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Issue 10 | Winter 2018

The Big Windows Review is a publication of the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. We publish poems and short (500 words or less) prose. Design and photographs by Tom Zimmerman. Photographs on page 29 and on the back cover are of portions of a city mural project in Muskegon, MI. The works herein have been chosen for their literary and artistic merit and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Washtenaw Community College, its Board of Trustees, its administration, or its faculty, staff, or students. Copyright Š 2018 the individual authors and artists.

The Big Windows Review Website: Email: Editor: Tom Zimmerman Assistant Editors: English Department faculty member Ben Wielechowski and Writing Center tutors Zach Baker, Zaynab Elkolaly, Jessica Kreutzer, Meera Martin, Simon Mermelstein, Erica Morris, Matt Severson, Elizabeth Shillington, and Tyler Wettig

The Big Windows Review Issue 10 | Winter 2018 Contents Donald E. Gasperson Lowell Jaeger Stephanie Macias Corey Mesler Tom Pescatore Jon Riccio Julia Travers Robert L. Penick Cliff Saunders Chelsea Bunn Colin Dodds Gale Acuff Benjamin Brindise Glen Armstrong Kate Garrett Marina Rubin Hannah Wells Jeff Burt Sarah McCann Koon Woon Paul Kindlon John Grey ayaz daryl nielsen Devon Miller-Duggan Robert Okaji Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler Contributors


the aspens Blacktail Deer Road Cigarettes, Darts, and Sunsets Cleanse Me Closing Prayer Diseasethesia Early Marriage The Empty Poet The Final Storm Forgiveness A Fugitive Hard The Homage I Never Paid The Middle My mother said never cast a love spell Nefertiti Nightingale Parisian Exhibition of Impressionist Grotesque Rest with Me The River, the Boat “Stupid Mouse!� Tornado X Two Poems Variations Vesuvius Vodka

4 5 6 8 9 10 11 13 14 16 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 32 33 34 35 38 39 40

Donald E. Gasperson __________________________ the aspens standing in the glacial till where the river rocks drift along the slow seasons illuminated by vine and leaf consecrated of root and berry practicing mindfulness again and after hard years of becoming there’s a sad feeling of being simply awkward and old but the communion with silence evokes the quietest of sounds touchingly and achingly clear

the linen white boles of aspens spring green leaves trembling


Lowell Jaeger ________________________________ Blacktail Deer Road Never mind my knees burned, bone against bone, after only the first couple dozen miles, pedaling from early hint of sunrise till nearly dark, parched and exhausted. Never mind the grit in my teeth when dust-devils rose and tore through rolling hills of sage, blasting me sideways. Never mind the late summer sun blistering my shoulders and thighs, rivulets of sweat pooling in my ears, my neck sticky with brine. Middle of that first night, I woke with a full moon and my tent aglow. Hips stiff against the rubble. Struggled to unzip my bedroll and step outside to pee. Stood marveling at the stars. Felt strangely at home . . . a gypsy, maybe, glimpsing the road continuously unfolding. Couldn’t have guessed the strain and ecstasy next morning cresting Red Rock Pass— how aspen groves fluttered goosebumps up my spine. How, gleefully, ragged cinders spit beneath my tread. Half way to Yellowstone, how I’d finally ditch my head’s constant jabber. How I’d muscle the crank as if the bike were pedaling me. Never mind, never mind, a breeze hushed across fractured canyon walls, as in a distant meadow, a scatter of antelope lifted their heads to look at me and wonder. -5-

Stephanie Macias _____________________________ Cigarettes, Darts, and Sunsets When I come to see you I have trash juice on my leg. I worked all day. You worked all night. You’re nouveau-American— mostly brown, a little white. I got it all, girl. You smoke in the garage, into my hair. The darts slip out of my fingers, wet with the dew of a sweating beer, staking their tips just right of the mark.

I’m trying so hard not to talk about my problems. You know what I mean. I always hit the bullseye on my first or second try. Then never again. It’s not because I get drunker or sadder. I do the same thing when I’m bowling. I make good first impressions. You know the rest.


You’re blue-eyed, black-haired, and insisting that I’ll be okay through little train-puffing lips. I don’t want to be. It means starting over. It means first blushes so damn sunset red, they burn the retina so that he cannot see my night unfold, my stars come out.

