“To miss the forest” by Mica Mantilla Rehder

There’s something to be said for moss,
that green that creeps between old rocks;
It settles gently on the ground
and softens all that it surrounds.

There’s something to be said for dirt,
that clay that clings onto your shirt;
It taints your shoes and fills your hair,
and paints your footprints on the stairs.

There’s something to be said for sweat,
that drop that seeps below your neck;
It tastes of salt and endless days,
and cools you from the noon sun’s rays.

There’s something to be said for time
that makes and breaks all by design;
It ends each night so you can see
the sky you’ve missed beyond the trees.

“Night Time” by Kinsey Kanshige

“He sits at night
unable to sleep
On the rooftop
With an AR-15

“Election Night”
is what they said
“The Big Fight”
is what is insinuated

The Boogaloo
it shall come
Eruption of chaos
It has begun

So he sleeps
the rooftop man
Thinking of
his wednesday plan

And in eight hours
He will rise
He goes downstairs
For a big surprise

Everyone is peaceful
At least on the news
The counts are not done
But there are a lot of Blues

A sigh of relief
is audibly heard
Everyone is safe
You too could hear the birds”

“A Flicker in the Frost” by Keaton Kim

Dark and cold
Life dried up
My home has always been
It’s sad and grey
But there isn’t a day
I leave this dark prison
But there’s a speck of light
It burns so bright
flowers follow wherever she goes
Like a flower I follow
She picks me I swallow
Her up from the ground below
I grasp the light
I hold it tight
For the light is all I have
But the light hates the darkness
Despite how I think it shines
brighter amidst it
I love the light
try to make things bright
But my light is going out
I love the light
But it’s just not right
So I let my light go
(But not without placing
fruit seeds so she’ll come
back to me when it snows)
In sorrow I weep
Tears fill the river Styx
And mourn the light I lost
But I’ll wait for the day
Air cold and grey when
my love will come back to the frost

“11 Swans’ by Jules Shinbrot

Image result for Swan Wings Feathers

I know I’ve done some evil things,

tormented the daughter of the king,

turned royal arms into swan wings…

I regret nothing.

The king chose to marry me,

unaware he killed my family.

Little did the ancient fool know,

he paid the price for his cruelty.

He outlawed magic in his kingdom,

believing all sorcery caused pain.

Witch trials and public hangings,

stained his twenty-five year reign.

The knights executed my entire coven,

to “protect the kingdom from downfall”

but no soldier could prevent the king

from marrying the wickedest witch of all.  

I cast a spell on eleven princes,

Swans by day, humans by night,

forced to flee their white palace,

surrender their royal birthright.

If only I hadn’t underestimated her,

the one royal child I couldn’t curse.

With the help of the fairy queen,

my spell was reversed.

At least the nettles cut her fingers,

leaving bruises on delicate hands.

As bloody as mine, when I covered

graves with dirt and sand.

The princess became mute

to protect her feathered brothers.

My silence for twenty-five years

didn’t save my sisters and mother.   

Death claimed the king for himself,                    

freeing him from his weary limbs.

He survived long enough to see

all his children abandon him.

The youngest brother will forever

have a swan wing instead of an arm.

Even the fairy queen can’t remedy

the remaining magic of my charm.

A constant reminder for the royalty:

they will never be free of me.

“Religious” by Karla Arana

Image result for catholic girls school classsroom

1. Ind/oct/rin/at/ed, tues/days thurs/days sat/ur/days
2. sun/days. Sit like a girl. STOP. sit like a la/dy.
3. keep/ your/ hair/ long/.Don’t/ you/ DARE/ show/ your/ shoul/ders, STOP
4. Is/ that /Lip/stick? What/ are/ you/ a/ whore? mod/es/ty.
5. stop/ re/bell/ing girl!/ the/ only/ pla/ce/ for/ you/? Hell./
6. Do/ what/ we/ tell/ you/ to/ do/, and/ sal/va/tion/ WILL/
7. be/ yours/. At/ a/ small/ price/ of/ course/. God/ does/ not/ ask/
8. for/ per/fec/tion, but/ we/ need/ your/ de/vo/tion/ be/
9. good/ girl./ keep/ your/ head/ down/ dont/ you/ think!/ just li/sten.
10. she/ is/ lead/ by/ fear/ but/ keeps/ on/ think/ing./ beat/ her!
11. what/ does/ the/ bi/ ble/ say/? “Don’t/ spare/ the/ rod/ You/ will\
12. risk/ spoil/ing/ that/ child/”. dont/ worry/ we’ll/ help/

“The Dog and the Rabbit, a Fable” by Parwinder Kaur

Image result for dog chasing a rabbit

One day a solid and amazing dog was pursuing a rabbit.
Running for a while, the drained dog surrendered the chase,
and a group of goats, watching, began to taunt.
One goat said, the little one is stronger than you, Dog.
Suddenly the dog reacted to this and said:
“The Rabbit was running for its life
And I was running for my dinner,
That is the distinction between us.”

“When Witches Attend Catholic School” by Gianna Galdamez

We slept in our cabins, not allowed to tell time.

The air was so brittle, our mouths dried with each sigh.

But the sunshine was nice and the breeze kept us cool.

And sometimes we’d forget this was just fancy school.

We held hands in a circle like some kind of cult.

Little witches awaiting damnation results. 

They offered redemption by sharing our trauma.

We just didn’t care for their Hollywood drama.

Amidst all of the madness- we did find some fun.

The guard dog was sweet- incomparable to none.

The treehouse and board games let us reclaim our youth.

Not bad for forced religion- ain’t that gospel truth?

“West Side Story” by Andreas Feliciano

These dreamless nights

under the California moon,

my heart sinks further, as my prayers

don’t seem to reach my ángel de la guarda.

My spirit—defeated,

but some hope remains

that one day,

the sweet melody of

the coqui frogs,

native to my island,

will reach in from my window

once more.

The California sun is as warm as ever,

but I miss

the Puerto Rico rain.