Benjamin Garcia

Averting the Gaze mom didn’t know I was gay because she chose not to see like the maidens of Pompeii that were instead two boys we’d now call gay we found in a last embrace his head on his chest we might change our minds about who can hug who and girls might be boys …

Read More Benjamin Garcia

Current Staff

Ethan Capp, Editor in Chief Ethan Capp (He/Him) is a senior English major and Philosophy minor at Principia College. In his free time, Ethan reads, writes, paints, and plays video games, board games, and card games with his friends. Ethan is an avid reader of both poetry and fiction. T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land is …

Read More Current Staff

From the Editor’s Desk

This year’s edition of Mistake House Magazine asks the reader, during a time when society attempts, somewhat forcefully, to return to “normal,” to take a moment to experience the world around them and consider what can be changed. With one of the largest poetry collections in the magazine’s history, a range of subjects and approaches …

Read More From the Editor’s Desk

Benjamin Garcia

I don’t believe in muses, yet I believe in setting the table for your muse. That is, creating the right conditions for creativity. For me this tends to consist of four things: (1) consuming materials, (2) writing notes down, (3) setting aside time to write, (4) connecting with my poetry communities.  Consuming materials for me …

Read More Benjamin Garcia

Benjamin Garcia

Mistake House: In this world of busyness and hustle culture it has become more and more difficult to make space for writing. How do you protect your writing time, and do you have any rules for yourself to keep your writing process on track?  Benjamin Garcia: Any amount of writing is considerably more than no …

Read More Benjamin Garcia

Samira Yamin

My work aims to cultivate a critical and dynamic relationship to photographs of war, a practice of viewership with an eye toward the global, political contexts and ramifications of representation, while nurturing an affective, loving gaze toward the individual lives represented and at stake. I engage with appropriated materials to make sense of how political …

Read More Samira Yamin

Samira Yamin

Mistake House: In this world of busyness and hustle culture making a space for creative work has become increasingly difficult. How do you protect your studio time, and do you have any rules for yourself to keep your generative process on track?   Samira Yamin: I struggle very much in this area myself. I tend to …

Read More Samira Yamin

Samira Yamin


In our second annual photography section, we’re pleased to include the work of seven student photographers.  

Samira Yamin

  Samira Yamin is a visual artist based in Los Angeles, CA. She is best known for her media constructions of a nebulous Middle East as a place of perpetual war, critique of representation and photojournalism, with an emphasis on the relationship between ethical care and viewership.  Yamin received a B.A. in Studio Art and a …

Read More Samira Yamin

Benjamin Garcia

Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, THROWN IN THE THROAT, won the National Poetry Series and the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, in addition to being a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where he received the Jill Gonzalez Health …

Read More Benjamin Garcia

11 Hr Protection

Issue 8 Editor’s Prize for Photography               Photography, 30” x 40”, March 10, 2021, Miami, Florida

Memories from a Summer Past

        Digitized Color Film, 4”x6”,  April 13, 2021,  Ridgewood, New Jersey

Memories from a Hometown

               Digitized Color Film, 4”x6”, April 13, 2021, Ridgewood, New Jersey

The Radiator

              Digital Photography, 300 dpi, March 17,2022, Eliestoun, Principia College 

Blue Mesa Topography

            Digital Photography Print on Matte Photograph Paper, 16”x9”, November 2019 , Petrified Forest Nation Park, Arizona


Issue 8 Editor’s Prize for Poetry I told my therapist about On the Road and how you remind me of a young Kerouac with softer eyes.   I told her how I went stargazing in May and as I lay there in a dark blanket of cold grass, I wanted to reach up and cup the …

Read More Honeyed

Meanwhile, Anahata

You sip Kombucha from a wine glass and turn the tap with the tip of your toe. I watch you sink into this 3 a.m. bubble bath with no more than a sigh.  You, who whispers shaky affirmations to our reflection in the rearview: My body is                 strong. My body is                                                beautiful. …

Read More Meanwhile, Anahata

Portrait of a Broken Wing

On a mid-June afternoon,  a broken butterfly   landed on my shoulder.  She tumbled down from a towering oak,  weary from flying  against the dense, summer air.  One of her wings had been shredded  by the spring-loaded jaws of a terrier,  or perhaps a particularly violent rainfall  shattered her stained-glass wing  at the joints where the …

Read More Portrait of a Broken Wing

be/d/side you’

d rumble and  rustle  [tuck myself in  under this] love   & make myself right.  here !          (is the warmth  here is breath & goodness,  sink into grace) never else-  w/here is the dearest night.   

