Maureen Seaton & Denise Duhamel

12 Lines about Gender (Florida-Style)

I looked to the sky, a UFO above me, or was it a gender
rolling over and over in that big sky like a female
orgasm, delirious with flashing lights? Intercoastal intersex
is so lovely with its salt water and its fresh: true Two-Spirit
brackishness. I mistook a manatee for an androgynous
goddess of rising sea and sinking city, gender-fluid
silver ripples along her back. I spied an omega male
kayaking quietly through musky mangroves, all genderqueer
with their gorgeous underwater roots, their agenda agender
and big love (the nursery of the world!). One transgender
spaceship (or was it a cloud?) was tired of cisgender
sand hogs and sea bullies and wrote across the sky: Bye, Gender!

12 Lines about Gender (the Cosmos)

I believe there is no one on the planet luckier than a bi-gender,
who, like a hipster trickster, lives above the fray, unidentifiable
in their lovely/lanky/stunning/staggering way beyond cisgenders
and their scripts. Monday I’m a femme, Tuesday, androgynous
as a moon pouring light in a cosmos that’s so gender-fluid
it holds Castor, Pollux (twin boys) and Venus (so female,
she’s star of both morning and evening, leading the sun, male,
and earthly Gillette to name a razor in her honor). Agender
ex-planet, Pluto, boasts 5 moons of mythical transgendered
radiance. Astronomists spy on Nix, its interstellar intersex
moonstruck self, as they fly by Pluto to confirm its two-spirit
orbit. The Hubble zooms in on each lovely sphere, genderqueer.

A former proud contributor to Posit Journal, Maureen Seaton has authored twenty-one poetry collections, both solo and collaborative — most recently, Sweet World (CavanKerry Press, 2019). Her awards include the Lambda Literary Award, an NEA, and two Pushcarts. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry and many fine literary journals and anthologies. A memoir, Sex Talks to Girls (University of Wisconsin, 2008, 2018), also garnered a “Lammy.” Seaton is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Miami.

Denise Duhamel’s most recent book of poetry is Scald (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017). Blowout (Pittsburgh, 2013) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other titles include Ka-Ching! (Pittsburgh, 2009); Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999); and Kinky (Orhisis, 1997). She is a Distinguished University Professor in the MFA program at Florida International University in Miami.

Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton have co-authored four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is CAPRICE (Collaborations: Collected, Uncollected, and New) (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). With David Trinidad, they edited Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry (Soft Skull, 2007).

Fortunato Salazar

first anacreontic scrawled in dior addict fuchsia pink on fair skin in alice, tx

If God popped
into your Master
and spun birth
certificate and
$100 U.S. currency and water?

One week of being
set upon nonstop
each time we clear out,
before we even clear the door.

Kubler-Ross boxes
from going so long
punch-drunk on locker
confiscation bonuses and nothing dirtier
than flow from the tap.

Ominous Masters
inverted. Insults,
likely. God manned
a tower for just such flutter.

second anacreontic scrawled in dior addict fuchsia pink on fair skin in alice, tx

I debate circumcised
guy, he wrings out verse.

I wring out verse, I’m child preacher.

Just break down your Alpha Kilo Juliett Victor,
circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing, He’ll
give you all you need,

give Him all your worries. My bed is in a room, the room
flesh made by hands, in the
long hours alone I practice forensic in recliner.

What am I in this proof. I’m mute and I barter at the door,
and let us not be weary in
well doing, for in due season we shall reap.

Nor is uncircumcision anything, this is the
counterbalancing assertion, for neither is
circumcision anything, I’m untouchable like a distant
diamond sky, I’m not

insubordinate in the service of the enemies of bigotry and
The confounding calm shatters
fear, complacency. We restrain ourselves from each

encroaching on the other. Was anyone called circumcised.
Let him not renounce
his circumcision. Anyone been called in uncircumcision.
Let him not be circumcised.

It’s like poison to me not to triumph in debate or even to
leave the wrangling

Fortunato Salazar lives in West Hollywood; his recent writing can be found at PEN America, Conjunctions, Tin House, Mississippi Review, Asymptote, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere.

