Cage

Here, this darker map of sand. Piss and otherwise. There, your steel bowls— water and dry food. The tarp blocks the sun’s worst,   but you keep to the shadows of your house. You’re a brooder— no pacing, no bark, bite indeterminate. From dark oblong of doorway,   yellow eyes give away nothing. Sometimes you emerge, pad across cage to …

Train at Night in the Desert

Georgia O’Keefe, 1916   Georgia, it’s been one hundred years since you stood in the dark Texas dawn and marveled at the multicolored haze clouding toward you down the track. You thought the rest of your life would unspool from Canyon, Texas. You wrote Alfred Stieglitz that you saw the train, thought of him, and blazed. You had never even …

Karla Linn Merrifield

Mind Double   DNA is my totem pole, I shall not want. It leadeth me to lie down amid terrapins at low tide: It leadeth me beside coiled anacondas. It restoreth my limbic brain: It leadeth me on the tao of evolution for no one’s sake.   Yea, though I walk through the herpetological vestiges of primal fear, I will …

Resurrection

die just once while you are still breathing here this moment where your skin is submerged and there is nothing to be owned bought lost or gained now omnipotence holding highest joy and utter despair one without preference stop everything and notice the flow of your life continues without pushing and pulling perhaps in spite of it die and wake …

Lowell Jaeger, Featured Author

Sugar-White Beaches Such a never-ending winter, these months of snow and ice and gloom.  We’ve lost long hours again today, pushing back last night’s leaden blanket of wet white, mounding piles shoulder-high, towering till they avalanche as if to mock our labors. The wind whips our cheekbones red and wet and raw, my wife and I, our shovels lufting slush, …

Aged

Dusty, moldy, musty Yellowed, brown stained Wrinkled, tattered pages Faded ink, missing leaves Broken spine Forgotten on the shelf Few visitors   Antiseptic smell Darkened, liver spots Wrinkled, translucent skin Gray, thinning hair Achy back, swollen joints Forgotten in the home Few visitors   Have all their pages been written?   Priceless, rare editions Stores of wisdom Treasured stories   …

Omri Kadim

Sometime Too Natural Shapes  Four vultures sit in silent conference It’s been observed they will not land To pick clean A carcass whose blood was let In the shape of a spiral. We should follow their example, Being scavengers.   Constellations of Necessity  As children We mapped the stars with peerless confidence Charting elephants, turtles And long-tailed snarling dragons   …

George Perreault, Featured Author

The Last Time I Talked to My Mom   She’d flown to Florida just to die, not that slow- motion movie crammed with insights and coming- to-terms, me on the edge of the plains hearing how one brother and his wife went bedside, sang their newest version of psalm twenty-three, another one praying sweet Jesus how can I compete with …

Ray Malone

mea·sure 135   mind on the line, ear to the note’s approach, the hand must needs be steady, body too―eye blind, to all but time’s inscribing       mea·sure 557   one slip of the tongue, the world’s awry, away over the hill she went, the words said, and the damage done, the cry too slight, too lame, too …

Beth Sherman

Strangler Fig   After midnight you set out, some on foot, others hiding in the back of an old pick-up truck. Fate is the string on a paper kite, caught in a strangler fig tree. Tangled, useless. Root stems grafted together, merging each time they touch. Noble and strange. Twisted. Overhead, a crescent moon, sharp as a sickle. Its hook …

Kelly R. Samuels

Asomatous   To have it, be it those mornings when you wake and cannot turn your head. The stiff column of your neck & spine reminding you they exist & of how limited peripheral vision is & more so as we age, the eyes becoming nothing but slits, wide-eyed wonder no more than a phrase. This is when you wish …

Kelsey Ann Kerr

High School Lunch My father made me a sandwich for lunch every day, carefully put the turkey, cheddar, lettuce and mayo on the sourdough, then zipped it up in a Ziploc.   And every day during orchestra, I slipped the sandwich into the whooshing plastic of a black trashcan, or palmed it off to a friend. Those feinted days, when …