a spider can’t understand

her hands weave music / strand by strand   with ease beyond trying / she glides her way  center / prays for what she doesn’t   know / is lovely / wisdom   to preserve; make / the most of her   string symphony and me           humming along   

Rousseau’s Gypsy Speaks

Under muskmelon moon and pewter sky, shepherd stars alight in a night tasting of ice’s carbon, frozen earth. Beyond slate smooth mountains, planes of wasteland dust, I lie. My body: dark side of a bright moon. My body: black oil against a silver night. A lion preys or protects. I lean close to music; music …

Read More Rousseau’s Gypsy Speaks

Rose-Hip Season

When the light frost settles we go out picking. Down the morning veil of the hill we go down to rows of shrubs, red-bulbed, neon in the slow autumn crawl. We pluck peduncles of each hip, and fill our baskets. They, like angels with sepal wings, lie limp. But still something is alive in their …

Read More Rose-Hip Season

Finding the Branch

The whip wasn’t always visible in their hands, it was up in the boughs of the fir or the beech, waiting, like a prized harvest to be imagined. They made it so, invented the game of pick your punishment — find a branch suitable for your own mischief. I’d measure a thick, fresh one, burly, …

Read More Finding the Branch


I. raindrops ripple potholes,      neon rain- boots splash, but she splits chapped lips  to sip monsoons; her liquid tongue becomes catacombic, crypt- ic;   a limestone tooth lined       language tomb. Her sun-bleached bones stow silent       marrow; decay: a water-logged language      corpse; decay:  growing up knowing bones. Evaporation fractures …

Read More Ankyloglossia 

Mrs. John Wayne Gacy

Instead, I stayed. An odd choice, maybe, because of the smells that clawed their way from the crawl space, mice screeching to heavens for air. The boys’ wallets that littered the floor of his car like dead leaves tracked in on boots. I learned about monsters who climb into marriage beds at my mother’s dining …

Read More Mrs. John Wayne Gacy

The Well-Practiced Art of Overthinking

In restaurants, my fingers worry the paper napkins   into a small pile of nesting material,  something you might line a den with   to keep it warm in the winter. I weave the straw wrapper into rings, my fingertips  like restless animals waiting for the signal to run.   A snapped branch under the hunter’s foot.  A …

Read More The Well-Practiced Art of Overthinking


Every year, the petals begin to unravel, soft and pink as sun-touched cheeks, during the week leading up to my birthday. They reach their height the day of. Once, I convinced myself they bloomed for me. Imagined the turn of my year to be a herald of approaching summer, these unfolding petals my trumpets. We …

Read More Peonies

Tender, Tender

When I asked Olena, in Kyiv, she said she was a barman. I slipped her a smile like I’d slip a waitress a tip at the end of the night. Where I live, we say bartender. Tender?  she asked, looking at the blue-black bruise on my arm. Tender,  I repeated, looking not into her hazel …

Read More Tender, Tender

Halls of Snow and Sleep

James Joyce wrote, “Shut your eyes and see.” I wake from sleep, from being in that room with you. What I remember: my deep sigh of relief. Outside the modern concert hall banked by walls of windows, the snow shuddered, susurrous, melting against warm windows. Snow builds. Snow falls. Snow fell, while we sat close …

Read More Halls of Snow and Sleep

Little Black Cat

Little black cat,  you are a witch’s shadow.  Your green eyes pierce dark corners.  You peer at the shadows in the human soul.  You lap at pagan blood and are condemned.  You have no sacred nights, and yet  you find yourself in strange homes  before October ends.  Little black cat,  you have known a shelter …

Read More Little Black Cat


this I will remember too                   to ask for return                 how unkind                   when being broken into                   to object               …

Read More litany 


During the interview   I felt as though I were speaking to a friend and panicked   how will he know me   if I don’t tell him explicitly in our one, thin hour   We discussed why some doctors scorn addicts   so much   left   behind   in   training like   how   asphalt   takes from ten-year-old legs         …

Read More Waiting

Dad to Father

I see from your eyes, Dad, my childhood taking place   within arms outstretched and spinning. You think I’ll never let go,  I’ll hold on as long as she wants. I’ll swing my daughter off her feet,   round and round, just to hear that little giggle.   My bones might pop and clack,  but to see her …

Read More Dad to Father

The Last Dance

“The Dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul. “ — Isadora Duncan, 1877 – 1927 he will come knocking on your window, pointe shoes in hand, waiting for you to cross the floor. the spotlight, once your sun, now burns hot rays into your skin as you release the bar and step …

