Land Grab

The buildings flow as one attached with lumber and nails and stories of conjoined life across two centuries. On one end the Cape Cod house, on the other a faded red barn, in the middle a woodshed simple and unadorned and wearing a rusted tin hat. My cat Lucky teaches her litter how to kill around cobwebbed corners in the woodshed’s chambers, earthen floor providing perfect purchase for nails to grip. She pounces with speed and soundless surprise on mice that skitter then squeak [defeat]. Lucky keeps the woodshed swept clean and expects the same from her litter, batting them into action with swift swipe of paw. Go, get moving! Wordless feline instructions hang in the air. Hang in the air like brown barn spiders the size of quarters suspended in gossamer webs under doorway jambs and in window corners. Mud-brown abdomens, smears of my fear, blobs cascading in drips like Christmas string lights. I run to the woodshed door in late morning, heart racing as I duck low into dank darkness and smell green wood drying. My eyes adjust. Lucky curls into a tight gray comma, her ear twitch the only movement when mischievous flies float in from summer heat to alight on a black-and-gray tufted triangle. I pull kittens into my lap and stroke softness and smile-all-the-while planning my escape past eight-legged bodies engorged from feasting while arachnid homemakers plan their own escape from a heat that climbs as they do, into rafters, ‘til evening breezes blow. The colony breeds, expands their land grab from woodshed to house. Christmas string lights brown and bulbous soon adorn the outside of two picture windows where inside Mom hangs spider plants and ferns and geraniums. We wake to find the view through glass onto rolling hills draped in gothic garland. Dad blasts them from their perch with a garden hose, diamonds of justice, a watery waving magic wand. 

Ann Kathryn Kelly lives and writes in New Hampshire’s Seacoast region. She’s an editor with Barren Magazine, a columnist with WOW! Women on Writing, and she works in the technology sector. Ann leads writing workshops for a nonprofit that offers therapeutic arts programming to people living with brain injury. Her essays have appeared in a number of literary journals.


Witch Trial

A man places stones of various sizes 

and weights

on my chest.

One right after the other.

He’s trying to break me. To bind my will to his. 

Slowly, I am unmade. 


Until I am just a pretty snake

who likes soft things. 

Tori Eberle is a writer based out of Brooklyn, NY. She lives with her dog, cat, and a few wild-found animal skulls. Her work focuses on trauma and emotional violence, as it relates to love, loss, and the fragility of the human body. You can find her lurking the dark corners of Instagram and Twitter @eberlexm.


Rabbit Song

Run with me to the abbey,

through farm gates, 

to the live wire fence.

Run with me to the castle,

steps crumbling, spider’s webs

still wise in their grasp.

A sheela-na-gigh on a door post

grimaces — so much for the Divine Feminine.

It’s “feck off,” forever in stone.

From any stone wall, where I look,

fortune falls to a solitary rabbit

in a distant field. Once was love, or a song.

Once was forgetting, or leaping into darkness,

leading the way.

Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, dancer and events producer living in Lowell, Mass. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Cafe Review, Poetry Bay, Polarity, Raven Cage, Beliveau Review, and many more.She is the author of five poetry books. Her first short fiction collection, The Plague Confessor, is due out in fall 2020 from Emu Books. .She welcomes visits to and @MegSmith_Writer.


Sweet Talker Stalker

Charmed you at first

Good and proper

Then he turned

Into the worlds

worse stalker

I love you he said

With a sinister smile

Where have you been?

I’ve been waiting awhile

First came the texts

Around sixty a day

Then came the gifts

A white lily bouquet

I love you

I do

Till death do us part

I love you

I do

With all of my heart 

Lisa Mary Armstrong is a Scottish poet and tea jenny.  She tutors law and researches women and children’s experiences of the criminal justice system.  In what’s left of her spare time she likes writing poetry and fiction and plays the piano badly.


why I leave the lights on some nights and avoid stepping on insects or blowing experimentally on conch shells at the beach

without monsters of all 

description where would fear

triumph adversity

occur for the layperson

not to say that 

monstrosity is a religious

experience heavens no, 

but to say initiation is

general admission

with teeth, unhinged jaws

a slow pan over

colossal flanks wreathed

aflame, claws tapping

a grim two-step across

a broken spine metropolis

tentacles everywhere

my God-

zilla, mechanized or otherwise

atomic ages dropped

the needle and left

so much horror

Will Davis enjoys the strings of words and scribbles that resemble poetry. Most recently published in Speculate This magazine. Can be found writing under @ByThisWillAlone


Christmas with the Star-Sharks

Hammerhead eyes and blinking red noses,

From the heavens they came on Christmas Eve,

Splashing snow red like bright, pulsing roses,

Making people howl and thrash, churn and grieve.

Prowling the currents that flow among stars,

The star-sharks sought prey, sweet morsels to eat,

Swimming past Saturn’s rings and red dust Mars,

On Earth they found their delectable meat.

The swish of their tails like tinkling bells,

Beckoned people to their lustrous wonder,

Peace on Earth greetings turned to death throe yells,

As raw chainsaw teeth ground flesh like thunder.

The star-shark’s feeding was fierce and succinct,

Humans and Christmas were now both extinct.

John Weagly’s poetry has been found in the webzine A MOUTH FULL OF BULLETS, the tour boat periodical THE CHICAGO HARBOR RAG, the ghost anthology SPOOKS, the documentary film VINCENT: A LIFE IN COLOR and a bunch of other weird places.  He also writes short plays and short stories. 


