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Showing posts from 2021

Dennis Mahagin

Deer Lodge And I’m grateful for that autumn morning you helped me out at the dump: it was so cold I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes! Yet you hopped right in the truck bed, trampling the slick black bags of trash; you kicked the shit out of the tail gate, you kicked the fuck out of of the two by fours, right there where the sun had a name for the coming hail it despised, and it was bent nails, and friend, spent oil and rust; my mom had just died and the season was far too far and long gone. Another Eddy Money song came on the radio; I turned it up to ten again. I was strung out on pills, and kept a couple always melded between the cotton tongue and the roof of the mouth. Smiling sideways at me making the best of things behind my wheel, you tapped on the back window when the wind came up— a sneaking hunch or sucker punch one can only feel, a harbinger, oil-soaked floorboards or anybody’s bullsh

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Circle K Vapers 3 men and 1 woman. Standing right in the doorway. These Circle K vapers. Shooting smoke signals into the scandalous pot shot air. One foot on the bumper curbing in the parking lot. Customers trying to shoulder past. A face full of smoke for their troubles. Each time the attendant knocks on the glass brings a fresh round of laughter. The metal garbage can overturned so that the guts of the world spill out. Ryan Quinn Flanagan   is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as:   Evergreen Review, Live Nude Poems, The New York Quarterly, Rusty Truck, Red Fez , and   The Oklahoma Review .

Kim Malinowski

Comets Pretend we are strangers sharing patchwork blankets on a frozen field. That we aren’t staring at each other’s irises and counting freckles, your wild mane combed by my hand—the conservatory open and winds smelling of frigid freedom and the marvels of darkness where only red lights are allowed. Pretend our lips don’t meet—that you don’t cry out as the first comet streaks. Pretend that awe is for me. Let me capture that shriek of wonder—the darkness, Orion making his trip, and the deep freeze. Pretend with me. Ode of Oath I would protect you from everything if I could—even the sunbeams you flinch from— rays you guide me away from. I would steal your shade, my hand across your five o’clock shadow and hush you. Steal away the smoldering or give you cause to. Let me protect myself—even if you think it’s silly. That is how you can love me. I will lullaby you into history, our hands clasping, damp, flinging. Neither of us are ordinary—we’ll never be boring, huh? An

Mark Danowsky

Affirmations & Last Rites They say Patience is a virtue It gets harder every day I stay down with my demons No one knows me better I speak to lost souls Not just just on dark nights I don’t dance with demons Because I cannot dance with sincerity Tell me what you think about fate And I’ll tell you to listen to your body All this talk about mind-body connection As if there is no danger in it We pat ourselves on the back For self-awareness of a self we don’t believe in I want to paint or pick up an instrument To speak foreign languages The next word is not better It is simply next I’m sticking around for what’s next Since my body tells me there’s time Another tragedy in losing yourself all wrong Is the money you left on the table Please don’t let yourself go Even if you burn all the bridges first Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry , Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal , Poetry Craft Essays Editor fo

Charles Rammelkamp

Hide and Seek “A brother was a terrible thing. He was a lifelong competitor, yet you couldn’t hate him without hating yourself.” - Ian Rankin, Hide and Seek Whew. That was just a dream, just another regret-fueled dream, my parents and brothers long dead. I hadn’t run away from them, after all, hadn’t gotten lost trying to return, running down deadends, lost in places unfamiliar as dreams themselves, groping, time running out the way it does in dreams, almost tangible, fragile and fleeting as sleep itself. Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives with his wife Abby .   He contributes a monthly book review to   North of Oxford   and is a frequent reviewer for   The Lake, London Grip   and   The Compulsive Reader.   A poetry chapbook,   Mortal Coil , was published in 2021 by Clare Songbirds Publishing and another,   Sparring Partners,   by Moonstone Press. A full-length collection,   The Field of Happiness,   will be published

M.J. Arcangelini

At Raquette Lake (1973) For Bette Fireworks seemed like a great idea to Celebrate our new-found friendship; The 20 year old hitchhiker and The middle-aged birthday girl. She had some stashed at the cabin. The moon disassembled and reassembled Itself on the surface of the lake as we Approached with the recovered fireworks And the remaining half of a half-gallon of vodka. She lit the wicks in turn and then jumped back. There was the sizzle, then the fizzle as Each one hissed at our disappointment. We left them, useless, near the dock, and set out To peek into the windows of Unoccupied neighboring cabins To critique their interior design. The bottle going back and forth, While we passed the cool night with Gossip, giggles, and secrets revealed. As morning eased into the landscape The lake emitted a blanketing mist which Crawled across the yards, a persistent Nudge sending us at last to our separate beds. M.J. Arcangelini  (b.1952) has resided in northern Cali

