Darling deer, beasts of our love, we are gigantic. Wild,
we wield no pitchfork, no distaff, no broom. Women
are supernatural, but we are more than that—witnesses
to great convulsions of nature. The hunters want to make
us less. Drag us through the fire by our heels to murder
what is witch in us, make fossils of our priestesses. Men
are small and call this power, but it’s just weal or woe.
In the vales and shadows our bodies make, they wed
our girls turned doe, turned woman, then doe, then woman
and we are not these certain shapes but the swift motion
of their shifting. And we are craggy hag’s head cliffs, mist
hanging grey at our chins, the saltwater below and all it must
bear, and what we cannot: men, marriage, massacre. 



Copyright © 2018 Caylin Capra-Thomas. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

              of you: small girl in a torn dress,

the dress is pink as a dream, a tongue, jacaranda-jeweled tree 
a fire beside. What 
is left behind is never 
left behind if we never 
             disown its weight 
                                                                                      Let her and her press 
                                                              her body here 
                                                   and there or lie:
you might become any burned house

an open palm upon which these future ghosts will cut
astonished rivers 
                                       Everything, and yearning, might snag in your current 

You might

become night, a succession of her and her mouths
Lucid. A hot swift. A starling startling northwards. Lonely but good, 
                        you’re so good that when clouds open over Fordham Road you 
                                                               turn mythical 
                                                    turn into a palomita and rise, rise into 
                                       smoke, a burn scar 
                         a child’s daydream: am I becoming, have I begun 

Copyright © 2018 Christina Olivares. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

When the dead howl in your belly
and you’re pissing beets, it doesn’t help
to think of Clement VII, fat, sick,
and nearly dead, ingesting 40,000 ducats’
worth of precious gems ground down
and mixed with wine; it doesn’t help
to picture St.Teresa purging, a twig
of olive down her throat to make her
more susceptible to metaphor, bread
as body and flaccid on her tongue
like the silver rind of fat a child is taught
to swallow. Because not every mother bears
a mystic or a pope: some catechisms
swear by beef and its B vitamins
numbered like commandments and red
as salt deficiency—that’s why you glow
and why you’re seeing visions:
whitenesses that fly about like motes
in sunlight delicate and comfortable
as butter until the nausea comes. 


Copyright © 2018 Sarah Barber. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

However broken the sentences
you believe them preferable to silence

the kind that crowned
the remains of the village

Kabri was without a fight

or the park now at its entrance,
past the foundation stones beneath the picnic benches

to the fig trees huddled over headstones.
Kabri looms large over heavy branches,

the name a contraband clutched in throats.
Homeland of water, the guide said that

Reshef, who was together with his brother got hold of a few youngsters, lined them up

the springs of Kabri quenched all the villages
of Akka, moistened the lips of morning.

He recounted their names
عين مفشوح عين فنارة عين العسل

fired at them with a machine gun. He was a brave fighter.

songs of plenty their syllables cascading
over us in light soft as apricot skins.

I wonder at these park benches
perched above the ruins of another woman’s home.

our friend urged us to proceed, it was not too long before they took us and a few others.

You unsheathe your fear when the body count rises.
You calibrate majorities, try to mitigate the distance

from doorstep to checkpoint. I hear
the language of sunbirds trilling in the carob trees,

There a Jewish officer put a gun to my husband’s neck, “You are from Kabri?”

Someone had to choose
to position a park bench with a view of the village

took away my husband, Ibrahim, Hussain, Khalil al-Tamlawi, Uthman, and Raja.

cemetery, of the monument to the conquering
brigade. Your fears demand fortification and I’m left to exhume

An officer asked me not to cry. We slept in the orchards that night. Next morning

the names beneath your settlements, to dust
time off their letters. Find me

on the way to the village courtyard I saw Um Taha. She cried and said,

a language for us to grieve those whose children
wait precious few kilometres from the park benches, relegated

“You had better go see your dead husband.” I found him. He was shot in the back of the head.

to a camp’s sewage-filled alleys, to half-streets,
shuttered beneath a net of refuse, the thorn-strewn path. Enough

for each of us, let this language be enough
or let silence

                     final, diluvial.


*with italicized excerpts from The Palestinian Exodus from Galilee, 1948 by Nafez Nazzal and Sacred Landscape:The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948 by Meron Benvenisti. 

Copyright © 2018 Lena Khalaf Tuffaha. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

Believe a crown of kingfishers, their spines
tuned for ascent, their belted
feathers split

with blue light that scatters
as they loose the tree—
a crown, a wound, a consequence

of birds whose blue light rattles sky,
whose feathers, strung beneath our star,
sing to bruising. Believe

a curve in the road, the climb
of its spine that sings
under a boy, standing

where an officer’s car
might come, might shatter blue light
into the trees. Believe corona

of our sun
belting its flares at twilight,
suspended: a gown, a wound, a wish.