Read More The Last Dance

Pio pachý apó to Neró / Thicker than Water

“Grief teaches the steadiest minds to waver.“ — Sophocles, Antigone. Your heart is filthy like your feet and your tongue is sharp like your teeth but I will not cower in fear nor kneel at the sight of you, for you know of my wishes, dear uncle. I will not rest until the undead bodies …

Read More Pio pachý apó to Neró / Thicker than Water

God, I Wish I Were A Mango

Mangos don’t have to think about love. Mangos don’t have a god that hates them. Mangos don’t cry when they touch a girl for the first time. Mangos are cut into and sensually devoured. Sweetness slips through rosy lips and elicits delighted moans of content. Mangos are loved for their ripeness and brightness. Juice runs …

Read More God, I Wish I Were A Mango

Francisca Seycora

Famous Viennese sex-worker, died of meningitis in General Hospital at age 19.  Her skull is currently on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA.    I. Frontal Bone  I am: shaken awake — all stiff-necked, stifled,  all pock-marked sockets, wrung-out wrists. I’ll smash my gnashed teeth at the morning.  Click my tongue at all …

Read More Francisca Seycora

Veronica Huber

                Executed for the murder of her child in Salzburg at age 18.                                 Her skull is currently on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA.             …

Read More Veronica Huber

Marietta Grinaldi

Embroiderer of silk, died of tuberculosis in Ravenna, Italy at age 20.   Her skull is currently on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA.  I. Frontal Bone  if it’s all the same to you: let’s link pinkies and haunt each other always, only  as mosaics, only as chiffon puckered/punctured with needles. let’s be ladies,  …

Read More Marietta Grinaldi

Forgive me for I have winned

Spoken like a true champion of all things   toddler. The tonguing of gums; sharpened   with the edges of newly acquired toofs.   The boundless playground of your imagination   reminds me of a time when I could get away   with yelling and running around in circles;   conquering the world one recess at a time.   I miss having …

Read More Forgive me for I have winned

Under the Tulip Tree

We were too young to cherish how the shade lulled us to sleep when we were wrapped in a blanket of summertime heat. “Home base” was under the tulip tree, where the kaleidoscope of greens nourished us more than any lunch lady ever could. We would spin round and round until we all fell down, …

Read More Under the Tulip Tree

Before My Uncle Came to the U.S.

He worked at an orange plantation in Veracruz   for 29 cents an hour.   A business card was his American Dream, but  there were 40 million lives more important than his.   For 29 cents an hour,   his nine-year-old son sweat beside him.  There were 40 million lives more important than his.   The heat dried Felipe’s tears …

Read More Before My Uncle Came to the U.S.


“My name is Fanya Kaplan. Today I shot at Lenin. I did it on my own…  I will give no details.” – Fanny Kaplan to police upon her arrest  Once, I’m quite sure, I could see clearly.   I’m completely absorbed in your shadow, in the many  things you’ve done and said and taken.  The shiny …

Read More Sight


I am surprised to see that I’ve put down roots – I broke cement foundation, I’ve sprouted leaves. This place is mine. This place is mine. I grow tall; spiting the odds I’ve bent to fit – I am the ghost of before I’d forgotten. This place. This place. This place. I am suddenly hard. …

Read More Seep


We met when I was nineteen,  she twelve—  old enough to be my grandmother.  Three paws  dappled with vitiligo,  eyes crossed blue.  The curious  thump thump  of a tripawd companion.  Nights on my chest,  days in my arms.  Sunbathing and waiting in the window.  Fighting opioid pills and an ailing soul,  I got better.  She …

Read More Sagwa


Grip the bar as hard as you can and pull until your hands are torn. Clutch it like the hem of your mother’s coat when you followed her through crowds as a child. If you drop it, you’re a failure and you better stack callous on callous untilyou can lift it. You are a man. …

Read More Weight

Joint Purr-fection Cat Glucosamine

I need to remind Mom and Dad to order more supplements for GK. He’ll be out soon, and he’s been walking less stiffly since he started taking them. I hope he’s eating—I always ask when I call home. I was shocked when I saw him a couple visits ago. His coat was soft as ever …

Read More Joint Purr-fection Cat Glucosamine

Goodwill Hunting

It was in the racks  of old musty clothes  where we seemed  to have the  most in common  Sliding through  plastic hangers  and confederate tees,  this is where  we were okay,  where we could  move through   mountains of cotton,  no words spoken, except  for the excitement  of a ‘good find.’  Where we stood,  here in …