C.W. Blackwell

Wharf Lights This evening starts without fanfare. A sheet metal sky invents us in a palette of gray-blues and muted greens as if we inhabit rooms full of cigar smoke. Couples on benches sit stenciled against the bay, their stillness is a photograph mounted and hung in a glass frame. The wind blows half-smoked cigarettes between the wharf boards, a woman catches them, stumbling in the tide— her eyes have no color, teeth like faded tungsten. Even the lit cherry flares like a scene in a Billy Wilder flick: a hot and colorless fleck in the shadows. The scene turns. Now wharf lights go flickering down the platform in a panoply of blue electric arcs. Sea lions bark in the cross-piles and octopuses whipsaw from their depths. Our eyes blink in sapphire codes, the lights invent us anew. It is what we’ve been longing for: to wake in bluish colors and drink and laugh and screw in that neo-noir glow beneath a blanket in the still-warm sand. C.W. Blackwel

Howie Good

Pertaining to Darkness If I look back, I see snakes and coffins, and if I look ahead, I feel myself walking on corpses instead of on the ground. There are deserts where there once were oceans, the stench of gasworks where there once were visions. Come night, shadows have sharp teeth and retractable claws and creep toward me without making a sound. I have slept for one-third of my life, and when I’m awake, I experience time as illegible colors or as thoughts I wish I never had. & Used paper face masks litter the ground. How’s that allowed? Even the crows on the wire must be wondering what the fuck. A series of incidents doesn’t necessarily add up to a plot. I want to shake this person and that person and tell them, “You can’t be lost in your own world all the time.” & I was sitting up in bed reading a book called People Love Dead Jews when I came across a passage quoted from the memoir of a Jewish sonderkommando. His responsibilities at Auschwitz concentration camp included dis

Yuan Changming

Last Meet with My First Love: for Yi Ming meeting you face to face you seem to hide yourself behind a fog in another world separated by the pacific in between you often look like the flower blooming on my window ledge have a blue dream and you will see a little cloud drifting around like me near that borderline I have packed you up tightly into my backpack, the luggage I cannot consign, or sent by mail but carry it with me close to my chest you are neither light nor heavy, but you will occupy a solid space in the closet of my heart Yuan Changming, with  Allen Yuan, runs . (poetry subs are welcome year round). Credits include eleven Pushcart nominations besides appearances in  Best of the Best Canadian Poetry  (2008-17) &  BestNewPoemsOnline , among 1,869 others worldwide. Recently, Yuan published his eleventh chapbook Limerence, and served on the jury for Canada's 44th National Magazine Awards (poetry category).

Steven Croft

All Hallows' Eve Sky fades over distant dark forest, chaff of wheat blowing tans and darker browns across a frosty, fallow field where the promise of green growth once lived in the spell of earth moist and soft where spring seeds once opened like a heart on fire with love. Now oil lanterns glow through the old-field schoolhouse windows as autumn's twilight vanishes to dark. Children appear in the door to follow their teacher past the sparks of a bonfire, just lit by a father, to neighboring homesteads. Their eyes candles of expectation, the night sky cold, full of stars. An Army veteran, Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of  New World Poems  (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in  Willawaw Journal ,  Canary ,  The New Verse News ,  The Dead Mule ,  Live Nude Poems ,  Quaci Press Magazine ,  Anti-Heroin Chic ,  Ariel Chart , and other places, and have been   nominated for the Pushcart Prize and

Chad Parenteau

Cambridge Doesn't Need Another Poet Camo facemask clashes with brick red sidewalk. Must have been picked off from afar. Summer solace in burger joint once regulared by my former worst enemy in letters. Revolutionaries spin before first doctrine, helicopter parent positions, roundhouse even right thinkers. Spheres spin off, unable to influence selves. Chad Parenteau  hosts Boston's long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. His work has appeared in journals such as  Résonancee, Molecule, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, Ibbetson Street , Off The Coast, Nixes Mate Review and  Wilderness House Literary Review.  He serves as Associate Editor of the online journal  Oddball Magazine.  His second collection,  The Collapsed Bookshelf, was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award.

