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Stone Highway Review<br />

Issue <strong>4.1</strong><br />

Oct 2014


Stone Highway Review is a new journal of poetry<br />

and prose, dedicated to publishing women and<br />

other underrepresented voices. Stone Highway<br />

Review wants to publish the beautiful, the exciting,<br />

the new. Stone Highway Review is edited by<br />

Amanda Hash, Katie Longofono, and Mary Stone Dockery.<br />

Stone Highway Review is published three<br />

times a year. Submissions are welcome through<br />

the submission manager found on our website,<br />

at www.stonehighway.com.<br />

Copyright 2014 by Stone Highway Review<br />

ISSN 2162-3686 (print)<br />

2162-3678 (online)<br />

Cover Credits: Mandi Cook “This Land Was Our Land”


Table of Contents<br />

Hungry for a Hello Vinita Agrawal................................................................................................. 1<br />

Forest as Story Amy Ash and Callista Buchen ............................................................................. 2<br />

Eyes as Shield Amy Ash and Callista Buchen ............................................................................... 3<br />

Alphabet as Market Amy Ash and Callista Buchen ................................................................... 4<br />

2 Poems Lisa Marie Bastile ................................................................................................................... 5<br />

The Window Factory Workers’ Night Out A.M. Brant ..................................................... 6<br />

To and Fro Emily Capettini ....................................................................................................................7<br />

The Theory of Displacement Suggests Moriah Cohen ........................................................ 8<br />

This is my Body Emily Rose Cole ....................................................................................................... 9<br />

Boxcar Willie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore Chauna Craig ............................................ 10<br />

It Starts with Allergies Risa Denenberg ...................................................................................... 11<br />

Morse Code Jennifer Faylor ............................................................................................................... 12<br />

Haunted Ruth Foley................................................................................................................................ 13<br />

Obscura: The Daguerreotype Series Julie Gard .................................................................. 14<br />

Heavy Air Sara Ghoshal ....................................................................................................................... 16<br />

In the Rendaku Forest Derek Graf ............................................................................................... 18<br />

Arachnid, in Allegory KT Gutting ................................................................................................. 19<br />

Pillow Talk Sara Henning .................................................................................................................. 20<br />

Babel Rae Hoffman ................................................................................................................................ 21<br />

Fat Girl at Weight Watchers Meeting Jennifer Jackson Berry ................................... 22<br />

National Dream Share Day Brett Elisabeth Jenkins .......................................................... 23<br />

Removing Hurricane Debris Mark Allen Jenkins ............................................................... 24<br />

Between Bouts of Insomnia Les Kay .........................................................................................25<br />

The Eye Surgeon Jill Khoury .......................................................................................................... 26<br />

Identifying the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Erin Koehler .................................... 28<br />

Property Rachel Lake .......................................................................................................................... 29<br />

After the Sewol Sank, 2014 Kristin LaTour ........................................................................... 30<br />

To See the Thing M. Mack ................................................................................................................. 31<br />

Melancholia Blinks Sarah Miller Freehauf ............................................................................... 32<br />

Wolf Pelt: $50 T.A. Noonan ............................................................................................................. 33<br />

Steam Engine 1023 Al Ortolani ..................................................................................................... 34<br />

A Synonym for Flock is Mob Carla Panciera .........................................................................35<br />

End of Days Christopher Petruccelli............................................................................................... 36<br />

The Moon Hanger Kate Soules ...................................................................................................... 38<br />

You, and You Letitia Trent ............................................................................................................... 39<br />

Little Love Poem Letitia Trent ....................................................................................................... 40<br />

Codependent Donna Vorreyer ......................................................................................................... 41<br />

Release Kami Westhoff ........................................................................................................................ 42<br />

Early Warning Kami Westhoff ....................................................................................................... 43<br />

Babylon Megan Willoughby .............................................................................................................. 44<br />

Theater of March Sarah Ann Winn ............................................................................................. 45<br />

Contributors ........................................................................................................................................... 46<br />

i


Vinita Agrawal<br />

Hungry For A Hello<br />

This fat body is a lie<br />

True is the tub of buttered popcorn in my lap<br />

and the huge packet of chips by my side<br />

Its hunger is a lie<br />

My heart is the ravenous one<br />

I am adept at burrowing inside cracks<br />

when I spot lovelessness<br />

Skilled at living in between the floor boards<br />

when people walk over me<br />

I am a discarded umbilical cord crying for a foetus<br />

My screams ribbon unheard through eons of time<br />

My fat body is a lie<br />

You should see it from within<br />

It is lean like a new moon<br />

emaciated as the setting sun<br />

thin as hope in a beggar's eyes<br />

gaunt as the marrow in centenarian bones<br />

You can destroy me anytime<br />

with a loose word, an acid glance<br />

I'll come down like a house of cards<br />

at the slightest puff of acrid winds<br />

My bellows cannot light my fire<br />

nor my ankles weight lift, the shackles of disdain<br />

I cannot holler, I cannot stomp about<br />

For I am spindly like a new born doe<br />

You would see me as thin<br />

without the mess I am inside.<br />

1


Amy Ash and Callista Buchen<br />

Forest as Story<br />

woodland, jungle, plant, floor<br />

landing, tier, untruth, account<br />

Beside the mosses, chanterelles burst in gold flourishes over some other season’s oak leaves. We don’t know<br />

what to crush. Shoeless, our toes touch padded ground, plush carpet. We kneel at a tree trunk, split open like<br />

a storybook. Inside, we bury hands in rotted bark. We think softness, we think quiet, as if we can read the<br />

flood of insect song, scuttle and mumble in the alburnum. Wings, legs, antennae, fragile as eyelash. Blink and<br />

the sky slides between branches, flutters in the wind. What we think we hold is slippery. Shadows, shapes,<br />

until we can’t tell time. Hunger hovers like fog. Behind us, the wolves breathe.<br />

2


Amy Ash and Callista Buchen<br />

Eyes as Shield<br />

judgments, appreciations, senses, discernments<br />

protection, armor, defense, buffer<br />

With eyelids closed, we feel<br />

forward, as if leaning, falling,<br />

diving into blackness, into bruise.<br />

Hands up, we push against<br />

shade and shadow, press into<br />

against behind ourselves. A mirror<br />

gunmetal gray, and polished. Look<br />

at your opposite, at the distance<br />

<strong>shr</strong>inking and distorted, an iris<br />

tunneling light into vision. We go<br />

without atlas or guidebook, follow<br />

the passage, even as the light<br />

deceives us. Border, barrier, fence<br />

the prick and hustle the tears<br />

even torn, even tattered, we see<br />

the eyeless horizon, impossible,<br />

how it breaks the world in the two.<br />

3


Amy Ash and Callista Buchen<br />

Alphabet as Market<br />

bazaar, fair, promote, sell<br />

language, letter, script, tongue<br />

The market’s archway, ridged like the roof of a mouth. Even after<br />

the sounds crawl away into corners, moon licked across<br />

and swallowed in a pink, throaty sky, corridor collapsing as we call<br />

with tongues already closed for the night. We want to sell<br />

what language we own, but words only curl behind our teeth, unable<br />

to sound. Corridors empty, the stalls still promise. Whispers:<br />

desire, devour. We read the writing, symbol and rune, our fingers<br />

eager, like mouths, tips raw from lapping against the sand.<br />

Under our touch, castles crumble, alphabets erode.<br />

We are going to bury the sounds, let the moan of shifting earth<br />

write us into morning. Rubble and remnant, we’ll buy<br />

the scraps, fruit and fish, scattered before us like stones, like tongues.<br />

4


Lisa Marie Basile<br />

2 Poems<br />

we cannot sustain the abundant<br />

in us the girl is a levee instead;<br />

so feckless we split the grape<br />

we drink in order of height so that the tallest<br />

falls hardest.<br />

a girl's blood can be seen in a kind of light,<br />

a kitchen table light, the circular ones, with a box unopened,<br />

a box, and crushlillies: what is in it, what is of them?<br />

and a table cloth. goldenrod,<br />

woundcolored. at the table we pronounce our names<br />

as if we own them.<br />

we are the bodies of them,<br />

and the name is of some other thing. a victory, a knot.<br />

we make champagne of ourselves for one another<br />

held high.<br />

one day we will step from chairs<br />

and celebrate death.<br />

the ceiling fan will<br />

spin slowly,<br />

the table watching<br />

light watching.<br />

i really was<br />

inverted. i draped knee of blanket<br />

over grassy field. i became the field.<br />

i really was love. i woke wide<br />

to the light, and thought<br />

bully.<br />

smooth yellow wash too beautiful to put into a box,<br />

or a small dish shaped of<br />

a shape we do not know.<br />

i really was wanton,<br />

shaped up and over arched back bent belly out,<br />

we caught my red mouth on you out the door.<br />

let me combine of me the things in you, let me.<br />

i really was full this time,<br />

field full, a flora, body open, body bound.<br />

5


A.M. Brant<br />

the window factory workers’ night out<br />

lamasco’s bar & grill—evansville, indiana<br />

ten on a friday night, no windows to make on weekends.<br />

back when i was still chain-smoking, back when<br />

you could still smoke in bars, when you were still<br />

married, still trying to get me to give you blow jobs<br />

on lunch hour. this was the night<br />

you looked at me with feeling, then followed your wife<br />

into the ladies room and fucked her against the wall, came<br />

back, wet temples and a smirk, put your hand on my knee<br />

under the table, looked at me again, sorry and not sorry<br />

all at once. this was not the first or last time<br />

you or another man would do something like this,<br />

say something like you’re too good for me or want me<br />

to put this dick in you?<br />

6


Emily Capettini<br />

To and Fro<br />

“She lied to me! She was wrong,” weeps the former student on the stand. The court is full of<br />

