I am frantically searching

for a sharp knife: I need

to cut the sulfur from my skin.

From this river side, I can tell you

the signs of infestation:

1) the growth of tubers, and then

2) the spread.

3) When every bank of the river is covered

in tubers, the river will die.

We invented herbicide to combat this.

Sulfur, like cancer or tubers, is small,

spreads quickly, and is nearly impossible

to be rid of once it catches your skin.

Have you ever used herbicide only once?

The tubers will return. What’s unnerving

about cancer is being given blinders

and told to gallop. Try to ignore death

when it appears on the edge of the roads.

I have sulfur hiding under my skin, or

sulfur growing like tubers. It’s seeding,

turned my bloodstream yellow, and

I know this will be the end of these rivers.


by Noah Dversdall


Noah Dversdall is a young writer from Dayton, Ohio. He works as a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal.

Kristopher Miller

Absinthe Dream


You share with me a bottle of special absinthe

I drink a sip

(Of that special substance!)

I feel the world slip.


The bottle clatters on the floor,

The glass window behind me shatters a thousand score,

And all of my reality is reduced to shredded tatters,

As I see the ashes fall,

As I hear the howling wind call

From a black void that swallows us both-


-in a pitch-black stasis

Where we can stare

At each other’s faces-


I hear you breathe,

I hear your heart beat,

As we embrace,

As we kiss,

As we touch,

As we feel our warm bodies together

In this cold realm where time has stopped,

Where deadlines, obligations, stress, rivalry, anxiety, and uncertainty,

Are nowhere to be found.


But if this moment ends,

I will wake up,

From dreaming,

Broken and screaming,

Falling and crying

And burning and dying

In a cacophony of fire

Raging out of the broken rubble in a twisted spire

That will consume you and me

In a black, lifeless, and torrent-ridden sea.



A Viking Eulogy


I will not let her name be forgotten

In a field of whimpers and whispers,

Nor will I let her memory dissipate

Into nothingness as I grow bitter and senile,

And I will not let her be confined

To a rotting obituary page

That flatly states that she died in a mess of metal and gravel.


I will give her a Viking Eulogy,


The story will say she had healing hands

To soothe a troubled soul,

And her soft voice would lift hearts,

And put a poor creature’s fear to rest,

And her hugs were tight and filled with love,

To anyone who held her dear in regard.

She was a Priestess of Peace.


I will give her a Viking Eulogy,


I was a lost man

Until she found me

Sitting on a stone bench.

I told her I was a broken piece

And she fixed me up for a day,

She told me to forget about the person

Who broke me, and I did.


She will have her Viking Eulogy,


I will not let her be forgotten by the ravages of time

Because her grave stone will break down from disuse

A thousand years from now.


I will sing of her Viking Eulogy.


by Kristopher Miller


Kristopher Miller has been published in Sifting Sands, Tenth Street Miscellany, Down in the Dirt, and others. He is also the self-published author of The Maze’s Amulet, an urban fantasy novella and the poetry anthology Poisoned Romance; both these books are available digitally on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Barry Yeoman

I Saw A Woman


The trees continue

recycling their timely poems

year after wind-blown year.


Soon the tenement glow

is shadowed with ice.


The bare limbs of timber

click and knock

in the windy woods

like two bucks

locked-up and tangling

over the deepest hunger.


This room is silent

and the wind is deaf.


Kids walk the ridges

carrying sticks

owners of imagination

on small wooded acres.


At the first scent of woodsmoke,

residents of alleyways,

speakers to animals,

converse between the lonely

and the gravel-bound.


Tonight the sunset

reminds me of someone.

I had never seen a face like that.

She possessed the room.

It had a special glow.

My stomach leaped to my chest.

Her red choker was a song

her hair a field. And that face.

I could barely stand to look,

I couldn’t bear not to.


Now the trees go blind

with shadow

and the pumpkins take on

the spirit of the sunset,

while I dream the dreams

of love and death.



The Poetry Room


There is a man

walking slowly

in a dark field.


He enters an empty room

closing the door behind him.

There are no windows.


He lies down on his back

detaches his face in the darkness

and places it on the floor.


The spot

where his face had been

begins to glow.


A blue luminous liquid

pours rapidly outward

filling the room.


He is completely submerged

in a translucent pool of blue

gradually darkening.


Muffled bubbling pleas

that sound like questions

catch his ears on fire.


The darkened room

thickens and burns

turning to sand.


The walls of the room

(now a sand filled vault)

become heavy iron grates.


A small boy

can be seen

kneeling on a beach.


He brushes sand away

from engraved lettering

on one of the grates.


He cannot read.

A constant breeze

turns his attention toward the ocean.


It is almost dark.

Where the water meets the sky

there is a strange glow.





one needn’t be

caught in the density

of canyon river eddies

to learn of impossible currents

of dark cold depths


a day passed in seclusion

winter’s stiff-armed oppression

unnamed and desolate

as an old abandoned warehouse

rotting in the rust-belt


soon the sun

sets in motion its oral tradition

translated and transmuted

by the poet and the priest

before the cold orange aura


tucks the trees away

under a blanket of night

whose certain temperament

moves toward everyone

everywhere at all times


Barry Yeoman


Barry Yeoman was educated at Bowling Green State Univ., The Univ. of Cincinnati, and The McGregor School of Antioch Univ., in creative writing, world classics, and the humanities. He is originally from Springfield, Ohio and lives currently in London, Ohio. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Red Booth Review, Futures Trading, Danse Macabre, Harbinger Asylum, Red Fez, The Wayfarer and Two Hawks Quarterly.