John Tustin

The Crow Funeral If you see one in progress as you’re passing by, stop and take off your hat to honor the crow funeral. Unlike the rabbits or the trout, the crows hold funerals for their fallen. Not to mourn but to warn their brethren that this, too, could happen to them. Come look! Come see how your brother or sister has come to their end. Their caws not the wails of grief aimed at the heavens of which they have no concept but a call to the others to come and see what is horribly possible and maybe to gather a posse that will enact revenge on a perpetrator. They know of no afterlife, only today and tomorrow so danger cannot exist to them beyond what they have seen. They accept you there, seeing your manner and expression and knowing you mean no harm. As they gather not one of them thinks, “I’m glad it’s not me” but instead cries out to the others, “Be careful. This could happen to you.” They ruffle their wings in unison and you stand there awed

Jeff Weddle

Only for Jill Always, I try to write the poem with the secret and fail the poem which will reveal itself only to you and bring you elated to tell me that you have found that mystery you are certain but I fail and the mystery remains unknown though, darling, that is why every wrong word I write is yours filled with error, yes, but stumbling along with love Jeff Weddle is the author of several poetry collections and one collection of short fiction, as well as the Welty Prize winning Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of The Outsider and Loujon Press. He is associate professor of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. 

Rob Plath

the dark core of everything as a boy i remember watching my mother peel potatoes w/ a knife the way she held the blade the way her thin wrist turned & how she took just the right amount of flesh off & dug out spots of rot saving the most pathetic potatoes & how clean they all looked in the colander beneath the faucet & then decades later i remember how she got sick but still insisted on cooking & burned a pot on the stove after she passed out on the floor in the den & how i wished it was simple that i could’ve taken a knife shaved away the tumor cut out all of those terrible multiplying dark eyes until everything was clean again rob plath writes like a velociraptor is behind his back. he loves cats & the moon. find more of his work at  

Agnes Vojta

Fall and the Second Law of Thermodynamics It is the season of apples, crisp and tart. I transform them into crumbles, pies, and    comfort. They soften, lose their texture, sink into sugary union with the flour. September lifts the hazy skies of Missouri summer. Contours become clearer. The woods fill with yellow wildflowers; the species are easy to confuse. Does it matter for a poem whether this is  an ashy sunflower or a tickseed coreopsis? Confusion is easier than clarity. The second law of thermodynamics requires natureto fall from order into disorder. Atomic arrangements disintegrate. Ink dropped into a glass of water disperses, forms a cloud, spreads until the liquid is pale blue. Bubbles burst, unable to sustain surface tension. Organisms die. Autumn is the season of disordering. Of decay. Leaves fall; highly organized matter turns to soil. Returns to soil. Death is but an increase in entropy. If you look at it like that, there is nothing to fear. Agnes Vojta grew up in

Max Heinegg

Sisyphus Poets can't get enough of the boulder. Camus, who may as well have been a poet, said he loved that man in the frozen multiverse can choose to assert private meaning & justify the absurdity of existence, laughing back at the deathless gods, a savory bit of payback. My students call him Syphilis. Stop. I say, You're ruining the mood. Back to the rock: Gluck’s icy, but she rolls it easily. Homer’s is for Ajax to hurl, a ton weight. A millstone only Apollo can save Hector from, for now. I draw mine in dry erase on the wall by the window. Erudite vandalism? More small crimes for daily inspiration! Thinking less of Camus than reading D’aulaires, laughing when I read the husband/wife team wrote of the wily king on his return to the beloved, Fooled him again! Anything to be alive! To bask in the climb like Alex Honnold on the staggering face of El Capitan, smiling, granite-minded, all long handed limberness. Utterly prepared for the fab

Steven Croft

9 / 12 After the sky fell on the City, swelling its canyons, the talus slopes of smoke and carnage, the names of missing spoken as pleas into camcorders that swish pan to passing sirens, in the quiet towns and muted cities, tv screens blink images against our staring eyes. At Fort Stewart we clean weapons and watch CNN, fingertip smell of gun oil as hand reaches up, rubbing chin in thought, looking into this widescreen scry glass, any news of who did this to the staggering city predicting our future. "100 percent accountability" releasing us, I pass the parade field, sunset making a shadow over ground where a grove of crape myrtles, each named for a soldier, will soon grow, knowing safety can be counted, the months of it limited by news we will receive, that it's finite like grains in a bullet. Across the world, a desert moon none of us has seen yet rises over Sadr City....Now, years and all of our deaths later, I can look up, see it, feel it, its beau

