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ISSUE 26
CONTENTS

MAY 2017

Amy Miller
Jessica L. Walsh
Ana C. H. Silva
INTERVIEW: ire'ne lara silva
Jacklyn Janeksela
Jessica Abughattas
Leah Welborn
Cheyenne Nimes
ART: Stephen Langlois
Leslie Contreras Schwartz
Shevaun Brannigan
Kim Sousa
 

CONTRIBUTORS


Amy Miller

LOOSE RIB

 

It wants to invent
somebody. At night,
it stands on end,
staring out the window
at the bone-faced moon.
If it could, it would
unscrew its anchor
and embrace a boomerang,
flash half hula-hoop,
half bracelet into the blackened
sky. But soaked
in a brine of blood,
it floats in the body’s
museum, tapping
the lung with a long,
impatient finger.


Jessica L. Walsh

FROM HIS HEART A SPEAR

 

Antlers grew from his temples
human skin ceding seamless
to bone and velvet.

That first morning, as I leaned closer to look,
he held my face in his hands

and soon my head ached
with longing and phantom pain
as I wondered why I had none.

In spring his neck darkened
and a hard bump pushed outward.
By month’s end a single black feather
lay flush against his skin
as natural as a raven’s.

Sometimes his hands were bark,
and other days, cool scales.

Whatever he became, I stayed myself,
growing content to fatten and dim
in favor of his marvels.


Ana C. H. Silva

HAVING ONCE BEEN SPLIT OPEN
After Max Ernst's Sacred Conversation

 

Woman on the Right

Having once been sliced open
      —for mirror-twins, it turned out—

oneness, wholeness
are suspect

I believed in the soul right away
when I saw them

remarkably similar bodies
perfectly distinct energies

one of earth and fire

the other of air and water

and what is my other double?
I might be a bird

Don't be fooled by the smart black shoes that pinch my feet
or my conventional skirts

The space above my neck and shoulders
is just sky

Woman on the Left

Having once been      split open
sliced open       with a bold knife
black thread passed through holes
              of my flesh
made by a blood slicked needle

not completely healed
            open   to the world
                        open   to love

a feeling of being un shut
       seamed but un whole
my scar tugs at itself when I stretch
my belly

I know there is danger
            who knows what will come out
slime   a broom   parts of insects   broken buttons

    feathers   dust
nothing — any more — as luscious
                                  as my children

steel circles my calves
when I pause    mid   step to think
maybe I am made of

just filaments  shadows interstices    
not flesh bone blood   and something called me


ire'ne lara silva talks about embodied poetry
and writing Blood Sugar Canto

 

Please describe your journey toward writing poetry that reflects on the experience of living in the body. Have you always written this way, or did you come to it over time?

Time. People have the idea that to write from the body is somehow more instinctual, more emotional, and less intellectually or aesthetically rigorous. I think the opposite is true. It takes ongoing work and thought to peel away layers of artifice. To peel away the habit of untruths and the way we hide when language and image are formulaic constructions. It takes discipline to listen to the body and learn its language. There is nothing easy about revealing your fears and hesitations, your pain and history.

I said something last year about Gloria Anzaldúa’s work (specifically, Borderlands) that only seems truer the more I reflect on it—that the work of certain writers has a powerful effect/affect on us because it is truth spoken from their bodes. And body-truth, lived truth, body-experience is powerful because it is truth than cannot be refuted. And when we read the work by a writer writing body-truth, we feel it in our bodies as well. Anzaldúa wrote about the borderlands and culture and language and spirituality—but she spoke from the lived experience of her body, and even now, thirty years after it was published, the book still speaks powerfully to people from very diverse backgrounds.

In addition to everything else they are, I believe writing and reading are also physical and energetic exchanges. Language infused with energy transfers that energy from writer to reader. In the same way, language from the body transfers from one body to another.

The most popular poem by far in my first book (furia) was “I come from women illiterate and rough-skinned.” I think it captured people’s attention because it directly spoke to being the daughter of my mother’s lived body experience, to being the daughter of all my mothers’ lived truths. In that poem I'd also wanted to say something about the lives of poor bodies of color—how they’re stereotypically seen as bodies living a life that is solely a physical experience and not also a spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and artistic experience.