Read More Goodwill Hunting

Death becomes her

Dancing between the cotton sheers of a crimson night light shining through, tinting my skin tenacious in its touch most brilliant in hue. a technicolor, bull-teasing red in  a black and white salt and pepper forgotten time immemorial dance on the fire of the burning books laughing at the powerlessness of  the hateful.  Evaporated wisdom …

Read More Death becomes her

Things I Now Realize

in the style of Nazim Hikmeti I didn’t know I loved limestone dust hovering in the air like a mild white fog I didn’t know I loved dancing up and down the levels of an ancient Roman amphitheater I didn’t know I loved women in colorful hijabs chatting on paths, books in their hands,                    walking …

Read More Things I Now Realize

Lyric Limitations

Today is the equinox.  The sun shines from my right, my ear warming and my eye seeing little strands of gold, the sun at work.  The sun being or growing or perfectly consistent.   The bad the same amount as the un-bad, and both – well neither have color. Perception has color.  It’s a noun, I …

Read More Lyric Limitations

i’d sing a love song if i could carry a tune

there’s something supernatural in those hands, or maybe it’s the deep streets carved into the palms & steering me toward your paranormally old soul. either way, i didn’t mean to offend my intuition when i half-claimed, my heart wasn’t manufactured for romantic lovin’, when, the truth is, it knew that i wanted to make fossils …

Read More i’d sing a love song if i could carry a tune

Figuratively Speaking

Her assigned idiom had been “to kick the bucket,” So, she put waxen crayon to white computer paper And drew a stubby foot kicking a rusty, holey pail. Strange how her biggest fear was never the after, Or arachnids, or appendicitis, but owning a bigger life, And her biggest desire was one she didn’t actually …

Read More Figuratively Speaking

Moving out and moving on (moments in a Florida boy’s life)

Raised on good southern manners, on frozen dinners and neon lights,  on guns in the bed of high-schooler’s trucks. I saw death when I was 6, 12, 18.  Videos of 9/11 in elementary school, videos of friends in high school,   both dead now but I miss them-  the ones that I knew by name.  Interesting, …

Read More Moving out and moving on (moments in a Florida boy’s life)


….to catch—not          operate                                                               a stolen starship….  interplanetary defection      obliterates               the mission:    model a future       ahead …

Read More Oh MISSION

Everything I’ll Need When Everything Ends

When it’s time to say our goodbyes to all the things I’ll run to see the sun on the sea may take my eyes & When the last rag has been wrung of dirty suds that justify a fight my buds can drop right off my tongue & When the ones I love decompose can …

Read More Everything I’ll Need When Everything Ends

You always liked my curves.

                When I first learned          to dance (with a woman)  I forgot how to walk         (with a man)                                 I have too-tight            …

Read More You always liked my curves.

To Flowers and Fellows: The Carnival of Human Fragility 

                   At the end of the day if fish were bears and we prayed to a pear, what difference would it make? To whom should I pray? To the god of rot, an estuary between the living and the dead? I wish for ecstasy to creep into …

Read More To Flowers and Fellows: The Carnival of Human Fragility 


            Nikonz6 Architecture Photography, 16.0MP, 4905*3261, May 17, 2021, Modern Art Museum Fort Worth

Alton Selects

              Digital Photography, 11 X 18, December 2, 2021, Alton, Illinois

Still Life

            Digital Photography, 2.8 MB (5784 x 3854 pixels), March 5, 2018, Los Angeles, CA

Tunnel Vision

                        Digital Photography, 6.2 MB (5320 x 3822 pixels), December 25, 2016, Angkor Wat (Siem Reap. Cambodia) 

Dubrovnik at Dusk

                  Digital Photography, 17MB (5818 x 3878 pixels), August 5, 2021, Dubrovnik, Croatia.  

Thunder and Silence

Issue 8 Editor’s Prize for Fiction I stood atop Goðafoss, a place of power and history, when I heard thunder for the first time in Iceland. The sky was painted grey, the color of a storm above a murky sea. I hadn’t bothered to check the forecast before I left. The trip had been impromptu. …

Read More Thunder and Silence

1.989 * 10 ^ 30

  A single plane flies across a pink-orange sky on a Thursday evening and can be seen darting in and out through the clouds before making a gentle landing on the surface of a lake in the middle of a forest. Unnoticed by anyone of importance, the plane sinks slowly till it is half submerged …

Read More 1.989 * 10 ^ 30

Tic Tac

The worst part about recovering from a week in the psychiatric hospital was the acne. The nurses hadn’t let me keep my facial cleanser because I didn’t have a prescription for it. They didn’t seem to realize it was the kind you bought over the counter at Wal-Mart—three dollars for a four-ounce tube of grainy …

Read More Tic Tac