Portland

"Year of the Freshwater Fish" by Leah Leinbach

There is a sentence that exists between you and I
I want to lie down with it
water is underneath, I hear it
the world's shortest ghost story exists in my body
in neon colored spit
on public display
the word discomposure
something quiet pardons remembrance
a secret falls down
you appear out of a pollen cloud
and say boo
sneak your way up into my laugh
I touch your neck
and it is the shape a neck would be
if you truly existed
regret shrieks its way off a moldy peach
an out of order sign is out of order
my only question
if you were born in the year of the freshwater fish
would you have loved it any harder?
-
Originally from Seattle, Leah Leinbach is a writer based in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in CHEAP POP as well as in the New York and Chicago based zine Metaphorical Fruit

"Non Pearl Body" and "Quilting" by Nathan Wade Carter

Non Pearl Body

God’s eyes are yellow.

I peer into them
in my celestial bed.

The color of god.
Heaven is yellow.

The stars spell things
whether we want them to or not.

Whether they mean to or not.
Whether it matters or not.

Words mean things.
I didn’t think I’d need to say this.

This very long tunnel.
An electric light every so often.

This underground bend
through the mountain.

My eyes get used to this dim.

I have yet
to connect

enough dots
to make a picture.

I stay in bed for days
boring a hole in this spot.

I am surrounding
my foreign body in nacre,

making my own iridescent mother
and being her.

I have this hard object
within my soft tissue.

My mantle has made something
valuable.

My immune response
is beautiful.

-

Quilting

A tectonic inch
My oceans jostled
A cup of water
On a bumped table
An earthly hiccup
Waves pull away
To rush in
Cities reclaimed
I am a new landscape
After fishing the lake dry
After wearing holes
These knees
After spitting
This wind
I sit in a puddle
And pretend I am
A gold fish
All forget and yellow
I use the last pencil
Down to its ferrule
Which holds a finished eraser
One cannot erase what
One cannot record
I survive
A quilt
Warming
Assembled well
Even I say thank you
But there’s a gap
An ocean
I worry
I broke
Without noticing
I am built different
Too many years of feeling I need to be
Fucked or never loved
A sand castle erected so proud
So bound to fall down

I will not sleep with you
I will not live with you
I will not have sex
I don’t want to

-

Nathan Wade Carter is a queer, grey-a poet, musician, and artist living in Portland, Oregon. His poetry can and will be found in Heavy Feather Review, Horse Less Press, Souvenir, Powder Keg Magazine, The Fem, and others. He is editor and founder of SUSAN / The Journal. He writes and performs songs under the name Purrbot. He is recording a new album called DNR. Find him online at nathanwadecarter.com.