Everything, issue 58, Poetry

I HAD A DREAM YOU WERE LIVING IN MY WALLS | ISAAC

The worst part of the video:The wasp laying eggs inside the caterpillar. A small thing, aDefenseless thing, limbless,And a sharpness on top of it–Its beating wings, itstwitching abdomen, the footage playingDouble time,As to show the process quicker,As to not bore the viewerWith a death as slow as this. In my dream you came out of […]

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Everything, issue 58, Poetry

What A Shame | E. Kristin Anderson

                                    (after Taylor Swift) This week my whole body has rejected reality, an apocalypsewithin an apocalypse, and I know better than to ask for help. I lived so long walling myself in with cassette tapes, frightenedof the madwoman beneath my own skin. I don’t think I know what crazy means anymore but certainly you know […]

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Everything, issue 58, Poetry

Clean Girls | Sarah Fathima Mohammed

& on Saturday, before we squished plums in our fists and rubbed the color on our mouths—as if we could afford to replace our hunger with a bruised beauty—and took pictures of ourselves with so much flash our mouths looked like flowers in the parched desert of our bodies, we walked to Chinnamma’s home that smelled like girls and sweat. She […]

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Everything, issue 58, Poetry

AN INTERNET QUIZ | Lucas Peel

Lucas Peel is a big mouth moonlighting as an adult.  He is a negligent plant father and can also have a little salami as a treat.  His work is forthcoming in the next software update of the iPhone 7 notes app.  Lucas lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and sometimes tweets @lookchrlz.  We don’t know what he […]

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Everything, Issue 57, Poetry

trauma scripture | Savannah Slone

yellow balloons           heavenly release opening chair scene of juno pomegranate peel        post-smoke spit  i’m bleeding out, my legslowerbackintestines twinge, cramp and i can’t stand laugh breathe and i sob into the boiling shower floor.  hip throb. my wrists, ankles, knees, stiff fingers, spinal cord             coated, ember-encased. needled skin, set aflame, tamped out in bath water—a relit […]

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Everything, Issue 57, Poetry

Thirst Trap | Sarah Robbins

I do not trust myself  to be loved by a stranger, so I pose in lingerie for my close friends and wait for one of them to fall for it. Jo tells me i’m on queen shit and Ryan says that I’m iconic and someone inquires where I found my lime green lace. And I am full until the fizzing returnsin my belly, and reminds me what a […]

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Everything, Issue 56, Poetry

alternate universe for Beverly Marsh by Emily Norton

Emily Norton is a 22-year-old poet and editor residing in Toronto. Her work centres themes of reclamation and honesty within lesbian identity and whatever hopeless romanticism comes up. She currently works as a freelance writer and editor. When she’s not writing, she’s probably watching Bob’s Burgers or playing with her cat. You can read more […]

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Everything, Issue 56, Poetry

Photograph by Aditya Vikram

Aditya Vikram (he/they) is a queer poet and spoken word artist. They spend their Sundays writing and dancing on the terrace of a rented house in Lucknow, India. They won the Kommune National Story Slam last year, and have performed at several other regional and national festivals. Their work is published or upcoming in Verse of […]

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Everything, Issue 56, Poetry

Making Pumpkin Pie in July with You by Stephanie Choi

                        After Frank O’Hara is even better than making vegan pumpkin pie like I did last Novemberor filling my stomach with stone fruit samples at the embarcadero Saturday market partly because in your 19 year old you’re like raw almondspartly because of my affection for you, partly because of your affection for the jetboilpartly because of […]

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Everything, Issue 56, Poetry

Doxycycline by Rob Colgate

When they cleared out my gutI couldn’t do anything. I was staring at the ceiling blowing kisses. The ceiling ran away. My arms fell off in a very sexy way.It doesn’t matter. My legs  are the only part of methat I want to survive. Maybe that wasn’t direct enough. I am dying very soon. Even looking like […]

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Everything, Issue 55, Poetry

THEY by Joanna C. Valente

I sat and there a scatter         of bushes, earth & one         purple flower fled       like jazz notes, the station he listened to & something his fatherused to listen to, pre & post a lotof things. One night I asked if it hurt, his father & the silence& he said no, nothing ever        only hurts.        We continued to […]

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Everything, Issue 55, Poetry

Sister Self by Jory Mickelson

after Michael Garrigan Sometimes I thinkwe went therein a dream (together still) lodgedinside the sleepingbody of the boy I used to be. Jory Mickelson is the queer, nonbinary author of WILDERNESS//KINGDOM, the inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour from Floating Bridge Press and winner of the 2020 High Plains Book Award in Poetry. Their publications […]

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Everything, Issue 55, Poetry

