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Stone Highway Review

Issue 2.2 January 2013

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Stone Highway Review is a new journal of poetry and prose, dedicated to publishing women and other underrepresented voices. Stone Highway Review wants to publish the beautiful, the exciting, the new. Stone Highway Review is edited by Amanda Hash, Katie Longofono, and Mary Stone Dockery. Stone Highway Review is published three times a year. Submissions are welcome through the submission manager found on our website, at www.stonehighway.com. Copyright 2011 by Stone Highway Review ISSN 2162-3686 (print) 2162-3678 (online). Cover Credits: Eleanor Bennett “slipping slipping”

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Table of Contents Southern Cooking Brandy Abraham ................................................................................................. 1 Winter Garden Thomas Fox Averill ............................................................................................... 2 Technique Number Two: Melancholy and Music Michael Bagwell...............................................3 The History of Daddy Allie Marini Batts ......................................................................................... 4 Night Music Sean Beld .................................................................................................................... 6 Questions on the Dark Carley Besl ..................................................................................................7 This Much Carley Besl ...................................................................................................................... 8 Bridge Winter Crow Billings ...........................................................................................................10 Anthropomorphic Sweetheart Rhea Cinna ...................................................................................12 Havana Rachelle Cruz .....................................................................................................................13 [Wedding Favor: Chocolate Truffles] Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess ................................14 Pearl-handled Letter Opener Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess ..............................................15 The Decades Have Wings Laura Davis........................................................................................16 [eucalyptus smell & wild green eyes] Jonathan Dubow ................................................................18 My Last Confession Angele Ellis ...................................................................................................21 This Week in Mad Science Jen Ferguson .......................................................................................22 Leave-taking Jen Ferguson ..............................................................................................................23 You Diana Friedman ........................................................................................................................24 Introduction to Engineering by Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius Jeannine Hall Gailey .................25 interchangeable genitals Aimee Herman .......................................................................................26 how to commit to being alive Aimee Herman ...............................................................................27 Midnight, Coral Kale Humphrey .....................................................................................................28 The most lonesome Emily Janowick ..............................................................................................29 Mistress of the Titanic Hilary King ...............................................................................................30 In Transit Jen Knox ........................................................................................................................31 The Loneliness of Nine Years Old Christine Langill.....................................................................33 Mother Tongue Sarah Leavens .......................................................................................................34 Impasto Sarah Leavens....................................................................................................................35 Ghazal of the Quitting Doll Jennifer LeBlanc .................................................................................38 She Would Have Named Me Jacob Paige Lewis .............................................................................39 Dirt in Your Bowl Becky Mandelbaum .............................................................................................40 Paws of a Fox Freesia McKee ..........................................................................................................41 Heat Wave Al Ortolani ..................................................................................................................42 The Phoenix Man Melina Papadopoulos ..........................................................................................44 Market Mark Petterson ....................................................................................................................46 Lost Sex Katherine Ringley ...............................................................................................................47 The Women who Carry Rain in their Purses Daniel Romo ..........................................................49 hang the key Miriam Sagan ............................................................................................................50 silence 3 a.m. Miriam Sagan .......................................................................................................51 The Flirt Carla Schwartz .................................................................................................................52 Thirteen Tastes like the Pantry Floor Leah Sewell .......................................................................53 Marionette Leah Sewell ...................................................................................................................54 Woman on the Side Leah Sewell ....................................................................................................55 iii


[playing with dolls] Virginia Smith ................................................................................................56 [blonde and sad skeletons, whistle, whistle] Virginia Smith .......................................................57 [i sleep in the hand that breaks the clocks]: a cento Virginia Smith ...........................................58 Rose Kate Sparks ............................................................................................................................59 Chicken or Beef? Meg Tuite ...........................................................................................................60 Stay Out of My Garden, Steve Buscemi Jeff Marcus Wheeler.........................................................61 Mouth in Two Parts Alyssa Yankwitt ............................................................................................63 The Intimacy Junkyard Alyssa Yankwitt .......................................................................................64 Snowflakes Changming Yuan ...........................................................................................................65 Contributors .................................................................................................................................66

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Southern Cooking Brandy Abraham Darma looked like a collard green with her mushy lips, red hot from the sun, her bready thighs, thick and wet from walking from the front porch back to her mothers’ garden, were corn colored, but black in spots around her navel, I saw it from the yard as she shucked her shirt, her belly button is like the pinched nipple of an orange, inside out and bumpy, Louise was finding a bowl to soak her rice because she dropped her phone in the santa fe beans, from the house she yelled, “No dirty rice tonight,” and Darma turned, I saw the tea tan lines, sweetly rounding her shoulders and just below the soft of her neck, her sweat like gravy

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Winter Garden Thomas Fox Averill "A Midwestern garden rests, lies dormant, forgets itself: stalks cut to ground, pond covered in netting to catch clogging leaves, fish nearly frozen below, sap withdrawn, branch and stem cut to the quick, to the nearly dead. Winter is the test of time and hope." --Judith McKenzie, Off Season

Old man, walk the botanical garden, cold. Shivered bone, white sycamore branch, stiff leg, crack-creak knee, ankle, breath rasp and leaf scuttle. Starkness—trees skeletons of trees, bushes disheveled webs, silhouetted branch lush hosta wilted litter, vines rotting twine, nothing-held, death-cling to trellis, pole, stake. Starkness—the real garden, the idea of garden, the brown pruned fist of sticks thinks lush, green budding, flowering red hibiscus dinner plate. Heart beats unseen life, weak sun, diluted shadow of grass rust, bamboo khaki, frozen mums faded, pressed flowers, an old bachelor’s Bible, buttoned, psalms blooming, book buried, root, bud, tuber, seed. Old man, walk dark, solstice-short horizons. Learn time, test hope.

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Technique Number Two: Melancholy and Music Michael Bagwell The new technique involves closing your eyes firmly so that the entrance to paradise is easier to find: you are waiting for a feeling that is like finding the bottom of a pool with your bare feet. It is best to remain perfectly rigid, though we are all subject to emotion and the things a body will do. A cellist lost in an airport is a drop of water, which means there are I-don’t-know-how-many-thousands of cellos in the air when it rains. The next technique involves humming to yourself at an avant-classical concert in a cathedral they built in your largest arteries. This is good for depression and headaches. They call it soul, but they mean something between flashlight and cloud. Instead of my heart, I have arranged a bouquet of doorknobs. The next time it rains, I’m going to take the invisible h’s from the third stanza and jettison them into orbit around the sun. Here, take hold and turn. Open it. This machine was made for you. We took all this time and still found the terminal full of ghosts, invisible threads that would lead us deep underground, through doors that are not doors but organs. Things will be arriving there, damp with rain.

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The History of Daddy Allie Marini Batts My father is a historian, a storyteller, a magician of the facts and fictions of the world and the men who have lived here and made legends; he breathes in the past, on his every exhale is the trace of man's written record. Here begins history, on Ovid’s first line of Metamorphoses: I want to speak about bodies changed into new forms. You, gods, since you are the ones who alter these, and all other things, inspire my attempt, and spin out a continuous thread of words, from the world's first origins to my own time. My father: the god of histories and all books, all texts, from the academic to the frivolous. Look how this body, this small thing called daughter, changed into a new form. My father's words: spun, continuous, from the first origins of my world to my own present tense. Tell me a story, Daddy, it could be Dr. Suess, or it could be a story about pirates and bandits, twirled out and under, woven deft like the threads of Arachne's looms. Any story will do. All stories, all histories now, learned or doomed, repeated, read and absorbed. You are the ones who alter these; bereshith, this odd thing called daughter was welter and waste and darkness over the deep. With your stories, these histories, real or invented, there was a light which broke upon the heavens. There are heroes and there are monsters. There are villains and rascals, heroines and angels, there are myths and legends and icons. They drip from your lips, come to life when they touch my ears, slipping easily into the coils of my brain, where they are the stars of dreams and flights of fancy, templates for the child I will become. I travel to the center of the earth, or fight minotaurs, wending my way back to safety with linen thread. I sail the high seas on pirate ships, peeling potatoes, keeping the men safe from scurvy. I invade Russia: always a fatal campaign, starving as the Cossacks thunder the ground on steeds as unforgiving as the Ukrainian winter. I want to be the body that changes into a new form: Tell me a story, Daddy, you god, since you are the one who alters these. My father: the god of myth, saga, history, chronicle, diary. These narratives, bedtime missives, the pen pal of the Sandman, all true, none true, the word of god on your tongue. There are poetries and fables, Aesop's moralities, Keats' sonnets, the lines of Shakespeare and Shel Silverstein, the songs of the Civil War. This malleable thing, this daughter, her ears wide and deep as the ocean, covered in nets to catch every word. Tell me a story, Daddy, about the friend with the raccoon jacket, who drank himself senseless on peach schnapps, the one you drug home from the football fields in college. Tell the one about the crass district manager, slapping a bill down to punctuate the number of his friends: Washington! Lincoln! Hamilton! Jefferson! Grant! Franklin! Tell me about when the earth was welter and waste and darkness over the deep.

