Issue Five: Signs, Stars, and Wonders

After a very long hiatus, Royal Rose Mag is back with another amazing Issue filled with incredible writers and photographers! This Issue was all about astrology and it was an absolute treat putting this Issue together. Here’s a list of the amazing contributors and how you can find them and tell them how much you loved their work!

Melodie Jones is a Ball State University graduate. She majored in English Education and minored in Creative Writing. She currently spends her time teaching or at home with her three kittens. Melodie can be found on Twitter @Miss_MJones.

Amanda-Gaye Smith is a poet and naturalist living in North Central Florida. She holds a BA from Hollins University and is a grad school drop out from TTU. She makes a living bartending and she spends her time trail running and fossil hunting with her dog, Bubba. ig: @amandagayearttwitter: @amandagaye3

anaïs peterson (name//they) a mixed blessing and lover of the sky. an aries who majored in poetry their work is now a mix of lyric essays and prose poems writing around the topic of freedom in its many forms and often returning to dwell on sunflowers. you can find anaïs on twitter @anais_pgh.

Preston Smith (he/him) is an MA candidate in literature at Wright State University. He is an
editor for Periwinkle Literary Journal, and his debut chapbook Red Rover, Red Lover released from Roaring Junior Press in early 2020. He can be found on Twitter (and Instagram!) @psm_writes tweeting about his cats, baking, and fairy tales. His poems appear in Black Bough, Nightingale & Sparrow, and Pink Plastic House, among others.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in New World Writing, Dalhousie Review and Blood And Thunder. Work upcoming in Hollins Critic, Redactions and California Quarterly.

Ashly Kim is an over-caffeinated Philadelphian and weekend fishmonger. When not adventuring with her two kids, she enjoys eating tacos and hoarding books like a literary dragon.

Clayre Benzadón is an MFA student at the University of Miami, managing editor of Sinking City, and Broadsided Press’s Instagram editor. Her chapbook, “Liminal Zenith” was published by SurVision Books. She was also awarded the 2019 Alfred Boas Poetry Prize for ‘Linguistic Rewilding’ and published in places including SWWIM, 14poems, and Crêpe and Penn. You can find more about her at

Megan Cannella (@megancannella) is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. For over a decade, Megan has bounced between working at a call center, grad school, and teaching. She has work in or forthcoming from Versification, The Daily Drunk, (mac)ro(mic)Taco Bell Quarterly, and Perhappened

Lisa Mary Armstrong lives in Scotland with her children.  She tutors law and researches women and children’s experiences of the criminal justice system.  In her spare time, she likes to write poetry and fiction, drink tea and play her piano.

Magi Sumpter drafts divorce papers by day and eats them with spinach and artichoke dip by night. She spends all her free time running Southchild Lit and writing too much in second person. You can find her on Twitter @MagiSumpter. 

Valerie Frost is a Garden State native. She lives in Central Kentucky with her twin three-year-olds. Her poems have appeared in the Eastern Iowa Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Thimble Literary Magazine, and elsewhere.  

Chloe Smith is a physically disabled and autistic writer and poet from the UK. She is a Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2015, and her poetry has been published in TERSE. Journal, The Honest Ulsterman, The Cabinet of Heed, Ghost City Review, and more. For more about her writing, please visit her website: You can also find her on Twitter, @ch1oewrites.

Karin Hedetniemi is a writer and street photographer from Vancouver Island, Canada. Her stories are published/forthcoming in Prairie Fire, Hinterland, Sky Island Journal, Moria, and other literary journals. Her photo galleries and cover shots appear in Barren Magazine, Parentheses, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Nightingale & Sparrow, and are forthcoming in CutBank. Karin won the 2020 nonfiction contest from the Royal City Literary Arts Society. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @karinhedet or on her website:

Elle Blue is a here-and-there writer and part-time daydreamer. She is currently a virtual college freshman, working on several novels and chapbooks but is far from finishing anything. She enjoys listening to The Beatles and thinks Viola Davis is the queen of the world.  

Anannya Uberoi is a full-time software engineer and part-time tea connoisseur based in Madrid. She is poetry editor at The Bookends Review, the winner of the 6th Singapore Poetry Contest and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has appeared in The Bangalore ReviewThe Indianapolis Review, and The Madras Courier., Twitter: @AnannyaUberoi 

Molly Knox is a music student at Durham University from Glasgow. Molly is a poet, as well as a theatre and literary reviewer who enjoys exploring identity, mental health and nature in her work. Her words have previously been published by Queerlings Magazine, Glitchwords Poetry, Queerativity, Briefly Zine and The Unpublishable Zine.

