Nanny Ann

My great-grandmother was an early dementia,

only a few months over 60 when her mind started

to retire. My mother’s memory of her

moments are sometimes comical: a glass

of Wessen oil where there was supposed to be

water, Yiddish profanities without prompt,

and all five feet of her body bent over

in the parking lot, picking up after the dog

with her bare hands. A woman

from the old country, made foreign again in the land

she worked hard to love. She never forgot

how to play the piano, even as her children

became strangers. She filled her pockets

with stolen gum and other petty thefts.

A gold-coated lion paperweight, proudly gifted,

sat for decades on my grandmother’s desk

because no one had the courage to return it.

I was a kid the first time I heard that story,

of the lion and its origins, and of course I loved it,

the absurdity, her unwitting audacity. The absent

brain knows nothing of rules, etiquette, laws.

Either it doesn’t know, or it doesn’t care.

The way that the mind unravels is so frightening,

so unreasonable, that sometimes

the only thing you can do is laugh, or marvel.

Now in my possession, the lion is a treasure,

a reminder; even loss can bring us

beautiful things.

Danielle Shorr

Danielle (she/her) is an MFA alum and professor of disability rhetoric and creative writing at Chapman University. She has a fear of commitment in regard to novel writing and an affinity for wiener dogs. She was a finalist for the Diana Woods Memorial Prize in Creative Non-fiction and her work has appeared in Lunch Ticket, Hobart, Driftwood Press, The Florida Review, The New Orleans Review and others. @danielle

The Peopling

aubade for the crescent city


The ‘peopling’

and you gotta

love or hate

that word

of this here

cypress swamp

river bend

is a long long

and super short


very simple


of tales



adding up

to something

while subtractive

of itself

about to

multiply under

the radar

like people’s

lived lives

under this here

style of

economic and

cultural dredged

collection of

impulses and

reflexes and

imaginations and

indeed peopling

of people’s


a genuine


of tales




microns of

feelings and

half thoughts


refined and

marked up

to epic



to get lost in

to meet a few

flakes lost

along the way

showing the way

by tales



blown away

by raging

storms slammed

against walls of



ministerings of

you guessed it

a non-story

of tales



blown glass

mint julip

fluted beakers

cracking up

spilling out

a micron’s

worth of

effect on

the peopling

in process

on boulevards

in alleyways

in sturdy decorative

colorful abodes

and flopping

makeshift tents

under the highway


Rodrigo Toscano

Rodrigo Toscano is a poet and essayist based in New Orleans. He is the author of ten books of poetry. His newest book is The Charm & The Dread (Fence Books, 2022). His Collapsible Poetics Theater was a National Poetry Series selection. He has appeared in over 20 anthologies, including Best American Poetry and Best American Experimental Poetry (BAX).  Toscano has received a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. He won the Edwin Markham 2019 prize for poetry.  @Toscano200

Joe is Making Good Money at the Brokerage

He wants a boy & will reward me for my trouble.

Back then, the passing down of lines – like God’s word invoking Eve’s loyalty. Grandpa’s on the beach drowning the horizon. The only sounds moths flying at the sun before bursting. I can feel the pink-whiskered zygote circling the womb searching for a shore to latch on to. Who am I but a siren song passed down from mother? I will never be a safe harbor. Why do we celebrate in pinks and blues before identity has time to steep? Spring is late. The lemons in the yard are green, still hard. Joe waits, palms cinched tight like a tarp over a bonfire. I press lies into ash as I birth her, a face I loved before it was fully formed. Joe is red as a thousand little papercuts. I turn away, embracing hope, the promise in this new skin.

Sheree La Puma

Sheree La Puma is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in The Penn Review, Redivider, Stand Magazine, The Maine Review, Rust + Moth, The Rumpus, Burningword, and Catamaran Literary Reader, among others. She earned her MFA in writing from CalArts. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of The Net and three Pushcarts. She has a new chapbook, ‘Broken: Do Not Use.’ (Main Street Rag Publishing)

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