Aôthen Magazine

Aôthen Magazine (named after the Doric Greek term for the earliest dawn) is an upcoming zine dedicated to all kinds of Classics inspired content! (art, poetry, essays, photography, etc)

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To support Aôthen, you can:
- Buy a copy of our magazine
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Submissions - Now Closed


All contributors will receive a 10 USD honorarium (Paypal only), and a high-resolution PDF of the magazine. All work will be published in print and in a blog post on this website.Not wanting to wait out the usual 3 week response time? We now offer 48 hour expedited responses via our Ko-fi for 3USD. Click here to get a pass now!Regular submissions will always be free!Previous contributors should kindly wait one reading period before submitting again in order to increase the diversity of pieces published.

What we are looking for:
Anything Classics related, including:
- Poetry (up to 5 poems per submission)
- Essays (opinion or otherwise) (max. 2500 words)
- Short fiction (max. 1000 words)
- Photography (eg. of artefacts or sites)
- Art (digital or traditional)
- Classical translation extracts (max. 1000 words)
The magazine is looking for work that approaches classics in a new, fresh manner. We'd love to see more abstract, contemporary, and modern interpretations of classical history and myths.

What we don’t accept:
- Anything overly graphic (we understand that violence and sexuality are very prevalent in classics, but please for the sake of our audience, please do not go into excruciating or inconsiderate detail)
- Anything not related to classics

Formatting requests + additional notes- Please make everything legible and clear!- Written work should be emailed as either a .docx or .pdf file- Art and photography should be sent as a .png file, in the highest resolution possible- Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but please let us know ASAP if your work is accepted elsewhere!- We request first electronic rights and nonexclusive archival rights to publish your work, but rights will revert to you after publication- You can submit work in as many categories as you wish, but please send each category as a separate email- With your submission, please include a 25 word third person biography and your pronouns (this biography can also include any social media handles)Please email Aothen.magazine@gmail.com with your submission with the subject line: “SUBMISSION - [CATEGORY] - [NAME]”Please allow up to 3 weeks for a response. If there’s no word from us by then, feel free to shoot us an email inquiry.

About the Magazine

Aôthen Magazine (named after the Doric Greek term for the earliest dawn) is a magazine that is dedicated to all kinds of Graeco-Roman classics-inspired content—artworks, poetry, essays, reviews, photography, and more—as a celebration of both archaeology and history.As a passion project, Aôthen aims to create an enviroment for others to cultivate their interest in classics, as well as to make classics accessible and enjoyable to all.

About the Editor

A QR code going to a newsletter

Aôthen Magazine is a one-woman-show, run by Samantha Ng, a Cantonese born and raised full time student and classical archaeology enthusiast. Her experience as a WOC student struggling to engage in the classics community fuelled her desire to start Aôthen, in hopes to create an environment where classical studies is accessible to those without formal classics education. Samantha has been writing poetry for the past seven years, and has been published twice in Ethos Magazine (HK). She works as an editor at Coexist Lit and Incognito Press. Apart from writing, she enjoys graphic design, listening to music, and reading.

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Issue one


Interview With Melanie Faith - Beating writer's block, getting published, and more!

Samantha Ng, EIC

Melanie Faith, MFA, author

Thank you for joining me for an interview today, Melanie! I see that one of your books is titled From Promising to Published, so my first question for you is: What advice do you have for people who are looking to get their work published?

No matter what setbacks arise, keep at it. By this I mean: work on multiple projects and set a recurrent goal with a date attached (such as submitting monthly on the first or last day of the month).Also, know that getting an acceptance letter is rarely a “one and done” process. Most of the published writers I know submit their work numerous times (ten, twenty, forty, fifty or more) times until it finds the perfect-fit agents, editors, or publishers that publish their work. Many, many writers give up after submitting work just two or three times. If you believe in the work, keep submitting it. Perseverance goes a long way towards publication, as does writing and sending works to editors on a regular basis. The more you write consistently, the more you submit consistently, and the more you believe in your work consistently while learning craft through reading books and taking classes or workshopping or getting suggestions from a beta reader, the better chances you have at publication. You can do it!

That’s some good advice! But when you have to write consistently, how do you work around creative/writer’s block?

