Dandelion clenched in her fist, that woman says This is God before she presses her lips against Him like a young mother tickling infant belly & blew. That woman watched seeds like drunks stumble through humidity’s hallways, says You create a universe by destroying yourself, so

unless you get off on it, why fear a thing.

Right she was ‘cause little scares me after—

life a serial of setbacks & recovering

where the only thing that changes is the temperature.

That woman says Fuck no [ ain't afraid of dying, said Hell if 1 end up losing you. Asks

Who built the levees

so I drunkenly misquote some half-read chapter of a history

skimmed at the bus stop, something about

sleeve-rolled soldiers & shackled convicts until she cuts me mid-butchering & clarifies: Who built levees in you? b That woman says I can’t decide whether you're more afraid of dying alone or living with the wrong person.

That woman sure did like to one moment fuck you

& fuck you up the next, would’ve made an excellent

auditor for Allstate, staffer at Black Mirror except

she couldn't afford insurance & all three mirrors

in her studio were cracked cast-outs dragged from the curb. LS . One glance from that woman vivisects a whole Superdome of dopes like me. SS Sas Her ass looked dope in any cut of jean.

That woman couldn't cook for shit,

made sardine omelets & saltine stew, knew love was

what that poet said it was—a rifle kicking near the heart.

Didn’t mean she'd leave the safety on. Didn’t mean she‘d fire only blanks. That woman asks Why are you so afraid of being loved? I told that woman believe in the ghosts that comfort you & burn the rest away.

That woman looked me up & down & said Blah blah blah.

She takes off her heart necklace & slings it over my head, says

You break it you buy it. That woman says & call you Mister when you'd dare to walk away.

Dying will never be as scary as realizing you wasted She'd let you hold her & she’d hold you back until love

too much of the life you most definitely will waste so much more of. was a game of chicken waiting for the other person

That woman wants you caring all the time, to let go first. That woman let go

wants you deranged by how much you might mean to her like she was tossing Molotovs at the mansion of the banker

so you either tell yourself you’ve let her down who foreclosed on her grandmama’s farm.

or tell yourself she’d be impossible to please. That woman said The sun was coming up

That woman says Losing someone can always be worse & all the vampires who had ever tried to bite the ass

but never worse than finding to be true we told them to kiss would poof—then poof,

that someone was more idealized figment filling your immediate needs that woman was somewhere far away.

than someone you really cared about That woman pulls the just-lit Marlboro

until you’re worrying that the ones you loved & lost from your lips & replaces it with her tongue,

weren't loved enough to count replacing your tongue with what now becomes her half-ash cigarette. because you never fully shook some childhood shit still clanging in your head. She doesn’t fight for a share of covers, tells you Fuck you, freeze or learn to knit. That woman holstered a knife on her hip but That woman was the one & only & no shower shucks her scent off. couldn't kill the spider by her kitchen stove. She'd be the death of you if she moved to your town.

That woman was 140 pounds of go fuck yourself inside She would love you & love you & you'd

a wet corrugated cardboard box, said Luck was never need her reassurance that it wasn’t

finding out what you were good at & knowing enough sleight-of-hand to trick some joke that everyone but you was in on.

yourself into believing it would never change. Fortified by it, able to withstand all storms,

She said be strong enough to prop people up but not so strong you hope she doesn’t notice you will never be enough.

you swear off having people to be strong for. She notices—every time.

That woman—shit—she’d call you Maggot if you got off having your ego fed; That woman says You won’t always like what I say.

call you Daddy if you had a hard-on for older women, She says Don’t you trust me?

call you Big Shot when you'd try to style out Says Listen anyway.

Introducing our poetry on vinyl series




turn into the water

SIX NEW POEMS, READ BY THE AUTHOR Available now from Fine Print Press










Custom letterpress, foil stamping & photopolymer plates.










you carry around the weight

of photo albums

across states

into garages, storage units apartments of beer

as they collect dust

instead of being admired because the people who

are supposed to admire

the photo of you

at age 3 and 11 and even 20

are no more

because the people who

are supposed to show these photos to the news if you go missing are dead

the photos disintegrate from a rose into toilet water

and you are too young

and too uninterested

to breed

so they can inherit the heaviness so you lug this around until you too are dead.

