that voice

By Guillermo Filice Castro


on the brink of






with a touch of



that voice






using blindness as a guide



that voice






at the edge of
a dreamed death-






that voice



the mind



signing off



write a song
write a song
you can sing in heaven


By Seni Seneviratne

Let me assume a pose that is suitably uncomfortable. There’s no obvious way to shift me from a life of necessary solitude, though I sometimes miss the joy of slipping from the warm side of a sleeping lover to watch the moon through cold curtains. Life is a stolen word from someone else’s lines, but can it harm if it’s surrounded by my own?

Into the nearest cafe, miss out main course, bite into blueberry sponge. And who would say yes to that last bit of overheard chat? Not me. I’m wondering which way to go after all this time of take what life brings, …

At the End

By Nathan McClain

there’s a bluebird, asleep,
in the pokeweed, and we argue still—

what’s pinched in its beak—
a thread of red string, perhaps

what’s left of picking apart its nest?
Though I like to think of the thread as once

woven to some larger piece of cloth,
maybe your scarf.

Albuquerque, NM

By Cathy Linh Che

In the car, phantom shadows.

The moon was a sliver.
The sun blared orange over the canyon,
and I caught myself awkward and nervous.

In the woods, I constructed for us
a makeshift shelter––tent with broken poles,
hands that intertwined in restless sleep.

In Flagstaff, the huevos rancheros
smothered in pork and chile verde.
A circular bruise on each knee.

I’d never seen anything like this.
Stacked mesas with their red
and sandstone striations.

Dusk striped violet and blue,
diffusing into golden light.
Scratch deep red on your arm.

What if love meant marking a body?
The red insignia a testament
to blood beneath the skin.

The soundtrack to a road trip played
on an uncertain loop. A blaze of time zones.
The spinning …

All Are Equal In the Fall

By Stash Hempeck


as we each silently steal

forward, stoop

to pick

up our rock, heft

the angular stone up and down

in our hand as though to weigh

its power, as though to find

that perfect balance, as though to search

out the proper side, while we imagine

arc of flight and point of impact, followed

by instant bruise or instant blood, the outcome determined

by our obtuse or acute point-of-view.


This is the secret path we choose

to tread, to halt

—if for only one brief moment—

what we know

will surely come to pass.


But still we hope

—hope pushing

against hope,

hope piling

upon hope—

that this will be the time one of us finds

courage enough to straighten

up, to firm

our spine, to cast

down that hand-held demon back

onto the …


By Erika Dreifus

with thanks to Steven M. Lowenstein


My father’s parents were Germans,

and they were Jews,

and they were born long ago,

one just before and one just after

the outbreak of the war

that was to end all wars,

but didn’t.


They came to New York in ’37 and ’38,

met and married and had a son.

From them, I have inherited

copies of Der Struwwelpeter

and Buddenbrooks,

a fondness for Riesling,

and pünktlichkeit.


Pünktlichkeit is beyond punctuality.

It is showing up ahead of time for movies,

meetings, and medical appointments;

submitting papers and assignments

safely before their deadlines;

and returning books to the library

at least one day prior to their due dates.


Pünktlichkeit is a preemptive way of life,

and not everyone admires it.

Even Rabbi Breuer of Frankfurt,

later …

Stroking the Pigeon (after Amour)

By Patricia Spears Jones

What happens when you lose your taste
For living things-a lover’s mouth
The scent of her skin; his dark pubic hair
His hand’s distinct wave

How to savor what can no longer
Offer warmth, languor, curses

This we speak of
Again and again
A theme so lacking in originality
And yet

Is not that taste
It’s heat, spice or sourness

That shapes such loss.

Is it not
Of paramount deliberation

Is it not that need to stroke a living thing
That returns us to the pain of what

Has moved from breath?

Fado de Coimbra (serenade)

By Mike Stutzman

Yes, yes, yes—
the sandbags I have stacked,
and the sheets of plywood
nailed overlapping my storefront heart.

I have made ready
for your grey eyes to turn me
away once more. The cheerful experts

track your cruel silence.
I press to my ear a radio
jammed to the station
devoted to the crisis you bring:

the ways you will ruin me
if you shift even a few degrees.
Yes, I tune my guitar

to the chimes they play on the hour.
How I have rehearsed the way
I will take the dark O
of your no and drift its innertube
to the house of your family,

allow the swollen flood of circumstance
to lift me to your window.

A Psalm of What Happens When I Submit to Love

By Bernadette McComish

I am poured out like water,
spilled onto the floor, soaked into wood.

A terrible loneliness forces me
to love a man who says I don’t love you,
too many times.

Removed from me: all things visible,
I will not forget the one who came before.

O Lord,
I shall no longer look
for you in another man’s bed.

I’m sure, I am poured out like water,
slipped backward into the oceans.

I who am in love
have forgotten how to sleep alone.
In this bondage I am broken
and hungry.

How did my body liquefy
into a pool of bones?

I am poured out like water,
do you hear me,

I hide
not, fear
not, want.

What shall I sacrifice
for healing and how do I
find you—
How many times do …

Life Taxidermy

By Brie Huling

There was no one here to tell me I was wrong.

In taxidermy, you skin the animal first
like removing the skin of a chicken.

I’m casting my own form here,
but I am an amateur. It’s pretty obvious.

& you have cast me queerly, firm tendrils falling …

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