Great question! I work on multiple projects at once. I alternate between poetry and prose as well as one-off/individual pieces and book-length work. Whenever I’m at a standstill or whenever a draft needs some breathing room before a new draft, I create individual pieces on unrelated subjects or in a different genre to give the muse room. So far in 2022, I’ve been working on two poetry books with very different historical settings, a third draft of my contemporary novel, the first few essays that might become a nonfiction book sometime in the future, and numerous individual micro flash fictions with food themes.An advantage of working on different projects is that, when I return to a resting project after a few days or weeks, I can see the draft with fresh eyes, noting what is actually in the draft compared to what I thought I’d put in there. I have to say also that teaching and taking creative writing classes as well as having writing friends and beta readers who encourage and champion projects are ways that I’ve worked around creative/writer’s block and which I’d recommend to other writers as well.

What inspires you to write books for writers?

When I first started out as an unpublished author, there weren’t a lot of resources online or offline about how to become a creative writer or how to reach a target audience after publishing. I love sharing what I’ve learned about developing my writing, editing, publishing, and marketing skills with other creative writers who may not yet know of all of the exciting possibilities for their writing and publishing careers. As a longtime teacher, I’ve learned so much about the struggles and joys that writers in all stages of the writing life experience and then persevere to make their dreams come true. My favorite days are when I receive emails from readers, students, editing clients, and friends who have gone on to get acceptance letters for their work. Also, writing books to spark creativity and writing fulfillment has always been a dream of mine. Writing about the writing process enhances and inspires my own creative path. Each craft book I write reminds me both of what I’ve learned in my writing practice and also makes me curious about what I want to explore and/or learn next. All of these ingredients go into the recipe for making my craft books for writers. Text

What brought you to explore the relationship between photography and writing?

I’ve always loved cameras and photography. Not only does photography document life but also it has amazing storytelling possibilities. I’ve been taking photos since I got a robin’s egg blue Kodak 110 camera from my parents for Christmas in high school.After grad school (MFA in Creative Writing, Concentration in Poetry), I started to learn digital camera techniques and placed several of my photographs with literary magazines. When I created an online photography class a few years ago that specifically focuses on photographic imagery from a writer’s POV and how the two artistic disciplines can enhance each other, I searched for a class text that explored both arts in reference to each other. I found many wonderful books about photography and many other stellar books about writing, but there weren’t any books about photography from a writer’s very unique set of skills and talents like I wanted to combine them. I saw an opportunity to write my own book about the topic and to fill a gap in the market. I had a lot of fun compiling the book, dreaming up prompts, personal essays, and tips to make practicing both arts an even more meaningful, inspired process.

Your work definitely seems to encompass a lot of depth! What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

I aim for my readers to reconnect with the joy of writing and/or creating art as they read my books. I want to remind them of why it’s hopeful, challenging, and fulfilling to be a writer. I hope that my books give writers new suggestions that fire them up to continue to fill pages with prose and/or poetry. I fill my books with practical tips that writers can apply to real-world drafting, editing, and submitting goals, so I also aspire for the books to cheer on readers and encourage them that, despite the rejections slips that we all get (I’ve gotten over 900 over them over the years!), there is endless possibility and quite often great camaraderie in the writing life. Also, I want my books to communicate that readers have the talent and the knowledge they need to keep writing and to meet their writing and publishing goals.

Click the image to visit Melanie's website!


Issue One

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Acessible Classics Resources

Recommend A Resource!

Free Online Courses



Decolonize Archaeology Project

The Decolonize Archaeology Project is an effort to raise awareness about the issues with both old and modern archaeological ethics. Aôthen believes that the preservation and respect of cultures should come before public entertainment in the archaeological sector.For this project, we are accepting art submissions from June 1st to June 30th. Art should be of an artefact that is being kept unethically in a museum. The artefact can originate from any region.Some artefacts that fit this description include:
- The Rosetta Stone
- The bust of Nefertiti
- The Elgin Marbles
- Benin bronzes
- Priam's treasures
Art will be published in the magazine and made into stickers and badges to be sold.

The badge design (more info under):

Template design

100% of profits from the stickers and badges will go to the Society of Black Archaeologists, the Native American Relief Fund, and the Ancient India & Iran Trust.As this is a charity effort, all artists will be volunteers. Credit will be given on all the products.

Issue Two


(Click to read)


Abi Deniz

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Abi Deniz (she/her) is an illustrator from New York. You can find her work at abideniz.myportfolio.com and @abidenizart on social media.