XI A 9


. >,



I tell you our garden is salted & we live in excess

of any real god.


how do you like them? apples irrationally waxed

or the shiny tonsures of one-hundred ruddy monks. I weigh seven pounds

stacked in rows like cardinal armies & buy them because look at that

red, delicious, displacing the lesser fucking deal ! it could save me from the doctor for God’s sake ! a Godsend this sinful fruit !

known fruits. there could be such things as razor blades inside: apple shrapnel replacing nature’s sugar I take the sold things home or worms turning the stomach after place them on the mantel

on the altar, on the bookshelf see the stems as wicks

buying & biting the fruit. all hail

the ceraceous glaze ! the sweet veneer laid on thick like the rumps of the one-percent screaming for fire like witches -sugar donuts on aisle seven at the stake—& light them

the whole house

burning to the ground with “grace”


:: maybe, it was my great-grandfather, or yours :: staggering down, dirt road, maybe—pulling a tethered horse or, the horse pulled him, guiding him home along the riverbank at dawn maybe, our grandfather was piss-drunk on pulque, perplexed-dumb from another night of womanizing, terrorizing his little pueblito, maybe :: just maybe, he was a dancer, pulsed by the big band's swing rhythms at the bar :: halfway home, moon-horned, river refreshing as every new woman, his old lady & chamacos waiting for him, alone, at home :: maybe mi tío, or yours :: stumbling riverside-sublime with his horse, his wife’s name a faint murmur, memorized, like a bad habit—Maria Carmen at the edge of his tongue, or :: the horse bone-dry, tongue white chalk, attracted to the dirty mirror of the river, attracted to the veiled woman, arched, scrubbing sins off linen, laundry of her dead, knuckles raw, pumice stone :: our great-grandfather, or father, or uncle, nonchalant, turns on his macho charm :: reaches to touch her shoulder, her skin white-hot, hair long-gold, river nameless, wet with no reflection :: her sugar skull face, cracked concave, exact shape of a blood-hot scream :: my great-grandmother, or abuela, or tía, hunched over her molcajete, said he ran home, horseless, hysterical, sick for days, let him in, fed him a piece of pan blanco para que se le quite el susto, nursed him back to perfect health ::

Stephanie Brown is a longtime Chicago-based artist who now lives in a repurposed church built in 1869 in upstate New York. Working as a painter, illustrator and tattoo artist, she draws inspiration from the natural world, often giving special attention to its smallest inhabitants. She has been published in Compound Butter, Faesthetic and Slice and shown in galleries throughout the United States, including Mondo Gallery in Austin, Hashimo- to Contemporary in San Francisco and Spoke in New York City. She has partnered with the Field Museum in Chicago as a student of artist-in-residence Peggy Macnamara, where Brown’s work centered on ornithology. She provided us with the center spread of this issue of Fine Print and talked with us about her work, inspiration and surviving as an artist during

the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your tattooing borrows techniques from your other practices, often involving freehand elements designed to complement the form of your subject’s body. Can you talk a little about what entering the field of tattooing was like?

I was a painter and illustrator long before becoming a tattooer. I started in a traditional apprenticeship, taking walk-in tattoos, which rarely resembled the work I make now—it was very much the bottom of the rung, taking whatever I could get to practice my skills. Regardless of how well you can draw, there are technical fundamentals to tattooing that can only be learned through real experience and time. But over the years, I had earned a loyal clientele and had slowly been working in more of my own imagery with clients who were open to new ideas. Now, to years into tattooing, I can say that my tattooing has met up with the ways that my paintings looked, and I almost exclusively tattoo my own original designs (occasionally pulling from fine art or replicating natural history illustrations). During my apprenticeship, I was lucky to work with an artist who almost exclusively did full sleeves and back pieces—which is increasingly rare these days—and even though I was a long way from doing them myself, I absorbed as much as I could from watching her construct the stencils and apply them to bodies. I think there’s a misconception that a drawing applied as a tattoo is a 1:1 process, and it really couldn't be further from the truth. Bodies curve, skin stretches, and the larger the tattoo is, the more the slightest shift in position can change the look of the piece entirely. As far as I know, stencil paper only comes in 8.5” x 11”, and bodies certainly don’t—eventually, sketching directly onto someone’s body made the most sense to me. That way, I could design for everybody’s unique physicality and change it on the fly rather than being attached to a drawing that was completed at home, on a flat surface, and transferring it sheet by sheet. It’s certainly time consuming, but doing freehand stenciling really took my work to another level. Rather than finishing one or more tattoos a day, I did tattoos that would take a year or more to finish.

