Willard & Maple XIX

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Volume Nineteen

Willard & Maple Vol. 19

Please submit your work via Submittable at: www.willardandmaple.submittable.com/submit

For other inquiries, we can be reached at: Willard & Maple Literary and Fine Arts Magazine of Champlain College 163 South Willard Street Box 34, Burlington, VT 05401 willardandmaple@champlain.edu

Volume 19



Dominic Rizzo

Sara Martin

Associate Editors

Jack Barry Desiree Carpenter Ashley Dible Sara Deloach Aidan Fly Kiera Hufford Meg Kelting Zach Paulsen Charlotte Williams

Managing Editor

Kim MacQueen

Cover & Layout

Hannah Wood

Reda Limantas

Editor Emeritus

Jim Ellefson

Special thanks to all the faculty, staff, and students of Champlain College Center for Publishing who helped us start rebuilding our magazine from the ground up.



Volume 19

Contents Written Work Deep


William Aarnes


William Aarnes


William Aarnes 16


William Aarnes 17



William Aarnes 18

Kids of the Suburbs A Good Cause

Michelle Askin 20

One Brand of Holy Dirty Pebbles Ghosted

Molly Abrahamson 19

Joshua Baker 22

Christopher Barnes 23

Christopher Barnes 24

Latitude, Longitude, Edgewise The Unexpected Find Second Chance

Christopher Barnes 25

Christopher Barnes 26


Seth Benton

Returning from USSR

Julian Berengaut 28

A Profound Disinterest in People

Mitchell Bergeron 29

Frank on His Soap Box After Sunday Mass

Mitchell Bergeron

The Acoustic Guitar


Ace Boggess 31

Letter to the Colonial Re-enactor Firing


Willard & Maple

an Empty Musket at the Sky Mist Crows

Ace Boggess

Ace Boggess 33

After our Meditation Workshop December Sunflowers


Leslie D. Bohn


Virginia Boudreau 35


Virginia Boudreau

Fault Lines

Mollie G. Chandler 37

SOIL HEAVES. SOMETHING IS GROWING. Time Stands Still. Anytime Buffalo Plaid

Judith Cody 39

William Doreski 40

The Cosmic Vacuum Tomato Farm

Judith Cody 38

William Doreski


William Doreski 42

Like a Wife’s Gentle Kiss on the Cheek

Bennett Durkan

People Watching at Starbucks Pebble Beach

Joshua Faulks

A Girl's First Love Gravity Rain

Nakita Floyd

43 Bennett Durkan 44

45 46

Brad Garber 47

Brad Garber 48

An Elephant Paints a Portrait of an Elephant The Diver

Brandyn Johnson 49

Brandyn Johnson

Taking Down the Tent Forbidden dance



Brandyn Johnson 51

Erren Kelly 52

Volume 19


Erren Kelly 53

The housecoat she walks in Somebody’s Boy

Eleanor Levine 55

Diane Lechleitner 56



Steve McCord

Jesse Minkert 58

Eat Shit and Die

Joseph Rathgeber 59

Filling Stations

Joseph Rathgeber

God Hyphenated NICU

Joseph Rathgeber 61

Joseph Rathgeber 62

Weedsmoker Precipice

Joseph Rathgeber 63

Daniel David 64


Catori Sarmiento 65

Russell Lived Beyond His Means Eve & Me, to Animalia Coming of Age UN-


Gerard Sarnat 66

Amy Schmidt 67

Amy Schmidt 68

Amy Schmidt 69

The Solar System on Garden Avenue Story of the Great Depression

Rochelle Shapiro 71

To My Lacrimal and Salivary Glands The Fickleness of Wrens catchy

Amy Schmidt 70

Rochelle Shapiro

Shannon Sutherland

72 73

Isobel Shasha 74


Kelley Jean White 75


Willard & Maple

Live Like This IN THE TRUCK

Chris Wilkensen 76

Fred Yannantuono 77

Puppy Love at the Wharf

Fred Yannantuono 79

Fine art: Amongst

Kassidy Bowen 80

Everlasting Born

Kassidy Bowen 81

Kassidy Bowen 82


Kassidy Bowen 83


Kassidy Bowen 84

I think it’s Sunday When you go, I go Flesh Guessing

Eros’ Arrows I, Land


Sara Martin 87

Kermit Mulkins 89

Kermit Mulkins 90

Kermit Mulkins

Legendary Open

Sara Martin 86

Kermit Mulkins 88



Sara Martin 85

Kermit Mulkins

Kermit Mulkins

91 92 93

Volume 19


Kermit Mulkins 94

Thunderheads at Bud Break Winter’s Breaking Storm

Rees Nielsen


Rees Nielsen 96

Biographies 97


Literary and Fine Arts Magazine Volume 19

Champlain College Burlington, Vermont

Willard & Maple

deep William Aarnes

Swollen by a dousing of knocked-over latte and filled with a Post-it Note for every profound passage, her copy of Moby-Dick is a squishy two inches deep.


Volume 19

freedom William Aarnes

Some mornings on the walk with her friends there was no interrupting Phyll, and this fifth of July she swept out fuming about family and fireworks: “Love,” she complained, “is a verb turned possessive. And freedom’s even more tyrannical. “You know, Jay expects me to love him back. And I suppose I’m somehow responsible but I’ve got a dad and grown-up kids as needy as our dog during a pyrotechnic display. What’s more, if Jesus loves me and He’d better—it’s just His down payment on my soul. For Him—for everyone—love’s the stake for making a claim. “But freedom! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll do my poll-watching and would hate to lose that aisle of cereal choices at Publix. I enjoy speaking my mind and might like a little license, should I get so lucky. Still, doesn’t it feel confining to hear that word intoned? Turn on the news and the President sways supporters by declaiming, “Freedom . . . Freedom.” Then his opponent repeats after him, “Freedom . . . Freedom.” Free-dumb—the mantra politicians chant when the voters think they’re free to go thoughtless. Once a noun, the word’s now gone imperative. Freedom is sanctimonious for conform. Freedom—a command synonymous with ‘stand up and salute.’ Freedom means ‘fall in.’”


Willard & Maple

friends William Aarnes

Friends don’t fare well. Well, for a while some seem to—like the couple who were last to leave your housewarming, tumbling together down your steps, both knees of his jeans scraping raw, her skirt ripping open, both then lying on the damp walk, giggling with such drunken joy at your concerns you had to laugh along, their niggling boredom with each other not yet having aggravated them into the rancorous, side-choosing split-up that roused them enough to renew their vows (in church, no less, selected friends invited) and then have twins, whose seventh birthday you’ve agreed to celebrate five days early in your back yard since the father (still the friend) has custody only every other weekend and his new wife (another old friend) dreads hosting all her step-sons’ rambunctious friends.


Volume 19

regular William Aarnes

Always coming in by eight, always taking a seat at the counter, whenever possible four stools down from the register, always ordering orange juice, whole wheat toast and regular, always accepting the refill and drinking half before sitting a few minutes with head bowed, eyes focused on his interlaced fingers, dreading difficulties perhaps or composing the definitive rebuke, practicing his private rite for preparing for the day, most other patrons choosing not to sit on the adjacent stools.


Willard & Maple

ride William Aarnes

“So much wisdom gone,” the wives complained the night they discovered the owner had painted over the graffiti in the women’s john. And three years later, though lately they’ve come back laughing about these new drawings that show some girl has an eye for the indecent truth, they’re still drinking to their old favorites: The one in block letters that faced the toilet: “If it has wheels or testicles, it’s bound for trouble.” And the one squeezed in just down to the right in faint red: “Yeah, one thing I’ve learned is never accept a ride in a Camaro.”