spectators, and I watch silently as she gives her testimony. “She told me ‘I felt a Funeral in my Brain’ was<br />

about madness, not death, but someone else told me that’s wrong! She lied to me.”<br />

Some of the spectators gasp, but most others are hunched over with their arms beneath the seats in<br />

front of them. One of them has forgotten to turn off his text message notifications, and the courtroom<br />

speakers <strong>shr</strong>iek a static tttttt tata-ta tata-ta with each cellphone’s interference. Tap dancing mourners, to and<br />

fro.<br />

My lawyer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, turns towards me and <strong>shr</strong>ugs, his dusty, age-worn suit trembling<br />

under the pressure of movement when it has been still for so long. He asks for a recess, and I later find him<br />

lying under a tree with a book, insects scuttling along his white, seashell bones.<br />

“What are you doing?”<br />

“Living deliberately.”<br />

I frown, but decide not to tell him that’s Thoreau, nor mention how long he’s been dead. The latter<br />

must be obvious to him with every turn of the page.<br />

“You shouldn’t worry what others think of you,” he continues.<br />

“I’m a teacher,” I say, thinking of the tenure review that looms ahead of me like some kind of hydra.<br />

No matter what I check off for it, the tasks only seem to multiply.<br />

Emerson <strong>shr</strong>ugs and returns to his book. His suit splits open at the collar.<br />

I’m found guilty of misinterpreting Dickinson. I must forfeit my “I felt a Funeral in my Brain” lesson<br />

plan and agree to never teach the poem again.<br />

“Don’t feel too badly about it,” Emily tells me later. “They found me guilty of lying under oath. I’m<br />

not allowed to write things with multiple meanings anymore.”<br />

“Don’t they know you’re—um…that you haven’t been writing for a hundred years?”<br />

“My Verse is alive,” she replies and wanders outside to pluck flowers from my garden, pretending<br />

just to sniff them until I’ve glanced away. Then, she stuffs them in her pockets and down her blouse. She<br />

returns bursting with color and life, but I have pretended and continue to pretend to see nothing. The flowers<br />

will grow and bloom again after she’s left, and I understand her fascination. I’ve planted things out there that<br />

aren’t native to this region, things she likely hasn’t seen before—sprawling, heavy-blossomed plants that<br />

weather the hot, humid days with grudging acceptance.<br />

Somewhere, above my head, Emily drops something. The floor creaks under her as she wanders to<br />

and fro, and I think of the silence I will be glad of and dread when she leaves.<br />

Emerson goes before her, perhaps ashamed of his poor attempt at being a lawyer, though it may also<br />

be to escape the mounting requests for interviews, commencement speeches, and book reviews. He looks<br />

panicked when he says his goodbyes, papers stuffed in every pocket, wedged between the bones in his arms,<br />

and beneath his hat. “Good compost, good compost,” Emerson mutters as he hurries down the walk, the<br />

papers spiraling away from him like pale, flightless birds.<br />

Emily lingers only long enough to pluck the last of my toad lilies. When she comes to say her<br />

goodbyes, I can see a brilliant amaryllis blossom through her age-thinned blouse, caged within her ribs. We<br />

shake hands, for she cannot kiss my cheek as she would prefer, and she sets off down the path barefoot,<br />

trailing dried flowers as she goes.<br />

Long after she’s left, I am still finding dried flowers pressed between the pages of all of my books:<br />

papery, delicate flowers that blaze with color even long after they’ve died, spilling from every page I open<br />

until my floors are coated with a soft bed, and no one can hear my footsteps as I cross through my rooms.<br />

7


Moriah Cohen<br />

The Theory of Displacement Suggests<br />

no moonshine can float the dead,<br />

not even in this black pool where I’ve come<br />

with the first woman I loved to bury<br />

lullabies beneath the sod. If light is the soul<br />

confused at having lost the body, then darkness<br />

is an atrium we linger inside, besot with words<br />

like oeillade, sinew, cusp, and pewter. But good<br />

acoustics are no selling point when the party’s over<br />

and the racket of your loneliness begins<br />

to catcall across the room. Life’s milk hails<br />

such delitescent desires; when I toast to exile, quilting<br />

insomnia, I already know that later I will cull<br />

the rosaries writhed from her mouth. Hail Mary,<br />

where do we go when a kiss no longer<br />

sutures the lips of the wound? Tradition claims<br />

our losses with headstones. On every tile, a spirit<br />

waits for a poem to lift it from the mud.<br />

8


Emily Rose Cole<br />

This is my body<br />

Early June. I unspool yellow tongues that carry<br />

the scent of sunlight through your backyard.<br />

I watch you crush dandelions under your pink<br />

Nikes, twist the creamy bells of buttercups<br />

under your baby-soft chin, separate daisies’<br />

long lashes from their gaping, golden eyes.<br />

To you, we’re only weeds. I know what will become<br />

of me when you approach, pluck me up, roll<br />

my body between your thumb and forefinger.<br />

You’ll gnash me open, draw the long thread of spine<br />

through my fluted center. Come. I offer you the honey<br />

of my blood like a sacrament: Child, take, drink.<br />

9


Chauna Craig<br />

Boxcar Willie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore<br />

This train whistle is more a horn. Long and loud and musical—blown into the wind before a storm.<br />

Through town, the heavy mechanical whining wheels, their bass rhythm thumping through my walls, pulsing<br />

up the soles of my feet. I lean into the feeling of sound. How my blood wants to follow and hop an open<br />

car and be taken…somewhere.<br />

The Railway Killer followed a line in the late 90s that took him within yards of a house where I slept. It<br />

wasn’t my house, though my cousin had once lived there. In Arkansas, expect that. My lover lived there.<br />

The horn never blew, the trains just rolled through. Expect that too. That summer I screamed when a<br />

Junebug knocked the screen. I screamed and called for a man because something deep inside me believed: if<br />

men could kill, they could also save.<br />

It was only a Junebug, sometimes called a May beetle. The neighbors had a pit fire, our windows open to the<br />

charred night.<br />

I have wanted to be taken. Silent whistle to a Grim Reaper in the form of a Junebug batting my screen day<br />

and night until the wire starts to unravel.<br />

Present perfect. I have wanted.<br />

In this perfect present, the train whistle blows forever. A loneliness I cannot capture and that cannot capture<br />

me.<br />

Present perfect continuous: you haven’t been listening. And so, I’m tense.<br />

10


Risa Denenberg<br />

It starts with allergies<br />

~1~<br />

Peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and shellfish. Odd leftovers that slosh<br />

over the bowl’s edge and stain linen. The color of snot. Also,<br />

shouldn’t we get smaller as we age, not bigger, and shouldn’t we<br />

disappear at death, not leave a ruined body for others to brawl with?<br />

~2~<br />

You can’t do the tango anymore. Do the hip-break dance. Your sex<br />

drive circles the drain. The big picture squints with presbyopia.<br />

In fact, all senses become unreliable, making you wonder if<br />

your magic mama has forsaken you.<br />

~3~<br />

If I don’t smile, what of it? Tell me a highbrow pun, I’ll give you<br />

a grim grin. I mean, how much loss can I pile on this achy spine<br />

before I divest? I squeeze temples to sequester anxieties. I squeeze<br />

blackheads when I’m bored. What I really want is to be forgiven.<br />

~4~<br />

A fortune for each x-ray, the bargain brokered by the opposite<br />

of hope, the doctor’s cut enormous. Yes, it will cost dear.<br />

As the end draws near, you won’t recall why you have to suffer<br />

so, you will only stare, wide-eyed from your cachectic carcass.<br />

~5~<br />

The potential for demise pops up at every fork. Look, I don’t always<br />

know what point I’m trying to make. I have no idea how you will take<br />

my mordant attitude. You can sign off, or sigh and continue. You’ve<br />

come this far. Let’s walk a bit along the briny beach, even if we are afraid.<br />