Youve been an advocate for change in the tattoo industry—fighting for equal treatment of women, the LGBTQ+ community and people of color. What do you feel are the best ways to create a safe and inclusive space for both artists and clients?

Tattooing as a whole has been insulated in the worst way possible from the progress and change demanded from so many other industries. It is still very much a boys’ club, propped up on its own mythology and protected by its own gatekeeping. My experience as a white woman coming into tattooing was unpleasant, but my foot was still in the door—and many queer people and POC have been flatly excluded from that opportunity, alienated by the intrinsic racism, misogyny and homophobia. I am so glad that the doors have been blown open on the topic in public; clients have more information and agency than ever in choosing the artist they feel suits them best. Many of my own clients have told me they would never get tattooed by a man again, but the truth is anyone can cause harm, violate boundaries and take advantage. There is an inherent power dynamic in being a tattooer, and that needs to be carefully navigated—what is declared safe for one person may not be safe for another. Many POC have been told they can’t get tattooed with color, have been talked out of what they wanted, or even have been rejected as clients based solely on the color of their skin. It is the tattooer’s responsibility to educate themselves and consciously prioritize tattooing dark- er skin by detaching from the narrative that paler canvases make better tattoos. The most important thing is creating an environment where clear communication for both parties is possible and encouraged. Declaring you or your studio a “safe space” is hollow if you’re not listening or willing to change. We’ve all had a lot of realizations this year—in tattooing and beyond—and I’m excited to see this conversation have a permanent place from now on.

You built your own tattoo studio, which opened in March 2020. Then the pandemic hit, causing you to give up that practice for the foreseeable future. What were the biggest challenges of the pandemic for you as a working artist? Has this experience also helped you grow?

I was only able to do a handful of tattoos in the space before the pandemic hit. I spent so much time, energy and money trying to make it work as a place that was safe not only for my clients but also for other tattooers who worked there—all while trying to rationalize tattooing during a deadly pandemic that put me (as an immunocompromised person) at the most

eatured Artist

risk. Dye never received more messages and requests for tattoos than I did during quarantine, and it just left a really bad taste in my mouth. Especially as the year progressed and many people experienced their own priorities shifting with the world shifting, there was eventually no part of owning that business that I enjoyed or that made me a better artist. I never got the chance to experience the bored, listless part of quarantine—I was still breaking my neck trying to keep the momentum and morale going. In a different timeline, maybe it could have been great, but I can give myself the permission to fail this year—there was absolutely no way it could have been successful. All the terrible luck and circumstances allowed me to reexamine my priorities and finally leave Chicago for upstate New York to try to fulfill them (I’m understating how difficult, painful and exhausting this whole process was, but it was worth it.) I haven’t tattooed regularly in over a year, and I am not anxious to get back to it until this pandemic ebbs. I am grateful to learn that I can support myself through my paint- ing and artwork ouside of tattooing—even though I miss it very much.

You have a series called Torchbearers, in which different species of birds are depicted carrying lit matches in their beaks. What inspired this image?

