Issue IV / October 2020

Issue IV / October 2020

The theme for this issue is HAIR.

We chose this theme because we wanted to explore people’s experiences with hair – is it a tool of oppression, a form of control, an impossible beauty ideal, a beloved friend, an extension of our identities, or a form of protest?

We present a collection of 33 powerful and remarkable pieces that capture the most intimate moments between our contributors and their hair. Some of these speak to identity – from the curls of Black hair to bleached bisexuality to the buzzcut of femininity. Some explore how hair defines our relationships with lovers and mothers and children and ourselves. Sometimes hair is a companion, through love, illness, grief, birth and death. Sometimes hair is rebellion, a statement against age, racism, beauty, disease. Sometimes hair is just hair. So, we present hair – cut and shaved, fallen and regained, plucked and bleached, sometimes lost never to be found again, always in the process of creating and being created.

TW/CW: This issue contains themes of and references to self-harm, violence, cancer, death, childbirth, physical and mental illness. Hair related references include body hair, pubic hair, straightening, plucking, shaving, blades, and hair loss. Please let us know if we need to add anything more to this list.

Happy and safe reading!



Look Inside

My Personal Haircut by Lynne Schmidt

Lynne Schmidt is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the author of the chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. Lynne was a five time 2019 Best of the Net Nominee, and an honorable mention for the Charles Bukowski and Doug Draime Poetry Awards. In 2012, she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.  

Labels on Shampoo by H. E. Casson

H. E. Casson went very grey, very quickly and enjoys the invisibility-cloak-like powers of grey hair. Their words have recently been published in Flash Nonfiction Food, Lunate, Serotonin, Taco Bell Quarterly, and Workers Write. They can be found online at hecasson.com and as @hecasson on Twitter.

Wash Day Routine by Hunter Blackwell

Hunter Blackwell (she/her) is a Black bisexual poet and author. Her previous work has appeared in The Write Launch, Barren Magazine, Crepê & Penn, Nightingale & Sparrow, and others. She is a novice baker and cosplayer. So feel free to send recipes on Twitter @hun_blackwell

Ajakolokolo by Oke Oluwasegun

Oke Oluwasegun (b,1994) is a documentary photographer based in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria. His work is centered around personal experience, moments and everyday life. Oluwasegun began actively working in photography in 2017, focusing on social-cultural, health, and environmental related issues in Nigeria. You can find him on Instagram @okeoluwasegunmoses.

Let’s Call It Something Else by Jowell Tan

Born, bred, and based in Singapore, Jowell Tan writes prose & poetry after hours for fun and emotional release. His nights consist of writing, rewriting, watching videos on Youtube to avoid writing, and finally, writing again. Please say hello to him on Twitter at @jwlltn and Instagram at @jwlltn

Proof I am Actually Medusa by Victoria Fraser

After flitting around random jobs like a fruit fly, Victoria Fraser has realized maybe she doesn’t belong in the real world. Instead, she spends her time writing weird, fantastical poetry. If you listen closely, you’ll hear her singing off key to her ukulele about why online dating is a nightmare (especially when you are bisexual). Read her musings on Twitter @drunkukulele.

Reflection by Josh Holton

Josh Holton (he/him) is an ex-MMA fighter who took too many blows to the head and now writes and draws the weird. His work has featured in literary magazines across the UK and the USA. He was shortlisted for Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize 2020. Find him on Twitter @JHoltonWriter.

Grow Up 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.

Drowning in Hair by Addie Tsai

Addie Tsai is a queer, nonbinary Asian artist and writer who teaches literature, creative writing, humanities, and dance at Houston Community College. The author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear Twin, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Addie is Nonfiction Editor at The Grief Diaries, Assistant Fiction Editor at Anomaly, and Associate Editor at Raising Mothers. You can follow her on Instagram @bluejuniper and Twitter @addiebrook.

Loss or Gain by Shlagha Borah

Shlagha Borah (she/her) is pursuing her undergraduate degree from Lady Shri Ram College For Women. She is a regular contributor and Select Writer for Terribly Tiny Tales and has been an editorial intern with Katha Publications. Her work has been accepted and published in various online literary platforms like Ayaskala, Marias at Sampaguitas, Ghost Heart, GroundXero, etc. She is also the co-founder of the student-led collective called Pink Freud that works around destigmatizing mental health issues. You can find her on Instagram @shlaghab.