Andy VanDoren

a morning blend of bergamot
and caramel black tea
warms the hands like
Apollo’s on the archer’s
leading Achilles to death.
I like to think Apollo shot
with mercy, that he, too, knew
the gaping maw of loss
that shadowed him even in his
sunny chariot. lovers steal away
to Paris to spin tragedies from
the outlines of the bodies they trace
in perfumed rooms, but the true
lovers never see Paris, they
instead sip their morning tea in
the stillness of the dark, before
they bring the light the way
would have wanted us to.

Andy VanDoren is a queer, synesthetic poet inspired by natural phenomena. Themes of their work include abstracting reality and unreliable narrators. Through poetry, they paint pictures of how the world looks from inside their mind. They are published in Ghost Girls Zine, Celestite Poetry, Lavender Lime, and more. You can find them on Twitter @raggedypoet

achilles & the nyc subway jungle juice

Hana Kim

⠀⠀⠀⠀Achilles is not dead.
⠀⠀⠀⠀He is trekking down the cracked asphalt of New York (the empire state, the big apple, the greatest city in the world). His war helmet is a pair of faded white strings of wired headphones hanging precariously off his ears, his spear is a worn-down briefcase born of faux leather and synthetic plastics. Vines blend into building walls like veins of life, weeds grow where the concrete cannot reach.
⠀⠀⠀⠀His battlefields are the buildings composed of glass, cement, and blinding neon signs that were probably made by exploiting a shiny material in the third world. Here, Achilles’ life is decided by numbers on a screen and papers that descended from trees that were alive for hundreds of years–some of these trees must have seen the first Trojan War through the lines of their barks. Seems like they can’t leave Achilles alone as they decided to be reborn into paper that will end up in a trash bin and left to be buried in some rotten wasteland. Pamphlets that once said this is land of the free! equal opportunity; find your salvation here in our green arms fluttering through the streets where Achilles stands.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Achilles is standing on the 157th St. station. He has been fighting his never-ending Trojan War for almost ten years, with polyester-wrangled ties and phone calls about stocks that aren’t tangible. The promise of America, of this Trojan War, was the glorious remembrance by future generations. His immortality will be left on the fingerprints of his mousepad and some random numbers on the internet. The American Dream.
⠀⠀⠀⠀And after his daily fights, he begins the journey of returning to his down-state apartment infested with cockroaches. His lover calls it a land without water. There is a drought, there is sickness, there is heat that sticks to the skin like saran wrap. But that’s because the gods in the ivory towers have disagreements too! He’s been told that the higher-ups have been battling over these issues for decades, the bugs in between the floors and the leaks from the ceiling will be over one day, when the gods are pleased.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Today, there is a river in the subway. The pipes have flooded, perhaps another punishment from the gods. Achilles watches the muddy water flow and ebb through the dark cracks of concrete. This is what he was born of–the inside of a womb is an ocean of its own. He is simply returning to his original state. He should be grateful; after all, weren’t they complaining that they live in a waterless land? The ocean is slowly rising to his door, just like in Vienna! Isn’t that wonderful, perhaps a new tourist attraction could come out of this flooded subway.
⠀⠀⠀⠀His war song is a pop song singing about concrete jungles and the American dream; singing where dreams are made of, big lights inspiring you. You are happy here. The polluted flood is where you belong. The gods in the buildings whisper in your ear, this is what you deserve, but one day if you work hard enough staring at numbers all day–you can become one of us!
⠀⠀⠀⠀There is a story of another man, once upon a time, who was dipped in a fiery river to become the greatest warrior of all time.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Achilles is not dead. He is taking a plastic bag and is wading through the New York City Subway Jungle Juice, his modern River Styx, and hopes that his name will be immortalized in some random online search website of some hedge fund.

Hana Kim (they/them) is a recent grad who writes sometimes. They are desperately looking for a publishing job. twt @hanakix

