It's here: the second issue of PHEMME Zine! We received an incredible amount of support following the release of our first issue, and we're so grateful for the enthusiasm. Thank you to everyone who submitted work, viewed the website, purchased magazines, or followed us on social media. We're lucky to be part of such a great community.
As always, we've prioritized works by women, femmes, POC, queer people, and genderqueer people. The result is a stunning kaleidoscope of voices, images, and experiences that we are proud to call Issue 2. Feel free to send queries and comments to . And don't forget to order your hard copies of PHEMME—they're available for purchase at request.
So, what are you waiting for? Issue 2 is here. Open it up. Walk it around. Talk it over with your friends. This issue of PHEMME is full of good things, and we hope that it resonates with you as much as it does with us.
Maddie De Pree
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
“Untitled” by Ying Xu
“Love Like The Moon” by Alyssa "Adare" Smith
“Pineapple” by Juliette Sebock
“Where’s Your Remote?” by Kristin Garth
“Baby” by Kim Ellingson
“Inhale” by Sarosh Nandwani
“White Ashes” by Alice-Catherine Jennings
“a little louder this time” by Wanda Deglane
“Form” by Kayla Moore
“Self Portrait of...Trying to Survive” by Jeremiah Davis
“Self Portrait as my Mother as a Cheerleader” by Vaughan Larsen
“Untitled” by Calandrea Hatcher
“After Chloe Piene” by Kat Eaves
“Biennale” by Olivia White
“SHADOWGIRL 2000” by Seraph
“Hairbrush” by Louisa Bristol
“Glow Teas” by kathaleena
“Me and The Moon” by Joana Dionisio
“Hangnail“ by Alyssa Wonsun Austin
by Juliette Sebock (she/her/hers)
Mike once told me you’re a bitch.
If that’s true, I guess I’m one too
Because the words ring true all these years later.
Stand tall, wear your crown,
Be sickeningly sweet.
Sweet, sweet change makes the perfect day.
Let the pain be the spines alongside the rind.
Love, the rind.
Find a sponge among the pulp
And hold him close while you play.
Maybe there’s a heaven somewhere far above,
But according to Mike, you and I will never know.
a little louder this time
by Wanda Deglane (she/her/hers)
the first time I say I’m gay it is not
a hesitant, trembling trickle but
a rotten pit spat from my mouth,
a cork flying loose off a bottle filled
with years’-worth of tears I scream
it like prying loose a bundle of thorns
wrapped tight around my chest I’m
not saying let me fuck your daughters
I’m saying please just let me exist I’m
saying this is a song born tender in my throat
and the longer you keep it stifled, the louder
it will shriek and I’ve tried to hide it
tried to sew men muscles and jawlines
into my organs tried to appreciate
a good dick once or twice but every
mark on my skin sighs sin, every bend
in my bones screams revolution and
every time I enter a room they spit, like
these hips, this mouth must have gone
to waste, every time I open my mouth
they shovel shame inside of me and it
tastes like a muzzle made of hellfire
they say if you have to exist, must you do it
After Chloe Piene
by Kat Eaves (she/her/hers)
by Louisa Bristol (she/her/hers)
by Sarosh Nandwani (she/her/hers)
Whenever we land in Pakistan, there are always a few people waiting for us: usually, my dad’s two remaining sisters. The third and oldest was taken by cervical cancer years ago. We always have at least 6 suitcases. I wait while my family loads the suitcases into the van.
My aunt Samina, who I call Shama, makes silly faces while talking about what’s been going on recently at her school: she’s an elementary school teacher. She purses her lips, pushes them out like a duck, widens her eyes in annoyance behind her thick, black-framed, square glasses. Her dupatta is always falling across her body, and she frequently flicks it back.
Zahra, my youngest aunt, is less playful. Unlike Shama, she leaves her dupatta draped across her chest, and it stays as if by her sheer force of will. She has puppy dog eyes, and her eyebrows usually wear a worried frown.
When we arrive at our apartment, pelvises rattled from the van ride, we lug the bags inside; with everyone’s help, we begin to unpack them. It becomes a family affair. Everyone wakes up, despite dawn just beginning to crack, and congregates in the living room around the suitcases. We unpack, categorizing candies, electronics, soaps, and deodorants into separate suitcases as they empty. Dad always randomizes the items in case one suitcase gets lost.
