To The Mountains

Driving up a curvy incline, all that mattered was the beautiful sunshine which illuminated my rough, grey booster seat. Out the window I saw endless hues of forest green and muted browns that looked like my aged dinner table. Everything in the woods; the trees and faint noises of birds emanated a deep ingrained feeling of my own belonging. As the car crept up along side of a cliff I gazed out at gorgeous cracked rock. Half Dome laid right in the middle of the valley, just to the left was the thundering water drifting down off Yosemite Falls. Through the wonderland of heart-opening trees I rose higher and higher into the valley.

“You ok back there Daniel?,” asked my mom.

         “This is better than Disneyland!”

My doctors had warned my parents of altitude with my seven life-threatening heart conditions, but they wanted to try it. As we reached a peaking ecstasy of life in the inner valley, I began gasping.

The world began to deteriorate into a mere image, then suddenly my body fell cold under a redwood as tall as the sky. Cedar, pine, and the valley floor were the only things tangible. A hazy gray seemed to encapsulate my existence. Loud sirens blared as men in white rushed me down the mountain, disturbing the natural world.

         Opening my eyes seemed like a mission. What if I can’t open them? What if it’s only gray? The room was an exploding fluorescent white. The white bed, toxic cleaning products, the sting of the IV and of course the smell of rubbing alcohol. My eyes drooped forward and I slouched down. Turning over onto my side I peered out a cellar like window to see the bright sun, which only a few hours ago I had been under.

by Daniel Wallock

Impressionism: Musee D’Orsay

I roll him out to the Water Lilies, break

away one foot at a time.  I watch

my father from across the room, bald

head angled up, swaying under eight

by eight feet of psychedelic purples, blues,

and living greens. I read once that water

lilies are always hungry, and I’m thinking

this when my father is pulled out of his

chair into the pond, his morphine pump

drifting away, his body turning, nerves

cooled, smile soft.  Poppies cover his skin,

their leaves cocoon him in costume. He

begins to dance among bamboo, reaching for

feathery willows, losing himself in himself

until he realizes he’s all alone, twists his neck

to find a daughter.  As the last leaf spins

imperceptibly on the water, my father rotates

his chair around, his face shocked with the

light.  He searches for me, a confusion

in his eyes: Why did you leave me?  My

red purse ridiculous on his lap.


by Janine L. Certo 



Janine Certo is a poet and associate professor in the College of Education at Michigan State University. A former public school teacher, she has long advocated for more attention to poetry writing and performance in U.S. schools. Her poems appear in The Endicott Review and The Muddy River Poetry Review. Her work has been supported with a grant from The Spencer Foundation.

Travelling Days

“Have another?”

“Can’t, I have to go.”

“You always say that.”

“Only when I need to leave.”

I can still hear the corny music on the jukebox, the clinking of the glasses.  The barkeep heard our chiming, collected his money, a too generous tip. We left, bade each other platonic adieus, walked separately to our separate families.  How I miss my travelling days! 

At home, always the same or nearly the same scene:  I open the door, panting after my three story climb, my wife at the range frying or boiling something.  “About time you got back.”

“I was delayed.”

“I bet,” smelling my breath, it’s cheap vodka, not kissing me.  “Did you pick up the bread?”

“I forgot.  I can go get some.”

“Don’t bother, it’s late, you may get delayed again, besides bread makes me fat.  Do I look fat in this?” She twirls away from the steaming stove.

I say nothing or say something mollifying.  My expression does or does not give me away, I can never tell with her, besides she isn’t fat.  We eat in silence, our son long gone, the damn TV still on, a carafe of mineral water our only splurge.  I pick at my meal, not wanting to mix drink and food, that’s why I’m too thin.

“If you drank less, we’d both eat better.”

I rise, clean off my plate, return, put my arms on her shoulders, nuzzle her ineptly, we don’t kiss.  “But we wouldn’t be so happy.”


by Clyde Liffey


Clyde Liffey lives near the water. 

It starts with sex

The fish is staring at me from the plate, its blackened skin and brittle tail spread between rice pilaf and sautéed mushrooms. A foot of omega-3 fatty acids, which my mother, who set the plate before me, said helps with depression.

