this is no joke

Winner of the 2018 Jericho Brown Poetry Prize

This piece was first published in Quarto’s 2018 Spring Print Edition.

  Illustration by Cameron Lee

Illustration by Cameron Lee

by Perry Levitch

seriously this is spooky it
worked for me if you
stop here your crush will
fall in love with someone
else and you will be cursed
to eat broth with a fork
it worked for me but
only mostly this is no
joke one time a girl was
walking homeward with
her friends and her name
got in a stranger's
mouth he insisted he was
the one meant to sink
a spork prong-deep in
her she said ok to that I guess
so he did so she turned
into a cutlery rack
for five months which was
a change of pace at least

if you don’t forward this
by midnight to a friend
then your reflection
will always lag
a minute behind
your body if you forward it
to a friend then you will get
on the jumbotron
next game don't
laugh at this if you send it
to five friends please add
your name to the bottom
and pick mostly b’s if you
send it to ten friends
then your kiss will
crush you or rather
your crush will kiss you
tomorrow

Early Bloomer by Amber Lewis

This piece was first published in Quarto's 2018 Spring Print Edition

They called me an Early Bloomer,
cramming tits into
ill-fitting bras before middle school,
hips widening to
a tentative smile —

nappy hair wound tight
by Mama’s milk hands —

                        I do not look like my Mother, though
                        you’ll notice we share a             smile.

White Mothers hissed I wish I had your figure at
pool parties,
sipping Mike’s Hard by the water,
dripping condensation,
when I was Thirteen.

                       Would their husbands rather fuck
                       a Little                  Black                      Girl?

We learn young that our
bodies aren’t our own.

  Illustration by Cameron Lee

Illustration by Cameron Lee

Wal-Mart Seasonal Candy Aisle: February 6th 3am by Sprout Conner

  Illustration by Cameron Lee and Charlie Blodnieks

Illustration by Cameron Lee and Charlie Blodnieks

"Wal-Mart Seasonal Candy Aisle: February 6th 3am" was first published in Quarto's Spring 2017 edition and has now been published in her collection, Motherbird.

My mom breaks through gooseflesh packaging
tears apart school&love&wind
before telling me that as an egg
I would've still cracked
and that girls are like icebergs but I cry
I never learned how to swim so she pours
the chocolates into her purse carefully
then all at once before we run
from the store and to the trees

her hands blistering in the cold
my skin burning through her jacket