You Don’t Know What It’s Like

by James Diaz


Let me tell you what it’s like in my head
first, there is, like God intended –
this unmade bed, scattered artifacts on the floor
a mountain of uselessness and everything I’ll need 
stitches in time that tell only half the story 
I am not what I thought I would be some days

my brother calls me, 
his car parked by a dumpster behind a Wendy’s
while the girl of his dreams is turning tricks in the bathroom
to tell me what I already know; he is on a death run
and it’s our parents who did this to him
I just need to listen 

this is what it’s like in my head
scars on my arms just to get off the cold county jail floor
I know about desperation 
I know about almost not making it
I know you can’t save drowning a man if the drowning is what he’s after
if he really, really fucking needs it, that bottom like a soft bed 
but he’s my brother, they are all my brothers,
these broken that I have traveled with along this dark road

this is what it’s like when I tell him; “Don’t die“,
and he says “I’ll try“,
some things are dug too deep in us to remove 
don’t I know it’s not true, there is paper, there is glue
there are a million ways to tell a different story 

but this is what it’s like in my head today
unable to save the one I love I save what I can, here, inside myself
and these words – they are also mine; I’ll try 
not to die. 



James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018). Their poems have appeared in Yes Poetry, Gone Lawn, The Collidescope and Thimble Lit Mag. They live by the simple but true motto that “feelings matter” every shape and size of feeling. They believe that every small act of kindness makes an often unseen but significant difference in someone’s life and hopes that their poems are a small piece of that. James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Patrolling the Border


by William Doreski



The sun rises, looks around,
withdraws to regain its courage.
Up again, it still looks timid
as a tulip. I’m out early,
plucking trash from the roadside,
hoping to encourage bunchberry,
clintonia, and wild ginger—
flowers gone nearly extinct
after flourishing for decades
along our dead-end road. The day
promises and promises but
won’t follow through. Orpheus
won’t see Eurydice again,
Ophelia won’t start swimming,
and our assassinated Presidents
won’t resume their leadership.
I’m sick of Dunkin’ Donuts bags,
of plastic pints of vodka,
chocolate milk gone sickly,
Milky Way wrappers flapping
on the rim of the marsh where peepers
chant in a disciplined chorus.
I bag the trash so emphatically
it squeals in protest.  Old friends
would laugh at my flailing gestures,
but they’ve all died and left me
to patrol the boundary between
nature and culture by myself.
The sun has gained some strength
and I sweat enough to attract
a maze of blackflies keening
their indelible, inaudible rage.
My bag is full. I heft it home
to deliver to the landfill,
where even the feisty dreams fade,
leaving only the faintest
and least offensive odors.



William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e- and print journals and in several collections, most recently Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston. James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

passing time



by Laurie Kolp


all attention on
breaking news, I
climb inside the storm

debris piles up, the months
establish my body
folded, unfolded, folded again

gasping, I grasp uncertainty
held within fisted hands
I pocket the minutes

jackknifed, my arms
keep betraying
limber legs

March-April-May
nonessentialness
open-closed-gone

petunias bloom like
question marks, the days
returning warm

sometimes the air
tosses enemies
upon me

vegetating too long
walking with you

x-ing out the hours
yelling at
zoom



Laurie Kolp is an avid runner and lover of nature living in southeast Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs. Her poems have recently appeared in Moria, The Pinch, San Pedro River Review, A-Minor, and more. Her books include Upon the Blue Couch and Hello, It’s Your Mother. James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

The Last Today


by Uma Venkatraman


This day turns stale
crusty like old bread
tedium showing as
first hints of mold

This day is liquid
unable to gurgle
its way out of a
blocked time drain

This day is tired
of being today
unchanging,
unlike seasons
of winter melts
and spring blooms

This day wants to be
the last today
This day longs
to be tomorrow



Living in Singapore, India-born Uma Venkatraman is a journalist who has had poems published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in L’Ephemere Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Plath Poetry Project. James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Three Poems


by Giuseppe Infante

Quarantine #47

A brain on fire
I don’t think 
You care
About the lesions 
That bloom like a flower
In unseen places
With the sonic force 
Of a four horse chariot
Hades & Demeter ride on 
Left to float through
Barren cites afar
Among an infertile death

Quarantine #54

I’m not sure
How many cookies
It takes to be happy 
But so far 
It’s not 7

Quarantine #66

Smoke from between my fingers
Passes in a prickled breeze
Under the laughing sun 
Things just happen in time &
I just wanna pretend its 
The beginning of a real summer 


Giuseppe Infante is poet from Brooklyn, NY and is the Managing Editor of the small press Overpass Books. He teaches Literature and College Writing at Touro College and is co-host of the genre film review podcast, Club Dreadcast. James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.