With flesh to bone, my short story collection, the entire focus of the book was violence and healing and so again, I returned to body-truths, to body as witness, body as history and future, body as language and art and prayer, body as the site of transformation.

Blood Sugar Canto took everything I had. I wrote the last poems for it in 2014 and it shorted out my circuits for a few years. But I wanted it to be as true as I could make it.

For the book projects I’m working on now, the greatest challenge has been learning all over again—with these new themes and characters and ideas—how to remain as close as possible to the truth of the body.

SUSTO

                                       the old women say it is the accumulated weight
of so many sustos that cause diabetes 
                                                                      susto: not fright but trauma
and stress and shock and loss and grief
                                                                    which susto do i blame for all this
which susto was the first to begin breaking down my resistance which susto was
the last straw
                                    the knife that gutted me that drove me to the edge
pushed my body over which susto claimed victory and drove my very cells to
refuse the gifts of my blood
                                                          how do i name them all and once
named how do i uproot them unmake them and how do i heal

              what’s left behind

 

This book is so brave. It weaves together health and heritage, the importance of family and the ways family can save you; it can also be read as a series of songs that speak back to doctors who colonize and ignore brown bodies. I’m amazed that you did so much in one book! What compelled you to write Blood Sugar Canto?

At the end of 2010, my first collection of poetry had just been published. I knew I wanted to try writing a whole collection of poems with some thematic core. I asked myself what was I struggling with the most in my life—what did I need most to figure out? The first thing that came to me was diabetes. By that point, I’d been an insulin-dependent diabetic for two and a half years. My youngest brother, who lived with me, had already given up driving for a year because his feet and legs had become so numb that he couldn’t gauge the pressure he was applying to the gas and brake pedal. My father, who’d been diabetic for at least twenty-four years of his life, had just passed away.

I had a lot of feelings and issues and traumas about diabetes that I needed to sort through. I’d gone to poetry for everything else—to work through discrimination, alienation, culture shock, love, heartbreak, grief...to find my voice, my sexuality, and my language. 

At the time, I could only think of a handful of poems by Sherman Alexie on the subject of being diabetic, and so I thought, I’m going to write the book that I wish existed. So that I wouldn’t feel so alone in my diabetic body—so that I could explore this experience of being diabetic as a poet, poetry being the only way I’d ever been able to make sense of anything.

I started making a list. I knew I wanted to write a poem about amputation, my father’s greatest fear. I wanted to write a poem about tequila. One about South Texas. I wanted to figure out how to write a diabetic love song. I had to write about despair and depression. I wanted to write about my experiences with doctors. And from there, the list just grew and grew. I had many, many conversations with my brother about what else needed to be written about our experience—as people, as a part of our family, as a part of our communities. At least a third of the poems in BSC were prompts or ideas he suggested. The cover art is a painting by my brother that he was working on while I was revising the book.

The more I wrote the more clear it became that what I wanted to do was write a book that would inspire conversations. A book that would make people with diabetes or other chronic illnesses feel less alone. A book that might help non-diabetics glimpse what diabetes meant in a life. A book that would help family members or community members establish a dialogue. A book that might make doctors and other health professionals understand their patients a bit better or treat them more humanely. A book that would share my particular experience—a woman of color, Mexican-American, Indigenous, queer, from the border, born in poverty, an artist—living with diabetes.

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Purchase Blood Sugar Canto
from Saddle Road Press.

My favorite poem in this book is "the diabetic lover," because it allows, in the midst of fear, shame, and uncertainty, a way for desire and joy to exist. Please say more about that particular poem—the process of writing it, what it means to you, anything you like.

 I was watching some show—I don’t even know what—and the couple was raiding the refrigerator for whip cream and chocolate syrup and who knows what else, and it occurred to me that something that people would take for granted as fun or as a little adventurous would be something that a diabetic person would have to consider seriously before including in their sex play. If you think about it, nobody talks about what the sugar content is in flavored lubes or edible underwear or anything else.

But returning to the moment of writing that poem, it made me giggle to think of all those nutritional guides I’ve seen that list foods recommended for people with diabetes being consulted before heading to bed with items from the fridge.