I wasn’t depressed last winter when I hugged the possibility I might be pregnant, wrapping my heart around the secret, envisioning my baby tadpole-size clinging to the side of my uterus, our blood intermingling. Brian’s baby. There was a bridal shop down the street from my apartment; I already knew the dress I wanted. But then I wasn’t pregnant after all and Brian told me he’d met someone else.

At night I drank and wept, working up a Camille-like tragic image. During the day, I sniffled at my desk until co-workers rolled their eyes when I reached for another tissue. Then, in early April, a bunch of us got let go.

When I couldn’t find a job, my mother said she’d moved her sewing stuff out of my old room and I was welcome to it. So, I’m back home with this damn fish, my mother eyeing me across the table, and my father hunched over his food like a wolf with a fresh kill. Who wouldn’t be depressed?

The fish doesn’t want to be here. Once it shimmered in fast moving water. It might have been pregnant with hundreds of luminous eggs. How can I eat it when, like me, all it wanted was to have babies? I try to explain this to my mother, but she can’t get past the sex part.

by Anna Peerbolt


Anna Peerbolt’s flash and short stories have appeared in Drunken Boat, Prick of the Spindle, Apollo’s Lyre, The Legendary, Long Story Short, DOGZPLOT, and elsewhere online.

Solitude (After Su Tung Po)

In the twilight the rain

is like silk threads.

Its beauty is deceptive.

Snow has piled up

like mounds of salt.

My bed is suddenly cold.

I’m unable to sleep.

All night I hear ice crack

on the roof and in the eaves.

Wind chaotically blows

the last of fall’s leaves.

The birds have long

since departed. Alone,

I reach for the light.

But I can no longer write.

Who writes poetry anyway?

Young men with

unreal dreams and old

fools like me,

with nothing left to say.


by George Freek



George Freek is a poet/playwright living in Illinois. His poems have recently appeared in ‘The Missing Slate’; ‘Torrid Literature’; ‘Bone Parade’; ‘Hamilton Stone Review’; ‘The Oklahoma Review’; ‘The Poydras Review’; and ‘The Empirical Review’. His plays are published by Playscripts, Inc.; Havescripts; Independent Playwrights; and Lazy Bee Scripts (UK).

Sarah Lucille Marchant



I tell you, I’ve had a poem brewing in my head

And you say, oh really

And maybe I detect your disinterest, but maybe I don’t

Either way, I don’t care if you don’t care

I continue


The words have been churning away, I say

And you nod, yeah that’s cool

Too preoccupied by the TV and waves of conversation

Tides coming in, fluctuating volumes of voices

Yes, sure, you reassure

I’m listening, go ahead, keep talking


But I guess it doesn’t really matter

About that pin I found buried under papers

Whether it truly is an artifact of Hispanic culture

Or just another manufactured stand-in

Courtesy of the America we know and love


I confess, I epitomize myself

Plucking up Corn Pops from a thrift store cup

Sipping at Tylenol like it’s a candy-covered elixir

Only to shadow grasp

Stare down my red-eyed Savior


I tell you, My words feel too stiff

No matter how much the tendrils of spring

Twine ‘round my ankles, drowning this February

Or how many slips of birth control pills I swallow

Or how often I watch my blue-tailed betta swim

Or how long a bucket of carnations sits in the corner by the sink


Too many sensations, I say

Sometimes add up to not much at all

And you gift a glance

And you masquerade around my self-proclaimed doctrine

You are so deep, you promise like a mother


I re-cross my legs

The matter is done and I want coffee

You agree, but wait a moment

Maybe your wallet is thinning

Maybe it’s empty


by Sarah Lucille Marchant



Devilish Daydream


I fool myself into thinking I’m flattering

the hipster boy in the second row

by shamelessly ogling his knit hat

and imagining my fingers tracing his tattoos.


Blinking, counting down sleep, my lips

at his cheekbones, neck, collarbone.


Black tea paints my throat,




I stroll through day-space, a blot of

color, an awkward stumble down the stairs,

plucking music measures

and privately planting them

in other people’s heads.


Rub my eyes, shut

the door, lay out your

thoughts in the

fiercest whisper.


by Sarah Lucille Marchant

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