V.S. Ramstack

a tissue place

i had tennis shoes i had your
ring on this pinky on Pedialyte
gatorade swig swinging blue

check on me to say: five tangerines         today, maybe one
more tomorrow
believe in the
sweet water & hand
you in my sugar mouth
i’m sorry i’m so —

i lit my hair on fire
& the smell was
it was a death with
honeyed scythe
meat so tricky

the burnt
bones and sanitizer
childish fire         over
the body of a milking cow

don’t read too many books
on obstetrics because the
womb is not ours to hold
in a tissue place

my silly scissor mouth

when the phone
when it rang
rang off the hook
screaming wax on

a hanger rack
cow will wail // okay?
tender speckles
under a microscope

i am soft wheel and brunt
iron forged
in my mother’s mouth

dear child

dear child hiding in the capillaries,
dear child licking the salt off the horse block,
unafraid of the way the beast flips up its lip
you have a leash to neglect and this may be
the very time to do it,
it being soiled shoelaces,
grinning skin and new lightbulbs
here’s a watering can waiting for water,
and fingernails hinged to mimic the moon’s-shape
grab the magnifying glass to the left
the inner you may shout this, a call to arms
it is subtle but tinged with
a flowering breath
dear child won’t forget the flick of the
hickory whip on the wrist, so like the
horsetail to a fly
its brittle & sticky limbs oh so
clung to the first landing it stuck
its six legs create a space for air
and then some
oh child your innards are a green light for more landings
but perhaps the watering can is still not full
ask what full means
ask what best or time means

V. S. Ramstack is a Pisces, a selective extrovert, and an avid crier. Besides poetry, she enjoys cats, flowers, and checking out too many books at the library. She received her MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Previous work can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, Night Music Journal, Curator Magazine, and Oxidant Engine Journal.

Ryan Mihaly

Excerpts from “B-Flat Clarinet Fingering Chart”

[G♯/A♭] [Sarcasm]

ryan mihaly

[C] [A split second]

ryan mihaly

[D♯/E♭] [Vision: chaos of birds]

ryan mihaly

[G] [Vision: peace]

ryan mihaly

Currently based in Greenville, SC, Ryan Mihaly is a business manager at a farm-friendly grocery/cafe, a music teacher, a collage artist, and a poet. His work has appeared in 3:AM Magazine, The Adirondack Review, DIAGRAM, Opossum, Asymptote, The Massachusetts Review, and in Ilan Stavans’ anthology On Self-Translation: Meditations on Language. After completing his MFA at Naropa University in 2018, where he was an Anne Waldman / Anselm Hollo fellow, he attended artist residencies in Ireland, Macedonia, and Slovakia, where some of these pieces were written.

Katherine Fallon


I live in denial, and move from top
to bottom, left to right. Regardless

of what role I play with you, I’m happy
to let you lap me every time. It may be

true that we are nearing the end,
but we’ve still got some light left

and a place to go to, go around,
to harness. Think fainting goat, unshod.

Pronounce the word laurel. If you can
help it, Prettiest, join in. Shudder.

Striking Eel

In order to feel powerful, I pretend
to choose over sleep, a change of clothes.

Itʼs happening to me.

Brightest eyes of all in the sheet-less
hours of early morning. Tongue

the most secretive, striking eel.

Breastbone most visible, most wanted
and so most likely to split open

onto white meat and, really,

the handsomest of purple hearts.
Iʼd salt it to keep it safe, I would.

Make believe I have the choice to fall

and so, fall.

If the Room Caught Fire

Heirloom garnet choker, wedding dress pillowed inside
a dry, paper cloak. Passport and birth certificate, provided
your mother hasn’t failed you and lost it.

The box that belonged to you at 13 reads You Probably
Shouldn’t Open This.
Inside, love letters folded to be birds,
written on birch bark, sprayed with perfume.

I’m not even kidding. Your privacy, once endangered,
is given now to strangers on the train, the bus. Any queue
is now a chance to speak. You think the past a reason,
so you explain it, but you don’t understand:
it doesn’t say anything about you.

