The boy loves lying

in this open field, blinking

at the bowl of summer sky.

Heedless of wiregrass itching his neck, of ants

sizing up his ears,

he tracks the somber wings that float

and swoop in primordial arcs

as though suspended

from puppeteer’s strings. Still

as a graveyard angel

the boy believes he can draw them near.


The pitch-black hunters

wheel through the midday glare,

shadows skimming the ground

crossing the boy’s pale legs.

He can almost feel the first one

thump onto his chest,

feel the talons’ fish-hook grip,

smell the stench of outstretched wings,

poised as in a dream,

above this small emptiness

in the shape of a boy.


Ken Hines has been an ad agency creative director and a college English teacher, two jobs that require getting through to people who may not be listening. When he finally got around to writing poetry, his work appeared in literary magazines like Dunes Review, Burningwood Literary Journal, Hole in the Head Review, Rockvale Review, and Third Wednesday Journal. A recent Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, he lives in monument-free Richmond, Virginia with his wife, Fran.


Ken Hines

What You Didn’t See Coming

The first time you get

the wind knocked out of you,

you will be astonished

by what seems a fatal wallop—

one moment running,

the next, bulge-eyed and gaping

like a carp tossed in a rowboat.

No one prepares us.

We face this first shock

as innocents, unwarned

of the breathtaking thwack,

unassured of its passing.

Having lost what was thought

a basic given, it’s only natural

to reconsider the dependable,

and adopt, perhaps,

a more cautious posture,

for who could frolic

in their stocking feet or leap

with quite the same abandon,

once they know

how slick the footing,

how sudden and cruel the blow?


Angie Hexum is a speech-language pathologist by trade. A Nebraska native, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after graduating from Swarthmore College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Caesura and Gyroscope Review. She currently resides in Campbell, CA where she enjoys hiking, cycling, and singing in a chorus.


Angie Hexum

“Not everything’s a poem”

When she said that,

I think she has never tasted how a good Irish whiskey

echoes in your mouth after you swallow its heat.

Or understood the way lint can reveal the archeology of your life.

Her comment tells me she has never watched

a vivid crimson cardinal alight on the halo of a basketball hoop

in the fading light of an afternoon.

If she can say that, I’m sure she hasn’t felt the love

when the wind caresses the yew tree.

And she will be mystified by why you must throw away

the first crepe in the pan to the dog.

When it comes to believing in the curative power

of the medicine of tears, she probably doesn’t.

And if she cannot hear how the meter of the telegraphic SOS

from the Titanic can truly break your heart,

She’s just not listening hard enough.


Larry Oakner is the author of three chapbooks of poems, including Unwinding the Words (Blind Tattoo Press) SEX LOVE RELIGION (Blind Tattoo Press), and The 614th Commandment (under his pseudonym, Eleazar Baruch), along with a chapbook, The Canticles of Private Lucius Swan, (Pen & Anvil Press). Over 50 of his poems have appeared in publications such as The Ekphrastic Review, Red Eft Review, Red Wolf Press, WINK, The Oddville Press, Tricycle: Buddhist News, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Lost Coast Review, The Long Island Quarterly, and many others.


Larry Oakner

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