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Anchor 1


Tom Barlow 

My city is scarred like the thigh of a teen with 

a razor blade and each street serves to separate those 

whose hands are cupped from those who glory in

treasure, those who promenade in Dior from 

those whose last meal was a squirt of Naloxone. 

We are as inattentive to the basement of this city as the 

boy walking the tracks with his Beats cranked up 

until the hook and the train arrive at the same time. 


My city squanders a fortune on stadia for those who 

worship uniforms at the same time it sends a dozer 

to the camps along the tracks where psychosis shouts 

like a drill sergeant and those who live in those tents 

jump to attention and you could search all day and never 

find a heart there that beats as loud as a Mercedes Benz. 


The winter comes and those who do not flee south burrow 

deep in their cardboard and dream of fires and sour families. 

Pain tunes them up every morning, sending them back out 

to the street to face the good citizens who stare with boredom 

from office buildings and patrol cars, who see the wrappings 

and judge the whole package a wound that eats stitches, 

shake their heads and return to their portfolios and 

plans for another celebration of themselves. 

Tom Barlow is an Ohio writer of poetry, short stories and novels.  His work has appeared in journals including Trampoline, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, The North Dakota Quarterly, The New York Quarterly, The Modern Poetry Quarterly, and many more. See more at


Anchor 2

I Mourn for the Gene Pool and Its Unavoidable Clutch On the Human Soul

Rebecca Aponte


I mourn for the gene pool and its clutch that no one can escape. 

A young girl, banging her head against the shag floor 

Which reeks of english muffin crumbs and roller skates from decades ago Yearns for someone to love her without sharing their insufferable burdens. The archaic surroundings mean nothing to her, she 

Resents it and begs to break free, each pound of her head a blaze of fire from her heart But the old crab won’t let her. She peers at the girl through bloodshot eyes Like a hawk awaiting prey. Her stained nightgown and thin, unwashed white hair Emanates power, fierceness that will always prevail over childlike desperation. Her past drags across the carpet like rusty chains, and with every heaving breath The rust flies through the air and wearily clings to the little girl 

Hoping to keep her fateful legacy continuing forever. 

I mourn for the gene pool and its relentless weight on the mind. 

An exhausted daughter-in-law, lying underneath a blanket 

Adorned with pancake batter and tear-stained tissues 

Wishes to find answers within a question-stricken world. 

Her voice grows raspy and strained after endless nights of 

Screaming to God asking why men who left their wives leaving nothing But shirts to iron and late birthday cards with no money in them Were forced into her bloodstream like a drug. 

She has no choice but to serve as the provider these men never were, Now grizzled and dangerous underneath a mask of quiet. 

She anxiously turns on the stove to cook for them, unaware of

The plantain-stained oil splattering onto her skin and leaving deep marks of red. 

I mourn for the gene pool and its detrimental impact on the young. A loving father, once sprightly with life but rapidly languishing, is Shaking with emotion in his final moments of agony. 

His son found him this way—he does not yet understand the pain of Organs being ripped out and flesh being stitched together as if nothing ever happened But what is easily translated is the neverending stillness after the long battle. A little boy has become fatherless, unable to stand after 

The one who taught him how to walk has lost the grip of his hand. He grows up within fleeting moments, and soon finds himself 

Working late into the night, plotting a way out, saving every earning and Stray penny from the mall fountain to afford an engagement ring. Then, his past can be erased from his memory. 

I mourn for the gene pool and the innocent hearts trapped inside it. A precious soul, still in his mother’s womb, 

Remains frighteningly beautiful during his last moments of purity. He doesn’t yet understand where his parents came from 

And the forsaken, disadvantaged future he is subjected to. 

His father and his father’s father were born this way, too, 

Wandering the earth alone before even entering it for the first time. They lacked the support and love to carry the baggage of their ancestors And are left to take everything on themselves and leave the rest 

For the generations to come. Tell me: why can’t we move on from our past?

There is more to our lives than the obligations we are forced into, isn’t there? I mourn for the gene pool, but I mourn for us, too.

Rebecca Aponte is a sophomore from Knoxville, Tennessee. In the summers of 2019 and 2022, she attended a creative writing program at Interlochen Center for the Arts, where she studied a variety of poetry and prose styles, constructively critiqued the work of her colleagues, and showcased her own work. She is the head editor and 2023 Spring Writing Contest Winner of her school's Pierian literary publication, is the founder of a chapter of the organization, Poetry Out Loud, and has submitted to both the Scholastic and Adroit Journals. In her free time, Rebecca is an orchestral and chamber violinist and is on her school's swim and mock trial teams.

Anchor 3

911 Call & A Poet

Louis Faber 

911 Call

Needs help, drugs

can't find him

black and alone

Naked in the street

sirens, three, no five

down on the ground



am complying,

cuffed stil naked

agitated, drugs

spit bag on head

three on back

still naked

still snowing,

now seven


start CPR

still, still naked

loaded into ambulance

pronounced dead

five months silence

Chief lied,

Mayor says

we all failed

Black, dead 

cops suspended

home with families.