11


Jennifer Faylor<br />

Morse Code<br />

The first night I attempt sleep without her<br />

in our bed, the world's noise becomes Morse Code.<br />

Ants tap her name across the dark linoleum,<br />

and boots clunk through ceiling tiles––<br />

they stamp out the word goodbye.<br />

After midnight, crickets gather<br />

in the sweetgum tree outside.<br />

For hours they sing the lyrics<br />

of things I should have said to her.<br />

The express bus brings the graveyard shift<br />

home to their wives, and the engine sputters<br />

the words she would have mumbled in her sleep.<br />

I even hear apples drop in the cold rain<br />

all the way upstate.<br />

Their red noise spells out my love,<br />

but I know the fruit will only roll and rot<br />

in the distant corners of the field.<br />

12


Ruth Foley<br />

Haunted<br />

I turn my head and there is burning—<br />

smoke from the back of the television<br />

like from a drop of oil smeared<br />

on the stove or a slice of potato<br />

left to char on the oven floor. Or snow<br />

lifting from the side grass along<br />

the underpass, whirled into the draft<br />

of a sixteen-wheeler, all the moisture<br />

frozen out of the air so completely<br />

May could be another planet in another<br />

solar system. Sometimes there is<br />

perfume—a blossoming in the flour<br />

canister or in bed at night. Anywhere<br />

there are no flowers. A woman I once<br />

knew swore I was haunted—not my<br />

house, me. She heard other voices<br />

below my own, she said, and once<br />

saw a girl standing behind me,<br />

shaking her head. I didn't ask if<br />

anything came to her, petal soft.<br />

I tell myself it's old damage from<br />

an old wound—a biking accident<br />

in high school or the endless sinus<br />

infections I suffered as a child. I<br />

would—I swear—never lie to you.<br />

13


Julie Gard<br />

Obscura: The Daguerreotype Series<br />

1.<br />

A child in a chair with a bow like a curl, face pocked with the metal’s aging. Double chin and grandmother’s<br />

sharp eyes, dress checked and simple, thin boots tightly laced. I stare for the requisite forty seconds at<br />

splotches of turquoise rot. The child’s parted lips exhale pink iodide. Grave napoleonic girl with pudgy fists<br />

and pinpoint irises, small pillow at her back, small words in her mouth. She breathes them in and looks ahead<br />

like she was told, her gaze blind, preternaturally fixed, as she seeks approval across time.<br />

2.<br />

Margaret Ann Pence was told not to close her eyes and like everything, she took those words seriously.<br />

Margaret rarely said what she thought, for her mind’s directness often shocked her and she feared its effect<br />

on a member of her family with a weak heart. Her face waits for lines in this picture. She is certainly a virgin,<br />

laced up sleeve to wrist. Only fingertips emerge from black natting. Open eyes escape, and closed mouth.<br />

This one girl in one moment is only sixteen. Forgive her for what she won’t say. It is all she has.<br />

3.<br />

If he could, this man would lecture me kindly on what I do not know and on what I know better than he.<br />

There is little that progress cannot teach us, he’d intone. Women are a certain thing, a certain way. His<br />

spectacles, small and wire, reveal my liberation, in which he partway believes.<br />

What he does not see: the discoloration of his face framed with purple, then blue burst of chemical flower.<br />

His eyes untouched and shining from the center, beard trimmed but feral. The humanity in him stitched from<br />

something wild.<br />

From his jacket an object emerges, a blankness or a book. It’s his auricle pulsing forth, the book he has<br />

written, the one that contains all the rules of his life and the love who was lost down river. She had never<br />

learned to swim, or swam too well.<br />

4.<br />

You are iconic with globed eyes and eggshell skin, yet as I write it you refuse the designation. I try to hold<br />

your face but my eyes are drawn down to one small hand in black glove, in shadow, and another firm and<br />

naked on the arm of the chair. A strong hand and a masculine face beneath white wimple, blank halo. The<br />

usual pink mercurial glow and a robe like a judge’s: silk, tassled, obscure. You weigh knowledge in one hand<br />

and doubt in the other, what you saw and could not see. Two like quantities pressing on opposite hands.<br />

5.<br />

I name them lovers, that sort of brother. They hide from the camera how they are connected, and yet their<br />

jackets touch. The young man is hale in his pinstriped suit, wild cowlick above careful part. The elder recedes<br />

in his pale three-piece: sallow cheeks, trim moustache, knowing droop to left eye. Early pictures were mirror<br />

opposites. Silence became clatter as the longing ghosts moved in next door.<br />

14


6.<br />

I would read every page of the book in your hand if I could open it. The photograph captures the spine and<br />

the glut of the hardback’s gilding, a sliver of page as careful and modest as the point of your white throat.<br />

You sit rigidly while your mind composes a decades-long poem to God. Specks of changed metal descend on<br />

your bookish cell. You ask questions regarding salvation, but I have no answers and merely take notes:<br />

transcendent bibliophile, alchemical, oddly dressed.<br />

7.<br />

A girl my daughter’s age, gypsy, stunning, utterly alert. Rings etched onto right-hand fingers reveal her early<br />

marriage to beauty and reckless dancing. A child of the bleak Midwest defies her dutiful bloodline, takes to<br />

wandering and asymmetrical curls. Wry lip closes over a mouthful. They have caught her for one minute,<br />

before her mind once again changes. Through her life she stores them up, the revelations, the heaven in hell.<br />

I am not sure who she tells. A playmate, husband, river, aunt, dying elm tree, mouthful of jam.<br />

8.<br />

A boy shot from a distance clutches his scroll of plans. Overwhelmed by the frame, he nonetheless looks on<br />

boldly from beneath a grey felt derby. The room around him radiates hairline cracks. His face is the young<br />

end of handsome behind scratched glass and encircled by foil. The upper edge of his photograph is etched<br />

and dark, yellow film peeled. Though trapped, he is alive. The exhibition slips from its place.<br />

9.<br />

I have broken loose from my case. You toss me downriver like a lucky bottle and the glass green message I<br />

carry: these bonnets are damned uncomfortable, and without the love of God I’d never get through a day in<br />

one.<br />

Don’t doubt a minute that my own heart hurt as Penelope walked along the bank searching for a proper<br />

switch. And as I struck her with it, I felt the fire myself: a punishment for us both. Better this now, I<br />

whispered, than for eternity. Feel your sharp sin now so there is time for repentance, and after that cake.<br />

She didn’t go hungry. I fed my children no matter what they did. I would give it to them from my own<br />

mouth, my own wrist. You doubt, you question, as if you are not brutal. You chew the bird one century after<br />

I snapped its neck.<br />

10.<br />

The words I contain are of sadness, not finery. If you watch long enough I will open my mouth and stain my<br />

dress with my secret. What I have to say is only what you are learning. I find freedom as any woman does:<br />

find, lose, find, lose, find in losing and so on. Black lace traps the skin. I beg you, go on with your day.<br />

______________________________________________________________<br />

Previous publication, with copyright returning to author:<br />

Obscura: The Daguerreotype Series, chapbook. Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, 2007.<br />

15


Sara Ghoshal<br />

Heavy Air<br />

For Ron Padgett<br />

I.<br />

It hangs. As you walk out, you encounter a force so great it must be alien. It must shoot spaceships at you<br />

because you can’t walk, you can’t run, you can’t make it to the suburban jungle you’re supposed to be saving.<br />

You can only sit where you are and contemplate how it could possibly be so full.<br />

II.<br />

When it comes spewing forth, spit gets on my forehead. I think a drop landed on an eyelash. He is angry.<br />

Tired. Exhausted from the repetition and his feet drag hard enough that they don’t stir anything up at all.<br />

They just add to the dust, to the unfounded specimens crawling toward the crack in the bathroom wall.<br />

III.<br />

Someone once told me it’s a sign of sun poisoning if you get chills while laying out. If this is true, then I have<br />

been poisoned since the ‘90s, reveling in the chill that comes with a soft breeze on Belmar with my novel and<br />

my absolutely unwavering belief that any place with sand counts as vacation.<br />