The idea came from an old Victorian Christmas card, which has a procession of house sparrows holding lit matches. I began it as a project to tattoo 100 birds, both as a way to do smaller tattoos in between my giant projects and because the image of the little bird with the match seemed to have more to say. Over the past year, the reasons to hold a torch have multiplied. I had originally imagined them as protectors of the environment, but now they feel relevant to a number of social issues and injustices, with personal torches to be held for people who have passed. Especially now, when it is easy to feel hopeless, their significance seems even more timely. Unfortunately, I only made it to about 50 tattoos before the pan- demic hit, but I’ve imagined them as tattoo flash that any artist could do—there’s no reason they have to be done by me or that their numbers should be limited.

Your art often draws inspiration from the natural world. What other influences do you consider formative to your work?

There are infinite sources of inspiration in the natural world—not just the species with in it, but the patterns, textures, and intersections between ecosystems and their inhabitants. I am fascinated by the way humans believe they have mastered nature and are above its influ- ence. So much art history betrays the way humans recklessly consume and fetishize nature with completely idealistic imagery—much like Victorian clothing and decorative decisions inspired tattoos, both in the way they lay on the body and in the way they commodified nature.

Can you talk about your experience working with the Field Museum in Chicago?

Peggy Macnamara has incubated so many artists through the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her Scientific Illustration class was a haven from the heavy conceptual emphasis the rest of the school adhered to. I took her class several times in school and remained in touch years later. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to use the research collections at the Field Museum. They have 300,000 preserved bird specimens—it’s still a very actively studied collection—and I had the privilege of spending time with the individual specimens, painting portraits of their physical character in death to learn the secrets of their lives, some- times 150 years after the fact. Each individual body is a snapshot of its environment and the time it lived in, and often those places and populations simply do not exist anymore. It’s something that hasn’t been possible since the pandemic for so many reasons, and I really miss the time I spent wandering and meditating on those collections.

If you could ask one question to any artist, living or dead, who would it be and what would you ask them?

If any magical thinking is permitted, I'd rather time travel back to 1495 and see what the heck Hieronymous Bosch was up to while painting Te Garden of Earthly Delights. Y don't need to ask questions. I can just watch.

Is there anything you are currently working on that you'd like to share with our readers?

Pm picking away at some larger painting projects that I’ve never had the time or focus to sustain—and building a new body of work rather than relying on the artwork I made years ago. While still managing to make a living, I am also slowly weaning myself and my work away from Instagram to find new forms of audience engagement that feel more genuine and less like an exploitative shopping mall. If anyone is interested in following along, the best way is to sign up for my mailing list on my website—P'Il be certain to share updates there.

See more work by Stephanie Brown at

> a Joer ar EA,



Is that what summer’s for now, Someone must have taught you that.

Do you ever miss standing in the ocean, smoking? Our nights of bourbon and Scrabble?

Look, swallows are nesting in the alley

where we once talked about the future.

In the woods where we used to fuck,

there are stones shaped like children.

cutting your own hair?

Can I take back what I just said?

Pd watch your cut hair blow

across the grass all afternoon.

Will summer do that for you?

When you cry now, the tears run sideways.

KEEP WRITING & never give up

aa =4 MA A A AN Nt Lee oe INES / i

WIA { 1! At |




a SS Scan to listen on Spotify:

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Available on vin cassette via Keeled


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I had a friend, who killed himself in Los Angeles On Father’s Day—The Hanged Man, Snow coating his sleeve.

My neighbor found a rat beneath his sink Stuck to a glue trap,

The side of its face flush with it, black Snout melting. On St. Claude,

Five AM, a man with blood on lips

And neck asked me if I had seen a girl

In a torn green sweater, walking in either Direction—she had been gone too long, If I saw her, would I tell her,

He was waiting. At the levee,

A boy holding a hockey stick asked

Me if I knew when

The drug addicts came out

Of the abandoned Defense Department Buildings. His mom had told him

His ex or cousin, sister

Or future bride, had gone in

And had not come out. If I told you The friend who tied a knot

Around his neck

Had broken into his ex-girlfriend’s home, Begging forgiveness by throwing her down A flight of stairs—what then?

Truth is a choice. Or a hand.

Or a street.

There was another rat

In my own home,

Dragging its glue trap in circles.