- 7-

Corey Mesler ________________________________ Cleanse Me Everyone’s back is soiled except the man in the cave whose back is a wall. People arrive daily, confused, in need. They speak with wee voices, like squeaks in a broken wheel. They say, I am alone and no one will cleanse me. They say, tell me something hopeful, we’re all dying. The man in the cave retires for five years. When he returns no one seeks his advice. There are people in other caves now. There are still questions without answers. There are long lines, like a genealogy, lines of applicants who want to replace the man in the cave, who now never speaks, never speaks. There is a silence, a lingering silence like rainfall.


Tom Pescatore _______________________________ Closing Prayer killed locusts at Black River rabbit in Nevada desert hills east of Mono Lake, California countless birds on backroads of the old west said a prayer for each departed soul— Avalokitesvara have compassion for all living things the many insects of the window shield dashed across the front grill Guanyin have compassion for all the sorry souls of the road please forgive us for our 7 thousand miles & the lives we have taken & those we’ve left behind ~Grayson, KY 7/1/17


Jon Riccio ___________________________________ Diseasethesia My mother was an acupuncturist, her practice near the overpass closest to your coatrack, a needle coterie the day I learned the pitch equivalents for disease. I say this queueing the CD of a string quartet, the violist with a Stradivari and guesthouse face. He never said heartthrob though I love it when a T de-camouflages an H, his hemophilia a bathtub’s E-flat, the weekend garrisoned shale. G-sharp ameliorating my malleus

during the comic-book dealer’s demise, full-page fumes bound by ink older than office rot, his aneurism intoned. The hum a half-step higher after the chocolatier’s stroke, samplers strewn like candied Morse, the stretcher navigating a parquet of petit fours. D-flat, staring at my father’s dresser and stevedore is all I think, the jacuzzi harboring arrhythmia, sine waves emblazoning his robe. B, driving to your house, handcuffs baked into a pineapple upside down cake, your bedsores a purgatory for cored fruit. I didn’t know which of us infirmity’s wheelhouse had pinged until I heard the fourth track of Donovan’s Greatest Hits,

its harmonica the heart attack I hoped to avoid, a CAT scan dolloping scalar. Through me, a Camerata of disease. Listen, the least I’ve done.


Julia Travers _________________________________ Early Marriage There’s a male cardinal in the yard of our rented house who molts his red Mohawk in the spring. I see the ear holes in his black, ashy head. He feeds a smaller female. I call him The Old King. On the way to Food Lion, the train horn massages my heart, persistent like a cat kneading. The train talks about its other towns, squawks honestly like a lonely child. I sometimes feel death trying to throw a blanket over us as if we were an unruly fire.

When I buy sunflower seeds for the feeder I remember the injured blackbird in elementary school. When I brought it a dish of granola, our cat Mia had feathers splayed stiff in her jaw, an inky, jerking fan. I know your grocery list by heart: cheddar, tuna, pistachios, Earl Gray, olives. Now we’re looking to buy a home for a while and I feel guilty about taking the bird feeder away. We’ll sign a deed and become


the caretakers of a great brick beast terrifying, wonderful, a rusted red rectangular whale— happily swallowed.


Robert L. Penick ______________________________ The Empty Poet He started a poem about how difficult it was to start a poem. Then he gave it up. No one should ever write a poem about writing poetry. It’s like masturbating a corpse. So he looked out the window of the McDonald’s restaurant and searched for a worthy topic. In the next two tables a family was having a reunion with hamburgers and French fries. They talked of Medicare and computer printers and birthdays. This distracted the Poet to no end. He was looking for profundity. Next door, the grandfather urged his wife to finish her coffee. “It’ll put hair on your chest. Then we’ll put you in the circus, make some money.” Grampa will be eighty years old in August, but doesn’t feel it. “Eighty is the new seventy,” the Poet thinks, then scribbles that thought into his notebook. Outside the window, a young Hispanic man runs a weed trimmer around the perimeter of a small tree. The reaper knocking down life. But wait! The grass isn’t dead, just shortened, so the simile is false. Where have all his grand perceptions gone? Did they ever exist? The Poet blames Facebook and his noisy smartphone for his lack of depth. Returning home, he will turn on the television and click through countless channels, stopping occasionally to gape at an explosion or an exemplary pair of breasts. Around nightfall it crosses his mind he should adopt a cat from the local shelter. Ten minutes later that notion is forgotten. As he prepares for bed, a lonely thought wanders into his head: What becomes of unthought ideas? Where do they go?