Volume 19

Kids of the Suburbs Molly Abrahamson

The poor, innocent pedestrians must have been quite alarmed when caught in the crossfire of a battle of high school hockey fans. Trying to get back to the T station myself, at first I was almost glad that my itchy, wool coat was concealing my Pembroke High School colors. “Fuck you Marblehead!” the crowd of my classmates screamed around me, and Marblehead students raged back at us from across the street. The Harvard Hockey Arena loomed behind us; a still-present reminder of Pembroke’s tragic championship loss. Car horns frantically beeped at the teenagers who were pouring into the road. My mouth tasted like all the Raspberry Smirnoff I had consumed, and I wished I had an Altoid. “I can’t fucking believe we lost!” my best friend Mel said next to me. The February wind whipped her blonde curls around her face, and I pulled the lapels of my jacket closer to me. “I know, dude. It sucks.” Crinkling my nose, I breathed in the mixture of hockey player sweat, salt water from the ocean nearby, and French fries from a distant McDonalds. My entire high school was here, and my entire high school was drunk, but the city lights continued to twinkle peacefully around us, not noticing. I didn’t see her until people started pointing. A pretty but sturdy Pembroke senior, Zoe Davis was heavily intoxicated the majority of the time, including now. She strolled up to a small parked Honda that was filled with Marblehead girls. My mouth turned sour as she pulled a silver key from her pocket, and casually dug into the side of the car. The key made an irritated squealing noise as jagged lines appeared down the side of the passenger door. “What the hell are doing?” the driver screamed as she rolled down the window. “Are you fucking kidding me?” Without hesitating, Zoe grabbed the girl by the neck and pulled her head out of the car. There was the grinding sound of fist hitting cheekbone. “She just punched that bitch in the face!” someone yelled. Choruses of cheers and disbelieving laughter erupted from the Pembroke side of the street. “Fuck you, bitch!” Zoe spat, and tossed the girl back into her car. We probably would have stood and cheered all night, but it didn’t take long for the Marblehead boys to realize what had happened. I grabbed Mel’s hand and my canvas sneakers pounded on the cold pavement. Together, laughing, hundreds of my classmates and I stumbled and bumped into one another. We ran.


Willard & Maple

A Good Cause Michelle Askin

In the dream I cupped my throat to say do you feel better— kept repeating, Your throat, is it better? Each time strangling my own harder. You finally said, I don’t understand but thank you. It was as though something happened to you that could only be explained to the dream me. You swallowed bad radio waves or sucked from an oil pump— like a less brain formed child or an insane animal guessing mother’s milk. I thought oil because there was rain: thick & almost blue like a gas leak puddle resurrecting poolish water under steamy sun rays and orange car lights. I dream of you friend because I’m never sure what it was I wanted to tell you or I was sure of too much. When I saw him— shot ribs & bullet bruised, the militia men shoving him against a bulldozer (roll away the stone… they have been told) wailing from a holy snake handling tent, I wanted to call but all I could hear was your What right do you have to dream of my man that way? Even in my own city friend, you know the way better than I do. In Chinatown you ask good questions about crabs and tea cakes. The lobsters waiting to die in their tanks, you wave at as though you are the district’s bag lady so familiar to sad things. At the grocery on Fifth the Pakistani boys in DC football parkas roll guavas. And I remember the brochure from the Evangelical Hill Church: Date a Muslim? Meaning Ramadan was soon and some at sun down nourish on dates, so please consider buying a jar of dates . Put political, U.S.A blue eyed Christ in that jar. And there are too many ways to be kind and hurt all at once. I meant you always know your way. When a hail storm shut off the metro power, you grabbed my hand as neon eyed hookers and boys wearing beautiful drugs on their peach skin rushed down stopping for us as though you were part of some charitable agency. I never wanted you in a sexual way. From the dreams I wake sobbing and rub as though my hand is your hand. Once I asked you about the red stones on your ring fingers and the white grape rosary washing your mouth.


Volume 19 But the only answer was another dream: a warm tub where my menstruation would not stop rushing the water. Dove wings clothed and combed the wild pubic hair. This was my way of knowing that red and white in you. Upstairs in my boarding room you roll sushi and say how he and you do this all the time— how it’s sort of sexy and would I like to be married. Some man would marry you. I didn’t know I would panic. That I was afraid of so far down in the dark, or how much I needed touch to go. In the dream you wept. This was the man whose grip even bloody and broken thumbed you could not rest without. In the dream I knew you loved him so I shredded every story you wrote in me. I was just a passing through in your visiting city.


Willard & Maple

One Brand of Holy Joshua Baker

A writing mentor once taught me that compressing language into meter yields strength through tension. This morning, my last in gray Dublin, inside Trinity College library I gawk at history, muse: these words crammed tight, captive on dark shelves, worlds high, these stacks and lines unread by bestseller-loving tourons but one yellowing Swift parchment, a few legal papers beneath glass, words smaller than blinks, art wrestles truth amid the smell of books— they are poetry’s bones, its blood, though perhaps deaf, blind, biased as most of us. They are humanity’s tongue a brand of holy I must acknowledge as it hammers my senses cracks my traveler’s jade teeth.


Volume 19

Dirty Pebbles Christopher Barnes

Detritus – Bludgeoned, sunk from earth’s skin. Grinding kits express it shatter-proof But dazzlement’s flown. De Beers grumble at lost sheen. Diamantaries wink for light-grasp, glitz. Crystal scaffolding no longer sparks.


Willard & Maple

Ghosted Christopher Barnes

Ferreted out of bin-spill A diagnostic x-ray, Face down in perished cabbage, Risky slop – Heinz beans. Electro-magnetic radiation Spirit-raised this after-image. Photo-absorption, Light-touch truths as positional structures. Bones, cartilages, Gossamer in a thoracic cave. A sweetener dangles For its pigeon chested heirship – Distinguished hiatus hernia, In the sepia of ages.


Volume 19

Longitude, Latitude.


Christopher Barnes

To inhale a split-second Releases this always nearing, Love-urging sunset, Spotted on half a spume. Tinges disbanding from glints Overthrow tides. You too can empty yourself in it.


Willard & Maple

The Unexpected Find Christopher Barnes

A backswept alley eye-opener – Roll up roll up to this pleasure-round attraction. They tout tuck, ding-dong fights, wild oats music – Customer-snatching freak shows In diamond-studded light. Uncork a grumbling metropolitan purlieu – Spanner-built thrills, Ping-clink coin-heavy arcades. Twist-a-whirl, shoot-the-chutes And all your awe will be gravity-flung.


Volume 19

Second Chance Seth Benton

A cold, steady rain drips from the bronze beard of Stonewall Jackson sitting uniformed and stiff high up on his steed, splitting the endless traffic of Monument Avenue. The abortion protesters camp on the sidewalk their angry banners screaming at all passersby. I escape to the warmth of the museum school the black security guard smiles, calls me sugar. Inside the class a young model slips her jeans, all curves and light I cannot render with my clumsy stick of charcoal. After class I pause before a carved Jonah, seven wavy lines of cut stone beard his face in quiet panic, his curving muscles swimming naked down the belly of a whale, not yet reborn and washed up whole on the shore, ready to begin his second chance. Passing the medieval rooms late for work I avoid the beseeching eye of Saint Gregory encased in his gilt robe, painted hand raised in blessing as if toward me but the automatic glass doors spit me out into the unexpected sunshine.


Willard & Maple

Returning from USSR Julian Berengaut

Some came back with reports Of dirt, stink, and poverty. I gave them to read "A Room and a Half"-About a poet's one room Leningrad apartment Partitioned by a wall of books. Others came back envious Of the deep souls of the Slavic people. I gave them to read "Shock Therapy"-A medical miracle story of Making corpses work in Kolyma.


Volume 19

A Profound Disinterest in People Mitchell Bergeron

In my youth, I showed my mother some of my paintings. She stared at them with her evocative lips, rising up into a smile, Her cheeks rosy from the cold outside. Her black hair dangling in front of her face. She turned to me. "Do you like them?" I asked, a grin sprawled across my face. She looked at them awhile, let out a sigh and said in a matter-of-fact way, "I can't place it dear, I like the fountain. There is something about them that's so cold though." She stood up and walked out of the room, her brown dress, swaying with her hips, under her breath I heard her say, "Why does giving birth feel so much like taking a shit?"


Willard & Maple

Frank on His Soap Box After Sunday Mass Mitchell Bergeron

America, not American The soft tissue of the congested city street. I took a bite out of the big apple and swallowed some of the core. Apple seeds sprout in my stomach grow out of my mouth I hate it but it is part of me and everywhere I go, people see the America in me. My shoes tap “Yankee Doodle Dandy” as I cough apple sauce on the hot concrete. Fuck.

America you pour bleach down my drain and grow your tumors in my brain, lungs, tits and ass Fuck. America you toss my salad with subsidized corn and eat me out like an oyster from its shell Fuck. America I trusted you with my innocence and you sold me into a sex ring faster than a twenty-five year old virgin male can cum Fuck. America you let me rest my torn, security blanket on your cold, hairy chest every night. I silently listen to your heartbeat. You had quite the workout, didn’t you?


