Heidi Kasa won first place in the 2023 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. She writes fiction and poetry. Kasa’s short story “Mechanical Mommy” is forthcoming in The Mixed Bag of Tricks anthology from Murasaki Press in November 2023. Her chapbook, Split, was a finalist for a Black Lawrence Press award in 2019, and was published from Monday Night Press in August 2022. Kasa’s story “Robot You” was shortlisted for a Fractured Lit award in 2021. Her stories “Ghosts Are Hungry” and “Some Kind of Light” were semifinalists for The Ghost Story flash fiction competition in 2022. Her artist poetry book, Seaweed, was sold at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco. Kasa’s writing has appeared in The Racket, Meat for Tea, The Raw Art Review, Monday Night Lit, The Cobalt Cafe, and Ab Terra, among others. She works as an editor and lives in Austin. Visit Heidi on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Heidi Kasa and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Bullet Cures
“a bullet doesn’t ask to be given back”
—K-Ming Chang, Bestiary
The bullet asks to be the fire that melts it.
The bullet asks to be given back, returned to the earth. To become a bridge, a garden gate, a plant liner. A tent, enclosing instead of burying. A ring that keeps going and going, running from itself and into itself like wisdom, like love.
The bullet asks to be the cure. To turn into the helmet saving a head from crushing. To create the structured bones of a manmade waterfall. The bullet wants to be a shield. To be shingles on a roof. Provide cover. The bullet aches to serve a higher purpose. To be a wheelbarrow distributing seeds. To be the pin in your glasses, the tiny one that holds the whole thing together. To be as cold as an ice cream scoop, as warm as a pacemaker. To become what ticks in your watch.
The bullet asks to crumble in pieces. To be delicate like lace or a spiderweb. To transform into the jar or the candle it holds. To flicker and fade slowly, liquify as it’s consumed. To live as an outdoor chair, abandoned. To die as one. Its rust the dirt reclaiming its victim.
The bullet wants to be the echo, not be echoed. The bullet wants to forget itself, to forget it was ever there.
The bullet asks to rest, to rest. To rest.
Nicole Adabunu won second place in the 2023 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. She is a writer currently undergoing her MFA in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as an Iowa Arts Fellow. She is the recipient of a 2021 Academy of American Poets University Prize, and her poems have appeared on Poets.org, Writer’s Digest, and The Greensboro Review. Visit Nicole on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Nicole Adabunu and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
unsavage the boy
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,after ansel elkins
unhook his gaze
from hers.,,,,.unappetite the lust
burning in his belly dislocate
the heat of his heavy limbs
unpin his shadow from her
silhouette,,,,.,peel his prickly pubic
from under her hip undress
her skin the stench of his salt,,,,,,,,,unglisten
his sweat from her eye,,,,,.,unclot
her cold blood on the bed sheet
and send it back to the heart.,,,,,,,,,unfasten
his fingers from her esophagus,,,return
every choked vein that screamed
against his grasp, return every silent swallow
to her throat, return every stop he pushed
into her pulse, return every stop
his ears neglected every no
every please she begged like a prayer
under him. return the blood.
bleach the bed sheet back
to white,,,,,,,,repaint the night
a kinder color,,,,,,,,,,uncolor
the memory from her mind
return the girl her sanity
return the boy’s hands
to his sides,,,,,return the boy
to his mother,,,,,,,,,,,,,return the sin
back to god,,.,return the sin back
Victoria Melekian won third place in the 2023 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. Her stories and poems have been published in many literary journals. Her story “What I Don’t Tell Him” aired on National Public Radio. She has twice won a San Diego Book Award. She lives with her husband in Carlsbad, California. Visit Victoria on the web here.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Victoria Melekian and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Grandma’s Telling Me
Sonnenizio on a line from Ashley Anna McHugh’s “The Unquarried Blue of Those Depths is All But Blinding”
how love’s a rust-worn boat,
kind of flaky, how it wants
tending, how I need to brush
away rust, learn how to patch
and paint. And somehow
I lose the connection just how
love is a boat anyhow, but years
pass and I begin to understand how
fragile love is, how much care—
do it right, girl, you’ll see, somehow
it floats. And I do, I can see how
love is a boat, how I need to patch
and paint, how much work it takes
to stay on board, how fast rust can flake.