IV.<br />

I am not serious enough. The most shocking word I use is fuck. I just can’t see myself using the word<br />

menstrual in a poem. It seems dirtier, less correct than fuck. It seems like it would stomp on fuck, it would<br />

send fuck to the butcher, it would hang on to fuck’s neck like a monkey.<br />

V.<br />

Two weeks ago, that bonsai tree was so bright green I thought I could eat its leaves and juices would come<br />

fresh out and they would taste like lime. It was shining, waiting for Buddha. Then the leaves started sinking<br />

hard, drooping with the weight, clipping themselves off with wet snaps. Today, it recovers.<br />

VI.<br />

Her jealousy stares at life unflinchingly, expecting that which is not hers, wanting that which should be hers,<br />

constantly miserable, constantly looking around the corner, up the hill and down the street to the place she<br />

used to want but now just wants to want. Red dresses run past her in haste and she sits on a metal bench,<br />

defeated.<br />

VII.<br />

There are at least 100 steps to our bench and it smells like punk rock in here. Salty and unequal. I am unable<br />

to make it past, unable to propel myself forward with simple movements. I can only remember the words to<br />

the song. I’m not a cool guy anymore.<br />

VIII.<br />

He crouches in dirty jeans – really dirty jeans with actual dirt on them, streaked, not just worn a few days in a<br />

row, for hours, meticulous. A light sits across from him, too bright for the daylight but just fine up here in<br />

the land of insulation and lost boxes of naked Barbie dolls and rolled up carpets brought home from college<br />

and salvage from the storm. He drinks more water than anyone I know.<br />

IX.<br />

The words hang there, stuck in a spider’s web, sitting on invisibility. “You are not him and you never will<br />

be.” But I am me, better than him, I have more money than the him that is not really him but is really the<br />

him that used to be me. And my mother said I have more smarts.<br />

16


X.<br />

We’re all tired. And in the winter, when we are scraping windshields, when we are adding ten extra minutes to<br />

the morning routine to bundle up (hatscarfglovescoathood), when we are watching it come down in blankets<br />

and throw pillows and soggy circles that only glitter for a moment, when we are picking dead leaves off of<br />

beloved, named plants, when human interaction is severely cut, seriously hampered, and the streets are quiet<br />

with the buzz of the efficient walker, we will dream of being this tired again, of burnt toes and early morning<br />

runs. We’ll dream of when it hurts to breathe.<br />

17


Derek Graf<br />

In the Rendaku Forest<br />

Leave home gray animal, you wild bright—hold this song until you burn: gray like the branches we walk on,<br />

our breath brushes through the low dim of dawning. Your violet iris bruising under sky-lids lidded by frost: in<br />

this river all we know is violence—crowing vigils, united in crimson we moon-glow: this fabric clasped with<br />

your pale arms clots the wind tonight; my psalm-body mutters under lines of driftwood black unlike the<br />

breath of rivers—heretical, always descending at hills beyond. Distant barrows dome dusk into curves of<br />

needled trees: with the night turning to stone, our palms are where we cannot speak of the stars magnetic and<br />

heavy with blood.<br />

18


KT Gutting<br />

Arachnid, In Allegory<br />

There is no fire in this cave, no light.<br />

The orbweaver who lives here rakes shells<br />

and exoskeletons out with the tide every night<br />

by her angular legs, through determination,<br />

through damned-if-she-does, through don’t,<br />

to smack against the horizon. And they will<br />

strike it, that illusory sharpness, and split cleanly<br />

into sun or ocean depth to still. Yet the orbweaver,<br />

scraping her cave faithfully of bone, remains<br />

in motion, silently spinning her moonless hole—<br />

some web in the dark, a letting cold, and for this<br />

that’s caught, there is no other word but no.<br />

19


Sara Henning<br />

Pillow Talk<br />

It’s only boys kindling ball rockets. Neighborhood boys burning their fingers on taut-strung bangers. All you’ll say—though<br />

I’m thinking, will the gun shots barrage the air all evening? Though I’m thinking, will they brocade what’s volatile into the<br />

air at dusk? Show me boys crushing fallout duds into soil, how they curse while praying for a double break to<br />

ease the loss. Show me the one holding the Roman candle too long, palm enthralled by the cardboard-choked<br />

clay seal, the flame swathing the pyrotechnic star, and everything torched careening from the tube like a<br />

bullet. Hush now, you’re saying, but it’s the ghost of the boy’s hand I won’t stop thinking of, the blast’s<br />

reverberation, his cry beveling against the bedroom’s heat-flecked walls. Wait for the bells, you’re saying, as<br />

though they’ll helix through the sepia stillness of morning from the Church across the boulevard, but I’m<br />

thinking of the mother replaying her son’s finger shorn, stitched and abandoned by the cosmos. Sleep now,<br />

you’re saying, but you’re on top of me. Tell me no one is dying with ringing in his chest, I’m whispering, I want to<br />

scream, but you’re indicting me with your body, not your words. So I’m telling myself, the boys are only holding<br />

the lifting charge of their transcendence against each other. I’m crying, for anyone who can hear, the boys misfiring are<br />

turning into men.<br />

20


Rae Hoffman<br />

Babel<br />

For Ben<br />

Show me your scarecrows, your sidewalk hieroglyphics. Show me your funeral procession, your seven-gun<br />

salute, your painted eyes, your afternoon flutes. Show me your blank pages, I’ll touch them, I’ll stuff them. I’ll<br />

change them. I’ll leave them. Show me your red lines, your revisions, your clean cuts, and last minute<br />

indecisions. Show me your antechambers, your drywall, your railings, your <strong>shr</strong>ill birdcall. I want to fill your<br />

mouth with crescent moons, white lilies, and civil war pantoums. I want your histories, your rebirths, your<br />

crystal chandeliers. Show me your minute hand, your chromosomes, your midnights. Show me your<br />

Redwoods, your crisp collars, your typhoons, your stone and mortars. I’m falling apart. The world is falling<br />

through me. I’m a big empty box. Point me in any direction. Tie my hands together. I’ll walk up your granite<br />

stairs, I’ll climb on your roof and howl at the rolling fields until someone, anyone calls back.<br />