We came in the middle of wedding preparations. The day of the mehndi, I remember my mom sitting down for over an hour, getting her hands and feet done. She loves mehndi. The artists sat down on pillows on the floor, and performed their artistry on almost every female in attendance. Their fingers, tinged the orange-brown of mehndi, gripped the cone firmly, ever so slightly pushing for the mixture to come out in the patterns they chose. It reveals itself onto skin like icing on cake. With a steady hand, slowly, the intricacies of flowers and droplets found their home on my mother’s almond milk skin. The artist, leaning forward into her work, made light conversation with the mehndi guests as she worked. For hours, she sits on brightly colored pillows – orange, pink, red – on the floor, eyes focused, body tilted just slightly, her hand dancing with other artists doing the same around her. The mehndi begins to dry immediately. They say lemon juice brings out the color more, say you should sleep with a plastic bag around your hands and feet before you peel off the crusts. My mother told me the deeper the color, the more your husband loves you. For the bride, the artist hides her groom’s initials in the mehndi. He is to find it later; it bodes well for their luck in marriage.
My mother’s color always comes out a beautifully deep crimson. I don’t believe it has anything to do with my father, but rather speaks to the wonder of my mother’s body, which is so easily able to bring the most color out of everything she touches.
The smell is overwhelming. I usually never get it done, to our family’s chagrin. My cousin Areeza, the bride’s twin sister, also does not like mehndi. Together, we form our own small resistance to the practice. My aunts interrogate us: “Why won’t you put some on? At least do it for the wedding! This will only happen once! Kupsurat lageghi! You will look so beautiful! Maybe some make up too, yes. This will match your outfit. Let’s shop for the jewelry now. Aren’t you going to straighten your hair? No? Then at least put on some mehndi!”
My mother looks at me. “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
I consent to the makeup.
Taking off mehndi crust makes me cringe in the same way my middle school classmates peeling dried glue off their fingers made me cringe. My mom does not mind bits coming off randomly throughout her day. When it dries, she leaves it, and lets it peel off slowly on its own. Post-peel, she brings her hands up to her face, palms cupped around her nose. She closes her eyes and inhales.
by kathaleena (she/her/hers)
by Ying Xu
and that’s it, that’s it right there
it feels good when movements are self-righteous
because there is weight in our rhythms
when the crevices on your body allowed me to fall through
like the animals
human rights activists
that have crossed the border
between anything at all
every stroke of mad, sinful genius & they say to
move, move, shuffle around the things that we carry
toward the smallest death we have ever felt
only to come out empty & suffocated
by the lack of endings, lack of beginnings
lack of vertigo, lack of shiny tap water pumps
lack of belonging
lack of holes in the ground
that could have led my grandparents to America
lack of space to breathe
because we had too many spaces to act
lack of understanding
for why they despise us for still speaking Chinese
when we wore lululemons, teach cyclebar, and chug natty lites
lack of rocks in a mountain so saturated with plastic waste
that we could not help getting pneumonia —
some impossible weights in our lungs
some belated awakening
by Kim Ellingson (she/her/hers)
I’m here because I have shit to do. I’m working
at my desk. I notice you arranged all of her stray hairs around my space.
You pulled strands from your coat and sweaters every morning, and stood them
upright in my pencil jar
like baby’s breath in a lead bouquet. Dark, thick, curly reminders.
So coarse they stand up all on their own.
They are taunting me. They are kindling.
I throw the match in a cup of water and take a sip as my computer melts.
My desk is on fire.
But soon I feel something growing in my sulfur mouth.
I get up, I pull on strands that have tangled around my tongue.
I try not to run but it doesn’t matter anyway; I’m alone in our office.
I get to the bathroom and see myself in the big mirror.
There’s so much in my mouth, I pull it all out.
In my hand there is a baby you wove out of hair.
A baby girl with dark curly hair.
So much, I never see the face.
I know it’s not mine. I throw it away.
I have to kill what you never made for me.
by Alyssa Wonsun Austin (she/her/hers)
Self-Portrait of...Trying to Survive
by Jeremiah Davis (he/him/his)
The streets says to the yard, “be patient with the children. Don’t let ant hills run them out into these streets. Let them transform you into their paradise. You have more to offer them than a myth of someone surviving traffic.”
The yard says, “what about the drive way?”