As I went deeper into the poem, it became more about reclaiming sexual desire, pleasure, and agency over one’s body. So much of the time, the chronically ill body is seen as just that—chronically ill to the exclusion of everything else. But we are more than our illness—we are still living and participating in everything that life offers. And while the 25 granules of brown sugar speak to the limitations and awareness that diabetes imposes and requires, they map out the lover’s body in small explosions of sweetness and sensation. By the end of the poem, I hope, the reader is focused entirely on pleasure and on the relationship between the lovers.

 

THE DIABETIC LOVER

 

it’s not recommended,            my love
             that i    cover your body         with whip crème
                          and chocolate syrup
                                 maraschino cherries
                                              for aesthetic emphasis

i could not dust you
                               with enough whey protein
                           to make up for all
                                                     those empty carbohydrates

              i cannot tongue red wine
from your body
                          or drink shots
                                       out of your navel
                since that
                             would make me
                             quite literally
                             sick

but the thought of
             grilled chicken breast
             and veggies with half
                   a cup of brown rice
                  served on your skin
                               does not seem
                               conducive to
                                            a night of passion

                               no        for sweetness
                                                      all i’d need would be
                twenty five granules of
                                           turbinado raw cane sugar
                                                                                                   oh so carefully counted

one      on your left temple
                          that’s where i’d begin
            dark sweetness
                                       exploding against my tongue
            dark sweetness
                                       in the scent of your hair

                                                                                  three on your tongue  
                                                                  while i pulled on your
                                      lower lip with my teeth

one along your jaw
                                   one down your neck and
                                                               one on your clavicle
i see sunlight and lush
                                  green leaves playing
                                  over your skin
                                                                              two on one shoulder
                                  and three trailing down
                                                             diagonally to your hip
                                                                             i meant to use only my
                                                  lips mouth tongue
                                                                            but my hands can’t
                     resist following the
                                                           waves of your body
                                   the ocean crashing
                                                                           in my ears

i’d take five
                                   in the palm of
my hand
           and rasp them against
                                                          the tips of your
                                       breasts
          drink in your gasp
                                                         then hunt for every bit
                                                                                      of sugar cane dust
                                                                                     while you sighed

                                     three down
                                                 your abdomen
                           like far-flung
constellations

           my mouth
                          on your belly
                                        always makes you
                                                      curl up
                                        i’d catch one foot
                                                     and then the other
                         place a granule
                                                                    on each arch

since raw cane sugar
                               doesn’t dissolve at
                                                              the first touch
                                              i’d roll one granule
                                                             up your calf
                                                                           another from your
                                                                                          knee to your thigh
one from your
                             thigh to your hip

and then i’d find
my twenty-five granules
gone

                            but no worries, my love
                                        i’d murmur against
                                                   the apex of your thighs

                                                                               your sweetness
                                                                                            always renders
                                                             any      more
                                                                                           excessive
                                                                                                        and
                                                                                          unnecessary

Please share with our readers a list of 5-10 books you think we should read right now.

 Joe Jimenez: The Possibilities of Mud (Korima Press, 2014) and look out for his forthcoming collection which won the Letras Latinas/Red Hen prize and will be published in 2019.

Sarah A. Chavez: All Day, Talking (Dancing Girl, 2014) and look out for her forthcoming collection, Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications, 2017)

Barbara Jane Reyes: Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010) and look out for her forthcoming collection, Invocation to Daughters (City Lights, 2017)

Those are all poetry collections I’ve absolutely loved.

Also wanted to mention a few books that are at the top of my to read list:

House Built on Ashes by Jose Antonio Rodriguez (University of Oklahoma Press, 2016)

Spill by Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Duke University Press, 2016)

Whereas by Layli  Long Soldier (Graywolf Press, 2017)

And whenever I talk about writing from the body, I always end up mentioning the work of Jeanette Winterson, especially her collection of essays, Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery, and her novels, Written on the Body, Gut Symmetries, and Sexing the Cherry.


Some Rogue Agent fans are just beginning to explore what making art about the body would look like for them. What advice would you give to someone just starting down the path toward writing poetry that features the body?

