Genesis Unedited - Athena Chu

IN THE beginning, God watched Woman create the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of

the deep and the spirit of Woman was hovering over the waters.

God said, “Let there be light,” and Woman gave birth to the sun, her body home

to the child who prayed in the church of her womb. God saw that it was

good, curled into the womb of Woman to rest—the first day.

God said, “Let there be ocean and sky,” and Woman cried a blue floor for heaven,

wrung the sweat out of her skin, drained the wine from her veins to fill the

hollowed soil, and God saw that it was good—the second day.

God said, “Let the land bear fruit,” and Woman pressed her thumbs into the

opening of her own body, a trinity of unplanted seeds at the root of her

thighs, a reaping of life, between the seasons of rebirth and bloom, and

God saw that it was good—the third day.

God said, “Let there be a moon.

Woman said, “I am tired my sun.”

The fourth day.

God said, “Let life fill the ocean.”

Woman said, “There is already life.”

The fifth day.

God said, “Let life fill the earth.”

Woman said, “I am already here.”

God said, “Let men rule over all the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky.”

Woman said, “Haven’t I taught you better? You rule only yourself.” The sixth


God is divinity dressed in the tender skin of mortals replete

with organs seasoned by dust.

God drinks the milk from Woman’s breasts to baptize his parched tongue

because even God has a mother. Woman calls him son but God does not

give a chance for Woman to name her own creations so he named himself God, but God is not God.

God is just a man with a god-complex, and Woman has heard this story before.


Woman says, “Don’t you see how easily I can rewrite this story?

How you are God only because I prayed to you?

How you are immortal for only as long as the children I bear believe in you?

You have swallowed my sun and named it your own but don’t you know

the sun tastes better at night? The sun remembers me even when he is warming

the other side of the earth,

isn’t that a child’s love for his mother?           

Woman says, “Don’t you know women cannot come from men

but men can only come from women?

Don’t mistake the womb of a woman for the rib of a man.

Don’t forget that I gave you life and I can take it back.

Woman says, “I have felt pain that lasts longer than our bodies do.

You cannot fold this body up to make room for yours. You cannot fill this body up

because this body was never empty. You fingered the creases of my flesh, but never felt

me. You scrutinized the angles of my shadows, but never saw me. You swallowed my

echoes but never heard me. 

This is the story before man plagiarized it.

Before man misread his entitlement for enlightenment.

Before man made a God out of himself,

and deleted every line in the poem

where I was making all the miracles.”

Sunset - Isabelle Bailey

The air of the atmosphere bends the light
Of the sun as it sinks to the ground.1
The atmosphere creates an illusion so bright
The warmth of the day seems to linger around.

From dusk until dawn the horizon contains
The glaring truth that we both need to see.
But from dawn until dusk the sad fact remains
That the sun’s not where it appears to be.

When I watch the sunset, I can’t help but know
That our time is already gone.
But I’d rather soak up the afterglow
Than admit that I know what went wrong.

Though the earth between us is blocking my view
I think I can guess how you are.
I know when this ends we will both make it through,
But I’m burned, after all, you’re a star.

Though, throughout our mistakes I helped carry the weight,
We were both aware in the end
Of the illusion together we helped to create.
We broke something I don’t think we can mend.

1 Due to the the quantity of different gases in the Earth’s atmosphere (that create many different temperatures and densities) the sun’s image is often distorted, making the sun appear somewhere that it is not, or making its appearance change shape. At sunset, when the sun appears to be on or near the horizon, it is already physically below the horizon, but the air in the atmosphere refracts an image that is visible for many minutes afterwards.

Honey-dew - Emily Brower

Or, a summer once passed. A Forgotten Memory.
In the lush enclosure near
Algal star-specked water spreads:
Where young, god-likes cheer
And puncture the pond’s Prussian veneer
With their flaxen heads.
So trees and brush aplenty surround
With deer and ancient owls around;
And there were stacks of bone-dry woods,
Used to brighten flames of reds,
And here the youths spent boyhoods,
Folding turf to form their beds.