Gold Star

Dog-tongue boutonniere, seamed
stockings, black garter belt

or slow song. Hand on the gear shift,
soft-centered truffle, oyster splayed

like a crime scene. Always, the clanking
of teeth: a toast. Always, a woman’s spirited

breath the hot air of an oven,
yeast risen against me.

Katherine Fallon’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Colorado Review, Juked, Meridian, Foundry, and others, and will be included in Best New Poets 2019. Her chapbook, The Toothmakers’ Daughters, is available through Finishing Line Press. She shares domestic space with two cats and her favorite human, who helps her zip her dresses.

Gail DiMaggio

Fallen Child: A Triptych

I know it’s the past because
my mother’s still alive. She says:
mother-daughter dresses,
says we’ll be beautiful
and alike. Walls rise
in columns and rows of fabric.
She tugs at a bolt
labeled “black watch,”
and the yards spill over her
in green rapids and upstart waves,
and a salesman with the mouth
of a grim old grouper
swims out of the darkness
to accuse her. But I
am already stripped
and draped in white voile.
Let’s wear the curtains
in the sunroom,
I say,
and she whispers:
But then we’ll know
we’re naked.


Lily and I live in the tangle of wild
raspberry under the pines by the river bank.
Perched on rocks, we play morning birds—
raven I say, crow, she says—
then under the high sun
she dares me to take off my t-shirt,
and when I say: what if our mothers—
she laughs, so I tug it off
and my doubled-up braids swing
heavy and crooked onto my shoulders.
Lily breaks the rubber bands,
unweaves the plaits, tugs
at the strands till my eyes sting.
Sunset, we mark each other
in mud and berry juice. On my left side
she draws a cross, two drops
of blood. Along her collar bone,
I write it out in words: I love Lily.


A girl-child lies naked
on the lawn where she fell
asleep. Wild hair haloes her face.
Grass flecks her back
like a pelt, molting. Beauty
in the curve of an ear, in
the shadow where her under-leg
vanishes into the secret.
Coming upon her un-posed,
irresistible, her mother takes a picture,
while the girl—shoulders hunched,
hands under her chest—goes on
dreaming: a coarse tongue
to groom her neck,
a fish
to nibble her fingers.
After Sally Mann

Spilled Sugar

She slept in a white room,
silk organza ruffling at the windows,
her satin spread
always slipping onto the floor,
like spilled sugar, like
the day she stood wiping it up,
wiping it up, and I asked,
Are you mad, Mamma,
and she looked across at me,
startled, as if someone unexpected
had wandered in, then smiled
and said, no, little cabbage,
not at you.

She tore up the witch grass,
but saved the lettuce sprouts, said
robins could find spring
but ravens have more truth
to tell, and if we’re not careful
how we point a tulip bulb,
it will wander in darkness
forever. Mornings, she divided
the snarling wilderness of my hair
into shining loops of braid.

I was afraid
of my father’s letters
boxed in onyx,
mother of pearl.
Afraid of the brass man
scowling on the door,
and that time she
floated in dream air
begging the wind to ripple her,
to make her less, make her
over, make her silk organza.


If I look behind me, I’ll see
the high window
where my Ivory Soap mother
scans and searches but
morning brave
I dare her to catch me
licking my arm for the millet taste,
crouching to poke
the truck-crushed frog
as she leathers on the tar.
All afternoon, Goldenrod’s a sad bird
with a yellow beak,
and bittersweet’s a nest
under the hum of the power lines.
But what if dark, and no
calling voice, no bath,
no sheets, no Now I lay me.

Once, I tried to keep
a furred, green caterpillar
in a Ball jar on my dresser.
It spun a cottony thumb
on the inside glass
and never got born again.


My brother a sleek
Buddha in her lap,

she taught me hunger,
then taught me: that’s enough,

and when I sinned by wanting more,
she said: how many wings

do you think a chicken has?
my pajama feet slip-slipping

in the night kitchen, I drained
a bottle of his formula—

gritty, lank-tasting.
I learned to strip

the gristle off the bone, chew
the twisted corner of the sheet,

dream the chunk of teeth
on the brittle rim of an ear.

