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Vol. 9, No. 4 Contents

Hunger  by LILY BRENT

2 February 2010
fiction, flash fiction

They couldn't get her to stop doing it. Crusts of bread, leaves of boiled cabbage, twenty-six grapes, flour in small plastic bags choked with red twist ties. They couldn't get her to stop doing it until she stopped doing everything, and after that it wasn't long until the end. Half bananas browning in their peels, dollops of sour cream in drawers, potatoes in slippers under the bed, red beets bleeding through the pockets of her pale yellow bathrobe.

Erwin Sturgeon's Surprise  by MOLLY MCQUADE

26 February 2010
fiction, short story

Two slender she's sauntered by on gilt heels. Weather: balmy. The place: an adult-ed lobby like the set of a Busby Berkeley film, but before the extras have shuffled on. How would the pair of women have handled a dissolute tumble into a pool with the best boy? They wouldn't have considered it. They would, however, consider backstroking through glistening patches of urban air in June. They shimmered like literature to Nan, a hungry reader with lush pages to turn. She didn't know which pages she should prefer.

The Wolf's Ladder  by TODD FREDSON

20 December 2009
nonfiction, lyric essay

Dad's glasses are on a Newsweek on the coffee table. Where my feet go when I am visiting. He is somewhere behind the bedroom door. My mother is on the couch. The tomatoes are all sliced. Such a strange displacement. I am four again.

She doesn't know what to do. She never knows what to do. I put my arm around her because she is amazing. I tell her that. Right now, I'm telling her that. But then, I believe we're beautiful when we're vulnerable. And her cheekbones have softened with tears…

Liebeslieder  by JOHN R. BEARDSLEY

23 December 2009
poetry, prose poem

Along the grassy creek-bank—upstream a beaver's dam, cobbled rust black limbs—all fragrance sunk deep in brown. The mud spattered turtle inches, and down in the slow bubble, the glass black and pebble, an eye—a cold February eye. It shimmers there, blinks; I am the frog song, the shrill whine of insects—

After Phosphorescence  by NELLIE BELLOWS & KEVIN MCLELLAN

27 January 2010
poetry, collaboration

A smack of jellyfish gelatinizes

the beach: man-o-war

blue bottles pop from hot

sand: tide churns these alien

bodies: we wonder why we

gather and destruct


30 January 2010
poetry, collaboration

not sure. the sun. but we knew.

the afternoons became burdens.

something to throw away late

at night. along with certain

perishables. under the yellowing

light the pickle jar. then morning

peeled peaches. then a still


Divining Rod  by J. P. DANCING BEAR

9 February 2010
poetry, prose poem

you've use that old cane you found for another purpose: you whittle the hand rest to look like a branch: with a discarded knife: you carve patterns into the rod: running your fingers over the carvings: they feel like ancient meaning: you place that fragment of shell: on an ornate string: attaching it to the hand rest: so it will dangle and hang: catch the breeze and spiral: a dowsing medallion: a cursor: to what?

The Bringer  by J. P. DANCING BEAR

6 February 2010
poetry, prose poem

you show up with pockets full of water: but what everyone notices is your large ears: someone whispers donkey: and gets the reply you mean like in Midsummer's Night Dream?: so what if you are different: you resent people jumping to conclusions…

Knuckled Under  by MARK DECARTERET

12 January 2010

We will chalk out where

your heart balked forever,

mangled into some kind

of a horseshoe, lucked

over for the very last time—


10 December 2009

                              The men in their ghost shirts before dawn.

                  Sunset swallowed like a snake's body

working on a smaller animal. River making the best of it.

                              You can see where garbage eddies in the shallows,

                  raccoon prints eroding from the silty banks.

I Shoot Stars from My Veins  by JASON JOYCE

26 December 2009

Crinkled like bad origami

Parched pores

Thirsty eyes

Conversion Blues  by CHRIS PEXA

15 January 2010

tell us about evening and about the bright

star tell us about the huge dark wall

where it is pinned so if no one is looking

the sky is really burning and tell me it is my eyes

that douse it all to soot, black branches

with one root in carbon and budding eternity.


18 January 2010

New husband, I have no

faithfulness to spoon into

our morning coffee,

and our evenings

are predictable as

the instars of caterpillars.

You snore, offer nothing…


21 January 2010

You're a trigger finger dug into the starting gun,

the smack as it fires, the tense stroke of hooves

pressing into a fresh track. You're the curiosity

of a flashbulb nibbling air, tricky camera lens

grabbing a mane as it quivers back. I'm a rising

overture of thighs. I'm dirt exploding midair…

Alessio's Hand  by KATRINA ROBERTS

2 December 2009

Comes to me in the dream of Odin's eye

resting in smooth silt at the bottom of the Well of Wisdom.

She was one of three sisters, her head thrown

back in laughter. It was hard to look for very long.

Are there still coyotes roaming those fields? A name floats

in—white eyelet, a dress. An armful of daisies…

Cartography  by KATRINA ROBERTS

6 December 2009

The body was one thing we always had

in common, even when between us

a continent unfolded. Eric says,

"We scattered his ashes beneath the Japanese Maple

here behind the house." No ceremony,

as you wished, but this…


8 December 2009

Why do we love you? So easy:

You have many faces

And each one shines upon us.

The Farm-Labor Camp Is Just Down the Road  by KATRINA ROBERTS

4 December 2009

Not coop so much as aviary. The way

everyone thinks

the youngest two are twins

despite their differences.

This memory of a blue dress

the tall man called a cool drink of water.

7 to 46th Street/Bliss  by KC TROMMER

24 January 2010

            When the train picks up speed, it sounds like a woman screaming,

one woman all over the city, releasing her heat in a high, steady wail,

            smearing her red mouth along the tunnel walls. I make and unmake

myself. When the doors open, anyone can come in, anyone does.

Stillwell, Oklahoma  by JOHNATHON WILLIAMS

13 December 2009

I pull a dog tick fat as a blueberry

from the small of my brother's back,

watch it roll, blood drunk

in the cup of my palm.


18 February 2010

Some are sparrows,

but generally wintry.

Some sparrows spell

rows or spar

when in discord.

Just listen beneath

the din then:

A contradiction

sings winged things

through cold seasons.

Milk or Whelk  by BRENNEN WYSONG

21 February 2010
poetry, prose poem

Who are you? Tinkerer or whistler? Whisperer or pickpocketer? Specter or wren? If a riddle, then answer in static trapped in antennas or flash powder dissuading children away from the dark. If not, when weather registers music in our bones, then answer with glass antlers shattering or stars carved of paraffin. Once, I dreamed of paper targets of a prey rare or fleet enough to make me turn away the gun.

Woods Shock  by BRENNEN WYSONG

15 February 2010

The wind in the beginning

meant the crying

inside the blackened lanterns

could carry a rare measure of music.

But midway

into the forest, we already heard

the stolen horses

whinnying within the ending.

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