Issue Thirty-Three

Songstress

At the bottom of a starless alley, in the mellow light of a bar lounge perched atop a mahogany stool, there is a songstress sporting a room-temperature smile. Outwardly, there is little evidence of the dark clouds that have been preening themselves for weeks in the...

Dear One

Dear One, My mouth waters at your obsolescence.  As soon as I find you, you’re gone again, these days, like food, or egrets. Thinking of you on this many splendored sieve of the salt flats, as it were. The salt flats being simply flats. Okay flat. One, weathered...

Poem After Poem

After Rachel Zucker’s “Poem” from Museum of Accidents Rachel Zucker wrote that Matt Roher told her not to go dark in a poem or rather when she sensed it was getting dark she should just not & Matt Roher told Chad Sweeney that he would read at Cobra Milk in...

This

I can’t do this anymore, I say, and say, and say. I say it to my soon-to-be ex. I say it to my soon-to-wed son. I say it to the moon. This? the moon says. This, I say. It’s the presumption of something, that there is something, somewhere, anywhere....

Solar Flare

To discover how to be human now. Is the reason we follow this star –Auden The flare wasn’t aimed directly towards Earth, NASA just released. The largest solar flare in recorded history. There’s a magnetic swirl of iron and molten, larger than the world’s oceans...

Endurance Glacier

It took a hundred thousand years to cultivate a soul this blue, so blue you don’t have a word for it. Your words aren’t ancient enough. Soon all that’s left of me will be the sound of katabatic winds and the clink of ice against crystal as you toast to your own...

Medusa has a Drinking Problem

The room spins. The ceiling falls. The floor criticises my dress sense. I did this to myself, I know that, but it doesn’t undo that last whisky sour. A gentle mist lingers in a city peppered with skyscrapers and too many people, and I stumble into the nearest parked...

My Hollows

– for Gary Snyder Let me say these words now, in the light, before you go – Wind across the North Cascades is unbearably quiet this morning I never hitchhiked a thousand miles of summer highway, put up hay, painted a boat, never stood beside footstones in a garden...

Dare

Half past nine at night and I dared to answer the phone. “Hello,” I said. “I’m surprised you picked up,” she said. “You never do.” I didn’t recognize her voice. “Ever wonder what you’re afraid of?” she asked. “I thought I’d call and tell you how I’m doing. You want to...

The Baker

I will measure and swiftly sift. I will do so carefully. While I think of my ricrac past like a hem on a faltering dress. That is still too pretty to let go of. There is no buttery butter so buttery you could melt. Or rabbit sugar flour. No spiked vanilla soliciting a...

From the Mouths

I’m home from school with a cage of eight rats my teacher won gambling. My mother’s on a call, making hmmms and ohhhs to our rotary dial phone. Her entire body hunches over her church friend’s high-pitched voice. When Dad gets home at six as always, his silhouette...

Brief Death

After I dropped my kid at school, I made the fifteen-minute drive back to our house. I realized, as I often did, that I couldn’t remember driving any of that stretch. I must have appeared unwell, because my wife suggested we look at the EKG on my watch. “You had no...

Three Poems

Things that Barely Move The continents. The hour hand. The arms of a cactus. Your chest while sleeping. Two magnets shaped like halves of an egg. An egg. A spider that knows you see it. Love. A birthmark. The brain. Any play written by a sculptor. The two of us that...

Brown

The first time you kissed a boy, you were eight. It was in a dream; a crazy dream. The act: however insignificant and nonsensical, brewed logical questions spilling at the pool of your mind. The questions, what kind of dream is this? What am I slowly turning into? In...

Bullets

Dad fed broken glass to the neighbor’s pet Rottweiler—I think his name was Spot. When I was a kid the dog kept coming over into our yard and tearing up the garden and pissing on the siding and one night eating hamburger meat that my dad had left out by the grill as he...

Sugar Cane

My vovô was a cowboy. The kind that herded cattle, slept under stars, travelled far, and came home to build a place to call his own. He chose his valley carefully: a hollow surrounded by hills covered in dense forest with streams that ran high with rain, overwhelming...

Maternal

I never felt the urge. Mel said it would hit like a wave. She knew, with three under five, but when it came for me it was quiet. A low thrum, like a weight curled up on my chest. I knew you’d come round. The café was a dingy place. I sat opposite Mel, sipped coffee...

A Different Wish

Traffic stops in both directions. I cross, past the stem of a truck, a sign of uprootedness. Outside the house where I once lived. Where a truck ponied through thick stems. Now the deprived porch has the power to stop lights, crushes before its crushed, writes drafts...