Volume 19

The Acoustic Guitar Ace Boggess

the acoustic guitar substitutes itself for body her tight tiny back her neck like a candy cane mouth that says too much & not enough succulent mouth singing boldly swearing tasting beckoning taking in & giving out run a hand along red cracking shoulder curves somewhere touch brings melody somewhere else the pause extends a final breath quick now pluck a note create some low imperfect hum I shall play until love & loneliness cease to feel as if they are the same


Willard & Maple

Letter to the Colonial Re-enactor Firing an Empty Musket at the Sky Ace Boggess you adjust the tricorne slightly on your heard raise musket’s stock to shoulder like a fiddle its serenade louder than lightning shattering a tree my flinch is inadvertent as though I’m watching footage of an accident mayhem looping on the evening news & I shiver to anticipate what’s coming nothing shatters & no one falls as the stink of burning refuse saturates the air at what did you aim? a cloud shaped like an antelope? a memory? a face none but you could see? you stood alone among emerald bayonets arms up & third arm highest a replica in caramel linen the statue of a general his name forgotten or never learned his sword slashing heavens until the bronze will break


Volume 19

Mist Crows Ace Boggess

mist crows mist then nothing the morning panorama opaque as halo of the eye that sees it a swimming pool brimming with 2% milk streaks of pure dark matter cutting through this blank page one might pluck a wing from broth or hear the droning of unmanned predators they shoot over in pulses a meteor shower on negative film what remains is mist & mist a pale kingdom in this game of Go between water & the wind


Willard & Maple

After Our Meditation Workshop Leslie D. Bohn

I saw the spine as links of a bicycle chain as my breath cycled deeper into the pointed ellipse of shared pain where you and I overlap and diving into that aperture which wobbled the inner eyelid’s electric colors, I emerged between shore and Pharaonic solar boat, its bow limber and shining like alloy vertebrae. Dreams blur and overlap, too, and soon I was prefiguring Christ of the Last Judgment, beckoning bodies from the earth then watching them fall again. Since then, like this, because usually when I press you pull back and we’re caught in eddies and swirls of our own design, I regard your soft inhalations and exclamations while we make love: Charon oversees port; saints and angels row starboard.


Volume 19

December Virginia Boudreau

Shards of shrapnel, hunks of mortar flower with the heaviness of dates in snickering fronds of palm high above the narrow lanes of Baghdad. In the distance, violet bouquets are offered to a dawn sky still shimmering with a dust of stars fainting in heaven. Those same pinpoints of light have guided migratory birds and wisemen to beds of weeds and rushes, over dunes and into mountains rife with almond and terebinth. Pairs of pale rock sparrow drab, anonymous rise like hope above light green leaves, tiny yellow petals on the tamarind trees and pebbled nests adorning hills of stone. Here, a splash of snow buntings unfurls a banner of white movement against ragged spruce thicket beside the highway. This undulating pristine sweep is a sudden gift: magnolia petals unfolding a synchrony of bloom that rises like a choir of voices or the brightest star in a clear December sky.


Willard & Maple

Sunflowers Virginia Boudreau

At the old homestead sunflowers newly seeded, brush the stonewall Grandpa built before the Great Depression. Their packed petals are cautionyellow, wired into reverie. The screen door bangs and Mammie’s on the stoop. Her apron’s dusted, her eyes faintly furrowed against the sun. I see those soft, soft fingers holding out a tin cup of cool water drawn from the well beside the back porch. A gentle smile lights her face as he turns from the rocks, wipes his brow. For hours he’s toiled in sweatsoaked doeskin, checkered red calloused hands shimming granite, eyes scanning rubble. Spattered work pants knelt in the field, straddled slabs, bent and braced and heaved until he was ready hat in hand to stand before all the years, hard and soft, to follow


Volume 19

Fault Lines Mollie G. Chandler

She failed to recognize herself in the picture, Though her memory was good, her judgment Sound. Knock upon it. Test it. Lie down On how she always could remember, And look to other causes for the fault. When once you walked the lakeside Of your grandfather’s estate you came upon A rock riven with cracks. You don’t remember, But think it’s strange that she cannot. Look elsewhere, still elsewhere for the fault. Her features are untying. See the seams Along her eyes, the distress along her jawline. You can fault her the climate of her age, And haunt the mountains looking for the crack That will send half of your continent to sea.


Willard & Maple


Audacious seed creature alone, minute as a mote in the eye, is heaving lumps of earth no bigger than the tip of a big toe. There! The tiny crack begins caught on the lance tip of an anaemic, green embryo thrusting upward to touch the heat of day. Audacious seed creature twisting to an advantageous hold against earth steering to light firm as a sailor’s grip on the rudder you, dicotyledon, splay two fresh, green sails inclining toward particles of photosynthesizing radiation racing from our lonely star. Audacious seed creature bearer of absolute genetic knowledge to seek the perfect portal where you will become a Dawn Redwood, a carrot, or, perhaps, a rose.


Volume 19

TIME STANDS STILL. ANYTIME. —Salvador Dali’s clock sags forever Judith Cody …bent back, halved a vertebra snaps surprised our tears sear our faces touch salt mingles stings where raw flesh presses— unrestrained an avalanche of fondling suffocates provokes dissonant sounds slashing into throats like an axe into a loaf of pale bread…


Willard & Maple

Buffalo Plaid William Doreski

Stoic in buffalo plaid our host regards me the way he regarded the elk mounted above his fieldstone fireplace the moment before he shot it. He snatches the single-malt scotch from my grasp and uncorks it with one quick gesture, wringing it like a chicken neck. He directs this mayhem at you, not me, his lust flowing over, foaming on his lip. He didn’t expect you to bring me to his party. He didn’t foresee his favorite scotch arriving in my rough and clumsy male grip. We chat about hunting and sex, how one excites the other. I despise hunting but accept his hirsute self-portrayal the way one accepts vanity in a purebred cocker spaniel. He would shoot me on the spot if he hadn’t invited a pair of state police detectives to drink at his wet bar staffed with bunnies from the last functioning Playboy Club in Chicago. You’ve told him about my years in Africa, my stint as a minor-league catcher. He appreciates these lies and drinks to me and himself and the buffalo plaid we both wear in honor of your sultry past and the present tense we’ve shattered under burly waterproof boots only the thickest men can wear.


Volume 19

The Cosmic Vacuum William Doreski

Layers of cold March dark congeal under my tongue. Speech disabled I lurch into the cosmic vacuum. Neighboring houses stand unlit and solemn as crime scenes. Trees nod as stars ruffle through their branches.

and clap it between my big hands and picture us reading together. We move our lips not to shape words but to form that cosmic vacuum in which unexplored planets dangle, ornamental and just out of reach.

In a month they’ll think of leafing, but for now they withhold remarks a windy summer night would invoke. In your tossing of bedclothes you dream on and on, evoking climates social enough to cuddle you more securely than I ever could. If I drove across the grinding hills to peep into your shadows you’d rise from the bed in a single gray scream, a figure in a famous painting. You’d tell the police a silence rose dripping from a frozen marsh and clapped a censorious hand to stifle the dream-life you prefer to the one I offered years ago. They’d pretend to scribble notes, then catch each other’s eye and leave in a huff of assurance and exhaust. I don’t want to frighten away the ground mist swirling around me so I creep back into the house and without turning on a light take a favorite book from the shelf


Willard & Maple

Tomato Farm William Doreski

At the tomato farm long shivers of irrigation ditch draw the eye to vanishing-point perspective. The bushes gloat tall and fungus-free in ranks at least a mile long. I envy the tomato brothers’ work ethic and savory results. Would you like to tour the farm? Note the footbridges linking rows and the plank walkways to prevent footfall from compacting soil. Here’s a tool shed painted black so it won’t reflect glare and scorch nearby plants. A pump house also in matte black hulks where a ditch cuts perpendicular to feed the long parallels. You note, while stifling a little scream, the occasional human hand or foot thrust from the water. No crime scene here, only slack human carcasses donated last winter when the shelters closed for lack of funding. Police collected the dead from the streets, and the tomato brothers offered to bury them free of charge. Look how big and rich the tomatoes have grown only eighty days after planting. You needn’t worry. They’ll taste as good as they look,


and even with your overbite you’re unlikely to draw blood.

Volume 19

Like a Wife’s Gentle Kiss on the Cheek Bennett Durkan

Boots crush twigs and the few fallen and dried pine needles, along this foot-worn half-path that has formed from thousands of feet searching for just the right Christmas tree with enough needles on all sides and a triangular tip that will fit in not just the room but also through all of the doorways, as my son and I search for our own. I wear my jacket and rough gloves while the axe rests on my shoulder— a small bit of weight, not the world. My son, like an out-of-practice Sherpa is bundled in his thick parka, so thick that at this moment he is more fluff and stuffing than boy. I look up and the path is lit by a weak smile of a moon, gentle, like a wife’s kiss on the cheek. He looks down upon this boy and man carrying out their winter tradition.

the carols will fill in the space, the zone of silence the boy’s mother made when she left, a five-foot tall hole in the middle of the house, right where we use to put the family together. My son will smile as he ascends the step-ladder or as I lift him so he can place the star, the designated final step. I will laugh and try to sing about Wenceslas, knowing that morning will come and it will just be the two of us. That is the benefit of tradition: a task one can accomplish over and over again, without the threat of it leaving forever, or a familiar niche that waits like a mother’s embrace or a wife’s gentle kiss on the cheek.