Promise yourself to tell the truth. And the more naked and vulnerable you feel, the closer you are to the truth.

Listen to your body and learn its languages and rhythms and energies.

I was talking to my friend Natalia Sylvester the other day (author of Chasing the Sun) and we agreed that if the writing was coming easy, then we were doing it wrong. The more difficult, the more challenging the writing was, the more we knew we were on the right track.

Strengthen your resolve before you show your work to the world. Depending on who’s around you, it might meet with condescension, incomprehension, or opposition (or worse). Figure out who will support and challenge you to find your voice and your work.

And lastly, read work not because you “should,” but because it speaks to your body. Because it makes you start, because it makes you weep. Because you feel its electricity zooming around inside you. You never forget the work that lives in your body that way. For me it’s Juan Rulfo and Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde and Hafiz and e.e. cummings and Leslie Marmon Silko and many, many more.

ILS-headshot.jpg

ire’ne lara silva is the author of two poetry collections, furia (Mouthfeel Press, 2010) and Blood Sugar Canto (Saddle Road Press, 2016), an e-chapbook, Enduring Azucares, (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015), as well as a short story collection, flesh to bone (Aunt Lute Books, 2013) which won the Premio Aztlán. She and poet Dan Vera are also the co-editors of Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, (Aunt Lute Books, 2017), a collection of poetry and essays. ire’ne is the recipient of the final Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldúa Milagro Award. ire'ne was recently named a 2016-2018 Texas Touring Roster Artist. Visit her website at irenelarasilva.wordpress.com .


Jacklyn Janeksela

BELLY BONES  

 

from down there, she cries//from down where, it whispers//from down here, she cries
no one expected her voice, not even she or her or they

and she explains down there is like this::

beneath the ocean that splits open shells where mermaids
spool and thread sea moss to make wigs for mermen

just under the lid of a coffin, it closed her life off for good
without warning, it still shakes under new moons

buried in the foothills of a wide open plain covered
with rocks that mimic spiders that mimic tumbleweeds that mimic hair

an outer space in reverse where the stars vibrate a mighty song
and ripple time like a broken mirror, it’s all soundless

below her pillow where she trembles from between death and orgasm, the
hand that holds her there is her own but it’s also theirs

and it could be yours, too


Jessica Abughattas

MAMA
after Sylvia Plath  

 

First they tell her how beautiful she is, then they turn their gaze toward you,
She looks like her father, your daughter doesn’t look like you
The same beauty mark and his last name from Peru
Father’s mother hated mama and you have her eyes steel blue
You tiptoe around mama and mama tiptoes around you
If today is good mama might bake a cake and let you stir the goo
and if you are good and quiet, she might let you lick the spoon
On bad days mama stays in bed and shuts herself in her room
You sit in front of the bannister and stick your fat legs through
You are solitude and rue, mama says, an animal from the zoo
You hate your feet, the sounds they make, when mama calls for you
to bring the pills, bring the bottles, boil the water for winter stew
Your steps inconvenience mama, mama is inconvenience too
Mama is the wicked witch on mute, air in place of the cackling shrew
When mama emerges from her lair with smile and sinew
She brushes your hair, irons your clothes and calls you honey dew
Then mama snaps back to black before the bottle can unscrew
It’s back back back to the bannister and dreams you might fall through
Dreams of screams that might make mama, mama finally finally listen to you
You heard mama say she never wanted children
What mama wants is a silk-white shirt, the funeral dirge, a house devoid of you
When you’re twenty she’s hip-less and gaunt, thinks she looks better than you
What rattles in mama’s brain so hard rattles in yours too
Why did you do this to mama, why did mama do this to you
Mama, mama you bitch, your 6 year old was stronger than you
Mama is the big house forever, vacant as has always been true
Five welts across your face, one for each finger not meant for you
You do not do, you do not do
That’s my daughter, mama says, thin and blonde and blue
She looks like her father but she’s a good little reader, and she didn’t get that from you
and mama says she is so, she is so, she is so, so proud of you
Mama is a dress made of lips and breasts drooping down like Pablo’s period in blue
Mama is Spain tearing flesh from flesh, leaves the wounds unstitched in you
You are Guernica, the hand that holds the lightbulb, then kaboom,
Mama needs her pills for the ache in her head, the ache in her back, the ache the ache of you,
Mama aches through the house, and the house, the house aches when she drips through
She says she’s like Dali, as she stains the walls in every starving hue, and the walls,
the walls ache too.