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Men make marks in many ways; they leave their fingerprints over architecture and literature and in the bell towers and stained glass of churches. They create history and religion and nations and politics and libraries, all to prove and permit existence and behavior. There are wars and peace treaties, there are horrors and heroes; there are dragons and Siegfrieds. But there are also Rapunzels, not locked in towers but hiding there, hair in plaits thick and sturdy, waiting for the sun to arc and fall. Waiting for bedtime, unbraiding, Daddy climbing the stairs, unafraid of spinning wheels, fresh flax or pricked fingers. They carry bedtime stories and a goose they call Mother for company. I want to speak about bodies changed into new forms: This strange being, daughter. Sentient and so tall, so quickly. Sprung forth whole, it seems: I thought you were a headache but instead a goddess, what a pleasant surprise you are, borne of my temples and fairy tales. You inspire my attempt at writing you, to catch you and pin you to the page, as if you were a specimen and I the doddering lepidopterist. You cannot be classified; I cannot track your celestial navigations. You are a story, Daddy. You unfold and refold, you are an origami crane with words tucked between the geometric planes of its architecture. You are history and myth, origin and cosmos, the dragon and the knight. We are pirates, Daddy, we are Vikings, there are oceans to be circumnavigated and villages to plunder together, tonight. Sit at the foot of my bed, tell me a story. I will be Ariadne, clever enough to plot the route leading out of the labyrinth, or into it, because that's where the story is. From the world's first origins: a squalling thing, this daughter. Your stories and mythologies, at first a nonsense on my ears, too shallow yet to catch and hold. We are building histories, ones that will not be housed in the annals of mankind, but rather in the den of my childhood home: albums, baby books, the collected scribblings of a toddler. Tell me a story, Daddy, I can't sleep tonight. To my own time, inspire my attempts: Without the nursery rhymes and Napoleonic campaigns, the Greek mythologies and Victorian poetries, this whole thing, daughter, would not exist. She would be welter and waste and darkness over the deep: instead, form, and matter and light. You gave me five hundred pounds and a room of my own, a light that broke upon the heavens. A body, changed into a new form: I will tell you a story now, Daddy; you have given me a voice with which to speak.

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Night Music Sean Beld Tonight the leaves truly believe they can make music. Flutter, spin, rest, flutter. Each one tries to get a note in edgewise, The tired apple tree becomes maniacal wind-chime. Then silence, stillness, the wind stutters. The heart is a partial forest, I think, a hint of a translation, silent, like this, like a pile of matchsticks on an unreadable map.

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Questions on the Dark Carley Besl In the shade of a linden tree you pin me, as if shadow could pin two bodies to each other, or as if the deep violet in your mouth would make the stale afternoon smell hyacinth-sweet, but that is not what being pinned, even in the shade, does. The fleshy green of my upper arms with your hard-pressed elbows and your hardpressing "listen now" and "what happens next is." Your voice flaps like a sheet pinned to the clothesline by one corner. "There's no one at home. The cat is looking for half-drowned mice in the drain at the end of the street. After that storm, I'd be half-drowned too, if I were a mouse, so what do you say?" Sweet holy treetops, dark green of the leaves' underbellies, glowing as if coated with skin, the way the skin of my inner arms glows green underneath, and your elbows pressing deeply there, as if you could squeeze out an answer, as if my arms are the altar, my body god itself and you are holding your body above me as a prayer. Sweet holy loam, swallow me. So I say get the fuck off. You make it impossible to think. I don't give a shit about the scar on your shin. If I were a mouse I'd be a bat instead. If I were a bat I'd be a chimney swift. There is no elbow that can keep any crook of feathers. There is no wing that can be hooked, tagged, shot through with starlight, and pinned to darkness like a body can be yanked, silenced, shot through with stillness, and pinned to the dark.

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This Much Carley Besl Give me a love like a postage stamp; when your fingers close around it, and your eyes eat my name tucked there in the corner like a gasp, your heart begins to beat hard enough to keep an animal much bigger than yourself swimming; like a whale, a love always greeting the world mouth first, that beautiful song; or a hummingbird, small, so that every time I forget my own sweetness it can be there to sip me and hover by, beating the air between my shoulders like a second heart, one fast enough for a creature much bigger than itself; perhaps a creature like you, whose heart, steeped in the bowl of your ribs, is sweet in this way: like a whisk twirled in honey is sweet and like a palm cupped under the blade of your shoulder is sweet, and my other hand, like the hummingbird between my shoulders, trembling between your shoulders, is sweet. This is a motorcycle engine, so loud your whole body revs into a harmonica; into this racket, breathe, the nearness of orange blossoms vibrating on the night breeze through a car’s open window, ushering with orange blossoms and cicada hum, starlight. Imagine it—starlight riding orange buds through 8


the window onto the eyelids of a child dreaming of sharks, how the tv says they swim even in sleep to pump oxygen to their lungs, that sweet breath of water teaching their fishy hearts to pump, and in her sleep the child becomes afraid, seeing herself with gills, that when the car stops, and the sticky air catches in elbow creases, slumps into collarbones, her heart will fill with so much it explodes.

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Bridge Winter Crow Billings I carry you, every word of you to the river, let go your vodka pigeons, your Russian shadow. What happens to the lights of the stock exchange after the woman jumping for the sixth night tugs off her wings? We dig a tunnel for the boy washing his shirt in the Hudson and cooking nickels from their skins, that he may discover a place to heal his silences, his brownsmelling icicles. There are shoals of cans already loved and discarded hatching in the water where he waded up to his neck for the edible cormorants.

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Do the stars keep you warm? he asks. The boy is smaller now, and mixed with sleet. He takes back each light lynched at the end of the city’s billionaire hallucinations and tells us to ignore the stalks of the bridge turning away their dark faces. And when the wind curdles in the collapsing snow, (larger than the blackness of the eyes when they close) he says, with a frostbitten slur where the afternoon once shined: Promise not to mock my voices that cannot heal. Promise not to show my nights to anyone. Promise, and I will hunt down a family of tires for you to marry and eat.

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Anthropomorphic Sweetheart Rhea Cinna Five years to the day you’ve stopped being a hunter, book in hand, you sit in front of the fireplace, the leopard on your lap, purring dreams of your jugular and the sweet, sweet flesh you’ve marinated in years of vegan diet. It’ll work for another while, I’ll let you touch my stomach or kittenishly nibble on your collar bone. Let us not quarrel over the spilt blood of the kindergarten teacher next door, call his indelicate wound an indiscretion, a slip of the tongue, not of the hunger that makes my teeth shine of moon-tusk. In winter, blood tastes like clay to me - even so, unwillingly naturalized to the below zero cityscape, stripped spotless, hair fashionably bleached, clad in cashmere and merino to camouflage beast scent, nostrils yearning for steaming throat of antelope, there’ll be days when I flaunt the curvy agility I let you capture, strutting down the sidewalk in shoes made from the leather of another animal and couture – an expensive coat on an even more expensive hanger – exciting amateur predators into slowing down in their cars and calling out “how’s it going, sweetheart?” as my eyes gleam of prey.

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Havana Rachelle Cruz I thought I could press the thin film of my friend’s lungs against my throat, rattling swaths of mint and an earthquake. I thought I could cough up her boyfriend now somewhere in Greenpoint breaking the crusts off empanadas. Everywhere, I hear Mariah Carey and see her, too, my friend says, nudging the nurse’s low cut glitter tube top. I was in Havana, and I hugged a baby crocodile before slicing into his mother. We were in Havana, and I sleepwalked the windows shut.

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[Wedding Favor: Chocolate Truffles} Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess She drops a penny on the stoop, spun copper truffle. I’ve never been inside your house, but now I’ve knocked, and now I’m in. She wrote me such a charming thanks – pink scented paper, chocolate ink. I wrote back, and she wrote too, and here we are, so anti-Google. We’re sitting down to tea, no joke. She talks about lipstick and she talks about church. After mimosas she starts on you. Albert, I say. She calls you Bert. I want to scream your name—Adele—but after A I’m lost, still staring at her perfect mouth, still mouthing worlds. Clavicle. Delicious. Eat.

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Pearl-handled Letter Opener Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess Who uses a blowtorch to open a letter? Who’s scrubbing the kitchen in black leather boots? My wife wears rick-rack and calico skirts; this creature’s an interloper. Sweetheart, I still haven’t told you: I’m Albert at dinner, Adele in the cube. My new job’s transparent; hired in heels, I’m ready with six must-have separates for Spring. Mornings, I change in the bus station bathroom: Women’s or Men’s, wrong life out or in. I can’t keep my two lives together much longer. Once the M on my license goes missing, our marriage dissolves: two women wed nothing.

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The Decades Have Wings Laura Davis 1.

San Francisco’s poets tell long-winded tales. I cry at the blue dress stuck to his wife’s body in the rain. Because he told me about her, in the poem, in the story.

2.

Use second person in order to distance the reader from the actions of writer-as-character versus writer-as-narrator. You also can’t use spoons when you write this, only potatoes.

3.

You used to be the only lavender for 100 miles. Now you live in the lavender sea. It spans acres. Can be spotted from space stations. Here you are khaki.

[UNNUMBERED STANZA] the living room has a bay window. the purple curtains on the bay window in the living room are wrinkled. i took them right out of the package. hung them. they filter out florescent sunbeams. all that brightness gives me a headache. when the winds picks up speed (birds swooping down for prey) the curtains are sucked out through the bay window, funneling in more light. 5.

walking back from Safeway, she saw a man shitting on the sidewalk. she realized how much she hates narrative poetry.

5.1 You live at the corner of the side near the edge of Castro and Haight- Ashbury. History lives in the cracks of the shit-covered sidewalks. 16


5.2

You haven’t left the house in three days.

6.

Strange poems. Strange poems. Strange poems. Over there. [separate] No there. Blank page before next section. [insert maudlin lyrical metaphor here]

she shifts her silhouette sideways to capture the left-leaning sunlight 7.

queer the language

8.

everyone in this town is a transplanted organ covered with body paint dressed in drag. She once saw a man wipe his ass with an Eddie Bauer catalogue. Drunk men love to talk with her on the Muni. thunderstorms shut down the city. she stands on the roof holding a fuzzy red pipe cleaner. 9.