Cliff Saunders ________________________________ The Final Storm The day the stars fell, we were looking at blue sky and losing faith in ourselves. Our love cracked right in half like a tower in a cold city that shook the ground while everyone else panicked. We spilled into its abyss late into the night. It was important for us to suffer in our silence. We wanted something that was us, that represented us. All we found were ashes around the drain in the sink. How did it start? We knew the storm was coming. The lights dimmed clear across the country, and a paper ball that kept on growing floated down sunlit Broadway. An organ broke, snow fell from within us out there on the street, where it left too harsh of a light, including a moon only days from death. I spent a lot of time praying for you and me, waiting by the phone for you, puffed by wind and surrounded by the sea. All I ever wanted to do was dance behind the curtain of the big bus with you, to your heart’s discontent. At the end of the bus ride, where were we? I asked God all night to go sliding down hillsides with me the way the wind always revels in the final unraveling. Instead, he gave me a gift, a story of codes,


and the text read: Once upon a time, the boy who touched your broken heart beside the inlet made you cry while he slept on your couch.


Chelsea Bunn ________________________________ Forgiveness Outside my therapist’s office, three men are planting ferns, pruning bushes, cutting back the tangled vines that twine across the building’s bricks, covering them in green, and when I reach the door one of them has risen, and nods his head, and it seems a nod that verges on pity, as if he’s seeing into the room I’ll enter to empty myself of grief and wants to offer one gesture before turning back to the roses, a projection I should share but never will. Inside, I settle in the chair across from her, the woman I see each week despite my fear of being seen. Have you thought over, she asks, what we talked about last time? She’s trying to get me to forgive myself. She wants to free me of the song I play over and over in my mind, which governs every part of me: nerves,


veins, fingers, ego. I sing myself my sins: Clear, dry gin. The man I loved (my roving heart). The fringes that I occupied. My father in his hospital bed and I too late. What severing it must take to let this go. And now she says, moving a little closer to the edge of her chair, really seeing me, or wanting to, I had a patient once, in a place far from here, who, in the impenetrable fog of her disorders, and guided by some sick version of herself, killed her three little sons. And when she came to see me, after the fever of her sin had burned the memory to fine


dust, she didn’t even know what she had done. And I had to decide—do I tell her what she did? And now an ambulance goes by outside. I follow the noise of its thin siren dragging itself down the street until it’s gone, and those men, I suppose, are finishing their work, satisfied by having given life to that garden, and the garden, content in being tended to, everything green and free to bloom. She says: I didn’t tell her.


Colin Dodds __________________________________ A Fugitive To write a poem just to forestall the pain in feet or back or to kill the time is fine The fugitive will take an opportunity where an invitation would be suspicious What persists is a glad amazement that we can say these things and still live that we are not children in a brilliant prison that the edge is near that each step expands the beachhead rather than exhausting a frontier I will stay at this uneven wheel I promise I will not flee into wisdom


Gale Acuff ___________________________________ Hard Nobody loves me, not even Jesus is how I feel sometimes, when I'm depressed, which is pretty often and I'm only ten years old, so I've got the rest of my life to be unhappy, I'm unhappy because I'm in love with my Sunday School teacher, Miss Hooker, but she's 25, which isn't young and what's worse I'll never catch her until we're both dead and that means we'll be the same age though I'm not sure how I know that, some things you just do, such as I'm alive or I'm hungry or I need to pee. After Sunday School today I cornered Miss Hooker, kind of, I mean that I found her alone in our classroom when she was putting her church-gear away, her red Bible especially, isn't red the color of the Devil? Anyway, I asked her if she'd marry me when we're both dead, in the life-to-come, but she said No, Gale, there's no marriage in Heaven, read your Good Book, so then I asked her, Well, could we live together, then? She hollered, Shack in sin together in heaven? It was less a question than an exclamation but it was both, she's good that way, I'll bet -20-

Jesus was, too, or I guess still is, if there are any stupid questions like mine in Heaven. Goodbye, Gale, she said—see you next Sunday, so I said Yes ma'am and left. How do you know when a woman's playing hard to get? It doesn't feel like peeing, more like not being able to so no wonder some folks are more comfortable with Satan—he knows how it feels to be hurt. So does Jesus but maybe He forgets.