Leah Welborn

CAGE MATCH
 

I wager most every woman or girl

has had to lie down sometime when she didn’t want to

and it was

just my time.                           He said “you got pretty titties little baby”

and he winked, licked his withered  old man lips.                             

I had just turned eight and a tiny

baseball bat beat against the inside

of my cage, a steady tattoo of fear and self-loathing.

 

Decades later my ribs are chattering like children.                 

They ask:       

are we playing fetch, or dead?           

And later when                       they ask about the blur  

(as if my flesh could bring me back together),            I tell them simply

It was magical. It was a small round bruise on our sins.

 

I run my fingernails across the smooth bones, pack them away

in folds of fat for safe-keeping

alongside their bejeweled sternum, natty as an ascot,

and tie the whole package

                                                                with pink silk ribbon.


Cheyenne Nimes

THE LOVERS.
 

If a meteorite is both large and moves fast enough, it glows at a degree often brighter than the sun. It blocks out the sun, the light the world appears in, the bruised light. Face-off. The Lovers is not an easy card in any deck. Their hot breath hits us in the face. Primal ember, prehensile tail, you wouldn’t believe something that big could come in that close & be so quiet. The enemy always tries to surprise you, to catch you off guard. The menace of an empty sky. You just keep upping the ante. To capture this on film you must be quick. Get on an even angle with your subject & shoot it straight on. Whatever town you’re in, just say that name. If you’re on the surface, float motionless. Don’t touch ground. The four card, the devil’s bedposts. Five is fever. Seven fishhook. You’re supposed to play out the hand you’re dealt. But you can’t conquer it, settle it, even own it. White reflects all visible frequencies, it sends back everything. Don’t look at me. Stepping toward earth and away again. A heart-shaped region. A single stone was observed to fall. The thing which was seen was not made out of the things that appear. She was wearing a cloak & a hood & a really burnt face. What it was in the end when the sun lifted itself off it. There’s no place left to run. Swinging in circles, under the influence of the gravity of another body. And the final escapist minutes. Revealing a layer of white gristle & dark muscle. Most knew what they were seeing before it hit the ground. But if they ever find her she won’t be herself.


Stephen Langlois

 

DEED OF ELECTROCHEMICAL TRANSFER

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Artist statement:

I’m fascinated by the seeming mundanity of everyday forms and documents–and the ability to subvert their intended purpose by changing their language while retaining the general ordinariness of their framework. It’s a tactic we often see employed by parody and satire, though in conceiving DEED OF ELECTROCHEMICAL TRANSFER I wanted to see if/how I could take this one step further. Biochemistry is another area of fascination for me–particularly as someone being treated for clinical depression–and it seemed an interesting experiment to take an utterly banal-looking document and within it trace the minute, almost otherworldly inner workings of the nervous system. That those brief electrochemical signals passing between our synapses seem to be responsible for so much of what we think and feel as humans is both discomforting and absurd to me. With DEED OF ELECTROCHEMICAL TRANSFER I hope to highlight this discomfort and absurdity–and heighten it even further by creating what can never actually be: A document explaining–often over-explaining–that which is so often truly inexplicable.


Leslie Contreras Schwartz

AUDRE LORDE QUESTIONS ME, OR HOW TO BE A NOBODY, A LOSER, A ZERO
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too? — 
Emily Dickinson
 

I do not have the words
To say I exist
If I don’t, to some,
Not in the way that matters
Which matters in the same way that

Some girl finds herself
Sitting nude in school parking lot
An alley behind a factory or a darkened
Street by a bayou and forgot how
She forgot she was cold and naked
Forgot she was 15 but remembered
The years 4 and 5 and 6

Its brilliant streetlight of years
When he brings back her
Clothes and turns

On the days my leg, legs, feet, drag
Behind me. These are not the only days
My body feels the weight
Of Brock Turners behind a dumpster.

