Tía rebuilds her house as she snores

Runner Up: 2024 Philadelphia Stories Poetry Contest

To read “Tía rebuilds her house as she snores,” click HERE.

Purvi Shah seeds healing through anti-violence advocacy and creating art. Her most recent book, Miracle Marks (Northwestern UP, 2019), investigates gender violence & her prize-winning debut, Terrain Tracks (New Rivers Press, 2006), plumbs migration and loss. Purvi relishes sparkly eyeshadow, raucous laughter, and seeking justice.



Runner Up: 2024 Philadelphia Stories Poetry Contest

In the boat of the Buick, lake of ice
glinting in front of us like a tarnished mirror—
there in the empty Acme parking lot, my father
tells me: Step on the gas. And there it is
that moment of this-can’t-be-right, but
he nods, winds the window down until a small crack
forms along the edge and slips
the remains of his lit cigarette to skate
orange down the pane. He exhales smoke
from both nostrils and says, Step. On. The. Gas.
As my boot levels pedal to floormat, the tires
begin an almost useless spin—as frictionless
as teenage excuses. A brief catch
as tire grips asphalt and the car guns
forward until he says, Now, stop. He has prepared
me for this, and yet every instinct
tells me no. I freeze then force myself to flick
foot to brake oh how we spin—our DNA stretching out into endlessness,
the double helix pulling so tightly
against itself that it ribbons. Turn against the slide
against it,
and I do—back treads gripping nothing, connecting
with nothing, and we sail in glorious squirreling circles
until gravity slows us
and we stop.
And again, his commandment
as he sparks lighter to fresh Carlton,
But this time turn into it—you’ll see, so again I punch foot to gas
then pound the brake, the back of the car flying out
from behind us—the tail turning the fish.
And twisting into that slide, four thousand pounds of Detroit steel
comes under my control, the steering restored, the tires aligned,
and as I pump the breaks softly, as he tells me to do,
as though there is an egg underfoot,
we glide to a stop.

There, in the rare silence that is the snow, cigarette now pinned
between his teeth, my father grins. He flicks ashes
sideways into the waiting mouth of the ashtray—
the yellowed tips of his fingers
stained with nicotine.

Tara A. Elliott’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, 32 Poems, Ninth Letter, and The Normal School among others. An award-winning educator, she also serves as Executive Director of the Eastern Shore Writers Association (ESWA), and chair of the Bay to Ocean Writers Conference. A former student of Lucille Clifton, she’s been awarded numerous grants and honors for her writing and outreach, including the Christine D. Sarbanes Award from MD Humanities, The Light of Literacy Award from Wicomico County Public Libraries, and a Maryland Arts Council’s Independent Artist Award.


Make Her Dance

Runner Up: 2024 Philadelphia Stories Poetry Contest

Make Her Dance

After Juicy J

When the ones fall from the sky

we confuse the source of the Rain.

The ass shaking caused a deluge.

As it should be yet the hand is considered

the source. The clouds aren’t even the

source. White science pales in any comparison

forced by Black alchemy. The gold, the

shine, the minerals in deep conversation

but we only see paper. Shiny teeth snag on

the lights, a Diamond in the rough was carbon

first. life Fossilized then consolidated. Some LLC

is paid homage and the rain dancers are

forced to tip out. House money isn’t real. Plantation money

is. The club separates the haves and have nots. Miss recognition

got a smart mouth. All hail the fat ass, the rain bringer,

clapping and winning the battle of the bandz.

Vincente Perez is a poet and scholar working at the intersection of Poetry, Hip-Hop, and digital culture. He is a PhD Candidate in the Performance Studies program and a Poetry and the Senses Fellow at UC Berkeley (2021). His debut poetry chapbook, “Other Stories to Tell Ourselves” is available now (Newfound 2023). Their poems have appeared in Obsidian, Poet Lore, (De)Cypher, Honey Literary, Poetry.onl, and more. www.vincenteperez.com


A Song for Anna Mae

Winner of the 2024 Philadelphia Stories Poetry Contest

To read “A Song for Anna Mae,” click HERE.