I fell asleep watching Star Trek so Santa Claus haunted me

(five nightmares inspired by the Holidays and Star Trek) 

Nightmare 1

My latest sleep paralysis demon materialized last night

as Santa Claus looming over my motionless body

with his silken-white beard and red hat—only

his face was neither chubby nor cherubic. In fact,

this Santa was emaciated, cobalt-blue, with a pair of antennae

sprouting from his forehead, twitching and sensing

the atmosphere of my bedroom. 

            So I said, You’re not St. Nick. 

St. Nick isn’t Andorian.

Santa Claus jammed a glowing probe up my nose— 

my brain must have melted, or if it didn’t, it thawed. 

Nightmare 2

My dad’s first pon farr found him in the chicken coop

biting heads off hens and making advances at anyone

who cast a shadow or stood on two legs. 

My dad’s Vulcan youth was a youth spent

solving Rubik’s Cubes and imbibing vegetable broths

while the Moon hung lonely and alien over his parents’ farm. 

Meanwhile, there’s no moon threading her way

though the night sky of Vulcan— 

and when it snows, you freeze to death. 

Nightmare 3

Growing up with Asperger’s, your parents expect you

to construct starships in your spare time. 

Christmas of ‘08, I found a reflecting telescope under the tree

and as I searched and catalogued nebulae, my parents shook their heads

in shame and wondered, Why is he still stuck on Earth?

He should be harvesting osmium on Ceres by now.

Mom, Dad, please know I never meant to disappoint you. 

It’s just that, back in ‘08, our asteroid belt was teeming with Romulans

and Earth couldn’t have possibly mustered enough milk and cookies

or giant mollusks to appease their alien appetites. 

Back in ‘08 we just thought they were elves with bad tempers,

the same way you suspected I was an android. 

Nightmare 4

Computer, end program

And like that, I’m no longer Ebenezer Scrooge

and I’m no longer being held hostage by three time-travelling spirits

or the ghost of my dead coworker. 

I love a good scare, but these holodecks

are getting too realistic.  

Nightmare 5

The United Federation of Planets will speak your language

free of charge, but the Ferengi in Beverly Hills charge you by the word. 

Translation never comes cheap. 

The stars are plasma—you aren’t.

But when we nurse our fireplace into a steady blaze

we’ll pretend we’re hot, luminous. 

And remember, all it took was a single time-warp catastrophe

for the USS Enterprise to land in 18th-century Germany

and accidentally hand a warp core to a small-time toy maker. 

Was it ever a paradox? We thought Santa Claus

was a fairytale for years, but he was always here,

defying the laws of physics with a sleigh full of toys. 

And where did he find enough Romulans

to manufacture all those Barbies and Rubik’s Cubes? 

Lane Chasek’s work has appeared in Broke BohemianDaily Drunk MagHarbinger Asylum, Hole in the Head Review, Jokes Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Plainsongs Review, Taco Bell Quarterly, What Rough Beast, and many others. Chasek is also the author of Hugo Ball and the Fate of the Universe (Jokes Review Press, 2020), a nonfiction book about sound poetry, Dada, and cosmology. You can follow Chasek on Twitter @LChasek.


Wednesday Addams’ Winter Wishlist

(1) bamboo for bastinado (2) some bare feet
(3) babushka zombies in a row (4) hatchet
(5) a new guillotine (it is indeed a feat
to keep those clean) (6) braided sea grass basket
in which a black mamba hides (7) year’s supply
of cyanide (8) small casket for a headless
doll (9) misery to one and all (10) an eye-
ball of a dead crane fly (they don’t exist
anywhere nearby) (11) a boy that I could
terrify to death (12) castor oil to pour
in tea service grandma left when girls should
decide to visit me — a punishment demure
disguised as tea (13) plier’s for my brother’s teeth
— well, tooth, he forfeited in gin rummy.

Kristin Garth is the author of seventeen books of poetry including Flutter Southern Gothic Fever Dream, The Meadow and Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir. She is the Dollhouse Architect of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and has a weekly sonnet podcast called Kristin Whispers Sonnets. Visit her site and talk to her on Twitter @lolaandjolie.


Virus in the Air, Spasms in my Back

There’s a virus in the air, but I can’t see it.

People are dying around me, but I can’t save them.

There are spikes pierced in my back,

spasms, but I can’t touch them.

Heartbeats, hell pulsating, my back muscles,

I covet in my prayers.

I turn right to the left, in my bed, then hang still.

Nails impaled, I bleed hourly,

Jesus on that cross.

Now 73 years of age, my half-sister 92,

told me, “getting old isn’t for sissies.”

I didn’t believe her—

until the first mimic words

out of “Kipper” my new parakeet’s mouth,

sitting in his cage alone were 

“Daddy, it’s not easy being green.”

Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois.  Mr. Johnson published in more than 1098 new publications, his poems have appeared in 40 countries, he edits, publishes 10 poetry sites.  Michael Lee Johnson, has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018.  215 poetry videos are now on YouTube  Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:; editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here  Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings:  The Best in Contemporary Poetry,


Things I can’t remember upon waking up…

How I knew it was you 

when Dream You didn’t even

have your face.

Why do you have someone else’s face now?

Why I felt so calm 

to be back in your arms 

even when Dream Me 

knew I should have 

been running the fuck away,

or screaming at you,

or at least being more passive aggressive.

Dream You seemed surprised by my uncharacteristic niceness too.

What it was about

the day before

that brought you back

to my unconscious,

to my day-to-day

list of painful thoughts,

to the lump in my throat.

Megan Cannella (@megancannella) 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 in or forthcoming from @PorcupineLit, @dailydrunkmag, @VerseZine, @TBQuarterly, and @perhappened.