Benjamin Brindise ____________________________ The Homage I Never Paid he stood on the sidewalk waving I could just see it above the dash as you put it in reverse and backed out of the parking lot how heavy those next moments must have been with no directions to consider no map to unfold, no one to look out for, only an empty apartment to walk into glass bottles singing in the fridge I have thought about that night what he must have done, sitting on the balcony with the Florida sun reddening his eyes—never the reality of vomit in the corner of the bathroom the chill of the linoleum floor what I never considered was how much I weighed the car down how heavy those boxes in the trunk must have been how many nights you must have spent with dumb bells tied to your wrists in preparation for the inevitable I never gave you credit for seeing the sky falling on my head and running toward it, not away


for catching it just in time for being strong enough to save the world


Glen Armstrong ______________________________ The Middle In the middle of the horse. There’s a better horse. Or maybe the better horse. Lives in another dimension. Watching this horse on television. I am a sock puppet. The things I say rarely. Reach out from the middle. Of the things I say. To actually say something. About a horse. That probably doesn’t exist. I have to break a lot of eggs. To unlock the egg’s cakey goodness. I am a fruitcake and that green. Candied thing is both my soul. And my kryptonite. Another sunrise makes office space. Of the skyline painted. In twilight’s cave.


Kate Garrett _________________________________ My mother said never cast a love spell Wire wrapped the bottle red and black, suspended on a cord, the sandalwood inside warmed by the constant drumming of my heart, fight or flight primed. This necklace called to me in the crisp of October, when air like apple-bobbing splashed against my face through the window, when my friend confided her sadness—she’d never be a child in the summer again; adulthood would come for her as the sun entered Scorpio. It does make you think, I said. But by then I was simply waiting—not for the best person, but the best time. And I bought the vial from a woman as she breastfed her child; her blue eyes saw through me, over the dead leaves littering her stall at the renaissance festival. And I wore it for a month, for courage. My mother said never cast a love spell, but then, my mother said a lot of things—a witch baby will do as she pleases, left all alone, connected to the moon phase, the right day, the new season. So I burned the red candle, cheap drugstore joss sticks, sickly jasmine, uncorked a bottle charged with my fears. Before the next full moon we drove to the edge of the woods. He accepted my offer, unaware of the illusion.


Marina Rubin ________________________________ Nefertiti For years I've had this exuberant bed that looked like The Egyptian Crib for Nefertiti. A man I was living with in 2001 picked it out, 6 months before we broke up. I kept the bed. Last week when I returned from Italy, I was changing the sheets and the bed fell apart, literally crumbled to pieces—one wood panel collapsed, the other became unglued, the footboard dropped to the floor with a loud thud and then the massive headboard plummeted down almost killing my cat . . . chips and splinters flying everywhere around the room. . . . There was such wonder and magnificence to this spectacle that I just stood there, mesmerized. Then I tucked each panel under my arm and took the elevator down to the garbage area behind my building. As I tried to maneuver the planks into the dumpster, one of my neighbors—a recently divorced woman with two kids— walked by and asked me what happened. I told her the bed had come undone for no apparent reason. "You think it ever brought me joy?" I exclaimed, slamming the last panel to the ground. She paused looking at the mahogany debris scattered all around the yard and then said, "Why don't you come over to my place tonight for a glass of wine." In all the 15 years we had been neighbors, this was the first time she ever spoke to me. I didn’t even know her name.


Hannah Wells ________________________________ Nightingale I. Touch is an outward growth that pulls intangibility out through the frenetic slips of light as if from water. It is an act of mercy, a plea for the silence as reconciliation. II. A soporific distraction, the champagne sky casts my breath in bronze; I chase the last hours down and the earth’s latitude spills over the length of my shadow. III. Penitence ripens in the palm of grief until all that remains are the colors of your voice, an offering around which I hem my day before we dissolve in tangent blades between the grass. IV. Promontories of the song outside the window, listen the nightingale nails you to the falling sun, he sings you down into the dust. V. One by one I place at your feet stones that became words taken from flesh and wonder if there is a way to reassemble us from this frenzy of silence.