Believe the crown of my son,
soft, unhooded—fifteen
is a crown cleaving to its own shine:

he swings an arm from the shoulder,
his hair inks shadows
over the moss—

he lifts a lighter
to the paper birch, beholds a leaf almost
to burning.

Believe that my son—his skin brown
as the sparrow’s throat, his collarbone tender
as kingfisher’s wing—

belongs to me, my absent
white body—no, belongs
to the trees

that loosed a crown of birds, a mercy:
believe my son
no ornament, no thorn—

that he should not
be loosed
from this place, that he should not

need to fly
from blue light—
a wound, a crown, a circling—

believe the trees
will keep close his body,
that he might still hold fire in his hand. 


Copyright © 2018 Sally Rosen Kindred. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


When my partner asks me for a self-
portrait, I tell them:

            Just out of high school
            I worked as a statue

           of liberty. I wore blue velvet
           and danced along an off-

           shoot of route 6. Mascot
           for freedom—I advertised

           a tax agency. I had come
           out that year.

           Passersby rolled
           down their windows,

           threw lit cigarettes, trash, pennies.
           I have always been one for retaliation.

           So I threw the torch.




My partner and I research the back-
yard tree with purple droppings

until we discover
she’s a true princess.

Royal green blood with roots
the size of bodies.

This princess is invasive.
She garden-snakes under

our home and upheaves
what we thought we knew

of ourselves. And god,
isn’t it terrible to gender

even a tree. Isn’t it terrible
that she reminds us of what

we’ve named our bodies’
shortcomings. A flower

concaved as cunt
seems, right now, like a betrayal

we will never forgive.

But soon




I dream that my partner leaves me
for eight years in the Coast Guard,

a kraken stings the surface
of this dark blue nightmare.

Split this dream in half and it becomes
four years and I still don’t know

how to swim. None of this is real.
But god, my partner loves the water,

enough even, for me to get in. 




When my partner turns their hands
into window blinds, they smooth

my aging forehead with this new
type of shade, they call my skin

into perfect order with their skin.

I tell my partner I will be polite
to windows

only when I like what I see
through them. They understand

that this world is hell
bent beyond repair.

But inside
              one another
              there is a peace.

Inside one another
neither of us remembers gender—the meaning
of her or hers. She is lost

                                      to space. He was never
                                      that great to begin with.

We even misplaced the meaning of girl.

If we knew where it had been left,
we still wouldn’t go get it.




Today I am the age
of an arsenal
                   of letters. 

Between my partner’s legs
I speak the whole

alphabet. They stop me

when I’m close
to what feels right.

At the end of the day
all we have is this ritual

of love, and that, I think,
will be enough

to live forever. 



Copyright © 2018 Kayleb Rae Candrilli. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


                                                  We have done little harms to each other,

and we shared soup when the moment was right.

Remember the nights we animalled until full dawn,

                                                               got vicious and chomped the starlight,

                  the gashed darkness spread like sick around this place.

I still stop dead for the marvelous mouth of you,

                                                      even if our skins droop and waver,

cleft and lift at inopportune times.

                                 Now the scent of baby heads, of mother mouths and dishes.

                   Good morning, little headache of this life I inadvertently chose.

                                                    I wish to make a ravishing of you. 


Copyright © 2018 Libby Burton. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


                                                                                                      reenact reincarnate the earthquake

                                               on the long return to your bed

iamb tendril threading     fretted fingers                              strummed purr crest into soft pang

landing buzz                       stomach pit’s nervy light radius

                                                                                                      compass me

                                                                                                      snaking infinite under ink

                                                                                                      kin planar prisms of eyelids

                                                                                                      bloomed lip landscape plaid

                                                                                                      under brim look at me ancestral

                                                                                                      hollows invaded millennia

                                                                                                      dwell binding curtains closed eyes 

                                                                                                      now intimate idioms 


Copyright © 2018 Kimberly Alidio. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


to say your land vanished               into thinness                              scrap under your feet

when the name                                 feels the same in the mouth   who is the most hysterical person

to say I was never meant to            the origin moment                    do you remember laughing

be about poetry’s originating         in childhood trauma                  when the first American boot 

hit the ground in a cloud                of dust maybe before that         you’re killing me   










Copyright © 2018 Kimberly Alidio. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


It was a whale-sized anchor,
eroded and stuffed inside a clamshell
forced down my throat
sinking in my saliva.

It was my uncle
chained to a Buick Skylark
eating a broken bottle
that shattered like my father’s eyes
at the sight of his son sleeping in the womb,
barbwire attaching me to my mother.

