A local geriatric club rented every tent site for their annual art show. It was the only weekend of the year Death Valley National Park would be fully booked. We showed up missing that last comfortable spot near toilet paper and portajohns. It was your first camping trip, and the first time you’d experience life below 65 degrees. It would be 32 inside our south facing tent. I explained we’d go “back country”, a hilarious phrase used by tame people, and sleep right on the mountain. You’d never been cold before and as the tent shivered into nightfall, you exhaled and saw your first breath leave you. You tested several more, silently, watching ice form against the canopy. Then laughed a little supernova out into the beyond.
Zachary Fishel teaches seventh grade in the world’s sunniest town. His work is widely published with two full credit titles to his name. When able he spends time hiking with his dog and eating ice cream with his wife.
My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true. We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet in those moments of a cold November day, we watched a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,
I've posted this before, on a depressing day probably just like this one. This poem makes me feel better. That's all I have to say on that. It turned out worse than I thought The champion defended his title then Eldridge Cleaver came on to talk about his reasons for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Grandma and I damn near fell out of our chairs Went to town and got crazy drunk Came back home, called you long-distance after cruising and drooling Mainstreet again This is my last wish and love poem It is as follows Want to hold the wake at noon with plenty of acid and rum No friends and relatives Ghost music by Hendrix and the Byrds drowning all sound as you fuck me to dust beneath the chickenshit Mormon sun. Links: http://www.limberlostpress.com/authors/161embree1.html
Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.