It won’t snow this year. Snow rarely falls in this part of Texas. The couple of times I remember were brief, with a thin layer of white lying on the hood of the car, either a Hyundai or Chevy depending on the year from where the memory came. It won’t snow but we’ll still dress the tree in glass ornaments and wrap the branches with colorful lights just as he did last year and the year before. Just as we did when I was a boy and my father was the one who hoisted the axe on his shoulder. Maybe for the time it takes, the hours we put off for days,


Willard & Maple

People Watching at Starbucks Bennett Durkan

Steam and the aroma of burnt coffee beans, which is advertised as being an aroma, spirals from the cup, more so in the late winter, but still early year chill. Sipping, I watch the barista, young and black shirted, ring the cash register after taking an order, then works the machine with all those levers hissing less aromatic plumes of steam, dancing around other similarly dressed and aged coworkers. She works in shifts, shifting hours from week to week, always smiling as she fills another cup. She wears a public face meant to trick and hide her real life. I can guess and pretend, but I know after she clocks out, she will leave this temporal existence to a permanent one filled with its own tasks and coworkers called family, friends, and friends of friends. But I—I will leave and return tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and watch someone else because sitting and pretending is easier than trying to watch myself.


Volume 19

Pebble Beach Joshua Faulks

Scholars speak of lights how they shine brighter than pebbles Stark lined paper from an unwilling tree ever so analogous to the man who marks it Befuddling does that light shine reflected from fluorescent light augmented by a red glare granted by emotionless eyes oh how the suns reflection to pink water upon which these stones skip is not so acidic upon eyes for home is not a notebook


Willard & Maple

A Girl’s First Love Nakita Floyd

The sun sets over a grassy meadow, orange light casting shadows off tall pine trees. Leaves rustle, some fall down into the pond. I wait for my one chance, toes sinking into wet brown sand, nothing has happened. The frog leaps from the tall reeds, small. I pounce like a jaguar onto a mouse. Clasping down onto the dirt, frog captive in the hut of my hands I scoop him into my palms, mud from his feet on my skin. He sits, not moving, waiting for me. I raise his tiny body closer to my face and place a kiss on top of his smooth head. He startles. Jumping out of my reach, he lands on the safety of his lili pad.


Volume 19

Gravity Brad Garber

At what point does your mass become so massive that you attract other beings to you? Do I suck bugs onto my skin their defenseless bodies bound to the twirling planet of me? When I drove to work today I noticed how my car stayed put, not floating off to space. If I eat more, will I become a planet or solar system, drawing every smaller thing toward me? Do my feet have secret adhesives on their soles to make me stick on the surface of a large ball? Does my breath keep me here my exhalations like rocket blasts steering me toward molten rock? Gravity makes things fall, I know and I am, forever, falling falling until I simply fall without sense. It just feels right, this glue and tape that keeps me attached to something that is, apparently, attached also.


Willard & Maple

Rain Brad Garber

sumac flowers in bloom the large snapping turtle in freshly-mown alfalfa softly falling thoughts like her foot prints in sand streaming past tall birch this is what we needed in this long, dry, season


Volume 19

An Elephant Paints a Portrait of an Elephant Brandyn Johnson before a crowd of elbowrubbing murmurs, she is patient with her brush: gripped in a balled-up, fingerless, trunk-tip palm. The trainer puppeteers – shadowed by a shoulder – with a firm handful of ear: this way, that way. Lines gather weight as they intersect until gasps agree about the shape: an elephant, but how? Words stab their way through the rustling – whips, probably

hoax tracing –

beaten does it know it is an elephant?

while she finishes: an elephant saluting with either a flower or a paintbrush.


Willard & Maple

The Diver Brandyn Johnson

Hands in prayer, she closes her eyes: To crush this dive, to hit like tiptoes, to ripple barely, to surface drowned by cheers. One part jump three parts fall she tumbles till the yoyo string snaps, unfolding to knife the water precisely: a silenced-bullet gulp. Then slow motion in the soft, blue belly scored by her own heartbeat. She breaks slickheaded ascending the ribs of the ladder out, then back up another ladder. Hands in prayer, she closes her eyes.


Volume 19

Taking Down the Tent Brandyn Johnson

It sat in our room: another room, opening only to peek at the tiny dial TV. Snores growled through the hallways like dreams of lionesses tranquilized – for now – but you never know when the haze will wear off & they’ll burst to life. Drifts of dirty laundry piled up outside along with permission slips, library books, & 3-ring-pocket folders. We fell asleep to the soft flicker of M.A.S.H. reruns: the moonface shining through the zipped door, lullaby of laughtrack. One day after school I decided that I was sick of camping & plucked its bones from its domed skin, walked it flat, & rolled until it couldn’t exhale anymore, until it fit snug into a drawstring bodybag. All the while I didn’t want to. All the while I knew it was time to accept that wilderness doesn’t concede, that the tent didn’t keep anything Out.


Willard & Maple

Forbidden dance Erren Kelly

We always meet at the same time I’m heading home She’s heading inside the dance Studio I imagine her bending her Body on the balance Beam As if she could bend herself Into a twin I don’t care if she’s older than me I just picture her pirouetting On the ball of her foot Or bending her body Like a sunflower in the breeze Ever so elegantly As if to wrap it around me I can’t tell if her hair is Brown or red I want some classical or jazz music To frame this moment Next time I see her Instead of just Passing her by and saying “Hello” I’ll follow her in


Volume 19

Goody-Goody Erren Kelly

at 15, i was drinking mad dog 20/20 under the bleachers after high school band practice it was the cheap way to get a buzz but i was still a herb in my classmates eyes these days, i don't care about being boring but back then, being popular was the drug i wanted and being a band nerd wasn't enough some days, i'd mess around with ursula in a practice room after school barbara bush was right: no man forgets a blow job, no matter how bad it is, but Ursula was a gift from heaven by the time i finished college i was drinking three nights a week and smoking clove cigarettes like a chimney when you're young and stupid you think you're bulletproof and you're going to live forever but by age 37, i was working out 5 days a week maybe drinking once a week i had quit smoking i was spending 75 bucks a months

to work out in a gym and 30 dollars a week on cigarettes i had to make a choice cigarettes lost i thank god every day for waking me up and keeping me healthy but i still believe a person without one vice isn't normal so, when a young white girl approached me outside a convenience store and asked me to buy her a blunt i didn't lecture her on morals or being a goody-goody i just took her money and bought her a cigar she couldn't have been 16 or 17 years old at the most freshly scrubbed white girl in her catholic school uniform the biggest hoochies are catholic girls the kind of white girls who listen to rap and r and b music, to live vicariously


Willard & Maple though black people's experiences who may have slept with a brotha or two and suddenly became an " expert on black men " who claim they've been there but really haven't but i didn't care about that i loved her beestung lips even thought " jailbait better than masturbate," but i let it go i just simply flashed back to the days when i was a trombone-playing book-loving, dateless nerd who tried to find love any way i could and was anxious to dirty my halo


Volume 19

The housecoat she walks in Eleanor Levine

Grandma peers through the aluminum door when the milkman comes, to see if we are dreaming about Channukah near our Cape Codder in Pt. Pleasant where kids aren't Jewish One says he’s tried heroin— Care to join him? No, I’m in nursery school We don’t do that with Grandma around. Having peeled carrots in bed, her housecoat smells like Tide I kiss her face and she goes to sleep.