California is so fucking beautiful.

10.

You miss tree canopies and lush green salamanders of earth that spit cars like pinballs through tunnels, over bridges.

10.1

You miss the river’s deep intersection.

10.2

You long for bare branches follwing each maple’s fiery protest.

11.

I still can’t say it straight: the serpentine wind brings light on its spine.

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[eucalyptus smell & wild green eyes] Jonathan Dubow eucalyptus smell & wild green eyes leaves Jacob in front always during breaths & always a wild no talking tongue. aide needs better legs. leaves Jacob weird & sings silly. & wild lemon fingers & wild sentences leave Jacob in front always during breaths, ahead & only Great Affliction waiting, eucalyptus smell & wild green eyes. & to tell him aide is wild leaves Jacob weird & singing silly. leaves Jacob in front always during breaths & always a wild no talking tongue. aide needs better legs. silent both deer & aide when freak Jacob. aide smell & wild green eyes. & wild lemon fingers. & wild sentences. & wild persimmon skin. & always a wild talking tongue. & sweaty days are worm skin otherwise air. burning rope shoulders many different kinds of mouth hung up on a wall with a nail. nose wild or tied below eyes. belt keeps hips between here & wild. tied below, stuck in a clock with no battery, burning, told his smile is beautiful, otherwise air. hair, testicles, only in sweaty days. nose wild around, & in, wet rain. otherwise air. testicles only in sweaty days, otherwise air. mouth & eyes many different kinds of chopped. many different kinds of around, between. shoulders wild or hung up on a wall with a nail . fingers only when touching. testicles only around & between. & treasonous humor always with new eyes. tree that flaps freakily, beastly, no talker. it breathes Great Affliction. fear & shame does not sit with Jacob tongue to make it. turns him freak. always this way only exists Great Affliction Jacob. Jacob hears aide pulse. asks, what do you mean. waits as it breathes. knows aide traits: patience, eyes, tea, gift of speech. no fear of Jacob freak. waits as listen, like wind around a lucky patience. no fear of. no fear of beastly, no talker, treasonous Jacob. aide hears Jacob singing, humor. Jacob traits: tree that flaps freakily. taste of persimmon waits for Jacob tongue to make it. Jacob hears aide pulse but aide hears Jacob singing. always this way. but always this way with Great Affliction: taste of persimmon waits.

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& better Jacob sits with reservoir & sits with patience! eucalyptus, green weeds, algae, earthworm, mosquito: that Great Affliction gave him this greatness. that Great Affliction gave him this greatness, bench bakes wood smell. mosquito all afflicted by you born with lucky gift. water dries louder than Jacob & may sing at you breath. Jacob & reservoir is heavenly. speaks with all no talking beasts. Jacob & shade. Jacob saves spider webs & barking dogs. skin exists. breath begins all lucky. many trees turn freak permanently all afflicted by you. & shade is where Jacob saves. eucalyptus, green weeds, algae, earthworm, mosquito always all afflicted by you. but better legs Jacob sits with shade, thoughts mix spider webs with sweat, & cars & barking dogs. & ask are Jacob words. aide, treasonously, teases vocal chords, makes sing. & cannot-sing Jacob sings, BBBVBVV. if your vocal chords are yours & how first know words from wind, ask. touch makes Jacob sing. & aide eyes closed, Jacob sings, but cannot sing, believe Jacob please. spring of flesh keeps all words. aide treasonously teases vocal chords, makes Jacob sing alone, makes arm exist, makes arm sing, BBBVBVV. needs touch. those who do not know ask are Jacob words. please do not tease Jacob. how your words are her words, spring of flesh keeps all words. ask are Jacob words teases Jacob. believe Jacob please. if your vocal chords are yours, & her words are her words, ask, are Jacob words asks, if Jacob. & a great festering of aides anciently & again in his sleep. certainly understand Jacob fears. not dumb certainly Jacob knows abandonment—becomes real teacher of real people who never turn freak, marries, cannot keep up with Jacob breathing, moves to Millbrae—tells aide he is fired for incredible certainty that aide will stay. certainly understand Jacob fears festering anciently & again in his sleep—hates Jacob secrets & shame, moves to Millbrae, calls him Jake—best aide fears Jacob secrets & shame, goes to South America. 19


a great festering of aides anciently & again in his sleep cannot keep up with Jacob breathing. sleep hates Jacob too much.

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My Last Confession Angele Ellis This is the only story I know: crack of chin against the toilet, gush of pebbled brown across porcelain, a river no one can step into, once, twice—my fucked body a breaking bellows, a long wheeze of smoke, while filthy laughter beats against a plywood door. This is the only story I know: smack of knees against the floor, splayed past every profane prayer, head crowned with a mocking halo, once, twice—my mucked throat a dark passage, a staircase spiraling downward, while bloody breathing pounds against a clammy wall. This is the only story I know: rack of arms against the fall, flayed, displayed like found art, once, twice— an amateur abstract, all sticky shards and shadows, scraped patches nude and aching. And my face like a porous mirror, stripped past shame.

============================== NOTE: "This is the only story I know: crack of chin against the toilet" is from Anne Marie Rooney's poem "Last Evening: Index of First Lines."

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This Week in Mad Science Jen Ferguson I. The Journal of Cell Biology revealed to an unprepared world that sperm can sort of count, figuring their way to calcium. And there goes my theory that sex could be the one thing in the world that doesn’t have a thing to do with mathematics, set of nails set to skin set to break, Now capillaries in underlying form can only carry so much before busting, staining the skin with bruise. II. Biology Letters announced that T. rex “had the most powerful bite of any animal on Earth. Ever.” And was this ever doubt, and do my nightmares need to know that the Cretaceous period mastered pain, those old bones buried under my yard, that my wolfhound paws at the earth, digs for it? I remember as a child a sleepover in the Drumheller museum, where I lay just inside the ice age, warm in the blue-tinged light, a couple millions years beyond in a sleeping bag that was an in-land sea on the outside but inside frond green. I was fear racked. III. In Norway, a medical study on the effect of garlic on vampires was published. And to satisfy the scientific method required bulbs of garlic, many jars of live leeches—the closest relative to fiction— once standing in the waters of Algonquin Provincial Park they clutched to skin around my ankle. Six or eight or twelve of them at the same time. In those waters, I learned to prepare for the end of the world if that is to come by vampire attack. First, eat all the garlic to fuel yourself for the fight, second, stockpile salt, and then learn to press a lit match close to your skin near to the teeth. But when they clutched to me, all I could manage was to scream into the woods, to echo across the lake.

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Leave-taking Jen Ferguson I. Under cuticles I am itchy like childhood kitchen haircuts without the cape to catch my remains: my skin is tight-cleaved on bone, this nagging heartburn a symptom of another year in place. The real pleasure, my only release, is in the scratch. II. I was born two weeks late, my name usurped before my arrival by a timelier cousin. And now I feel the straps of the rover lashing me to a northwardly wind. Asleep, my body is pressed to the floorboards, rocked by vibrations of the miles, tires against car-sickened dreams, next to cleaning supplies, the time-fattened cat. I can’t escape movement now that I’m full-grown. III. My palate craves changeling tingle, a towering plate of instability in knowledge that stability is not as it appears. Like the glossy red apple with a glossy wormhole, I have fallen into Alice in apple flesh. IV. Systematically, pack happy into brown boxes, this side up upsidedown, carry the purging to the trunk. Leave three boxes at the edge of the curb to appease the neighborhood squirrels, spend the last hour of my leave-taking sitting on the old couch as it waits in the ditch to be re-homed, and I am comfortable. Soon the Volkswagen will break down, soon there will be place to unwrap the brown paper, unleash the cat into a bank of wild blueberries.

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You Diana Friedman i. now This is not the way we want to live, you and I. Headaches blasting in at dawn, an overactive jaw grinding your teeth into shrapnel. The accumulation of months of worry about money, the state of the world, my love, what your parents will say. All of it unyielding like a bandage around your torso, until you wake, whimpering, because you cannot breathe. You cannot move. This is not the way we want to live, you and I. ii. death Your grandmother is dying and no one called to tell you. Your mother is losing all her sleep in the hospital, crouched by her mother’s bedside. Things are really bad here, your father says. How bad, you ask. Very bad, he replies. But that’s all he will say. That’s all he’s ever said. You tell him you are getting married, but that doesn’t seem to matter to him either. Okay, he says flatly. Do what’s best. When you hang up, I look at you, really look at you; how far you have come. I don’t mean the thousands of miles from that distant and foreign hemisphere, not that, no. It is lovingness. iii. then

You’ve seen your grandmother fall when you were a small boy playing in the garden, this woman who raised you. She washed the clothes in a large metal tub in the front yard, the streets were dusty, the dogs loud. You looked up to see her disappearing into the water. You screamed, and you screamed again, and she didn’t rise. What other things have you never told me? iv. later Your father used to hit you. And your grandfather. Whack. Did your parents love you? You don’t know. You cry now. Only when you were good. Maybe. v. now You reach for me, as you do every night against the cold. You are so hungry for my love, solitary bird that you are, nesting in your corner whenever you can. You. Come here.

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Introduction to Engineering by Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius Jeannine Hall Gailey

In some mythologies, the coyote is the cleverest of species, constant in his menace and cunning. The coyote can trick even the gods, hold the moon in his teeth. But here, sadly, we see the lame duck physicist, the robotic designer whose creations never quite reach the desired conclusions; programming punch cards, the coyote reads his own doom – once again to be crushed under the weight of his own machine. We learn here to be skeptics, technology versus speed, cross-dressing and baited traps. We imagine, as he balances his vial of TNT, the years of failed research grants behind him, the lectures given at night to overweight men with beards and smeared glasses, their reflections empty as his own expectations. Why does the coyote want to eat the roadrunner, that skinny and unluscious phantom, that puff of smoke, why hold up tiny signs asking vainly for help? When he sues Acme, how can we not applaud? After so many drops off canyon cliffs, autos and rockets dragging him over cacti and red rock, can’t we wish him well, his continual look of surprise a reminder of even the most sophisticated scientist’s helplessness in the throes of desire, unsatiated appetite?