Jeff Burt ____________________________________ Parisian Exhibition of Impressionist Grotesque Shamefaced at fainting in the Musée de l'Orangerie, triaged at Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, I lay on a gurney in the hall of triage within view of twenty patients. One sung a lung out, one had a lover’s liver holed by alcohol, one had a chamber of a heart gone blank like an empty space in a fanned revolver, one pissed a kidney with a stone, one gave all his neo-cortex to strangers in mumble and mutter, and one lost the heat from his toes to the frost that bit and wouldn’t let go. One sat up and screamed at her mother who like a sudden rain poured soothing words over her. One borrowed rosary beads to rub in superstition. One formed a consensus of doctors that like a merle of blackbirds jawed and yawed and then left all-at-once to another perch. One lost color, neither -28-

brown nor black nor yellow nor bronze nor white, but transparent, cheeks sucked to teeth and orbitals that had forgotten to go round. I itched, had hives of imaginary bees buzzing on my chest and back, quarter-sized landing spots puffing red on my cheeks, bolt-sized bumps on the sides of my head, reaction to the contrast dye that showed no damage from my wild collapse, Frankenstein among his fellows.


Sarah McCann ________________________________ Rest with Me Rest with me. The guns are slowing— the stiller they are, the more quiet, the darker it gets. The nerves in our eyes also settle. The explosions float down to breathe. I have a place for your head here. Lower yourself against the bay I call an arm. Tip your eyes in towards me. I’ll dress your chest with the lace of my fingertips. Fingers? Lips. My lips will be a thin shadow on your skin like a bruise from the sun, like the new white grass on a burnt mountainside, still smoking in places. I have seen eggs shook loose from dead birds, rickety heartbeats inside the hollows, the slow, regular complaint from a rocking chair, and the echo becomes the baby. -30-

Koon Woon __________________________________ The River, the Boat When facing the sun's progress, my heart is churned by its rays, as the Yellow River's waters are churning ten fathoms deep, and when I compose my life by music of moonlight, I cannot help but think of other great rivers of the world, and their transporting immense mountains to sea. And when I see my face and yours in the same mirror, I learn the blend of Arabic and South American coffees that slowly roast our hearts with the first cup, waking us to a slight bitterness, but coffee is coffee, black is black, pain is pain, and life is life. So, I know the gift of your heart is long in the preparing and my acceptance is quick in the receiving, And so as you shower me with this great gift of monsoon rain, my heart softens as the rice paddies are ready for planting, and though there are leeches in the water that will steal our blood, our crop will invariably bring us great abundance because of your light and the power of the sun. That the moon still can cast a cold glimmer but she alone shivers naked in the sky and still the oceans will not freeze and we will be seventy-seven one day, like so many lit candles in the wind, when morning is no guarantee for the evening, and we both know that more rains will come, but we are also certain that as the river rises, so does our boat.


Paul Kindlon _________________________________ “Stupid Mouse!” Every journey begins and ends in the imagination. Filtered through time and the emotional pauses of experience. Cleansed of all rational falsehood and meaning. This much have I learned and perhaps more. What I will never know is the why: that probing after-thought of jealous consciousness. Like a curious young boy left behind who insists on knowing the details of his older brother’s dangerous exploits and manly adventures. The pleasure of memory robbed and replaced by a desperate yet harmless guessing game. But my little mind wanders, I suppose. Still in the labyrinth, I feel about with my extremities, aware of the sound of running, scratching and bumping into. The smell of my error in a bloody trail. Wherever I go from here can only lead me away from the point of escape: that liberating space free from the search. And so I remain. Lost and hungry. When I had entered the labyrinth, my expectations were modest, but mine. Not borrowed beliefs accepted and projected as personal. That would be unwise. Look! Fire does not burn on a page inside a book. Skin is the only receptor of truth. To learn is to feel and suffer. Your scream a philosophical utterance no one can refute. Yet there are those who would turn away. Afraid to see the weltering proof. Maybe courage is measured by the unsure moments we step-step forward. Into the unknown. Adding another layer to our incomplete being. Getting fat on life. Growing large and therefore unavoidable. A living presence. As I prepare to turn another corner, I am hopeful still. I pray the right angle will lead me to something quite new. But if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too. I realize this all must continue. Why not? Eventually, I will be plucked from the labyrinth by the scientist who put me here in the first place. To observe me try as he watches on with a cautious smile. -32-

John Grey ___________________________________ Tornado X I am enthralling because I can rip roofs clean off and send cars and cows spiraling through the air. If I don't happen to you, I'm the best and rawest thing out there. A flying neighbor is better than sex. No drug like horses in one field, their stalls in another. Corkscrewing, flattening, lifting, moving . . . what stimulates more? Look out your window as I sweep by. Work with me.


