Taofeek Ayeyemi

supplication

a ma fabebe i beyin, a ma fabebe
kotan kotan, sa laja n lami
a ma fabebe i beyin o

a mother holds her boy’s body like
a blurred monochrome picture
her tears roll into his eyes as if
to say a fuel is searching for fire

they say his mother stumbled
upon a block with her mouth
that her tongue the sharpness
of fang pierces the elders’ body

& its blood flow into her son’s
future. blocks his way like a flood
we talk of the future as if it’s eternal
but it’s the hand of mousetrap

the hand of arrow, the steps of ram
the movement of things moving back
to later be flung far forward into
space, into unseen, into the future

he who closes his eyes & throw
a stone should be hit on the head
his snail’s mouth that curses
should be made to genuflect

a ma fabebe i beyin, a ma fabebe
kotan kotan, sa laja n lami
a ma fabebe i beyin o

but when man lost his brand new
beginning, it doesn’t mean he has
lost a brand new ending. the sun
up there can still dry his wet linen

let the sunlight slips into his
cold room and warm him into
life. let the fire he didn’t kindle
not eat him up. not eat him up

mother of a child is his succour
children of orunmila are salvaged
by the horse-tailed anther
i raise my tongue in supplication

we have come in prostration:
we beg with this hand fan, we beg
finish! finish! is how dog licks water
we beg you with this hand fan

we wave this handfan & blow
coolness into your hot eyes
we hold our palms before you
let his world be the white of dove

a ma fabebe i beyin, a ma fabebe
kotan kotan, sa laja n lami
a ma fabebe i beyin o


Taofeek Ayeyemi (fondly called Aswagaawy) is a Nigerian lawyer and writer. His works have appeared or forthcoming in Lucent Dreaming, Ethel-zine, The Pangolin Review, The Banyan Review, the QuillS, Modern Haiku, Akitsu Quarterly, contemporary haibun online and elsewhere. He won Honorable Mention Prize in 2020 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest, 2019 Morioka International Haiku Contest and 2nd Prize in 2016 Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize.

Natasha King

Paper Birds for Paper Girls

She was the girl with her sleeves full of papers
and she grew up to be the woman with sleeves full of birds.
She shook out her sleeve and it was
a grocery bill, a folded crane, a thrush at twilight.
she grew up to be my mother, my daughter, me.

My mother shook all the birds of her heart out from
under her wrists and threw them at me.
Crucified under paper beaks, I breathed her mother's last.
I moved from city to city and my sleeves were crinkly with
boarding passes, ticket stubs, post-it notes. Safe.
Innumerable lineages of paper women
creased my paper brow with their kisses. Safe.

My mother is an albatross riding a high easterly wind.
My daughter is a dream riding safe in the veins of a pine tree somewhere.
We are a crumpled cocktail napkin full of stains
and cell numbers and sorrows, an index
card with the most important words immortalized,
a whole family of ducks and swans and stooping herons,
paper and flesh, so lost and so found.


Natasha King‘s poetry has appeared in Constellate MagazineOyster River PagesOkay DonkeyGhost City Review, and others. She lives in North Carolina, where she spends her spare time writing, prowling, and thinking about the ocean. She can be found on Twitter as @pelagic_natasha.

Ben Berman Ghan

That Ghostly Voyage Beyond

For you, I would relinquish
My precious solitary
signified being and
embrace a gaseous dizzying
Consciousness of nebulae
Altering star-ways on a journey

To eventually settle a planet
So blue all the way through
To call home, and there I would
drift among the berries
And the birds and stars with you
And experiment with all the forms
Of conjoining dewdrops

Until one day when
Our bodies have fallen
into mixed memories leaving
Nothing left that might signify a me
Or a you in this endlessly distributed
Cognitive we

Would I spin us
From lilac stems and
Sweet honeys, remoulding
A you with touch and soft attentions and
A me made from your light recognitions
To lie in a garden of we and look at
The constellations we have midwifed
In our travels

 

Ben Berman Ghan is a Jewish Settler, writer, editor, and scholar based in Tkaronto/Toronto, site of Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, His non-fiction has been published in the likes of Empty Mirror Books, Augur Magazine, and Strange Horizons, and his fiction has appeared The Temz Review and The Sweet Tree Review, and his poetry in The UC Review and The Trinity Review. His novel What We See in the Smoke was published in 2019 by Crowsnest Books. His novella “Visitation Seeds” is forthcoming with 845 Press. You can find him @inkstainedwreck or inkstainedwreck.ca

Sarah Little

Ghostspeak

She calls you on
the first of every
month.

Her voice changes,
disappears
into the mouthpiece.

After six months
she sounds weak.
Her voice

is breathy,
thin,
as if she’s apologising
 for

existing.


Sarah Little is a poet who scribbles when she remembers and gets tetchy when she goes too long without writing. Her work has appeared in L’Éphémère Review, Alien Pub, and Milk + Beans, among others. Her first poetry micro-chapbook, Snapshots was published with Broken Sleep Books in July 2019.

Ellen Chang-Richardson

How bold I was, when I was seven

I touch my left earlobe to bring myself luck,
as I listen to the words of colonialists. Yet I
in some ways am a colonialist too. Full of brimstone
and the belief I belong; existence that blood / belies.

I shake my left leg to field preoccupation,
as I think back to my blood’s migration. My parents,
their parents, their flight bringing with them
another culture, foreign.

Stop stroking your ears, shaking your legs, they’d say.
Place hands to your lips, steepled and silent.

Now bow low and focus, why, because
only whores shake coin from their thighs.


Ellen Chang-Richardson (she/her) is a poet, writer and editor of Taiwanese and Cambodian-Chinese descent. Winner of the 2020 POWER OF THE POETS Contest and the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry, her writing has appeared in The Town Crier, Anti-Heroin Chic, long con magazine and more. Her debut chapbook Unlucky Fours is published by Anstruther Press (2020) and her second Assimilation Tactics is forthcoming this fall. Find out more at www.ehjchang.com.