Howie Good

Street of Tears There was a man dragging a grand piano containing a stone tablet of the Ten Commandments down the street, and a woman poking a severed hand with a cane. Black ants emerged from a hole in the palm of the hand. I wished Baudelaire was alive to see it. Any time now I'm leaving for ... I don't know where. Baudelaire fled to Brussels to escape his creditors in France. Meanwhile, advanced syphilis was devastating his brain. He could only speak in disconnected words and phrases that might have been mistaken for poetry. Howie Good is the author of Gunmetal Sky , a 2021 poetry collection from Thirty West Publishing.

Mike James

Memorial Day Some weeks seemed to be More nights than days Maybe darkness was just a hangover So many things you could mimic With your voice Owls and crickets thought you kin How did that all start? One thing happens Something else Then you chop up a picnic table To burn in the backyard You bet on how long certain embers will stay hot You talk about the driveway letter you will write with fresh ash Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines, large and small, throughout the country. His many poetry collections include:  Leftover Distances ( Luchador),  Parades  (Alien Buddha),  Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor  (Blue Horse), and  Crows in the Jukebox  (Bottom Dog.) He has received multiple Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations.

M.J. Arcangelini

His Fringe Jacket (1972) He figured he was at least half in love with her, most likely the half usually labeled lust. He was so in love with her that he gave her his tan leather jacket with the long fringe. He wore that jacket everywhere, even when the Ohio summer was too hot and humid for leather. He liked the way it made him feel, the weight of it, the way he imagined he looked wearing it at a rock concert. So when he gave it to her, because she told him how much she liked it, it was like giving her a dozen roses and a 2 pound box of Whitman chocolates. She liked it so much that she took it with her when she moved to the West Coast with her boyfriend. After she left he appeared diminished. In Oregon she soon tired of the jacket, which never really fit her right, and gave it to someone she'd just met. M.J. Arcangelini (b.1952) has resided in northern California since 1979. His work has been published in print magazines, online journals, (including The Jame

David Cranmer

Blue Man, head in his lap, outside my hotel window, healing in the Denver sun. Oblivious, as life bores around him, he frequently scratches both arms. I don’t get his poison, I’m a whiskey drinker myself, but I get blown apart. Pouring morning coffee, I keep an eye out, making sure no one flips him for his sneakers, watch, or a few bucks. As a security officer, paranoia is my natural state, the dull cloak I wear. He’s zeroing out as I’m ironing a shirt. By the designer threads he’s wearing, I’m guessing it’s heroin. His spiral may have him on meth, but his face doesn’t look all that fucked up yet. When he lifts his head, he reminds me of a younger and ultra-slim Warren Oates. Three quarters of an hour pass and Slim finally traipses off, I assume to the room where I’ve seen him go a handful of times before. Soon after, I head to my gig off Inverness West. Guarding an empty office of universal grey and beige. The sun that peeled the toxins from

Brian Glaser

Perseverance          -for Seamus Heaney The sky, where we could not ever live in the sea of the past, now we are on an island there, and everything has changed, the name of God in the swell, in the foreign atmosphere, the final spring of the sun. Brian Glaser has published three books of poems, including Contradictions with Shanti Arts in 2020. He has also published more than twenty essays on poetry. He works as associate professor of English at Chapman University in Orange, California. Twitter: @blendedbrian.

