Poetry Archive

“Ode to Lakapati”

                “Lakapati, pakanin mo yaring alipin mo; huwag mong gutumin.”
                    “Lakapati, feed thy servant; let him not hunger.”
                  — ancient supplication, once proclaimed before planting a new field,
                 to the Philippine hermaphroditic deity of fertility

dear hybrid spirit          dear dual creature          you are like me          cousin to morels          gatherer of moss
you are as rice kernel          tiny           unhusked          & you are as blue above           skyfield of constellations
where God/ess roams looking         for lost things         you too are a lost thing         forgotten like the name
of a former lover        the scent of weed-flowers        he-she snail & slug        little chimera both sure & slow
farmers    used    you            to    fool    Spanish    priests            who    thought    you    were    the    Holy    Spirit
have the people forsaken you?     have you    like me    hungered for?     longed for—yearned for?     Lakapati
hum to me in the buzz          of sunflowers on the hill         their gold chorus for a good harvest          tonight
I make atang       scant offering from a hot meal      grain liquor to appease       I fashion an altar out of stones
place  your  figure  in  its  darkest  crevice            from  there  smile            under  the  brim  of  your  straw  hat
with your sheaf          your wicker basket          your ragged skirt          your woven tapis

nights I cut myself
in two          wait to see which half
sprouts its small seeds first


Josephine ‘Ina’ Cariño’s work has appeared in such journals as New American Fiction (New Rivers Press), One (Jacar Press), and december Magazine, among others. Her poem ‘Feast’ won the inaugural 2018 Sundress Publications broadside contest. Influenced by the natural backdrop of her childhood home in the mountains of the Philippines, Ina draws on both nature imagery and folklore in her work. She currently resides in Raleigh, NC, where she is a candidate for an MFA in creative writing at North Carolina State University.

“Genetic Predisposition”

Our lovely daughter
is reading a book on magical jellyfish
& one on the history of the human world.
She is even more kind than her brother
though she’s a sore loser.
Her brain’s like a falcon,
the way it flashes & swoops, how fast
she does long division.

Our lovely daughter
might inherit the disease,
be anointed in her late teens.

She is already better
than her father at chess,
a master at 13. She plays soccer,
runs quick, interrupts people &
loves her birthday
the way you love yours.

In the future, she might fashion
herself a prophet
a real one,
shun sleep
on her way to a hospital
bed & antipsychotics
because What if I never wake up?
I hear her say.

& what a laugh she has,
how it is a home for our hearts
with its fig-like sweetness,
its sound like a wind chime.
Remember how she would give you & me
kisses without asking, the unparalleled gifts?
Or how her tiny hand
would move her hair
out of her face as a little girl,
like drawing the curtain open
on this city’s finest stage.

It would be pain
to see our daughter
lose grip of her irrepressible mind,
watch her thoughts jump around
like a battalion of bullfrogs,
see her confused at what day it is,
her eyes redden from exhaustion,
the circular flares
propelling her higher to a different world,
away from here & us.


Nicholas Reiner is a Latino poet, sports writer, and chess expert from Southern California. He holds degrees from Stanford University and University of California, Irvine, where he completed an MFA in poetry. His work appears or is forthcoming at Spillway, B O D Y, and Connotation Press. He lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife.

“Lineage”

I claim direct descent
from those born
from the depths of soil
not the ones
who fell from their thrones.


Fatima Siraj is a Liberal Arts student and a part-time facilitator based in Pakistan. She conducts poetry workshops in schools to encourage young students toward the literary world.

“Mother Daughter”

My mother overshares with me
transferring scars through stories
that do not leave a mark
if my listening brings her healing
should I scratch her wounds?


Fatima Siraj is a Liberal Arts student and a part-time facilitator based in Pakistan. She conducts poetry workshops in schools to encourage young students toward the literary world.

“Seventh Harvest”

The lady pitching a tent by our apple fields turned out to be the one who was almost your mother. I sensed somehow that there wasn’t yet a mold for which this particular news should reach you so I gathered a few cotton swabs and packed your ears, so soft. I wondered as I began to whisper (biology, abandon) whether you knew yet that your body interrupts things, that is to say, to have a frame is in part devastation. I have watch you with our group of fat chickens, pastel arm finding saddle with meticulous kindness. The limb, the fowl, the glut.

Which part of this have you considered yours, and how long.


Jordana Solomon is a lover of lemons. Originally from a small town on the Hudson River, she currently studies at Middlebury College and has previously attended The Breadloaf Writers’ Conference as well as interned at the Poets House in New York City.

