Belief by Carol V. Davis

They were arguing when the pear and lemon rolled off the porcelain plate with the windmill and stone bridge bumped on a planter then slid to the floor. If he had not seen it, he would have accused her of making it up.  

Swamp Maples by Carol V. Davis

Predictions have been honed to a science: not just the date, but the hour and minute color will explode on the swamp maples of New England. Do results match anticipation?   The way a man rotates a peach and between one bite and the next the nectar turns sickly sweet, small bursts of ethylene gas … Read more

Let Us Find by Carol V. Davis

Let there be a shelter for letters from lovers jilted or left to float in uncertainty. A mutual severing does not need sanctity or a trail of correspondence,   but for those reluctant to let go let there be a place of refuge. Memories of hair brushed gently from the eyes, an elbow gently cupped … Read more

Reading Denise Levertov to Know You by Carol V. Davis

Under autumn clouds, under white wideness of winter skies you went walking– Denise Levertov for Efim Levertov Tell me what gets inherited? Is it more than a gene for curly hair or the height of a man? You – compact, hands not many generations from the plow, fingers strong to snap the stalk, rub the … Read more

Touch by Michelle Askin

9 Miles South of DC, what Best Places Reports “Modern Suburbs” left out: compound public houses lining Bailys Crossroads. The El Salvadorian teenagers put on their fast food aprons and mutter rosaries for their deported cousins and pregnant disabled sister. And a bald man walks in, his pink head to match the oversized Koosh ball … Read more

Remain by Michelle Askin

The night before last night I tried to kill myself. I opened the freezer and looked for ice cubes. I was thirsty afterwards. There was no one to call except an Indian man on a hotline from Austin, Texas, who told me to go on a brisk walk to see if I could separate the … Read more

Making Wages by Barry Yeoman

Give credit to those who ruin everything they touch, that we might know the beauty of ruin. It’s where we are going. The largest pile of rubble is our friend. Hung-over, the birds go cockamamie in the morning, chit and chatter their way into the channels and sleepy hollows of the skull. Soon I’ll be … Read more

Isolated Memories by Barry Yeoman

Crazy ruminations in the night. Neurotic perfectionist insomnia. Something I said to a girl in the eighth grade that came out wrong. The guilt of a Halloween egging of a favorite teacher’s house. Calling Karen “Carol” at the mall a year after graduation. Trivial things stuck in my memory as if I lack a filter … Read more

Left Turns by Marcia Bradley

You are not the enemy. You’ve told yourself this many times but still can’t help but feel that you have been miscast, that this role of ombudswoman and authoritarian is very contrary to the wild girl you carry inside you. “Watch the road,” you tell your daughter and grip the armrest on the passenger’s side … Read more

The Accident by Jeremy Voigt

A boy was born. A mother felt betrayed. On the road of her body the arterial turned. The roads had lines. A ditch, as any road might, for rainwater. He came from that chrysalis-darkness. A mother’s obsidian eyes, mostly shut. He was parked in a box to help him breathe. Pinned in hibernation, a needle … Read more

Absent Moon by Nadya Rousseau

This was a night sheathed in a beckoning darkness: a starless sky and summer breeze, designed to envelop a traveling ingénue. Clothes packed and unpacked again in tattered suitcases— with an absent moon there could be no solace; although silhouettes had been tucked away between all lost stars— her lover’s touch was still felt along … Read more

On the Ride to Stargard by Tom Earles

Natalia wakes me at 5:30 a.m. for work. She shakes my arm and I take out the earplugs that I’ve started wearing to block out the noise of the upstairs neighbors. They wake up even earlier than we do. Natalia and I both start work at 8 a.m., but she works right here in town, … Read more

What the Hell’s in Helena, Montana? by Paul Luikart

The tractor brakes finally burned out in Helena, Montana and the boss only wired enough for one plane ticket, so John flew back to Chicago to get another cab and left Jerry in town to babysit the load—a bunch of basketball shoes. Jerry had never been to Montana before. First thing he did was find … Read more