But oh! That cavern which towered there
Bending over the blue oasis pool!
An uncivil chamber! As bleak and bare
As though unearthing a deep nightmare
Thought by a fiendish ghoul.
And in this cavern, with jagged stone,
As if the basalt was voicing its groan,
An echo rang to the god-likes’ ears,
Rippling the water with its scream,
The earth shook and shuddered strong
And the cavern continued its haunted song:
And off split a rod of sable-dark rock
Which one god-like picked up with shock.

The god-like held the rod in his palm
Within the darkened, gloomy glade,
Then observed the rod’s sharp, keen blade,

And spoke under his breath a sacred psalm;
And as though the god-like was supreme,
The nightmare landscape warmed to a dream!
        The rod gleamed in the Summer Sun
        Mirrored in the god-like’s face,
        He became nearly undone
        His cheeks rose with relief and grace.
It was a miracle of young Summer Days,
A moment of rest and glory in the returned rays!

        A honey-dew melon once
        The young god-likes found:
        The melon soft and ripe,
        Juice dripping down in stripe,
        The god-likes cut it open.
        They used the sharp rod to slice its flesh
        And ate the damp fruit with youthful haste,
        The juice splashing their faces fresh,
That their skin, young and chaste,
Was splattered with that sick-sweet dew,
In that moody oasis there!
And all who saw them would then view,
And all would say, They knew! They knew!
The melon juice, the blackened rod, and pond of blue!
Made them know the real and true,
And drove them from their holy stance
For they dampened their chaste trance,
All for adolescent, honey-sweet Summer.

salt - Emory Sabatini

I think that salt was

never meant to be consumed

by humans: we stole


it from something far

more beautiful, more intense:

earth and her children


cried for salt, for life,

for something sweet corrupted,

flavor unearthed, for



To My Cousin, Who Forgot How to Speak - Avik Sarkar


I remember when dida1 fed us syllables

for breakfast, steeped in syrup,

smooth. We feared silence

like hunger, craved language

like sweet honey, pulled prepositions

from the air with sticky hands

to fill our empty stomachs. Mmm—you turned

to me, crunching on a verb—that was

a good one. We kept on feasting.


There is no verb to be in Bengali.

I know you feared your being balanced

on the spaces between vowels, suspended

like swings. You filled those spaces

with amnesia, pretended

you were full, hid your hunger

in mouthfuls. Do you remember when

you starved for a day because

you forgot how to say you were hungry?


Our stomachs are full now.

Our tongues carve caves in the bridges of    

our mouths—emptying our abdomens

in pools, translating our shouts

into shivers—and you tell me it is time

to flick words from lips like elastic,

to pluck each stray sound, syllable

from our throats. I tell you I am sorry

that I forgot to remind you.


1 The Bengali word for grandmother.

Parting - Avik Sarkar

Barishal, Bangladesh during the Partition of India, 1947


It is monsoon when they part,

when the water lilies sprout like tiles,

painting mosaics of rose and jade beneath

my grandmother’s feet. She sings prayers, words

erupting like gasps under her breath.

Stretching her veil up and over, scouring the market,

venerating the rain—sheets of glass, particles

reflecting the sweet limes heaped

on each other in pyramids—she recalls

the emerald beads her sister gave her

before her parting, searches her neck for their indent.


She bows to choose a lime as a child

wrenches a lily from the water. Droplets explode,

drench my grandmother’s veil, clasped

to her face, and she drowns in a cry—remembering

it was monsoon when her sister parted,

wrested from fragile arms—and then a wail.

Up at her the child stares, turns to leave, face streaked

with glassy rain—my grandmother recalls

her sister’s voice, in fragments, remnants

of mosaics—and under her breath she whispers

Come back, come back. But

the lilies float on, apart.

Untitled - Kate Whitaker

My mother infuses her emotions,
Muddling feelings like mint,
Mixing moods like potions.
She distills both spirits in a glass

Meant to calm her wild temper,
But it doesn’t last.
Cranberry drifts through her tenor.
Dissipating through her capillaries

Among our cabinets crowded with jars.
Hands stained red with berries.
What hides in her wine colored heart?
It reeks of regret in our kitchen.

Safely stored in the drawers,
We must keep what is hidden.
Her words spew countless scores
Of sour orange vodka words.

The house sweats alcohol.
Seeping through the walls,
Dripping down the bannisters,
Her passion covers the house.