I am nobody
If not the black men
Whispering I can’t breathe
If I’ve heard and wake up the next day
Like I didn’t
Like the bent-over brown bodies in
The country’s long armed fields
As they inhale pesticides
That smells of loneliness and
Murder and if they keep smelling it
They believe it’s the scent of their mother’s warm bosom
That country of warmth

O, to climb into that—
The inside of a hotel room
Or a massage parlor or a cantina
Or a unairconditioned kitchen
Or a back room in that house
Or their parents’ room or a sister or
Brother’s room
Where money changes hands over
Their body

I am not them
But some other nobody
And when I bore this nobody in
This body it didn’t promise to disappear
Later—How do I say?

I don’t have the words
To even whisper or write or think
What it’s like to be someone’s bodily and
Still-living Abortion

America’s fetus
The one they’d rather not bury
Since the soil costs money to shovel

Always the cost of labor

And the ones that did
The hangings, they left the bodies
Under trees’ boughs swinging

Now they hang us
Within ourselves,
So only we can see

Where I, in turn,
Hear them like leaden bells
In my chest, the thud of
Limb against limb

This music is mine
And I have turned it
Into a drum

What tyrannies meant to force,
Choke, smother,
Sear my body
I will finish myself, taste
Its sharp purple pain,
Its throb of a pistol

Whip. As long as I feel
What you do to me,
I know I am still
Alive.

And the others?
This is where
We differ. Those
Are my bodies too

Because once I
Was the girl sitting in the alley
So if it is possible then why not
Me when I see them,
Sisters, brothers,
Myselfs, a bunch of nobodies
Who forgot how they got
Left on America’s side road.

All these no bodied nobodies.
I wave to you from the bottom
Of my chest

Where our nobodies all hang
And thump their inglorious
God-given body song.


Shevaun Brannigan

A JELLYFISH IN NIGHT WATERS
 

Unzip my dress to sand falling,
                        a heap on the floor where
I was. A shell, a shell, a row
            of stingray’s teeth, shark’s tooth,
broken comb, porcelain shards,
                        a doll’s mouth,
            jellyfish tentacle reaching
like an electric fence
                         around the whole goddamn thing.

 

The ocean mouths
                        my waist.

 

Water hurled itself against
                        the cliffs like a man against
a barricaded door.
            Out in the bay,
the clouds darkened, the sky thickened,
                        my parents squabbled like seagulls.
            Fish began to upturn around us, then the drizzle,
we started back.

 

                        The jellyfish
stings tight around my spine.

 

If I learned patience,
                        it was when my father taught me
to look for sharks’ teeth.
            Sometimes sifting through the sand,
my hand filled with small translucent crabs
                        I rinsed away to keep searching.  


Kim Sousa

DYSMORPHIA
2016

My body a foreign house, yours home.
      Richard Howard, “The Difference”

 

I press cold hands under your shirt.
You push me away, pull me closer.
I say, poor circulation. My heart doesn’t like to do its job. 
You offer me a perc, put the pill in my palm.
Its round shell is each skipped beat in this body.
I shake my head. Tap my nose,
the deviated septum there like an interjection.
Forever rift. Canyon of cartilage and bone.
Here, in my cigarette smoke bedroom, you
still don’t believe I’m in recovery.
I press the pill to your lips and watch you swallow
without consequence.
I kiss your mother’s lips tattooed on your neck,
the diamonds like sober stars in your ears.
I think I could stand here a long time—
breathing through this body’s confused chambers,
blue as the day I was born.


Issue 26 Contributors

 

Jessica Abughattas is a Palestinian American writer from Los Angeles. She is an MFA candidate at Antioch University, where she is the Poetry Editor of Lunch Ticket. Before pursuing an MFA in poetry, she interned at Write Bloody Publishing and served as Editor of CurrentsMagazine. Her poems appear (or are forthcoming) in Drunk in a Midnight ChoirRoanoke Review and elsewhere.