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Somebody’s Boy Diane Lechleitner

It was a sweltering day. August hot. Carpenter bees hovered in the still air. Flags hung limp and field crickets chirped in the tall dry grass. The boy was farther from home than he should be, more than a mile away, tromping through an unmowed hayfield. A small black dog ran alongside him, tongue drooping in the heat, burrs caught in his fur. On the banks of a quiet stream, turtles sunned themselves on partly submerged logs, instinctively tucking their heads inside their shells as the boy and dog splashed past them toward the marsh. He was a bare-chested boy, with summer-browned skin stretched tautly over jutting ribs and shoulder blades. A young boy, still small enough for his mother to wrap her arms around him and enjoy the feel of his delicate bones bunch together like a bundle of twigs. Sunlight sparkled on the river beyond the wetland. A slow moving barge, weighted with scrap iron, left its wake slapping the slippery rocks along the shore, while the boy hurried along in the sunny heat. He knew there was a dinghy on the other side of the marsh. It had washed in at high tide last week. He’d overheard his father talking. “Stay out of the bog,” his father warned when his son asked about it. When he reached the spot the boy pushed aside cattails and scanned the opposite shore. The boat was still there, silted in. A dirty yellow foul weather jacket twisted around an oarlock. He swatted at flies and squinted his eyes for better focus. There was a rope dangling from the bow of the faded red boat. He knelt and hugged his dog. “We’ll pull it free with that!” he exclaimed, pointing to the frayed bowline. He took off his shoes and stepped into the watery mud. It bubbled and oozed between his toes as he started across. Halfway there he sank nearly to his knees, yelping with surprise when the cool mud rushed over his ankles and up his legs. On the reedy bank behind him, his little dog paced and whined. A thin layer of water was spreading quickly across the marsh and when the boy looked down he saw a vivid reflection of himself and the cloudless blue sky. He lowered his hands to touch the image, crouching as though in a tide pool, then lost his balance and fell forward. He laughed, at first, startled by the sensation. It was as though he were falling up, not down—flying through the sky with meadowlarks and sparrows. When he realized what was happening, and tried stopping the fall with outstretched arms, his hands didn’t hit bottom until he was stuck chin-deep in the dark mud. At four o’clock in the afternoon the drone of cicadas filled the leaf-heavy trees in the boy’s yard. His mother peered into the fragrant shade of the back porch, expecting to find him there. When she didn’t, she opened the screen door and stepped out onto the lawn, raising a hand to shield her eyes from the sun’s glare. As she turned in quickening circles calling his name, fear closed in on her as steadily as the rising tide on her facedown boy.


Volume 19

TOP TEN OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS OF BEING A POET Steve McCord 10. An unwieldy collection of paper scraps and fraying notebooks of unpolished gems; if only they could be matched up with other strewn-about diamonds in the rough. 9. Negotiating the ever-present mental torque as you consider that your work may be never get to see the light in the reader’s eyes for whom you toil. 8. An immediate onset of a persistent tic, accompanied by loud Tourette's-like outbursts each time: A) you read a published poem whose merit can’t compare with the cargo of works you have submitted for publication only to be rejected, or B) you read a poem better than you could ever dream of writing despite # 7. 7. A hopelessly overdrawn psychic expense account due to all the Muses you have attempted to bribe, stalk, and seduce. 6. An unrelenting preoccupation with reading the works of other writers to broaden your vocabulary and literary reach which only serves to worsen your genius envy. 5. Suddenly being overcome by a profuse stream of fleeting creative brilliance formed perfectly for scribing at the precise moment you reach into that pocket of yours that almost always contains paper and pen—almost always. 4. An exaggerated optimism when deciding upon just how many to order when you selfpublish your first book, followed by a tenacious pessimism every time you think about trying to market said book in order to make room in your storage shed for you to sleep when you can’t pay your rent. 3.

The acrid taste and negligible nutritional value of humble pie.

2. The loved ones you find it necessary to shut out for unpredictable lengths of time don’t give a rat’s ass how important solitude is to your precious creative process. 1. And the greatest occupational hazard of being a poet: In order to receive recognition, there’s a good chance you will first need to die.


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OWEN'S INK Jesse Minkert

He saw her sitting by herself in the back row at that meeting, walked up, introduced himself, uncapped his fountain pen, and wrote her name and number on a scrap of wrapper for a high-carb energy bar to which he'd recently become addicted. His cursive started to fade as if the bladder in the barrel were running out of ink. Of course he carried extra bottles in his back pocket close to the source of onion afterburn remixing ambient oxygen/methane ratio. Owen also kept his rhymes in there, his puns, tanka, hand-sewn toad skin allosaurs inflating from mung beans fermenting inside, taut from built-up pressure, much like himself. Owen sat cross-legged on the floor. One bottle he removed and balanced on his knee. The stopper with a pop released. The barrel twisted off the pen, the lever pushed on the bladder, the nib inserted in the bottle's mouth. Black ink oozed into its rubber reservoir, and at that moment she turned and fled. Her shoe struck Owen's knee; the bottle tipped, the contents splashed across his pants. He meditated on the spreading stain. At least, he thought, the allosaurs are dry.


Volume 19

Eat Shit and Die Joseph Rathgeber

Ezekiel is like a misery chick with eschatological concerns: he’s immiserated by his station in life, catches flak from G-O-D. He’s a Jew and an epileptic: bless the child. He scats when he speaks: a hokum coda that gives everybody the heebie-jeebies. His bread recipe depends on one key ingredient. Yes, there is wheat, barley, and beans. Yes, he includes lentils, millet, and fitches for the connoisseurs and epicures. But what keeps the customers coming back is the human shit. He packs the cake as with alkali soil— a mudpie that’s to die for. And thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. Ah, the filth of man. Man, packed like brown sugar into a measuring cup. Thou shalt sup on dung, Lord knows. Be careful not to choke on the bones.


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Filling Stations Joseph Rathgeber

I refuel my Ford Escort at the gas station, but if a character in a short story I’m writing needs gas they get it from a filling station. And if somebody scoops Breyers ice cream into a ceramic bowl they won’t use rainbow sprinkles, but the carousel mix. Every NJ Transit bus is a jitney bus, every taxi a gypsy cab, every face covered in acne scars and every smile a smirk: a grimace: a grin: or a simper. Never a smile. Smiles are childish. (I prefer to write kiddie.) I honestly haven’t written anything honest in stories in years. Never a hotel, only motels. The music always plays on a turntable or a cassette deck, never on a CD player or God-forbid an iPod. And it’s always something classical, maybe opera even, but never anything contemporary—never Rihanna. Analog is favored over digital: overcast days over sunshiny ones: arugula over lettuce: girlfriend over girl friend or girl-friend or gf or g/f. but sweetheart over girlfriend. So my short stories are lies, so what? Sew buttons, my protagonist says. Poems are the truth. Except none of my bowls are ceramic.


Volume 19

God Hyphenated Joseph Rathgeber

This is the preacher’s hype-man experiencing a bona fide crisis of typesetting. The server is down. No hyphens available. He who has HTML committed to memory, but embedded scripts fall off the page like an IV drips. The preacher speaks YHWH with a speech impediment: a stuttering h-sound like hot breath. The Tetragrammaton is one hell of a stammer. So spell it: spell it with angle brackets offsetting. You must browse the scroll and scroll to browse to find the FAQ in your catechism. Holy cows are butchered in factory farms. Sacred cows low and moo and move slow to the slaughter. The mortar and pestle ground cattle bones to marrow. Tomorrow the parishioners will remark: The preacher is so gauche— Oh my gosh! The Father; the Son; the Holy Ghost. He really put his foot-and-mouth this time! He’s bedeviled, cloven-hoofed. Men, say your amens and OMGs and G-d Almighty, maker of. On the seventh day: Give it a rest.


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NICU Joseph Rathgeber

Dad’s hands are grease-cracked, black rivulets at his knuckles. I remember following the grip on his fork, feeding himself canned corn with those dirty and dry auto mechanic hands. My own hands are always moisturized: chalk residue on the heel of my hand the worst of it. But now I do two-hour visits to the NICU, pausing at the trough sink to wash my hands prior to bringing a miniature body—a son—to my chest. I dispense the antibacterial goop into my palms, lather and rinse, lather and rinse: I soap until sterilized. These hands—once soft as a baby’s bottom— are chapped, dry and damasked. Blood bubbles up from pinpricks. The blood doesn’t run, it blots: I flake it off. It’s been this way, every day, for months, and I wonder when it will end: the washing, the worried look on my wife’s face, the waxy glove the hospital soap leaves behind. And, worse, I consider whether it will end suddenly or with my teenage son watching me from across the supper table, watching me spoon canned corn into my simpering mouth.


Volume 19

Weedsmoker Joseph Rathgeber

Purchase a blunt, my dad said— a Philly, a White Owl, a Dutch Master. Their names like portrait painters, or the subjects of still-life painters, or where the portrait painters or still-life painters lived at the turn of the nineteenth century. Make an incision, he said: split it open like a pupa. Shake out the tobacco guts. Sprinkle the weed in its place, breaking it up as you go: fingers finely crunch it— like bone dust. Saliva and saliva and saliva with each lick and lick and lick lick lick. Lapping at it like a hound dog. This is human adhesive, he said. Seal it. We were arms interlocked, we are the world, he said: we are the children (or at least I was, a child). This is a cipher. My friends called it a cipher when we freestyled in the cafeteria. That was way back. Adults do drugs, too. It was before we knew that. The cipher is circular: geometry gave us the circle: geometry gave us the square. My father was hip. Cool, my friends said. Put that blunt in the microwave, he said. Electromagnetically radiate those ingredients in. Okay, Dad, I said. You’re a good son, he said. You should all be good sons to your parents, he said.


