I wanted to grieve

but the garden

was in such a good mood

and the bubbly

blue sky

kept calling C’mon! C’mon!

and I swear

the wind lifted me

like a toddler

onto the burning back

of the sun

galloping in such

a wild and

unbroken way

that not once

did I think of

my mother’s ashes.

Andy Macera has received awards from Plainsongs, Mad Poets Review and Philadelphia Poets. His work has also appeared in Pearl, California Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Drunk Monkeys, Gyroscope Review, Straight Forward, Sierra Nevada Review, Old Red Kimono, Passager and other journals. He has lived in West Chester, Pennsylvania since 1998.


i wish the world would stop for me.

in its tracks, never felt such weight

gracefully crumble onto its palms.


i’ve added a couple of pounds

since i started walking the hypotenuse,

driving my life with triangular wheels.

what can i say—i came out of the womb horizontal.


how to lessen the weight?

starve yourself of these earthly pleasures.

shelter a cocoon and live and laugh all you want,

but wait until the world doesn’t glare anymore,


then the roads are open to rapture.

run as you will—lose more weight,

but swallow that impossible feeling.

it will be weightless gain.

full, impossible to hate again.

i swear i don’t miss the empty well,

where every sip of water is an echo in a spacious cave.


to be perfect is to cut skin and bone

and i no longer have to do so.

i am ever-molding surface no more.

my thinning love rhymes with pounds and mounds

and one day i’ll be loved and give love,

but still wonder if the jawline is sharp enough to cut.


when there is a way to measure how heavy,

learn to step down from the scale

and keep your worth (or weight) inside you.

after all, even a word sounding as nasty as rapture can mean bliss.

王潇 / Evan Wang is a 15-year-old poet from King of Prussia whose work has appeared in Juste Milieu, Bleeding Soul Poetry, The National Poetry Quarterly, etc. He is the recipient of the Youth Appreciation Award and a featured artist in the Our America Now festival. Evan is spellbound by the catharsis of the moving language and worships the pens of Savannah Brown and Ocean Vuong.

where something happens

how, at the trolley stop, we all have a common mountain.

morning like a tall pine the day starts with, strong and silent;


how heavy scarves and hats and gloves sleep

on our bones. that the silver tracks pull around the last stop,


by a wash-and-fold where something is always moving,

soap and water hiding the colors of soaked clothes.


how standing here is so easily understood: the patience

or impatience, the idleness of hands. how it’s acceptable


just to know you’re in the place where something happens,

where the route ends and then again, begins. it’s possible


to ride with spare coins, barely treasure, the range of it

like peaks and valleys: to creek or city, to streets and homes.


how the waiting here is a good thing, how everyone rushes

just to be in this, this very, this very happening place.

Rachel Betesh is a nurse and a gardener who writes poems – at a wooden desk in a 112-year-old house, with the window open. Her poetry has been featured in The New Yorker, long-listed for the 2022 emerging poet prize at Palette Poetry, and is forthcoming in Brink magazine. She rides the #13 trolley through Philadelphia.


You take Street Road back to the world,

pine needles fall nearby.

These places still exist, revisited

like a box of wilted baby pictures in a storage locker.

On a Sunday, you take Broad to Vine to I-95

and you take the exit to Pain and Mercy

and go to the places that kill you.

It all stands before you confident as ghosts.

320 Pine Court is still there and you drive slowly

and out of the passenger side window you see yourself

sprinting out the door

and you see yourself

walking behind Holly

over the pine needles

to the bus stop and the third grade

and your Oldsmobile is not where mom parked it

and a steakhouse replaces the woods you rode your bicycle through

and a wrought-iron gate keeps Street Road from Beech Court

and you want to call Kourtney Melendez and tell her she was the best friend you ever had

but you know that Cyprus and Spruce and Willow

are not to be revisited today.

Greg Probst is a teacher, writer, and filmmaker. He is the recipient of the Pam Perkins-Frederick Memorial Scholarship for the Marriage of Art and Poetry and the Dr. Allen Hoey Memorial Scholarship for Short Fiction. His writing has been featured in The Centurion, The Temple News, Hyphen, Rathalla Review, and through the Teachers Institute of Philadelphia. Probst is currently pursuing an MFA degree at Drexel University where he will be teaching first-year composition and creative writing.

Free postcard from the saint shrine

Deliciously dark confession

booths and big lightless

pupils with golden

grapes and dead guy

in a glass box. Everyone

so so still. So silent.

Backs of their heads

devotional. Guy restocks

the votives. Clink,

clink, the color glass.

Mary Zhou (they/she) is an artist based in Philadelphia. Their poetry is also forthcoming in Oversound and Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta B. Mayson’s Healing Verse Poetry Line. Poetry, both read and written, has carried them through the last two years. You can find them online at

’69 Mustang

To read ’69 Mustang by Joshua Barnes, click HERE.

Joshua Barnes was born and raised in Boyne City, Michigan, and is now a Philadelphia transplant with a career as a Nurse Manager. His poetry has previously appeared in Kairos Literary Magazine, The Bloom, and has been featured on the Lake County Arts Council website. He’s been a devoted comic book nerd since he was ten. When not writing or working, he can be found reading poetry and horror fiction, perfecting his handstands, or binge-watching Drag Race.


Dominicano soy!
Dominicano soy!
Dominicano soy
in a city of cold.

