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Dykes on Bikes and Whitney & Cher
by A.G. Parker

You do your job and I, belly full, recline and do mine. You question, probing

each hidden part of me.    I tell you I once envied gay boys: flat chests,

horny freedom, dark rooms like writhing snake pits,

fears pitted against bodies, sweating. You capture some kind of smile,

invite me to drink cheap beer as summer closes in. Night glowers


over ringed tables and plastic palms

you confess erotic art is just porn, that you’d helped exploit

my innocence and I beg you to do it again.

I have art at my place, you say.


You work me like clay, draw hymns

from my body-cathedral, paint salt sweet murals

on bedsheets          so different from the manufactured pleasure

you captured on camera.


When we met for the first time,

I’d ordered a number 39, delighted

to have a free meal included in the deal, laughing,

a Szechuan something stuffed in my mouth. Now,


days later, on your sun-soaked lawn

porn begets cottage core, picnic blanket

props us up, keeps the ground

from swallowing me whole. Lick lips,

fold cigarette paper. Flick

and inhale, succumb. Later,

you coax me into more profound nudity than I’ve ever seen,

you ask to me to be   to sing freely in the dim light of your living room,

feel the terror of vulnerability as you gaze and we sway

gradually down onto the carpet. Afterwards, fingers tangled in hair,

our limbs create a new landscape; from sweat-sheened brow

to the ridges and down past hollow mounds, this

is our world now. Wrapped around each other’s curves,

you tell me Norwegian fjords and the sun of Brazil formed you,

before conjuring another seismic shift.


In the club, you are gustoso,   dark curls slipping as you circle

stomp          incisors gleaming in the lamplight drowned by sin     intention  

sinful tension   sparking riots shark-circled   curls slip

 shadow cheek bone    bounce with every shift of limb    pulse refracted

 through our    skin so wet     so close to drowning

 under night     dark curls     gleaming eyes   teeth I feel

with every beat    sliding against my lips and lips    and lips so wet   you dance

our lamplight sin fest   wetness   glade of bucking hips   sway       fell me

I’m a cigarette paper away

from being phosphorous amongst waves. Ignite me.

Tell me to dance

even as I forget how to move my body

unless you’re pressed against it.


Andro Butch Tattooed Dyke Fucks Enby with Strapon

silicon hardon electric dreams

suck my clit pound me to sleep

I need you.


Years since, alone under a rain-tapped roof,

your voice pours down my phone

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

and I time travel:


You spy me from across the line of Dykes

on Bikes to where I bop in the Whitney and Cher float,

pupils wide with whatever I’ve dipped my lolly into,

breasts Wonderbra high, skin kissed by some fake sun

in a spray can and you kiss me. Wave goodbye, straddle

the motorbike with thighs only days ago I had wrapped

around my neck.

by Joseph Soares

When I say I feel old, don’t try to dissuade me. Because if you do, you don’t know
what I mean. What I mean is that the life expectancy of someone like me is thirty-two
at best, or twenty-five at worst. I just turned twenty-five. What I mean is that I’m
supposed to get my blood pressure checked once a week. What I mean is that often, I
feel like I’m at the end of my rope, the one hanging in the garage in 2014. What I
mean is that I had to get an ECG done because I was having heart palpitations. What I
mean is that my memory is starting to go, and my lungs feel like they’re caked with
butter. What I mean is that there’s blood in my urine and I don’t know what that’s
about. What I mean is that it feels like I have a longer medication list than I have a list
of accomplishments and I don’t know if that’ll ever change. What I mean is that my
cousin had breast cancer at twenty-three and my aunt had a heart-attack at thirty-five.
What I mean is that people like me don’t last very long in these parts anyway.

fear chased me home

throat choked i think back

to childhood blood

on my thighs


skin beneath nails

binder doing nothing for me

to pass


outgrew my body

in fourth grade bleeding

from temple split


lip scraped knees sliced

hips blade in hand

tire tread releasing


ran until my body broke

salt so sharp my tongue turned to brine

crawled back can’t change without coughing


up three hundred dollars to kneel

for the judge beg to be named


the furies
(or: for the teenage girl i left behind, but stayed right next to me)
by E.M. Lark
* CW: Allusion to abuse, brief pejorative language*

hell hath no fury like the teenage girl who was never really a teenage girl. but by god
– they remember all the aches, pains, heartbreaks. tears streaked in clumped mascara
down their tender cheeks. a teenage girl is a weapon forged out of fire. no matter what
you try to do, you will get burned in the end. iron-hot sharpened blade of a heart.