One day she found me on my knees
under the honeysuckle trellis.

Yellow blossoms like dragon faces
wilted and broken around me.

The last of them
still in my mouth.

River, Cattail, Cold Window

Jimmy said a dog was lost near the river
but maybe it was a boy, and we’d be
heroes, but I didn’t want

to risk the swamp just because
Jimmy said so, and, besides,
How do you know

it’s a boy? Maybe, it’s a girl.
The weird marsh grass
like licked cat fur, the hissing rapids.

I wandered
telling myself stories. A girl
wearing a necklace of cattails

diving into the river, breathing
the river. And suddenly in brown water
a luminous shape—

lifting a hand, wavering past
with gelatinous grace. I whispered,
There she is.

In the fall the cattail I’d hidden
in my closet exploded
and my mother hit me

so I’d learn an outdoor thing
from an indoor thing.
But winter and my father

stamped his boots, my mother
peeled pie dough
finger by finger, and the window

sealed my lit face indoors.
I pressed my hand hard against the pane.
Let the cold burn.

Gail DiMaggio is the author of Woman Prime, selected by Jericho Brown for the 2018 Permafrost Poetry Prize and published by Alaska University Press. Her work has appeared recently in The Ekphrastic Review, The Tishman Review, Whiskey Island, and elsewhere. She resides in Concord, NH.

Ryan Clark

VII. [ vie ]

VIII. [ vie ]

These poems all come from my manuscript, “Arizona SB 1070: An Act,” which is a homophonic translation of the anti-immigration bill of the same name passed in Arizona in 2010. My method of homophonic translation relies on the re-sounding of a source text, letter by letter, according to the various possible sounds each letter is able to produce (ex: “cat” may become “ash” by silencing the ‘c’ as in “indict,” and by sounding the ’t’ as an ‘sh-‘ sound, as in “ratio”). These particular poems are translations of the 7th and 8th pages of the bill. As can be seen, the source text is present in gray above each translated line, so as to better show the poem as a rejection and rewriting of the bill.

Ryan Clark writes his poems using a unique method of homophonic translation and is particularly interested in how poetry responds to the oppressiveness of borders. He is the author of How I Pitched the First Curve (Lit Fest Press, 2019), and his poetry has recently appeared in Bear Review, Yemasse, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tahoma Literary Review, and HOLD. He is a winner of the 2018 San Antonio Writers Guild contest, and his work has been nominated for Best of the Net. He currently teaches creative writing at Waldorf University in Iowa.

Z.L. Zhou

hexagram 1, qián: the key

In the field, and it seems like you will be here again,\\
you are stuck by fear of decision: how it clouds you,\\
furthers you, crowds you! Familiar shades left behind,\\
this expanse before you mirrors of unknown thunders…\\
how easily forgotten, home. The dragon appears\\
in the heavens, its brief flight too headed, pointful, sure:\\
the grass crusted with dew, and in each, alight, a field;\\
you see moving forth is to wash fear from cloth with fear.\\
Night falls; there is no blame from the dry, the clean, heaven.


hexagram 7, shī: the army

It may be that the army carries corpses to you,\\
it may be that the army retreats. Would you blame them?\\
For it appears you are impaled with the blunt-end spear…\\
perhaps the troops, like you, will answer. They surround you—\\
like the copper-sea, the earth—waiting for the tracking\\
of your eye to the game. Set! The target flies, it bounds—\\
crisscross the field! Let fall your lips’ law of engagement—\\
the powder, piled calm, watches your attendant musing.\\
You were prepared for this order the whole of your life.\\


hexagram 40, xiè: deliverance

At the ends of the world, the traditional fields, the\\
pillars chaotic with birds. Here, mist; there, din, missed and\\
empty. Foxes—sly yipping, spineless about your toes—\\
claim the earth and its get their inheritance. Look up.\\
And hawk, the viceroy, shouts down both challenge and demand.\\
Sparrows buffet your face and the grey fox nips your knees;\\
when you kick, he sprints past the steles with measured silence.\\
You know this to mean great fortune, ahead or behind.\\
In what direction, only you or the hawk can say.


