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at dusk, the jigsaw puzzle of the cracked mesa
molts sulfur blue, nuclear-fissions into a Jericho
of blue roses and peacocks. the sapphire coveted
by both pyromaniac and alchemist.

the dichotomy of dark and light melts down in our bodies
and blossoms a language where nouns
replace themselves with birds.                     my mother bends like an agave blossom

under her father’s darkness. in the old corral, penny-stamped horses
strike the night with tin hooves, whipping up the moonlight
into cream.

the blood of the brothers begins to poppy the slopes
of blue mountains, tints each family photograph

with rust. I ask my mother if all language is an exile.
she combs my hair with a butterfly.

*

tonight our bodies nest like black swans in the amaryllis,
beyond the moon-mirrored adobe. your face, an antelope skull
encrusted in purple sand, horns coiling with the smoke of flies.

my mother’s hands are the songbirds that rainbow
a battered clay window. are ladles of well water
for a wildfire of foxes. for this parched language that rusts
without the antecedent of rain.

the desert melts down into hot wax, festers this banquet
of luminous abuelas and Spanish dancing shoes,
tambourine doves and carnival bears. where husbands and fathers kneel
at our laps as snowy stags. my mother, la princesa de rosas azules,

burns under a scorpion crown. she tells me one day the words will muerte themselves,
will mariposa themselves, will phoenix into terrible wings,
and weld each noun to thing. her hands, dark oleanders tipped in blood.
when she speaks, my palms burn with hot rain.



Steffi Lang is a Latina-German American originally from the US-Mexico borderlands, now living on a mountain tip in rural Appalachia among sightings of Sasquatch and ghost trains. Her writing has appeared in Haverthorn, Rust + Moth, The Apeiron Review and is upcoming in Duende and others.
Current Issue
10 Jun 2024

In summer, the crack on the windowpane would align perfectly with the horizon, right around 2 p.m.
airstrikes littering the litanies of my existence
I turn to where they are not, / and I nod to them, and they to me.
Issue 9 Jun 2024
Wildlife and Rainforests Inside My Father 
Phonetics of Draconic Languages 
A Tour of the Blue Palace 
A Tale of Moths and Home (of bones and breathing) (of extrinsic restrictive lung disease) 
By Salt, By Sea, By Light of Stars 
Friday: Utopia Beyond Capitalism in Contemporary Literature: A Commons Poetics by Raphael Kabo 
Issue 3 Jun 2024
Issue 27 May 2024
Issue 20 May 2024
Issue 13 May 2024
Issue 6 May 2024
Issue 29 Apr 2024
Issue 15 Apr 2024
By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
Issue 8 Apr 2024
Issue 1 Apr 2024
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