Mine by Raia Small

All our poems are buried within us and all we can do is dig. – Jonathan Galassi   Remember when we dug up the rusted carburetor in the garden? The torn rubber tire tread, the dirt-encrusted gears? Planting squash and basil, we ate the lead-steeped tomatoes stubbornly all summer. That’s what this kind of excavation … Read more

I Was Out by Raia Small

On the west side near the bus terminal on the overpass overlooking a sea of retired train cars, tucked in rail to rail. They were captives at the station, a soft spray of Hudson River water slowly rusting their bodies. It’s an imperceptible shift, from motion to stillness, but the turnover will wreck your brakes. … Read more

My Year with Mr. Elser by Constanze Frei

Mr. Elser’s fourth grade class in the little town school included the four of us, a band of orphanage misfits. In addition to me, the three other eleven-year-olds were boys: Emil, Roman, and, Albert. When the sun touched Emil’s hair it looked like he had shiny golden reddish stripes in his thick curls. Emil—a sweet … Read more

To People from the Other Side by John Grey

I play music that I think the dead would like to hear, something to spark their listening from the other side. Mozart is a perennial favorite, as one immortal to another so to speak. “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles too, that last long seemingly endless chord like a taut serene musical illustration … Read more

All the Birds Aren’t Perfect in Paradise by Rosemarie DiMatteo

Struggling back to life at this age— but for all the bleary-eyed hours and bone-jarring bus rides for all those cheap-shoe blisters and fending off the smiling fiends the telltale eye bags you can’t mask with The World’s Best Cover Stick the legs that won’t shape up and that fifth metatarsal that aches where it … Read more

Orpheus by Jim Bartruff

The first time he opened the wad of tinfoil he wondered what it was all about, but he took one with the cross- hatching on it and half an hour later felt like God, Jesus and The Holy Ghost. He believed Bob Norton when he said he had played with Spirit last time they were … Read more

Two Rides by Jim Bartruff

1. Who put “Lola” on the jukebox I will never know, midnight, Dove Creek, Utah, first snow on the ground, counter seats and Indians, square in their black hats. In the pickup’s bed, three mule deer bound in tarps, the road home from the canyon yet a thousand miles, a thousand miles across flat scrub … Read more

Valparaiso Is Burning By Marcela Urrutia

I’m not at home   Nobody here to hold me   I’m driving to LA   It’s violent   A disintegration of my core   Valparaiso is burning   A geographical wound   The port of the Pacific     The nights The boats   This is my territory   Now   A fragment sparkles … Read more

Highland Park By Marcela Urrutia

I can’t write today.  Your pain is my pain.  My neck feels soft.  You wash the dishes—you get hard easily.  Leaves everywhere.  Andrea moves through the house.  I let her.  The Salvadorian Revolution was extreme, a laboratory of the Cold War.  I bite my lips.  I wash the dishes.  Impatient you—you sleep in the back … Read more

How Not to Spend Your First Month in California by Sara Walters

Don’t unpack too quickly and feel as hollow as your suitcases empty under your new bed.

Don’t accept a bottle of Dr. Pepper, banana chips, a Ziploc of almonds, and a pillow from a boy who looks little to nothing like his Facebook photos, even when he sings you Justin Bieber songs.

Maybe Tomorrow by Lynne M. Hinkey

Debbie pushed herself up to a sitting position and shimmied to the edge of the bed. She raised her eyes to the window, where the sun hit the frost-tinted glass and exploded in delight. In the kitchen, her mother sang out bits and pieces of the overplayed perky pop song of the week. The bangs, … Read more

Free to the Public Every Thursday by Scott Chalupa

The young couple is discordant—two blue shirts making out among the shuffle of art-grazers   (an ocean of eyes). At the exhibit’s entrance, a dome of aluminum cups and plates throws circles of light on the floor. A stone Buddha sits in meditation   against the south wall. His ears (stretched to his hips) forgive … Read more