Doesn’t everything that shines carry its own shadow?

an illustration d of 12 cherries, each a little different (one with a worm, some darker, some more bright red, some with marks).
Art by Kristina Closs


by Danusha Laméris

The woman standing in the Whole Foods aisle
over the pyramid of fruit, neatly arranged
under glossy lights, watched me drop
a handful into a paper bag, said how do you do it?
I always have to check each one.
I looked down at the dark red fruit, each cherry
good in its own, particular way
the way breasts are good or birds or stars.
Doesn’t everything that shines carry its own shadow?
A scar across the surface, a worm buried in the sweet flesh.
Why not reach in, take whatever falls into your hand.

from The Moons of August


her child would never know the damp of hunger in his bones

illustration of a mother and sun as silhouettes, eating burgers and fries with blue waves in the background
Art by Kristina Closs

I Tell My Mother About My Depression

by Eric Tran

She is ashamed of my seasickness,
her son, bled down from boat people.

We are kidding, of course: between waves
and prayers to Mercy, she swore

her child would never know
the damp of hunger in his bones.

She wanted him fat like clay
and just as soft. In college, I lost

ten pounds of myself and half
the words she sang to me as a baby.

The aunties cooed my new frame
but she was silent, both of us famished

for the words we meant. I say 
I’m sad from sun to sun

and her response is a crisp
twenty for the quiet burger joint

we visited when I was young
and never talked, or didn’t need

words, our mouths and bellies
singing the same full rhythm.

from The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer

I stocked my shelves for you

illustration of a skillet full of various colorful pantry and food items
Art by Kristina Closs


by Lilah Hegnauer

Rally, joy, here. Weep here.
I am not lettered. I ferry
an even raft across your

pantry shelves: jimberry, jamberry,
red beans and black. Lentils
and popcorn and everything

you lack. I could pace your
acres and come to nothing–
still. No roots, no vines, no

frame, no sill. Consigned to a
pointy-ribbed filly, I address
you thus: rally here. I stocked
my shelves for you.

from Pantry