ayaz daryl nielsen _____________________________ Two Poems this day passes somewhere nearby someone practicing on an out-of-tune piano trying to get it right accompanied by a novice tuba player and other such small things cluttering a warm Spring afternoon ---------nothing but the wind and a cricket on the porch . . . consumed by them . . . this ordinary loneliness turning into silken tears


Devon Miller-Duggan __________________________ Variations I. Looking down across the purpled roofs— Heidelberg— I reach out for your hand. I clasp air, which turns to fire-opal, anvil-weight, comet-shard. You are my church and my volcano— wonders from books of lists. The turquoise St. George glass in Freiburg’s cathedral— we were there together. I won’t come here again without you. -35-

II. We are each other’s watchmakers—correcting gears, brushing dust, re-winding springs, then facing each to each and telling time like seven candlesticks. We were each other’s lathes, carving our rough branches to same-length-butmismatched legs for the table made to hold our feast. We were changelings returned to each other’s waiting arms. We were the Long Day and Antediluvian Longevity compressed into the body of one dove. III. Be my friction-pulley, slide me through your gears. Be my water motor, spill me through your years. Be my crank-pin-lathe, file me fine as hairs. Stag and Vine me, darling, I will be your field. Arrow-shoot my bird’s breast, surely I will yield. Juno and the Peacock me, I promise to be stilled. I’m cardamom and nutmeg, so heat me in some butter. I’m rosemary and thyme and dill—chop me with your cutter. I’m ginger, summer savory, and sage—steam me in your water. IV. What clouds assume the most fantastic shapes? For now, that’s our hearts’-house. How purple-glowing is our hearts’-home? Let’s go make up the mushroom bed we’ve gathered from. What’s the dark? The heart divided into two unequal, necessary chambers, How to count depth by dropping torches? Yet we find the river. -36-

V. We’ll build all through the time we have— spruce up our Palace of the Sun, add shine to our new history and histories and make the country that we are seethe earth-oil. We’ll build the veranda you’ve always wanted on our house. Dear husband, I recommend me to you.


Robert Okaji _________________________________ Vesuvius When the earth shrugs, some warnings are better heeded. A little smoke, some ash. A knife point held to the chin. Why listen at all? The man in the big house hides in its vastness. Surrounded, he walks alone. People speak, but he hears only himself. Meanwhile, the mountain belches and the birds fly north seeking firm ground upon which to land.


Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler ______________________ Vodka crashes silently over your head and everything slants like scenery— theatrically, the trees across the way turn to aquarium furniture, the brain is shucked, sheds vegetable layers as vodka acts on the surrounding medium. The warm breathing center of the world is abruptly shot full of quartz veins that inscribe fine anatomizing lines. The heart is stripped at last of clenched red fists of candles pounding on cold nights, of love and rumors of love—the lungs are vast and empty as cathedrals and like dockside warehouses, the kidneys are shabby and full of contraband, yet you understand that your body resembles very little, and vodka least of all, though unnamed organs go on moving, warmly moving, as shapeless fish in a silver net.