Self-portrait as Daedalus

Hilary Tam

There, another traveller, another hero thread-cut to fall
On this grit flecked altar. So much casual violence
Splattered on the stones. I, too, am hungering for skies
Cleared of asphalt, for sunbeams smooth as velvet
On every callus; I, too, want to taste freedom dry-boned
Between my teeth. Mother, you know I am trying
To reengineer this wreckage. Blood-born beast
Writhing under our bodies, moulded by these very hands:
And I realise how we are never taller than our spears; how
Home is only home if you dare to look back. Maybe this
Is the price to pay for trying to navigate every atom
Bled hollow in our hands. Above us, a war:
Swords gnashing like an offering’s last breath as I kneel wine-
Red, pulsating, unlearning agony, forgetting how to call myself
My father’s son and my son’s father. Beneath us, our wings:
Man-made feather nose diving into earth after takeoff
Because we were all birthed from grit, mother; Because
We all claimed mud-bloodied daggers as our birthright.
Splintering paths. Charred automaton. And still
We never stop running, even when we find ourselves lost
In the shadows of our own creations. And still we are vehicles
For grief, seeing every fissure as escape, hurtling
Past the headstones we thought we left behind
And the ugliness we thought we’d buried and we are back

Hilary Tam (she/her) is a student and sandwich enthusiast from Hong Kong. Her writing appears in Wine Cellar Press, Fahmidan Journal, The Lumiere Review, Celestite Poetry and more. She is on Twitter @hiilarytam.


Irteqa Khan

you are athena
an inheritance of indigo
an ocean like me
a defiant symptom
a cult of first blood—
(i) she alightsweathering⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ through you
coiled & confessional—
the trust i have for myself is
urgent lush starving somewhere as a
virgin felling gods heavenside &
returning to the city ensorcelled
(ii) a primordial octavea residence of bodies set free
the sound of premonition
on a garden planting day is
divine impulse—
a concerto of creatrixes
pounding bearing incising chanting “i have come from myself”
(iii) let her stay

Irteqa Khan (she/her) is a Muslim-Canadian writer and poet of color. She holds an Honours degree in History and an MA in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science at York University in the Fall. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appears in L’Éphémère Review, HAG MAG, The Brown Orient, Homology Lit, Anomaly, and Honey Literary among others, and is forthcoming in The Feminist Word and śvās magazine. Irteqa’s debut poetry chapbook, rēza rēza, was published with Gap Riot Press in 2020.

Of My Wife, I Am

K.B. Rich

Manet sub Jove frigido
venator tenerae coniugis inmemor
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ – Horace, Odes 1.1
He remains underneath the icy sky
the hunter, of his tender wife, forgetful
Manet: read as abide endure continue Manet: read as wait for stay
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as stay the night
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as stay the night (sexual)
Manet: read as remain
Manet: he stays he stays the night
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ he stays
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ he remains
sub: read as under below
sub: read as close to at the foot of
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (with respect to objects that touch the sky)
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (with respect to hills to walls)
sub: read as underneath
Jove: read as Jove Juppiter Zeus God
Jove: read as the sky
Jove: read as one being
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ encompassing everything above another
frigido: read as cool cold chilling
frigido: read as indifferent
frigido: read as lifeless
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as icy
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as cold
He endures at the foot of an indifferent God
he remains under the icy sky
venator: read as hunter
venator: read as he
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as the hunter
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ the hunter who remains
tenerae: read as young
tenerae: read as delicate fragile
tenerae: read as soft
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as gentle
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ read as tender
tenerae: of the tender of my tender
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ of she who is so tender
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ so gentle, she was my–
coniugis: read as mate spouse
coniugis: read with the adjective in mind meaning paired joined together
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀we say conjunction we say you
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀connect every different part of me
coniugis: read as wife she was my wife
tenerae coniugis: of the tender wife
of my tender wife
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ of her, my wife,
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ of her so tender
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ so young she was my–
inmemor: forgetful
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ forgetting
The hunter under the sky the God so cold so lifeless
(please let me she was my wife so gentle forget)
I, like the hunter, I stay I remain
it is so cold, God too icy, sky too indifferent
I do not–
she was my wife so gentle
so tender so young
so soft she was my wife–
do not remember
try to not remember

K.B. Rich (she/her) learned more about life, language, and art from Latin translation classes than she ever expected to. Currently on twitter: @that__birch.

Salt and skin cells

Khushi Jain

You said that we’re out of shampoo
And salt and skin cells
And I tattooed a grocery list on my arm
Because your skin gives you shoe bites
And we use my teeth to tear it apart
Biting tongues and chewing fingers
Today this body is a museum
Latin elegies for lunch
And Donne’s sonnets for dinner
And my bitten tongue is singing
Tell me Perseus what does Medusa see
When she looks in the mirror

Khushi holds a Bachelors in English literature from the University of Delhi, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Classics from Trinity College, Dublin. She reads. A lot.