21


Jennifer Jackson Berry<br />

Fat Girl at Weight Watchers Meeting<br />

I’m supposed to tell<br />

everyone I’m dieting<br />

& give away pants<br />

as they get too big.<br />

They say if you feel bad<br />

about your loss, go to<br />

a grocery store, pick up a bag<br />

of sugar, of flour, 10 lbs.—<br />

that’s what you used<br />

to carry around your middle.<br />

We clap for lost quarters<br />

of pounds. This is the first time<br />

I’ve lost more than sticks<br />

of butter. When I slip,<br />

when I cheat, I try<br />

to imagine the alternatives.<br />

But I fear the canula—<br />

that lipo tool, long<br />

like a princess’s wand.<br />

The doctor thrusts in & out<br />

just under the skin<br />

like fast sex & the sucking<br />

in like a little girl’s gasp<br />

when she sees a prince.<br />

22


Brett Elizabeth Jenkins<br />

National Dream Share Day<br />

I go up to the woman with the green coat<br />

on the subway and tell her about my dream.<br />

You were there, I say. It was the opposite<br />

of a nightmare. There were popsicles.<br />

She tells me about her brother rolling<br />

away from her in a gigantic birdcage, down<br />

and down a grassy hill, until he disappeared<br />

and was never seen again. I overhear two<br />

Japanese men outside a bakery crying about<br />

their mothers. In the distance, an elderly man<br />

flails his arms in front of a crowd of people.<br />

The chipmunk was nine feet tall. He had<br />

Shaquille O'Neal's face. Tomorrow morning<br />

we will not make eye contact. I think<br />

of touching her green coat. I want to ask<br />

about her brother. I never do.<br />

23


Mark Allen Jenkins<br />

Removing Hurricane Debris<br />

When last August hurled<br />

the first hurricane of the season our way, I laughed<br />

at your use of packing tape to secure<br />

glass windows in your rented house,<br />

Its only ability to not peel off glass.<br />

It’s what the locals did to prepare<br />

for a hurricane. Fill their gas tank, run<br />

to the store for beer, ice, Zapp’s potato chips, anything<br />

they could grill. Outsiders, we compare it to tailgating.<br />

I’m unsure what you were protecting- a bathroom<br />

door whose antique knob turned then broke, stubby<br />

florescent lights, rental offwhite shag<br />

carpet that absorbed Natural Light. A bike, used<br />

to ride to campus once in a harrowing, near<br />

injury over profound experience. A backyard<br />

no mower ever tamed.<br />

I try not to think of my<br />

apartment down the street- putting off<br />

packing, emptying, until the last<br />

minute all of it, plates, a freezer<br />

full of chicken, popsicles, Jim Beam.<br />

A packing feels like a retreat, an army<br />

of me pushed too far south, Louisianan<br />

Gulf Coast ate away at my shoes and car.<br />

The only thing left was to head west to Texas,<br />

leave the mildewed concrete behind.<br />

As I slowly make my way<br />

up your house’s windowpanes, each swath<br />

of tape, glue, and gel, removes traces of your<br />

short time here, but like my thumb, indented<br />

where it extended the scraper’s blade, each future<br />

resident will notice small traces that can’t be scraped away.<br />

24


Les Kay<br />

Between bouts of insomnia<br />

we munch microwave popcorn as<br />

New York, Washington, Los Angeles,<br />

Sydney, Tokyo, Moscow, Paris,<br />

and London all simultaneously<br />

explode beneath mint-green lasers,<br />

and mankind slowly resists<br />

enslavement to extraterrestrials<br />

that look almost exactly like us;<br />

we sip corn-syrup-rich generic soda<br />

as a hitherto unknown virus<br />

slips through spider monkey cages,<br />

breaking the underfunded lab’s<br />

overly lax quarantine procedures<br />

before spreading faster than meme<br />

to every metropolis, every shopping mall.<br />

All night disbelief is ghost,<br />

a gentle coo dismissed as wind—<br />

the faintest clink of chain and iron.<br />

Suspension lasts until daybreak<br />

when bright-winged cardinals whistle<br />

for clay-colored mates, and you<br />

turn again to the same damn song:<br />

crosswords, cover letters, résumés.<br />

25


Jill Khoury<br />

The Eye Surgeon<br />

I do not wish<br />

my eyes symmetrical<br />

I would not trade<br />

the almost-sight of<br />

finch, jay, cardianal<br />

for a pixilated<br />

viewfinder<br />

*<br />

We do this procedure all the time on children<br />

If you were four years old we would just get it over with<br />

*<br />

The horizon is<br />

horizontal; the<br />

horizon is<br />

vertical<br />

*<br />

I should<br />

just<br />

do you<br />

and get it<br />

over with<br />

*<br />

They begin<br />

decompression<br />

*<br />

To them<br />

I am a projection<br />

I am so<br />

many deep<br />

I will be so<br />

many wide<br />

so many<br />

high<br />

*<br />

26


I enter<br />

prairie<br />

Graze<br />

bluestem<br />

with my<br />

fingertips<br />

27


Erin Koehler<br />

Identifying the Ruby-throated Hummingbird<br />

I spent my twentieth summer thinking about beardtongue<br />

& the benign polyp in my mother’s colon.<br />

I diagnosed the problem: eating<br />

too much of her father’s rhubarb without<br />

any sugar. It wasn’t diabetes that snapped his heart—<br />

the dark jewels on his skin were to blame. The black<br />

masses growing like when I was thirteen & fed<br />

my Venus flytraps dead pool insects. Their bodies<br />

slow-wilted, soft & the flies came at last<br />

to the mold-tomb bodies of chlorinated<br />

nectar. It was my mother who found him & folded<br />

his foxglove eyelids—<br />

& when her children went to college, she still drank<br />

on her own, a gallon of milk a week.<br />

28


Rachel Lake<br />

Property<br />

Browns Mills, NJ<br />

This is not the house where my brother almost shot<br />

himself, but missed. The crumbling hole in drywall<br />

hasn’t committed itself to the top of the staircase<br />

that leads into the basement, which stoops<br />

like a dislocated shoulder. This place is old, but<br />

in a different way, like a stained hand-me-down<br />

sweater. There is no well here and the faucet<br />

doesn’t smell like eggs, but there is a dirt road,<br />

even now, after I’ve come back to clean the house<br />

for new tenants. There is dog piss on the walls,<br />

poison ivy in sly trails beneath the bishop’s weed<br />

and woodruff. The woods opposite the house<br />

are filled with gypsy moth caterpillars. I remember<br />

raiding their white-knit nests and letting their small<br />

flax-furred bodies envelop my hand like bark<br />

until I couldn’t stand the itch—<br />

their thousand legs—and I dropped them. I’ve seen<br />

the hunger they inflict, forests stripped and leafless,<br />

and it’s almost enough to persuade me to close<br />

my heel over their soft bodies, but I stop.<br />

The proportion feels cruel, the orange diamonds<br />

on their backs too perfectly aligned. I don’t have<br />

the nerve to love that way. Years ago, my brother<br />

flew out the front door. His father swung<br />

and missed, cuffed the doorjamb with the side<br />

of his fist. Thrown across the grass and shaking,<br />

my brother covered his face with his hands<br />

and cried.<br />

29


Kristin LaTour<br />

After the Sewol Sank, 2014<br />

There are empty spaces in the rooms<br />

our children are not crowded into, no cries.<br />

We stand on the beach and call their<br />

names into the wind, but they are just<br />

carried back to us, transparent. We<br />

are not grateful for imagination and<br />

experience. The water is cold. Underneath<br />

the surface is dark. The boats pump air<br />

into the cavities to keep the ferry afloat.<br />

They are like lungs. The ferry is a shark.<br />

One mother asks, see, this child, round<br />

faced, almond eyes, laughing? She loved<br />

goats and sparklers. Another shows her child<br />

dancing in a loop, hula hoop around his waist.<br />

Their bodies are now cradled by arms that weep<br />

seawater when they bring them above.<br />

They are <strong>shr</strong>ouded in a tent, then blankets.<br />

We are told their fingers are broken.<br />

How hard they tried to climb out, how<br />

metal doesn’t care about tendons and bone.<br />

The searchers are blind, reach forward<br />

in the darkness for softness. The water is cold.<br />

Underneath the surface is dark. There is<br />

nothing between them and our daughters’ hair<br />

flowing black, the jelly of our sons’ eyes, the supple<br />

breast or curve of a knee. We try to be thankful<br />

for touch and connection, that fingers can feel.<br />

They are <strong>shr</strong>ouded in a bag, the a tent, then blankets,<br />

then caskets. We are asked to look at their hands<br />

and ankles, find marks that show they belong<br />

to someone. We do not see their faces.<br />

We want to be thankful for their youth<br />

the soft breath of sleep we watched when<br />

they were just born. We want to be thankful<br />

that they were together in the end, embracing<br />

each other until—<br />

The monks continue praying, eyes closed, facing<br />

the sea, silent and wrapped in orange cloaks. Mourners’<br />

candles are shielded from the wind by cups. Who shielded<br />

our children from the water? Who will shield us<br />

as we walk before their two hundred portraits, the scent<br />

of lilies perfuming our grief?<br />

30


M. Mack<br />

To see<br />

the thing<br />

To make the shadow of the thing look like the thing, you must trick the light. I<br />

contort my fingers against pavement, and the shadow waves. My middle finger<br />

appears there as thumb, my fingers stretch away and then into familiar lines.<br />

On a sidewalk at night, in the space between two streetlamps, there are always<br />

two of me. I follow myself, uneasy. On a bright afternoon, after making a hand<br />

from my hand, when I approach a double-paned door, I have a double I can see.<br />

31


Sarah Miller Freehauf<br />

Melancholia Blinks<br />

The morning of the massacre<br />

I found two of them. Babies.<br />

Likely born within minutes<br />

of one another. But I couldn’t<br />

ask their mother. She stood dumb,<br />

blinkless. On the edge of concrete.<br />

Both of their bodies rose and fell.<br />

With a slam of the screen door<br />

Daniel somehow picked them<br />

both up. No bleeting.<br />

Likely bleeding.<br />

I sat upstairs in squares of sun. Waiting for their charcoal to rest.<br />

The lambing-time. The hard hours.<br />

Later I found them. Dry. One<br />

with her head facing sun. Half-yelling<br />

eyes not old enough. He curled as<br />

tightly as when he fell. Head tucked.<br />

Isn’t that how it is? Head up, head down,<br />

death. No matter the matter.<br />

I used a silver kitchen spoon to dig their graves.<br />

A spoon. Because they were so very small.<br />

I threw it away and vowed no food that day.<br />

Later, I saw him eating animal off a bone.<br />

We do that, as humans. Spoon-dig graves<br />

eat our own after. In fellowship.<br />

In their grave now. Head up, head down.<br />

A burnt offering for the Midwestern haze.<br />

I can see their blood pigment to black.<br />

Carbon bones gone soft. Blood gone hard.<br />

How long does this all take?<br />

Soft hearts, always blink.<br />

32


T.A. Noonan<br />

Wolf Pelt: $50<br />

The huntsman drew off the wolf’s skin and went home with it…<br />

He’s outside because he smells; the rot clings years later. I hear he bathed him in baby shampoo. I hear he<br />

stays in the greenhouse because it didn’t work. Today, he rests in a flowerbox, not unlike all those red hoods<br />

in my bottom drawer. But he is fur. Whiskers smoothed, nose leathered and glossless. One socket pinched<br />

like a flattened seed. One open, staring at his split belly. Socket wide, shadowed. There’s something in there.<br />