“Ghazal for Girl”

when my mother says I am a universe in the shape of a girl
it is to say I inherit her chemical tears        a moon-sad girl

star-blossoms sprout from my eyes        perfumed black holes
I swallow dark matter        sweet buds for a pill-fed girl

sparrows linger outside on wires        I mimic dusky chirps
until flesh turns to feather        warble the dirge of a ragged girl

I tap my beak against windows glued shut        inky breath
of poisonspeak on glass        I ask what in your life is so bad, girl?

men without faces scribble on pads        write me
as nothing more than a sweetling        drugged & tagged girl

I dream in fractured color        rave through meadows electric
dance frenzied across the smoky grass        a maenad girl

crushing through moss & mushroom        hazy pearl overhead
with secret warm of smuggled wishes I wail        heart-mad girl

o mother        how to roam free?        I flail unkempt
claw impatient at my throat as would a hanged girl


Josephine ‘Ina’ Cariño’s work has appeared in such journals as New American Fiction (New Rivers Press), One (Jacar Press), and december Magazine, among others. Her poem ‘Feast’ won the inaugural 2018 Sundress Publications broadside contest. Influenced by the natural backdrop of her childhood home in the mountains of the Philippines, Ina draws on both nature imagery and folklore in her work. She currently resides in Raleigh, NC, where she is a candidate for an MFA in creative writing at North Carolina State University.

“Lineage or Lullaby”

I am at a loss
because I am at a doorway
and it is both my door and a child.
I am here and I am on
my grandmother’s lap
twenty years ago, and she is singing
a dry creekbed, because of course
she never sang, that was me. I am
singing and I am not ashamed
or worried about the sound,
my words are a crawdad
because I don’t know them,
but they pinch me anyhow, when
I walk through this. And if I am
back there and you are with me
and this is not just my story, but
my own little baby boy, and he is a stone,
and I am too, we are back in my great
grandfather’s pocket, and he is so hungry
he buries us in the dirt and hopes
we sprout a mess of beans.
And we do. And we will.


Sara Moore Wagner is the Cincinnati based author of the chapbook Hooked Through (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Gulf Stream, Gigantic Sequins, Stirring, Reservoir, The Wide Shore, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, and was a recent finalist for the Tishman Review’s Edna St Vincent Millay Prize. Find her at www.saramoorewagner.com.

“Swamp Sparrow as Housewife”

In the morning I come to you
like a baby sparrow—my eyes
can’t see straight. Where is our son?
What does it mean to be a woman or person
or bird or bed or falling chunk
of sky? When you go,
in the heat of the night, the sound
of my voice is a hammer
sticking an empty metal barrel.
Even the crocodiles
are reverent. I think,
this is what God feels: lonely,
afraid of his own sound.
I am unhappy with the way
my stomach wants you.
I am unhappy with the things
my hands do—curl around each other,
shiver. Ache. Look at the hundreds
of bones on the back
of my palm. This could be
a broken wing.


Sara Moore Wagner is the Cincinnati based author of the chapbook Hooked Through (Five Oaks Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Gulf Stream, Gigantic Sequins, Stirring, Reservoir, The Wide Shore, The Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Arsenic Lobster, among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart prize, and was a recent finalist for the Tishman Review’s Edna St Vincent Millay Prize. Find her at www.saramoorewagner.com.

“Things We Need To Speak Of”

Antlers half-buried in the mud
like a cabin shut deep in the woods

that nobody enters a grizzly hibernating
within that dream of the salmon

who never returns to the drying river
a farmer must look away from

the harvest the cities are not meant
for his seeds of wheat the war

should not have devoured his village
and the pomegranates and pigeons

all these are too much even
for the oblivious ones to bless

the man in a black tux raising
a toast to the melting glaciers

breaking out into the ocean


Simon Anton Nio Diego Baena’s poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Cider Press Review, Catamaran Literary Reader, The Bitter Oleander, Osiris, Caliban, Saltfront, and elsewhere.

“The Alchemist”

She snaked down the sky like ibis
sweeping the landscape of snow,
palpatating on telegraph line.
A concentric point of red dared
into the susurrus of pale, she grew
trust to barrier island beneath,
beguiling the steady strums
of windsong with her flight. Loose
hair frosted the reed of marsh
when east and west of everything
but herself ceded seamless to
icy fall, she drew breaths then
exhaled, spilling through the mist
spreading smooth. Today she’ll
pour down her waist in flesh, take
shape over sand from gnostic moats
to icegerg seas to nautical shrouds,
sieving inches apart instead of
miles over a hundred perfect times.


A four-time Pushcart Prize, five-time Best of the Net & Bettering American Poetry nominee, Lana Bella is an author of three chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016), Adagio (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Dear Suki: Letters (Platypus 2412 Mini Chapbook Series, 2016), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 450 journals, Acentos Review, Comstock Review, EVENT, Ilanot Review, Notre Dame Review, Rock and Sling, The Stillwater Review, & Whiskey Island, among others, and work appeared in Aeolian Harp Anthology, Volume 3.

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