The theme for this issue is SKIN.
We are thrilled to bring to you a collection of truly remarkable pieces from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. We are amazed at the unique and underrepresented interpretations of the theme SKIN provided by our contributors: Does skin become a manifestation of our mental or physical illness? Or a site for our desire? Does it become a reminder of past transgressions? Do we want to harm it? Can we learn to love it again?
TW/CW: This issue contains themes of and references to sexual abuse, self-harm, violence, and illness. Please let us know if we need to add anything more to this list.
Happy and safe reading!
Cover Art by Paola Butler-Zanetti
Paola Butler-Zanetti (she/her) is a Swiss scientist and visual artist based in Hackney, London. She favours drawing, printing and collage. She tends to add eyes and hands to everything she draws, no matter how relevant. Instagram: @toadlunch
The cover image explores self-consciousness, and in particular how we tend to project our insecurities onto other people, shaping what we perceive to be their opinions and expectations of us.
lichenology by Katy Haas
Katy Haas (she/her) is a poet from mid-Michigan. Her recent poems appear in trashheap, Taco Bell Quarterly, petrichor, Sad Girl Review, and Honey & Lime. Find her on Twitter at @katyydidnt.
My skin as a fabric of bruises by Naphtali Festus Adda
Naphtali Festus Adda is a Nigerian. He is a fat guy from Sondi, Taraba State, Nigeria. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in praxis magazine, atunis poetry, and some anthologies. To him, Poetry is an abode of peace.
Petals by Vaishnavi Sharma
Vaishnavi Sharma is a 19-year-old WoC, walking through life losing her pens, temper, paints, mind, etc. She likes to talk (a lot) about poetry, history, sciences, and politics. Can always be found with her nose in between the pages of a book, uninterested in the torments of this world. Twitter: @umvaishnavi Instagram: @um.vaishnavi
shadow by Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts (she/her, they/them) is 17 years old and in her final year of high school. She loves poetry, theatre and dance. Her favourite colour is yellow and in her spare time she draws or plays video games. In the future she’d love to become a script-writer or poet. Twitter: @library_fae Instagram: @robot_with_anxiety_poems
The Entirety by Aleah Dye
Aleah Dye (she/her) primarily writes poetry, tending towards topics of morbidity, love, social justice, and philosophy. Her biggest inspiration is Walt Whitman, and she specializes in the free verse that he pioneered. Dye also writes fiction and nonfiction occasionally, focusing on self-reflection and, once again, philosophy. She aspires to change people’s lives and hearts with her words. You can find Dye’s published book of poetry, If I Just Look Hard Enough, for purchase on Amazon and Sweek. You can also follow her @bearsbeetspoet on Twitter for more content.
What Defines Beauty by Sayeeda Bacchus
Sayeeda Bacchus is a Dutch-born illustrator with Guyanese descent, living in London UK. Her work was recently published in a UK magazine that represents BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) artists. Sayeeda has also been featured as ‘Illustrator of the Month’ in a French magazine. Culture, equality and diversity are common themes in her work. Follow her on instagram @sayeeda.bacchus.
What Defines Beauty contains a pattern design of beauty and diversity. Beauty comes in all skin tones, body shapes, sizes and age. The artist’s main focus with this design is to indicate that we should stop promoting the same stereotype of beauty standards in the Western culture. We should think about the definition of beauty.
the year my body learned to speak (but not the year i learned to listen) by Haley Morgan McKinnon
Haley Morgan McKinnon (she/her) is an emerging poet based in Portland, OR. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Pacific University and currently works as an editor for Cascadia Rising Review. She writes most often about sexuality and mental illness. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Royal Rose Magazine, Elephants Never, Ayaskala, and The Almagre Review, among others. She can be found on Twitter at @haleymmckinnon and Instagram at @hmm.writer.
Elara by Imogen L. Smiley
Imogen. L. Smiley (she/her) is a twenty-two year old writer from Essex, UK. She has anxiety, depression and a relentless love of dogs. Although poetry isn’t her strongest area of writing, she does really enjoy the ability to neglect the rules of style,and come up with convoluted imagery that would otherwise be inappropriate.
This Hairshirt Is For You by Abigail Pearson
Abigail Pearson (she/her, they/them) is a 24-year-old queer writer of novels and poetry. Most recently they have published a poetry collection titled Maybe (Not) Her, which explores themes of bisexuality and polyamory. Other works by Abigail have been published in Pussy Magazine and Moonchild Magazine. You can find her on twitter @whimsywriter3.
Oh, to think my body is an airship by Sarah Loverock
Sarah Loverock is a writer and MA Creative Writing student from England. She has a passion for writing, history, folklore and journalism and hopes to work in a museum again once she finishes school. She was previously published in Streetcake magazine and is available on Twitter @asoftblueending.
Skin, bone and other bad art forms by Grace Royal
Grace Royal (she/her) is a recent university graduate who writes both poetry and prose. Her work explores eating disorders, mental health, lesbian identity, the small details of life and the impact of social media. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading or looking after her eight guinea pigs.