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interchangeable genitals Aimee Herman

this is the poetics of gender. this is the deaf fondle of hysterical organics. this is the brown animal. this is the fold in of peanut allergy. this is the fist. this is the measurable digest of unabridged. this is what it is to be human. this is the blue wire in red outlet. this is the performance of humping. this is a verb understudying a noun. this is an octopus with eight opinions. this is a car part.. this is a punch card nine to five work day. this is a penis. this is a harpsichord shrunk inside an accordion climbed into a harmonica coughed into a whistle. this is a Basquiat graffiti tag. this is a grass stain. this is a spotted giraffe or bulging eyed lemur or bitter frog jumping into abandoned turtle shell. this is an incorrect charge on a credit card slip. this is slipped on. this is a charcoal yell. this is a block party with barbeque and swimming pool and slip n’ slide and mix tape featuring Salt N’ Peppa and Prince and spiked punch. this is a flirt. this is a pregnancy scare. this is a vagina. this is an unpronounced tourist. this is an elevator shaft. this is a passport or ukulele or scientific notation or red wine stain on pressed collared shirt or hard-boiled rub. this is blurted whiskey. this is narrow gulps of a relationship. this is alphabetized psychic. this is a holiday. this is women’s history month. this is religion cut open like grapefruit. this is electric blanket. this is clever. this is a hibernating bear defying routine. this is retro. this is a reduced price sale item. this is pummelo or clementine. this is an atlas. this is an anus. this is an acronym for punctual. this is instrumental. this is an egg roll. this is a garden of kelp and fossilized wood. this is an undisclosed ailment. this is a clitoris. this is purple thread count of indecent. this is insane. this is nauseous nauseous nauseous. this is extracted DNA. this is the ghost limbs of Charles Bukowski. this is an elevated mortgage rate. this is a living room. this is kindling. this is this is this is a mouth. this is a tradition of lineage. this is an elephant manuscript. this is that stolen computer with backed up hard drive. this is Pluto. this is a winter flu. this is a pair of testicles. this is the black sheep of our family. this is a thistle blister. this is a Shakespearean sonnet. this is a comma splice. this is an itch. this is a prosthetic song. this is this is this is not not mine not a seedling not ethics of sound not a response paper not utilized not handled properly not handled not the root this is not honest this is indecent

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how to commit to being alive Aimee Herman If you want to leave all your community behind and head north for the girl who spoke your language, go to page 102. If you are ready to go back to school and learn something that might get you a better job, go to page 70. If you must rely on your government to lend you money you may never afford to pay back, turn back to page 53. Ready for travel? Grab your passport and flap your wings toward the west, then turn to page 122. Diagnoses are similar. Some people would rather not know. They prefer heading through the entire book of themselves without interruption. If this is you, turn to page 1,392. Silence the sick and it will go away and turn to page 411. Turn to page 47 and fall in love. Allow full saturation to occur like a comfortable drown. Turn to page 33. Quit job, purchase cross-country bus ticket and turn to page 132. At first rest stop, turn to page 197 and walk 1.3 miles to nearest cafĂŠ, apply for job as coffee brewer and exist as local for three weeks. Purchase a plane ticket to a foreign city, one where you can speak up to twelve words of their native language. Turn to page 313. Learn a new trade like farming or house sculpting, volunteer time and labor for free room and board. Write poems and humble self through the art of missing the amenities of familiar city. Turn to page 323. Find religion hiding deep within your cluttered soul through meditation and sworn off Internet connection. Turn to page 401. Skip to page 717 to acknowledge the sound of your biological clock ticking. Get married and begin process of baby making, renting, purchasing, resenting. Fall backwards to page 519. Give away possessions. Let go of meat, dairy and (over) processed thoughts. Forgive mother. Grow hair out to its natural color. Notice the rash in the sky made by an impending sunset.

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Midnight, Coral Kale Humphrey I loved you as a skeleton again in the cold, less compact and crying with night. A mouthpiece twisted on the distant, brass horn, your softer cavities gathered gooseflesh. Fishy rings emerged, streaked the coast and lined up the commas. You heated. You bent blue-black. Again. Again. A pattern, uniform and rosette, drifted in. The bruise will heal, don't hide it. The bruise will heal, don't hide.

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The most lonesome Emily Janowick dumpster waits in the parking lot of my building. Taller than most, so close to the sidewalk that the street sign (THIRD) could reach and touch it, if it wanted to. Late at night I carry a half-full bag of sandwich edges and juice boxes out, steep in the solitude. There, away from the cars, I take a photo of its rusty wall, brick backdrop, corrosion showing blue through my phone’s filter. The wind and quiet follow me, seep in around edges and door frames, make me thirsty for the ocean. I want picnics and remember the night we drove to the edge of the island, made love in the dark on a concrete pier, soundless. I was afraid of what I wouldn’t experience. Now I am afraid of what I can’t do alone-turn up the radiators with a monkey wrench, reach a blue vase on the highest shelf, sleep. His body is large and hot when I climb into bed. He takes more space than he needs, and I let him.

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Mistress of the Titanic Hilary King When he fucks me, I pretend he is the ship and I the ocean. I have taken many ships. His is just one more crossing. He steams through my depths, I rock against his hull, trying to crush him. The safest ship ever built, laughs the richest man I have ever fucked. He takes me every morning then leaves to spit at the stock ticker. Evenings we dine with the captain, who massages my knee until the goose arrives. After dinner I stroll the promenade, watching men break over their women. When he pushes me behind him at the lifeboats, I return to our rooms. I lie down in the bathtub with the spoon, the teacup, the seaman’s whistle, every item I stole from my hours on board, will be flowers for my grave.

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In Transit Jen Knox

You can do better than that. Meaning? No sale. Try again. Close your eyes. Close them! Picture the Wonder Bread factory down the street from Jolie Street that just finished baking a batch of yeasty white bread. It’s not yet 5AM, and you’re fifteen, walking to the bus stop. You hate your life, as teenagers do, but are convinced it is amazing for every other person. And because you think life amazing for everyone else, you have hope for your awkward, tall, big-headed self. You are in love with Courtney, who sits in front of you on the bus and tortures you by flipping her hair. You stare ahead longingly until the thick, warm smell of dough baking fills the bus and binds what is loose in your hormone-tipsy mind. The bread smelled like something about to go bad that puts calories in the wrong places to fatten up my already-big head. You know, teenage years should only be lived once. Don’t you see the beauty in transition? No. Cynic. Hey, why are your eyes open? You do realize there’s no point here, right? Whatever. Trying again. OK, steam fills the bathroom after a night with her, the girl you could never have, who lived in your dreams and came to life as you approached young adulthood. Somehow, in less than a second, you transformed into a handsome kid. You are an athlete now, and you use those athletic arms to pick her up and plant that perfect ass on the sink. How about the way the steam, scentless except what it contains of her, fills your pores as you fill her? How about your first time? She accused me of talking to other girls, hacked my Facebook, gave me crabs and ruined blondes for me. You’re focusing on the wrong part of the story. Does the aftermath really matter? It was your first time. Help me with my pillow? Sure. Picture you and that beautiful woman, both wearing fluffy white robes. Why does there always have to be a woman? You wanted a woman. Say you didn’t. … That’s what I thought. Now listen. You breathe in the almond scent of her, the brunette, as she brushes your cheek and smiles—the way you’ve only seen happen in movies—and runs out of the room, holding your car keys. How about the chase? You realize you are still in a robe and that, for the first time in your life, the people watching you don’t matter. She stole my car. Yeah, stole your wallet, too. But you remember the almond scent? The chase, when you still thought it was a sex game? Yes. Thank you for the reminder. Sorry. One last try: succulent thin-sliced black pepper-crusted salmon and buttery, plump rosemary red potatoes, together on a fork. The tang of lemon and vinaigrette dressing, along with the buttery spinach and cherry tomatoes nourish. The kitchen sizzles and the air fills with moisture as you go move, channeling so many of your white-aproned instructors. See the moments of the journey, the learning, and the romance you ultimately place on my tongue. Even before you feed me, 31


I taste your confidence and restraint, the type of restraint that makes something good something perfect. But you disappear. Ah, but you become boss, head chef, and you teach others how to trust that intuition. You are the only one that makes the soufflés—that thick but soft crunch leading way to soft, silky chocolate that is less sweet than I think I prefer until that moment it reaches my tongue. It settles, both torturing and indulging, and therefore tempering the desire to over-consume. Hey, your eyes are closed. Was it the soufflé? The moments. I brought them back. You did. It goes on. You go on to own that restaurant, and you run a tight operation. Your cuisine wins awards. I become jealous in a way no woman should as you feed the rest of the world with the same grace that you feed me. But there is no need because I will want to be with only you. You don’t have crabs. Yes! How romantic! And, you are healthy because you live like you cook. You create, balance flavors and taste before you bite. Help me adjust? Here, give me your arm. And you will continue to create. I will. And I’ll be here. Ready to taste? Each moment. OK. I can see it a little. Can you— Right here.