hell hath no fury like a child forced to grow up too soon, because one day they’ll look
back and remember everything taken from them. in the absence of safety grew their
fear, grew their rage. but, there is love. not because they are forced to be kind,
nurturing, good — but because somewhere in their family line, their mother fought
back. their father stood his ground. Someone loved someone enough to break the
curse, just enough to feel their heart beat the right way.


a bitch, a lover, a martyr and an antihero. a sister, a brother, son, daughter, and
scapegoat. a teenage girl is a teenage girl even when she was never truly there. a state
of mind, a Jennifer’s Body mirror, a slasher-film survivor, a teenage girl’s fury could
command the gods to their knees if they tried hard enough. and from my experience,
they do.

gender euphoria as personal hyrule
After The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
by nat raum

fast travel offers an allure for my limbs especially,

throb as they do after three or four trips

up and down the block. but i imagine the ability

to evaporate, reconstruct myself at point B

in place of being seen in the wild. it’s not


for a lack of craving the fresh air. rather, the look

of this body means i can only be woman when

i walk down the street; i lose the self i have

sculpted in her absence while my breasts still

dome and dart my ironic t-shirt for all to see.


in actuality, gender is closer to an old forester

calling me a bright-eyed young man, bestowing

on me the masculine urge to spear a passing monster

until it dissolves into blackblight, finished with a flourish.

gender is an arrangement of pixels on a screen


dressed in sheikah armor dyed armoranthine,

a haircut i envy not only because mine won’t fall

like that, but also for the boyface it frames. the boy

in me is taciturn, but when i let him go too silent,

i fear i’ll never shake womanhood. i know i’ll never


be fog, wish as i might to atomize these aching

hips and knees, to be perceived as pure water:

completely neutral. but is it so much to ask

that i might one day shed the skin of woman, be held

and holy in the wake of bright-eyed resurrection?

In the womb, before birth
by Lachlan Chu

It must have been so dark inside, so

plain and boring, like watching, like

a suspended experiment, too precious

to break and my mother was careful

with her measurements.


                                    I know things

now but as an egg I must have looked

at myself and wondered why she chose

to fill me up with girl and bathe me

in brown because all I would ever grow

was dark hair on my arms and to want

freckles, too many of them like Julie

who everyone made fun of.


                                       After I was

born, someone with angel hair told me

you’re going to be a janitor or something,

and better not to try. After living for long

enough I think she might be right already,

because I’ve been picking up plastic



dehydrated smiles, freckles scrawled on

cardboard and papery demeanors, since

I was in the womb; since before birth.

by Carson Wolfe

He is a scarecrow under disco lights.

Baseball cap. Tequila shot in each fist.

Blue jeans hardened by years of lying 


beneath a pumped up jack, spilling oil 

in a city of men comfortable coming out

with guns on their hips.


If I wore plaid, I’d look game to roleplay 

Brokeback. He looks ready to storm 

the capitol, on the dancefloor’s edge, 


chewing his nails like tobacco, shouting 

over Gaga how neither of us belong

in a club full of paedophiles.


I am so far from home and the sweet 

graham crackers he packaged in soft

marshmallow, to gift me a taste


of his childhood. A parcel of Hershey’s,

handwritten summers on Lake Erie 

with the neighbour’s son, a friend


he pretended not to know outside 

of July, the month they took turns 

splitting wood, wiping their sweat 


on the same rag. He couldn’t watch

when the boy got on his knees to blow

embers into a raging campfire.


Nights spent shuffling closer to pull 

melted clouds from each other's

sticks. How they pressed together 


s’more after s’more, until their fathers 

crushed their last beer cans. Buck moths 

looked for light where there was none, 


and barred owls muted the sound 

of promises whispered between 

two boys in a tent, to never, ever, tell.

My Skin's Reflection
by Ash Taylor

As I look in the mirror.

         I observe my own reflection.

Of somebody I don’t know.

         Somebody I never wished to be known.

And yet, they go by my name.

         My skin.

            My face.

I do not like what I see.

         And yet, it is me.


