by Natalie Brennan //

This piece was originally published in Issue 1: Secret Edition (Spring 2022). To see past print publications, click here.

Months I won’t get back
When I slept with your silence
And danced with your ego
I let your words hang like hooks in my chest

I was a net
And your insecurities buzzed like flies
Catching my breath in your mirror
Burned like shards of glass in my lungs
In your library of lies, I collected dust
volumes of being cherished, valued, loved

Your secret lies there too

I won’t tell them
the way your words, your sex
would drip like hot wax
Burning guilt onto my skin
Convincing me
To exist was to owe you pleasure

I won’t tell them
All the money I spent
To scrub away your stains
To bleach and dry my sheets
Your idolization dissolving off
But the residual grime, the sting of being bled dry
Lingering, like dust in the air

Rug burn tattooing my knees
Commiserating with the shower head
as it saw me
while you just watched, tangled under covers
your fingerprints soaked into the light switch

I was your sounding board
And you bounced the names of my friends
Off my bare chest
Dreaming of your future endeavors
While shattering what could have been mine
in some sort of twisted performance art
The audience remaining silent
As their mouths were full

Your secret tried to scream its own name

I won’t tell them
how easy it was for you
To transmit your disease from person to person
Like some sort of cold, calculating tick
Latching onto her care
As soon as you had sucked me dry

I won’t tell them
About your validation cravings
How you foraged greedily for new sources
while you already had it all
You took a knife to someone who loves like no other
And reopened her wounds
She inconsolably bleeds
Yet still shows you more kindness than you deserve
Showed you more kindness than you’ll ever see again

I won’t tell them
how you couldn’t protect either of us
From your lack of satisfaction
So you burned both of us
And left us to deal with the flames
Leaving a trail of damage
As you smolder, monstrously

I would wish you nothing but peace
If I believed it was something you’d find
Pity is not even something I could force myself to feel
Yet I am grateful that we are clean from you
But don’t worry.

I won’t tell them.


by Franchesca Alamo //

This piece was originally published in Issue 1: Secret Edition (Spring 2022). To see past print publications, click here.

The Sunday after it happened,
I walked seven blocks south
Where evening Mass was underway

And though I sat in the very back,
Something I never do,
I did not once remove my gaze
From the altar’s written icon

From Mary’s hands, soaked in Blood
Pouring from a diamond Wound
The Corpse, and the Cross
The Virgin shattered there

Who would not run away from that? I thought,
Who would not choose a bloodless love?

I returned to my apartment
Without my singing or my dreaming

And once there,
In the company of millions
I alone wept upon my feet.

I lose all willpower

by Kelly Anderson //

This piece was originally published in Issue 1: Secret Edition (Spring 2022). To see past print publications, click here.

Cake in the shower, in the driver’s seat
Buttercream on the seatbelt, playing on the radio
Cake on the bad days, cake on the Mondays
I can frost any cruel man in sprinkles
And light his advice on fire
Watch waxy smile liquefy
Happy birthday to me
As he explains how candles work


by anonymous //

my ex-girlfriend told me
she wanted us to get back together.

how do i tell her i
didn’t just survive the breakup,
i thrived?

i didn’t grieve 
because i wasn’t experiencing a loss,
i didn’t cry
because there was nothing to be sad about;
i found great friends and a brand new job
i started studying for tests (and acing them)
i ate alongside my classmates (and enjoyed it)
i finally felt free (of her)

her, on the other hand,
she cried
every day,
all over her finsta
about how much she
loved me and
missed me and
hated me and
loved me;

how could she not?

i was the one who broke her heart.

i was the bad guy,
i was the one who said
“we need a break”

even though this is a breakup poem
and breakup poems are supposed to be written by the victim.

we were best friends first,
(as they always are)
the ones who unfailingly
texted “good morning” and “good night”
asked each other if our days went well
and comforted each other when they did not

we were an epic love story,
all of our friends were jealous
and they admired
us. we were going to last

until one day
in the middle of the summer
i woke up
feeling nothing for her
and the next day
and the next day
and the next

until i couldn’t just ignore it anymore,
it couldn’t just be something
in the back of my mind
pushed deep down because
i wanted us to remain:
in love?

we tried to remain best friends,
because how could you live without your best friend when
breaking up with your girlfriend?
but there’s something so wrong about
shit-talking your ex to your best friend
when your best friend is your ex,
and the boundaries between
girlfriend and
bestfriend had
blurred so much they were
impossible to untangle.

we were best friends first
until ‘we’ became ‘me’ and ‘her’
and ‘us’ became a chore because
‘we’ overstayed its welcome
and it was impossible to remain ‘best’ or ‘friends’ anymore, so

today, when 
my ex-girlfriend said
she wanted to get back together with me

i had to accept my fate
as the villain in our epic.

