issue 31 poetry

Health Conditions

by Porsha Monique Allen

Predatory Stink Bugs on Perfume by Katie Whatley

Health Conditions

after Nicole Sealey’s “Medical History”

Negative said the pregnancy test for the third time
with the third man. None of whom I loved
or loved me. My great-grandmother died of
natural causes. My Aunt died of breast cancer,
my uncle of prostate. My maternal grandmother
went blind from diabetes then died from it.
I have diabetes. My brother has diabetes.
My sister refuses to get tested for it. My mother
has high blood pressure & smokes crack.
I don’t know if my father is sick; if he has heart
problems or trouble breathing. I only know what
I’ve always known; I hate him. I struggle with anxiety
& depression. I fear my children will struggle too.
I often think of the river & feeding its hunger.
Hungry river, how long does it take to die?

Porsha Monique Allen received her MFA in poetry from Queens University of Charlotte. Her work has appeared & is forthcoming in Scalawag Magazine, Rattle, Blood Orange Review, Protean Magazine, Obsidian, Salamander Magazine, & elsewhere. Porsha was selected as a semi-finalist for Naugatuck River Review’s 12th Annual Narrative Poetry Contest. 

Katie Whatley is a Queer artist born and raised in South Florida. She is pursuing a Painting and Drawing minor in addition to her Bachelor’s in Political Science at Louisiana State University. She currently resides in Baton Rouge, LA, where she enjoys LSU Tigers football. Her work has been featured in publications such as 805 Lit + Art and Sink Hollow.