Catherine Zickgraf

Five-Thirty When brakes all light up at red lights, most drivers seem to go for their phones and scroll to touch the outside world, while some just get lost in their palms. The impulse to scan the devices in hand just fills the moment with foolishness— for where the mind makes its residence, there the heart will also live. Watch sunset sky spread dusk above us in fire-winged shadows of dying day. See the tidal blues wash up the horizon as night is reflected in oceans of space. Here under the city’s blessing of stars, I’m headed to get my son from practice. I cap my pen when the light turns green— excited to show him the seed of this poem. Two lifetimes ago, Catherine performed her poetry in Madrid. Now her main jobs are to write and hang out with her family. Her work has appeared in the  Journal of the American Medical Association, Pank ,  Victorian Violet Press , and  The Grief D

Frederick Pollack

Collapse of the Wave Function I’ve redone my forties more times than I can count. The latest version ended abruptly, down on the beach when some visiting oligarchs shot each other and witnesses. But usually I’m safe, there or on my balcony with my drink. The abs and springy hurtless hips derive from reps and runs I spent my twenties and thirties on, which no doubt bored me crazy but I did them. The money came apparently from two meretricious novels that metastasized into film. I try not to think about them. I think about my look. Half-awake, slightly stupid, bad but not mean and, of course, hot; when I walk the beach I’m like, if you get me, a vacuum cleaner … This coast is immune to pregnancy, emotion, STDs and cellulite, and I’ve stayed here the last several brief lives. I think about the novel, how a saleable plot is like a tectonic plate, forever inching toward disaster. I think about poetry, an ancient world without geologic activity, orange sun – how cou

Kenneth Pobo

Raylene Means Well Her pillow is ringing bells. She can't sleep. Several cathedrals pound in her ears. It must mean something, a new beginning, a truth that breaks out, sets a fire. Kenneth Pobo is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Uneven Steven (Assure Press). His work has appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Nimrod, Mudfish, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

Ace Boggess

The E is for Existential Coyote crossed cliff's edge, didn't drop before pause to diagnose as though he must scent gravity to be bound by it: the in-itself/for-itself falling: later, coyote-shaped crater in painted mud. Coyote would rise again to replicate his misadventures: blown up, face smashed against the blunt-pawed portrait of a tunnel. How foolish one acts when starving, helpless beside this blistering highway somewhere between birth & Albuquerque Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, J Journal, Harvard Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.

Juanita Rey

Lilapsophobia A storm's moving in. Please take care of me. According to the weather forecast, it will be as primal, as swirling, as a Caribbean la tormenta. Protect me from lightning strikes, cacophonous thunder rolls. I am embarrassed to admit it but I am in abject fear. You only know me as the vivalavirgen, the unserious Latina. But the air is about to spin in some violent vortex, bluster wildly, whip and shatter. Look at me. My face is as pale as brown ever gets. My eyes crunch together so I can"t see what I'm thinking. My hands tremble. Knees thump together. You ask "Is anything the matter?" If you don't take care of me then you're the matter. You're Late Mosquitoes save me from impatience. I’m swatting one after the other. And a motorcycle roars down the street, cutting the air in two. My attention thanks that machine tenfold. I’m tolerant at least for as long as my neighbor’s dog sidles up for a pat. And

Robert Beveridge

Queen of Pentacles The bar is only less than dim when the door opens, just before dusk and she enters, metal box strapped to her back, as it has been every afternoon, she tells me, for the past fifty-one years. A dollar a tamale, six for five and she hasn’t raised her prices since the day Newt Gingrich signed the Contract with America. I’ve never been a fan of that texture, the mix of sand and dough, a filling that never has enough spice to balance, but I know I’ll have to drive in eight or nine hours, and this well bourbon isn’t gonna absorb itself, so five bucks later there’s a bamboo leaf in front of me, six tamales still cornhusked across it. I finish my drink, stick another five in the mouth for a refill, pull out my pocketknife. The tie falls away like the alcohol-aided hours of wait between the time you get to the bar and the time the show’s supposed to start (an entirely different increment than that between the time the show is supposed to start and

Scott Ferry

april 15th and the moon is waxing but that doesn’t matter what does matter is that my daughter comes out to look at the sky with me says there you are when she spies me down by the garden where we see the last membrane of light wrap the lips of the distant olympics she doesn’t stay long i don’t either sometimes the eternal does not need much time to wash our fluttering eyelids— our metronome valves swishing oceanthick with as much blood as we can swallow Scott Ferry helps our Veterans heal as a RN in the Seattle area. His third book of poetry, These Hands of Myrrh, is upcoming from Kelsay Books. You can find more of his work at .