I looked at it,

Pathetic muscle convulsing,

One leg in the air,

Opened the back door—

Fetched garden gloves

Or a hefty bag and a shovel.

What happened, what always

Happens, is entirely

Up to you.

i , ISA

\ OS S


A Pa : poe N CARAS A a - mdd e PU

: a” =




I have my ass to thank for life, that which I didn’t know I had, and hid for years under flowing tunics.

Focusing, like my mother, on the tautness of my stomach when all along it was my ass that mattered.

Diabolical ass that sat through dialectical philosophy seminars.

Sad ballerina ass. Suicidal at yoga.

Of the plié, of the pirouette.

Ass of relative cultural aesthetic value.

That follows me, and others follow.

What I sit on to meditate, what peeks from beneath

a linen skirt and wanders the desert seeking enlightenment. Unfathomable ass. Unknowable ass.

Ass like a kóan

my lips lisp to pronounce.

Multidimensional; needing no introduction.

An ass that has been described as “two sacks of firm gel.” Loud ass. A rat’s, that I do not give.

Conscious, mindful, Freudian ass!

That suffered in my place their anger at their mothers.



evicted rain


a streaked- sky skirt,

flashes April her most grouty fur:

palliative care for the uninsured,

one boot in the muck,



Skye Jackson is a poet native to New Orleans whose work has appeared in Thought Catalog, Xavier Review and Green Mountains Review. Her first chapbook, 4 Faster Grave (Antenna, 2019), is a remarkable collaboration with a visual artist (Santos Calavera) that features illustrations based on poems and enlarged selected lines, creating a richly colorful “echo” effect not often seen in chapbooks of this length (59 pp.). Her poem “Which One” was awarded a 2021 AWP Intro Journals Award and will appear in Reed Magazine. Skye provided a new poem for this issue of Fine Printand talked with us about her chapbook, her perennial writing obsessions, and how to maintain a sense of literary community remotely.

In A Faster Grave, the poem “to illustrate a chapbook” describes an old flame being persuaded to illustrate his ex’s chapbook, which he “will never read” because it would “ask him / to remember.” What inspired you to have this chapbook be illustrated? How do you see the goal to “remember” or “remind” motivating your work?

It was actually a requirement of the Antenna chapbook contest that I entered in order to publish 4 Faster Grave. They were seeking work that explored the intersection between written and visual art. It also had to be a collaboration with a New Orleans artist. I already had the words written, but I didn’t have any visual art to accompany it. I had just moved back to New Orleans after a few years away, so I didn’t have anyone I could really call to make the illustrations I needed so last-minute. My ex-boyfriend, Santos (whose real name is Angel Perdomo) happened to be painting a tree in the foyer of my parents’ home at the time. He was the only person I knew who might be able to pull everything together for me in time to enter the contest. Luckily, he was willing to help me out. He supplied the images I needed in the nick of time. If he hadn’t, we probably would not be having this conversation today! I love your question about remembrance. It brings to mind this extraordinary quote by James Baldwin that I read not too long ago. He wrote, “What one does not remember contains the only hope, danger, trap, inexorability, of love—only love can help you recognize what you do not remember.” As a writer, I believe we are tasked with helping others to remember. There’s this desire to confront the truth. For instance, you might get frustrated with an ex not because you’ve broken up but rather because you just want them to remember what you had. You get so distant from another person that you wonder how you began in such a place of love and ended up barely recognizing who the other person has become. I’m really interested in evaluating the way that love changes us—and what happens when we look back at that. That interest is something that really fuels my work. I love to hold a mirror up to other people and just say, “Look.” Poetry gives me a wonderful vehicle to do that.

In another piece in the chapbook, “coffee with b,” you ask Beyoncé why so much is “expected of the artist,” telling her she “shouldn't have to talk about black people” if she doesn't want to. In our current crisis-ridden world, which often pressures people to defend their very existence against those who oppose it, what are the writing obsessions or rituals that keep you grounded?