Ode to My Levothyroxine

Livia Meneghin

first an alarm
white cap pop
one purple pill
water follows
struggle to lift
bottom of chin
still numb neck
still deciding
what to do
with new space
empty stomach
narrow terrain
eight dark spots
needed out
better medication
every 24 hours
than multiplication
under my skin
all to allow morning
after morning

Pythias gathers
herbs on Lesbos
encyclopedic work
Aristotle takes
her to Mytilene
says the sum is bigger
than the parts
and being alive
is certainly worth
the subtraction
look at olive trees
defying odds
with rings and gnarls
each mark spells life
all for a forest

Persephone to Minthe

Livia Meneghin

reddened by summer
after months of reign
in Hades
seasonal glances
between blades of tall
i became spellbound
blushing each night for
the girl
crying for a wet bed
crying to be perennially

turned plant turned
strawberry salad on lips
margins still dewy and
green after all this time
scent searing
maiden returning to mind
each new june—my love!
my fists
eagerly lift mint roots
out from rain-dark soil

Livia Meneghin (she/her) is the author of Honey in My Hair and Breakwater Review's 2022 Peseroff Prize winner. She is a cancer survivor.

Attic Red-Figure Kylix
(Youth Kissing Man)

Maxwell Suzuki

A kylix lip dripping of cork—tainted pinot noir. Drunk, yes, too drunk—
but isn’t that the point? The truth I can’t imagine as I beg him for a kiss and he
can only stare uncomfortably at his lap. Somewhere, a doe is being hunted;
a raven—feathered child is attempting to fly; a gay man is writing love poems to a boy
he once knew in high school. The decade after: scraps of shattered porcelain,
of White Claws and Moscow Mules. Fettered crocus in the ridge of an Adam’s apple.
These grapes split by calloused heels, a shallow beak, a boy’s voice thinned with water.
Wine—if left out long enough—turns to vinegar, an ex says to me after we fuck. And yet,
both are still bitter. At a bar, I order glass after glass of their cheapest wine, gulping it
down, nonchalant as it stains my dress shirt. Collecting hair, cigarette butts, bottle caps
from the bartender for the nest I am building outside my dorm room window. Someday,
he will fly home
, I say, glint of blue jay, varied thrush, sprouting chickadee. When the wine
is finally drained from the kylix, it reveals a drawing of a boy pulling down a man
to kiss him. By then, the drinker is already drunk, and he will see what he wants to see:
queerness pinned to a body when, originally, there was none. As a pregame, I attend
a local synagogue where they are celebrating Shabbat. The Rabbi, sitting next to me, smiles
as his wine overflows onto the tablecloth below. Watching him, I wonder if he too is
afraid of what the cup will show when the wine is drained away. And yet, he takes a sip.

Maxwell Suzuki is a queer writer who was born in Juneau, Alaska, and lives in Los Angeles.

(best on desktop or on landscape mode)

Cronos Sparkled on the Body

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ sparkled
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀on the body
⠀⠀⠀⠀ your voice
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ancient dusk
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ coral & salt⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀sky marbled
⠀⠀ ribbons⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
of a statue⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ yearning
to lay down
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀on the bed
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀of summer
of flowers⠀⠀wept⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ calling
⠀⠀ to the ocean⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀let the waves
take us⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ for the dawn

Louise Mather is a poet from Northern England and editor of Acropolis Journal. She writes about ancestry, rituals, endometriosis, fatigue and mental health. Twitter @lm2020uk

