Session Two Anthology

MENTOR: Mahogany Browne


What a lovely sunset tint he gave me; 
My upper eyelid, tumid like my sister’s Botox-injected lips, 
my upper eyelid is one half of a bivalve shell, 
it’s a woman’s dream
to have her cheek match her toenails. 
The healing process is reverse metamorphosis. 
When bruises fade and swelling resides, 
He’s both the fisherman and the fish, the
predator and the prey, a cocoon of: I’ll change,
I’ll change. I’ll change. I’ll change. I’ll change.


Emily Schmidt.jpeg

Emily Schmidt is a sophomore at Stanford University, studying English, linguistics, and a variety of modern languages. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, she quickly fell in love with the Californian sunshine and warm winter temperatures. Emily writes a hodgepodge of pieces from satiric articles for The Stanford Daily to free-verse poetry to historical fiction. Just like her writing repertoire, her collection of hobbies are widely scattered from speed-crocheting to Irish dancing to practicing calligraphy. When she is not writing or reading, Emily can also be found jamming out to Phil Collins or watching her favorite film, 'Belle.'


The body against the water; or to be full of dead things

                        after Eva Cassidy

the beach was a monster granny said to keep away from, but all we wanted to do was wade
see our midnight skin take part in
something we could sift through our gums & have the salt of flesh bite back.   the water
be heavy. but  the land be even heavier.  horses trailing it’s lines  where all the children
keep from being trampled. & i got grandma in my ear pulling me away from the wade--
--ing & down the street through the thick bends of harsh Accra traffic  she probably elbow deep in
Charcoal  the black familiar the way she sits us in dark corridors by candlelight  mourning the dead. 

a man of God shuffles through orange dirt on a Sunday’s noon: 
2 muscular women down the road beat up a thieving man in front of our house gate / 
my cousins, siblings, & me pick a neighborhood fight by the well water   
who’s that girl flying through disaster like a missile,  fire
burning so fierce in her eyes  buckets of water cascading till the ground lay dressed
in bruises, none of us knowing whose end would come next
so we lunged for each other first, our bodies tattered in
the howl of a wild dog’s red
throat. the noise be thick. the havoc be long--- just good enough to wade in
it collapses into our homes, no different than the water
the way my granny’s heart must be
the way her lungs must’ve weathered the
storm: and look at us, we be the children
who move to countries where police part red seas that Moses
would’ve moved to the wilderness for. all bathed in asphalt ashes & led
by the revolution into God’s green
arms for safe keeping. hell, it’s all gonna be trouble
from here. & the only thing  that deserts us, first, is the water.



Claudia Owusu.png

Claudia Owusu is a Junior at Otterbein University studying Creative Writing. She has published work with Quiz & Quill and The Thurber House Literary Magazine. She is from Ghana, West Africa, but she currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.

I Have Trust Issues with the Weather

My naked doesn’t feel like mine
except for when it isn’t seen.
By how someone holds it.
In their tongue.                    
In their hands.
The weather’s hands reach
for things I never said it could. 
Spring took my friend away.
Wrung me dry in pollen.
Now when trees blum
I look for nueces in the branches.
A fall wind
blew my window off it’s frame.
I forgot
to feel like the room
was haunted.
Not much haunting
only happens in a room anyhow.
Summer made me wear all my short sleeve shirts
that still fit from middle school.
Thunderstorms eating at all the boy
still hanging on my shoulders.                
Makes a sunny day feel like a hurricane
in every calm eye
that glances at you.
Snow is the sky trying to share
a piece of itself for a little longer
Winter puts the neighborhood in a white dress. 
We wish it away.
It holds me right.
Touches me with a tenderness
that knows what it’s like
to have its beauty called dangerous
when it’s the world
that’s not prepared
for it’s breath.


Benjamin Otto Vock.jpg

Ben Otto Vock is a non-binary poet from Jersey City, New Jersey. They’ve had their work featured on and published in the Plum Creek Review. They’ve interned as a teaching artist at Urban Word NYC. “A Boy Pulls Out Their Rib and Uses it for Lipstick” is their most recent collection of work. It tackles the intersections of being transgender and an abuse survivor as well as how one heals from trauma and violence caused by the world around them. Give them a shout at for a copy or to say hi!