elementia issue 18


For my mother

By Arden Yum

After Toni Morrison’s Beloved


Mother, tell me about the child in your womb.

                                               We shared water &

                                                                             blood &

mother's guilt

By Stephanie K

I ate the placenta and the umbilical cord

(and i ate and i ate).

I tasted the iron on my teeth

(it stained until i swallowed and i swallowed the hydrogen peroxide).

Artificial Dreams

By Isabelle Shachtman

Been sitting still the whole day

Can’t sleep


Thank you trazowhatervthehellyouare

For the frog and the eyes

And the image of my

Ex-girlfriend in the sun and


What am I saying?

What’ve I done?


A Bicycle Accident

By Cheyenne Mann

Graze the lips with concrete and floss with blood

Wintergreen and sharp, pennies in the mouth that

Rattle like bicycle wheels down long hills.

Bandaid sticky, adhesive concealer that fortifies a face

To face the world dripping with bruises, salt, and the momentum


By Gaby Kill

My brother’s just moved into college!

Well, not entirely- there’s still his coffee machine and a box of granola bars, but we’re driving those to him today.

It was just red

By Gaby Kill

"Nothing ever ends poetically. It ends and we turn it into poetry. All that blood was never one beautiful, it was just red." - Kait Rokowski


I wanna make poetry out of the way the boy who was my first grade best friend

private poem

By Yasi Farahmandnia

there are years to work out the kinks.

my hands buzzing and my tongue stuck to the back of rusty teeth, i scream to write in an unmarked


but spit wets the page instead.


i want to communicate by destroying our common language.

neighbor’s shopkeeper bell

By Yasi Farahmandnia

you are

one of the more lovelier sounds.

i find these days,

i can replicate you if i close my ears enough:

the clash of my spoon with the ice cream bowl,

the kiss my lighter leaves on the body of a candle,


By Sophie Esther Ramsey

The day I fell out of love with my body—
my capsule,
my shrine—
weakness gnawed away at the palms of my hands,
dissatisfaction consumed my waist,
and comfort withered away like the skin I picked at
and night.


By Gaby Kill

My lover is strong for a reason.

I was teasing her neck and giggled when she flipped me

  “play fighting”

hit flat on my back, seeing stars in broad daylight on the lawn

of the private school she would get kicked out of.


The Sculptor

By Mariam Khelashvili

The sculptor unveiled a block

A block of marble bought with the

Cents, dollars, kept under lock

Kept under a lock and key.


The sculptor went home again

while rain and lightning poured from skies

Stepped upon the midnight train,

Of Questions and Answers

By Ayesha Asad

I have wondered why my body
looks the way it does in the sun.
Brow bone glittering, sweat
tricking like the last swill of water
down a glass, blood circulating
like clockwork, a gear so visceral
and rooted in its own

Alone in a Cabin I Think of What Led Me Here

By Ayesha Asad

Was it the way the leaves fell,
streamlined, as I burst
bawling onto greenery,

or the first time sunlight peeked
through dark branches overhead—

or the reddish-purple skin
stretched over my sleeping body,
surrounded by fluid? What phantom

Let the Rain Keep Falling

By Ayesha Asad

Let the Rain Keep Falling

O birthplace rain     I take what I can from

your mouth,    delivering myself

             from spring seeds,

wetting my tongue

                            with your resilience.

And you warm my skin           in segments,


By Billie Croft



It’s half past eleven, so

we find an epileptic street light & swap sweat


before I put my hands in your pockets &

tell you I feel like I’m in Riyadh with a roughcast of redsand on my tongue and camel skin beneath my feet


1980s Coke Party

By Billie Croft

The deciding factor in

whether or not I’d breach the boundary between binaries

was a gender neutral bathroom sign.


I heard someone belt a show tune in the shower while

another howled. Someone else took off their jeans, stuffed


By Billie Croft

I will liken the heavy clouds that pass over my land to grey matter

              before my body remembers the practicality of pain

              & blood rushes into my bladder.


              I’ll swallow a scream, or

Cigarette Constellations

By Avalon Lee

The ink darkens, leeching my energy as I trace an index over the text. A rejection letter from California Institute of the Arts, and best regards. No better than every other art academy who also shelved my portfolio.

The letter lands neatly in the bin. I stalk to my studio.

claymation in six scenes

By Christine Baek

claymation in six scenes.


Margaret finds out she is made of clay when she presses into the crook of her elbow and pulls the flesh right off.


a story in the perspective of the love interest

By Julie Pham


the director says ​start​, and you come to life like an automaton. a blink, and


By Pranathi Charasala

“You have nice eyes, but it’s a shame you’re dark.”

“You have beautiful hair, sad that you’re dark.”

“How lucky you are! No pimples or scars, what a shame that you’re you look dark, though.”

A Piece Of Me Died On the 1 Train

By Rachel Shela

Ok, so it’s mid April during Spring break and you’re on the wretched 1 train. You get on at 28th street after a sleepover with your best friend who, in 11 months, will no longer be your friend. You find a seat next to a robust woman who we’re going to call Katelyn.

I Am Not Afraid To Die

By Chloe Chou

The boat reeked of fish.

reversion & recurrence

By Samantha Liu

Trigger Warning: rape


St. Jude

By Grace Ashley

The parking lot felt stagnant as Jude walked across empty yellow lines. The air was weighted with the cold, heavy enough that it almost seemed like the cloud of her breath dispersed down rather than up. The lights flickered above her head with a steady, fly-like buzz.

Skinned Apples

By Cheyenne Mann

                                                                                  SCENE 1


By Samantha Liu

Today I pulled
my grandmother’s body
from the mouth of the river,
unpeeled milkflowers and seawater
from her hair, and knelt over her
the way we bend over our own reflections:
to drink.
Nainai, ni ren shi wo me?*


By Gaby Kill

True silence isn't sealed lips
it's unread texts, deleted history
it's a phone that someone never picks up
The line the dead girl's parents still pay for
even though there is no one to answer it.
the principal is adamant on thoughts