Shevaun Brannigan is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, as well as The Jiménez-Porter Writers' House at The University of Maryland. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Best New Poets, Rhino, Redivider, and Crab Orchard Review. She is a 2015 recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant.  Her work can be found at shevaunbrannigan.com.

Jacklyn Janeksela is a wolf and a raven, a cluster of stars, & a direct descent of the divine feminine. she can be found at Thought CatalogLuna LunaThe Feminist WireSplit Lip; & elsewhere. she is in a post-punk band called the velblouds. her baby @ femalefilet. her chapbook fitting a witch//hexing the stitch forthcoming (The Operating System, 2017). she is an energy. find her @ hermetic hare for herbal astrology readings.

Stephen Langlois' work has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Portland Review, Lit Hub, Maudlin House, 3AM Magazine, Monkeybicycle, Matchbook, Necessary Fiction, and Heavy Feather Review, among others. He is a recipient of a The Center for Fiction’s NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship as well as a writing residency from the Blue Mountain Center. He also hosts BREW: An Evening of Literary Works and serves as the fiction editor for FLAPPERHOUSE. Visit him at www.stephenmlanglois.com.

Amy Miller Amy Miller’s poetry has appeared in NimrodTinderboxWillow SpringsZYZZYVA, and other journals. Her chapbooks include I Am on a River and Cannot Answer (BOAAT Press) and Rough House (White Knuckle Press), and she won the Cultural Center of Cape Cod National Poetry Competition, judged by Tony Hoagland, and has been a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize and 49th Parallel Award. She lives in Ashland, Oregon, and blogs at writers-island.blogspot.com.  

Cheyenne Nimes is a cross-genre writer living by the Great Salt Lake. Recipient of an NEA in poetry, she attended San Francisco State University and Iowa. 

Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a writer concerned with the experiences of women and girls, and turning stories of victimhood into stories of survival. She is currently working on a novel about human trafficking based in Houston, her hometown and where she continues to live with her family. Her first book, Fuego, was published in March 2016 by St. Julian Press. She earned an MFA in poetry Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared or is upcoming in The Collagist, Tinderbox Literary Journal, Texas Review and other publications.

Ana C. H. Silva lives in NYC and Olive, NY. Her poetry has been published in Podium, Mom Egg Review, the nth position, Snow Monkey, Anemone Sidecar, Chronogram, and Stepaway Magazine. She won the inaugural Rachel Wetzsteon Memorial Poetry Prize at the 92nd St. Y Unterberg PoetryCenter.  Ana recently created a community-based collaborative poetry project called "Olive Couplets."

ire'ne lara silva ire’ne lara silva is the author of two poetry collections, furia (Mouthfeel Press, 2010) and Blood Sugar Canto (Saddle Road Press, 2016), an e-chapbook, Enduring Azucares, (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015), as well as a short story collection, flesh to bone (Aunt Lute Books, 2013) which won the Premio Aztlán. She and poet Dan Vera are also the co-editors of Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands, (Aunt Lute Books, 2017), a collection of poetry and essays. ire’ne is the recipient of the final Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldúa Milagro Award. ire'ne was recently named a 2016-2018 Texas Touring Roster Artist. Visit her website at irenelarasilva.wordpress.com 

Kim Sousa was born in Goiânia, Goiás (Brazil) and raised in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with two illiterate pugs. Her work was most recently published, or is forthcoming, in Poet LorePEN & The Rattling Wall’s post-election anthology, Only Light Can DoThat, and The Pittsburgh Poetry Review. You can find her at kdowsousa.wordpress.com 

Jessica L. Walsh is author of How to Break My Neck (ELJ, 2015) as well as two chapbooks. Her second collection, Banished, will be published in 2017 by Red Paint Hill. Most recently her work has appeared in Yellow Chair ReviewWhale Road ReviewTinderboxMidwestern Gothic, and more. She has been nominated for Best New Poets, Bettering the Net, and the Pushcart Prize.

Leah Welborn is a feminist poet/writer who lives in Denver, Colorado with her two cats. By day, she's a copywriter for a major cannabis company. She earned an MFA from Antioch University and her work has appeared in ContraryConnotation PressPoets and ArtistsMental Floss, and various other print and online journals and magazines. She tweets @welbornleah.