Volume 4, Issue 4

Issue 4 of Volume 4 spotlights illness and the body: our relationship with our body, others’ bodies, sick bodies, and well bodies. 

In “Fruiting Body,” poet Lane Fields imagines the body as plantlike, “fertile with compassion” for a lover’s body.

Deshawn McKinney’s poem “These Stretchmarks” embodies the speaker’s relationship with their stretchmarks, glorifying them, celebrating them.

Jessica Mehta’s mixed-media art “Chamber Coda” is a heartbreaking reminder of loved ones lost to addiction, of the marginalized communities that are often hit the hardest.

In the creative nonfiction piece, “All About the Context,” Jora R. Lam recounts the true–and humorous–story of her father pulling his own teeth because he couldn’t afford the dentist.

Mário Coelho’s flash fiction, “I was Here Before the Monster” explores the mind of a cancer patient’s lover during the last weeks of the patient’s survival.

Lastly, in Sam Kaspar’s flash fiction piece, “You got a fast car, you showed off with it and pissed us off/ (body as asset),” the speaker compares themselves to a rival, who was “born into riches . . .DNA and assets.”

Fruiting Body | Poetry

“But the soft

underside of every alive thing

is an offering.”

These Stretchmarks | Poetry

“These stretchmarks talk greasy, accused the English language

of only knowing synonyms for fat that demand diets,”

blamed it for turning words against the tongues that spoke them.

Chamber Coda | Visual Art

“Chamber Coda was created exclusively with the pills found in the artist’s mother’s room after a final (successful) overdose. The nation is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, but marginalized populations are at dramatically higher risks.”

All About the Context | Nonfiction

“And that’s when the pulling comes in. That’s the part I don’t want to imagine. Because I don’t like to imagine that Dad could be in any greater pain than I would ever want to deal with. But I know he did it, because I’ve seen the teeth he’s pulled. He keeps them in a leather pouch in his room. And I know because I found the empty bottle of whiskey and because I saw him come into the house with his bloody tooth in his hand, root in-tact, to clean it and his mouth in the kitchen sink. I know because I saw him roll up a paper-towel and stuff it in the empty space in his gums like it was gauze and wipe off the pliers he used to do it.”

I was Here Before the Monster | Fiction

“The doctors gave you a couple months and you spent them already. I want you to die slower, to give me time to learn. I want you to die backwards. I want the hair to crawl back into your scalp and for your self-pity to wallow itself into pride. I wish you were a bird and your dying was a little stir and croak, devoid of any reflection.”

You got a fast car, you showed off with it . . . | Fiction

“It might as well have been a telegram because that’s what I feel when I see their headlights like shifty eyes in my rear-view, what they meant to me in retrospect, what it means now that age brings just this clarity: I don’t know the meaning of their chase.”

Book Reviews

Interviews

Art & Photography

Chamber Coda | Visual Art

Chamber Coda | Visual Art

“Chamber Coda was created exclusively with the pills found in the artist’s mother’s room after a final (successful) overdose. The nation is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, but marginalized populations are at dramatically higher risks.”

Two Abstract Paintings | Visual Art

Two Abstract Paintings | Visual Art

“Earth in Distress is an abstract fluid painting that I created, in order to symbolically emphasize the impact we have on our earth such as nature, wildlife, the gradual decrease in resources, as well as the relationships with each other as human beings; given the past several months of chaos we’ve endured together. I used an analogous color scheme with cool colors to represent land and sea along with black for contrast and balance. Each color was mixed with floetrol and water, poured into circular layered shapes onto the canvas, balanced for even distribution, and tilted back and forth to achieve the desired design.”

Easing Restrictions | Visual Art

Easing Restrictions | Visual Art

“I like the edge of things. Edge as in poignant and slightly threatening and edge as in interconnection. I like things that already exist. It’s not just about my ecological stance and the future but about mystery and the past. This piece, however, is really all about the now.”

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