I remember when I could race anyone and win any race. I remember when race had nothing to do with it. It was all about preparation. We are always around the corner from a black child’s face.
“Why you don’t wear tennis shoes before the race again?”
You gotta be ready for anything, and once you start running, they will come after you.
“What do you have to be ready for?”
The fight of your life, or the flight of your light...this thing called fight or flight.
“Who will come after you?”
The rewritten revelation...of being so valuable, your very aspiration to thrive becomes dangerous.
Me and The Moon
by Joana Dionisio (she/her/hers)
by Alice-Catherine Jennings (she/her/hers)
Cold is the absence of color. I read an article
not about global warming. We’re on the verge
of a new ice age. No more almonds, avocados,
apricots nor apples. All will be caked with ice
and cracked like exposed skin in the desert.
The butter will be frozen. In art class, I place tiny
ice cubes on a stainless steel island. I am searching
for simulacra. In autumn, cotton is like puffs of snow
in the delta. If economists were Southerners, today’s
headlines would read: “We’re all in low cotton.”
L’Anguille, La Grue, Lula and Lacy. Crossing
the Mississippi on Hallows Eve, I hear an eerie noise—
a strangled cry from a colony of egrets. My sister
calls from France. “It snowed last night,” she
screams as the tumor breaches her brain.
By Seraph (they/them/theirs)
by Kayla E. Moore (she/her/hers)
Cradled in orchid linen with sapphire seams // slick on the sides // tucked between curves // of prismatic sunlight on // pock-marked // peach-fuzzed // knees.
Covering a scar // on her kneecaps // from adolescence // open out to eyes // through a slit in
the fabric // seams slightly sagging // from thickening // and thinning.
// fluctuating form //
Commixing memories // that live on the surface // engrained in the tissues. A mark //
from a rusty screw // reddened skin along lower lumbar, // raised cartilage from scissors // on the left index, // the triangle of freckles // on the left shin // reminding her of // childhood, and constellations // in the midnight abyss // of Midwestern 2002. //
On skin in the bathtub // under mounds of Mr. Bubbles soap, // assesses stripes // on lovehandles // embracing, // not-so-lovingly // she plays connect the dots // across the vastness
Untitled (excerpted from "As Above So Below")
by Calandrea Hatcher (she/her/hers)
Love Like The Moon
by Alyssa "Adare" Smith (she/her/hers)
She is the bearer of all life. She endures deep crevices of neglect but still she feeds us, bathes us, and keeps us safe from our own destruction. He is part of her, broken from her, simply said; a piece of her. All he could do was shine a light on her at night to prove to her that she still held great grace. His pale light glided over forests and dove into oceans. No vine went untouched by his soft caress, and even the deepest spot in the sea knew what his touch felt like. His shine was appreciated and anticipated every night. Even though gravity always tried to unite the two again, it was never strong enough. But she knew his love was unwavering because he moved the tides, rocking her to sleep every night.
Self-Portrait as My Mother as a Cheerleader
by Vaughan Larsen (he/him/they/them)
(excerpted from "Rites"—CLICK HERE to see the whole series and read PHEMME's exclusive feature!)
Where's Your Remote?
by Kristin Garth (she/her/hers)
(asks husband) who won’t emote — share bedroom.
His presence now, before noon, a school day,
Capricorn professor, the blackout-curtained tomb
of stripper wife (both rarely entered) says,
more than his question: Americanized,
awakening, sunny, grim September day
crash televised, eyes, bleary, terrorized
by jet planes, man-mutated birds of prey
expands everything — your empathy,
need, community to cling to lies
about sexuality because he
will let you call him daddy while you cry.
Today, mass tragedies with TV planes,
companionship is easy to explain.
by Olivia White (she/her/hers)
Kayla E. Moore is a poet and freelance writer from Cincinnati, OH. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati in Rhetoric and Professional Writing, with a certificate in Creative Writing focused in Poetry. Her work has been published by Harness Magazine and GRLSQUASH, and she is editor-in-chief of Hum Zine. In her spare time, you can find her writing, enjoying a cup of coffee at a local cafe, or relaxing with her cat Ivy.
Sarosh Nandwani studies Mechanical Engineering & Anthropology, and is particularly interested in how they overlap. She impulse buys poetry books often. She loves watching stand-up comedy, experimenting with her curly hair, and attending art exhibitions.
