Stone Baby                                                                                 by Issa M. Lewis

You grew out voluptuous and inappropriate,
conjured from blood and breath
and landed on a strange shore.
And when you had filled your vessel,
licked every drop of sustenance from the walls,
you curled, let your blood grow sluggish and dark
and sighed yourself into a granite sleep.
Layer after layer settled and smoothed
your features clean.  On the outside,
your mother’s hand curved over roundness
that no longer had place, as if she could
polish your skin into golden pearl.



Issa M. Lewis is the author of Infinite Collisions (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and Anchor (Kelsay Books, 2022).  She received the 2013 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize.  Her poems have previously appeared in Rust + Moth, North American Review, and South Carolina Review, amongst others.  Her website is www.issalewis.com.

The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s EditorLaura 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.

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listening to my belly                                                                                         by Deborah Bacharach

even scrunched under
tucks and turns, layers upon layers,
it’s undeniable
              my belly does not ask
for organization, thriftiness
it’s a snugged-up litter of wolf pups
growling, yipping
 
             and I listen because
my belly knows things I don't know
warns me the guy on the train
when he offers a pull on the flask
and I am young, alone
            some days it sulks
demands ordinary sustenance
                                         dark hungers
 
if with a gentle finger,
you wrote your name across
              my belly would hum like honey,
promise to rise, promise more than enough
sky between the trees
 
not always right—my belly
                           does not believe
I unplugged the iron no matter
I haven’t ironed in ten years—but 
when I hear
 
my belly that too loud friend
call my name as she stumbles
across the crowded airport, there’s
nowhere to go but into her arms





Deborah Bacharach is the author of Shake and Tremor (Grayson Books, 2021) and After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Her work has been published in The Antigonish Review, Cimarron Review, New Letters, and Poet Loreamong many others. Find out more at DeborahBacharach.com Instagram @debbybach Twitter @DebbyBacharach

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.

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.

Be Afraid                                                                                   by Delma Thompson

A right to an abortion is a very little portion
of what "Red" legislatures have in mind.
They have time to waste now
and must cave to suit their base now
by overtaking lives of womankind.

Freedom's big on their agenda until practiced by defenders
who believe that freedom's meant for all.
And when they make decisions
that add unjust provisions
you'd better take a stand, I'm telling y'all.

So in case you missed the memo, your privacy's in danger
and you'd better be afraid
for Kansas-style Sharia's creeping in with new ideas
and the legislature's ready to invade:

who to love, how to pray, what to teach, what not to say;
next you know they'll hire bedroom police.
Their business now is running yours
of that fact please rest assured--
not much privacy is left for them to seize.

Conservatives on the right are digging in and plan to fight.
They want to rule your body and your soul,
so ladies find your backbone, use your vote to quickly dethrone
those who want what's left of your control.
So Be Afraid!  Be Very Afraid!

Delma Thompson is an 88 year old previously unpublished writer of poetry and prose. The subjects of human rights and politics make up the majority of her current work and provide much fodder for her creativity. She performs this poem at rallies, get out the vote events, and open mics in the Pittsburg, KS area, as well as singing a song called “Donny Boy” to the tune of “Danny Boy” about a certain former president eventually ending up in jail. The audience generally gives her a standing o for poem and song.

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 they should 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.