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Daily skincare in a -10 degree weather

It is winter again in April, Chicago - unwilling

to let me pack up winter coats in neatly tied bows

like my mother taught me

rolling up knits, covering vessels with towels under the lids

glass body protection - down jacket walls against the chill.

a lover i meet almost every week wearing three layers of clothing - unwilling

skin, prepared for the worst. Childhood training

like my mother taught me

moisturise, keep skin smelling of anything other than skin,

a hint of sage tucked between my breasts - unwilling

wires tied together

belts over belts over pelts

three layers far skin deep

I have learnt to paint my face - unwilling

skin untethered - golden, brown, any color I like as long as I moisturise. cover up. protect

Chicago sage sex no sweltering, no sweating, no bodies gasping naked

the windchill doesn't permit nakedness

carefully arranged blankets neatly tucked

looks like we sleep in the same bed - same white cover - our skins the same mistake.


Darshita Jain is a grad student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Literary editor for Fnews Magazine and also practices performance poetry.

Watching the cat hunt

The cat sits patiently

on the corner of the table

as the leaves outside tempt with birds

in the light behind the tree

I lean out of the window 

tasting the lingering fibers of the day,

I could crack them and grind them and spit them

out onto the heads below

like a mother to her chicks

the cat fantasizes about;

it’s Easter today.


James Steck grew up in upstate New York. He recently graduated from Virginia Tech, and now lives in Washington, DC. He teaches high school English and coaches track and field in Fairfax, Virginia. His writing focuses on contradictions, the human body, and paradoxes. He has been published in The Woove and The Silhouette Literary and Arts Magazine. 

Co-worker intimidation

If I have offended you

It was only by chance.

Next time it will be purposeful

It will be hurtful,

It will be fully meant.


If I have ever insulted you

I’m sure I did it mistakenly,

But next time you can be double-sure

I did it brazenly, quantitatively,

I’ll not keep with you, such a close score.


If I have snubbed you

Then it was only coincidental;

I’m sure you did it first.

And, then later it interspersed

Like weeds in a flowerbed nursed.


If I have slighted you

In any way, be on guard

Because I’ve marked your card

I’ve got your number co-worker

I’ll be you’re William the conqueror.


Mark Andrew Heathcote is from Manchester in the UK, author of

“In Perpetuity” and “Back on Earth” two books of poems published by a CTU publishing group ~ Creative Talents Unleashed and in creative charge, direction of two anthologies by the same publisher. He is an adult learning difficulties support worker, who began writing poetry at an early age at school. Mark enjoys spending his leisure time off work reading and writing and spending time gardening.

The Red Shield Store

circa 1970, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sifting through piles of junk
and bric-a-brac, I noticed this girl
rubbing brass oil lamps with a marked
intensity that was quite worrisome.
She was one stall over, and by the heavy
smell of patchouli emanating from her
body, I guessed we were about the same age.
After bumping heads while reaching
for a naked kewpie doll in the same bin,
I apologized and started to move away
but she wanted to talk. We decided on
the Franklin Diner, a corner dump
with a limited menu and few customers;
ordered coffee and got to know each other.
Working on a second cup, we compared
medications and discussed the possibilities
of hidden genies, and watercolor lore.
She asked me if I’d like to come over
and help paint a couple of wood stools;
my curiosity was on the up and I said, great.
Quite frankly, I was somewhat nervous
about the layout of the place: two chairs,
a round table with a “British Commando”
dagger lying dead-center, and a seedy looking
mattress on the bedroom floor. With dusk
approaching, walking over mountains of debris
cluttered throughout her digs became a challenge,
and she didn’t have any lightbulbs or candles.
And then she asked me if I’d like to spend the night,
I was scared shitless to say the least, but said okay
and survived, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading
this crap.

Richard D. Houff edited Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press Books from 1986 to 2010. He is also a journalist that’s comfortable in writing both poetry and prose. His work has been published in Academic and Arts Review, Alien Buddha, Big Hammer, Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Conduit, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, Nixes Mate Review, North American Review, Parnassus, Rattle, Rust Belt Review, San Fernando Quarterly, and many other fine magazines.

DNR, motherfuckers

i think jesus 
on the toilet 
w/ a henna 
that said: 
“do not 


rob plath is a writer from new york. he is most known for his monster collection  A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press 2009) .  his newest collection is MY SOUL IS A BROKEN DOWN VALISE (epic rites press 2019). you can see more of his work at

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