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Precipice Daniel David

Above the ravine, at this high precipice, I could be this soaring oak abiding at the cliff edge, rugged, fluted skin, straight, granite back, this resolute column, misplaced from an ancient, exotic temple at Luxor, Karnack or Athens, taken from the smooth, polished edge of the Nile, from the rocky fringe of the Aegean, its sculpted pediment, its heavy, lintled entablature, its capital foliage, the lotus, papyrus and acanthus missing, wild bursts of viridian, now stemming from the pillar crest. After a century of grasping at precarious layers, shifting, sabulous stone, compressed history, forgotten, dead strata, this column will plummet into the chasm, the chaos below, the roiling waters of Old Woman Creek. How long will I cling to this ledge, endure, a solitary word on the lip of the abyss? The rain, the frost and wind erode, loosen the soil around my roots, loosen my elusive composure, until the plunge is inevitable and headlong, limbs flailing, until I am hurled into the stream, until I am returned, shard by shard, to my quarry home.


Volume 19

Accoutrements Catori Sarmiento

What I love most are his hands. Brown, calloused palms and fingertips. Clean nails; trimmed, rounded. A rose shaped scar on his wrist, raised, so in the dark I read it as Braille.


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Russell Lived Beyond His Means (Russell Means, 1939 – 2012) Gerard Sarnat Upside down lid dance hustle bustle – clown car parades, renowned doobies; sky’s so blue it hurts to look up. Russ’s Jeep Cherokee muscles through squaws’d like to climb on, schnocker Mean’s green smoothie on DWH roadtrips through stupified undulating prairies. Off the res dealing free and easy, vegetarian’s the native term for flawed hunter. Straight raven braids dangling in the pot, zigzag Sioux chief cooked his tribe’s books.


Volume 19

Eve & Me, to Animalia Amy Schmidt

First, an apology for being so brilliant with my taupe-colored tuck and fold of synapse and firings. It’s a complex mesh, this brain of mine and once, it lied to me, told my fine-boned hand to take, to eat, saying death don’t taste that bad. Being red as begonias in late spring it was a drug and I was a fiend. Being only mouth and tongue and taste-buds about to erupt, I could not see. And this is how it felt in the palm of my pithy hand: like a galaxy. And this is how it tasted in my shameful mouth: like the sour stain of stress surging through your body as your hide was skinned to cover my increasing nakedness. And second, hell, there is no second: I devoured a devilish deceit and Adonai reluctantly sharpened his dagger. The blood, the startling shift of my heart in its chest, the lies I’ve been breathing ever since.


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Coming of Age Amy Schmidt

Splitting wide the silence of the new morning, my grandmother snapped an orange life vest around my scrawny trunk and slapped me hard on the back. She’d coerced a faded plaid version around her thickening self and together we stepped into the small motor boat, the early sun burning away sleep and the dew clinging to the narrow seats. Arm that rocked my mother into sleep now at the motor’s cord, same motion only faster. Her flesh quivered at the force until the skittering song of loons in the distance was drowned out by the cranky churn of the Evinrude. My knees were two bony moons reflecting the glare of the sky. Waves spit sharp water on the tops of my pale thighs as the boat barreled towards the far side of the lake. There, a sunken tree, downed before my name was even known and swimming insane circles through its ageless branches, the fish. That same summer I split a worm in half and threaded its slender body onto the barbed hook myself. My grandmother said I’d become a woman. That summer, too, in the gut house, I watched her slide a filet knife just under the surface of a small mouth’s skin and toss the filets, pale as ivory soap, into a metal bowl leaving the crude outline of a fish on the slick table top. Its eye, gray as stone, searched for nothing. In the corner, fly paper studded with the strange constellations of cluster flies. Outside, starving cats and the dark I was not supposed to fear.


Volume 19

UNAmy Schmidt

Clouds were weather, curse or not but never a picturesque backdrop for hills buttered in grass green as God. Actual as fire when a match is lit and nothing more. They lost their ears to the blistering sun, their backs to the harrow and the plow and still they’d die before they quit, before they said a thing like love. Coffee coarse with grounds, scripture memorized but never felt: to unhinge was to fall apart and that was sin itself. A long line of stoic men, these, all wielding sickle blades and discs. From their meticulously scattered seed came I and into my veins they carved deep furrows out of which grew winter wheat and weed. they were the learning and I done learned it well. But He, He is the unlearning, the wisdom of the fool who stops and crouches low, fingers the frail features of a fern as it unravels toward the sky. He is the weeping, the unhinging of the hinge, unsinning of the sin.


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The Solar System on Garden Avenue Amy Schmidt

A basket of brittle bones, we set you gently on the couch and, feeling quite smug about it all, hustle about the house, change clothes when the weather does, smear sandwich bread with mayo and mustard. You were the patriarch, stoic sun we orbited, book we poured over when you got a streak to tell the tales. Once, when your skin was smooth and brown as a buckeye, a twister churned the horizon and thundered toward you, sitting in your small boat, on the small lake. The way the water held its breath; the way you did the same until the terrible cloud of earth and barns turned sharply east and left you stunned, gripping the oars as if you could have fought it off. You don’t speak much now. You eat what we bring you but the food has no empathy and you grow thinner with every bite. Your heart, they say, is mostly ruined like a small red fish drowning in a body of water void of oxygen. When we think about that we stop, pat your bulging knee or maybe kiss your slacken cheek then go back to other things, orbiting still but now around a dying star.


Volume 19

Story of the Great Depression Rochelle Shapiro

Max and Masha, the old couple who owned the grocery, knew from Russia what it was to see little ones with shoulder blades sharp as nubs of angel wings, skin stretched tight across small skulls, faces blue with veins, empty bellies swollen. Who would have thought that in the Bronx, the winter of ’33, Max and Masha would hear children whimper, “My mudder says she’ll pay soon as my fadder gets his check.” Masha and Max wrote everything down in the notebook, who owed what, even though they knew in their kishkas that the money would never come back to them. With her balled-up black woolen stockings that were too full of holes to ever wear again and his tattered jacket, the pockets long empty of change, they turned on the gas without the flame, sat on wooden crates from their closed-down store, pressed their dry lips together, and held arthritic hands.


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To My Lacrimal and Salivary Glands (Sjögren’s Syndrome—an autoimmune disorder that diminishes gland functioning) Rochelle Shapiro Glands, it was not I who sicced my lymphocytes and plasmacytes on you. If I could, I swear I’d call a truce. Lacrimal glands, I’d wax lachrymose over your drying up, but I can’t even weep without tipping back my head, forcing open my lids, and dropping synthetic tears into the red netting of my searing eyes. Like the woman who only longed for her husband after she was widowed, I feel I have no right to ask, but Salivary Glands, please create an oasis for my Sahara mouth, my clabbered tongue, my scalding throat, and vocal cords, my raw, pocketed gums. Only you can end tooth brushing in public restrooms, legions of picks, bristled in-betweens, rubber massage tips, varieties of floss widths, antiseptic rinses, pocket emptying dental bills. I want my lips to feel newly licked instead of this topography of cracks with corner fissures, lips that stick, make it tricky to say “my, my” or even “Mama.” Who wants a voice like a rusty hinge, a husky croak, a rasp? On arthritic knees, I’m begging you not to let my lifeline shrivel. Urgent: send me rain!


