That Road

That road through the country

Unspooling under a dark mountain

Massages my shins like wine.


Rose-colored cliffs protest

My black-and-white ideas.

The day in the city is over.


Old trees on the hillsides crack

Their knuckles into the air,

Pulling at lyres of light.


Birds glide on updrafts

Of the wound I released.

The day in the city is over.


Grasses bend in stress,

Winds unknot muscles,

Leaning hard as a masseuse.


Wheat, a promise panting

Through the throat of the valley,

Nods. The day in the city is over.


We wait under the sun,

Enduring impossible delays

Of this growth. If


The thresher holds

Our heads up to the sickle,

The day in the city is over.


But all is well.

Still on the way, believing

Earthbeats know their sway. 






by Ryan Gregg

Francis Bacon Selling His Paintings to a Middle-aged Couple at IKEA

but beauty is a living room

in a warehouse.


It lies in glass houses

measured in square footage.


Beauty is but a bird

Silk screened,

 “only ninety-nine,



My art is the pain in touch,



Sucked from the pope



It feels like

raw chicken,

eats like my lovers

ate me,


so feed it.


by Brittney Blystone



Brittney Blystone studied creative writing in the United States at Northern Kentucky University and in England at University of East London. 


Farm land, house land,

Town land, mall land

3 hectares of box-store monolith land

Land of the soccer-centre and recreational utility building

Of thirteen civic centre’s and four public libraries with faded magazines and instructional videos

Occupying two thirds of a floor

Of catholic-school kids hogging the computers and Russian literature, faking excessively long shits in the single bathroom stall, to stalking the only people who actually filled out the requisitional form for a library card.

“can I have your number?”


Of one memorial centre/ prison and four banks on separate corners.

“This was once the most fertile land in all of Canada”

Red-eyed in Denny’s after church

“This was all field all corn and field”


I once grew a pumpkin

It took eight weeks and fourteen seeds and

Ballooned to the size of a lemon

And spat out only three seeds when my dad stepped on it

With size fourteen steel-toe workmans.


Of white flights that keep darkening

And a checkerboard layout that keeps filling in all the

Blank spaces


And two schools built in the middle of factory zones

“what’s wrong with this picture students”

And the laser-tag looks out onto the refinery by the Toys R Us

Next to the ten-lane highway with seven interchanges

Where we still see the occasional coyote.


“but where are the good neighbourhoods anymore”

one bar per hundred thousand

And sixteen home reno stores

“just outside of town”

And the movie theatre blasts opera on Fridays to scare off the teens

But don’t tell me there’s religious tension, the grandmother’s won’t allow it


Of cities that still think they’re towns

and town-lines that change every month

and immigrant towns that change the words for immigrant every month

“but don’t tell me we’re full there’s corn everywhere,

don’t worry we’re made for flight”



by Connor Mellegers


Connor Mellegers is originally from Brampton, Ontario and currently resides in Montreal Quebec where he is pursuing an English Literature degree at Concordia University. His work has previously appeared in The Fat City Review.

Blame it on the Moon

Soles blue,

numb from the snow’s fall,

I stood reflecting

at the reflection of the moon

in my dry Sherry wine.


Small circles

counter-clockwise making waves

crying, reflecting

at the reflection of the moon;

an infinite snow dons the backdrop.


What was her name that questioned

my heart’s motive for trust?

A quivering hand

presents me with a million moods

breathe….breathe….breathe…., I must,

be dissolving

in to the reflection of the moon.


In the numb I felt home.

At home I felt numb

to the desired fire

that now rents a once vacant room,

no higher,

than my brain will allow.

Like a crime scene

on the day of our Independence,

that glass shattered,

cutting, falling, reflecting

a million moons that fell upon the snow.


Don’t say my name

for it is a worthless name

no one person should have to carry.

I, who will die alone inside,

fall to pieces daily,

wanting to know why you married.

It’s all coming back to me,

in the wine, in the snow,

in the last dissolving reflection of the moon!


by Warren Frieden


Today, I held you within reach of your mother

when you reached down the front of my shirt

and said, “Nana,” your pronunciation for nurse

and a name for what?  You grasped at straws—


as if recalling my grade-school shame around girls

at the Y, when I crossed my arms or draped a towel

over my neck to cover up


                         —before you finally withdrew,

but only to tug the collar of my tee to peek in.

