Trees Trick Humans Too

By Amina Seyal

And the two trees, they            s w a y e d             back

and      f




h,       and            s w a y e d             back and    f





again, perfectly attuned with the
rhythm of the other.

They made a pact, and it sounded something like this:

Let’s make the people
who looked outside through their
windows for the weather
forecast think that today’s a
windy day.

Instead of coming out to throw
a frisbee, or lay on their porches
telling stories, they’ll all sit in
separate rooms staring at devices
turned on a foot and a half in front
of them. They’ll say about four words to
the others all day- words to do with
food and why the laundry machine
is making howling noises.

They won’t come outside as we’ve tricked them.
We can have our private time.


Five Lanes Too Many

By Charlotte Rose Pecquex

When I finally
woke up I was
and hit snooze five-too-many-times;
five-too-many-times was I late.

she says, secretary hands in blue
latex gloves; five-fingerprints
per side. The government is watching you
~ medium tea please, hot.

Getting whiplash in a
corporate looking building,
black glass reflective
windows, stumbling on the
padlocked backdoor-

Please buzz in and wait for the camera.
Nearly missed
appointments because
rude employees
are on lunch. I watch
unreturned smiles,
firm hands,
and misfiled paperwork,
all while I give up
my identity.

How dare she
says the girl
who knows no thank-you’s,
washy tears across her face. I help her,
only because
I feel bad for strangers &
it would be ten-dollars
for fifteen too late.

I watched her
count down the minutes
left on her rent-a-car.

the addition

By Eileen Harris

Under the moist spot
covering an indiscretion
sipping on moments
in a place, not mine
but borrowed and
left quickly
a cool fizz parts lips
a toxic
your rough, cold hands
smell like mine now
and if I could kiss…
truth, an illusion
or was it a delusion
those hours in stacks
sand empties
and the warm on my face
the heat between
thighs rubbing together
that bike for hours
we rode up and down and up again


By John Driscoll

No blurry or hurried lines can be seen,
But instead thin, straight, black outlines to a figure
While the background is filled by cloudy blurs the color of skin.
Most of what can be seen is perfect black:
A thin winter coat, with two large pockets.

Why do thin strands of hair change color?
Black, white, black, all pulled together as if one.
The figure’s neck is concealed with an aggressive lean,
Thick legs extend forward as do the shoulders.
Can she break into three parts like an ant?

There are blotches of black trailing away from the coat,
On either side, so that the figure stands outside of space.
Sticking out long behind like a tail is the coat,
It’s a cape, signaling power, an ominous presence.
Why else would it follow so far from its wearer?

The hard features of the face focus off the image,
One thin, hooked eyebrow, a thin, dark upper lip,
A harsh straight nose and a shy gray shadow.
Gray erupts from those strands of black and white hair,
Does it fade back? Emphasize the lean? Emit from the figure’s head as mist..?


By Meaghan Conlon

The string is supposed to lead you out. It’s supposed to be the connection to sanity you desperately cling to as you venture deeper and deeper into the dark. All the twists and turns of the Labyrinth have gotten you lost and alone. But you were always alone from the beginning; you just didn’t realize it. Chasing after visions of your friends, trying to follow the people you trusted and believed through the deceptions of the maze—it was simply an apparition of the mind. You want to convince yourself that you are not alone in this mess. That there is someone to help you, to guide you—but all that remains is a piece of string.

Like so many times before, you have been left to face the Monster alone. He lurks behind every corner and down every dank corridor. Being constantly on guard takes its toll on your strength, stamina, and soul. You can’t keep it up much longer—you will either succumb to the Beast or your own faults. Your mind will be just as much of your downfall as the Monster will be. Madness is just another type of poison.

The crumbling walls and dirt floor enhance the darkness surrounding you. The Labyrinth goes on forever and there is only one exit. You tug on the string—some reassurance is necessary in the never-ending gloom of the maze. As you release it to leave behind a trail, the ball of string clutched in your hand grows smaller and smaller. Just like your sanity, it slips away. Turn another corner, overcome another obstacle, ignore another apparition of a “friend” who wishes to lead you astray. Loosen the string, mark your trail. Deeper and deeper is the descent—the air is dry and breathing gets harder. Fight on, push on, find and destroy the Monster. Leave your trail; you will return triumphant. Suffocating now, you struggle to keep it all together. You’re losing it. Your mind’s unraveling. You blindly stagger down the passageway and run away with no destination in mind. You can’t do this much longer.

The string has run out.  

An Eternal Prequel to Dorothy’s Song

By Jeff Brown


I don’t have many memories of you and I
From when you were yourself –
They must be stored inside of a safe
Where I keep my important stuff
Because I know you were there with me,
Watching me grow up.