Flyaways by Megan Cannella

Megan Cannella is a doctoral candidate, and her research focuses on 21st century dystopian motherhood narratives. She is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. For over a decade, Megan has bounced between working at a call center, grad school, and teaching. She has work published (currently and forthcoming) in 3 Moon Publishing, Porcupine Lit, The Daily Drunk, Verse Zine, and perhappened. You can find her on Twitter @megancannella.

From mouths of babes of the playground by Laura Cliss

Laura Cliss (she/her) is a feminist, vegan, reader, and cat-lover. She received her BA in English and History from Sheffield Hallam University before training as a primary teacher and spending a number of years teaching in the UK and Europe. She has recently moved back home to Cambridgeshire – UK, to start her MA in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University in September. She is enjoying finding her feet as a writer and writes about anything that she feels an emotional connection to – moments, people… and sometimes cats.

Me Rajaron de las Raíces by Karla Renée Nemanic

Karla Renée Nemanic (she/they) is a queer Latinx poet pursuing a bachelor of arts at the University of Georgia. They have previously been published in magazines such as Marias at Sampaguitas and The Fem. Find them on Twitter @jajceglava.

Tangerine Ambivalence Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad (she/her) is an Indian-Australian artist and poet. She holds a Masters in English. She has been widely published in both print and online literary journals and anthologies. Her recent works have been published in Otoliths, and Unlost Journal, and are forthcoming in Parentheses, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. Find her work on poetry.oormila.com and Instagram @oormila_paintings.

bridesmaid dress by Olivia Braley

Olivia Braley (she/her) is a writer living in Annapolis, Maryland. She is a co-founder and Editor in Chief of Stone of Madness Press and a Reader for Longleaf Review. Her list of publications can be found at her website, oliviabraleywrites.com. Keep up with her on Twitter @OliviaBraley.

google inappropriate hairstyles & click images by Rayn Fox

Rayn Fox is from Colorado but not the crunchy kind. They’re an upcoming poet who loves to talk shit with the stars.

Your Hair is Everywhere by Lisa Lerma Weber

Lisa Lerma Weber has a lot of thick hair she has teased, permed, and even dyed blue. Her words and photography have been published online and in print. She is a poetry contributor and junior editor for Versification. Follow her on Twitter @LisaLermaWeber.

My Body is an Earth by Margaret Balich

Margaret Balich (she/her) is an 18-year-old writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She has been recognized in Pittsburgh’s Regional Scholastic Writing Awards, Carnegie Mellon University’s MLK Writing Awards, and Hooligan Mag’s Spilled Ink column. She hopes to study writing at the University of Pittsburgh while making music and finally learning how to ollie. You can find her on Instagram @margaretbalich.

Flowers by Prithiva Sharma

Prithiva Sharma (she/her) is a demisexual/biromantic writer from India, and is an Editor at Teen Belle Mag and Nightingale & Sparrow.  She loves napping, horror movies and binging fanfiction. Find her work at https://campsite.bio/prithuwu and on Instagram @prithuwu

Letters to my Mother by Leela Raj-Sankar

Leela Raj-Sankar (noun; she/her, pile of dust in a floral print dress) is an Indian-American teenager from Phoenix, Arizona. She enjoys drinking obscene amounts of coffee and making far too many Richard Siken references. Her work has been published/is forthcoming in Perhappened, Ex/Post Mag, and Stone of Madness Press, among others.

Thoughts on my Recent Haircut by Parker Li

Parker Li (she/they) is a queer Taiwanese-American artist specializing in digital and traditional art forms, as well as ceramics. They use their work as a form of resistance, exploring the themes of belonging, politics, and their transnational queer identity. When not working on art, they are reading history books and memoirs in the park. You can find them on Instagram or Twitter @humilityorigins.

Shave by Kaitlyn Crow

Kaitlyn Crow (they/them) is a Richmond, VA based poet. While juggling writing and dog-parenthood, they serve as a co-editor for K’in Literary Journal’s Young Writers Section. Other works have appeared in: Vagabond City, Apeiron Review, and bluestockings magazine. Find them on Instagram @kaitlynwriteswords and Twitter @kaitwriteswords.