Over the Heads of Men

Megan Jones

⠀⠀⠀⠀I saw her only once. Poised atop the shore as I was bound to worship. Her hair was the colour of figs, split open, draped like chlamys around her shoulders. Dawn light candlewaxed between the crags. She wore a peplos of fringed plumes, wine-dark, strobes like drips of honey pinched between her waist. Her voice strummed inside my bones. I felt them sedimenting before I even touched the water. Attikos told me about her as I served speckled quails’ eggs beside peppered bread. He tore a crust. A taverna tale, passed from raucous voice to raucous voice—birds who flew with the heads of women. Sailing through salted winds, the crew huddled beneath waxen ears. Two encircled them, winged limbs outstretched as though bestowing libations from their gaping beaks. Melodies pulsed between their throats but were not heard. The captain, chained and tempted upon the mast, wailed and pleaded. His body thrashed. His mouth was a torn-string lyre. I laughed as my husband offered me an olive, sucked his fingers dry. One claimed a single feather plumed upon the deck, wider than a forearm, woven strands of walnut and wine crisscrossed by nature’s loom. A warning, they said. Or an offering. Too much to drink at the kepeleia, I thought. But he insisted it was true. And as I wound rope around my wrist, coarse hairs biting flesh, it felt like a plea. Cast onto the arcing waters, my oars prowled the sparse expanse through thick tides, unwavering through endless nights. Until a rocky outcrop melted into horizon, and seaweed-coated rocks churned white waves. My fingers twitched still at the sight of the shoreline. She was marbled on the bank, talons sunk into powdered-bone sands. Her chorus was intoxicating. Oh, to be buried beneath her burnished feet. To press against her amphora-red cheeks, to reveal herself as more than godly illusion. I was sculpted clay between her vocal folds. No one had ever asked me what I wanted. Men alone were compelled, they said. Perhaps they were right. Because her voice did not bridle me. I dove straight in.

Megan Jones (she/her) is a linguistics graduate and current MA student from Yorkshire. Her work has appeared in Reflex Fiction, Writers' Forum, and elsewhere.


⠀⠀⠀⠀After fragments from Aeschylus’ lost play Myrmidons (ΜΥΡΜΙΔΟΝΕΣ) found in the Oxyrhynchus garbage mounds: Accuser…you speak freely…more fortunate…no one has thoughts…this is in no way appropriate…reconciliation…propitiation
⠀⠀⠀⠀A bridge between two shores. To cross means leaving or battle. The tyrant unwilling. Hero waiting for nothing possible. His lover a plea in the dark, the only plea, scholars will later say, allowed to be this angry. A plea lifted centuries later from an ancient Egyptian garbage dump. Time’s white wings enfold us. The beloved asks the heart of Achilles to mend and choose. We are most loved when bloodied in the agony of our hearts debating two ways, love a rage that holds another’s hands cupped and draws the fingers together. Anger brings our split selves to one only in the shaking palms of one loved and loving enough to scream.
⠀⠀⠀⠀There are others in the tent, the scholars of the garbage dump will say. The captain, Odysseus, in the corner, disapproving. He will throw a baby off the walls of Troy or allow it to be kicked to death in a game (the scholars argue versions amongst themselves) and lose himself and countless others on the sea for years. The sage, Phoenix, in the foreground, imploring but willing to listen, waiting to be impressed by a version of justice that tears its own heart in two.
⠀⠀⠀⠀A list of what happens to the hero’s heart in Iliadis I: debates two ways, consumes itself, halves, while the heart of the tyrant raves and ruins. Reconciliation: one word from the angry mouth of Patroclus (the scholars assume: who else would have dared, or cared, to assuage?) found by its lonesome in a trash pile of papyrus in Oxyrhynchus, part of a larger cry or persuasion no doubt, with nothing encircling it but bills and taxes and old government lists and detritus of other pleas. A fallen word from the mouth of the beloved meaning anything if we fail to know the plea of love against the
agony of one who refuses to choose. A word healing the heart of a hero who claims the healer of all things is death.
⠀⠀⠀⠀Patroclus dead on the shore, pale legs of the beloved under a dark sky. Sea sloshing, stars stilled in their tracks by sacrifice. Words torn and ruptured, breathing blood into the unseen glut of war. Tyrant. Hero. Beloved. Waiting. Sea rising, blue as the blood of an ant before we became chorus. Words from the beloved to the heart of the hero, spoken, found in the trash. What else do we call meaningless? Beloved’s legs lifeless and holy in the air that folds again around us in time’s cocooning and flay. Even now, wrapped in our fates, we wait for what, discarded, mends.

Natalie Vestin (she/her) is a writer, artist, and infectious diseases researcher from Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. (Twitter/Instagram: @natalievestin)

Translations (For Shannon)