We went to the Bronx Zoo once, just you and I –
And the rest of the senior center –
But I think that is the only day that we’d ever spent together,
Just the two of us.
We got lost exploring and nearly missed the bus,
And I was running around in circles on ten year-old stubby legs,
Terrified we’d get left behind
While you strolled calmly, genuinely enjoying yourself.
You didn’t seem to care if we ever went home,
But fortunately, unfortunately for you, we found the parking lot
And weren’t even the last to arrive. But then,

My memory jumps to the day my family visited you
At the rehabilitation center, when I said hello to you
And you asked my dad who the pretty girl was. I couldn’t help
But laugh and be a strange combination of insulted and flattered;
Only because I was pretty. Years passed after that as I kept telling myself
That you didn’t know I existed anyway, so it didn’t matter
If I stopped visiting. That saying couldn’t be any more accurate:
You don’t know what you have until it’s too late,
And now my time is up.
Years drifted by without any visits,
Not because I didn’t care, but because I was afraid
That it would be the last time I saw you.

Then last summer, I asked Dad if I could tag along
To come say hello, which he was surprised by, yet pleased
To hear. You weren’t in the best of shape,
Unable to see or hear, or even uncurl your fingers,
But you laughed and laughed
And giggled in your own little world. When you spoke
It was in a labyrinth of rhymes and complex philosophical questions
As if you were both Socrates and Dr. Seuss. You didn’t recognize me,
But that was just fine because you were smiling. When you did finally look
In my direction, you asked me:
“What’s inside the sunset’s sunset?”
And it was after that I decided I wanted to come back with a notebook
To write down some of these phrases that you created. I’d eventually
Arrange them into a poem for you and call it –
Dorothy’s Song.

I never made it back. Your laughter told me there was time left,
But it might’ve meant the opposite. It was November 26th,
Three days before your 81st birthday,
And you were smiling.

south congress musings

By Nicole Gallucci


White sleep and daymares
of magnetic minds.
Suspended memories


like thirteen hundred dust
particles in the light.

Midnight ruffles
in the wind
black magic sun–
flowers peak and
petals plummet
towards textured tarmac.

Cheeks streaked
asphalt–mixed with salt.

Stitch me
with elite embers,
a single kiss
bordeaux bliss.

Fool me with those quicksand eyes.


By Crystal Rodrigues

Silver tin plates filled to the bowl’s brim with Farina. A tight, thick skin stretched over the grains, making them shake like jello to the rhythm of Mama’s hips as she walked them to the table.

Someone told me to start by scraping the edges with my spoon—to peel away the white skin from the tin, because the plate sucks up all the heat and leaves the sticky Farina cool. I went along scraping the edges, making a smaller and smaller dome.

I have a faint memory of Papa sitting at the head of the table. He was in a mood. Mama’s voice, like a bird flitting in and out of the kitchen to where we quietly sat, sounded exasperated, snippy. She often spoke to herself. She set a plate in front of Papa and chirped instructions. I hardly understood his response because his words always crumpled together into a deep grumble when he was in this mood.

And the only times he wasn’t melancholic he was laughing with eyes like slits.

But after a while he was quiet and slow—only to be addressed by Mama.

I remember my brothers sitting next to me. Quiet as we usually were in Apartment 20J. I watched wisps of Farina exhale, leaving our plates and escaping to the streets of New York through barred windows.
Plates of Farina were always the same. They start out fulfilling but end overwhelming.

Leave Me

By Loan Le

When Mom left for the first time, she didn’t say goodbye to me. She was gone for only a day, but I waited for her in our living room, my hands pressed against a frozen window. I asked the snow to bring her home. It was nine when they found her and led her back. Her keys jangled as she opened the door. I melted into her arms and dug my nose into the crook of her neck, inhaling the frigid air and her vanilla bean scent, being careful not to touch where Dad hit her last night. My hands became entangled in her curls—caterpillars crawling along a tree branch in the spring.

We broke apart when Dad said Ariel. She set me down gently and I hugged her thigh, the highest I could reach of her. Dad held a blue ice pack in one coarse, clumsy hand and beckoned her with the other. She went.

I played with my dolls, and made them kiss. I watched Mom and Dad sit at the kitchen table, foreheads pressed together, so close that they breathed in and out of each other. He whispered promises to her. After bath time, she tucked me in, smoothing away wet hair strands from my face. Dad’s snores bled through paper-thin walls. Mom said that she was sorry, that she’d take me with her next time she left.

But I’m still here.

I want to call everyone I know and have a huge orgy

By Schuyler Smith


I want to crawl deep inside of some of you and know everything. I want to paint your toes and cook you breakfast. I want to know exactly how you like your coffee and make it better. I want to save you and hold you and fix you and hurt you and dump you and take you back and disappoint you and hate you and love you more than I could ever conceive loving myself. I want to be a photographer and a rock star and a poet and a cowboy and a lover and a fighter and a rebel and a father and an explorer and a citizen of the world and a polyglot and a pediatrician and a psychologist and an alcoholic and a beatnik and a bum and a bike messenger and a priest and a nun and a nurse and a bus driver and a truck driver and a rally car driver and a dancer and a singer and an actor and a playwright, and a porn star and a cook and an orator and a bullfighter and a veterinarian and an anthropologist and a classical flautist and a French novelist and a bartender and I want to be happy.