The Ascension of Venus

bloody, sanguine, severed
from the body of my father
i fell towards the sea,
a wine-dark glint in the first rays of

dawn broke as i hit the water
as the sea foamed around me on the crests of small waves
and i was born


Aphrodite Ourania


i took my first steps upon the shores of Cyprus
sand sticking to my salty calves
flowers sprouting at my feet
i was still aglow with creation

i was born already grown
it seems a tragedy to have missed growing up
i like growing so
and there’s so much i had to learn suddenly – violently – about the hunger of men
my birth the subject of fantasies,
of pink skin and flowing hair and innocence.
i was born already a sculpture;
it’s a tragedy to no one but me.

i walked across waves, climbed rocky cliffs, sprinted through green meadows
delighted by the sunlight and by life
enamored of the wildflowers

i scaled Olympus and greeted the gods
and they welcomed me

they fought for me

i was brought into the world by blood
and blood has been shed for me
swords thunderously clashing

no one dares tear my skin with glinting blade
for fear of leaving a scar on perfect flesh

men have devised tales of my jealousy and cruelty
lies spun in silver
about a girl who wanted this­—
who schemed for this—
i don’t recognize the paintings of me

men have made a sculpture of me
and pressed the pads of their fingers into the stone until it darkens the marble
and slowly slowly i am worn away.

Persephone Delatte

Persephone Kirkland Delatte (she/her or he/him) is a graduate student at Oklahoma State University, studying to be a teacher of English as a foreign language. She received her undergraduate degree from Kent State University in Ohio, majoring in English with an Italian minor.

Hailey Renee

Hailey Renee Brown is a professional illustrator born and raised in mid Michigan. A former field biologist, she moved across country from Michigan to New Jersey, also moving from science to commercial art. A professionally trained artist, she attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, NJ. She was selected the recipient of the 2017 Norman Maurer Memorial Award as well as the 2019 Joe Kubert Jumpstart Project.