elementia issue 17



By Jillian Otero

Dear 34B,

I thought that this was going to be a normal flight.

I got to the airport two hours early. Exactly on schedule.

I took my seat in 34A. By the window.

I went through all the motions. Cell phone turned off.

Connection at First Sight

By Annie Barry

I read about you

in my horoscopes and in a relatable tweet last week

as soon as I saw you, I knew those were written about you

All Things Terribly Lovely

By Hannah Holliday

When you asked me who I thought you were and I didn’t have an answer, I was worried. Why does my brain not instantly generate poetry when I think about how beautiful you are? Now that I have an answer I am terrified.

Remember Summer?

By Anonymous

He’s got you stuck in his teeth.

Remember, summer?

          Well, tell me:

Why’d you leave him and I alone in the blue tiled bathroom?

Remember, summer?

The one with the blood stained floors that we sat on for hours.

In Orchards of Lemon Trees

By Kate Rose

in orchards of lemon trees

we tiptoe, under the hanging yellow fruit

in blue moonlight, we will stay until

orange light leads us inside


By Samiya Rasheed

My mother mourns leaving her own country so deeply it runs through her veins into mine. Bangladesh is what she knows and what she loves. She spends her time showing me her culture: spinning through dances, running through poetry, and wading through history.

Dream State Slip-Gown

By Isabelle Shachtman

The sound of the train past midnight

And a clear sort of light seek my room and cheeks

Leaving the layers of darkness, moon, and house light stale and stark

As if the lighter colored sheaths of air in the dark are unbreathable

Baba’s Garden

By Clara Rabbani

Egg-yolks blooming in serenity

baba’s palms turn upwards

black dirt falling on the sun.

The fruit of baba’s hands

covered in spines

twisted but not the wicked way

that punctures skin.

Serpentine limbs extend in search of

poem for my killer

By Yasi Farahmandnia

sometime before the clock hit eleven,

i thought of you.

i imagined the threat your caressing fingers possess

as they trace targets on the side of my belly.

The Stories They Tell

By Clara Rabbani

I envy the stories

They tell.

Of the East

And the West.

Of bare feet,

Guava trees,

Roasted fava beans.

Of tin water pails

That held curly-haired children

To keep the dust off their feet.


By Olivia J. Williams

I will never call a Latino “papi”

sino héroe, soldado, sobreviviente

Brother in bondage, sibling in survival

The chains of the Hispanic clink with those of his Black cellmate

We languish under the same white gall


By Sofia Calavitta

Too long we have forgotten

The story of breath in our lungs

Depending on who you ask

We started from clay, dust,

Half of a ribcage, the salt of the

Earth, the water of the sea;

The old gods.


By Sydney Fessenden

I like to stare at the Ikea light fixture in the living room,

letting the middle bulb sink into my shallow eyes.

I look until it starts to hurt, my ripped fingernails gripping

the worn suede of the couch as pupils get lost in

Still Life

By Haley Renee Born

I’m sitting in the middle of nowhere, on a hill looking toward the horizon. No tripod, just crossed legs and my elbows resting on my knees, holding an old camera filled with darkroom film.

Museum of Broken Street Signs

By Meghana Lakkireddy

I miss running down the street with you at half past 3

When your dad dropped you off after softball practice on Sunday afternoons.

And there was never anything more than grass stains on white pants and empty soda cans that my mom told me to throw away two hours ago.


By Anna Schmeer

i never met her

but i always knew she was there

my dad talked about her so fondly

“we used to drive

for hours listening to old cassette tapes

singing along

not knowing where we were going

but not caring”


Forgotten Memory

By Ada Heller

I can’t remember

why pink ice cream

smells of lakes

and trips to grandma’s house

I have no memory

of cherry chocolate chunk ice cream melting

in my mouth

But sometimes

I lick my fingers

just to make sure


By Clara Rabbani

The West,

To me,

Is Capoeira.


And filled with


It is

The macaws

Of the Amazon.

And the macaques

Of the tamarind trees.


By Isabelle Shachtman

You ask me If I know the way back home from here. I sing the words, “yes, dear” back to you like I’m someone else. You say “alright” because you’ve got nothing else to say right now; I respect that. I keep my eyes on the road. I’m not quite sure where you’re looking at this point


By James Fitzgerald

Montana and Wyoming

The sprawling landscape of Yellowstone

Against towering mountains

Form a place that I’d never seen before

The animals and people you meet at pull offs

Are what make the experience an experience

A Walk

By Rachel Stander

Yesterday, I took a walk.

I went through the park,

I passed by one empty cup,

two used napkins,

three cigarette butts.

I jaywalked across the street,

past the hardware store

and into the coffee shop.

she took my poems

By Annie Barry

why do i allow myself to participate in something as dangerously stupid as Love?

allow myself to participate

i say

as if i don’t

put myself up to bat

in a room full of automatic pitch machines

Life Slow Mo

By Ada Heller

Wet hair clings to my cheeks

salty from the rain

Drops like tears slide down my nose

as the gray of the sky peers down upon me

Barefoot in the grass

for a few moments

I forget about the life I am crushing below

Coconut Kid

By Neha Sridhar

Giggling, Aditi grabs my hand and twirls me along as her ghagra’s elaborate mirror embroidery catches in colorful lighting.

Secrets Scrawled on the Astragal

By Brett Seaton

It’s strung together through the fibers on the back of the lost

Dreams that leave you sweat-stained and hopeful

How dare we doubt ourselves?

In the midst of our mist and making, we think to miss?

To Mom: Inspired by Ocean Vuong’s Poem “A Letter to My Mother That She Will Never Read”

By Katie Stanos

But you need it, you said. I thought you wanted to be beautiful. I slammed my hands on the wheel of your Land Rover and pulled over to the side of the road near the big houses with green lawns and trampolines, Norfolk Way.

Maybe it was the Wind

By James Knoflicek

Maybe it was the wind that blew her to the ground.

Maybe a subtle hollow she hadn’t noticed brought her down.

Either way, she ends up in the dirt.

Earth covers the soft pink fabric draped over her

Like paint splattered on a porcelain canvas.

Shadows Need Light

By Hiba Faruqi

A ransacked village in India is where my lineage began


Women, I will


Can never, ever know.

Tribulations my western brain

Cannot comprehend.

They made me.

I have the blood of


Peanut Butter Sandwiches

By Elizabeth Yost

Even when she was young, Sonya had never been afraid of the supernatural.

Where I’m From

By Emme Mackenzie

I am from

the expressions of my people

flattened nose and slits for eyes

leathery skin and cricks in my back

each feature of mine

a reflection of my family heritage