Instagram:@Mollymoon28_ Twitter: @Mollykmoon28

Luke Bateman is a 19 year old poet and historian from Lancashire, UK. His poetry, fiction and academic writing has or will feature in Glitchwords, the Broad Street Humanities Review and the Oxford Review of Books amongst several others. Links to all of his writing can be found at

Alfredo M. Macapanas Jr. lives in a small village somewhere in the province of Leyte, Philippines. Some of his works have appeared in The Drabble, Story Land Literary Review and Stinkwaves Magazine.Attachments area

Adritanaya Tiwari is a dental intern from India. Her work has been in/is forthcoming in Versification Zine, Nightingale and Sparrow magazine, Ayaskala, Esthesia magazine, and others. – @adrillusioned on Twitter.

Keith Burton studied psychology and English literature at Brown University. Later, as a musician, he wrote a number of songs and performed throughout the country. For a time, he studied western and Vedic astrology. His poems have appeared in The Poet, and Heron Quarterly, and are forthcoming in the Amethyst Review.

Vasundhara is a writer based out of New Delhi, India. Her words have been published in The Anthology of Indian Poetry Society, Indians4SocialChange, Wine Cellar Press and beyond. She is absolutely passionate about women’s issues, rains and tea and can currently be found building things at The Indian Feminist Review.

Rhiannon Willson is a queer poet from Wales with a BA in English. She writes mostly about the people she loves and spends her spare time playing scrabble with old ladies and trying to learn how to rollerskate. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Dreams Walking, 5050 Lit and The Honest Ulsterman, among others. She can be found on twitter at @rhiannonwillson or instagram at @rhiawillson. 

Ryleigh Wann is an MFA poetry candidate at UNC Wilmington. Born and raised in Michigan, she is now exploring the ways of the southeastern coast. Her words can be found in Kissing Dynamite, Emerge Literary Journal, Semicolon, and Press Pause Press. Follow her on Twitter @wannderfullll

Ballad of the fallen lovers by Brianne Grothe

Enter garden fever, man & woman & the snake bite
enter your veins, like taylor and eve alike she lost
her reputation in a paradise lost, lady got lost in
her lovegame, all she wanted was His Stupid Love

Him: Dim my eyes to a God i’ve never smelled before,
why don’t you come a bit closer? suddenly we’re naked
& alone & sexy & we know it, why don’t you come a
bit closer?

Her: Enter a hunger i’ve never tasted before, the fruits
of our labor are nothing compared to this sparkling sin,
sparkling apple with the red core, nothing old applies
here, everything new applies here, take me in your mouth
& eat me like a vampire does, tell me of my scent

tell me tell me tell me my name, all good & evil &
wicked & lovely, never something He gave us,
i ask-tell you, lover, to name me, & I will tell you
tell you that You are Good

Both: The Beast smacks voodoo into my veins, your love
is my new drug, enter the Never-Neverland, who knew
it would mean the new Always?

the national suicide hotline responders know me by name by Brianne Grothe



i told her, her name was faith,
that my ex had finally left me all the way
and that i felt like stabbing myself again

she said have you self-harmed before i said no
she said do men always make you want to self-harm
i said yes and i started to cry

she said to print out a picture and put it on the wall
a picture i could push on with a Q-tip, prick with a pin
punish with a dart, a picture of him, because your
body is a temple hun

he told me he loved me every other day
after he dumped me for over two months

she said to not let him make me kill myself, that
i needed to separate myself from the hurt he made
me inflict, that maybe we could be friends later
when i have a new boyfriend so that it wouldn’t
matter if he made me so, so mad

i said i didn’t even want to be friends

i told him about the Q-tips and darts and
he didn’t text back

i think the whole thing is funny now
but My Dad The Therapist would say
that’s because i’m labile again

so i sit here wondering if i have bed
bugs again or whether i just itch
because i’m crawling out of my skin

he finally responded to the darts

i feel better now.

THE UNDOING by Zamiya Akber

This is how the undoing begins –
us within the arms of a sun-drenched bus stop,
my lips pressed against your knuckles,
your eyelids glistening with golden light

When I told that boy I loved him,
what I meant was –
I’m not afraid of dying anymore.
I think I stopped being afraid the first time I realized
that pouring those sleeping pills down my throat
would only take a minute – three, at most
or maybe I stopped being afraid
once I called out to God for the final time,
the memory of that uncomfortable silence
ringing in my ears until dawn arrived.

If I must say something, let it be this –

I found you the way a vagrant finds home,
away from motel rooms and knees
stinging with blood.
This is not to say that we didn’t fall apart eventually,
gutted matches caressing a flame for far too long –
This is to say that
I made a promise the night you left and
lifted it to the sky –
I will never forget you.
I promise, I promise, I promise.