Undying

In a way he lived on—in the chaos, in our groans as we wakened that black night in our dorm. Operatic anguish: clanging cymbals, wailing voice, brassy blats that brought us staggering heavy-limbed up to our feet. Just noise to us: something to kill with a switch. So...

The Dark Woods

1 There are those who stand among the huge trunks of old trees and hear a silence made by things beyond our influence. This silence was heard by those who raised gothic cathedrals in Europe, in which we can stand today and hear redwoods sipping mists from the Pacific....

Toothbrush

1. Early summer morning. Last look at Bass Lake before Bette and Dena hit the Willow Creek trail. Cerulean, azure, turquoise. Each had her favorite word. How is it possible Nicki is not here? The trail gentles up hill, the creek a quiet liquid shimmer. The trail...

Vorarephobia

Fear of being eaten is an evolutionary relic, but sometimes I do feel the twinge when I see a cement mixer, or a jet engine, or a customer service representative from Verizon. “I want to talk about something which is interesting only to me,” I said. The chimpanzees on...

Anachronisms

Jane Morris Reads Wide Sargasso Sea as She Sits for Rosetti the fascination of a captive woman. the impossible pulp of full lips & large sad eyes, the long pale fingers fiddling with her wedding band as she anxiously awaits her husband’s rage. her thick auburn...

Close to You

1. The sun bleeds through his white hair—bleached. Each strand of hair the wire frame of an umbrella. Shirtless, he’s stretched out on the floor. The air—the fuzz of a peach—warm and quiet. His hands cover his face and he doesn’t see you leave the shower, but you see...

Crow Joe

Gentle and silent, living in his caravan, out in the trees, in the edge land, nestling in the selvedge of the town. Beyond the high tide mark of broken bikes, empty bottles, cans, old mattresses washed up against the tree line. In wordless, instinctive agreement, we...

Fruit Salad

Z ate the orange before the orange could eat him. That’s just the way the earth spins. Give a bushel a leaf’s length and those fruit will ripen into you. Swell and soften their skin against your cheek. Zest your eyelids, clutch your teeth with pulp, make your mouth...

My Exploding Uterus

Now that the politicians have taken away abortion, birth control is probably next, Mom says. So, she sets up an appointment with the gynecologist for me to get an IUD, an intrauterine device.  “I don’t see how I can get pregnant when I don’t even know any boys,”...

Songstress

At the bottom of a starless alley, in the mellow light of a bar lounge perched atop a mahogany stool, there is a songstress sporting a room-temperature smile. Outwardly, there is little evidence of the dark clouds that have been preening themselves for weeks in the...

Dear One

Dear One, My mouth waters at your obsolescence.  As soon as I find you, you’re gone again, these days, like food, or egrets. Thinking of you on this many splendored sieve of the salt flats, as it were. The salt flats being simply flats. Okay flat. One, weathered...

Poem After Poem

After Rachel Zucker’s “Poem” from Museum of Accidents Rachel Zucker wrote that Matt Roher told her not to go dark in a poem or rather when she sensed it was getting dark she should just not & Matt Roher told Chad Sweeney that he would read at Cobra Milk in...

This

I can’t do this anymore, I say, and say, and say. I say it to my soon-to-be ex. I say it to my soon-to-wed son. I say it to the moon. This? the moon says. This, I say. It’s the presumption of something, that there is something, somewhere, anywhere....

Solar Flare

To discover how to be human now. Is the reason we follow this star –Auden The flare wasn’t aimed directly towards Earth, NASA just released. The largest solar flare in recorded history. There’s a magnetic swirl of iron and molten, larger than the world’s oceans...

Endurance Glacier

It took a hundred thousand years to cultivate a soul this blue, so blue you don’t have a word for it. Your words aren’t ancient enough. Soon all that’s left of me will be the sound of katabatic winds and the clink of ice against crystal as you toast to your own...

Medusa has a Drinking Problem

The room spins. The ceiling falls. The floor criticises my dress sense. I did this to myself, I know that, but it doesn’t undo that last whisky sour. A gentle mist lingers in a city peppered with skyscrapers and too many people, and I stumble into the nearest parked...

My Hollows

– for Gary Snyder Let me say these words now, in the light, before you go – Wind across the North Cascades is unbearably quiet this morning I never hitchhiked a thousand miles of summer highway, put up hay, painted a boat, never stood beside footstones in a garden...

Dare

Half past nine at night and I dared to answer the phone. “Hello,” I said. “I’m surprised you picked up,” she said. “You never do.” I didn’t recognize her voice. “Ever wonder what you’re afraid of?” she asked. “I thought I’d call and tell you how I’m doing. You want to...

