Back to Issue Twenty-Seven.




The dearth of information on faith-based camps led to [our] interest in exploring outcomes and impacts of the camp experience on youth who attend these religiously-affiliated camps…”

— Jacob Sorenson, Journal of Youth Development


On the singing grounds, I press light onto the blade
of a guillotine and calcify prayer in the preacher’s belly.

The earth is so pale when we leave. A girl: her hands
sacred, butchering a stolen mango from the breakfast table;

Eyelashes snagged on the water’s edge. Trademark
of our ancestors
, she says, you know how they like it.

The way she forges dirt around angles of a moving mouth.
I circle the lake as vulture, limn the island into loneliness.

Soundless as sky drapes gasoline over the horizon, choking out
a crooked existence. I language her spine against scaffolding,

silk on our cheeks as she scrapes blessing off my tongue
and that night I dreamt of God: I imagined the pastor

on his knees and a thousand sun-stained bodies.
Smoke rose from the half-opened trees like a shutter.

An angel in a kayak. A man glares across a bullet-rained beach,
Ecclesiastes spilling from inside his throat. Heaven ready

to swallow everything behind the wired fence. And God:
His body wading in the river reeds, grip around white antlers

and a voice: all the wrong chords for a hymn. And God knows
where the flowers always fall. God eats my false testimony and knives

close our thighs. No apology. Nothing he could possibly do.

Stephanie Chang is a high school junior from Richmond, BC in Canada. Her work appears in or is forthcoming from Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, SOFTBLOW, and the Penn Review. She has been recognized by the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize, L’Ephémère Review Writing Awards, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards as a National Gold Medalist, and nominated for Best New Poets 2018. She studied poetry under Victoria Chang in the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program. Currently, she interns at Half Mystic Press. She thinks you are wonderful.


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