my apocalypse arrived quietly // and took all my breaths away / with you.
what is it they say about apocalypses?--
that the world would be born anew:
bleeding red suns would be pinned to the sky,
and our hands would perpetually taste like thunder.
wide-eyed horizon. wet soil.
all of our shadows could look like phoenixes,
if only we are willing to be burned.
brows drawn together in consternation,
hands hummingbird-flapping. raging queues
for the bureaucratic evaluation.
blank forms. a pack of pens.
write: the price of your life.
soft mouths open. swallow rain.
teeth-less humans striding like predators.
we can be anything that does not bite.
in the thicket of the forest, a pair of eyes.
Anushka Bidani is a 20 year old poet and essayist from India. She's the editor-in-chief at Headcanon Magazine. You can find her at anushkabidani.com.
In Which Your Poems Were a Horrorscope Reading
when was the last time you took a bath, was it when you cut through the womb, all bloodied?
did sleep kidnap you on the way home?
didn’t you like it?
did you summon a dream of night swimming—the unconscious moon bloated in waters heavy
and dark that you breathed in—if you won’t see a reflection?
did you sink serrated white teeth in the surface of your skin?
did you market death as the nightmare you’d always have when you took pills to knock yourself
out even though you don’t even have insomnia?
didn’t you like it?
Rachael Crosbie (she/they) tweets things about She-Ra and The Princesses of Power, cats, and her fiancé. She has written work forthcoming or published in ALL GUTS NO GLORY, Wrongdoing Magazine, The Augment Review, and others. Also, they have two chapbooks: Swerve (2021) and MIXTAPES (2021).
Sam Jowett is a writer living in Toronto, Canada. They love to dance to dead disco and refract themselves in ethereal prisms. You can find their work in Room Magazine, TERSE. Journal, Pink Plastic House, and whispering along the edges of cirrus clouds. Follow them on Twitter @adabsurdeum
Cargo of absence
“Someone else dies and it must be / a poem. Maybe with blood. Maybe screams. Maybe”
— Gaia Rajan, Inside every poem, you can hear muffled screams
Maybe just to put pen to paper, I call upon more
loss than I can handle. Sure there is a poem lurking
beneath each gentle stroke of her hair, but imagine
the verse when the air is there no longer. The trees
sway and hum a beautiful tune with the wind
but few know of the dance of deserts, where life learns
to swirl and tumble without the miracle of water.
Maybe I am but a carrier of a thousand losses.
Some mine, others I have picked up myself
from the beds of people whose names I also count
as losses. I feel like the ocean. Not its beauty, its wildness
or its ability to keep moving. But the way it oracles loss
and dissolves memory like a grain of salt or my uncle
over the edge of that boat. & ever since, when I summon his face,
his smile is never complete, his eyes never bright enough.
Almost as if the closer my memory gets to perfect, the farther
he goes away from the depths. Almost as if to snatch him
from death. & my arms are not long enough or my tongue
not fluid enough. Or I haven’t learnt to swim well enough.
To harness the waves of memory that I become it completely.
I have recently been studying the poetry of wounds;
- How the body’s first response to loss is bleed. Weep.
- How the perfect symmetry of the body is not appreciated until a dent – which is to say
that a wound is necessary: a hole in the earth waiting for new seeds, rain, flowers.
- How it seems that blood sits behind the door of the skin, constantly calling the blade to
puncture the solitude.
‘Matter can neither be created or destroyed’
For every person I lose, I feel a weight within.
Someone said the memory resides in your bones
like an anchor, restraining you from following
their footprints to the edge of the water. Like an ache.
& I cannot walk. Give me a staff or a pen. Something
I can walk with or write myself into a new page.
You always hold back a tear when you read my poems.
Almost as if you can taste the hollow in my chest, the smoke
in my mouth. I am not burning. I am already ash. The fire
has moved on. Hold my hand. I cannot promise forever.
I do not know if I have enough words left in me to last that long.
But for your sake I’ll write a new poem tomorrow.
Don’t worry I’ll put fewer words in it:
- No ‘flower’. You cannot fight death with a dying wreath.
- No ‘rain with dark-coloured rainbows’. I am not going to overdescribe my pain, lest it
become whole, living, absolute. Just a box is fine. With four black-clad men lower me in
and complete the rhyme.
Salam Wosu is a Chemical engineering graduate from Nigeria whose poetry has been featured in various literary magazines and has been shortlisted for the Korean Nigerian poetry award (2017 and 2019).
And the Universe Said We Are Everything You Think Isn’t You
in October, Mars will
make its autumnal arc
with our Moon, and decorate
the night sky with red.
It will sit so close
to the rounded pale disc,
as if it too, so many miles away,
wishes to be with us every night.
they say we come
from that little red laser dot,
as bacteria stowed away
on an icy rock, careening towards
oblivion. What it must have been like,
to make that long journey
in the crater of an asteroid, to crash
into the hot rock
that would become the Earth,
to sink into the primordial soup
of water and magma. And then,
against every odd--
as suddenly as stars give out
and implode into blackness, as
suddenly as this universe began
in a symphony of heat
and light and nowness--
to breathe again under the sun.
This is Not a Poem, It is Protection
“So be it”
This good morning, I let
the birds wake me before the sun.
The mourning dove cries
for me until I get myself
out of bed. I walk barefoot
to the front door and before I step
out into the pinking dawn,
I turn my back to the world outside.
Climb my porch steps from memory
one, then two, and land on the rocky
pavement. Walk myself backwards
down the driveway until I reach
the harsh dip of it into the street.
I cannot pick up my tracks here,
as there is no dirt, but I touch
my hand down to the dewed ground
and sit a while. Close my eyes
and let the newly arrived cardinal
sing a prayer for me. Soon,
I straighten myself up, and enter
my home again. Drink the water
I should have used to rinse my face.
Spill just enough of my morning
coffee’s sugar on the counter.
When I sit in bed again, and watch
the sun greet me, I pray
no one else will die today.
Candria Slamin (she/her) is a recent college graduate from Virginia, USA. When she’s not being a poet, she’s busy being a giant nerd on the Internet. Find her on Twitter at @candyslam_.
Uncovered logs from the distant past and the future beyond.