The Baker

I will measure and swiftly sift. I will do so carefully. While I think of my ricrac past like a hem on a faltering dress. That is still too pretty to let go of. There is no buttery butter so buttery you could melt. Or rabbit sugar flour. No spiked vanilla soliciting a...

From the Mouths

I’m home from school with a cage of eight rats my teacher won gambling. My mother’s on a call, making hmmms and ohhhs to our rotary dial phone. Her entire body hunches over her church friend’s high-pitched voice. When Dad gets home at six as always, his silhouette...

Brief Death

After I dropped my kid at school, I made the fifteen-minute drive back to our house. I realized, as I often did, that I couldn’t remember driving any of that stretch. I must have appeared unwell, because my wife suggested we look at the EKG on my watch. “You had no...

Three Poems

Things that Barely Move The continents. The hour hand. The arms of a cactus. Your chest while sleeping. Two magnets shaped like halves of an egg. An egg. A spider that knows you see it. Love. A birthmark. The brain. Any play written by a sculptor. The two of us that...

Brown

The first time you kissed a boy, you were eight. It was in a dream; a crazy dream. The act: however insignificant and nonsensical, brewed logical questions spilling at the pool of your mind. The questions, what kind of dream is this? What am I slowly turning into? In...

Bullets

Dad fed broken glass to the neighbor’s pet Rottweiler—I think his name was Spot. When I was a kid the dog kept coming over into our yard and tearing up the garden and pissing on the siding and one night eating hamburger meat that my dad had left out by the grill as he...

Sugar Cane

My vovô was a cowboy. The kind that herded cattle, slept under stars, travelled far, and came home to build a place to call his own. He chose his valley carefully: a hollow surrounded by hills covered in dense forest with streams that ran high with rain, overwhelming...

Maternal

I never felt the urge. Mel said it would hit like a wave. She knew, with three under five, but when it came for me it was quiet. A low thrum, like a weight curled up on my chest. I knew you’d come round. The café was a dingy place. I sat opposite Mel, sipped coffee...

A Different Wish

Traffic stops in both directions. I cross, past the stem of a truck, a sign of uprootedness. Outside the house where I once lived. Where a truck ponied through thick stems. Now the deprived porch has the power to stop lights, crushes before its crushed, writes drafts...

Undying

In a way he lived on—in the chaos, in our groans as we wakened that black night in our dorm. Operatic anguish: clanging cymbals, wailing voice, brassy blats that brought us staggering heavy-limbed up to our feet. Just noise to us: something to kill with a switch. So...

The Dark Woods

1 There are those who stand among the huge trunks of old trees and hear a silence made by things beyond our influence. This silence was heard by those who raised gothic cathedrals in Europe, in which we can stand today and hear redwoods sipping mists from the Pacific....

Toothbrush

1. Early summer morning. Last look at Bass Lake before Bette and Dena hit the Willow Creek trail. Cerulean, azure, turquoise. Each had her favorite word. How is it possible Nicki is not here? The trail gentles up hill, the creek a quiet liquid shimmer. The trail...

Vorarephobia

Fear of being eaten is an evolutionary relic, but sometimes I do feel the twinge when I see a cement mixer, or a jet engine, or a customer service representative from Verizon. “I want to talk about something which is interesting only to me,” I said. The chimpanzees on...

Anachronisms

Jane Morris Reads Wide Sargasso Sea as She Sits for Rosetti the fascination of a captive woman. the impossible pulp of full lips & large sad eyes, the long pale fingers fiddling with her wedding band as she anxiously awaits her husband’s rage. her thick auburn...

Close to You

1. The sun bleeds through his white hair—bleached. Each strand of hair the wire frame of an umbrella. Shirtless, he’s stretched out on the floor. The air—the fuzz of a peach—warm and quiet. His hands cover his face and he doesn’t see you leave the shower, but you see...

Crow Joe

Gentle and silent, living in his caravan, out in the trees, in the edge land, nestling in the selvedge of the town. Beyond the high tide mark of broken bikes, empty bottles, cans, old mattresses washed up against the tree line. In wordless, instinctive agreement, we...

Fruit Salad

Z ate the orange before the orange could eat him. That’s just the way the earth spins. Give a bushel a leaf’s length and those fruit will ripen into you. Swell and soften their skin against your cheek. Zest your eyelids, clutch your teeth with pulp, make your mouth...

My Exploding Uterus

Now that the politicians have taken away abortion, birth control is probably next, Mom says. So, she sets up an appointment with the gynecologist for me to get an IUD, an intrauterine device.  “I don’t see how I can get pregnant when I don’t even know any boys,”...

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