issue 32 poetry


Or How to Monster

by Diamond Forde

Light in the Dark by Charles Adesanmi Adedeji

Or How to Monster


4 sweet potatoes swollen with sun
¾ cup of brown sugar (molasses clung)
1 c of white sugar
nutmeg (just a pinch)

2 cinnamon sticks
½ lb butter, split into pats
orange juice (just a splash)
1 lemon, zested & mashed
a stove near-explosive with gas


Swamp the potatoes in warm water, cut them top to tail then roast till honeyed spit dribbles down the face of it. Note: There are over 400 varieties of sweet potatoes parented from poor soil—some cream, some custard, some bruised through an open-sore night.

Knife the earth-drenched roots. Skin. Scoop. Splatter the soft meat into the pot. Discard the charred skins (but note: they’re good fiber).

Skitter the sugars. Ash the spice. Delight in suet’s sonnet—the butter skimmed into thick skin (note: stir

until the spoon smacks like a backhand—your father’s cracked knuckles crashing) Crush the citrus into spectral pleats—bilious lemon, orange seeds scattering like teeth—grate each.

Pitch the gas high enough to hear’s heat holler

& while he roils, scrape off the sugar crusted on the spoon, note how sugar sticks like resentment—taste it; decide you hate it—sour in the fresh cuts in your gums—let it stew. Let it smolder. Let the copper pot burn.

Diamond Forde’s debut collection, Mother Body, is the winner of the 2019 Saturnalia Poetry  Prize. Forde has received numerous awards and prizes, including a Pink Poetry Prize, a Furious  Flower Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. A Callaloo, Tin House, and Ruth Lilly Dorothy Sargent  Rosenberg fellow, Forde’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Obsidian, Massachusetts  Review, and more. She serves as the interviews editor of Honey Literary, the fiction editor of  Nat. Brut, and she lives in Asheville with her partner and their dog, Oatmeal.

Charles Adesanmi Adedeji is a self-taught ballpoint pen artist with a focus on exploring mental health, Africanism, and being African in this new age.