hexagram 29, kǎn: the snare

It is as if you are concerned with the sin business,\\
weeping and the goddess, her skirt-edge wet with the spring.\\
Your reflection wefts in dapples and open windows…\\
This is the hunt in the abyss, and your aid? Cords, blame.\\
The shackle misplaced, and the goddess? Earthen vessels:\\
a jug of wine, a bowl of rice with it. Intention.\\
O Misfortunate, the hunt carries you. And pity!\\
In this brackish lighting, how do you hope to find her?\\
A compass points north like fixation. You and guilt: north.


These poems are from a project where I reinterpret the I Ching. The I Ching, an ancient Chinese divinatory guide from 1000 BC, has long fascinated me as a text: it has been continuously consulted since a time when the world’s population was a sixth of modern-day America; its world is so distant from ours that some of its aspects are approachable only through inexact science, science that verges on divination itself.
Z.L. Zhou is a poet from Tucson, Arizona, and Hangzhou, China; in his other life, he is a Linguistics PhD student at UCLA.

Anton Yakovlev


Properly labeled pill bottles sit in his console.
He juggles three or four pills, catches them with his mouth,
gulps soda, burps. Aspens by the road
are blindingly windless. He taps the gas pedal gently,
tests the brakes, the mirrors. A half-transparent woman
waves at him from the sidewalk. Contrails cross each other
like denial. Thieves swarm every intersection.
The attack dog behind an electric fence has no teeth
but will suck you to death. GoFundMe transferred a few
hundred dollars. Brutalist mansions feed
his eroticism. A near-topless arsonist joins him, briefly,
riding shotgun with her favorite Yankee Candle.
He remains realistic, knows he may not survive,
delivers a few cabbages to the homeless. Lush sands
of a sea-like lake give respite. Just a few more demons to go.
He knows he can make it if he doesn’t intentionally crash.
He’s come to terms with his own
resemblance to a cockroach, and that keeps him from acting out.
Rabid rats hop into the car, nibble his feet methodically.
Turkey vultures form a flying skull.
The dead by the road love company, and next time he drives
into sunrise, he will still shiver—but less.
He speed-dials the person he used to love
then tries for a long time to remember her face.
Low-hanging fruit falls through his moon roof.
Yes, he thinks, he will get through this.
He can see it now. He can see it. He apes the final moments
of the Cheshire Cat. Just give him a few more years.
He’ll get comfortable with the world’s persistent murder.
He’ll stand at the podium and quietly predict
a war. And the applause will grow louder.

The Cedar Creek

We steep tea and then we read about tea and then we steep it some more and then we read some more and there is just so much we need to say to each other. The moment you tell me the truth I fall in the cedar creek. It’s not my fault, nor is it yours, but now our neighborhood is not the same. We do not taste chocolate the same way. Can I forgive you? No, not really. Not at all. Go fall into a volcano. I’ll be the volcano. I’ll pick you up after the show trial.

I would have liked to linger on your face. I used to wait for you by the cedar creek. After all, plenty of scholars keep their careers alive with thoughts of you. You juggle torches even when people kiss you. I would have liked to nestle with your world, but a world can destroy a rowboat. A lifelong addict, you are now clean and a spy, but you ripple like a head-scratcher. The cedar creek keeps adjusting its watershed.

You no longer balk at decomposition. You compose a symphony to be played with metal hooks on dead things. You stand in front of the cedar creek and don’t reveal any secrets. You resort to Russian anti-Napoleonic strategies, which is to say you bravely choose to let Moscow burn. A general is wise to let the other general self-destruct.

I do. The leitmotifs come back. We argue and we clutch. We go to Jesus Christ and bite into the infinite bread. Will we ever move beyond our lack of cue balls? The cedar creek never did turn into wine. Your fear touches me like a bouncing night.