SPECTROSCOPY by Elane Kim

I have told you this before.There are no beginningsto be found here. Here,there are only reflectionsof birdsong in passing wind,only layers of ash in place ofsky. Should your body unravel,it will do so in layers.Be sure to catch the bonesas they fall. Stop waiting for signs.That is to say, stop listeningfor blood. You must understandthat […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

chasm by Ariel Horton

her home-bleached hair, the strong smallness of her,the slippage of her soft walk in the rain,today this girl reminded me of you—the thrumming weight of how I wounded yousomehow inside the curve her shoulders made.I watched her blue shoes stir up limpid poolsof cloud-water, and my expired want  for you mixed itself in, gasping and soaked.last […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

The Good Kind by Blake Z. Rong

I ain’t the good kind of Asian. I’m the onewho disappoints you. I see it in your eyes when we go out for sushi and I forget what nigiri is. I feel it across your tattoos I’ll kiss someday:  koi fish samurai and fisherman’s wiveswide-eyed cats with claws outstretched characters faded indecipherable, strewn like wreckageacross your […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

Bitter Pastoral by Gabrielle Grace Hogan

next thought—isolation is a beautiful syringe. next thought—when i went to Chicago that summer i took the train.  Illinois is a whole lot of nothing. neutered landscapes in a lilting breeze. grain silos round as asses.  Midwestern topographies are bargain-bin paintings everyone wants hung in their bathroom, which is to say  something, probably. maybe i like to be […]

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Everything, Issue 54, Poetry

Fentanyl by Zachary Bond

            for Ryan Home in timeto watch a drunksun stumbling. It flashes its pink ass & jetslike little crucifixescross the sky: I know such audacity, the needto burn & then beburnished, the urge to vanish: I’ve drivenoff the road with darkintent. It’s just my hands that spared me.It’s scary, being so closeto the mirror you […]

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Everything, Issue 53, Poetry

Aubade by Aiden Heung

The arch of the sky keeps pulling; no forecast of rain;Over us clouds undeveloped into silk chaining east to west. Above the tedious skyline the early sun brings colorsbrings news of a warm day. But we’ve become too lazy to imagine better days than this,both you and I, perched on the park bench,watching the brittle shadow […]

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Everything, Issue 53, Poetry

potassium to water by Sal

do you want to see a magic trick?would you like to try swallowing me whole?have you ever peeled open a tangerine?it’s like that, only you keep going, until there’s nothing leftbut infernos, do you see?can i ask you one more question?will you still kiss me when i look different?will you? will you? will you? how […]

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Everything, Issue 53, Poetry

Coventry by Eliza Browning

Summer again like a switchblade in my throat. We were girls then, gamboling in glades thick  and honey-sweet with clover. All of it belonged to us: the dusky purple scent of the tobacco fields,  the cicadas buzzing in the chest-high grass, the sleepless meadows only our feet tread.  We rinse the lake water from our hair and dream long […]

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Everything, Issue 52, Poetry

when you gave my name to the cops by L. R. Bird

what did you think would happen? did you imagine my arrest as a movie?            cheering spectators? cuffs conveniently jangled? hands blooming victory-sign?instead, i’ve just got all this hard-won anger. before you gave my name to the cops,            did you flashback on our white-lie crimes? our teenaged beach-streak? smirkingbehind salt-rimmed drinks in whichever bar was too […]

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Everything, Issue 52, Poetry

a shallowing by Janelle Cordero

maybe death isn’t deep and wet and cloying like / a well maybe death is /a shallowing a / drying up / think of the pond that forms / in the valleyfrom snowmelt in the spring think of how / it shrinks with each hot /summer day by august / it’s gone maybe our lives […]

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Everything, Issue 52, Poetry

the same god who told me being gay was a sin when i was eight sold me t on the down low ten years later by Em J Parsley

tell me it was gentle,             like when my mother brushedthe hair from my forehead and said,                         if God wanted you to fly, He would have calledyou Icarus                                                 and with her feverish           fingertips                                                running through my roots I asked,                                                         do you want to be                                             Daedalus?  [name added to “when I transition” list: Icarus]  —  I wanted to give […]

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Everything, issue 51, Poetry

singularity by Malcolm Slutzky

i want to devourmy loneliness& throw it upon the page.you told me oncepoems need each otherthe way humans do. that night,the moon was so brightit wrote your shapeon the sidewalk. you had eyesas wide as mercury& i rememberfalling into you,letting your handsclose around melike an atmosphere. in the morning,was the sun.in the morning,you kissed mein […]

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Everything, issue 51, Poetry

Some Fears by Skye Wilson

Cockroaches / getting pregnant / never having children / menstrual cups / hanging upwithout saying I love you seconds before someone dies / my dad crashing on his way topick me up from the station / my train crashing, blood and bones and tangled hair lefton the tracks / sloths and their strange hands / […]

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Everything, issue 51, Poetry