Living In Fear

by Katherine Ureña //

I wonder what it would be like to not have a care in the world
I don’t mean not being afraid to walk out of your house in PJs for the day
Or never making your bed in the morning because you’re just going to lie in it later

I mean not having to look over your shoulder one more time, 
just in case
Not having your keys strategically placed in between your fingers, 
just in case
Not asking your dad to come over while the technician comes to install the wifi,
just in case 
Pretending to be on the phone with an imaginary boyfriend while riding in the back of an uber,
just in case
Getting up to check if the door is locked, 
just in case

I wonder what it would be like to not live in fear
Constantly questioning if the men around us have bad intentions 
Or if they’re finally “one of the good ones”

Because we can’t walk alone, without also walking in fear
We can’t ride alone, without also riding in fear
We can’t live alone, without also living in fear

Living as a women means that by the age of 19 
I know so many different ways to defend myself
In so many different situations
because I grew up in this world 
that forced me to wipe away my tears, 
that forced me to forget about my fears 
and fight like hell for my rights, for my body, and for my life 

I wish I could live without a care in the world, but sometimes you have to 
when it feels like that world doesn’t give a damn about you

If you’d like to read more REVIVAL poetry, click HERE.

A Sad Girl’s Love Song

by Leio Koga //

Slyvia Plath left a literary legacy behind her, although her story is quite the tragedy. Plath was a brilliant student but struggled with severe mental illnesses from a young age. By the time she was 30, Plath was well-known in the literary community. She was known for her confessional style of writing and poetry; her pieces were described to intensely portray her mental anguish, volatile emotional state, troubled marriage, poor self-image, and unresolved conflict with her parents. Plath wrote some of her most famous pieces, including, “Daddy,” “The Bell Jar,” and “The Colossus,” during the worst mental state of her life. She fell into a deep depression and committed suicide when she was only 31. 

I was exposed to the power of Plath’s words when I first read “Mad Girl’s Love Song” during my senior year of high school. This poem is about someone who is going through heartbreak and suffering from mental health issues. The poem, though very abstract, clearly depicts the dangers of living within one’s mind all the time, especially when one’s thoughts are clouded by heartbreak and pain. Plath draws on the idea of how romance is not romantic at all. The way Plath writes, love is empty, unfulfilling, and possibly, all in one’s head. While she wrote this poem when she was just 20 years old, I could clearly see her internal, emotional turbulence of heartbreak and unrequited love. I wanted to recreate this poem as a reflection of the anguish and pure sadness that her words made me feel. 

A Sad Girl’s Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead

Trapped in a vision of the infinite ocean

The vicious waves of your love I tread 

The breeze whispers like a lover, but I was only mislead 

I am the waves undeniably drawn back into your deep, perilous sea 

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead 

Your anger is a storm—fast but calamitous— I always dread

Each time I mend my broken pieces just for your disaster to strike me again 

And leave my soul in shreds

God topples from the sky, hell’s waves rise and crash, and I hang on by a thread

But the raft tips over and I thrash, sob, curse your name  

I wish I made you up inside my head 

I fell for the way your surface sparkled, but instead

Your love was the world of secrecy underneath it 

Chained to an anchor, darkness consumed me whole but still, for you, my heart bled 

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead

Trapped in a vision of the infinite ocean 

And at the bottom is where you are, on a throne created from my tears of pain  

I wish I made you up inside my head

Glass Ceilings Shattered

by Maria Siciliano //

First woman to… is all you hear as glass shards fall to the floor. 
Trailblazing, innovating, and mold-breaking
Are the womxn who shatter glass ceilings
And stand in places never stood in by womxn before. 
And the womxn who defend, uphold, and guard their worth,
Are the same ones in living rooms and at dinner tables
Listening to the not qualified…deserving…capable…
Always there to pick up the glass shards, found scattered on the floor. 
First Female, Black, and South Asian-American 
Madam Vice President, Kamala Harris
“We not only see what has been, we see what can be”
But just not her…people don’t like her
And we forge on, gathering up the pieces – we are not held back anymore. 
First Female to officiate a Super Bowl
NFL Official, Sarah Thomas
“Now that’s how you tackle a glass ceiling”
She made absolutely terrible calls…
Onwards, but watch where you step. 
Both trailblazing and glass-ceiling-breaking 
Are the womxn who lead the way.
And we pick up the shards and follow close behind
To leave a safe path, for all womxnkind.