"temple" by Lindsey Bertsch

Ink infiltrates your roadmap veins

beneath where physical scars (almost)


streaming too close to the lentic trickle of blood that’s loyal enough to keep you alive ­


blood that isn’t unaccustomed to meeting the surface,

the shrouded ignorance of a world in cacophonous silence.

You ride too close to the sun.

(you’re gonna get burned)


I want to amass our collective koans,

initially inscribed in the recesses of what keeps me awake at night and asleep in day,

and keep them

carved into the back of my hand in yours

(I wanna get burned)

"Between a Breath" by Hannah Hilst

Between a breath of smoke

and a breath of snowfall:

my chest felt closed and black with a virus

and the smoke dripped in my lungs,

the side of my jaw tingled

with a whip of wind like a finger tracing

lines across my shoulder then down my arm,

its hair pointing north,

mittens with fuzz hooked

in the rough corner of my thumbnail,

the smoke like meat

and snow like gloss,

the gloss like water

washing in my throat,

opening my chest and in the lungs,

water swirling like smoke in the breathing

then hot breath outward

like a furnace, like a dragon

and I let the metal swing thick behind me as I tug my hood