Valhalla by Emily M. Goldsmith

My mother remembers teaching herselfhow to draw stars on a foggy windowwhen she was five, fifty-five years ago.Most of us look to the sky for release. My neighbor, at dinner, proposes thatwe are but molecules. That perhaps ouruniverse exists as one fabric weavedinto a shirt and our beyond just wool. Many places are full of […]

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Everything

Issue 50 | August 2020

To celebrate our 50th issue, we invited former contributors to share video readings of work originally published here in Vagabond City Lit. We’re awfully proud of the artists and writers we’ve published since 2013 and always excited to see the incredible new work we’re sent each month. Thank you to the contributors who helped with […]

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Everything, Issue 49, Poetry

Home Team by Francisca Matos

we still believed in hot lemon water in the morning, still believed in the miracle of breaking out into a dance anywhere, never quieting down, the rookie optimism that our best parts would remain the same no matter where or who we shared them with. now every summer something like grief tears inside our bellies, […]

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Everything, Issue 49, Poetry

Sailing by Nathan Spoon

Today you will reorder yesterday for the sake oftomorrow. Something will bubble and froth behindyour left ear leaving behind a sensation like whenyou first bite into a perfect and juicy apple. I havean eye and a tongue and a soul for juice and so feelbold about this assertion. Even when we are apartmy mind fills […]

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Everything, Issue 48, Poetry

Purple Devil Emoji by Trevor Eichenberger

HornyTopNow proposes a sexorcism            in your DMs when he writes: let me fuck the hell out of you He must think his penis is God’s            gift if he can save you from damnation, but you don’t believe him.            You’re atheist & to you, angels are just            a slutty Halloween costume. If there is a devil, […]

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Everything, Issue 48, Poetry

nightmares of my father dying by Liam Strong

you tell me ice wants to be warm. a television screen, spastic with tiny spines,warm from my fingerprint smeared across its face. i do this to you, but i am not pricked. before work, a bundle of coriander stripped by the night’s wind on the porch-step.once, when little, i constructed a fence from the broken […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Will / Inherit by Ben Kline

Suddenly / late summer / shirtless in the loft / he watches me / surmount the top rung / Soft timothy exhaling June / The twine breaks / spreading blue / purple florets on which we lie / about men / the Virgin / glistening skin / senators and welfare / other things we cannot […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Holding Pattern by Cliff Saunders

I. It’s tough to admit, but I can’t stopbaby-talking to the guillotinein my closet. I can’t stop wearing orangeand clicking like a house in the sun.I just want to find love, testifyto the power of pedestrian walkwaysthrough the minefields of early death.No reason for me to be inconclusive,circus-like in my heart. I belongto the ice […]

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Everything, Issue 47, Poetry

Untitled Fear of Intimacy: Celibacy by Ashley Taylor

Three days after swearing off sex, I message an old tinder date. We talk about coming home to ourselves, recovery, and tarot. She asks me, in what ways do you want to be more grounded?  And I want to tell her about Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden, how fifteen hundred steel spheres lay on the ground, and reflect via convex—how the viewer […]

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Everything, Issue 46, Poetry

Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 by Esther Sun

            After Antonín Dvořák Mvt. I: Allegro in / the belly / of / the woods / we toss kindling into a pit // jagged geometry /of combustion // strike matches on our skin //watch the campfire work / its teeth through mountain blackness // & I am incendiary // north windlurching / in from / upper / […]

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Everything, Issue 46, Poetry

LAY ME ON THE TABLE + PUT FLOWERS IN MY MOUTH by Matt Mitchell

                      a hue of hospital neon                       sits above exposed cotton guts                                  of waiting room sofa in the early hours of my procession, morning orange draws a halo            around my pale head.  there’s a field in the midwest where be a man still echoes            off the corners of tick-painted weeds resting atop a cliff overlooking a shallow marsh.  it is too late to go back,                                  one of the […]

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Everything, Issue 46, Poetry

Feral by A. Prevett

                                                     after Anne Sexton’s “Yellow” When I finally feel safety again I’ll work it around in my mouthuntil it’s all balled up, I’ll spit it out, I’ll bury it shallow in a loamy field. I’ll plant a shield of sunflowers around it, I’ll encircle them with apricotpits, I’ll pluck every downy feather in sight, I’ll write a poem called Feral […]

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Everything, issue 45, Poetry

Think: Honey I Shrunk the Kids, but Sexy by Schuyler Peck

IMAGINE I’M SMALL. IMAGINE I’M SO SMALLYOU COULD POP ME IN YOUR MOUTH & I’D SLEEP UNDER YOUR TONGUE. THINK A CROSS BETWEEN TIC-TACS AND HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, BUT SEXY. TOGETHER WE’D TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY, ABOUT THE WEATHER. WE’D DREAM OF CAMPFIRES, WHETHER BAGEL BITES ARE REALLY AS GOOD AS WE REMEMBER. IN THIS STORY, I’M SMALL BECAUSE […]

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