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Fall 2012: Poetry


the night is plum smoke
is cooler
than the rest of the country
where fires are eating up
burning in the heat
and humidity
of minnesota middays
greedily licking
whole patches of colorado

but here
chimney smoke
on the first days of summer
damp cedar plumes
pepper the air
like the first days of october
and i am wrapped
in a blanket on the porch
under the silver fir trees
with a silver-plated
dessert spoon
listening to the widower
next door
washing his dishes.

it's almost ten o'clock
and i'm licking
the spoon's upturned lip
dipping it into a cup
of raw sugar
then placing it
at the back of my mouth
back where
the tongue doesn't taste
anything sweet
letting it rest
there in the darkness
without audience
like burnt cane molasses.

they say 95 in new york
107 in kansas
and everywhere but here
people are desperate
for ice cubes
waiting it out
windows on lockdown
stripping down
to their sunburns.

early fireworks
light up patches
of moonless horizon
making a lattice
of bottle rockets
and roman candles
in between rum vanilla
and the twang
of mid-century tarnish.

i am thinking
of forgotten desserts
the deceased last courses
my neighbor
might have devoured
before time left him
alone with a pile of dishes
overgrown roses
the silent woodshed.

i'm waiting out
the last licks of sunlight
passing my spoon
between index finger
and thumb
how he tortured himself
last summer
in the apex
of afternoons
riding the mower
in a steady lattice.

how i watched him
in the sun’s unforgiveness
light up
a cigarette
and smoke it slowly
in the grass alley
house and woodshed
his whole torso
rising like wood smoke
his downturned gaze
fixed on sun burnt patches.

everywhere but here
people are tossing
in the sultry
while i’m listening
to the discernible clink
of silverware
against porcelain
rolling my spoon
around a dry mouth
homemade ice cream

its vanilla bean mystery
on the fourth of july
like alchemy
the magic of sugar
salt, ice, churned
until it was something
we could carve our spoons into
until it was dark enough
to light up the block
of ranches
and split-levels

with our sparklers
we spelled out names
like prism confetti
like handfuls of flung sugar
while our mothers
drank cane sugar cokes
with dark rum
out of the bottles
and sucked on marlboros
winston lights
their tips glowing
like the dregs
of abandoned campfires.

one year
some drunk father
lit up our suburbs
with a wayward rocket
and we just stood there
with extinguished sparklers
quietly watching
the flaming arborvitae
lick the ten o'clock sky
our ice cream dripping
sugary punctuation
on the ash-peppered sidewalk.

in our burnt orange
corduroy cutoffs
we played
with pilfered matches
daring each other
to place palms
or fingers
over the flame’s
open limnus
until the party died down
and our mothers
in high-waisted levi's
began to shift
in their lawn chairs.

the wind is picking up
as my neighbor coaxes a fire
and i'm still outside
in wool socks
thinking of the sorrow
of cherries flambé
baked alaska
upside down cake
like sunspots
of some aged sweetness
i stir my well of sugar
and remember ice cream trucks

rocket pops
all of the typical signs
of summer
as my neighbor
slips a clean spoon
into his coffee
i measure the steps
to a dark bed
both of us
waiting out the night
like stray dogs
under the cool shadow
of parked cars.

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Poetry Thumbnail Art   Prose Thumbnail Art   Artwork Thumbnail Art   Young Voices Thumbnail Art   Contributors Thumbnail Art

Fourteen poets fill this section with mothers, daughters, sons; with dreams, promises, hauntings; with joy, pain and what lies in between.


I am a world creator ... . I am a voice finder. (S. H. Aeschliman, “On Voice”) Meet five prose writers who will guide you into unique worlds and invite you to hear their creative voices.


Three photographers and two painters make the pages of this journal sparkle with color, light, variety.

Young Voices

We are proud to introduce five emerging writers whose work shows a depth of talent and creativity that will delight you.


Here are the 27 authors and artists whose work make our first online issue so extraordinary.

Table of Contents Button


        To the Friend Who Talked Me Down by Amy Schutzer

        Memorial Day on South Greeley Avenue by Penelope Scambly Schott

        Lost Rubies by Deborah Brink Wöhrmann

        Everything between your palms by Jaime R. Wood

        315C by Kristen Roedell

        In 4th Grade, Sally Teaches Me the Bases by Betsy Fogelman Tighe

        Swan Song by Jaime R. Wood

        We by Carrie Padian

        The Supplicant by Emily Pittman Newberry

        Jailhouse Call by Kelly Running

        spoon by Brandi Katherine Herrera

        my in mind ungrammared kiss by Melanie Green

        Beyond Reach by Leah Stensen

        You must give up your dead by Kristin Roedell

        Tree Ghosts by Tricia Knoll

        Personal Interview by Penelope Scambly Schott

        Fairy Tale I Haven't Read Yet by Donna Prinzmetal


        One Small Thing Right by Nicole Rosevear

        How Mom Played Sad by Sally K. Lehman

        Running with Dragons by Trista Cornelius

        High Priest by Robin Schauffler

        On Voice by S.H. Aeschliman


        Lush iii by Tina Tran

        The Commuter by Denise Hrouda

        Which Witch by Denise Hrouda

        The Center of Two by Jolyn Fry

        A Knot Unties by Jolyn Fry


        weight bags by Calli Storrs

        No Parking by Frances Bringloe

        Falling in Love by Chaquita McClendon

        Go On Then, Gunslinger by Allison Stein

        Fishing Float by Sage Freeburg