Pve spent the past few months trying to develop some writing rituals. Before the pandemic, I could get inspired on a street corner, on the train on my way to a poetry reading, or by overhearing a conversation that other people were having. Now, there are fewer opportunities for that spontaneous creativity that I used to rest on. It has definitely made my process more challenging. Lately, I just try to put myself in positions to absorb art and new perspectives. For me, this happens by watching films—usually documentaries about writers or creative people. It helps me to see what other people’s processes are and then contemplate ways that I can cultivate my own. For instance, I was watching a film about Joan Didion that explored her writing rituals. Apparently she’d wake up every day around 10:30 a.m., walk to the kitchen, drink a Coke and then write for the next few hours until her daughter returned home from school. After I finished watching that, I wished I had more discipline to approach my writing life that way. It’s challenging because I sometimes feel like ’'m waiting around to be inspired. The pandemic has really forced me to sit and take a long, hard look at the way I approach the writing process. Discipline is something you really need to succeed at the business of writing.

One recurring theme in your chapbook is a play on “Proverbs” called “skyeverbs.” How has the literary form of the proverb—not only Biblical, but colloquial truisms of all shapes and sizes—come to influence your work? What attracts you to this form?

Pm so interested in that line between the holy and profane. It’s helpful for me to take the Bible, a text that is so revered, and figure out how to co-opt that language to suit my own desires. I think that mimicking that reverential language and ultimately subverting it leads to such delicious results. The other day, I attended a Zoom poetry reading celebrating Chioma Urama and Chekwube Danladi. Chekwube read a poem from her book Semiotics, beginning with the line, “I was hammered the first night of Ramadan.” Whew! She had me at the throat with that line. I love the exploration of those extremes within a poem—extreme piety versus extreme decadence. The “skyeverbs” are my attempt to use that biblical language for my own devices. I grant myself the authority to use this reverential language.

Featured Author

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, poetry readings have gone virtual and touring has become nearly impossible. As a writer, what have you learned or gravitated toward during this period of relative isolation? Do you have any strategies for sustaining a sense of literary community from home?

I think it’s important to stay connected with other writers. ve been feeling like there's such a hole in my life without in-person poetry readings. ve found them so rich and inspiring to my own creative process. Lately, I’ve been trying to tell myself that I can strive for that same level of engagement through virtual readings. It definitely takes more effort, but it can be worthwhile. I think the same rule applies in pre- and post-pandemic life in that regard: show up. We’ve got to show up as best as we can and be supportive of each other.

Circling back to my first question, if writing is linked to an act of remembering or reminding, what kinds of memories are you drawn to most? Are there any reminders you'd like to leave with our readers?

I find myself returning to memories of extreme emotion, times when I’ve felt extreme heartbreak, pain, or intense, all-consuming love and desire. I think poetry helps us to distill those extremes. It helps me understand the polarities of my emotional world. I just want to encourage everyone to be kind to themselves and others. We are all struggling right now, in one way or another. It’s important for us to acknowledge that every semblance of the world we once knew has fallen away—and it’s okay to take time to figure out what that means and what all of our individual places are within that.


my anxieties cozy up next to us

on the couch

when we watch

old episodes

of the x-files

& scary 90s tv

even though

we are in the middle of vermont i tell you

we should close

the screen and

lock the door

because i know

if the police could find breonna asleep in her bed

they could find me too

i search for my name on a list of 100 black women

and girls killed by police

when i come across a last name: jackson

i know it could be me i know it could be me

and towards the end of the night when we drink wine and laugh

i think of george floyd

when you ask me

if we should watch another episode of daria

& the refrain still plays:

you're standing on my neck you're standing on my neck la la la la la la la la la la

See more work by Skye Jackson at




dear home: our scene opens on a crowded dinner table. think Seder or Thanksgiving without the tacky gourds: so many delicious-looking dishes being passed around, but as you watch for reactions to the taste test, you feel your own face grimace at the metallic smack of blood. that's what family feels like right now: a warm welcome from an open wound.


dear wilderness: threadbare comforts and the crash of melting ice—you like when old things stick around, but the buffalo knows a buffalo who told you never to look back. that doesn’t stop you from doing it, but you’re tough enough to insist no grass could be much greener than right here, even at midnight in the dead of winter.

