All-American Adolescence

By Riley Strait

Tomorrow, I will worry about the future.
But today, I wallow in the past.

Tomorrow, I will be 16 and trying to remember
if the derivative of arcsin is one over
or square-root-of-u-squared-minus-one.

Copy. Paste. Delete. Repeat.

By Ava Shropshire

taught me how to hide my curls
in a cloak of shame.
told me I should cry every time my eyes
landed on the details carved into my brown face.
constantly reminded me I wasn’t in close enough proximity.

on watching a jellyfish cam in a dark room

By Caroline Stickney

i watch jellyfish billow on the screen like souls floating across skies, their bells blooming as gracefully as bloodstains in bath water, and i reach through the pixels toward some form of salvation, some return that promises in the next life i’ll be something softer, something expansive, wounds


By Wyatt Vaughn

Decorating a Christmas tree, 
Lights cast taught.
Seeing beads of light – asymmetrical, imperfect.

Grease in my hair and oil on my face, 
Piercing uncleanliness.
But sharper is the ground leading from bed to shower.


By Gaby Kill

I am melting butter
in AP Statistics
draped over the desk
warm dripping out of leaky sleeves
as I slide puddley down the hallway my mother screams,
 “Finally, some fat inside you!”
someone needs to pour out my sneakers
wash me out of my socks

I'm Balding

By Kechi Mbah

My reflection swallows round my eyes like twisted hair beads and pink oil
while the mirror leaks a frightening truth
that I go mad to.
I hold the wishing in my fingers
drenched in castor, tea tree, and peppermint
my scalp only blooms red


By Callan Latham

If we could be quiet in the small spaces,
maybe they would make excuses for us.
Our bodies, forgiven only once in a while.
We look in the mirror, see dualities of ourselves
and ask them to break. I like the glass between us.

aunties' feet

By Octavia Williams

Bony fingers whipping, winding, wrinkling ‘cross my scalp
Heat near ears - don’t do it - yep, she’s scalded me
“Girl, don’t wail like that!” Popped with comb
Wince and whine, smile inside - aunties like this are rare
No they’re not, dime a dozen, priceless


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.

The Basics

By Cathy Wang

My brain likes to run amuck.    
Some days it gets stuck on the same thought:
You are in love with someone and they do not love you.
You ate too much today and are now chubby, too chubby in fact to be loved by anybody.

Dear Body

By Melissa Herzberg

Dear Body,
I’m sorry 
For all of the hate you're given
I know you're just trying to make a living
And go on with your life as it is
But every day you're seen in a mirror
And at that moment you’re seen clearer
Even when I’m just looking down