‘toy cruz’ao
in my heart.
My body, made of bark,
and hair of mango fibers
is rooted to the orderly lines
painted on perfect concrete.

Mi sangre de zapote
doesn’t move with
easy mountain river speed, here
in the
fluorescent white
banks of
fluoride streams.

No puedo bailar
como los arboles de palma en la brisa,
because in the mirror
I see a rigid oak tree
wearing a stiff shirt with tight collar—pero

Dominicano soy!
in the choking alleys
of montaña tall skyscrapers.

Dominicano soy!
barred outside the wide
finca de arroz bright
fashion avenues and high
art boutiques and white

Dominican soy!
morenito con sol
in the cold.

Dominicano soy!
while American.

Michael Angelo Abreu is a leaf. He takes frequent walks through the Wissahickon woods, musing about life and its many particulars, such as love, happiness, suffering, and spiritual growth. These kaleidoscope ideas find themselves splashed across his poetry. Through his exploration of writing, he seeks not only to further develop his voice but also to obtain a deeper understanding of who or what he is.

Authors’ Tea

In school we learned that there are four types of sentences

classified by their purpose:

To tell, to command, to exclaim, to ask.

I decided that I would not make demands of the world—

even my statements lacked the confidence of a real person.

Even they were a kind of asking.


There’s always one crayon that won’t fit back in the box.

I learned to take up the least amount of space,

saving room for the others.

I wanted to erase myself like a misspelled word

rubbing the paper so hard it tears

leaving nothing behind but pink crumbs.


The teacher wanted our best work for the authors’ tea,

but I knew my writing was asking too much.

So I wrote a new story, one that was a little charming,

a little funny, but not a lot of anything.

I used as few words as possible

to shorten the length of my voice against the gnawing silence.


In my retelling, I stand as tall as an exclamation mark.

I look you all in the eyes and I ask you—

no, I command you

to place your hands on my shoulders, gently, and tell me that one day

I will learn to use my voice to put out fires,

and also, to start them.

Sarah Mills is a former English teacher who now works as a freelance writer and editor. Originally from Delaware, she received her bachelor’s degree in English Education from the University of Delaware and her master’s in Literacy and TESOL from Wilmington University. Her poetry has appeared in Glass Mountain. She is currently writing a YA novel. You can visit her at

The Night Diana Died – ONLINE BONUS

Editors’ Choice: 2022 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest


Was sticky in the streets & I wanted to linger

in the theater with the girls on the screen:

girls called girls for a reason: soft, tragic, funny,

swimming in sweaters that could last a lifetime,

like Diana’s black sheep knit the year she flirted with the horse guy.

But it was midnight. Time to blast our bodies

through the tunnel. That night I wanted to walk for hours

instead, not because the subway was hot

or crowded and certainly not unsafe, but because

it was one of those nights when the outside air

belongs inside and the inside, outside, and it appears

all our structures, even our cells, had failed their most basic function,

to keep the insides, inside, and the outside, out;

The way our rooms fail us now, a two-inch band of ants

appearing next to our air-conditioner; they’ve taken wings,

in hope and preparation for a colony. It’s a poor choice.

Pushing them outside an act of mercy.

Many will not make it.


& so, the night Diana died I walked twenty scorched blocks

until my shoes gave out, like in the blues songs &

I was somewhere strange & it was two

before I made it up the flight of my little breadbox, turned

on the radio and heard how Diana had gone

into another tunnel and not come out. Just

that day I’d been arguing with a friend about the royals &

their worthlessness & now there she went and was gone.

The words ended but the voice went on,

top of the hour, announcing the weather &

that her dying would go on & on &

I listened for hours, open-mouthed. Come morning I still

had no one to meet and nowhere

to be. I used to think the worst fate was this,

to be a being with no people. I now know this

to be true, and yet, that night

did not last, it was not the only night that has tilted

into vision & there have been thousands of tunnels

in the years since that night & not one of them

has swallowed me whole.

Laura Tanenbaum writes, “‘The Night Diana Died’ is part of a chapbook entitled Dear Mother which weaves together meditations on private and public and forgotten griefs. Poems from this chapbook and other of my poems have appeared in Rattle, Catamaran, Aji, Trampoline, and other venues. I have also published essays, book reviews and short fiction in publications including The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, Entropy, and Cleaver Magazine. I teach creative writing, composition, and literature at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York.”

In the Wake of Heat – ONLINE BONUS

Editors’ Choice: 2022 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest


The summer keeps on swallowing

My loved ones

Whole and crushing

Their bones.


I did not get to bury my brother.

The flowers are all gone       all gone.

The world won’t stop

Spitting my people out.


My city is burning and there is no

Trace of a memorial beyond the parade of black.


Where does life go, in the


A mother’s baby is devoured

And the sun is still hungry for someone

Else’s heart to eat.


The steam wave carries the names

I cannot hold.


The ashes are singing on,

In what a body can join and what

The ground longs to cradle.


We burning up down here,

Where it keeps turning out bullets for

Sons and daughters.


The city keeps eating and,

And the sun keeps shooting,

and the summer keeps smiling as it feasts.


It is hungry out here.

Mikhayla Robinson writes, “I am currently studying English at the University of Georgia, in Athens. I released my first chapbook, Dichotomy, in May of 2020 (Nightingale and Sparrow Press). My work has also been featured in War Crimes Against the Uterus, a reproductive rights anthology, and the Toho Journal.”