Tucked under a pile of wool sweaters, under the wedding dress that I didn’t let you help me pick out, under the little white sailor outfit that I bought on Etsy for your grandson’s baptism that you missed because you were dead, deep in a corner of the cedar chest that grandma wanted me to have even though what I really wanted was her piano, are your ashes (some of them anyway) in a black velvet bag.

That you wanted to be burned, instead of locked in a box to not-rot under the dirt, was the only thing we knew for certain. We split you up between the three of us, each with our portion, and made our own plans. I used to tell myself that I would scatter your ashes from the roadside overlook where dad took your picture on the way to our wedding, but I kept waiting for the right moment: when I got pregnant, when I had the baby, when he was old enough to come with me. When. I want to stop grieving you.

But there you are, buried in the dark at the bottom of your own mother’s cedar chest, trapped in the smallest room of my house, where dad sleeps when he comes to visit.

Dad told me he can’t find his bag, his share of your burned up bones and flesh. Maybe you got yourself lost? Perhaps I’ll get you out, tell him I found you, and set that part of you (of us) free.

Desi Allevato

Desi Allevato lives with her husband in central Virginia, where they are raising one child, two cats, and a hundred tree saplings in a suburban backyard. She has a brain tumor and an unfinished dissertation about Russian history. Her recent work is published in Longridge Review and mac(ro)mic. Follow her on Twitter, @desirosie.

Featured Author: E. Laura Golberg

Logistics, 2020


How many bodies can

be held in refrigerated

trailers, giving families

time to claim them?


The number of those,

anonymous, buried

at the public cemetery

in New York, increased

five-fold in April.


Outside a Brooklyn

funeral home, dozens

of decomposing bodies

were found in one


and one rented U-Haul.


Eighteen thousand dead

in eighteen thousand

body bags are moved

by forklift to one

hundred and fifty

refrigerated trailers,

fifteen rented vans.


Dedicated Carnivore At the TSA



watched you

watch her

grab the tape

you had firmly affixed

round the lid of the cooler.



she went.

You watched

her as she

dove into its white hold

and brought up the brown pork butt.



made sure

she knew

what it was,

carefully rotating

each piece before replacing




ing that

ham then the

Fanestil baloney

and its smoked bacon, vacuum-



You were

the new


watching such a precious

cargo being lifted out.


E. Laura Golberg

Laura Golberg’s poem Erasure has been nominated for a Pushcart 2021 Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Poet Lore, Laurel Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Spillway, RHINO, and the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, among other places. She won first place in the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts Larry Neal Poetry Competition.

The Watch

Restless in pleasure’s absence,

I watched when my mother woke,

startled by a rooster

that chimed and paced

on the barbed wire fence.


She pulled the sheet

over her shoulder, sank

into the cushion and lingered

a moment longer

while I pretended to be asleep.


Each morning for the past two years

she turned the crown well

of my father’s watch

how he used to do

before getting out of bed.


My father mostly spoke

the truth, but he lied

when he told me

he liked my jagged bangs

the last time we went to visit.


It took my mother one afternoon

to trim them herself

with a pair of shears

she borrowed from a shepherd

living down the hill.


We both squinted

when we heard a soldier’s whistle.

My father, thinner now, came toward us,

his lips pursed in a frown,

and his hands curled in fists.


Melissa Andres

Melissa Andrés is a poet. Originally from Cuba, she arrived in the United States at the age of six. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in The Laurel Review, Rattle Magazine, The San Antonio Review, Ligeia Magazine, and Inkwell Journal, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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