LaVonna Wright is a poet, educator, and artist from Augusta, Georgia. Receiving her MA in English from Georgia Southern University, LaVonna is devoted to a poetic and academic ethos that centers on innovation, equity, & truthtelling. She writes to venerate Black women’s narratives, personal and historical, often bearing witness to the ways in which they have navigated grief, unraveling, and silencing; through her work, LaVonna aims to reaffirm the tenderness that has not been offered to them. You can find her sharing writings in her newsletter, spending time in community, or cooking something slow.


Chapters, timers on stoves, toothpaste—
these things warn about their ends. Timing
belts. Miscarriages. A skinny little trans-
planted tree giving up on itself. These
don’t. Like an open-armed daughter who
tears across a playground. Like a tired one,
almost grown, pleading carry me carry me!
Ghost moments. Like you and I talk.

That daughter kisses me goodbye and
gets on the Metro de Madrid. Three stops
to her apartment. I turn into the day.
An old metal-cased phone booth rises
up and out of the concrete crossroad.
Sky-blue side panels, grass-green tented
top, matte metal face, buttons to nowhere.
Nothing to hold onto. Slathered in symbols:

resta’irador / Hello My Name is / De meulbles y

antigüdades / numtas / 91 478 30 42 /

Nana Karamel Tatoo / IBIZIA59 / JUAN GALGO /


Palimpsests and echoes, messages crawling out of
bottles, regrowing tentacles: acetylcholinesterase
in action. We have this protein, too. Los Madrileños
reaching out and receiving. Even though their ghost
lines ache. Even though those lines have been

Chapin Cimino is a creative writer living, writing, and teaching near Philadelphia. Besides connection, she loves daughters, risotto, properly made sidecars, cities without skyscrapers, and raising her heart rate. Chapin’s creative work has appeared in Hippocampus, The Write Launch, The Dewdrop, and The Curator.


The headline says, “Rosebuds on remote
island die from water shortage,”
and for the next three weeks, the networks broadcast
the bees that are lacking honey, shaming
the greedy Americans for their plastic water bottles.

“If only they could wait a day for another cup of coffee,”
the article begins, “the rosebuds would receive
their fair share of water and could feed
the bees that are shriveling into jellybeans.”

Overcome by guilt, the Americans try to save
the dehydrated blooms. They shut off their water and
live like gatherers. Anyone seen within arms distance
of a faucet is fined three hundred dollars.

After three months of conservation, they’re told
the rosebuds still haven’t recovered, so the Americans
storm the island carrying truckloads of water,
heartache, and honey. Upon arrival, flocks of bees
buzz overhead, and the Americans are greeted by a field
full of vibrant red. The Americans clink their keys
in their pockets and shuffle around. The next minute,
everyone gets a headline alert that says,
“Rosebuds on remote island have risen.”

Chris Faunce is a writer from Pennsylvania. He graduated from Drexel University in 2023 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He won Drexel University’s Creative Writing Award for Poetry in 2019.

Scenario in Surreal

Spy into her casement’s window
At her apartment she putters
Front door fastened, two closets shut, cabinets
She has a nest at the office where she clicks away
She has a nest at the movie house

Stadium 5 seating re-running Gone With The Wind
A daunting grand buck
At a doorsill swears at her, “I don’t give a damn”

The woman is not trying any more, last week she tried
She walked herself into a Chagall painting at the museum
To realize its encompassment
To query how lovers decalcified float in the air
To observe in the gallery next how winged cherubs inviolably hover

The lady’s purse holds a book and a pencil
The point’s been blunted from lists
The yellowed paperback has tea stains
She repeats to herself, “Give me Peace”

The sun radiates
A fact comes upon her
She cannot grasp what it is, it was there and gone
The woman cannot move, she is pinioned
The moment void of weight
A neither before nor after the moment