Calandrea Hatcher is a photographer and paper artist. She shoots primarily on film, and is interested in alternative developing processes. She will be moving to Greenville after graduation this spring, and has a cat named Juju.
Wanda Deglane is a night-blooming desert flower from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, and Yes Poetry, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Bittersweet (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019).
Vaughan Larsen is a fine artist in Milwaukee in the undergraduate photography program at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, set to graduate with his Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography and Imaging in May of 2019. His work is often performative and addresses identity, relationships, and human connection. Exhibited internationally, he has been awarded the 2017-2018 Joy of Giving Fellowship from Imagining America/ White House Millennium Council, as well as the 2019 SPE Student Award for Innovations in Imaging from the Society for Photographic Education.
Ying Xu is a sophomore at Wake Forest University. Ying is majoring in politics & international affairs and minoring in environmental studies.
Juliette Sebock is the author of Mistakes Were Made and has work forthcoming or appearing in a wide variety of publications. She is the founding editor of Nightingale & Sparrow and runs a lifestyle blog, For the Sake of Good Taste. When she isn’t writing (and sometimes when she is), she can be found with a cup of coffee and her cat, Fitz. Juliette can be reached on her website or across social media.
Alyssa Wonsun Austin uses art to journal and document vulnerable feelings and thoughts in an effort for her to face and analyze the uncomfortable realities of her consuming thought patterns. She hopes that her work will induce a sense of kinship through emotional sincerity.
Joana Dionisio is an illustration student from Hertfordshire, UK. She is a big fan of cute games, pastel colours and chubby cats.
Kim Ellingson is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University. She lives in Milwaukee, where she is a writer in residence at Var Gallery. She wishes lemon trees grew in Wisconsin.
Jeremiah Davis is a believer that poetry spells freedom a different way with a different feel. He writes to free himself from mental illness, society, and the past. Jeremiah loves giving everything in the room a perspective when writing a poem!
Kristin Garth is a sonnet stalker and author of eight books of poetry including Shakespeare for Sociopaths, The Legend of the Were Mer, Pink Plastic House, A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony and Pensacola Girls. Her sonnets have stalked pages of magazines like Glass, Yes, Luna Luna, ISACOUSTIC*, TERSE. Journal and many more. Visit her website kristingarth.com and her tweets at @lolaandjolie.
Alice-Catherine Jennings is a poet-reader-medievalist with an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. She is the author of the chapbooks Katherine of Aragon: A Collection of Poems (Finishing Line Press) and Notations: The Imagined Diary of Julian of Norwich (Red Bird Chapbooks). After years of being a nomad and 6 months unhinged, Alice-Catherine is now settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Kat Eaves is a restless sophomore currently working to receive her BFA in Visual Arts with a minor in Digital Production and Film. She hails from Clemson, South Carolina and loves Kate Bush.
Seraph is a student with an interest in zoology at Furman University. They love art and the beauty of nature, and they frequently draw inspiration from all kinds of fauna, as well as their status as some sort of a secret gender-weird lesbian ninja. They’re learning to love and explore the medium of digital art and digital 3D. Their favorite music either involves high bpm or weird time signatures, and they have a major sweet tooth for all kinds of mochi.
Louisa Bristol was born in Houston, Texas. She is finishing her BA in Studio Arts at Furman University, and likes to experiment with various different forms of media, particularly sculpture.
kathaleena is a South Carolina-based artist. Born and raised in Spartanburg, she moved to the College of Charleston to study Studio Art and Art History. As she doubles as a cosmetologist, her instinct is, in most cases, to do portraiture, as she is constantly interacting with people every day. You can find more of her work on Instagram (@somvorna).
Olivia White is a senior Studio Art and Communications Studies double major at Furman University. Having lived in several places along the east coast, she’s had the pleasure of spending lots of time in New York City, which is where she gets the majority of her inspiration. During her second year at Furman, she discovered her love for film photography, which led her to pursue the arts further by studying art in Italy for a semester. She loves embroidery, makeup, and anything by Sufjan Stevens.
Alyssa "Adare" Smith is 20 years old and is from Greenwood, SC. She is in university studying English with a minor in African Diaspora Culture. Outside of writing and reading, she loves theatre and the study of Drama. Her self motto is “I’m Juliet without all the dying.” Five years from now, she hopes to be vegan and happy.