Anchor 4

A Poet

is a child who

on seeing a blank page

must fill it with dreams


hears the song of the nightingale

in the din of passing traffic


comforts the lonely mother recalling

the pain of a thousand births


sees in each passing cloud

the ashes of a generation


feels the heat of the sun

amidst the winter’s blizzard


carries the bones of young men

from the fields on which they fell


cries with the child

hobbling on war shattered legs


curses the generals whose souls

have been cast off on the field of battle


cannot forget, trading

nightmares for dreams.

Louis Faber’s work has previously appeared in Constellations,  Parcham Journal (India), Alchemy Spoon (U.K.), Arena Magazine (Australia), Dreich (Scotland), Atlanta Review, The Poet (U.K.), Glimpse, Defenestration, New Feathers Anthology, Tomorrow and Tomorrow, North of Oxford, Rattle, Pearl, Midstream, European Judaism, The South Carolina Review and Worcester Review, among many others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives with his wife and cat (who claims to be his editor) in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

Anchor 5

American Flag 

Sydney Mann

walk like legs do not shake on divided city sidewalk 

left bright white lighting on closed shop 

Right green park turned military car park 

Forward unavoidable red sea (and i am not moses) 

Back white face flaccid pink tongue jeering at you 

Everything is white and red now 

no blue, this is america and america has never been whole 

But you must move, body 

Pass the signs that make you want to sign for help 

But behind you 

White man who will put you in chains before your mothers 

arms White women who will crush you underfoot before offered hand 

Red sign calling for death extermination eradication or future greatness of country 

Red is this future? 

And behind you the whitehouse, the capital, the washington monument 

Behind you, white limestone 

And if i squint hard enough i can see it, see 

Red of slaves slaving over symbol of freedom 

(because american freedom is white power painted red in the hopes we are color blind and will think the red is brown and celebrate that our future mass grave has our skin tone as if it wasn't built out of brown bodies to begin with) 

Is the future visiting me on this sidewalk, is it red? 

Red of blood down storm drain 

Red of blood on white palm that could belong to anyone, but 

The blood is surely ours and 

It will stain white traffic line red and no cars will pass 

Not because there is blood, a body, in the street 

But because this is america and you do not go on red 

And you will see white and red for all of time 

White your mother will dress her only daughters body in after “15 year old murdered in violent insurrection, body left in the street now stained 

Red” is everything I see now 

White house gate protected by 

Red rubber bullets shot at 

White skin that will protest but will not bleed 

Red for us when we say 

White power is death, it is death 

And I will die here in this street surrounded by red and white

Wondering if i would have survived if I had seen blue Or would it mean 

White cop coe to shoot me even though hands up covered Red in my own blood, can I staunch a bullet hole? Or do I die a second time on this street? 

On my knees, at America’s mercy 

Yelling, fuck your red white and blue

Sydney Mann is a senior at Sidwell Friends in Washington, DC. Her first poem was named “I am not a Princess” and was an exploration of femininity in classic tales. She won runner-up in the Folger National Shakespeare Sonnet Competition, with a sonnet focused on the passing of her grandmother. Since then, much of her work, both poetry, and prose, has focused on the maternal relationships in her life, grieving, womanhood, race, and mental health. 

Anchor 6

The Last Women on Earth

Lily Scheckner


The fifth last woman on earth

Will envy her brethren 

Who find sisterhood 

In the dirt that envelops them


The fourth last woman on earth 

Will write her will in blood

On a diner napkin

My ashes should be scattered

At the edges of the world

With no gravestone to mark them


The third last woman on earth

Will remember her mother

Who said:

“When they come,

Set yourself on fire” 


The second last woman on earth

Will take a knife to her breasts

And burn

All the bloody cotton-

Candy-flavored lip glosses

And heart-shaped necklaces


The last woman on earth

Will flee to the forest

Where tender wolves

Will feast on her blue flesh 

To save her 

From the beasts 

Who ask to be buried atop her 


The last women on earth

(Done running from the smell of piss and old beer)

Will die ugly and gladly

Lily Scheckner is a tenth grader at Montgomery Blair High School. She is attending Interlochen Center for the Arts this upcoming summer and is a literary editor of a magazine at her school. Outside of school, she is a writer, reader, and activist. 

Anchor 7

A Hymn Within the Horror

Audrey Crocco

Amidst the metropolis of Kyiv, 

under the eclipse of totalitarianism and persecution,

beneath the caliginous stratosphere,

amongst the mere contours of former autonomies,

a sweet, euphonious gospel breathes in a whisper.


A hymn, permeating within the erosion–

a song of salvation: 

the choreography of rainfall following the drought. 

Sporadic pulsations after an isolated exhale. 


Western vain and ignorance; 

a blind eye turned to international grief.

The insistent nature of history:

Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen.


Withal, if you let the disharmony lull, 

if you nurture the divinest mutiny, 

refusing the monopoly of bystanderism, 

a hymn–an unrelenting melody of hope–is heard thrumming through even 

the most devastated backstreets.  


Amidst the immorality, 

amidst the grief, 

a hymn stirs.

Audrey Crocco is an 11th grader at Madison Public High School. Crocco has been published in Highlights Magazine, Sustainable Lehigh Valley, Ruckus, and has won the 2022 regional Scholastic Gold Key Award for excellence in poetry. She is passionate about volunteer services, including her self-ran non-profit, and she has attended over twelve activist demonstrations regarding Women’s Rights, climate change, fighting against racial injustice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and advocating for civil rights.

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