Morning Train

The sleeping passenger feels cold—shivers to wake, at dawn—discovering light coming in through the window—cool light at dawn. Another sleeping passenger feels cold—jerks to wake at the same time, at dawn—discovering light coming in through the window—cool light at dawn.


Both passengers are awake now, and realize they are looking at each other sitting across from one another   at dawn.    

Two passengers wake up and realize they are looking at each other, sitting across from one another at dawn—February eighth, the day before a giant storm two passengers find themselves awake on a train, in the wee hours of the morning.


The passenger turns his head to the side facing the window, and discovering light coming in    through the window,   yawns. The other passenger turns his head to the side facing the window, and discovering light coming in through the window,   hears the other passenger yawn. The passenger turns back to face forward. The other passenger turns back to face forward.


Both passengers are awake now, and realize they are looking at each other, sitting across from one another anxious to start a conversation, at dawn—as light is coming in through the window—cool light at dawn.


by Denise Kinsley


Denise Kinsley received her B.A. in Arts and Letters and is currently an MFA candidate at the Jack Kerouac School. She has written a book of poetry that was published in 2009 (under her nom de plume) and is working on a collection of short stories. Denise has written grants for several non-profit theatre companies and most recently won an award from The National Endowment for the Arts. She has been involved with theater companies in New York, Portland and San Diego. She currently lives along the coast of southern California.

Feel Silence

Feel what rhymes between us without words:

a texture, a smell, a movement that acts,

infuses more than show and tell. Body language

the most basic, the most primal, the most real.

This is necessity. We must be able to go on

when everyone, everything, when the world, is

simply deaf and mute. Communication exists

beyond print, beyond the repetitive sounds of

ideas, beyond rhetorical music, beyond the audio

of complexly-crass civilized thought. We have

language and verbal expression to make us feel better,

feel like we are making our mark on time, the small

seconds left of it, the treacherous and monotonous

abundance of it; but when all is over one last

thing, and it only, should flash in our brains:

a smile, the expressive smile of life lived.


by Nathan Dey Johnston  

Nathan Dey Johnston lives in Kokomo, Indiana. He has contributed poems to From the Well House and Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!

The Last Adventure of the Scorpion and the Frog

The worst thing you can say about her is that she was once your friend.

Perceiving that you stood side-by-side, you courted battle fighting the giants, while she secretly cheered for them to win.

On the last night you invited her into your home, you welcomed her to sit at your table, to eat, to talk of life. Recounting your adventures together would make for a feast, but she would only taste bitterness.

On that last night as the conversation dwindled in the air until there was only the sound of forks and knives clinking on empty plates, she began to tell you the story of the frog and the scorpion. The Great Adventure of the Scorpion and the Frog, she called it. You felt something there, in between the words.

Her voice carried on as you cleared the empty plates. Stopping short of the ending, right as the two are about to reach the riverbank together, she paused with an air of great satisfaction. Placing the dishes in the sink, your back turned, “Well, what happened next?” you asked. But you knew what happened.

It was for only a moment that it stung; the knife piercing flesh, scraping bone, a finite point in the unraveling.

The worst of it would come as you lay on the floor. Consuming you, the inevitability of reality, the world for what it was swirling in emotions of shock and disbelief and giants that were nothing more than windmills, adventures that were charades, friendship and loyalty, and belief in things that could be and should have been breaking before actuality and frogs and scorpions. You always knew that scorpions existed. 


by Michelle Hanlon


Anthony Warnke

For My Daughter

How bad do you want to be Little Miss Fair? Tease your do out bigger, bigger than Big Nana’s hair. Only eat foods that you can drink. Better, start a blonde streak and forget to eat. It’s not me. It’s the men that care. And repeat after me, we care most of all for the men. Imagine: Your belly’s a bomb that ticks with each swallow. You’ll give birth if you eat another bite. Thin wins. Shout it to our devils: to the mustard pretzels on our sponsored flight. Shout it to the cushion crumbs, the gum on the floor. I’m no one unless I win. You can’t be ugly and poor. Your childhood’s a promise I refuse to make. You’ll thank me for throwing up your wedding cake. Even a glance at my jumbo dog’s a glut. It takes guts not to have a gut. Remember when you watched them pump mine like oil? I’m your warning, a bomb blown. But loyal.



Left alone, I ask very adult, mean questions to Rebecca, the occupational therapist, after it’s clear she thinks he’s not an improver. How long have you been doing this? I inquire after he gives up writing the A in his name, rolls over, and pretend-sleeps. The edge in my tone guts her taught smile. I sense the upperhand. It’s only the two of us beside his bed. Teach him again how to make a fist, to hold that pen, to squeeze my pinky, pound this table, punch the poise from your mouth. And do it again until he gets it. Until you make him get it.  I mean, that’s your job. Isn’t it, Becky?



Now, I picture heaven as Ed McMahon standing in a gym with an accordion folder bulging with index cards. He taps the mike, pulls out each card, and bellows: “Oswald didn’t do it. LBJ bought the bullet. The moon landing took place on the set of Bewitched. 666 is in every barcode. There’s a barcode under every baby. Tupac scats Strayhorn in Prague bars. Elvis died a decade before fat Hawaii. Every airplane you weren’t on wasn’t an airplane. I’m your announcer, Ed McMahon. And now, herrrre’s the rest of eternity, the conspiracy theories from your own head, straight from your own life. Let’s start,” he heyohs, “with sex.”

