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Between Us, The Valley 

Some inconsistency is necessary
like how the damp rises misty off the mountain 
how she will go to the hardware store for a hammer and nails 
and break down in between the glue guns and the light bulbs 
and the boy will watch her and wonder 
if this is how some people pray as they get older

cedars wrap their roots into shared territory
because they can’t help but be connected to other things 
their lungs liquefy dark into gold
you know this place, I think, where the light wavers
but eventually delivers

and all children were mountains once
and their parents mined them for stars 
but the moon in them protected everything 
and we are all one day breaking down in the hardware store
in between the things we need and the things we don’t 
we may be praying to different gods 
but our reason is the same.

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and editor (along with Elisabeth Horan & Amy Alexander) of the anthology What Keeps us Here: Songs from The Other Side of Trauma (Anti-Heroin Chic Press, 2019). In 2016 They founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and prison/confinement. Their work can be found in The Collidescope and Isacoutic*. James resides in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. They have never believed in anything as strongly as they do the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.

Dirt by Jeremy Snyder

And as the rocks melt on this soup skin,   in this pot left on simmer for a few million years,   these memories push up through the soft spots.     And

Piper Cunningham Headshot

Poetry Prompts by Pepper Cunningham

Poetry Prompts Look up fifty-five of your favorite poems and use the third letter of the fourth word in every second line to write a sestina about loss. Make sure


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