East Atlantic Avenue

I am reading secrets of yellow

tomato plants, studying life-lines

on their leaf-shaped palms.

Home from school the neighbor boy leans

over the fence. Asks about my day.


I’d tell him I found a lump

under my skin. I think it will end me.

Like a fly on meat

it’s hatched its eggs.


I’d tell him how my husband knew

a year ago, my mother three

decades before that.


I’d tell him but we’re done

talking. He hangs a thick arm

over the chain-linked fence.


Last week we admired our shadows

over cardboard guns held together

with rubber bands and silver

tape. He told me he’s an artist—

that sometimes he watches me

from his kitchen window.


I want to say that I’m an artist too

but the arrangement has turned

somehow, fast like a fire, or slow

like a leaf.



Tamra Carraher

Tamra Carraher has published two books of poems and illustrations for children titled PICTURE/BOOK and Bluefish Haiku and is currently exhibiting line drawings of poems at Bahdeebahdu in Philadelphia. Her poetry has been featured in the online literary journal Toe Good Poetry. She received an MFA from New England College in January 2014 and has worked as an Associate Editor for the Naugatuck River Review.

Someday, I’ll explain it all to you

I: Ascription


i ascribe meaning to moments

you: to dice and bones and chance


what did the tea leaves say this morning?


lies are coincident to actuality—

the bees are disappearing


do you take yours

with cream or sugar?


one scoop

or two?



II: i prayed a Novena


i prayed a Novena


you don’t come around much



squirrels are the least interesting
creatures in the yard.


i spend so much time waiting


water boils

the phone rings

the postman comes and goes


everything happens eventually,

says the praying mantis,




III: Jicama stick salads


winter beaches

frozen sunset

ice chimes


tea, watered down more than it is already

cancer-survivor relatives

seekers of good fortune (read: lost change)


cinnamon jicama stick salads with maple syrup

and rye whiskey; French pressed coffee

cereal for dinner


midnight; spring-time shower trysts

walking. home—not a place, but

fingers grasping fingers



IV: on poems written in the middle of the night


he said, don’t

read too much

into all this


i’ll tell you

when you

need to know


most times,

i just like the way

the words sound together



C. L. Carol

C.L. Carol tries to be a good human. But, humans being humans, he’s known to fall short, stumble into a local haunt and spend time ruminating. Sometimes he writes. More often, he thinks. Diane Wakoski once likened one of his poems to Yeats, but the poem is lost and the story has now been relegated to fable. He lives in Northern Michigan with his wife, Emily, and their daughter, Berkleigh. Companion to cats. Friendly gentleman. Terrible golfer.

These Ill Spirits

In dreams or in sweaty moments driving, the classroom—

clarity spins away like water carving out a canyon.

I do not know when mind sinks into past crevasses

if it is Rumpelstiltskin padding down the dark hall

outside my room, or Captain Hook who will play

forbidden games.


These ill spirits are not poured from a bottle.

The hands sliding like serpents under the covers

are not healing. I go away and become a new

born, sleek baby seal swimming in arctic

waters with my mother. I nurse at her nipple,

the milk fat, hot, thick, nourishing, as she

protects me from those who would fill me.


This is the ocean womb, where I can take refuge

in shadowed canyons, hidden, watery valleys.

Safe from those who take away my blanket,

Nazis with lugers aimed at my being, panzer

hands driving their muddy tracks over my body.


Corrupted beyond their concentration minds,

deeper into shadow’s valley, I go to earth’s

heart beneath salvation’s waves.


This is the secret place that I prepare.

Here I will grow big, grow strong.

Here I will prepare for reckoning’s resurrection.

Here I will build the russet fire.

Here I will eat the hearts of men.



Ralph Monday


Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 will see a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Pyrokinection, and Poetry Repairs. Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

Last Day On The Job

Bill’s desk was clean, nearly antiseptic, holding a stapler, a rolodex and a computer terminal, the computer tower stashed under his desk. He had always believed the neatness of his desk represented his efficiency, and thus his value. That and his expertise with the Infamous system. By now, he was its resident expert. Surely that guaranteed job security.

He had recently seen others “let go” during the current downsizing, but he knew he was safe. Until he tried to log on to his computer:


Then his phone rang. It was Jim from Human Resources.

“Bill, can I see you in my office for a minute?”