Ghost of jaw. Fold of muzzle. A single paw jutting up and out, the better to hug me with. I can’t smell him<br />

from here, though. What I smell is coffee. I imagine he could smell the same—earth made thinner, lighter<br />

with milk. He would not see the sill above the sink as I do. The way winter sun cuts bottles into green, amber.<br />

And that skull, painted with devils and flowers, an offering to some unknown god. I wonder if he would put<br />

it on if he could. It would give me something to turn to the door. He would want the rest of his bones, too. I<br />

wonder what he thinks of me. If he knows I would trade skins with him now—just once—to slink out of this<br />

home, these woods. To smell skunk musk, touch my nose to bones. I wouldn’t smell them, though. They<br />

don’t have a scent. It’s what happens when something is finally clean.<br />

33


Al Ortolani<br />

Steam Engine 1023<br />

Your daughters dig out the sledand lean it inside the garage, readied<br />

for the overpass at Schlanger Park.<br />

Lamp lit windows hang against<br />

the house like flat screen TV’s.<br />

By nightfall, goose feathers loosen<br />

from the clouds and drift in the gray streets.<br />

You step out to the porch and breathe woodsmoke from a neighbor's chimney,<br />

and in the taste of cold<br />

you know today's disappearing, your memories<br />

sculptured in snow. Tomorrow,<br />

a girl with a red scarf flies down the overpass, her steel runners singing, cutting<br />