Contributors _________________________________________________________________________ Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, Worcester Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Arkansas Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. He has authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). He has taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank. Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch), In Stone, and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press). His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit, and Cloudbank. Benjamin Brindise is a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center and published his first chapbook of poetry, Rotten Kid (Ghost City Press), in Spring of 2017. Rotten Kid was featured at the 25th Annual Poets House Showcase in NYC. He will release Those Who Favor Fire, Those Who Pray to Fire (EMP Press) with fellow Buffalo poet Justin Karcher in Spring of 2018. Chelsea Bunn received her MFA in Poetry from Hunter College, and was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize and Norma Lubetsky Friedman Scholarship. Her work has appeared in Dogwood, Big City Lit, and Georgetown Review. She taught at Hunter College before relocating to New Mexico, where she currently teaches at SFCC. Jeff Burt lives in California with his wife amid the redwoods. He works in mental health. He has work in The Watershed Review, Spry, Atticus Review, and The Monarch Review. He was the featured 2015 summer issue poet of Clerestory, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review narrative poetry prize. Colin Dodds is a writer. His work has appeared in more than 250 publications, been anthologized, nominated, and shortlisted for numerous prizes, and praised by luminaries including Norman Mailer and David Berman. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter. See more of his work at Kate Garrett is managing editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron and Picaroon Poetry. Her writing appears here and there—most recently in Dying Dahlia Review, Riggwelter, and The Literary Hatchet. She grew up in rural southern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives. Donald E. Gasperson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Washington and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. He has worked primarily with the chronically mentally ill population. He has previously had poems published in the Five Willows Literary Review and is scheduled to be published in Poetry Pacific.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One, and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex, and Midwest Quarterly. Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, author of seven collections of poems, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse. Paul Kindlon was raised in Albany, NY, lived in Chicago for 16 years, and has been a resident of Moscow, Russia, for 24 years. Life adventures: Musician, Stage actor, Journalist, Professor, Short-story writer. PhD in Philosophy and Russian Literature. He enjoys Jazz, Classical music, cats, and travel. Stephanie Macias is a writer, artist, and musician living in Austin, TX. She has toured all over the United States under the moniker Little Brave and has released five records, as well as created artwork for many albums and concert posters. She writes poetry and fiction daily. Sarah McCann earned her MFA at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been published in such journals as The Bennington Review, Margie, and Hanging Loose. A book of her translations of the Greek poet Maria Laina, Rose Fear, is forthcoming from World Poetry Books. Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published 9 novels, 4 short story collections, 5 full-length poetry collections, and a dozen chapbooks. His novel Memphis Movie attracted kind words from Ann Beattie, Peter Coyote, and William Hjorstberg, among others. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and 3 of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. With his wife, he runs a 142-year-old bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008), Neither Prayer, Nor Bird (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Alphabet Year (Wipf & Stock, 2017). ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran, hospice nurse, ex-roughneck (as on oil rigs) lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (26+ years/140+ issues) with poetry published worldwide (and deeply appreciated), he also is online at: bear creek haiku—poetry, poems and info Robert Okaji lives in Texas. The author of three chapbooks, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Wildness, Vox Populi, Birch Gang Review, and elsewhere. Robert L. Penick's work has appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, and The California Quarterly. He lives in Louisville, KY, USA, with his


free-range box turtle, Sheldon, and edits Ristau, a tiny literary annual. More of his writing can be found at Tom Pescatore can sometimes be seen wandering along the Walt Whitman bridge or down the sidewalks of Philadelphia's old Skid Row. He might have left a poem or two behind to mark his trail. He maintains a poetry blog: Jon Riccio is a PhD candidate and composition instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers. His work appears in apt, Booth, Cleaver, Hawai'i Review, Jazz Cigarette, Steel Toe Review, and Visitant, among others. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona. Marina Rubin’s work has appeared in over eighty magazines and anthologies, including 13th Warrior Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Dos Passos Review, 5AM, Nano Fiction, Coal City, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Jewish Currents, Lilith, Pearl, Poet Lore, Skidrow Penthouse, The Worcester Review, and many more. She is an editor of Mudfish, the Tribeca literary and art magazine. She is a 2013 recipient of the COJECO Blueprint Fellowship. Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in Connecticut River Review, Five 2 One, Avatar Review, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, and Whale Road Review. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he works as a freelance writer. Julia Travers is a writer, artist, and teacher in Virginia. Her work has been shared with OnBeing and Heron Tree Poetry Journal, among other publications. Find her at and on Twitter @traversjul. Hannah Wells is 27 years old and graduated with a BA in English from Wayland Baptist University. Publications to date include Anima Poetry Press, All the Sins Literary Magazine, Avatar Review, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, and Del Sol Magazine. She strives to capture the specificity of visceral moments found in nature through a spiritual perspective. Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is a poet and translator best known for his English renderings of books by great contemporary Ukrainian author Serhiy Zhadan with co-translator Reilly Costigan-Humes. His work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in journals such as Coldnoon, Post(blank), and Two Lines. Koon Woon is an internationally-anthologized, award-winning poet of the PEN Oakland Award and The American Book Award. His books THE TRUTH IN RENTED ROOMS and WATER CHASING WATER are from Kaya Press. He edits Five Willows Literary Review online and publishes Goldfish Press in Seattle. He earned a BA in creative writing from Antioch University Seattle and an MLS degree in literary arts from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas.


Acuff Armstrong Brindise Bunn Burt Dodds Garrett Gasperson Grey Jaeger Kindlon Macias McCann Mesler Miller-Duggan nielsen Okaji Penick Pescatore Riccio Rubin Saunders Travers Wells Wheeler Woon The Big Windows Review Issue 10 Winter 2018 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor MI USA

The Big Windows Review, Issue 10, Winter 2018  

The literary magazine of the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

The Big Windows Review, Issue 10, Winter 2018  

The literary magazine of the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.