Volume 19

The Fickleness of Wrens Shannon Sutherland

In April a holed box slung up in the elm, a penance to the gods who dupe endings to the front of the word happy. Lovesick crickets under composts of kisses and rose bouquets time the movement of pointed fingers scraping white from the gates of the picket fence. The hammer hangs in the shed, as quiet as the forgotten snow, as the wine that settled like ashes at the hem of her gown. How can the course of a migration, a simple flight path for loyal and devoted creatures, suffer such complete alteration at the slightest misalignment of opposing poles? In July one of the wasps, cellophane vengeance burning in its wings, flashes from the blackness and stings the other cheek, leaving a welt like only the back of the gods’ hands, a gavel, or even a promise can leave. A roof on a box and it’s a home, they said


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catchy Isobel Shasha

Above, the music of ten thousand breaking bones So you Drive to the farthest corners of the concert hall Out where the rows of seats are streets apart You can still hear the orchestra On the stage In the screens, the instruments move like a broken storm Fire-Hose throat, car wreck skull, crushed cassette ribcage Cough magnet tape, leak liquid crystal, Retch it all out across the apron hardwood Teeth to teeth to teeth to teeth They splinter and swell and grind together Until their pieces are part of the architecture The music is all about you in fact the music is all about all of us it Dulls my eyes like lakewater Only sharper It gets to our ears through our eyes through our mouths pulling threads that lead to door handles or tangle in escalators or grip anchors diving into deep black water this is not tearing through our blood glue strings from guitars this is from not antique violin lodged behind this your jawbone clamping down on the forearm of your sister through not the strings through crumple brass this not through polished this is not wood grind splinter shear snap this is not the music we were built to make Your brother is microphones Your dad is a walking drum kit The slanting carpet below Shakes themselves to pieces


Volume 19

Concluded Kelley Jean White

To a man they gave the gift of quiet dry lips brushing against a stubble kiss and beneath cold skin dancing a riot tongue and teeth skating the laryngeal abyss And the bristles—standing on chin like trees the pines always male, the women pink June magnolias saved from ice—use frozen peas on your black eye or is better heat? Prune face that used to be a peach. Rock crystal writes cracks on your glass—sweat rings on the bar and to a man they’re packing a pistol ‘cept one who carries an old gray guitar case and sits in the corner booth to brood little darlin’ how will this song conclude?


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Live Like This Chris Wilkensen

Cardboard on the door Smoke clouds in the air Cum on the carpet Blood on the tile. Food in the garbage Chills in the oven Tools in the pantry House in the garage. Shrines of shit Sink of soap Piles of pills Mounds of mold. A broken smoke detector A working paper shredder A brand-new, open safe A dusty, closed bible. Toy cars with wheels But no engines Dolls dressed in style Lacking feelings. Values under the bed Knives in the hallway Needles near the windows Hope for the future.


Volume 19

IN THE TRUCK Fred Yannantuono

You the gunner, me the stacker, you raked by the sun, me scorched in the inferno of the box— serried gears we are, lubed in a sheath of sweat. In the truck there is rhythm. In the truck there is line. There’s no such thing as overage. No reward for underestimation. Everything is nested, secured. Once it rained and we drove up the wrong drive twice. My fault, yes. And you saw. When the sophomores crowed we broke them, their strength unyoked, the sweat in rivulets on their beery chests, their faces rilled like the beds of streams, the steam of their breath scorching the base plate of the lift. We did it with placement. They did not know that one inch off each way is another truck.

there are two vent windows. The radio’s shot but we leave it on. The phone’s defunct. There is no one to call. The people we meet are wraiths in a Sunday morning world entranced or dead. The burr of the motor the clank of gears the sting of diesel the rumble of combustion summer unfurling suffice. We are cosseted and glide down time in the truck. I have years and authority in the truck. But no one would know. You wear youth and a scowl. I don’t know what you think of me outside the truck. A ‘Skins man, sure, but what else? Virginia born, bolted together sinew to tin, your shaved, neonatal head bobbing laconically, maybe even nobly— I would know your silhouette in a crowd of thousands— where do you ride in the firmament?

In the truck


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You are thin, you are small, You’ve cut things to the bone. In the truck, on the road when I, falling into words, falling helplessly into words, wield the stamp of speech, you ink the pad. Like the time the mad Jamaican pulled up honking his horn. Where are you based? he shouted. You paused. You spoke. In the truck


Volume 19

Puppy Love at the Wharf Fred Yannantuono

What the fuck was we thinkin’? We must’a been drinkin’ when we said “I do.” —Bar lyric, Key West Smithers at the Schooner Quite the dulcet crooner. Lucky guy, her tuner. Quite the eclipse, lunar. Smithers down at Smathers. That’s where Smithers gathers. Coppertonal lathers— That’s what Smithers slathers. Smithers never dithers E’er the love life withers. Subsequent come-hithers Smooth, don’t smother Smithers. Smithers at the Schooner. Wish I could harpoon her. Smitten in my languor. Gosh, I’d like to bang her.


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Amongst Kassidy Bowen


Volume 19

Everlasting Kassidy Bowen


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Born Kassidy Bowen


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Desloate Kassidy Bowen


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Periodic Kassidy Bowen


Volume 19

I think it’s Sunday Sara Martin


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When you go, I go Sara Martin


Volume 19

Flesh Guessing Sara Martin


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Cleave Kermit Mulkins


Volume 19

Eros’ Arrows Kermit Mulkins


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I, Land Kermit Mulkins


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Lance Kermit Mulkins


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Legendary Kermit Mulkins


Volume 19

Open Kermit Mulkins


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Weathering Kermit Mulkins


Volume 19

Thunderheads at Bud Break Rees Nielsen


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Winter’s Breaking Storm Rees Nielsen


Volume 19

Biographies Literary Work: William Aarnes has published two collections with Ninety-Six Press—Learning to Dance (1991) and Predicaments (2001). His work has appeared in such magazines as Poetry and The Seneca Review. Recent poems have has appeared in Main Street Rag, Shark Reef, and Empty Sink. Molly Abrahamson graduated from the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College in 2016. Currently, she works in External Relations in the Office of Development at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Other than writing, her interests include spending way too much money to see the bands she loves, traveling wherever she can, and drinking deadly amounts of coffee on a daily basis. Michelle Askin's poetry has appeared in OffCourse, 2River View, PANK, MayDay Magazine,Grasslimb, and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Virginia. Joshua Baker’s writing has appeared in dozens of publications, including Plazm, Adirondack Review, Eye Rhyme, and Perceptions. Some of his poems won a Vancouver wine bar’s coaster contest in 2012. He has taught middle school English, fought wildland fires, and done far too much SEO writing. Christopher Barnes won a Northern Arts writers award in 1998. In July 2000 Barnes read at Waterstones bookshop to promote the anthology Titles Are Bitches. Christmas 2001 Barnes debuted at Newcastle 's famous Morden Tower doing a reading of Barnes’ poems. Each year Barnes reads for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and partakes in workshops. 2005 saw the publication of Barnes’ collection LOVEBITES published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh. Seth Benton lives in Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife and son. His poems have appeared in Sheepshead Review, Roanoke Review,Common Ground Review, and Bryant Literary Review. Julian Berengaut was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1950. He came to the U.S. in 1972; he studied at Brandeis University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, from where he graduated with a Ph.D. in economics. During 1978-2006 he worked for the International Monetary Fund as a debt negotiator. He has been writing poetry on and off for the last ten years.


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Mitchell Bergeron is poet who uses writing to explore the idea of awkwardness. Each of his poems focus on making the audience feel awkward or uncomfortable in some way, allowing them to then contemplate why they had such a reaction. Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His poems have appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Rhino and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. Leslie D. Bohn is pursuing her Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree while teaching writing courses at Tennessee Technological University. She has presented research on adolescent sexuality & sexual health as a mental health issue and on using writing-augmented techniques in therapy. Her poetry has been included in The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, 32 Poems, and other print and online journals. Virginia Boudreau is hoping her work may be a good fit for Willard & Maple. Many of her poems and short stories have appeared in, or are forthcoming in a variety of Canadian literary journals and anthologies. This is her first foray into the American market. In my “other life” I am employed as an itinerant Learning Disabilities Specialist with our local school board. I live in a lovely seaside community on the south western tip of Nova Scotia. Mollie G. Chandler is a student of English and Philosophy at Suffolk University in Boston, MA. She enjoys combing the city for readings and tutoring in writing at her university when she's not working on her poetry. She hopes to attend an MFA program in poetry after she graduates next spring. Judith Cody is a poet, composer and photographer who has won national awards in poetry, music and photography and is published in over 110 national and international journals. A poem is in the Smithsonian’s Institute’s permanent collection, in Spanish and English editions. Poems were quarter-finalists for the Pablo Neruda Prize and won honorable mentions from the National League of American Pen Women. Cody was Editor-in-Chief of the first “Resource Guide on Women in Music”, San Francisco State University and wrote the internationally noted biography of the American composer, “Vivian Fine: A Bio-Bibliography,” Greenwood Press, also “Eight Frames Eight,” and “Woman Magic.” She edited the PEN Oakland anthology, “Fightin’ Words.” A poem was chosen from a world selection by the Norton Center for the Arts for a gallery exhibit highlighting poetry and photography. Her WWII B-17 photography ranks #1 in the world on Google. www.judithcody.com Daniel David is a writer, artist and professor living along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, in Canada and the United Kingdom. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha; and his novel, Flying Over Erie.