It looked like my grandma’s iron pot
boiling river water and collard greens,
and my calloused feet pacing a prison cell
with a wishing well adjacent to a metal bunk
with an elephant’s tusk that sliced away follicles
of my skin every time I tossed and turned.

It was my son with an afro and a mustache,
standing in a field of snow with flip-flops
and no gloves, holding a basketball and a bus ticket.

It happened the day Minneapolis died
and a black rainbow galloped across the sky
and me and my cousins chased it.

Copyright © 2018 Kevin Reese. This poem and translation originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.

So I turn you into a horse but you are jealous of that horse.

& so you’ve chosen to die.

                                                      Or rather: the horse will not
not be skinned. There. {There.} Feel better. Next year
I’ll teach you to swim & you’ll carry us north
for wintertime.

                                            So I turn you into
a horse, a water horse, with sealskin & steely
fins that never tire, but still you are jealous
of some distant & parched mire
                 wanting to bury me
                              in a rusted flask.

                                  Wanting all my bare skin
                                                   skunned in wineflesh.

                                                                                      As proof

                       of first horse-&-human debt,
                                                                           unborn seed
                                       far away from smokeless winter
                                                      chimney & singed


                                                to the curb.

                                                                               & even if we’d return
                                                   {minutes} before the world’s end, still

I’d turn you into a horse who would die
             dying for the music.

                                    Underneath ivory
                        tabernacle, under holy child.

                                                      & still you lament the tusk
                                             warped into wings,

                       the horns hammered for organ keys.

& now you’re a songless thing tearing through
the middle of this horse, who(m) if I don’t finish,
will be left swimming
            in loose folds of ocean
                         for eternity

                              —so I turn you into a horse

& you say the ice is not a place for sacrifice.

So I turn you into {a horse} & you say: turn me

into a drop of rain & I swear by the skun

of our sins you& I

           will never see land again. 

Copyright © 2018 Rosebud Ben-Oni. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


was never officially charged           though she considered her son’s
         wife prime suspect                Rita            my great-grandmother’s
name         never trusted her daughter-in-law                    & maybe
rightfully so          Mamachela’s hazel eyes & light skin       as myth goes
         two reasons a man would let his            Trojan horse loose
         though in this case      after the third child died        she left
my grandfather Jorge         to raise four more            found another
home with a soldier       a newfound pariah status               which is why
         when I took a drama class at the University of Chicago
         & we were studying Ibsen’s A Doll’s House      the renowned
British actor who co-taught the course           was appalled when I said
         Nora still had a future to look forward to                  even in the 19th
century         surely white feminism               never met the Latinas in my family

                                                                                                             & few
things match the warmth of an egg                right after it’s been laid
         During summer        eggshells babble                    on the ground
         the evidence of a predator’s mischief                     a branch-buttressed
nest’s disposal      or a bird content with gravity’s assignment                 A man  
was jailed four times          for stealing 700 rare wild bird eggs:
         osprey               golden eagle            red kites            peregrine falcons               merlins  
         redwings  avocet In his residence / maps climbing
equipment    camouflage clothes   miniscule holes drilled
on the shells Thou shalt not steal Thou shalt not covet
         thy neighbor’s wife    Not the contents        but the collectible casings
         How do you return  everything you’ve stolen
from us?

Control the thing      you most love      at the root of your addiction
         Folks camped outside Rita’s house           to have their tarot cards
read     before she aged & forgot      who she was        forgot how to bathe
         reeked of piss        chicken manure       eau de cologne               To schedule
a consultation           men rolled from under cars           stars in their own
Cantinflas films       greasy hair         crème fraiche in the corners
of their mouths   the women gossiped incredulously        after flattening
corn on clay ovens for their patrones                     matriarching all the ways
         we’d outlast the policies of the rich

                                                              The thefts of Rita’s
favorite hen’s brown eggs   the source of fantastical tales
         populated by ghostly       headless horsemen          who abducted
children if they ran            away from home       or women
         pregnant with black-magicked frogs         or that man with a limp
deemed hideous        from false accruement           During sessions
         I’d climb the long vines                of Rita’s backyard tree
         swing eight feet from the ground                with the visitors’ children
         one of us would plunge        rip a new skirt           a striped shirt
passed down three generations     Our mothers would scare us
by paying my great-grandmother handsomely       for a remedy
         to exile our demons       once and for all               Leave them alone 
she'd yell at them               They're just kids! 

