Line Dancing

A week after our father’s memorial service, my sister and I leave town for our cousin’s wedding. A wordless clamp lodges at my temples. My sister turns me sideways in the bed, places her hands in my hair. Maybe I can make it go away, she says.

The women in our family are always the loudest. Our cousin Marsha, yellow hair, red dress, calls out steps: the wobble, the slide, two kinds of shuffle. We dance with her into the din. We’re following orders, we’re miming happiness until we (goddamnit) feel it, every movement prescribed.

It’s a relief not to think for a while.

Later, my sister and I lie side by side on the queen-sized bed because we’re too tired to go back down and request a double. My sister says: Nope. Not tonight. We’re not going there.

Don’t say it.

No tears allowed, no crying.

There’s a snake around my neck that used to be a lion.



Melissa Benton Barker

Melissa Benton Barker’s work appears in Jellyfish Review, Peach Mag, Smokelong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Elemental, was named semi-finalist in The Atlas Review’s semi-annual chapbook reading period and finalist in Eggtooth Editions annual chapbook contest. She is the former managing editor of Lunch Ticket and a first reader at Vestal Review.


odalisque #7 climbs out of the wall                 evicts me from the museum

odalisque untitled becomes very invested in her cuticles

odalisque #13 is detained in de gaulle international for the oil pastels in her purse so she
touches up her makeup in the airport bathroom & forgets her foundation inframe

odalisque (black eyes) spoke to me about the parts of the sky she had omitted
on Wednesday I find her bedrooming the beehives in the tree under my kitchen

odalisque #8 is still waiting for the moon to notice her back



Maya Salameh

Maya Salameh is a sophomore at Stanford University, where she is a member of the nationally ranking Spoken Word Collective and serves as the Inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the Markaz Cultural Center. She is a 2016 National Student Poet, America’s highest honor for youth poets, and has performed at venues including the Obama White House and Carnegie Hall. Her chapbook, rooh, is forthcoming with Paper Nautilus Press. Her work has been published in the Greensboro Review.



Blessed are those who cannot see

Blessed are those who cannot see

Or don’t believe in their sight

Or perhaps in vision altogether

For they shall be granted visions of what might be

Rather than what is

Or seems to be

A glut of nothingness

Random in its nature

That circumvents or ignores

The possibilities occurring

All around us

That don’t yet fit

Into a theory


Upon the past



Josef Krebs

Josef Krebs has a chapbook published by Etched Press and his poetry also appears in the Bicycle Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Calliope, The Cape Rock, The Chaffey Review, Inscape, Mouse Tales Press, Organs of Vision and Speech, Tacenda, The Bohemian, Agenda, The Corner Club Press, Crack the Spine, The FictionWeek Literary Review, the Aurorean, Carcinogenic Poetry, The Bangalore Review, 521magazine, Former People, Grey Sparrow Journal, IthacaLit, New Plains Review, Inwood Indiana Press, Free State Review, Poetry Nation, Witness, and The Cats Meow. A short story has been published in blazeVOX. He’s written three novels and five screenplays. His film was successfully screened at Santa Cruz and Short Film Corner of Cannes film festivals.

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