Three Birds Orchid

“Among the graffiti one illuminated name: yours”

– Basho


Poised in beauty at the woozy edge

of this drunken swamp,

a mile deep into woods


like an enchanted pilgrim silently

climbing the ambrosial pathway

to heaven’s gate,


you startle me

with your earnest meditation,

oh sweet Buddhist orchid,


oh soft demented flora,

oh silent saint of contemplation,

oh sweet honey flower


of woodland mystery. I come upon you

growing here in this heap

of leaves and rotting humus


like a floral spit of liquid sculpture

rising elegantly

from the omphalos of dirt.


You remind me of my wife

as she ascended the stairway

of her youth


into the bridal registry

of her womanhood,

a stem of buds awakening her,


some painted white and purple,

a cough of feathers inside her,

a vase of flowers.


You remind me

of myself as I have risen

lonesome and flummoxed


in the drunkenness of my evenings,

worry and woe twisted

tight around my temples


as if I am still the bewildered groom

approaching my lover

with vanishing at my core,


something panicked and hopeful

inside my belly,

a graft of flying birds.


You remind me

of an altar of sylphs,

colorful spirits of the air


promising not security, not seduction,

nothing at all except for

being, expanding


And erupting

from your saint stem,

three pink-and-white


orchid birds – I see them –

freeing themselves

in lopsided


emancipated flight,

as if enflaming themselves

up through the squalid air


in majesty, from the woven collar

of each sunburst axil,

each cradle of becoming,


as if the body, ours,


like an orchid stem


with hunger, with vanishing,

could actually

bloom and exhale


winged beings,

three-bird orchids –

me you and us


from the aroused

unfolding of its



right here at the edge of a swamp

in the woods,

just because.



Ken Meisel


Ken is a poet and psychotherapist and a 2013 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of several books of poetry, the most recent being Scrap Metal Mantra Poems: (Main Street Rag Press, 2013). He has been published in magazines such as Rattle, San Pedro River Review, Common Ground, Cream City Review and Boxcar Review.

Bobbing Heads

Let go of your thoughts, let go of your thoughts, your thoughts are a river passing you by. I’m next to a river watching my thoughts.

Those are heads floating by! Ten or twelve floating heads, what the hell was that saying—if you sit by the river the heads of your enemies will come floating by? That’s bull, you should get `em before they get—hey, that horse head scene in The Godfather was cool, who the hell was that actor?

Let it go, Bob. Oh, man, so many heads! Floating, bobbing like apples—who the hell bobs for apples? That’s a Golden Book thing, Little Golden Book thing, who the hell reads that crap? And who the hell brings apples to the teacher, even brown nosers don’t. God I’m fat. Man I’m fat. My arms feel fat on the arms of the chair—my sweet, wonderful chair—soft and sweet like me, cost me six–hundred bucks—man, it takes a real man to earn money like—

Breathe, dammit! Deep breaths, moron, your blood pressure needs it. Breathe in, breathe out—man, the old man’d cough his lungs out from that, dumb old fool, dead from smoking—I’m so ungrateful to say stuff like that! Dad’d whack me for such disrespect.

Candy cigarettes were good! All these dumb kids today, we’re so over– protective—like Sandi, dear god, just let the kids be! Man, it makes my blood—

Breathe in! Breathe out! Watch your thoughts float—what’s that? Jesus, Sandi, I said keep those kids!—

“Quiet out there! I’m effing meditating!”

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe



Jon Sindell

Jon Sindell is a humanities tutor and a writing coach for business professionals. His flash fiction collection, The Roadkill Collection, is scheduled to be released by Big Table Publishing in late 2014. Jon’s short fiction has appeared in over sixty publications. He curates the Rolling Writers reading series in San Francisco, and his author bios end with a thud.

The Survivor

Inspired by Carolyn Forché


What you have suspected is true. The girl at the counter was kidnapped. Her neck had a gash that was long and scabbed. It curved from her ear to her throat. Her boss counted baguettes, her lover tied on his apron, her co-worker swore at the register. There was a businessman ordering soup, a broken plate, a knife on the wooden block. The fire engines cried past the windows. In the booth was a bum. He was on his cell phone. On the receipt there was a code to turn the handle on the bathroom door. In the glass cases there were pedestal plates holding cookies like in Martha Stewart’s kitchen. You gave your order, Greek salad, potato chips, bakery item for 99 cents, a beeper was available to signal their readiness. The gash in the girl at the counter squirmed with the movement of her acquiescence. The man brought hot breath to her cheek, a palm to her mouth, the knife to her neck. You were asked if you wanted to stay or to go. There was a call of a name from the cooks. You tried to imagine everything. There was the lyrical sweep of the expert hand of a chef at a carving station. The girl told you your number. You raised your arms and stepped back. Your gut said her throat might open and spill out her pain on your hunger. The girl said to you with her gash: be somebody. The vision of her capture returned with a ravenous growl. Her trust bled out on the subway platform. The flaps of her skin were like raw coral. There is no other way to say this. She ran her finger over the scar, winced at the hard bumps, seared them into your brain. They writhed and exploded there. I want you to remember this, she said. As for your judgment of my gumption, serving you like this and holding it all together, you can go fuck yourself. She picked up the knife on the block and held it in the air. Something for your ego, no? she said. The saliva in your throat quivered with the breeze of her gesture and the glint of the blade. The saliva in your throat tasted blood.


Elizabeth Mastrangelo


During the day, Elizabeth Mastrangelo teaches English to ninth and eleventh graders. At night, she attends Emerson College’s MFA program in Creative Writing as a Dean’s Fellow. Liz also works as a freelancer, ghostwriting romance novellas and website copy. She lives north of Boston with her husband, daughter, and son, who support her dreams and provide her with funny and dramatic material for her stories. Liz has a short short fiction piece in the Spring 2014 issue of the Sheepshead Review and a poem forthcoming in Black Heart Magazine. She blogs about teaching, womanhood, and motherhood at her site,

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