

Fruits 8th Grade, Freshly Emigrated from Mexico by Paco Marquez

By Paco Marquez sandias are watermelons melones are melons limones are limes limas are lemons crucifixion of blood fruits teenager baffled by a new language resting on gestures speaking in tongues throat driven down hallways wood shield as smile little body asphyxiating on delicately cut prunes elegant phrases eaten not this pinprick not that whistle minute words asphalt affection backs turned mini flesh never mind hot luck re turn sit this eat hi oh! o

Poems by Ladan Osman

by Ladan Osman That Which Scatters and Breaks Apart Everywhere they turn, the walls ask, why, why not. From every space someone calls a question and there echoes so many answers, it’s impossible to hear. Save me, he calls. Open me, she calls. Divorce me. Their despair is a bird in an abandoned nest, its brother has jumped out and died, its sister is dying beside it and still it perches: Do I fly? Can I fly? You’re here because you said, I hate you instead of, I’m sorry. You’re here because you couldn’t forgive but kept on making stews and hand-washing his good socks, blowing curses into hot water. “Knives All Over”, 2013 by Alison Kuo. Digital Photograph Trouble I have a chill in my womb. I have a child in my wound. Everything is massed up. The sea doesn’t blow. The wind rivers the sea in the wrong direction. How will I get along with this man wolfing me? How will I get alone? He herd me. It never bordered me before, what I got as a regard. We used the hardest language. We cast threats. We’ll born in hell. Some of us fall by the waistside and...
Read More

thread by Victoria Matsui

By Victoria Matsui the person who threads my eyebrows tells me “my husband loves long hair, so i cut mine short.” we can’t stop laughing, she’s already bent over, i’m already lying down: two asian american women. for years, she has taken care of me, her labor physical and emotional. capitalism tries to dictate the terms of our relationship; we obey and struggle to be ourselves within it. i close my eyes, she looks close, she chooses which hairs to pluck. she shapes my expressions. we ask questions, we listen, we slowly reveal ourselves; the space between her face and mine is for trust. before i can romanticize it all, capitalism reminds me to show my gratitude with a big, crass tip. then we hug goodbye. “love and exploitation are not mutually exclusive” and strategies of resistance are everywhere.     “Thread”, 2014 by Jess X. Chen. Goauche on Paper, 8” x 10”

Benton, Revisited by Koa Beck

By Koa Beck Benton had been named for the uncle he’d never met. Growing up there’d only been one photo of him, the uncle: a single ghostly face in the oval frame where the two walls met in the dining room, removed and set away from the mantel of family portraits that served as the crux of the house. His nose, downturned with the shadow of the camera, bore a faint resemblance to that of Benton’s mother. Benton had been informed of his namesake at four years old, while following his mother around in perpetual memorization of the family tree. He had just begun holding wooden blocks in his hand, assigning them an identity and placement. The red “R” was his father; the blue “L” his mother. But his mother was one of three blue blocks that also included Aunt Lorrie, his mother’s sister. “You have one of those,” his mother knelt down and picked up one of the blues. “You have a sister too.” She had explained that she and Lorrie had been children together, just like he and Isa, and that they came from the same parents too. “Your grandparents,” she fluffed his hair. “But who is this...
Read More

Featured Artist: Eliza Swann

Eliza Swann “A Bright Hand in Darkness”, 2014. HD Video Still, 6:16 from Gently Ai Goes Home   “A Bright Hand in Darkness”, 2014. HD Video Still, 6:16, “Light is the left hand of darkness…”   “A Bright Hand in Darkness”, 2014. HD Video Still, 6:16, The Blizzard   “A Bright Hand in Darkness”, 2014. HD Video Still, 6:16, “I am an exile—you for my sake and I for yours.”   “A Bright Hand in Darkness”, 2014. HD Video Still, 6:16, Why “Men” are Not Men   “A Bright Hand in Darkness”, 2014. HD Video Still, 6:16, “In the beginning there was ice and sun…”