Not long ago, I pictured heaven as the Sunday School teacher projected it in slides — green field after green field, a rich man’s backyard. Throughout the show, she’d have us repeat, “God is like your eyebrows. You don’t have to see Him to know he’s there.” In the sixth grade, around the time I watched them dump the wafers in a Ziploc, I noticed her brows were plucked and pink, extinct, brown frowns drawn over raw skin. That night, I watched The Tonight Show for the first time and fought off the new fears from the sweet, infected Miss Kimberley.

by Anthony Warnke


Anthony Warnke has previous work published in The Prose Poem Project, Hoarse, and forthcoming in Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics. He teaches English at Green River Community College in Auburn, WA.

Hologram Baby

Baby I’m a disposable camera. Baby you stop me dead in my tracks, burn a hole in my brain. Baby I’m your biggest fan, I’m wearing your t-shirt, can’t you read the pop-calligraphy? — can’t you recognize your own handwriting? Baby I’ve got filing cabinets full of dreams you wrote, my office is dripping with dream-juice, my hands are holding fresh dollar bills, ready to spend on you. Baby you make it all seem worthwhile, you get me out of bed in the morning, you make the coffee taste hopeful, you make me leave the house with confidence and go to the office where I fill cabinets with dreams of you. Baby take these handcuffs off of me, now put them back on. Baby your picture exposes the end of what I desire, which is the beginning of what I desire, a road paved in dreams. Baby the cacti are singing me road directions. Baby I’m confused, the world is changing — quick, tell me something I can trust for even a second because I can’t come up with anything good. Baby stop hiding in the utility closet. Baby stop looking like an angel. Baby don’t open your mouth, don’t ruin the suspense we’ve worked so hard to sustain. Baby my hair is standing on end, my nerves scrambling to catch up with you, playing possum in the moonlight. Baby the wise know their foolishness well. Baby you were cast in bronze, racing headlong toward me through a hot glass tunnel. Baby the glass is cracking, you’re humming in my ears like a flute. Baby thinking of you like this is a holy tradition at this point. Baby I see you across the room at the party, I can’t hear you, but from the look on your face I can tell what you’re talking about — you’re talking about finding the disease in me. Baby the world is hungry and so are we, but we’re harmless enough you and I — tadpoles in a puddle of tears. Baby you may be my baby but I feel just like a child when it comes to you, I’m trying to stay warm in the nest you built. Baby puke inside my mouth, tell me something I can strap my heart to with a horse-hide belt. Baby fire is quiet and painless and ice is a punishing screech in the wild. Baby our bodies are being destroyed and I can’t turn my eyes away from you. Baby I’m sorry for being dramatic but the world, inexplicable and cancerous, moves like an insect across the ceiling. Baby I hope I’m right on target, hope I’m reaching you clear. Baby are you tuned in? — is this making any sense? Baby our kingdom has epilepsy, we live in a sensitive fortress, we might have to smuggle ourselves out in disguise to survive. Baby my bones are wet, this isn’t like anything, we’ve never seen this before, a brand new configuration, flawlessly executed. Baby I’m catching all that I can catch, I’m even forcing it to try to save time. Baby I’m broke, do you know a place where I might find work? Baby do you have a job for me to do? — just say the word and I’ll be there with my scuba gear, ready to get disgusting. Baby why am I the butt of all your sly jokes swirling in the night air? Baby was that you on the side of a building, riding a golden wagon in the sunset? Baby you’re just over this hill, just around this corner, just through this door, I can see your shadow hinting safety from where I stand, I’ll follow the necessary logical steps. Baby we’re ruthless when we talk to each other, do we really believe it’s fun to drag this cruel contest out? Baby I have to go to the bathroom, if you don’t have an excuse to shut your eyes I’d be glad to give you one if it’ll help, because baby, I’m here to help. Baby we are commas in each other’s breaths, hitches in each other’s steps. Baby we only want to feel what we heard feels good. Baby let’s put on the rubber gloves and go on a rampage, we’ll have the town talking for weeks. Baby gossip flings off of us effortlessly: all we do is tell ourselves stories, we’re a force to be reckoned with. Baby what are we doing now? — let’s find another problem we can’t solve. Baby you remind me I’m not yet finished with the task at hand, your tent glowing on the mountainside, I can smell the smoke from the meadow below. Baby I’ll be there soon, don’t fall asleep yet, it’s cold outside, I’ll make my way up the mountain in the dark. Baby I have no way of knowing what I’ve done, I’m walking to you without a person to count on.

by Benjamin Gross

Phillips Instant Flood

Maria opens a blue-white box

of Phillips Instant Flood

which gathers at her toes.

She becomes a conduit

(the room is filled with Epsom Salt)

and slowly oxidizes.

Now tarnish-green

she receives a visitor.

He is a lecherous old fool

who plates her all in bronze

heating her to flesh-warm temperatures

to pass as “fine” in private.

I used to have anxiety

in public places, shrinking

into phone-booth hideouts

to open up my shirt.


by Paul Fauteux


Paul Fauteux received his MFA from George Mason University, where he was the 2011-2012 Completion Fellow. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Regime, Fat City Review and Sugar Mule, and for the advocacy of other fine poets on The Lit Pub. His first chapbook, “The Best Way to Drink Tea,” is out from Plan B Press. “How to Un-do Things,” a book-length manuscript, was recognized as a semi-finalist in the 11th Annual Slope Editions Book Prize.

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