Volume 19

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in a small house in the woods. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals and several small-press books. His forthcoming book of poetry is The Last Concert (Salmon Press). Bennett Durkan is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin. His fiction has appeared in Gravel, Agave, and Howl. His poetry has appeared in Ikleftiko, Five 2 One, and The Red River Review. Joshua Faulks is a 2017 Cum Laude graduate of Champlain College's Professional Writing program, and currently contributes to the Sun & Record newspaper in his hometown of Williamson, NY, where he covers local sports,events, and runs a column about geek culture. Joshua is also pursuing a Master's degree in Strategic Communications at SUNY Oswego. When he isn't writing, Joshua is lending his voice to Oswego athletics as a public address announcer, tutoring high school students in Sodus, NY, biking, kayaking, or playing Super Metroid. Joshua lives in North Rose, NY with his family, cat, and his Dungeons and Dragons clan. Nakita Floyd graduated from Champlain's Professional Writing program in May of 2016. She now works for a marketing company in New Hampshire. She has been writing poetry since she was six years old and she hopes to have the opportunity to publish again in the future. Brad Garber lives, writes and runs around naked in the Great Northwest. He fills his home with art, music, photography, plants, rocks, bones, books, good cookin’ and love. He has published poetry, essays and articles in many quality publications. Nominee: 2013 Pushcart Prize for poem, “Where We May Be Found.” Brandyn Johnson is an adjunct English instructor at Black Hills State University. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife Anna and their newborn daughter Ari. His poems have appeared in various print and online journals. Erren Kelly is a Pushcart nominated poet from Portland, Oregon. He has been writing for 25 years and has over 150 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine(online), Ceremony, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications. His most recent publication was in The Rain Party and Disaster Society; he has also been published in anthologies such as “Fertile Ground,” and “Beyond The Frontier.” His work can also been seen on Youtube under the “Gallery Cabaret” links. Kelly is also the author of the chapbook, “Disturbing The Peace” on Night Ballet Press and is currently working on another book. He received his B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He also loves to read and loves to travel, having visited 45 states and Canada and Europe. The themes in his writings vary, but he has always had a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. But he never limits himself to anything and always try to keep an open mind.


Willard & Maple Diane Lechleitner's publishing credits include short stories in Ferry Tales, Messing About In Boats, The Pebble Lake Review, The Mast Head, and The North Atlantic Review. She is currently working with an agent on revisions of her first novel. Diane has a BFA from the Pratt Institute, and an MFA from Purchase College. Eleanor Levine’s work has appeared in Fiction, The Evergreen Review, The Denver Quarterly, Midway Journal, The Toronto Quarterly, Pank, Dos Passos Review, Knee Jerk Magazine, Hobart, Connotations Press, Monkeybicycle, BlazeVOX, Milk Magazine, Gravel, Chronopolis, Gertrude, Atticus Review, Artichoke Haircut, Thrice Fiction, Everyday Genius, Barrelhouse, Lunch Ticket Magazine, Fiction Southeast, The NewerYork Press, The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, IthacaLit and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; she has work forthcoming in Barely South Review. Eleanor is currently a copy editor living in Philadelphia. Steve McCord is a family therapist specializing in addiction medicine and a member of the labor management partnership team at Kaiser Permanente. He is on the board of directors at the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust and serves as president of the Orpheus/ Apollo chapter of California Federation of Chaparral Poets (CFCP). Steve has studied with Ellen Bass and Sy Safransky. When his schedule permits, he travels, dabbles with wood carving, and grows organic vegetables in his garden. His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Forge, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Sun Magazine, and Long Beach Press-Telegram. Jesse Minkert lives in Seattle. Wood Works Press published a letterpress collection of his microstories, Shortness of Breath & Other Symptoms, in 2008. His work appears in the Georgetown Review, the Chaffin Journal, the Minetta Review, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Confrontation, Paper Nautilus, Mount Hope, Floating Bridge Review, and Harpur Palate. Rees Nielsen Bio: For 35 years Rees Nielsen farmed stone fruit in California's San Joaquin Valley. Two years after the passing of his wife, Riina, he moved to Indianola, Iowa to actively participate in the lives of his grandchildren, Marshall and Adelaide Taylor. He has had poetry, prose and visual art accepted in publications here and in the UK. Joseph Rathgeber is a writer from New Jersey. His writing has appeared places. His debut story collection is The Abridged Autobiography of Yousef R. and Other Stories (ELJ Publications, 2014). He’s a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee and received a 2014 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Catori Sarmiento is an author who has contributed fiction to Nothing. No One. Nowhere. by Virgogrey Press, The Citron Review, Brick Rhetoric, Foliate Oak Magazine, and Crossed Out Magazine. She has also contributed nonfiction to Her Kind, This Boundless World, and several academic essays published by Student Pulse. Ms. Sarmiento also has had poetry published by Poetry Wall, Cactus Heart Press, and The Dead Flowers Poetry Rag. Professionally, she is an English and Writing Professor in Tokyo, Japan. Her author website is found at http://catorisarmiento.com


Volume 19 Gerard Sarnat authored 2010’s HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man, 2012’s Disputes, and 2014’s 17s. He’s a physician who’s set up and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, a CEO of healthcare organizations, and Stanford professor. Amy Schmidt is an idealist and a lover of poetry. She lives in northern Minnesota along Lake Superior with her husband, daughter and hound dog. July is warm; she gardens then. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Free State Review, Storm Cellar, Calyx, Santa Clara Review and various local publications. Rochelle Jewel Shapiro is the author of Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster, 2004) and Kaylee's Ghost, an Indie finalist. Her essays, poetry, short stories have been published in The New York Times (Lives), Moment, Iowa Review, Empty Mirror, and more. She teaches writing at UCLA Extension. Isobel Shasha makes poetry and weird video games at Champlain College, where they study Creative Media and Game Programming full-time. You can find their games at http://jamesshasha.itch.io/ and on twitter at https://twitter.com/videoJames_ Shannon Sutherland currently works as a laboratory technologist in Lincoln, Nebraska, and is the father of two children in their twenties. he writes poetry as a creative outlet from his otherwise dull and routine life. One of the many functions of the art. Kelley Jean White was able to return to his small New Hampshire hometown after practicing pediatrics in inner city Philadelphia for thirty years. His work at a rural health center is challenging but he is grateful to live in a place of great natural beauty. Poetry helped him through the tough urban years, and he has been privileged to have work published widely in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Nimrod, Poet Lore, Rattle, and The Journal of the American Medical Association, and in a number of chapbooks and full-length collections, most recently “In Memory of the Body Donors,” (Covert Press), and “Two Birds in Flame,” poems related to the Shaker Community at Canterbury, NH (Beech River Books). He was also fortunate enough to receive a 2008 grant for poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and to have work included in two recent anthologies of work by physician writers, Body Language: Poems of the Medical Training Experience, from Boa Editions and Primary Care, from the University of Iowa Press. Chris Wilkensen is a wandering English instructor. He is trying to figure out what he wants in life, while being careful not to let life pass him by. He has trouble winning both battles simultaneously. His work has appeared in Thoughtsmith, eFiction, The Story Shack and others. Fred Yannantuono, fired from Hallmark for writing meaningful greeting-card verse, has currently published 394 poems in 90 journals in 30 states. Work was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2006, 2013, and 2015. Widely considered one of the greatest poets to ever come out of northern Bronxville, his book, A Boilermaker for the Lady, has been banned in France, Latvia, and the Orkney Isles. To Idi Amin I’m a Idiot—And Other Palindromes was recently published. A subsequent book of poems, I Hate To Second-Guess Myself, or Do I? is due out in 2017.


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Fine Art: Kassidy Bowen attended Champlain college from 2014-2016 as a CREM major. A creative spirit, and generally unsettling person, she enjoys making in all mediums. Sara Martin is the Editor-in-Chief of Willard and Maple, and studies at Champlain College in the Pro Writing program with the strong womanly love for poetry. She loves orcas, whales, sharks, whale sharks, and peonies. RIP Tillikum, she loves you. Kermit Mulkins is an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer, is the poet and artist of lunchsackpoetry.com. He lives in Oklahoma, with his loving daughter and cat. Rees Nielsen Bio: For 35 years Rees Nielsen farmed stone fruit in California's San Joaquin Valley. Two years after the passing of his wife, Riina, he moved to Indianola, Iowa to actively participate in the lives of his grandchildren, Marshall and Adelaide Taylor. He has had poetry, prose and visual art accepted in publications here and in the UK.


Volume 19