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1. He left without

a number to call, 

only a pair of

muddy shoes, 

a couple of coins,

& a pocketful 

of names: baba,

father, daddy, mister, 




2. The neighbors donned

themselves as 

widows, funerals,

my father’s goodbyes. 

They whispered that

my mother was in shock, 

but I never heard her weep or extinguish. 
Instead, she cut a silver sickle 

into her hand

& hacked the grains 

until they laid on the

hungry dirt ground, 




3. That was the summer

our house rotted 

like an overripe fruit.

We learned how to 

pluck flies from the air &

crush them in our fists. 

But they kept escaping, until

we didn’t know 

if the red juice trickling down

was our blood or theirs. 

That was the summer I

began praying to a 

kinder god,

whose name was no longer 

irresponsibility, who

didn’t only watch as 

three boys lured a girl

into the yellow cornfields 

& carved her up. 

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"Waiting to tell a Story" - John Taylor II


The truth is, I was stupid enough to let a poem run away.
Now, I don’t know if it will ever come back to me,
the same way I don’t know if I will see the moon
when I look up tonight, warm & soft against my skin.
Sometimes, I forget if my heart is still murmuring,
if my shadow is still there,
flashing its map of teeth & tongue, a requiem of ashes.
When I search up signs of depression on the Internet,
I think about why I lie, why I turn on all the lights
when I am alone, why I am afraid of saying yes,
yes. These days, I want something to tear me apart,
to leave me gasping & sobbing. These days, I want
to lay on the yellow grass & let the sun eat me alive.


Grace Q. Song is a sophomore in high school from New York. When not writing poetry or YA novels, you can find her staging photoshoots or playing the flute. 


John Taylor II is an artist from Hebron, Maryland. He graduated from Salisbury University with a bachelor’s degree in art. His work has been published in various magazines such as: Echoes and Visions, Weirderary, Saturday Morning Comics, Chicago Literati, Chaleur Magazine, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, and recently in Helen Literary Magazine. He can usually be found at home with his wife, Caitlin, and their beagle Belle.

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