As I grow older.

         I’ve changed.

I look at my reflection.

         I see somebody new.

Somebody with a different face.

         A different name.

A different me.

         Somebody I am not ashamed to look at.


Yet, both people are me.

         The woman.

The child.

         The teenager.

The person.

         With things I do not know.

With things I never wished to know.

         And yet,

They are lessons I would not trade for the world.

         For they helped

Me become me.


It did not take much to change.

         A binder here.

                     A haircut there.

                                 A deviation from normal beauty standards.

Everything I thought impossible.

         Was possible with a little work.

                     A little support.

All I wanted.

         Was to be comfortable in my own skin.

                     Was that too much to ask?

Ode to a body sometimes called mine
by Ashley Varela

Praise the knuckle hair

waving on the coastline of the middle finger:

autumn gold wind-roughened,

fine as the last strand of sunlight

bracketing the horizon.


Praise the chest that swells.

Praise its recession,

the smooth plane of snow that binds earth,

flattens, equalizes,

& vanishes.


Praise the belly that will never be pregnant

but may someday be a dad gut.

Praise its dimpled dunes,

the generous shift of sand

that absorbs, but does not absolve, the body of need.


Praise the heart, that two-faced bitch.

Praise the binary rhythm of moon & tide,

praise the little creatures that scuttle the tidepools in the dark,

praise every crevice between what is & what was

& what could be.

tits feel so much like water balloons
by Abbie Doll:
** Editors' Honorable Mention**

that if i could,

i’d lob mine right
over the fence—

& splash you in the face!

What Is A Woman
by Lori D'Angelo

No woman is an ocean.

Instead, she's lava, fire. 

If you don't watch out

for her molten tongue, 

she will smite you, and 

you'll become like Lot's 

wife, a pillar of salt. But

would that be so bad? 

The world may try to crush 

them, but she holds babes 

tight, tells them I love you

despite their failings, how

they forget to put the seat

up when they pee, don't

wash dirty dishes off with

sink water, don't always 

remember to take allergy

pills, brush teeth, wear

socks, use deodorant. 

Her arms may be havens, 

but lips inspire revolution, 

beckon errant men to fight

for worlds in which women 

don't have to die during birth

because men longed for 

control of their bodies and 

desires. Tending babies is 

just one of her jobs. Don't

forget about the capable 

queen who ruled an empire, 

controlled the world, played

the part of virgin to placate

men who couldn't stand it 

that she really didn't need 

their less than useful help.

wolf island sweet
by Keira DiGaetano

sand dollars and their thorns

where the girls grow fur and

the adolescents eat sand

on their way to basketball practice

in a rainstorm it’s damp wool in your mouth

vodka dripping down trees like sap

licked up long tongue

washed clean with more tongue

in a snowstorm it’s ice and sugarcane

and the door’s locked on your way back in

so it’s more ice until basketball practice

where sally doesn’t know how to like chloe without biting her

doesn’t know how to use for her teeth for a blessing

loving instead of killing

thinking too much about the pump of chloe’s legs

on the dirt court

popping the ball with her dirt fingernails

so she cuts them

wolf island sweet

when you’re surrounded by enough violence you start to lap it up

at the county fair the most tokened prize is a pig’s head

second place earns you one big

candy floss of net and citrus-sweet bug spray

take it with you in the sea and it melts away

so chloe cries

sally bites her

over the years they build a nest of scabs and coconut jam

and it never occurs to them to kiss

by Julio Rainion

i remember choking on the dirt

my fingernails brown and grey with the guts of the worms


the fear, to ‘pick it up’ and to face it all head-on

to address what i didn’t want to, to look at the scars

i was ashamed of having.


crying. aching. shaking hands

unable to stencil myself, to ground myself, to hold it all in


i remember bleeding. i remember going. i remember the grave.


the woman i was. she remains in the curves of my body

the length of my eyelashes

the slant of my words

my father’s eyes. a gorgeous blue.


the man i am. he exists in the shape of my hands

the dent of my mouth

the calluses on my feet

my mother’s hair. soft and brown, peppered with salt.


that peak i didn’t know existed

until i met a friend

that let me know it was there.


i still wish i were them. but i am me. and that is okay.


i have never been better,

         within this oft-unloved body of mine

                     within this identity i still labor to create

                                 and understand.

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