She drifts to the gardens
It is the vacant end of the mall by the lake
Debit and credit cards have not discovered it
A bluebird and a cardinal flit on a branch
A great blue heron wings low over water
An updraft exits toward blue
A fluttering, soft, as in askance

The woman flies up

Aside from his writings and professional career, including 20 years of university teaching, Harvey Steinberg of Lawrenceville, New Jersey has devoted time to voluntary leadership in arts and civic organizations. His poetry and prose have been published extensively and his artworks have appeared in dozens of juried shows. Many of his poems can be read in Agitations and Allelujas (2022, Ragged Sky Press, Princeton, NJ) and in numerous literary print journals.

June Moon

Don’t rhyme “June” with “spoon,”

unless maybe it’s one

that’s bent back & tarred black,

nor “moon” with “June”

unless you mean the bug big

as a car now battering my screen.

“Soon” also is suspect.

Expect it to be the same

as when pairing “breath”

with “death” in a previous line–

the poem had better

have depth in infinite fathom

& the rhyme, at least

one reason for being

besides the chime. Time is not

on your side, friend.

The end is too near to waste

even one unstressed beat

on a repeat of anything.


Yes, it will take some work.

Wait, do I hear you complain?

So you impressed yourself

slant-rhyming “duende”

with “pudendum,” but look—

already been done

& more than one time. Ditto

for subbing in “dog”

for its reverse rhyme, “God.”

It’s true both are dead

so far as I know, but—never mind.

The point not to repeat

a tired trope. The point is to hope

things will be better or different

—at least try to make language new—

I triple-God dare you.

Rebecca Foust’s seventh book, ONLY (Four Way Books 2022) earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was featured on the Academy of American Poets 2022 Fall Books List. Her poems, published widely in journals including The Common, Narrative, POETRY, Ploughshares, and Southern Review, won the 2023 New Ohio Review prize and were runner-up for the 2022 Missouri Review Editors Prize.


Crows & their eyes’ starry glint,

brassy anklets of sparrows, ruby-crowned kinglets:

among these trees all limb & lung, each is a jewel


churning hours, draping Earth in necklaces of song

that rain onto my bed of ringlets

black as crows & their starry glint.


My dark volunteers decide where they belong.

Abiding by the current of these glossy rivulets,

I shrug at the slim rings crowning my head, fussy jewels


I swear stand on end when the crows arrive each dawn.

Breezing from the trees (those gem cabinets)

the crows nearly appear to wink—that starry, starry glint.


I toss them some peanuts on the roof and lawn,

willing our adjacent lives to better bisect,

hoping they’ve glimpsed in this gesture a jewel


of goodness. The human shock of my face gone

softer, daily, till in beaks of black intellect

the crows carry a kinship with my own starry glint.

All limb & lung, wing & song, each of us: jewels.

Basia Wilson is a poet with a BA in English from Temple University. A finalist for the 2022 Banyan Poetry Prize, Basia’s work has most recently been published in Voicemail Poems and bedfellows magazine. Selected for Moving Words 2023, her work will soon be adapted for animation in an international collaboration between writers, animators and filmmakers with ARTS By The People.

5 x 8

Take the afternoon train toward


Fill the saddlebags of your Harley.

Go in peace.


I will wait under the birch

for the owls to cry.


Hitchhike to Columbus.

Carry a calico bandana full of lightning.


I will remember the hedgerow,

the small silver trout,

the history of icicles,

the taste of juniper berries on your tongue.


Pack your trunk, take your pistol,

Measure the wingspan of a barnwood flag.


I carry a snail in my backpack.

He chases a grasshopper

under stones.


Heartsick, your highway

whispers ‘tomorrow, heart,

ache’. This is a film,

twice forgotten:

a spaghetti western,

this balloon lifting

you from sleep.

Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent chapbook is A Field Guide to Northern Tattoos (Main Street Rag Press.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant and is currently Poet in Residence at Drexel University College of Medicine. Her newest collection, NO.HOPE STREET has just been published by Kelsay Books.