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The Loneliness of Nine Years Old Christine Langill His small hands sweep the sticky floor for roll-away jukebox quarters. Some nights his shoes jingle with the weight of runaway coins. Spinning stool, cracked leather, short dangling legs can’t reach the floor, the room a dark blur of smoke and heels and song. Women pinch his cheeks and hope his father will later taste wine on their lips after last call. He bets on the brunette. Feathery red stains paint the rims of so many glasses he’ll need to wipe by hand. (The machine leaves lipstick smudges.) He can summon a taxi with his eyes closed, number learned by heart last year when he was eight. He knows how the tiny sword that spears the olives in her drink slips into the grip of G.I. Joe’s plastic hand.

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Mother Tongue Sarah Leavens Who had the razor? What I remember is this: a wooden box in the corner of our grandfather’s upstairs. An old toy chest. A dark box, crisp-papered inside, big enough for two children. My brother and I crouched in the black. We had a blade and some shared whispers. Some common language. Translated, would say: What if? the world were not a box / our tongues had something underneath / taste were only an empty honeycomb wardrobe / we might open a seam of light— I said stick out your tongue. We sliced the surface off the space between us: we cut our tongues to blood: we, blood, grazed a blade over our utterances; we skinned the sibling bare, the way we would stay. We shaved the wallpaper inside of the box, too; the paper fell in little invisible strips to the dark bottom, curled around our clenched toes; what I remember is how I tried not to talk after, rejoining the rest of the family at the woodstove. Until my mother, knowing, said let me see inside your mouth.

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Impasto Sarah Leavens I. we find a room the first week: traipsing an olive grove hillside, we are faced with a wall built ancient in ordinance to the sun. in the wall there is a door. I record a video the two of them my new roommates as they vanish one by one, II. —then I shuffle in. it was like that, the whole time that and the smell of stones, roman feet springburnt branches turpentine rabbitskin glue. the sweater is still tucked in my closet. the painting hangs in my kitchen, an opaque landscape surface of plucked-out twig hollows, peaks of entombed matter. III. we wind outside the wall, uphill, crest: two of us, folded easels 35


boxed wine, bags of brushes, buffeted hips—we seek a vista. perspective more intricate than it seems, we mimic val de chiana mountain curves and valley folds: this IV. wind-licked hillside. fresco: to paint into a forming wall gesso: to boil flesh viscous layer it, sanded between, until smooth impasto: to drop thick scads of color, oil, mountain, fingerpads, braided grass in clasped hair— V. her mouth tasted umber from the wine our knees balanced half-painted panels, our brushes dropped, mingled dirt with ochre. titanium white smeared my green sweater elbow. hillgrass caught in the wet oil shapes. yes. met lips. baciarsi. shift of language for the tongue.

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VI. later, we climb the wall thirty vertical feet handlaid stones, we sit on the walltop, we build fire: lettuces grow in the monastery VII. garden. the sweater smells of linseed oil and the painting hangs in my kitchen. in its distance: a lake the size of my thumbnail against the sky

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Ghazal of the Quitting Doll Jennifer LeBlanc Morning: I decided that I would rather die, would rather snap a porcelain tooth and die from the pain, a white light shooting up into my gums— This is what it’s like to die, mouth broken, starched napkin catching blood— than tonight: time to lie again, time to die under his hips. This is what I have learned from it, the tenure, the sentence, the stay. A doll can die and still bend the right way, hand raised to brush her hair, hands folded when a man dies. I have learned to calculate the quitting time, when a woman lives and porcelain dies.

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She Would Have Named Me Jacob Paige Lewis I was only five, still swallowing bloated angel hair pasta and proudly pulling it back up my throat, when she told me. He was too early, with eyes formed but not yet opened. She carried him in a brown bag, crinkling. At the doctor’s office a nurse, thinking the dark spots were grease from leftovers, slid it off the counter and into the garbage. After lunch I went out to the back patio and discovered two lizard eggs under the blooming penta petals. I took one between my fingers and squeezed until it burst. I sat staring as hollowed eyes and twisted limbs baked against the soft of my hand.

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Dirt in Your Bowl Becky Mandelbaum Look, the cloud rising as a mountain, a dream, a whale’s corpse in the sky, forked tail lifting, rearing up for revenge. A blow. Remember this moment: the influx. The descent. Your mom says to anything with ears: the end of the world has arrived; the billowing storm made of angel ashes-- all the better to remember it by. It will soon be in your lungs crawling through bronchioles like ants carving hallways in the earth. Rats through the feedbags—gravestones marking a cemetery of cattle skeletons. Do you remember the cloud? Now the air? The world? The wind? The wind in the corners, in the fibers of the sheets, in your underwear, in the last cake Mom makes from the last sugar, in the spaces between your teeth, in your tear ducts, in the valley behind your ears your mother runs her finger and wipes it on a mud brown towel. Meanwhile the birds fly backward in the dirt and you can only think one thought: What birds? What birds? What birds?

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Paws of a Fox Freesia McKee i’ve been collecting pieces of paper from my walks. sometimes the alley is filled with rain. a fox has started following me home. i give her food sometimes, chicken, eggs, leftover fish by saturday mornings. i’ve meant to tell you: the neighbor died. her husband found her when he came home. the stove stayed on, something toxic, deadly. when the neighbor’s husband had her funeral, i didn’t know which eye to cry from. John, there are thirteen babies on this block alone. people stand outside the modjeska theatre by the fish place on Friday mornings. great lakes fish, it says on the sign. now the house is filled with paper scraps, sacks. carved figures from shelves in the neighbor’s bedroom, material safety. things have seemed so immediate lately. i’ve learned that some things can be easy when you want them to be. i should have said this before you left: John, we were jazznecked too fast. i’m riding the back of a motorcycle down the red stream. but here, the paws of a fox in a flood.

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Heat Wave Al Ortolani I. I say it’s the heat man that keeps you at Kaw point. Down at the confluence of the Missouri, smoking brick in the shade, a chain of antlers hanging in a willow like voodoo bones. You got a line of fishing poles, butt ends in the mud resting on forked sticks, set with blood bait for channel cat. Nothing bites until nightfall, the skyline louder than stars, helicopters beating above the streets. II. Hotel Muehlebach: taking pictures where Teddy Roosevelt used to sleep, this cat pulls a U-turn and begins to parallel park his Lincoln into the wheelchair ramp. He wedges his maroon bumper against my bumper and the passenger door opens. A plump, mini-skirted thigh emerges. Her man, not watching what we’re watching, sits at the wheel drinking from a sack, III. and she with her head high, hips round and curved in magenta, high heels it into the air conditioning with what appears like a job application.

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We squeeze out from the curb and drive on to the ballpark, downing a twelve back from the floorboards. It’s 104 degrees. Miller Lite costs ten dollars a can at the K, and it’s going to be one of those nights, one moment thirsting after another.

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The Phoenix Man Melina Papadopoulos 1. After my bird died, we sent him off to the kind of mortician who knows how to turn bodies into bonfires, the same guy who I imagine can turn anyone into a phoenix-the winged and the four-legged, the bubblers and the breathers, the feral and the friendly. Once he's through, he slips each soul through a doggie door, back to God or to science or someone. He returned my bird to me in a box that looks as dignified as a pyre. I never got to see the smolder that had been there, the dismissal of feathers, but the Phoenix Man left me a slab of cement that remembered my bird's footsteps before drying over. You have to have a damn good memory to play with death all day long, for a living. Know all of its games, toss it the gerbil's bone it buried ten feet beneath a four-year lifespan, and if it fetches, tell it that it's good at making people want to learn how to long before meeting the end. ** 2. The Phoenix Man could be a taxidermist with a sewing needle and the face of a grandfather. He's got a basket of eyes all in different stages of grief, wants to work them into one big obituary of a blanket. He's got one pair of eyes that once belonged to an owl still trying to hide the fear of a predator's guilt. He's got a patch stitched together for the gazes of the mourners who have to be reminded it's okay to cry. 44


It's just a shame there's no place for a passing thought in all that needlework. ** 3. My bird left the world, maybe on wings. He left the house in an empty Folgers can. ** 4. There's a brutality to fire that I don't think can be found in the flames that the Phoenix Man uses to say goodbye. The way they whimper isn't a hunger pain so much as it is an ache to lie dormant in their own ashes. That bleeding heat isn't a gaping wound, but a cremation quilt. These flames aren't destroyers, salivating for the juice of charred innards. They just want to number, as good morticians do, the converts rimming a single wing before tearing it to pieces.

