paper airplanes

paper airplanes

By: Josh Sippie

We fold corners, crease and prepare for launch
from a rooftop patio we’re not supposed to be on
according to a sign 
and we throw paper airplanes into the darkness
watching them until they disappear into the night’s cold cloak 
silence beckoning the words we scribbled on the wings
saying hello and nice to meet you and don’t you look nice tonight
and we can barely laugh among ourselves for fear that they will hear us
even though they never do because they are a concept
not a person or a group
but then a plane comes back
skids across the tarred rooftop and the words in black
marker—

you look nice too

Josh Sippie is a foolish mortal. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hobart, Stone of Madness, and more. When not writing, he can be found wondering why he isn’t writing. 

la casita

la casita

By: Charlie D’Aniello

We call it “la casita” because it was the only house we moved into when I was growing up—
all of the others were apartments of varying sizes and shapes and neighborhoods. My dad worked all day, but I only remember

the coming home in muddy boots
booming voices like quicksand
pouring into my ears.

We had a huge black table in the dining room. I always sat furthest away from
the bowl of salad and the closest to my grandma so that she could take the leafs of lettuce
and sliced tomatoes out of my plate and into her home— so that she could

save me the pain of living in shadows
huddled in corners and creeping in hollows
under covers too thin to warm, too warm to breathe.

It was the house I lived in when I had my first panic attack and got my first dog— a small shih-tzu, white with brown spots and a worm in her stomach. I lived there when I did my first communion, when I stood in the house of god and

drank his blood, ate his body and tasted
grape juice and thin crackers wasted
on a sinner who’d never repent

But the house had a flaw, a downfall: that it always flooded when it rained,
and it always rained when it shouldn’t, and it shouldn’t be flooding in the first place—
and so we moved. Now, whenever I think of lettuce and dogs, or crackers and

god, i think, is like a house and a bubble,
a drawing in the sand and a mountain of rubble—
and it died in the flooded remains of a garden we call “la casita”.

Charlie D’Aniello (they/he) is a Latinx, queer/trans, neurodivergent author & literature nerd. Their work is published or forthcoming in HOLYFLEA!, Querencia, Tealight Press, Poetically Magazine, Wrongdoing Magazine & others. They are founder of warning lines magazine & author of The One and the Other.

Anna Atkins on Unsplash

Find Charlie @beelzebadger and @warninglines on Twitter.

First Year ESL Paraprofessional

First Year ESL Paraprofessional

By: John Homan

I can’t soothe the hurt I see in them…I wish I could.
Their actions under the circumstances impress me.
At their age, I was an utter emotional mess.
It says so in the Snoopy diary with the broken lock
stored in my footlocker in the basement.  

Theirs seems a dark lonely world, 
a damp cold wind chilling their emotions
remains their lives’ dominant weather pattern. 
Permafrost will set in sooner than later.

I tell myself it’s naive to think a difference can be made.
One person is not a sun to a frozen wasteland.
I should harden my heart before it continues to be broken.
It’s not my job to save the world. 

But just doing my job was a waste of twenty years of my life. 
Credit memos, email chains & ship scheduling meetings, 
Swirl around the drain of a life of loyalty to a corporation. 
The Invisible Hand doesn’t seem to love those outside of business. 

Even if actions are without visible success,
Accomplishment not so easily definable,
Caring dumped into the sea of apathy,
I will not despise “the day of small things”.

John Homan is a poet and percussionist from Bend, Oregon. He is a graduate of Indiana University. His work has appeared in Chiron Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Misfit Magazine among others. He is an ESL tutor in a middle school, happy to have given up 20 years of corporate customer service. He lives in Elkhart, Indiana with his wife and cats…lots of cats. 

You can find John @john_homan on Twitter and at his personal website: http://about.me/john_homan

An almost normal Friday, Death sitting on my couch, eating Cheetos

An almost normal Friday, Death sitting on my couch, eating Cheetos

By: Jason Melvin

content warning : death

The text message was odd
‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ You doing alright today?
830 in morning     coming from
a nighttime/weekend friend
my first thought     he texted the wrong person

‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ya y?
‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ weird dream last night    just checking in
‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ don’t mean to sound weird    just piece of mind

‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ so how gruesome was my death?

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ You just fell over

there’s really no need for deep contemplation
3 months ago     my brother     just fell over
3 weeks ago    one nighttime/weekend     we discussed it
that doesn’t mean I wasn’t acutely aware of any odd pains 

a coworker calls at 10am   he needs Monday off from work
his brother has a standing appointment with Death     Cancer
and it looks like Death’s schedule has an opening this weekend
a phone call a few hours later confirms it       he passed

at 4pm     at home now    another phone call
a different coworker arrived home after work
to find his wife dead in their bed     unexpected
no appointment on the books

Death reclines back      licks cheese dust off his fingers
watches cartoons      mostly SpongeBob

He sits in the empty chair at the dining room table
while we play cards                            No
We do not deal him in

Why are we always so shocked      so surprised?
when we know he’s always  
       right     
    there

Jason Melvin is a father, husband, grandfather, high school soccer coach, and metals processing center supervisor, who lives just outside of Pittsburgh. His work has appeared in Rat’s Ass Review, Kitchen Sink Magazine, The Electric Rail, The Front Porch Review and Shambles, among others.

Find Jason on Instagram @JasonMelvin5.