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 a
catacomb an uncracked pomegranate
i ask my students to DEFINE AN ARCHIVE
& we language violence & coloniality
while i think of your mouth
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 https://www.luciagallipoli.
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
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
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.
Laura Ma is a young writer from California. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Pollux Journal, The 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
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.