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Market Mark Petterson these are things to be serious about. frozen fresh canned in oil or water breast meat drumsticks or some sort of fish instead. and how lean is lean enough? which sort of spice was it? cumin or ground cinnamon did you say to get? how much, brand name? and I wonder what percent live culture is best in the rasberry yogurt while I pass by the powdered milk, and try to calculate where what might have been, I imagine I’ve heard somewhere that avocados are bad for the liver (or was it the other way around) and “never buy iceberg heads” – that was you. I can’t keep it straight because all the while in the bright lights I am drawn by a gravity towards the frozen pizza, the same way you talk about ice cream (and pickles when you were pregnant) although you never bought that rocky road I do the shopping now what about this pita that comes with free hummus? am I getting taken? only local honey, you said, I said I know that, almond milk but no nuts in the cereal. And did the doctor say that french fries were alright? “watch out for my baby” a woman cries as I turn the corner, my cart facing diapers and soda, but she is somewhere down the aisle, not speaking to me not looking for me

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Lost Sex Katherine Ringley “What is certain is that today it is very difficult for women to accept at the same time their status as autonomous individuals and their womanly destiny; this is the source of the blundering and restlessness which sometimes cause them to be considered a ‘lost sex’.” - Simone de Beavoir A lady sips sweet tea with lemon. A lady does not slurp beer. A lady does not gulp cheap beer from a dented can. A lady does not kill twelve cans of Natural Light, and when she does not burp, it does not sting her nose like horseradish. A lady chews with her mouth closed. A lady does not chew tobacco. A lady does not dip Skoal. A lady does not dip Skoal, even if it is cherry flavored. A lady does not dip cherry Skoal in the shower and does not watch her clotted brown spit circle around the drain. A lady wears white dresses. A lady does not wear cowboy boots. A lady does not wear cowboy boots scarred on the soles from grinding out the Marlboros she does not hold in her teeth and does not suck mercilessly in front of men. A lady does not wear cowboy boots and a denim mini skirt. A lady does not wear a denim mini skirt almost exposing her ass not covered by the black thong that a lady does not wear. A lady says yes sir and yes ma’am. A lady does not curse. A lady does not string together curse words to make worse words. A lady does not call a gentleman a shithead fucktard. A lady does not refer to another lady as a cum-guzzling gutterslut. A lady remains chaste. A lady does not chase gentlemen. A lady does not throw herself at gentlemen after killing twelve cans of Natural Light. A lady does not whisper to a gentleman that she is wearing a black thong under her denim mini skirt. 47


A lady does not rake her teeth across a gentleman’s earlobe when she whispers and she does not call him a shithead when he laughs at her, which a gentleman does not do to a lady. A lady keeps things tidy. A lady does not make a mess. A lady does not press a razor blade into her wrist and does not watch the red clotted water circling the drain. A lady does not wrap the thick arm of a brown rope around and around itself into the shape of a coiled snake or a clay pot. A lady does not chase a confetti of pills with cheap beer and does not vomit into her hair. A lady does not blow her pink brains out all over her nice, white dress.

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The Women who Carry Rain in their Purses Daniel Romo This accessory would seem to contradict the concept of their concealer. Blatant water droplets versus hiding. And, although not a preferred look, it mixes in well with their mascara. A smoky wash dripping down the face. The rain rests in their handbags like a coat of pleasant weather. A calm, collected pool of precipitation. Perhaps it’s saved to signify a fresh start. Traces of new beginning following a sudden downpour. It might be a safety net of sorts. Familiar conditions for unfamiliar times. Or maybe they keep it as a reminder of their younger selves. To see how far they’ve come from the nights and days of brazen young girls who openly tongue-kissed raindrops. Stomped barefoot in puddles. And shunned umbrellas. When they walked around town with thunderbolts in their eyes, and storms in their pockets.

*This poem was inspired by Sarah J Sloat’s blog “The Rain in My Purse”

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hang the key Miriam Sagan on the hook this time, I won't come back last time I just pocketed it wanting more of infinite blue seen through the hole in the lock but now with a pelvis full of sky a coffee cup steaming oasis I'll take what I can get of shimmer, turn solid to bone and flesh somewhere else.

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silence 3 a.m. Miriam Sagan cat, husband moonlight, street lamp I'm sorry the side neighbor quit smoking and I no longer see him stand outside the lit window of what was once his mother's house

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The Flirt Carla Schwartz Her saggy breasts bulge as she leans tableward, like a ship on stormy sea. She swings them up and down, shapes them to his face as she talks. They pose a big question. Beg it. Will you come home with me? Will you love me, sweet stranger? She sits taller than the Girlfriend, flustered green. Girlfriend wills her to put on a shirt, but she waves victory with her bathing suit top, pressing her flaccid pickles closer. Although she looks only at him, her double barrels are aimed at both of them. Take this sweetheart. This is a test. I have his number. Watch him ask me for mine.

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Thirteen Tastes like the Pantry Floor Leah Sewell & the bottom of the hamper—forgotten blood & taffy, tastes like edible cellophane, like gnawing on lacquered bunk bed post, till initials of your teeth reach pulp. Tastes like thieved quarters, forgotten blood, plaque, bus exhaust, cab exhaust, boys’ dirty tongues. Changes with seasons: frozen pine needles disguise tobacco, peppermint Nair scalds legs—clean slates for sun to stroke. You suck on your Kool-Aid hair, it freezes into a knife. You chip rough bark, bite your fingernails, eat like a starving doe. The taste of new grass you claw up like a cat finding comfort, then you are tumbling in it, mowing down the hill. You floss the taste from your teeth, pinched taste of Novocain, baking soda toothbrush, steam from bath—taste your father’s cologne, sliver of soap taste, smell of your new woman-taste, sweat on your friend’s hand & spit-sister shake. Sugared coffee & fried mozzarella at the gas station taste & the blood when you bite your lip taste, the boy on the phone & your breath caught in the receiver taste. In the white solid winter when you fall & crack your temple, the eyelashes part like praying hands to the alley boys whose fingers over your mouth taste of locker metal, gravel, doorknobs, brown paper, graphite, rubber, salt, skin, blood.

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Marionette Leah Sewell I dreamed I returned from the bar to find you holding chopsticks & fresh-rolled sushi, only they were really crochet hooks that dipped sharp heads in apology at my ovaries round as dumplings. I flapped like a stuck moth against the wall. All my accoutrements — hairpins, false eyelashes, earrings — sloughed off my body like dust. I unfurled my proboscis to speak but the voice was a pastel feather. Out in blue night, our friends saw the shadows on the shades. Your limbs chopped like a marionette. They applauded because you are a mad scientist who slips pills into their drinks. I can’t remember why the wall gulped open like a bruised esophagus to swallow — maybe I tickled it apart when I shuddered. Your arm clamped on my waist woke me next morning. On your breath, evidence—sawdust. I rose & unrolled my plaster tongue.

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Woman on the Side Leah Sewell I’m the curtain woman, the one on the side. If I were a different woman, the kind who wears plumes in her fedora, the kind who smokes cigarillos & wears three rising suns on her fingers, one who assumes the shape of Kali when sexed, laughing her pleasure, lapping at his blood— I would click steps over to his part of town, would take my time crossing the strips, would let the fast cars blow up my skirt. I would tuck a bag of dead crickets under their porch, scatter cayenne pepper, stick a knife in the dirt, cleave, ask the spirits to please do the rest. I would. When amber light in their kitchen cups her cheekbone in its palm, saying, Look how smooth, and the gradation: a freckled mango, my curtain man would look away & think of me— all the noisiness of me— my sequins & straps, my wrinkled-up nose when I laugh, the trembling of my thighs when I pin him, how I whip my hair like a weapon, how I turn dark & my eyes glow like a tiger’s, how I bend down, mouth open, how I swallow him alive.

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[playing with dolls] Virginia Smith Cusp clasp curious unsure: something animal caught in walls, just under skin. Do you remember Rose? A lime-washed, white pine floor, five hours of blue light over snow‌ And again, Rose: show me where our feet wore a groove past the font tucked, heavy-lidded, in the alcove, up stone stairs twisting round and round old organ pipes, a closeted space where we laid out all our selves: spin spin dust into air, like sea-rinsed glass along arms and legs, trying each infinite self on for size.

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[blonde and sad skeletons, whistle, whistle] Virginia Smith Through glass, map a world without sound: blue wine, lime-russet trees draping yellow concrete – primary, tangible. Death continues with brisk affection and red galls, leaf-tips lit like nerve endings. Summer, I am leaving now, before night arrives and starts throwing its weight around. Past the fence laced in cicada shells, chrysanthemums curl like a chrysalis for December’s thirty-one torn skins. Autumn laps gently as a well-fed dog: each pale branch remembers leaves as essential things, and how easy it is to let things go. Voice gathers in the gap of breath just starting to sharpen, one end tucked under another, woven and unwearable. Green leaf, red leaf, green again. Only August, and already falling.

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[i sleep in the hand that breaks the clocks]: a cento Virginia Smith Full-settled, as in red mirror moons, my dead do not transcend the tomb. I ask my son, “When is my day?” and he answers, “Your day is coming soon.” Slowly the world between my eyelashes rises, tidings from the final sea, a roof of bottles that dreams the sailor’s memory. I dream of my children: a silk thread wraps me, and each of their kisses with a turn unravels me. Tenderly, they entomb birds in an empty spool-box, dried-apple cadavers that speak our tongue. When is my day? They laugh, Soon, soon. In the hand that breaks the clocks I sleep full-settled as red mirror moons. Crows become planets and sprout grass feathers, leaves falling from their throats, worlds and wheels repeating themselves. After nights of breathless ruby, I become what waits at the end of the tunnel, dawn’s stubborn lens tracing each thing’s hurry away from its name, the receding sea baring day’s new teeth.