                                                        Years later I think about
Rita’s backyard       the trees that once swiveled      their branches
near the ground        It’s none of your business what I do with my life
         I hear Rita say— daughter of an indigenous woman
         & a man who          like most men in my family          left his breath
on everything        we call mirror     or past            a man who tried
to rape Mamachela his         daughter-in-law         some say he did
         Rita—        who bought land           with her own savings           a rare feat
for a woman in those days      in a country where women
         with the simple dyeing of their hair can get mistaken
with a gang’s affiliation     lose their heads          Rita—   who lost
most of that land to the government            on which Tegucigalpa’s
airport was built

                              which means that in the lines          of my wide
nose      my plump ears        my dense lips          i bear the burden
         of every arrival             every departure             my great-grandmother
         who resisted losing her memory                but lost it anyway
         as her son lost his       kicked in the bath        spat out the spoon
concocted spells so potent       indigenous secrets      mixed
with loss           which sojourn parallel            the strength of a thousand
stolen acres in her         the rest of us are still trying            to figure out
why she shakes our houses at night           when we all stood there
         in silence       watching her track the bandit’s clues          not knowing
         all of us were stealing her eggs          all of us hungering for love 


Copyright © 2018 Roy G. Guzmán. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


—“Eu ja vivo enjoado” up to ‘quebra’— 

O sopro é do vento
    we keep moving sopro
and voice pass and later
    and earlier chords always

   a turn to the percussive
or if they stay it’s in service
    of the beat of running
the percusion of meat
       and bones cracking

     and when we press
  the chamber of the cabaça
        seca against our stomachs
    tighten the wire around its

      stretch it taut before
  striking with our sticks we

      clandestinos hiding in the
dark or light or stringing

   in streets full of tourists
         or accompanying the

of gringo instructors
     who go ginga ginga ginga
 asking Angola or regional

      along with the radio
 um pedaço de arame
     um pedaço de pau de pé


     Toque de Angola
Toque de São Bento
          Pequeno Grande e de
Bimba Toque de Iuna we

         o compaço de aço
   o compaço do passo
o compaço da culpa do


After Nathaniel Mackey and Mestre Pastinha 


Copyright © 2018 Ananda Lima. This poem originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


translated by Eloisa Amezcua & Pablo Medina

The sun stung like never before. The fields of Matanzas
bright red. We drank water from the irrigation stream
like a sacramental act (thirst is like that), the clouds large
the cattle grazing, the buzz of flies
                                                            /adding to the silence.
The world came to me as I named it. Everything in its place, everything
in the thick of summer, the final one, the one that gave me
the mockingbird, the lizard, the owl, and yagruma.
Erroneous order, erroneous chaos that sacks order,
erroneous the simple waking to the tyrant attitude of the sun,
fatal monster. We thought one thing and it was another,
levity. It means nothing, is nothing.
To think like an acrobat. Day light, night lacks light.
Heat, cold. Sun, stars. To feel yourself winged, flying
fish, lover of the headwaters offshore. 


Ardió el sol como nunca. Campos de Matanzas
en rojo vivo. Tomamos agua del chorro de la irrigación
como un acto sacramental (tal es la sed), las nubes grandes
el ganado pastando, el zumbido de las moscas
                                                            /incorporándose al silencio.
Se me hizo mundo al nombrarlo. Todo en su lugar, todo
en la espesura del verano, ese último, el que me dio
el sinsonte, el chipojo, el búho y la yagruma.
Erróneo el orden, erróneo el caos que destituye el orden,
erróneo el simple despertar a la actitud déspota del sol,
monstruo fulminante. Pensábamos una cosa y era otra,
levedad. Nada quiere decir, quiere ser.
Pensar como saltimbanque. Día luz, noche ausencia de luz.
Calor, frío. Cielo, astros. El sentirse alado, pez
volador, amante de las cabezadas mar afuera. 


Copyright © 2018 Pablo Medina and Eloisa Amezcua. This poem and translation originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.


translated from the Spanish by Eloisa Amezcua and Pablo Medina

It smells of forest and it smells of sea.
Look how the vulture rises
on the ladder of the winds.

It smells of the woman who loved you
between sheets of abandon,
wrapped and beautiful, lethal as a knife.
Look how the lady with the parasol passes.

On the island, the cold moon is a mirror
of a snowfall at the end of the world,
so far from your womb,
so close to disdain.

The voice of no one follows you.
The island is a stretch of fragments:
wave, hill, song, ghost. 

Hacia la isla

Huele a bosque y huele a mar.
Mira como sube la tiñosa
por la escala de los vientos.

Huele a la mujer que te amó
entre las sábanas del desparpajo,
enclaustrada y bella, letal como navaja.
Mira como pasa la señora con sombrilla.

En la isla la luna fría es el espejo
de una nieve de fin de mundo,
tan lejos de tu vientre,
tan cerca del desdén.
La voz de nadie te persigue.
La isla es un trecho de fragmentos:
ola, monte, canto, espanto. 


Copyright © 2018 Pablo Medina and Eloisa Amezcua. This poem and translation originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review. Used with permission of the author.