why I don’t sing in public

Tiffany & Annie & me are playing on the swings.

they’re singing a Taylor Swift song I don’t know yet,

and so I wait two verses before joining in,

think I can try the chorus the second time around,

but then, it’s just me, voice quavering, me and

all these words I don’t know,

two girls silently staring at me:

stop acting like you know the notes.


Tiffany comes back from vacation

with one lollipop for Annie.

Tiffany plucks my hair at lunch

and asks why I got split ends.

Tiffany says I have to walk behind them

so we can be a triangle.

no one knows loneliness like a 7-year-old girl.


I saw her once, last year, draped on the arm of a friend

of a friend. drenched in holiday party sparkle,

a little red blister of a person.

she giggles as she tells her date:

oh, we used to kind of bully Juliana.


I don’t sing in public, but god, I wish I did then,

slung my fat tongue over her stupid little hoops

until it made a shiny pink welt on her eardrums.

yodeled until a chandelier fell on her head.

funny how new wounds sound like old wounds.


I wish I sang then,

but what I was scared of was this:

I open my mouth, and nothing comes out

but two giggles, two sets of rolling eyes,

one single searching note

wandering quietly into the rafters.


Juliana Chang

Juliana Chang is a Taiwanese American poet. She is the 2019 recipient of the Urmy/Hardy Poetry Prize, the 2017 recipient of the Wiley Birkhofer Poetry Prize, and a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Medalist in Poetry. She received a BA in Linguistics and a MA in Sociology from Stanford University in 2019. Her debut chapbook INHERITANCE was the winner of the 2020 Vella Contest and published with Paper Nautilus Press in 2021.

Marcia K. Bilyk

Ganden Monastery, Ulanbaatar, Mongolia


Marcia K. Bilyk

Marcia K. Bilyk lives in rural New Jersey. She loves to explore and photograph sacred spaces around the world. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Brevity, Tiferet Journal, Adirondack Review, Split Rock Review, Cold Mountain Review, and elsewhere.

Apologia for the Undeniable

Baby, baby, baby, light my way. In Anno Domini 1991, that lyric

was universally liked. Liked like butter is liked. And what’s the deal

with spider eyes anyway? And why is it considered weird to go to the zoo

by yourself? None of these things seem contradictory. Or an appropriation.

Or approximate. Or anti-anything. Sweet multiplicity. Sweet butter and honey.


Todd Copeland

Todd Copeland’s poems have appeared in The Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, California Quarterly, The Dalhousie Review, Christianity & Literature, and Sugar House Review, and his essays have been published in Literary Imagination, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, and Media, War & Conflict, among other publications. A native of Ohio, he lives in Waco, Texas.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud