Two Poems by Jaclyn Youhana Garver

Maybe She's Born with It

Have you heard of that girl who
graffitis in Kabul? They say she’s
Afghanistan’s only female graffiti artist.
She’s not there? he asks. You mean she lives
here, where the paint in her can is no
threat, where the pigments can’t
haunt bearded men who peer between the cells
of pork, paintings, and pigeons as pets
and shout It Is Forbidden. Here, where girls
can fly kites, take orders at drive-
thru windows, or prosecute ex-
football players. They can study
the musculature of a hand, which can cup
the tender nub of the clitoris or strike
the cheek, can set a broken finger or sketch
its knuckle lines and nail beds,
embedded veins that give life to picture
and person. And anyway, yes, this girl, this
woman, Shamsia Hassani, (say it
right), still lives there, where they kill
the pet pigeons. She still gifts
her faceless models with thick lines
of eyelash, that feminine flutter. She still risks
makeup, music, and the hope
of the snowy,

This Was My Alarm This Morning
                song lyric from “Bowl of Oranges,” Bright Eyes
I had to hold hands
with a stranger
on a flight cause they
were too scared
to land, the radioman
crows from his pink
and snarling mouth
of loam. Like he’s so great
for deigning to hold a stranger’s
hand with all its wrinkles, germs,
hangnails, hidden pins of poison
in the fold. I’d rather be like Conor
and his bowl of oranges
and his doctor. Just hold my
hand. I think that that would help.
Handholding can’t cure
ugliness or illness, but
my heart might sigh at the press
of palm to palm, the income
of your skin
to the surface of my
        	or kingdom.

Jaclyn Youhana Garver is a freelance writer and editor from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the communications specialist for a national marketing organization. She won a trio of honorable mentions in the Writer’s Digest’s Annual Writing Competition in non-rhyming poetry in 2021 and 2022. Her poetry chapbook, The Men I Never:, is scheduled to be published by dancing girl press in 2023, and her contemporary fiction is represented by Savannah Brooks of KT Literary. Her story “The Butterfly Catcher” will appear in This World Belongs to Us: An Anthology of Horror Stories About Bugs, out this May.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.


Dear _____                                                                             by Jennifer Martelli

I can’t say I love this country,

but where would I go? Me, without another language

or a compass. I don’t even own an illuminated faux leather red Bible!

This far down lower Manhattan, I can feel the Brooklyn Bridge loom.

To say I don’t love this country means very little, is neither noble nor brave.

There is very little I do love. I once owned a fine pen named for a snowy Alp,

traded it for something I thought I needed more. Now, my handwriting morphs into glyphs:

birds—or really, just the shape of what I think some birds look like flying away over the beach—

If I were to leave, I would have to text so you would know it was from me, that I hadn’t

forgotten you, that perhaps I wasn’t built big enough to love your expanse. 

Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Queen of Queens and My Tarantella, named a “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her work has appeared in Poetry and elsewhere. Jennifer Martelli has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.

A Parliament of Owls in the Jefferson Memorial             by Deborah Bacharach

The owls have launched a gospel choir in
Jefferson’s arms. No doubt, the sound a dream.
Marble takes the low notes, unspools delicate
ribbons around the imperious, sends moon beams
through the mud, the battered fences
of America. The owls are not supposed
to be here perched on the president’s head
but who can shoo away Zowie composed
as a lighthouse over this tangled world. And grand
Kazowie and Sizzles, their wings lifted on the wind
of His justice cannot sleep forever? Who won’t stand
back for Snow and Lore, fierce talons dug in
to all men shall be free? Who doesn’t want more
Oh Freedom in the dome that has no door?

Deborah Bacharach is the author of Shake and Tremor (Grayson Books, 2021) and After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). She has been published in Vallum, Poet Lore, and The Southampton Review among many other journals. She is an editor and tutor in Seattle.

Guest Editor, Joan Kwon Glass (she/her) is the biracial, Korean American author of NIGHT SWIM, winner of the 2021 Diode Editions Book Contest, & is author of three chapbooks. Joan is the Editor in Chief of Harbor Review, a Brooklyn Poets mentor, poet laureate of Milford, CT, a Connecticut Office of the Arts Artists Respond grantee & poetry co-editor of West Trestle Review. A proud Smith College graduate, she has been a public school educator for 20 years. Her poems have appeared in Diode, Rattle, South Florida Poetry Journal, & many others. She grew up in Michigan & South Korea & lives in Connecticut with her family.

A Blank Sheet of Paper: A Poem in Free Verse for Free Women . by Diane Wahto

Lawmakers etch their restrictions on sovereign bodies,diane-wahto

obliterate women out of existence, into servitude.

Lawmakers scribble laws, sentence women to a word

web of confinement. Lawmakers in marble halls

of statehouses, pillared halls of Washington, raise

their voices in pious tones, invoke a fantasy god

of their own devising as justification for their laws.

Lawmakers spout platitudes of concern for women,

their safety, their health, then doodle laws to bring

harm upon women. Lawmakers pray to their gods

to end abortion, lawmakers who would punish

providers, lawmakers who send their daughters

to accommodating doctors, doctors who would

never utter the word “abortion,” who instead

say, “D &C.” A woman will say “abortion,”

will say the law of her own conscience will

guide her, a law not written anywhere

but in her sovereign being. A law

on a blank piece of paper, a law

written by each woman who will

decide how she must fulfill her destiny.

Diane Wahto
received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of
Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.