Louis Faber

Moses Says to Aaron We sat in the tent and you complained again of our condition, knowing wht lies just out of reach. He speaks to me, not you and there is little you can do to hide your jealousy. I often wonder what might have happened if I had wiped the blood of the lamb from your lintel. It was you who watched the calf take shape and did nothing, seeing it a personal tribute, and ordained its fashion and for your sin we shall be together forgotten men in the land of Moab. Louis Faber’s work has previously appeared in The Poet (UK), Bengalurur Review (India),, Dreich (Scotland), The Alchemy Spoon (UK), Atlanta Review, New Feathers Anthology, Arena Magazine (Ausralia), Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, Eureka Literary Magazine, Borderlands: the Texas Poetry Review, Midnight Mind, Pearl, Midstream, European Judaism, Greens Magazine, The Amethyst Review, Afterthoughts, The South Carolina Review and Worcester Review, and in small journals in India

Brian Jerrold Koester

Baby Pink Roses the aroma of remote times tiny pink roses climb deformed I'm acquainted enough with death not to fall apart when roses die tiny pink roses climb deformed into Mom and Dad's bedroom window Mom and Dad fall apart when they see roses and the dog is wicked because Mom said so shouted in her bedroom window I can't play make believe right or sleep right and the dog is wicked too because Mom said so and they say I'm the crazy one I can't walk right or smile right not the corrosive blood of Jesus, not desperate prayers can save me from the crazy ones no escape unless you live long enough to grow up from sudden blood and empty prayers I am too acquainted with death and growing up has not helped me escape from the aroma of remote times A Penny When you're broken like me you can't hear the meadowlarks sparkle or feel the poppies glow I can't stop the dogs that drink blood from my wrists I dreamed I had a penny to exchange

Ann Leamon

Houses Caretaking this multi-million-dollar home once mine, now under contract to someone else, empty, echoing, dining table bearing a plastic orchid, a drop of beet juice. A single fat ruby on the kitchen tile. And pouring in from memory— menstrual blood. How fast you forget the cycle, the constant awareness, surprises, always late in a suburb with no stores and your last tampon in the other bag, hot stickiness between your legs and an important meeting the next day. Every woman has that story. Just ask. With age, I thought it would subside. Instead in a last convulsive gasp, my body lost all decorum, no longer predictable, abandoned to hormones, raging against the changes. Unexpected deluges of thick heavy red fluid, ropy clots, cramps, doubling over while walking the dog, invisible teeth chewing my insides. Finally the doctor asked if I had any questions, and I confessed. He said, “Oh, we can fix that.” And my God, he could, easy, quick, and my world op

William L. Ramsey

Digressions on Water 1. Workers have arrived to protect my house                     against damage that could potentially                     develop from excessive groundwater. 2. Water is elemental in the old                     sense, not like helium or barium,                     but elemental like fire, wind, what                     not. That is high-grade psychological                     uranium. You know as well as I.                     Powerful because it grew up with us,                     losing its tail along with us. Because                     it is conceptual rather than mere                     primordial matter. It left traces                     of its DNA in our dreams: sea, flood,                     wave, reflected terror, drowning panic,                     striving to come up for breath within it,                     waking when we can’t. All this even though                     we no longer interbreed. At least not            

Thomas Zimmerman

The Last Word The turkey bolognese is cooked, just needs reheating: much like me. I’ve cut my world to bite-sized chunks and hashed the other parts so smooth that I can try them with a spoon. Beethoven’s Third, with Otto Klemperer, my favorite, conducting, blares bright from the speaker, grabs my spirit by its frayed lapels, and shakes the bullshit out. Almost. There’s often just a little despot left, Napoleon on Elba. Teacher, poet, brother, husband: fetishes I relish, though I sometimes lack my mother’s cast-iron stomach for. I’m sixty-one: prime number, hardly prime of life. Oh, Tom. Relax. Thomas Zimmerman (he/him) teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits The Big Windows Review at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His poems have appeared recently in Grand Little Things, Sledgehammer, and A Thin Slice of Anxiety. Tom's website:

Dan Provost

Gazebo One tender moment with her. A bow—a dance, quiet reflection and atonement for despair never understood. That Was That --As quick as beauty entered, she left. Her obedience was conquered with his quick nod and solid tongue. A former collegiate Offensive Lineman and Football Coach for 26 years, Dan Provost's words have been published in numerous print and online magazines.  His next book, Darting In and Out-- will be released later this year by Kung Fu Treachery Press.  He has read his works throughout the United States and is a two time nominee for the the Best of the Web award.  He lives in Berlin, New Hampshire with his wife Laura, and dog Bella.