Art: "Poolside" by Sean Gallagher

Poetry: "The Suicide Summer" by M.J. Stratton

I’m no vet, but spine snapping

is the softest sound in the world


I know intimately

the feeling of brokenness


it starts with a bird

falling from the tallest tree


in my brother’s yard


switch the lights out

and I can feel my way


towards the only sharp edge

in the room


this is all to say its wings were fine—

light and whole and thin


as unpasteurized milk

in the family bucket


I buried the thing in the flower box

of my bedroom’s sill


there haven’t been flowers for years

but I’m not much of a planter


I can’t even find my way

to my own coffin


it’s in the air now!


that shoebox! that wooden

flower jacket! that brother bird!


and this makes me smile!

like maybe I’ve stopped




it started

and it didn’t end


and this bird never even touched

the ground

Published May 16th 2024

How would one characterize M.J. Stratton? Twenty-seven. Disturbingly pale. Critically awkward. A poet published in various literary magazines such as Oscilloscope Literary Magazine, Storm of Blue Press, Unpublished Magazine, and DeadMall Press. And human. So irreversibly human that she feels everything as deeply as you do—fiercely. Emphatically. She just writes it down.

Sean Gallagher is an artist living in Charleston, South Carolina. He’s art recently won the North Charleston Art Fest and he will be featured in Charleston Magazine as one of the best emerging artists in the lowcountry. His artwork has also been published in Fauxmoir, Allegory Ridge, High Shelf Press, and Ariel’s Dream, to name a few. He has been a journalist and editor, working in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, in a past life. You can follow his work on Instagram @the_ridden_word or his website,