Niamh McNally

It’s not being able to breathe
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ when saffron walls⠀⠀⠀⠀ close in
on a solidified body with warm sweats.
The sickness muffles around
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ the⠀⠀severe lack of sound.
I think of Neptune statues sweating in heat and
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ the audience watching rock—veins,
split in three—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ muscles holding up buildings.
Travertine stone shines in midday sun
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ like a naked bar of soap or a wax candle
shaped and molded— folding into
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ dizziness by the second,
behind coin tosses and laughter—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ‘join in’ they say, ‘you’re okay’.
—I don’t feel okay
Hide me, Piazza Fontana di Trevi, in streetly shade.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Fainting-type heat when sun leaves,
cools a whispering breeze along
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ shaded, tiled streets.
Talk to me, Shannon—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ communicate in—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ our channeled frequency of skin.
Our Aqua Virgo Aqueduct. Our Greecian
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀helicon without the eloquence of Linus.
Sign your name on this life line
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀and prick⠀⠀ my⠀⠀ flesh, witch hunter.
Expose me—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ caress me—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —my line of fate needs squeezed
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ to release me⠀⠀⠀⠀ from the lunacy⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀I cannot help but feel.
Slowly press my Earth finger—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀—massage the fire rings around
⠀⠀ the heart line and⠀⠀ brush
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ my four-element-tipped-signs.
Regulate my heart vibrations
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ with braille-fingernail-translations.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Breathe for me.

Niamh McNally is a Belfast-based poet. She completed her MA in UUC
where she co-created and edited, The Paperclip. Niamh
facilitates workshops in The Seamus Heaney Homeplace. Her poetry can be found in publications such as: The Tulsa Review, Tír na nÓg, Capsule Stories, The Galway Review, Snowflake Magazine, and in her poetry films ‘It Seems’ & ‘Defining Hope’. Twitter: @NiamhyMcNally


Niamh Kelly

my collar bone glitters under the fluorescent light
look at me—
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀[ [ aphrodite in reverse ] ]
i hear the radio crackling in the distance
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀as i lower my body into the pool / they whisper about
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ bodies and terror
for how do i comfort⠀⠀⠀⠀my fingers as they grasp at nothingness?
the chill of the water washes up my spine
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀kissing up my core, counting the curves of my vertebrae
// meanwhile the light hits the water //
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀\\ it pours outwards, creating facets of vision \\
// i wish i could spill out like that, i do //
the water touches my cheek and
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀{ { explodes } }
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀into overlapping embraces.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀it holds me and simultaneously—
I live // I die
the current devours me and
( i feel it coming now )
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀( the effervescence, mouth open in wonder )
I beg it to
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀|| spill grace ||

Niamh Kelly (she/they) is a Korean-American writer who wants to open up about body issue struggles through her poems. They enjoy karaoke, pottery, and swimming.


Noll Griffin

A QR code going to a newsletter

Noll Griffin is a digital artist and printmaker of the linoleum print variety currently living in Berlin, Germany. Instagram: @nollprints Twitter: @nollthere


Paulin Lim

⠀⠀⠀⠀Sometimes, when I crossed that serpentine strip of darkness between the bus station and my apartment, my favorite thing to do was to watch for the jetstreams. That was what you called the lines of fleece-white outside our dorm window, drawn by pearl-slicked planes. No, dumbass, those are contrails, I’d told you every time, but gradually jetstreams were all I could think of when we colored the wilderness in a whirl of our dresses; when you first strummed my guitar, coaxing secret songs from between my ribcage; the crescendo in your voice whenever you chirped my name — always twice, because you had to be heard, to be known, beneath a sky overcrowded with prayers and ghosts.⠀⠀⠀⠀Sometimes, beneath the floating lamps, a slender figure would emerge from the shadows, the hem of a skirt tracing dust, and I thought if I played our favorite song, I’d see the same you of that rosy-fingered dawn, quietly draped in marble, before you slipped past the departure gates — for ever. Until the ashes of the plane trailed away on the TV, I’d never truly understood why, in his rising from the underworld, Orpheus looked back.

Paulin writes from Malaysia during local witching hours. She is a business analyst by day and tweets under the handle @onionpaul_

At Salamis

Thomas Farr

Arrows agitate through the hazed chaos
of battle, furrowing an apricot
sky cut off sharply by the sails of ships
the golden, fire-blind horizon consumes
and regurgitates. Artemisia removes
her dented helm and shakes loose
her fall of auburn hair. She says only
that she has five triremes: but five
are all I need. The sun, red-sloughing
and hammocked in a ferric gardenia
of cloud, closes its eye as if to disavow
this bronze-sharp sword of rhetoric—
a syntax sped from the string of war,
freed from the doubt of the subjunctive.

Thomas Farr is a British writer of fiction and poetry. When he isn't writing he enjoys running, reading and cycling. He tweets @tfarrpoetry.