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Rose Kate Sparks I want to show Rose where I'm from, but that place is gone. I once crouched alone in the woods, breathless before the corpse of a coyote, the word “grisle” repeating in my head like a nursery rhyme. Grisle, grisle, it catches in the teeth. I used to prick my fingers on the thorns of blackberries, my skin and lips stained purple-black, while my tongue probed the corners of my mouth for leftover seeds. I pressed my back against the jagged bark of trees; I crept through the underbrush to assault imaginary armies. In the hours between homework and bed, I was a guerrilla warrior, a vicious she-wolf, the last survivor of a forgotten ancient race. Now, the trees have yielded to neat square boxes on neat square lots, and my childhood has been tamed by vinyl siding. If I took Rose there now, she would only see mailboxes, weedtreated lawns, and hanging flower baskets. She wouldn't see where I'm from. She wouldn't understand. “Don't be dramatic,” she says, and she kisses my throat and sighs. “Every place changes.” “I know.” I want to show her the shutters my father made by hand for our red brick ranch house, the ones I used to press my face against in the summer. They smelled like balsa wood and warm black paint. I want her to see the battered chain link fences full of neighbors' snarling dogs, and the gas station just beyond whose ice cream bars were worth the risk of the walk. The dogs are dead now; the gas station is a tiny Mexican restaurant. The antique shop that sold hand-dipped candles is an insurance office, and the house where my best friend's cat used to shit on the carpets has been cleaned up and sold. I want some visible proof that my childhood happened, some lingering window Rose can use to peek into the past, as if the truth of who I was could somehow redeem who I've become. How can something I still feel so keenly have been erased from the rest of the world? She pats my hand and gets up from the bed. “I'm gonna leave you alone for a while,” she says. “I could show you the fairgrounds,” I offer. “I grew up right by them. But they're different, now, too, so...” She nods. “I'm just gonna go sit on the patio for a little bit.” “They always smelled like truck exhaust and children's sweat in the summer.” “Okay, baby.” Rose was raised in the mountains of Pennsylvania, where the trees crowd together so tightly they make me feel like I'm choking. She was fed church hymns and guilt; she drowned in hand-medown pastels and cruel nicknames. I don't understand her any more than she understands me. If only the blackberries were still there, I think. If only I could show her the shutters, or press her back against the tree bark, or let her hear the snarls of the dogs, then we would have the same footing. I would trade my hand-dipped candles for her mother's tight smile; I would swap the battles of my forests for the sounds of a mountain dulcimer crying in her New England winter. The door closes softly behind her as she leaves, and then there's nothing left to offer.

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Chicken or Beef? Meg Tuite 1. Lined up, stacked, stamped, cellophaned in packages. USDA says chicken. Yet they all may contain rib meat, it states, as well. Whose rib meat? The breast and leg are my favorite parts when I pick them out from the frozen section and put them in to my cart. What is the taste of human? We’ve sucked on blood and I have bit my cuticles, going into some kind of trance when ripping skin from chicken, fingers and ribmeat, terrorize my teeth that grow thinner and thinner the dentist says as he shows me an x-ray of what looks to be bleached white outlines of bone inside bone, about to be hatched from an elongated Caucasian. 2. My favorite part of the Museum of Science and Industry is the final exhibit when hundreds of chicks are cracking away at their shells, working diligently at finding a way out as rabidly as the guy sucking the meat from each marrow watching a baseball game while chicken wings slathered in barbeque sauce stack their bones in a mounting pile on a plate that the Hooter waitress carries off in his fantasies of smothering himself in her cleavage, racking up the hanging sacs of flesh that cover her ribcage. 3. You can cut the head off of a chicken and its body will still circle the parameters of known territory. My head and body have separated many times and free-ranged my apartment, remnants of my past chasing me that I never get away from. Soon the body will take over and the memories will lodge themselves in the cuticles that I tear apart. 4. I watched “Soylent Green” more than a few times. I see layer upon layer of chicken’s stacked up like tenements in a documentary and watch babies being wrenched out of bloody bodies to join the billions of others that roam their know terrain. One of the soccer players who survived a crash in the Andes said “Human meat tasted like chicken.” Babies and chicks are doted on. It’s old, doddering humans and rangy, old hens who are the absorbable commodity. It’s got the taste of chicken, but a lifetime of trauma clinging to its sinews.

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Stay Out of My Garden, Steve Buscemi Jeff Marcus Wheeler Steve Buscemi is digging holes in my garden Sometimes at night I’m sure I can hear him tramping through the tomatoes and rosemary Moving through my forthcoming harvest, gamboling across the step stones Ticka - ticka - ticka – ticka His intentions are of careful disarray into the middle of the food pyramid He never exhausts a plant before moving to the next Knowingly discriminating against the bitterness of those not yet ripe He offers a wink of salutation to the scarecrow As if being redirected from those apples I flip on the lights in vain and I never quite catch him But, the prints of his curious little feet are there in the dirt each morning Fresh with the same mark he’s left on my DVD library Fargo, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Billy Maddison Crossing people off his list of those to kill Monsters Inc, Desperado, Big Lebowski, Armageddon With a front row seat to the end of the world Con Air, The Wedding Singer, Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead “Buckweats for all of them?” quote Mr. Shh Each disc in the collection a visit from the ghost of Steve Buscemi’s past One hour a week with Nucky Thompson: offering the apparition of his present And each night, his holes scrutinizing my carrots, advancing like a mist along the ground, The Ghost of Steve Buscemi Yet To Come The meticulous, inspired, and haunting life of a vagrant celebrity A life of digging, and digging, and digging, and digging A labor of love 61


His love is a blister Where will it end Buscemi? I once thought he only had savory appetites for my herbs and vegetables But it’s the fruits of my cultivation playing the amuse bouche to his tasting menu I can hear the soft rustle outside as he delicately plucks raspberries from the bush Rascal! I’ve traded sleep for the thrill of catching him in the crosshairs Gnawing on my developing produce Tiny nibbles taken out of each string bean Wide eyes glowing, smiling his Buscemi smile Molars, incisors, and bicuspids Overcrowded and losing the battle to gain purchase inside his hap hazard smirk A rodent grin of scheming intention The same way Montressor smiled at Fortunado, promising wine, trowel in pocket How are my shallots Buscemi? Do you enjoy them? Do they add flavor to your Hollywood life? Do you slice them thin and add them to a sauce that you hope will impress your guests? He’s been at it all night But I turn on the lights and, like the whisper of yesterday, he’s gone again With my tomatoes

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Mouth in Two Parts Alyssa Yankwitt I. Her mouth is a color red that requires a smoky voice and high heels; a red named something like Amped Up Heat or Naughty Naughty a red that resembles ripe fruit, freshly bitten cherries, the translucent flesh of pomegranate arils. Her mouth is a red pout, a first kiss the color you envision beneath her black dress— red lace on milk-white skin. II. You imagine that red staining your neck, your nipples leaving a soft ring around your hard cock. It is the red of her orgasm when you fuck her hard from behind later that night; it is the red of shattered sheets, of the morning after. III. But right now it is a red pursing and smiling, biting her lips; it is a red unknowingly calling each other’s names; slowly fading against the side of her glass, into ice cubes.

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The Intimacy Junkyard Alyssa Yankwitt One told me—leave your boots on. One had a wife. One loved my “gypsy eyes.” One thought I tasted of forbidden stars. One said I had too many dimensions. One was July, lingering. One taught me how to play the drums. One never knew that I faked it. One was a Gemini. One never held me in the aftermath. One thought my name was a mantra, repeated it violently into my belly. One plotted the details of my murder. One asked if I’d ever write a poem about us. One used dichotomy and encapsulates to describe our lovemaking. One liked the taste of my blood, licked my many wounds. One almost loved me.

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Snowflakes Changming Yuan with as little noise as much leisure as possible you came to perch at this cold spot of time like a pale word fallen on the wasteland merely a voiceless being never heard yet ready to herald the glaring thunder summer

to melt soft and quiet before you vanish tracelessly in the green wind of

time

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Contributors Brandy Abraham is an emerging fiction writer who enjoys conducting literary experiments on poetry. Her work has appeared in Cardinal Sins, Temenos, and Postcard Shorts. She is currently serving as the Editor of Cardinal Sins, the art and literature journal of Saginaw Valley State University. An O. Henry Award story writer, Thomas Fox Averill is Writer-in-Residence at Washburn University of Topeka, KS. His novel, rode, published by the University of New Mexico Press, was named Outstanding Western Novel of 2011 as part of the Western Heritage Awards. His recent work, "Garden Plots," consists of poems, meditations, and short short stories about gardens, gardeners, garden design, plants, and the human relationship to nature. Michael Bagwell is an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College, an assistant editor for A cappella Zoo, and print designer for Ghost Ocean Magazine. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Bodega, Whiskey Island Magazine, Dark Sky Magazine, and Umbrella Factory Magazine, among others. Allie Marini Batts is a New College of Florida alumna, meaning she can explain deconstructionism, but cannot perform simple math. Her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines her family hasn't heard of. Allie lives in Tallahassee and likes climbing trees and watching raccoons steal catfood from the porch. Allie’s pursuing her MFA degree in Creative Writing through Antioch University Los Angeles and…..oh no! it's getting away! To read more, visit http://kiddeternity.wordpress.com/ or http://www.bookshelfbombshells.com. “The History of Daddy” originally appeared in "To Daddy With Love: A Daughter's Story Anthology" in 2010. Sean Beld currently lives in Corvallis, OR where he is studying for his MFA at Oregon State University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the journals Cartographer, The Whole Beast Rag, and Catawampus, among others. Carley Besl is a recent graduate of Indiana University. She currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and works as a carpenter and teacher. Crow Billings has recent work in Best Prenatal Poets 2012. In 2013, he will be born, with work forthcoming in Ten Under Two. Rhea Cinna is a doctor, writer and film-maker. While most of her literary endeavors are of the poetic kind, she also enjoys writing screenplays and short prose. She has written and directed a short film and likes to impose her taste in film on others via reviews she writes for The Missing Slate. She loves big cities, museums, film festivals and animals in most non-reptilian incarnations. She believes there’s no place like a moated chateau. Rachelle Cruz is from Hayward, California. She is the author of the chapbook, Self-Portrait as Rumor and Blood (Dancing Girl Press,2012). Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in New California Writing 2013, Bone Bouquet, PANK Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Splinter Generation, KCET's Departures Series, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, among others. She hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour on Blog Talk Radio. An Emerging Voices Fellow, a Kundiman Fellow and a VONA writer, she lives and writes in the Bay Area. Kristina Marie Darling is the author of nine books of poetry. She has been awarded fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo, the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Kristina is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo, where she holds a Presidential Fellowship. Laura E. Davis is the author of Braiding the Storm (Finishing Line Press 2012). Her poem "Widowing" won the 2011 Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest, judged by Dorianne Laux. Her poems and reviews are featured or forthcoming in Redactions, The Rumpus, Stone Highway Review, and WomenArts Quarterly, among others. The Founding Editor of the literary magazine Weave, Davis teaches poetry writing, translation, and recitation in San Francisco, where she lives with her partner, Sal.