Bleach, Bigots and Bisexuality by Nick Newman

Nick Newman (he/him) grew up in China and Scotland, and studies English Lit at the Uni of Leeds. His work appears / is forthcoming in Marías at Sampaguitas, Stone of Madness Press, and Lucky Pierre Zine, and you can find him procrastinating on Twitter @_NickNewman.

Compels by Prachi Valechha

Prachi Valechha (she/her)  is a freelance cartoonist and 2D animator from India. She is greatly inspired and excited by the old mtv style cartoons, psychedelic art, anime – Ghibli, the paranormal, everything flashy and tacky, sex, violence and memes. She believes the world inside her head is a more acceptable one and keeps drawing in efforts to bring it to life. She enjoys conspiracy theories – the crazier the things sound, the better. She is also the creator of a fictional place called PeachTown and you’re always welcome to talk or collaborate with her! You can follow her on Instagram @rainbowteeth.

Remission by Claire Taylor

Claire Taylor (she/her) writes poetry, short fiction, and the occasional essay. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous print and online journals including Capsule Stories, Sage Cigarettes Magazine, Dreams Walking, perhappened mag, and Canary Literary Journal. She is the creator of Little Thoughts, a monthly newsletter of original stories and poetry for children. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland and can be found online at clairemtaylor.com, on Twitter @ClaireM_Taylor and Instagram @todayweread

Negara(mbut)ku by May Chong

May Chong is a Malaysian poet and speculative writer with previous work in Strange Horizons, Apparition Literary, Anathema Magazine, Longleaf Review and Fixi Novo’s 2020: An Anthology. When she’s not pounding the keyboard, she enjoys birdwatching, good cheese, great stories, and terrible, terrible puns.

A Little Relaxer by A. Martine

A. Martine (she/her) is a trilingual writer, musician, artist of color, an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press and co-EIC/Producer/Creative Director of The Nasiona. Her collection AT SEA, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize is forthcoming with Clash Books. You can find her on www.amartine.com and on Twitter @Maelllstrom.

Coiled by Samara Powers

Samara Powers is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in Bird’s Thumb, The Christian Century, Inflectionist Review, SWWIM Every Day and others. She has two kids, a BA in Poetry, and works in marketing (thereby commercializing her pun habit).

The Mad Look: Quarantine Hair by Kara Laurene Pernicano

Artist and writer, Kara Laurene Pernicano explores intersectional feminism, queer love, trauma and healing through a hybrid image-text practice; she often hears a lyric quality in text messages and overanalyzes the use of parentheticals. Her creative writing has been published in Snapdragon, Waccamaw and Rabbit. She is a MFA Candidate in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, CUNY and a Lecturer in English at CUNY. You can find her on Instagram @karalaurene and Twitter @KaraPernicano.

Closing Arguments: The Counsel for Lowlights Recommends Leniency by Mary Ellen Talley

Mary Ellen Talley’s (she/her) poems have recently been published in Banshee, Raven Chronicles, Ekphrastic Review, and Gyroscope, as well as in several anthologies. Her work has received a Pushcart nomination. A chapbook is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Putting on That Face by Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia (she/her) is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and director of Las Pachucas theatrical troupe in northeastern California. She teaches creative writing and theatre at California Correctional Center in Susanville, CA. You can find her on Instagram @writerchickmama and @laspachucas.

Bliss by Katherine Hillier

Born 1994, Katherine Hillier (she/her) is a freelance illustrator from the Northamptonshire countryside in the UK. Her work is informed by the nature that surrounds her and the folklore it has inspired, while she also draws on the pop culture and history that has filled her life. You can find her on Instagram @katherinehillierart and on Tumblr @katherinehillierillustration.

My Unkempt Angel by Katie Dillard

Katie Dillard (she/her) was born and raised in rural Missouri. In 2010, she moved out west to pursue her MA in Creative Writing at The University of California-Davis. She has published poems in Prism International, Mothers Always Write, The Revolution (Relaunch), and several other online ‘zines. You can visit her blog, The Untamed Heart, for links to her work and follow her on Twitter @ktbeckmagic.

Issue III / April 2020

Issue III / April 2020

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!



Look Inside

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.