Zamiya Jay is a Singaporean writer and photographer who is currently based in Lahore, Pakistan. She is the founder of Velvet Voices, a platform dedicated to spoken word poetry. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, religiously listening to Jhene  Aiko, and drinking too much iced coffee. You can find her on Instagram @zamiyazamiya.
Social media handles:
Instagram: @zamiyazamiya

A Poem About Going Climbing (and Falling in Love with You) by Skye Wilson

It’s been a long time. My teeth tug
at the loose skin of my cracking lips.
I strap in to ascend and fall, with visions
of my scab-strong body tumbling, tighten
my harness to uncomfortable.

You set up the belay,
check every aspect of my knots
before you smile me up the wall,
where I pant too hard for this slow climb.
Soon, I reach a gap too big to stretch.
No choice but to leap

and plummet, heavy for a moment with dread
and chalky fingers, which lunge, shred open
on the rock with scraping pain.
As you catch the rope that holds me,
I look down to the cracked baskets
of your strong hands, and, half-willingly,
I descend to you.

Skye Wilson is a glittery, rugby-playing feminist from Scotland. She is working towards an MSc in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University. She is forthcoming in Detritus and From Arthur’s Seat. Skye is extremely bisexual and loves ugly shirts, and poems about fear, hope, and belonging. Her pronouns are she/her.
Instagram: @skyegabrielle; Twitter: @skyegabriell. 

Love by Asela Lee Kemper

Whenever my friends post
wedding photos on Instagram,
I’m too ashamed of not
putting myself out in the world,
crossing my fingers if I find
the lucky one.

But I want love.

The kind where it doesn’t live in daydreams,
and he comes out looking like
RM from BTS in a tuxedo,
stretching out his hand for mine as
we dance beneath string lights
and NAO sings our song

i want the kind of love
where even if i stutter a word or two
he still hears me.

I want the kind of love
that when it breaks my heart,
I still think about him
whether he’s gone for 5 minutes
or for too long.

the kind of love
where I just want him in my life
friend or lover,
forbidden or meant-to-be.

I want the kind of love
where it’s warm
that I feel at home.

Doors and Windows by Juliette Sebock

It’s strange that I take the pain inside my mind
and numb it until I can’t quite tell what’s real,
swallow another something to block it out more still,
until I can’t even see the terrors that stalk through the dark.

It’s stranger still that I can’t silence the pain outside,
even as I hide the bruises and slices and stabs
and welts and wounds and broken hearts,
as all the while they shape into figures
haunting shadow streets in silence.

Another Teacher Poem by Richaundra Thursday

My friend announces that the ‘martyr teacher’ narrative is harmful,
Contributes to deficit like a war on ideals, idealization losing.
I do not know if this is true.
Like Dido, I have been searching for a pyre, for a sword to fall on,
Perhaps so the gods of guilt will finally take pity.
Certainly it is not the liar hours, the cat burgling expenses,
the papers that follow you home like starving strays.
It is not even the terraforming cartographers who never leave
The satellite but always have new ideas on how to remake
The mountains to their pre drawn specifications, nor
The guardians who consider your words a gospel
Against their personal failures.
I, a rapidly wilting cardboard cutout of a homunculus, barely held together
By scotch tape and an overdeveloped sense of obligation,
Am required to make precisely 1.47 million microdecisions every twelve seconds,
Sometimes as meaningless as a smile, sometimes as life changing as one.
Let this comment go, pick your battle, maybe it makes the next one more meaningful,
Maybe it permits an invasion.
I can’t tell if I choose the right door more often than not
Because most often, the other side is a high budget gothic play, full of mist and fog and trap doors, manned by a drunk stage manager,
it can be hard to know
What will happen and when and what cue triggered it.
Today I opened a treasure box formerly filled with sheer satin promises, now
Occupied by foil wrapped bribes and offered the contents like magic loaves,
Knowing the horde would descend like vultures, like arrows, but that’s fine,
I prefer the shade.
Perhaps this will undermine my tissue thin control the way tide can still
Tug at plexiglass, perhaps it feeds a cycle of entitlement like stained laundry.
Or perhaps these gelatin lies molded like fruits are the closest he’s come
To the real thing in weeks, perhaps she finally remembers I am not her enemy,
Despite every person with my face seeming to tear her down.
When I haul myself, finally to my bed, a map of tomorrow’s worries already carving themselves around my eyes, my soul deep fatigue is nothing that should keep you
From this sacred sacrifice. The phantoms haunting my joints flutter like fractured moths,
Each wingbeat a what if sonata, an if only elegy. Did you know the collective noun
For moths is ‘an eclipse’? Something beautiful yet obscuring,
A darkness made of flight.