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Jonathan Dubow is a candidate for an MFA-in-poetry at the University of Alabama and a poetry editor for Revolution House Magazine. His work has recently appeared in the Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, the Seattle Review, and elsewhere. Angele Ellis has written haiku as wedding favors, and watched Buddhist monks dance below a movie marquee featuring her poem. The author of Arab on Radar (Six Gallery) and Spared (a Main Street Rag Editors' Choice Chapbook), she is a 2008 recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Recent publications include Grey Sparrow, Rufous City Review, Eunoia Review, Mizna, Lilliput Review, and Women Write Resistance. She lives in Pittsburgh. Jen Ferguson is a Canadian studying for her PhD at the University of South Dakota. She will admit sometimes she cries in the bath while listening to the original cast recording of Les Miserables. But she’s pretty sure that’s not the strangest thing you’ve heard today. Diana Friedman’s work has appeared in Sport Literate, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, the Whole Earth Review, the Baltimore Sun, Newsweek, Bethesda Magazine and the Legendary. Her fiction was a finalist for the Howard Frank Mosher Fiction Prize, and a top 25 pick for Glimmer Train’s Family Matters Contest. She has just completed her first novel, a contemporary story of desire, dislocation and U2 infatuation, set in Washington D.C. and Dublin. Visit her at www.dianafriedmanwriter.com or www.facebook.com/DianaFriedmanwriter. Carol Guess is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, including Tinderbox Lawn and Doll Studies: Forensics. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University, where she teaches Creative Writing and Queer Studies. Follow her here: www.carolguess.blogspot.com Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington and the author of three books of poetry, Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, and Unexplained Fevers (upcoming in spring 2013.) She is actually very fond of engineers. She volunteers for Crab Creek Review, teaches at National University, and is a Seattle 2013 Jack Straw Writer. Aimee Herman alternates poem-writing with coffee-drinking and peanut butter-consuming with sleeping. When she breathes, planets blurt out. Her poems may be read in (or are forthcoming in): dead (g)end(er), Painted Bride Quarterly, THRUSH, Lavender Review and great weather for MEDIA. Her full-length book of poems, to go without blinking, was published in 2012 by Blaze VOX books. Find her writing poems on her body in Brooklyn or at: aimeeherman.wordpress.com. Kale Humphrey: I am a freelance copyeditor living in Lawrence, KS that studies math. Most of my days involve contours and limits, but also the imaginary since I have two young children. My infrequent pruning, in books and the backyard, tends to sprout an organic poem. Emily Janowick writes poems and makes big abstract paintings in a tiny brick apartment in Knoxville, Tennessee. She loves thrifting, making mix tapes, brunch, and queer theory. She has been published in Harpur Palate. Her chapbook, The Rule of Threes, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. Hilary King lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, PANK, Vinyl Poetry, Gertrude, Blue Fifth Review and other publications. She was never really interested in the Titanic story until she went to an exhibit of the ship's artifacts. There she learned the stories about who was on board and why, stories that never made the movies. Jen Knox works as a creative writing professor and editor in San Antonio. She runs, tries to cook, writes short stories, tries to write novels, works a lot, and tries to meditate on a regular basis. Jen is working on a novel now, which she plans to finish at the Vermont Studio Center in 2013. Jen’s writing has appeared in Bluestem, EDGE, Gargoyle, Istanbul Review, Narrative, Superstition Review, and Thrush. Her website is here: http://www.jenknox.com.

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Christine Langill is a participant in Tom Daley's poetry workshop at the Boston Center for Adult Education. While earning her BA at the University of Vermont she received an honorable mention for the Ora Mary Pelham Poetry Prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets. Her work has been published in Cobalt Review and is forthcoming in Amethyst Arsenic. A Cape Cod native, she lives in Salem, MA. Sarah Leavens is the 2012-13 Out of the Forge writer-in-residence in Braddock, PA. She received her MFA in Poetry and Nonfiction from Chatham University, where she served as the Margaret Whitford Fellow and organized the reading series Word Circus in collaboration with Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery. Her recent work has appeared in Fourth River, The Diverse Arts Press and is forthcoming from Weave and So to Speak. She teaches writing and visual art in Pittsburgh. Jennifer LeBlanc earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her poems have been published in or are forthcoming from journals such as CAIRN, Melusine, Subliminal Interiors, Eunoia Review, and Quantum Poetry Magazine. She is at work on a collection of persona poems. Paige Lewis currently studies creative writing at the University of South Florida. When she is not writing, Paige spends her time reading Philip K. Dick novels and watching David Lynch films. Her poetry has appeared in Ubernothing, The Bakery, and Northwind. Her more recent work is scheduled to appear in Women arts Quarterly. She can be contacted directly at plewis@mail.usf.edu. Becky Mandelbaum is an undergraduate at the University of Kansas where she is majoring in English and Creative Writing. She is a part-time passage writer for the Kansas Assessment Program and a full-time dog enthusiast. She looks forward to the freedom and adventure of post-graduate unemployment. Freesia McKee is a feminist and poet. Her work has appeared in Ishaan Literary Review, Drey, Magnolia, and other venues. Freesia's poem "at the inaugural meeting of the divine savior holy angels gay-straight alliance" was nominated for the 2012 Best of the Net Anthology. She lives in Milwaukee. In order to keep sane, Melina Papadopoulos regularly speaks of two things that drive her insane: writing and food. She is currently an undergrad at Baldwin-Wallace University and the proud mom of six birds and a dog stuck in puppy mode. Her work has appeared or will be appearing in Plume Poetry, Bluestem Magazine, The Cossack, The Roanoke Review, among others. Al Ortolani is a teacher. His poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal and the New York Quarterly. He has three books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, Woodley Press at Washburn University and Wren's House, Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas. He is an editor for The Little Balkans Review. Mark Petterson lives in St. Louis, where he writes and works on old cars. He holds an MFA in Fiction Writing and was a founding editor of Beecher's literary magazine. His fiction, poetry, and essays can be found in elimae, Mochila Review, Burnside Writer's Collective, and other fine journals. Katherine Ringley earned an MA in Creative Writing from Longwood University in Farmville (the real one), VA, in 2009. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Whiskey Island Magazine, Concho River Review, and VECTOR. She would like to apologize to her mother, who raised her better, for the filthy language in this poem; however, she would like to thank a long-time friend, Matt, for teaching her how to get more creative with profanity. Daniel Romo’s photography and poems appear in The Los Angeles Review, Gargoyle, Yemassee, Word Riot, and elsewhere. His book of prose poems, When Kerosene's Involved, can be found here. He bats leadoff and plays shortstop for the Long Beach Barons. His website: http://www.danielromo.net/. Miriam Sagan is the author of twenty-five books, including the poetry collection MAP OF THE POST (University of New Mexico Press.) She founded and directs the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. Her blog is Miriam's Well (http://miriamswell.wordpress.com). in 2010, she won the Santa Fe Mayor's award for Excellence in the Arts.

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Carla Schwartz is a professional writer with a doctoral degree. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Fulcrum, 05401, Wordgathering, Stone Highway Review, Literary Juice, Emerge Literary Journal, Enizagam, and Equinox, among others. She is an avid swimmer, cyclist, chef, and gardener. She is also experimenting with poetry and video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XfHVkZ9p4I You can like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carla-Schwartz/95997611519 Leah Sewell is the assistant editor at Coconut Poetry, an MFA candidate at the University of Nebraska Omaha, and a book designer, poet and mother. Her work has appeared in such publications as [PANK], Midwestern Gothic and Weave Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart by Coal City Review in 2012. She lives in Topeka, Kansas where she's the moderator of the Topeka Writers Workshop and a part-time vegan chef. Virginia Smith earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in 2River View, Denver Quarterly, Rattle, Stirring, Southern Poetry Review, Superstition Review, and Weave. Kate Sparks is a superstitious line cook who lives in a hotel. Her work has appeared in Leodegraunce and Hobo Camp Review. Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in numerous journals. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and a Micro Award from the amazing Stone Highway Review. She is fiction editor of The Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press, author of Domestic Apparition (2011) San Francisco Bay Press, Implosion and other stories (2013) Sententia Books and two chapbooks. She lives in Santa Fe, NM with her husband and a menagerie of snoring cats and dogs, at the moment. Her blog: http://megtuite.wordpress.com. Jeff Marcus Wheeler holds a Master’s degree from the University of Denver and is a member of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife and English Bulldog, Battier. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bartleby Snopes and The Writers' Slate among others. He is a fighter, a lover, a hater, and a liar. He has never been sorry for partying. Alyssa Yankwitt is a poet, teacher, and bartender, which are more alike than most would think. She has an MFA from City College and lives in Bklyn. Most recently, her poems have appeared in Curio Poetry, Poetry In Performance, Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Missing Slate, IthacaLit, and are forthcoming in Milk Sugar. She has incurable wanderlust, hates writing about herself in third person, and loves a good disaster. Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Allen Qing Yuan and Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in an impoverished Chinese village, holds a PhD in English, and currently tutors in Vancouver; his poetry appears in nearly 600 literary publications across 23 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Poetry Kanto, Poetry Salzburg Review, SAND and Taj Mahal Review.

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Stone Highway Review Issue 2.2  

Issue 2.2, January 2013, contains work by Laura E. Davis, Leah Sewell, Mark Petterson, Michael Bagswell, Jen Knox, and many other writers.

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