From Issue 15: The Wild Part

Barbara Carlson

To you, half-witted sleepwalker walking on stones along the river under a black wind, what is it that still lights the blanks between your dreams? The secrets that haunt your life? Kept in the darkness for your shawl? Is there a thread of inmost longing that guides your mystery? And will you let the shawl unravel to nothing? You, leaving your shoes on the shore of all that is empty & vast between lives. The shoes will hold rain & let night overtake them, shoes that once held you for all that you thought you were & could …

From Issue 15: September

 

David Sam

So green goes
pregnant underground
or flies with wind—
divine botanical passion

We darken this
with restlessness
for other equinoxes

How to vanish
turning away from such
an unreliable map

Where in the end
my likeness
will walk without me
while the world has changed

 

David Anthony Sam lives in Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda. He has four collections and his poetry has appeared in over 70 journals and publications. His chapbook Finite to Fail: Poems after Dickinson was the 2016 Grand Prize winner of GFT Press Chapbook Contest.…

From Issue 14: Here and Not

Andrew Walker In photographs, my grandfather towers. Trimmed mustache under a bulbous nose, he stands hunched with a walking stick almost taller than he is. He smiles with his teeth. Always in shorts and a polo shirt, he looms over his wife, who looks small and distant. She wears a sweater and slacks—the smallest size still too big. A golden polar bear hangs around her neck, the nose always pointing to the left, toward her heart. The bear has been hanging there longer than I can remember—maybe longer than she can remember. She smiles only with her lips. They have… …

From Issue 14: Ryan

C.C. Russell I catch you staring across my desk this morning.  In photographic grey-scale, you are nearly a man now.  In memory, initially, I always see you as that tiny boy, the day we moved to New York. You stared out between the slats of your stairway railing, asked me the question that adults don’t often answer sufficiently.  Tears in your eyes, you asked me why I was leaving. I want to say it’s funny, the way that time moves separately, separated as we are from each other. I want to say it’s funny the way you grew into yourself… …

From Issue 14: I Heart Yogyakarta

Jillian Schedneck  One hazy morning in Yogyakarta, I stumbled out of bed and into the shared bathroom— fairly confident that the cockroaches had vacated the premises by daylight. I looked in the mirror and let out a sharp gasp. My right eyelid was completely swollen. I had been exhausted for days, pinned to my bed. For every hour I managed to stay awake, I was lulled into sleep for two or three, consumed by a world of agitated dreams. My arms were pocked with mosquito bites, even though I slept with a sheet over every inch of me. And now… …

From Issue 14: Longing Letter

Isobel Hodges We met in Tokyo in 2002. I wore platform sneakers and glitter in the daytime. It was just you, me, and forty thousand people at a design fair. My two year stay was coming to an end – I braced for grief. I slid my paintings into the back of Kentaro’s station wagon. Tōhoku expressway. Hot tea in slim cans, soft sky. At the exhibition centre, Kentaro pulled a neat reverse park while Chihiro and I grinned. At booth C-216 we unfolded the camping table and pinned our works. Our neighbours were dressmakers and painters, an industrial designer… …

From Issue 14: Art and Shackles

James Tager At first, we assumed someone had slipped something into the water supply. Some type of hallucinogen, or mood destabilizer. It seemed the only thing that would explain the emotional changes, the hallucinations. We assumed they were hallucinations, at first: The borders of paintings blurring at their edges, seeping into the walls around them, overrunning their frames and rooting themselves into plaster and plywood and concrete. We thought we were seeing things. And when we started feeling emotionally overcome by the newest exhibits at our downtown museums, by the eight-by-ten etchings at our local café, by the spraypaint portraits… …

From Issue 14: Anastasia

Kyle Hemmings 1. I tell her not to stand too close to windows. Trying to protect her from the soldiers of the night. From the rats pretending to be rabbits. Tell me again she says with that accent drifting from Eastern European train wreckages, the lips of women waiting for a body to fall. I tell her there are so many causalities under Avenues A, B, C, and D. 2. There’s this recurrent dream she has of a man from the old country entering her between rest stops and strategic points. When he’s inside, she says, (while sitting erect on… …

From Issue 14: Wall

Brooke Randel   Dad had navy blue lint between his toes again. I was lying on the couch, staring at his fuzzy feet. “What’s going to happen at midnight?” I asked. “Nothing,” he told me. “I mean, when midnight is over.” “You know this. Time will end and we’ll start going backwards.” “And it’s all the same? I’ll ask you this question again?” “I don’t know. We’ll see.” “But what do you think?” “I think we’ll see.” The microwave clock glowed a faint blue, still visible from my spot on the couch. We were an hour away from the end… …

From Issue 14: Survival Lessons

Kayla Heisler Put your mask on before helping others. Those words crack over the intercom anytime I strap myself into an airplane seat. The moral is obvious: you cannot save a life if you do not have one. Most flights I travel alone, so this lesson generally feels futile in the moments where my knees dig into the cheap plastic in front of me, surrounded by mouth breathers and gum snappers. That intrepid compulsion of self-sacrifice I once possessed dissolved after an ex-Navy man looked away from me and into a place I hope to never know. He told me… …