The traveler came to a meeting of roads.
Each was marked with prophesy,
marked with loss.
The traveler chose the middle road.
First road: you will give up from hunger and cold.
Second road: your horse will die, but you will survive.
Third road: you will die, but your horse will survive.
What is kindness, what is sacrifice, what does the world ask of us.
You will face loss, but you will survive.
Now we’re fissioned—it releases
enough desire to fuel the empire.
That’s my smudged vision on this
frost-fogged, steamed street
at night’s end in these bright overhead
cones and sweeping twin beams.
We are a flood of particles
stripped from our kin clusters,
spilled bridge elevator tunnel,
sluiced river of want, huffing
to fill our slots and seats, each
thriver promised the dollars
good for what? Pacifiers
to soothe our atomized selves—good
for ales or amaros, sliders or oysters,
Oscar Mancinas is a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University.
Because I could not pull the homesickness
from my clothes with all my teeth,
the skins of foreign cloth dead in my mouth,
I am the savage who tried to sew
a skirt for herself in another man’s english
and wore his eyes, like daisies, in my hair.
A jury of hands to tell me the weight of hair,
to measure my blood and its red homesickness.
Blue eyes and vomit …
Can I buy a cigarette from you?
I just wanted coffee.
The weekend commute had been particularly suburban.
She looked like she was going to a pool party
only it was 31st between 7th and somewhere.
Something in the way she took that first drag and held it
made me ask why.
She said she doesn’t smoke, but ..
And took another desperate drag.
She told me she told her boyfriend …
darling. beloved. come closer.
I hold history’s hand in mine, an old friend
we walk together along the paved zanja madre
a river of dirt and water. small tribes of seagulls
nest in the shifting sediment
come, beloved. walk with me.
I am as determined as clover
plant the self where you find hope. fly
land. root. you don’t need permission to exist
I take out my ancestor’s artifacts
and strap them to my …
Ahwahnee means deep grassy valley & I’d heard
that, just over one hundred years before this one,
miners had pushed the Miwok down into the tall
reeds. Today, the meadow (that swallowed feet
& hands) has stilled itself near a row of dry riparian
arrows aimed up
from that once green bed that eroded the edge
of the baseball diamond & rusted legs of monkey bars.
I drive past what …
Amy Katherine Cannon is a writer and writing teacher living in Los Angeles. She is the author of the mini-chapbook to make a desert (Platypus Press, 2016) and her work can be found in Juked, BOAAT, and LIT, among other places.
He lived in a city that doesn’t exist. Substantive trash—tractor tires, the skeleton of a yesteryear truck—was planted in the frontyards, and he liked it. The sci-fi-green plastic cups that came free with the copyrighted 1,000-calorie alcoholic drink enjoyed by visiting conference-goers and bachelor party attendees traced arcs on pavement 20 miles from place of sale. A subtle bar buzzed at the end of every …
Although not for whatever lay dead in the adjacent meadow,
for us the moment was perfect—the sky, sky blue, the sun
burnishing the fresh-washed foliage, the dog, sticks retrieved,
content to lie within reach of a scratch, and the narrative permitting
us a bench and a view of what lay before us: the light green nap
of grass like a billiard table’s baize cloth, turkey vultures cruising
on the thermals in …