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Summer 2016: Poetry

Didn’t We Touch Clouds?

Didn’t my father and I 
stand side by side 

on the red cotton picker
as he steered it through the rows?

We rode on the contraption 
high above the field 

as clatter thrummed my chest, 
drowned out my happy singing. 

The picker vacuumed the dry 
and open bolls, propelled 

cotton through dark channels 
into the metal basket on top, 

whose hinged jaws opened 
to dump its bounty 

into the trailer at field’s edge. 
We climbed into the trailer 

after each load, my father 
reaching into the basket 

to empty the last of the cotton, 
while I helped spread it out, 

and the day smelled of dirt
and twigs and sky. But 

my father remembers only 
a hard life hoisting 

hay bales, digging irrigation 
ditches, fixing the tractor 

that kept breaking down. 
His broken-down heart 

is a basket of regrets
that never empties. 

I break down my memory 
into its moving parts:

The valves and tubing 
of my father’s heart. 

A faint song rising 
from tender lungs. 

The silence 
of freshly picked cotton.

He and I touched clouds.
We held them in our hands.

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A sampling of the powerful female creative force thriving in our region.


Six women dazzle us with both their honesty and humor.


Four artists use layering and process as metaphors for life beyond art.


Meet the fabulous women behind the voices and visions of our ninth issue.

Table of Contents Button


        Isabel's Purse by Deborah Akers

        refuge by Deborah Akers

        Kiteboarder at Road's End by Cathy Cain

        Caramel is Made at the Verge of Burning by Deborah Dombrowski

        Controlled Burn by Linda Drach

        Approaching Seventy by Carol Ellis

        Zygote by Nancy Flynn

        In Collision by Delia Garigan

        My Mother's Hair by Leanne Grabel

        Sheen by Leanne Grabel

        Allegiance by Melanie Green

        on my two thousand, seven hundred and fourth sabbath by Melanie Green

        Sitting Shiva on My Birthday by Andrea Hollander

        Laws of Physics by Andrea Hollander

        I Want to Unfold by Tricia Knoll

        My Stairway by Tricia Knoll

        Fancy by Barbara LaMorticella

        How to Know When You are Dreaming by Jone Rush MacCulloch

        Didn't We Touch Clouds? by Eileen Pettycrew

        Playlist by Suzanne Sigafoos

        No Exit by Charlotte Udziela

        Living Alone by Pat Phillips West

        My Husband's Handwriting by Pat Phillips West


        Let Me Explain by Carisa Miller

        The Itching by Elizabeth Scott

        Ben by Edee Lemonier

        The Passenger by Alex Behr

        Risk Takers by Ashley-Renee Cribbins

        Cooking Lessons by Joanna Rose


        Featured Art by Jeni Lee

        I Never Promised You a Rose Garden #1 by Katherine Mead

        I Never Promised You a Rose Garden #4 by Katherine Mead

        I Never Promised You a Rose Garden #5 by Katherine Mead

        Stasis by Sarah Laird

        Candescence by Sarah Laird

        Candescence (detail) by Sarah Laird

        Homage to Comfort Women Throughout the World by Carolyn Campbell

        The Beguiling Beauty of Life in Distress by Carolyn Campbell

        Reflections of Transitioning by Carolyn Campbell