“Nana?” you asked this time but told plenty:


Love long before you take.


by Sidney Thompson



Sidney Thompson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO Poetry, IthacaLit, A capella Zoo, The Fat City Review, and The Fertile Source. He is the author of the short story collection Sideshow (River City). Sidney lives in Denton, TX, where he teaches creative writing at Texas Woman’s University.

Darien Cavanaugh



The morning was cold and fat with leftover

Chinese food plastic forked on a bus stop bench

while a cat hissed at another cat for passing by.


It was the sun who staggered up the alley

between gray walls to let a brown bird slip

through the gray no one would call a sky and land

in a busted-ass tree that forgot the weight of leaves

as the first drops of rain fell to form exhaust puddles.


I watched the bird perched there on a janky branch

as I scooped the last bits of crusty brown rice

and goopy-sauced beef into my mouth until

the bird flew off in a way I could never understand

and there was nothing left to do but drop

the white flap-top box into the black metal garbage can

and begin the long drizzly walk home, past

the last few high-rises quiet for the weekend,

the parking lots and weed lots, the underpass where tin

can fires warm homeless dreams and bold youth

leave their names on tall walls holding up busy streets

with no idea of what’s underneath, the renovated mills

and the worn out millhouses, the slick path where

fearless lovers and shitfaced vagrants sneak

to disappear in a tangle of weeds and malt liquor bottles

and silence and muddy banks and dark privacy,

to where the sidewalk finally becomes bridge.


It has been too long to remember the first time,

but somewhere along the years I picked up a habit

of stopping halfway across the bridge to pull

a candy bar I saved for the moment from my pocket,

tear open the wrapper, bite off a mouthful,  enjoy

the shame of chocolate and toffee on a drunk morning,

and stare down into brown water tumbling over

shallow rapids, thick with the dirt of centuries

of snapped lines and Styrofoam and sunken canoes,

runoff from the chicken plant, the cemetery.


A length of pine trunk and the two rocks it wedged

between before I ever passed through catch everything

catchable in the ambling current, flecks of scale and shit,

twigs and pebbles and leaves, plastic grocery bags and

frayed cigarette butts, grains loosed from stones and bones,

to hold it all together, gather it all up to make it  part of

themselves, to grow into something bigger until there is

an island of the wasted and the forgotten left behind

in the middle of everything, piling up all over itself

every moment, waiting for it all to take root and settle in

so the otters and great blue herons may rest there one day.


I do not stop to remember, to reminisce, to grow

nostalgic. I stop for the forgetting, to let the days slip

from me in that time between then and now, that place

lost here and there, in the cool warmth of early morning

as the sun finishes rising over the dawn-misted water

that passes under me and disappears forever downstream.


I stay only long enough to finish what I brought

with me, swallow down the last bite, take the empty

wrapper and fold it neat as a letter from a dead

lover, tuck it in my pocket before moving on.


by Darien Cavanaugh




From a Window in the Humanities Office Building


The trees along College Street are green fists punched

through the concrete foundation of the campus.


The rooftop of the Colloquium Café is flat white,

as lonely and alien as arctic plains and lunar seascapes.

Students are drinking iced coffee and eating cold sandwiches

at wrought iron tables under blue canvas umbrellas.


Your building is across the brick courtyard,

but your office does not have a window.


Still I am standing here again,

my thoughts drawn in your direction,

as I imagine that somehow you will be there

behind a new window built just for us, waving back

to me with the selfishly joyous smile of a child

who sees a friend enter the waiting room.


by Darien Cavanaugh






As a gesture of compromise, they took

the flag from atop the dented copper dome

and planted it where the grounds meet

Main Street but would not surrender it.


That flag’s post reaches seven generations

deep into hard-packed earth, so the sound

of wind whipping red, white, and blue

cloth echoes through downtown

and sunlight turns to shadow as it bleeds

through faded stars and graying memories.


Passersby shake their heads

or salute with small nods,

take photos for skeptical friends back home,

simply ignore it, or chuckle and ask


Is this it?

Is this what it was all about?


by Darien Cavanaugh



Darien Cavanaugh received his MFA from the University of South Carolina. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The Dos Passos Review, Memoir (and), The Minnetonka Review, The Blue Collar Review, Struggle, Pank, The James Dickey Newsletter, Megaera, The Pickwick Press, Gertrude, I-70 Review, Kakalak, and The San Pedro River Review. He lives in Columbia and works at The Whig.

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