Aida Bardissi | Rituja Patil | Lucia Gallipoli | Layla Maher | Lara Atallah | Laura Ma


Aida Bardissi is a high school history teacher based in New York City. She is an MSc graduate from the London School of Economics, where she has been awarded a degree in Sociology with Distinction. Aida researches Egyptian film of the mid-twentieth century and its concerted national project(s), with specialisation in race, indigeneity, & constructed nationhood. Her work has been featured in Mizna, Bahr Magazine, and DEAR Journal. She speaks four languages but dreams in one. You can find her on Instagram @masreyamrekaneya and on Twitter @aidabardissi.

in which i write a love poem & do not name a nation

i name all my cities after you

my despot; my devoted king; 

you hold me &

i              BORDER you

contain me!         contain me!

fashion me into                              a violent thing

that we pledge allegiance to in our sleep.

you are unforgivable hope            habibi

catacomb            an uncracked pomegranate

i ask my students to DEFINE AN ARCHIVE

& we language violence & coloniality 

while i think of your                                                 mouth

cyclical city:


Rituja Patil is a queer poet from Mumbai, India. She can be found wandering in coastal towns with a long vanilla wafer in her mouth. Her work has previously appeared in the Summer issue of VIBE and The Lickety~Split. She continues to try to be more forthcoming.

Latter Day Drenching

A rain that makes you feel washed up on the shore when the   
eavestrough of your first city-bound bus pours a drenching on you.   

                Back when a drenching poured on the street flanked the turning bicycle 
wheels and made your terry-cot salwar stick damply to your shins.  

The damp terry-cot clad shins under the wooden school bench 
And the asbestos roof leaking raindrop after raindrop after raindrop. 

                Licking raindrop after raindrop after raindrop off the rusty window
                grill and watching umbrellas line up, wet, against the wall next to the

But that was back then. Now, the umbrellas line up on the racks 
Dripping onto the train seat as it cuts through the rain-filled tracks. 

                The rain-filled tracks and the long pauses and break downs and  
                getting off mid journey, trying to catch a taxi on the flooded street

The mid-journey catch of breath – because you are spent, already.
Feeling like the dead puffer fish, you found washed up on the shore.


Lucia Gallipoli (she/her) is just a girl lost somewhere in the cycle of worshipping Mitski and Kate Bush via Spotify and forgetting that they exist. Find more of her work at

You Know that "Cool Girl" Monologue from Gone Girl?

she hooked her fingers
into his eye sockets
until they were nose to nose (hot…)
like, You know—I don’t just exist
when it’s convenient for you!
and he became a stream of
self-flagellating comments:
I am a small kid in huge shoes
I aspired to “big dick energy”
but ended up being that sans “energy”
I will go to therapy, for sure,
except, no, no, that’s not right,
neither did that
even a little bit and actually
she Googled his name,
found his LinkedIn profile,
searched for his office’s address,
and religiously avoided
its neighborhood
for three years 


Layla Maher is a writer from Georgia. Her creative writing has appeared in Maudlin House, Hobart Pulp, Q/A Poetry, OROBORO, and elsewhere. She is a 2020 Brain Mill Press National Poetry Month Shortlist poet. You can find her on IG at @sarsoura_isdoingherbest.

indictment for sale

how many ways can you draw a woman /
before she dulls / to linework and smudge /  
and the murky liquid / in the tub / grays /   

tipsy white folks tell you / you should have 
fear / khaf / miedo / when you walk
down your own street / and a catcall is 
justification / for mass incarceration / 
and for junking the princess in the closet / 

in an acid bubble bath / riddle me this: how 
many times can you call a woman crazy / 
before she breaks / the cookie-cutters /

it’s spring / the kohl that protects your 
heart / run to / tears of / a monster / a 
princess / when the desserts give you 
reflux / get caught with your hand in the
pickle jar / slam it / live on glass and 

vinegar / how many times can a woman 
flinch / before you throw her out with 
the bathwater / brown women fear

many things / walking at night in zone 6 is 
not one of them / smell / trash / something 
burning on highland and boulevard / split
a cigarette with a bum / you don’t fear a 
catcall / you don’t fear the men who think 

they have power / you fear the ones who 
do / the ones who could drag you away / 
lock you up / dispose of the woman and 

the key / the ones who puncture pipelines 
and march children to die / the ones who 
devastate nations / over a catcall and the 
sickest beats / the ones who only care 
about a dead girl in the alley if / it fits the

narrative / take a gold coin fashioned from 
god / and second chances / how many gold 
coins for the woman / how many gold coins

for a key //


This poem previously appears in Valiant Scribe.


Lara Atallah is a New York-based artist and writer. Her practice is informed by her interest in the political nature of landscape, and the power it holds to reshape our perception of borders.

Fertile lands


Laura Ma is a young writer from California. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Pollux JournalThe Lumiere Review, The Aurora Journal and elsewhere. At midnight you can find her exploring aesthetics and wishing that it would rain. Find her on Twitter @goldenhr3.

the geography of migration

to Shivani

this is where our friendship begins: wings spread
        and parched with gold, the wind parsing through
our feathers — metamorphosis. we take fistfuls of
        clouds and sprinkle them on ourselves for borrowed
peregrination. memories float to the horizon and end
        on another ocean, white foam and sand lapping our
final destination. hands intertwined, we chase the sun,
        painting the sky with our pocket universes — solar
ares speckling embraces and lightning coating
        laughter. i want to watch the sunrise over and over
again, but our plumages grow metallic contours,
        iron wings calling us to earth, weighing us down
with every passing year. i am proud to soar with you.
        so in the first autumn away from each other, with
our streets and neighborhoods empty, i will remember
        how we would dream of escape and listen to the
creek, the maps of California eternal.