Everything Thrown Out         Except for Their Eyes

meeting across the river, not noticing the vomiting dog                      well, that’s the architecture

of love: steeples of inattention, pits of catharsis, coffins of hurry              these details mattered

to exactly zero mourning doves        later, they also noticed each other’s postures         the train

was delayed, or just never scheduled                                              so they took each other’s hand

the endless pounding of the clock broken at midnight                                                 the operatic

puppets grimaced wildly                                 dangerous books were getting burned in the most

beautiful square                        when the fire was done, one of the mandolinists forgot to leave

and was seen playing all through the night and into the next afternoon                        the wind

blew cinders into his nostrils                                           censors made snow angels in the ashes

he bought her half a flower but got distracted                a wasp pollinated it                next year

there will be millions of half-flowers                         nocturnal birds will be hired to weed them

Anton Yakovlev’s latest chapbook Chronos Dines Alone, winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize 2018, was published by SurVision Books. He is also the author of Ordinary Impalers (Kelsay Books, 2017) and two prior chapbooks. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, Amarillo Bay, Measure, The Stockholm Review of Literature, and elsewhere. The Last Poet of the Village, a book of translations of poetry by Sergei Yesenin, is forthcoming in October, 2019 from Sensitive Skin Books.

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Laughing Matter

October rattles, dry stalks
clacking evening’s prattle.
I’m not even jealous of you, Time,
with your hand in my pocket.
Ink poured into a coffin.
The moon dressed in white satin.

The empire shambles along.
The gladiators are not all glad.
Here in the pang fortress
I hide among the angels’ fangs,
like gum being chewed on
but not spitten or swallowed.

Let me show you, before we go,
how to draw a word out of a sword.

Temple of Jupiter

Hello, Sybil. Old fortune teller.
Dusk in its blue taxi
weeps at your endless agony.
Poetry should be grief, not grievances.
I come to hear your prophecy—
how the world is shrinking
like your cage of immortality.

Show me how to convert the useless.
The graceless and wasteful.
The northern half of a southern laugh.
Reveal to us how to yearn so purely
we turn into hollow light.
“Please ask for assistance.”
Let me chew on your fat dreams.

The Missing Lynx

Uncle Google won’t tell me who I am.
Sandra Day O’Connor can’t remember our date.
Jimmy Hoffa waits for me in a windswept field.
Vladimir has accessed my precedent.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir cries
over my unvirtual reality.

There will never be another pure moment.
Ghosts outnumber us, demanding equality.
Daily have I dallied
and watched my options dwindle.
Now I kindle darkness.
Nothing burns like vanquished ambition.

When night arrives in starlit slippers,
be ready to dance like Mercury on a dime.

Troubadour’s Notebook

A gaggle of geese hails Hell’s Gate.
I snag a seat on the Select.
Off on a gig, I’ll miss my rut.

Thin women, jewel-ridden,
wear bedraggled faces.
I forget to tip the concierge.

Does the afternoon worry
about being drab?
Luck shines on the willing.

Three pelicans wing along.
I too, find friends.
I keep them in a vault of sky.

Fireworks for breakfast
and fortune for a nitecap.
In between—time whistles like me.

Young Glove

Alone in the waiting room. Saying
adios to a molar going south.

December gutters like a candle.
The markets test the bottom.

I climb down from the wheelhouse,
reluctantly, to take my medicine.

Up to my neck in sunset.
The glove is not so young anymore.

Ivan Arguelles grazes
on his talking grave.

Did you see the Ski Jump?
Fast, high, straight, true.

The new moon forklifts night,
giving us all the now time can handle.

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, artist, and impresario, who is best known as a poet. He is the author of 16 books of verse, including Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press, and Fake Lies from Fell Swoop. He received an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College, where he studied with Allen Ginsberg and also taught. Currently, Wright stages events at KGB Lit Bar, Howl Happening, and La MaMa ETC in NYC, in conjunction with his art and poetry journal, Live Mag! He is a regular contributor to American Book Review and ArtNexus. He is a Kathy Acker Award recipient and Puschcart Prize nominee for 2018.