towards the chain link. For years<br />

the old locomotive has waited<br />

at the bottom of the hill<br />

for the fastest sleds, daughters like yours<br />

pumping their fists.<br />

34


Carla Panciera<br />

A Synonym for Flock is Mob<br />

The absent woolclasser, gun-shearer, the worldon-holiday<br />

feel of this hillside, leave the broomie bored.<br />

Amidst a flock of Dorset coveting their belly wool,<br />

he flinches again at visions of Arcadia.<br />

Please, God, don’t let that be the end result<br />

of meatless Fridays and Confession.<br />

Sheep keep their backs to him, shoot marbles<br />

out their asses and amass, a stinking cumulus, at the shed door.<br />

Whale-eyed, they don’t need to turn their heads<br />

to see him, but he knows they’re watching.<br />

The broken-mouthed, the suckers, shift on devil-hooves.<br />

They’re earmarked, too, against their god’s perfection.<br />

To think this is the paradise of knitters, of those redeemed<br />

by the Easter-cheery iconography of lambs.<br />

The world is delusion’s convert, replete with fairy tale lovers<br />

and those who believe that men rule beasts –<br />

a place where no one knows that sheep never forget a face.<br />

And why, he might ask the human conquerors, is that?<br />

To mark us, beards and all, of course, to drag data stores<br />

to their heft for future use we can’t divine.<br />

Where is the shepherd when he’s needed? The skulking dog?<br />

The butcher? The broomie remembers a public speaking trick –<br />

imagines a flock of poodles, pom pom tails, wool bracelets,<br />

the Continental clips of Westminster. He laughs.<br />

A cull ewe stomps her leg. Choreographed, pre-ordained,<br />

cud chewing halts. They’re staring now, those backsides.<br />

Sun slits barn boards. Fibers flit through razor shafts.<br />

Wind tries the latches, stirs the beasts.<br />

The hills resound with bleats, an ascendancy of code.<br />

Once the first sheep turns, it won’t be long.<br />

Brandishing his broom he wonders: Can I ape a wolf bark?<br />

Can I sweat the stench of bear?<br />

35


Christopher Petruccelli<br />

End of Days<br />

after Terrance Hayes’ “Origin of the Days”<br />

Sunday: the shine of stars is only turbulence,<br />

sunsets and rises redden with dust and grit.<br />

Fishermen watch the sun<br />

dip and streak the sky with cerise.<br />

At the end of the day,<br />

clouds are rosewood, and the fishermen’s<br />

families leave notes behind that read,<br />

Gone indefinitely.<br />

Monday: the moon is a single man in a dark room<br />

alone at night. He pulls the tides<br />

close to his face and smells the fractioned sea,<br />

salt hardly reaching his nose.<br />

The moon drowns out the Monday<br />

groan, sinking into the Seine.<br />

Tuesday: Mars appears,<br />

a fleck of rust in the night sky<br />

and grows to the size of a red hot.<br />

We see explosions from its surface<br />

like Wells predicted. The worst things will come<br />

in pairs—heat rays, black smoke.<br />

Wednesday: we are all busy little bees,<br />

Hermes is tired. He drops his caduceus<br />

in the middle of the street and says,<br />

Fuck it. Then, it’s nothing but runs on banks<br />

and inflation. The day ends with men<br />

trading stones for thistles.<br />

Thursday: the oak trees blaze<br />

from lightning strikes. Soot rests on burnt<br />

crowns, and the air smells like the coffee<br />

morning began with.<br />

Friday: The fishermen return to empty beds<br />

and packed tables, cook fatal clumps<br />

of strangely hominid ocean dwellers.<br />

Some have reservations, others don’t.<br />

All purse their lips as salt<br />

wrenches tongue.<br />

36


Saturday: We put out lawn chairs, watch<br />

Pestilence eat rotten apples as the other<br />

horsemen round the corner. The riders’<br />

snapping joints set the rhythm<br />

our world ends to—a march<br />

almost like a samba.<br />

37


Kate Soules<br />

The Moon Hanger<br />

Where the sun releases its final arcs<br />

and returns borrowed shadows to the depths<br />

(that is night)<br />

the moon hanger stretches forth.<br />

Waking from a moment<br />

slightly hunched with <strong>shr</strong>iveled hair<br />

he smells the night and<br />

steals towards the deep.<br />

He trails his twine behind.<br />

Nimbly he slides into the sea,<br />

becomes graceful in his descent<br />

to haul the moon to the surface.<br />

Latching twine to time he tugs the orb,<br />

hoists the heaviness of luminescence.<br />

He climbs the ladder in the stars<br />

the bulky bulb banging below<br />

until he comes to the last rung,<br />

the resting place of the moon.<br />

Here he pauses to gather strength<br />

until he can lift the final weight.<br />

38


Letitia Trent<br />

You, and You<br />

Thanks you for taking leave<br />

of me, if just<br />

for ten minutes,<br />

your black thread of static<br />

running through my forecasts,<br />

my films playing<br />

as I would have liked them:<br />

my talk slipping like<br />

honey from a hot spoon<br />

and an elegant settle<br />

into gestures like lines<br />

around a body.<br />

It didn't happen that way,<br />

but thank you<br />

for taking leave<br />

for a day, for two. In such<br />

permanent, purposeful<br />

absence, the mind<br />

insists—seal the thought-lid.<br />

Stop this. My dentist,<br />

when I came to him holding<br />

my cheek, said,<br />

his scraping hook<br />

against my gum,<br />

you cannot possibly<br />

feel this anymore.<br />

I removed the nerve, he said,<br />

turning up his soap opera.<br />

There's no there to hurt now.<br />

39


Letitia Trent<br />

Little Love Poem<br />

You move like a scarf<br />

across a throat you<br />

across a room or eye<br />

your hand tea-cupped<br />

around your chin<br />

Help me not to tell<br />

the same story<br />

over and over knowing<br />

it's pushing<br />

forward the apologia: why<br />

I would not let you<br />

touch me<br />

then the apex:<br />

how you drove us gently<br />

off the ice and into the angel<br />

breast: That's it:<br />

you move like ice<br />

across the road<br />

each day I drive<br />

denouement: in the<br />

embalming cold since<br />

I have been alone<br />

40


Donna Vorreyer<br />

Codependent<br />

A quick flick of the wrist, a smirk to hush<br />

a scream – this is how it all begins<br />

since we are tuned to violence. The lush<br />

strumming of classical guitars turns<br />

into the hyperactive pounding of bass<br />

in heavy metal diatribes. Slam dance<br />

just for two. Circle pit with no escape.<br />

Then the power ballad swells second chance,<br />

and it’s Cusack with a boom box outside<br />

my window and I can’t resist. Some say<br />

music can soothe a beast, and who am I<br />

to say they’re wrong? I wait another day,<br />

each breath a grace note. You, warped xylophone,<br />

me, cracked reed. We have never sung alone.<br />

41


Kami Westhoff<br />

Release<br />

The phone call about his release<br />

enters her ear like a letter<br />

opener. It’s unlikely he will cause<br />

you any more grief, she is told, but<br />

we want to be on safe side.<br />

Their daughter, only a month into walking,<br />

toddles into the gate at the top of the stairs.<br />

It quivers, and she worries about its installation.<br />

She’d never before held a drill, and its vibration<br />

settled in her throat like a lie.<br />

She thanks the man<br />

on the phone, and promises,<br />

at his insistence, caution. She imagines<br />

his head as two dots, a triangle, an semi-circle,<br />

arms and legs and body as simple<br />

as sticks. If he were real, flesh and shit<br />

and guts and bone, he would at least let slip<br />

a tone of defeat, regret, some hint<br />

of the pity one feels when it watches<br />

a creature, whatever its kind,<br />

drag itself roadside.<br />

The baby shakes the gate’s railing,<br />

her smile exposes gums erupting<br />

with bone. It is almost time for her dinner:<br />

mashed avocado, blueberries, cheese cubed<br />

smaller than necessary. Then her bath<br />

where the yellow duck tests the temperature<br />

and promises Okay. She lifts her, hushes<br />

her fussing before it begins. Its legs tighten<br />

around her hip as its chest twists away, back<br />

in an arch toward the gate.<br />

42


Kami Westhoff<br />

Early Warning<br />

On a fog-choked morning, they meet. He is taller<br />

than she expected, curls the color of coffee<br />

deflated from the damp. She has seen him before,<br />

bent in a hover over the lifted hood of a broke down,<br />

back arced, shoulders winged by the buck<br />

of a hay bale.<br />

He reaches out his hand to hers,<br />

exposes a nub where his pointer finger<br />

once was. She accepts his hand,<br />

feels its abbreviation against her line<br />

of fate. Hazards of country life, he explains,<br />

lifts his hand to her cheek. His touch<br />

zaps her skin electric for hours.<br />

In two weeks, she will meet his family. His mother’s<br />

eyes and smile will greet her in discordant<br />

hemispheres. His sister will approach, each step<br />

as cautious as a cow. His father will sink<br />

the knife into the meat, compliment his wife<br />

on how easily it releases from the bone.<br />

43


Megan Willoughby<br />

Babylon<br />

“When we first broke into that forbidden box in the other dimension,<br />

we knew we had discovered something as surprising and powerful<br />

as the New World when Columbus came stumbling onto it.”<br />

—Ken Kesey<br />

1<br />

i wanted to ask you how it felt—my fingers against your lips,<br />

the wafer on your tongue, a gift.<br />

2<br />

we climb the stairs to the bell tower,<br />

where the old piano lies tuneless.<br />

she keys the minor chords, their melody<br />

taut like flesh—i listen to the space between<br />

notes, exposed like snapped wires.<br />

3<br />

she says it’s bold to love a girl – eyes glow like cathedrals –<br />

makes it feel like your love halfway exists.<br />

i say her music is beautiful, she asks:<br />

do you know the pressure it takes<br />

to make diamonds?–turns like a bitch<br />

driven to bite—chews<br />

my tongue like canvas,<br />

keeps the tatters as trophies.<br />

4<br />

We are holy as fire—I could burn you<br />

with these notes, leave<br />

proof hanging on the piano<br />

like rosary beads.<br />

44


Sarah Ann Winn<br />

Theater of March<br />

Brown stage curtains remain closed.<br />

If you don't brave the bluest<br />

of the bruised clouds, you might miss<br />

the burst through when the buds slip<br />

their hands through the sleeves of twigs —<br />

some still brown mittened. some green.<br />

Soon the birds — the shyest ones —<br />

arrive with a kind of spring,<br />

if not one you remember.<br />

Cue: whiteout, paper birches<br />

unpeel, reveal stage notes carved<br />

deep, unweathered. Inserted<br />

in your program, a card requests<br />

a small donation — maybe<br />

a grape hyacinth, maybe<br />

a branch of pussy willows.<br />

The brashest forsythia.<br />

A bracing of melt. Check one.<br />

Leave it in the jar by the door.<br />

Right now, there’s only staging.<br />

Each set layer moves offstage.<br />

First, snowbanks part to reveal<br />

white-lit mountains, falling away<br />

blue silhouetted skyline.<br />

Redbuds approach on tracks upstage<br />

to down, advancing towards<br />

the audience — through the seats,<br />

the lobby, the parking lot,<br />

out to a clearing, a green<br />

place, applause in a field full of fiddleheads.<br />

45


CONTRIBUTORS<br />

Mandi Cook: Photography is how I fuse my digital interests with my traditional skills. When I began taking<br />

portraits, I wanted the photos to speak loudly. Art must have a soul - I believe our spirits are older and larger than<br />

our limited physical being. Our artistic influences should be larger than ourselves, and draw from an inner tenacity<br />

for life, not just the external world around us. View more of my work here: http://dr34mcrush3r.deviantart.com/<br />

Vinita Agrawal is a Mumbai based, award winning writer and poet. Her poems have appeared in Asiancha,<br />

Constellations, The Fox Chase Review, Pea River Journal, Open Road Review, and Mandala among others. She was<br />

nominated for the Best of the Net Awards 2011, awarded a prize in the Wordweavers Contest 2013 and is the author<br />

of Words Not Spoken. She has a Masters in Political Science with a gold medal and is a full time writer.<br />

Amy Ash is the author of a chapbook, Acme Book of Love (Main Street Rag). Her first full-length collection The<br />

Open Mouth of the Vase (winner of the 2013 Cider Press Review Book Award) is forthcoming in 2015.<br />

Callista Buchen is the author of the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press) and<br />

Double-Mouthed (forthcoming from dancing girl press). Her work has appeared in Arsenic Lobster, Blue Mesa<br />

Review, DIAGRAM, and many other journals.<br />

Lisa Marie Bastile is the founding editor of Luna Luna. She is the author of APOCRYPHAL (Noctuary Press):<br />

a holy, girly, neurotic text obsessed with its own secret world. Her poetry and other work is found in Best American<br />

Poetry, PANK, The Nervous Breakdown, Tin House, Prick of the Spindle and other publications. An MFA recipient<br />

of The New School in NYC, she runs DIORAMA, an intimate literary/music salon.<br />

A.M. Brant’s poems have appeared in Ninth Letter, Harpur Palate, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. She<br />

lives in Pittsburgh.<br />

Emily Cabettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL and received her Ph.D. from the University of<br />

Louisiana at Lafayette. Her fiction has most recently appeared in Noctua Review, and her critical work on Doctor<br />

Who is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century (McFarland, forthcoming). She currently lives in<br />

Maryland.<br />

Moriah Cohen’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hoot: A Mini Literary<br />

Magazine on a Postcard, Baltimore Review, and Narrative where she was runner-up in this year’s “30 Below”<br />

contest. She received her MFA from Rutgers University’s Newark Campus. Currently, she teaches at Ramapo<br />

College.<br />

Emily Rose Cole is a writer, folksinger, and MFA candidate in poetry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.<br />

Her debut solo album, “I Wanna Know,” was released in May of 2012 and is available on iTunes and Amazon. Her<br />

poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Stream, Weave Magazine, Jabberwock Review, Neon, and Word Riot,<br />

among others. She is working on a collection of persona poems that re-envision The Wizard of Oz.<br />

Chauna Craig’s stories and essays have appeared in magazines such as Prairie Schooner, Fourth Genre, and Flash<br />

Interntional and the anthologies Sudden Stories (Mammoth Press) and You Have Time for This (Ooligan Press). Her<br />

work has been recognized by the Pushcart Prize anthology and Best American Essays. She’s won fellowships to<br />

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, and Hedgebrook Writers Retreat. She teaches<br />

creative writing at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.<br />

Risa Denenberg is an aging hippie currently living in the Pacific Northwest who earns her keep as a nurse<br />

practitioner. She is a moderator at The Gazebo, an online poetry board; reviews poetry for the American Journal of<br />

Nursing; and is an editor at Headmistress Press, dedicated to publishing lesbian poetry. Her most recent publication<br />

is blinded by clouds (Hyacinth Girls Press, 2014). You can learn more about Risa at:<br />

http://risadenenberg.blogspot.com/<br />

46


Jennifer Faylor is a poet from New York City and has her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. She is the<br />

author of a choose-your-own-adventure poetry chapbook, “The Case of the Missing Lover” (Dancing Girl Press,<br />