dear grail: you are more story than substance, but that’s never stopped explorers from rerouting their travels at the whisper of your existence. there is something downright irresistible in your opulence, the way you spoil every moment you are rumored to have wandered. but be careful what you sacrifice to uphold your own mythology—you might wind up on your own goose chase, gods forbid.


dear hospital: with your furrowed brows and tear-streaked cheeks, you are the crucial heartbeat of modern civilization, and yet you risk getting bogged down by your own labyrinthine scans, loose bedding, quick fixes rushed to market. take the elevator all the way up on occasion. remind yourself the sun is still there.

dear nightclub: your wanton whimsy is never in doubt, and in fact, you might want to take a deep breath before you become a parody of yourself: it’s all fun and games until somebody starts blasting the song you never wanted to remember, the one with the bridge that takes you out of the nocturnal city. this time, don’t let the music drag you anywhere; try going of your own volition instead.

dear convent: the point of your stark colorlessness is to make the chaos increasingly uncomfortable, and current science says it’s working. to cloister is to keep the elements out at all costs, even the cool dew, whole meteor showers of meaning. you are a saint to be able to resist such feralness, surely, but is it worth it? are you happy? are you free?

Christopher Payne Editor-In-Chief

Dylan Krieger Managing Editor

Jasmine Dreame Wagner Contributing Editor


dear cathedral: within you are hidden windows with their own logic, and often you leave them unlocked. when creatures climb in, you greet them with a service especially for them, trickling a mouthful of red wine into their gullets like baby birds. this religion is about you, don’t be fooled. you are the holiest wretch, and so much gold is on the altar—

lo and behold.

dear morgue: there is life in you yet, if only in the bodies of your meticulous lab attendants and the mice that sneak morsels from the offices down the hall. you are wearing a mask full of metal drawers, but we all still see you. peekaboo. and you’re beautiful, despite the brutality of falling apart every day atop tiles. i love someone inside you. we all do. what else is new.


dear airport: somehow the escape route is all buildup and no payoff. by the time you're sky high, you're asleep. but there's a pressure in the eardrum that can’t be shaken so easily. you are calculating trajectories in units of measurement unrecognized by history. a larger geometry is happening around you, and why wouldn't it? something has to be dancing out there, beyond all the blips on your screen.


dear courthouse: tie tightened to the teeth, you are such a sight. at the height of the hill, halfway between the national debt and outer space, you walk into every establishment like you're a step-change away from okay. if you could only listen to this overcrowded prison with compassion, you might be onto something. it might even start to change.

AAA AAA dear protest: by dawn, you're already a human shield of homemade signs decrying the present for looking too much like the past. but look: there are also brightly colored houses on your block, cultivating roses. you hadn’t noticed them before, had you? well, it’s never

too late (or too early) to tally up what's growing red on the trellis, when you wake up one day not yet dead.

dear levee: you encompass such a fabled vortex, it feels like everyone visits but no one enters the water. or maybe you remember the last valiant critter to come near, and you think you're the reason it never returned. i’ll give it to you straight. today, this is why you were built: to watch the waves overtake the world and feel its pain. don’t worry. tomorrow, the tide will turn again.

Clare Welsh Contributing Editor

Hilal Omar Al Jamal Contributing Editor

Fine Print is an independent literary and visual arts magazine. Our goal is to showcase the work of independent and up-and-coming artists and authors in communities around the world. In this way, we hope to catalyze a cross-pollination of artistic communities and forward-looking individuals.


SUBMIT TO FINE PRINT - We accept the following for consideration for publication in Fine Print: poetry, prose, flash, essays, short stories, comics, illustrations and photography. We are open to submissions/deas that are not listed above, pending review by our selection committee. We do not publish unsolicited critical reviews of any kind but will certainly consider publishing critical articles in the areas of literary and cultural studies. We ask that all submissions be previously unpublished works. All rights revert to the author/artist upon publication. To find out when our next submission period is, or to read more about our submission requirements, please visit our website.

A division of Fine Print Press