Walking down the hall, his footsteps muffled on the carpet, Bill felt as though he were following an invisible executioner leading him to the gallows.

Jim’s office was sparsely furnished: a wastepaper basked next to a desk with a chair on casters behind it and a straight-backed metal chair in front.

“I’m sorry it has to be this way, but the company’s been downsizing for some time now…” Jim droned on. Bill stopped listening and stared at the curtain fluttering at the window.

After eighteen years, no retirement, no “golden parachute,” just a man saying something about “references” and “severance pay.” References? For what? At 58, who would hire him? He was alone; no children, his wife dead five years.

He began to listen again. Heard “… let you go,” and, at the word “go,” did just that – ran to the open window thirteen floors above a concrete sidewalk.


Lon Richardson

He has been writing non-fiction and fiction for about 20 years — in journalism having been published in newspapers, magazines, industry newsletters, and have had short stories published in two literary journals: From The Depths (“Two Tickets,” December 2012) and The Torrid Literature Journal (“One Thing Led To Another,” October 2013).

To Answer Your Question



Raise a flag, cast a glance,

and it’s all over now.




It was me. I triggered the mechanism

that cut off my own hands.




When I had the chance,

I should have kissed her

with conviction.


Should’ve slipped her poems

on folded paper,

the sweat from my palm

still lingering on the creases.


Should’ve bought her flowers

or some similarly obscene gesture.


Or left vivid lipstick prints

in the soft angle of her breast.




If I’d known that was a singular moment,

I would have devoured her –


no question,

no hesitation blooming

like a tumor.


A fish-eye gaze on that basement room,

the only two people in existence.




Even though your ignorance was not permission,

your silence not a gesture inside,

I smuggled her heart for a little while.


And your heart may burn with love for her,

but my touch left her scorched through the skin

so deeply the marks cannot be washed away.


Sarah Marchant

Weird Science

My surgical gown is green,

the room lit in grey gothic gradients.

The anesthetic is strictly local, you don’t want me to feel it,

but you want me to know you’re making the changes, taking titanium instruments and probing my skull, leading scopes and needles on an excavation of my inner ears

because you’re a tourist.   Science is just how you build your frequent flier miles, and

I’m your trip around the world.


I’ve been damselled, holed up in a stoney rook.

The master plan: induce a blue screen of death, and create a new architecture on the reboot. Take my kidneys, put them in the new guy!   I’ll be Igor-52


All twenty seven of your personalities agree, I am the deformed iron clad heart of Victor Von Doom, in need of shock therapy.


The palpitations send my eyes rolling like bowling balls down the alley. I gag and gurgle with the thunder. From the inside toasted brains smell like lemon drops.   It’s all good, you say, I’m just acting, the cake is a lie, the cake is a lie, the cake is a lie. I don’t know what that means!


It’s my fault you tell me, if only I wasn’t so beautiful, if only I gave you more

attention, love is action not words.

The acid bath bubbles, the electric eels spin, and Igor 17 slips his hand under your dress and you smile, lips sharp as scalpels. Lips like a wicked boomerang, your words always come back to haunt me no matter how many times I ignore them.

You want me to do the laundry and hand wash the beakers,

stare stupidly when you make out with the henchmen.


Igor-2 is picking his nose with a dust buster.

There’s a frat boy swagger hidden in his

broken sway. Above him, Geiger conjured

dreams, not quite sexual machines coiled

like gray dreadlocks.

“The internet is a series of tubes!” He guzzles.

I cannot die fast enough.


Wait. Stop. , I’ll say you’re beautiful ten times a day even when you return from a sweat soaked night of grave robbing and say I’m lying because you’re a flithy disgusting fat cow, and I promise not to argue the point anymore and never say you’re beautiful and just nod my head like all the other Igors “yeah, you’re a fat cow” a bovine freak of recombinant DNA with a gaping hole in its third stomach.


My sarcasm does not amuse.

A black rubber glove reaches

to pull the lever one more time.


Bound by steel bars on a cold white slab like a giant tic-tac, I do not break eye contact.

You can’t hold me forever, nothing holds Boris Karloff forever. I won’t see you in hell, but I’ll see you in the sequel.


David Arroyo

David Arroyo earned an M.A. from Florida State University, but this is the least interesting thing about him. He is days away from solving the anti-life equation. Upon doing so, he will smuggle the code subliminally through his yet to be published chapbook, Secret Identities.

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