2013), and a full-length book of poetry, Edison's Ghost Machine (Aldrich Press, 2014). She's been published in such<br />

places as Bat City Review, Black Heart Magazine, The Literary Bohemian, and Cleaver Magazine. Read her blog at:<br />

jenniferfaylor.com<br />

Ruth Foley Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears<br />

in numerous web an print journals, including Antiphon, The Bellingham Review, The Louisville Review, and<br />

Nonbinary Review. Her chapbook Dear Turquoise is available from Dancing Girl Press. She serves as Managing<br />

Editor for Cider Press Review.<br />

Julie Gard's prose poetry collection Home Studies was winner of the 2013 Many Voices Project at New Rivers<br />

Press and is forthcoming in 2015. Previous publications include two chapbooks, Obscura: The Daguerreotype<br />

Series (Finishing Line Press) and Russia in 17 Objects (Tiger's Eye Press), along with work in a number of journals<br />

and anthologies. Julie lives in Duluth, Minnesota with her partner and daughter and is Assistant Professor of Writing<br />

at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.<br />

Sara Ghoshal is from NJ. She currently teaches writing at Montclair State University and earned her MFA from<br />

Long Island University, Brooklyn. Her poems are forthcoming in a number of journals including Shampoo and<br />

Hermeneutic Chaos, as well as an anthology inspired by Hurricane Sandy. This poem comes from a collection of<br />

prose poetry that she is currently revising and hoping to publish, titled Peaceful Monster.<br />

Derek Graf Derek Graf is the author of the chapbook, What the Dying Man Asked Me, forthcoming from ELJ<br />

Publications in 2015. His poems will soon appear in Portland Review and Revolution House.<br />

Anxiety-ridden San Diego poet KT Gutting received her MFA in poetry from Saint Mary’s College in 2013. She is<br />

The Taxidermist for White Stag and her poetry has also appeared in the Bicycle Review.<br />

Sara Henning is the author of A Sweeter Water (Lavender Ink, 2013), Garden Effigies (Dancing Girl Press,<br />

forthcoming), and To Speak of Dahlias (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in<br />

such journals as the Green Mountains Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Connotation Press. She is currently a<br />

doctoral student in English and Creative Writing at the University of South Dakota, where she serves as Managing<br />

Editor for the South Dakota Review.<br />

Since graduating with an MFA from Wichita State University, Rae Hoffman has been published in Mojo, Kenning<br />

Journal, and was announced winner of the 2014 Cincinnati Library Poetry Contest. She spends her time reading,<br />

dreaming, and looking at pictures of pugs.<br />

Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But<br />

Candy (Liquid Paper Press). Her poems have appeared in Harpur Palate, Cider Press Review, and Mead, among<br />

others. Poems were also published in various anthologies in 2014, including We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody) and<br />

By the Slice (Spooky Girlfriend Press). She is an Assistant Editor for WomenArts Quarterly and lives in Pittsburgh,<br />

Pennsylvania.<br />

Brett Elizabeth Jenkins lives, writes, and teaches in St. Paul. She was nominated for Best of the Net in 2012 and<br />

2014. Look for her work in Beloit Poetry Journal, PANK, Linebreak, Paper Darts, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere.<br />

Mark Allen Jenkins is the former Editor-in-Chief for Reunion: The Dallas Review. Currently a PhD student in<br />

Humanities with a Creative Writing Focus at the University of Texas at Dallas, his poetry has appeared<br />

in Memorious, minnesota review, South Dakota Review, and is forthcoming in Every River on Earth: Writing from<br />

Appalachian Ohio.<br />

Les Kay holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati’s Creative Writing program. His chapbook, The Bureau, is<br />

forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2015, and his poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Southern<br />

47


Humanities Review, RomComPom, Whiskey Island, Sugar House Review, The White Review, The Boiler Journal,<br />

Borderlands, and elsewhere.<br />

Jill Khoury earned her Masters of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University. She teaches writing and literature in<br />

high school, university, and enrichment environments. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous<br />

journals, including Bone Bouquet, RHINO, Inter|rupture. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a<br />

Best of the Net award. Her chapbook Borrowed Bodies was released from Pudding House Press. You can find her at<br />

jillkhoury.com.<br />

Born and raised outside of Rochester, NY, Erin Koehler is currently a senior at SUNY Geneseo studying Creative<br />

Writing with a Native American Studies minor. Stone Highway Review is her first publication. Post undergrad, Erin<br />

hopes to find a career writing children's literature and being creative.<br />

Rachel Lake is a poet from New Jersey and a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence College's MFA program. You<br />

has recently been published in Glassworks magazine and The Bicycle Review. You can also find more of her work at<br />

Luna Luna Magazine where she publishes articles each month to their blog. To reach Rachel, feel free to email her<br />

at rachelklake@gmail.com<br />

Kristin LaTour's first full-length collection, What Will Keep Me Alive, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications<br />

in 2015. Her poems can be found in journals including Massachusetts Review, MiPOesias, Extracts and Menacing<br />

Hedge. She practices not going insane in Aurora, IL, where she resides with her writer husband and two dogitos.<br />

More information is available at kristinlatour.com.<br />

M. Mack is a genderqueer poet, editor, and fiber artist in Virginia. Ze is the author of the chapbooks Traveling<br />

(Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015) and Imaginary Kansas (dancing girl press, 2015). Mack is a founding co-editor of<br />

Gazing Grain Press.<br />

Sarah Miller Freehauf is the Managing Editor for Lunch Ticket Literary Magazine, a reader for [PANK] magazine, and an<br />

MFA candidate in Poetry at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She also teaches high school English and Creative Writing in<br />

the Midwest.<br />

T.A. Noonan's latest chapbook, The Midway Iterations, is forthcoming from Hyacinth Girl Press in 2015. Her<br />

previous books include Petticoat Government, The Bone Folders, and four sparks fall: a novella. Recent work can<br />

be found in Stirring, LIT, West Wind Review, Eleven Eleven, and more. A weightlifter, priestess, and all-around<br />

woman of action, she lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, and serves as an artist-in-residence at Firefly Farms, home of<br />

the Sundress Academy for the Arts.<br />

Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and<br />

the New York Quarterly. His fifth collection of poems, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released in 2014 from<br />

New York Quarterly Books. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place and is an editor with<br />

The Little Balkans Review.<br />

Carla Panciera has published two collections of poetry: One of the Cimalores (Cider Press) and No Day, No Dusk,<br />

No Love (Bordighera). Her collection of short stories, Bewildered, received AWP’s 2013 Grace Paley Short Fiction<br />

Award and is available from the University of Massachusetts Press.<br />

Christopher Petruccelli's friend Matt Fox says, "Chris is a springtime rose amidst dystopian rubble. A 40 in one<br />

hand and pen through his heart, never has society been challenged by beard or bard." But really, Chris just drinks<br />

whisky and smokes cigarettes with older women. His poems have appeared in Gingerbread House Literary<br />

Magazine, Connotation Press, Rappahannock Review and elsewhere. His chapbook, "Action at a Distance," is<br />

forthcoming from Etchings Press, University of Indianapolis.<br />

Kate Soules is from Vermont and enjoys hiking the Green Mountains, traveling, and punk rock. She has published<br />

in The New Poet, academically, and in journalism.<br />

48


Letitia Trent's first novel, Echo Lake, is available from Dark House Press. Her previous books include the poetry<br />

collection One Perfect Bird and the chapbooks “You aren't in this movie,” “Splice,” and “The Medical Diaries.”<br />

Trent lives in Colorado with her husband, young son, and three black cats.<br />

Donna Vorreyer is the author of A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013). Her work has appeared<br />

in many journals including Rhino, Linebreak, Cider Press Review, Stirring, Sweet, Tinderbox Poetry, and Weave.<br />

She is a consulting contributor for The Poetry Storehouse, which encourages remixing poetry with other art forms.<br />

Her second poetry collection is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2016.<br />

Kami Westhoff's work has appeared in journals including Meridian, Carve, Phoebe, Stirring, The Madison Review,<br />

Third Coast, and is forthcoming in Sundog Lit and WomenArts Quarterly. She received her MFA from the<br />

University of Massachusetts-Amherst and teaches creative writing at Western Washington University in<br />

Bellingham, Washington.<br />

Megan Willoughby is a writerperson from Los Angeles. She edits and reads submissions at the NewerYork. She’s<br />

currently working on a Creative Writing degree. Upon completion she will grow a beard, join the circus, and flail<br />

her way towards adulthood.<br />

Sarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or will soon appear in [d]ecember,<br />

Flycatcher, Lunch Ticket, Massachusetts Review, and Stirring, among others. Her chapbook, “Portage,” is<br />

forthcoming from Sundress Publications this winter. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her<br />

@blueaisling on Twitter<br />

49

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