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Poetry Winter 2019    fiction    all issues


Cover Florian Klauer

Meli Broderick Eaton
Three Mississippi
& other poems

Andrea Reisenauer
What quiet ache do you wear?
& other poems

Alex Wasalinko
Two Dreams of Vegas
& other poems

AJ Powell
The Grammar Between Us
& other poems

Emma Flattery
Our Shared Jungle, Mr. Conrad
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
The Desert Cometh
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Jaybird by the Fence
& other poems

Brandon Hansen
& other poems

Andy Kerstetter
The Inferno Lessons
& other poems

Michael Fleming
Space Walk
& other poems

Richard Cole
Perfect Corporations
& other poems

Susan Bouchard
Circus Performers
& other poems

Edward Garvey
Nine Songs of Love
& other poems

Mehrnaz Sokhansanj
Sea of Detachment
& other poems

Jeffrey Haskey-Valerius
& other poems

Claudia Skutar
Homage II
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
Knitting Sample
& other poems

Megan Skelly
Puzzle Box Ghazal
& other poems

Tess Cooper
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
& other poems

Catherine R. Cryan
& other poems

Writer's Site

Mehrnaz Sokhansanj

The Mourning Song

the birds are too rowdy

too early, they peck

at me through the window—

how I never water the garden

how I welcome weeds

how I let the sun beat

the alarm again,

snoozing to waste

the last of it

before I unload

the morning—

strawberry jam, whole milk,

and raisin bread

all store-bought and ready—

I thought I could handle the heat,

grow my groceries from the ground

maybe the jam would taste sweeter,

the milk would last longer than two weeks

I count what’s left of it

to keep up with the hyperbole of the morning—

no one believes a flood

after a ten-year drought

no one believes me

when I say there’s no more

sweetness left in the breakfast cream

I spread the layers of my tears way too thick,

no more time to cry over stale bread

Sea of Detachment

“Yield your soul
surrender your heart,
or else they will divert you,
waylay you far from the Valley of Detachment”
—Attar, The Conference of the Birds

we ironed our prayers

out on the bed, with argan—

sweating palms

compressing steam

before a release

to blur the stars

God granted us custody

for one night, gifting

us shearwater wings,

and we flew to

the Sea of Detachment,

in search of our king

whom we can call father

but all that stood

was a marauder, drifting

from daughter

to daughter forgetting

their last names,

he lights his cigar,

our only star

not enough warmth

in our hands for a prayer

back to our wrinkled bed

we wade on the water

afraid of the ripples

that reflect his embers

back to our palms

I Don’t Know Your Hurt

You built a border with recycled grocery bags,

compacted the fridge with frozen foods,

filled the pantry with pistachios, barberries, and dates

but left nothing for my indulgences to feed on,

              so that I will always need you at dinnertime.

Dinnertime is no time for questions—no space

at the table for grace—you fight with the TV,

hating the stillness—my cousin said Dad

always threw the remote at you after dinner,

              you clench the controls, scolding my taste in men.

Men will suck you for your youth and children will suck

you for your milk until they’re all full and you’re dry—

you loved me the most when I bought you a new fridge,

now you’re lactose intolerant and hate the way my boyfriend laughs,

              say he’s like my dad, and my cousin’s dad.

Dad’s cigarette ashes left a trail, you never stepped on

or swept away—you keep the stove on overnight,

burn incense every Friday and overlook strangers

from the balcony, tucking your prayer beads in,

              when it’s too quiet, you leave to pray.

Pray for a two-story house with a backyard and a pool

you pray for pearls and peace—when asked about you

all I can say is I don’t know your birth year or your dress size

or if you ever flirted with demons, I pray that I do but

              I don’t—I don’t know—I don’t know you.

Mehrnaz Sokhansanj is a poet and spoken word artist based in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her BA in Creative Writing from UCLA and her poems have appeared in the Underground Literary Journal, the Los Angeles Poets Society, and Papeachu Review. She is currently working on her debut poetry chapbook, which is set to be published early 2020. More of her work can be viewed on her website,

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