Mercury in Retrograde
Sheryl Luna

The day ended badly with a broken ankle,
a jinxed printer, and a dead car. The dry yellow grass
against the sunset saved me. Roosters
pranced across a lawn of shit, proudly plumed
in black feathers, bobbing before the gray goats.
It was the first day I saw god in the quiet,
and found a mustard seed was very small.
There I had been for years cursing “why?”
and all the gold in the sun fell upon me.
There was a white mare in the midst
of brown smog, majestic in the refinery
clouds. Even the radio wouldn’t work!
My mother limps and her hair falls out.
The faithful drive white Chevy trucks
or yellow Camrys, and I’m here golden
on the smoking shock-less bus.
I lost language in this want, each poem
dust, Spanish fluttered
as music across the desert, even weeds
tumbled unloved. The police sirens seared
the coming night, dogs howled helplessly
Lo I walk the valley of death, love
lingers in my hard eyes. Mañana never
comes just right. I mend myself in the folds
of paper songs, ring my paper bells
for empty success. Quiero Nada,
if I sing long enough, I’ll grow dreamlike
and find a flock of pigeons, white under
wings lifting awkward bodies like doves
across the silky blue-white sky

Photo by Dušan Smetana on Unsplash

there is the worst


There Is the Worst and then There is More
Clementine von Radics

You silly little girl,
you think
you’ve survived so long
survival shouldn’t hurt anymore.

You keep trying to turn
your body bulletproof.
You keep trying to turn your heart
bomb shelter.

Stop, darling.

You are soft and alive
you bruise and you heal. Cherish it.
It is what you were born to do.

It will not be beautiful,
but the truth never is.

Come now,
you promised yourself.
You promised
you’d live through this.

Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash

daphne and virginia


To Daphne and Virginia
William Carlos Williams

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when they are old.It is
all they can do.
or watch a heavy goose
who waddles, slopping
noisily in the mud of
his pool.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

daily space


Daily Space
João Cabral de Melo Neto

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Espaço jornal

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Photo by am JD on Unsplash

heart hospital


Your Heart is not a Hospital
Nikita Gill

Your body is not a first aid kit
for broken people
and damaged souls
and hearts that are too tired
to fix themselves.

Your heart is not a hospital
to rejuvenate
and spend all of its life blood
on other people’s problems
and sadnesses.

You have been created
from the blood
of incalculable planets
and immense supernovas
and infinite constellations.

And they didn’t spend years
painting your soul
into masterpiece like existence
for you to waste it on someone
who doesn’t appreciate you.

Photo by Sebastian on Unsplash



Leila Chatti

If you had asked me, thirteen, what I wanted
to be one day, I wouldn’t have said it.
I wanted, for a long time, to be anything
but myself, knew that a soon-to-be
woman was the second worst thing
in the world after a woman, full
stop, and I was heading there fast.
I could see it, my breasts rudely
nudging into view, their snug caps
like the knit caps of infants, rosy-
colored as a tongue. And how
terrifying, the thought of a mouth there,
rooting, and what could be drawn
from me that I didn’t need—what else
skulked in me unseen, stirring in secret
vats with milk yet untapped, and blood,
the strange, new wellspring? I was just beginning
to understand the possibilities, my body’s
elusive, independent workings, machineries
chugging away in dark chambers
not just left to but simply
their own devices, unknowable and sovereign.
What I wanted, always, to be:
in control. And I knew this was
impossible, just as I knew, even then, that
to be a mother was to be the only
permissible form of a woman, the begrudging
exception to the rule of our worth-

So if you asked me again,
twenty-three, I’d tell you the worst thing
you could be is not a woman but
barren, the industry shut down and the parts
missing, malformed. And I’d tell you the shame of it:
the feminine failure, its ache
a reminder—at the center the tumor
ballooning, like hope.

Photo by Maan Limburg on Unsplash



N. Scott Momaday

One hears the river run,
An occasional rise of wind.
Nothing of the setting sun
Illuminates the wounded mind.

A coalescence of the dead
Will simulate a marching band
And stitch the way with lurid thread
And echo silence out of hand.

In faith one is compelled to be
Complicit in apostasy.

Photo by Benjamin Catapane on Unsplash



Frank Bidart

You wear your body as if without
illusions. You speak of former lovers with some

contempt for their interest in sex.
Wisdom of the spirit, you

imply, lies in condescension and poise.

… Fucking, I can feel
the valve opening, the flood is too much.

Or too little. I am
insatiable, famished by repetition.

Now all you see is that I am luggage

that smiles as it is moved from here
to there. We could have had ecstasies.

In your stray moments, as now in
mine, may what was not

rise like grief before you.

Photo by Caroline Selfors on Unsplash