Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Aliens
Jason McCall

That’s great:
blame us for Roanoke,
Olmec lips,
grainy Loch Ness, Greek

fire and Roman roads.
The best of you—all
your wonder and spirit—can’t belong
to this world of saltwater

and ash. How could it
be your shaky hands topping
Stonehenge, capping
Giza, pulling yourselves out of sea

goop, touching the moon?
You can’t be the god
in the hieroglyphs. Those monsters
can’t be your pets.


Jason McCall is the author of Silver (Main Street Rag), I Can Explain (Finishing Line Press), and Dear Hero (winner of the 2012 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize). He currently teaches at the University of Alabama. He holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and his poetry has been or will be featured in Cimarron Review, Fickle Muses, The Los Angeles Review, New Letters, Goblin Fruit, and other journals.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Invasion
Sandi Leibowitz

Moon phases into full, pulling
me surer than the tides.

Her cratered face through porthole’s
view mocks mine, altered, alien.

Our mission will abort, science
widowed of her astronauts,

for the silver bullet of our ship
cargoes its own infection—

me in wolfhide,
moondrunk, craving manflesh.


Sandi Leibowitz has been the Sands Point Hag, a Reveler, a medieval-psaltery-player, an editorial assistant on a medical magazine, a secretary working behind the caribou diorama at New York’s Museum of Natural History, a development assistant/associate/director for various non-profits and a school librarian, among other things. She is also a writer specializing in speculative fiction and poetry, with works published in Apex, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, Luna Station Quarterly and other far-out places.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

"Feathered #2," Barbara Carter
Feathered #2
Barbara Carter

The Color of Magic
Diane Lockward

Red of the raspberry, its drupelets
a nest of sexual seeds,
and the music, pepper hot and red,
foot-tapping, foot-stomping music,
wail of the sax,
red satin dress sparking flames,
and the red-bellied snake
on your shoulders,
our hands clapping belief
in some unholy act, some magic trick—
rabbit out of the hat,
coin behind the ear,
scarf from the sleeve,
your red-headed lady disassembled, reassembled.

Give us illusion, optical and otherwise,
the miracle of belief, tiny O of surprise.

We want everything red—
cranberry juice,
maraschino cherry, that jewel in a jar,
and red velvet cake,
poison spot on the belly,
taste of the music,
your cape’s silk lining
flashing in waves of light.

We want the pigeon-blood ruby, fire on the finger,
and the ruby-throated hummingbird
that flies upside down,
mates midair,
and vanishes,
the cardinal always in contention
with his own reflection,
but when he commits,
commits forever,
and the tree frog,
his red eyes lit up
like lightbulbs and bulging
as if perpetually amazed.

Transform our tomatoes into the liquid velvet
of the Bloody Mary.
Let it slide down our throats,
scarlet red and slippery
as any snake, hot as jazz.


Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water, and a craft book, The Crafty Poet (Wind Publications, 2013). Her poems have been published in Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.

Barbara Carter is a visual artist living in Nova Scotia Canada. You can visit her website at: barbaracarterartist.com

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Madame de Pompadour Thinks of Little Red Riding Hood
Kristin Stoner

In the afternoon they were fucking next to a plate of figs.
Grapes on the floor, rain on the windows.
All she could see was the ivory canopy above her, and something
like a red cap moving through the forest of silk,
a little, lost ghost.

Maybe it was the heavy smell of spiced swan on his breath,
or maybe it was the wine.
Whatever it was, that little hood took her to their graves,
the ones she could not keep inside,
children who departed in a spill as red as that waving cap.

She was holding him now, the descendant of the sun,
self-proclaimed fool of a man,
just as that taunting girl had once held a beast,
wild with hunger,
tamed him with knowing touch, warmed herself in its fur.


Kristin Stoner has been an instructor of English at the college level for the past ten years. She received her MA in Literature and Creative Writing from Iowa State University and in 2008 graduated from Antioch University LA with her MFA in poetry. Some of her recent publications include Natural Bridge and Review Americana.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

The Queen in Red
Erica Ruppert

A year is not enough time
to forget,
to see my face instead of hers
when he closes his eyes.
Her girl reminds him.
But I took my vows to him, I cannot go back.

She is mine now, in status if not fact.
Revenant. Dead queen’s daughter.
I would have named her differently,
Cynthia, Bianca, Alba,
but it was not my choice.

Mirror image in the flesh,
her mother’s echo, to remind
him that she gave him a child
and died to do it, to remind
him that I am his second choice, to remind
him of how fine she was.
The dead are always so.
I cannot compare.

I think sometimes he pretends she is her,
their two faces confused,
the girl’s scent her mother’s, the rustle
of her clothes a herald
that she is alive still and waiting—
and I am made of nothing, lost
among ghosts.

She reminds him that he can engender,
that my empty belly is my fault alone.

The glass does not lie. I am still a fair woman.
I will wear my hair loose
as she does, as I did when I was a girl.
I will fold my bodice so, to show my breasts,
I will perfume my lips and tongue with sweet fruit,
lady apples to please him,
but it will not matter;
I am not her.

She reminds him
that she filled her mother once.
She is old enough to marry off
but he keeps her near.

I will name my daughter Alba, if she is born.

A year is not enough of mourning,
not for a man’s desires.
Still I stay bare as a stick; he remembers
what it is to get a child on a wife, remembers
what it is to make her bloom.

I have felt it stir and bleed away,
twice now. Barren as old dirt.
Nothing will grow in me, nothing
but loathing.
I will carry one if not the other.

It is her he wants,
whose mirrored image he still can see.

I hate her, poor orphan. She gnaws my soul.

One would think she would smell my poison
on my skin like rank sweat,
weeping from my eyes. Bitter
as salt.
Better hate the man that made her, but too much depends.
I took my vows to him.
I cannot go back.

She is obedient, if nothing else,
and coddled enough not to question.
Even me. Even now.

Come to me here, now, my poppet, my pet—

Her name is awkward on my tongue,
I want to say Alba, my Alba—
yet she comes.

Come sit with me and let me comb your hair
Come sit with me and let me lace your dress
Come sit with me and let me feed you from my own mouth
as if you were mine.

I have paid dear
to host this banquet.
She will eat well
of the only fruit my womb has borne.
It is not sweet.

It will be me he sees then.

Only me.


Erica Ruppert lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and an assortment of over-indulged cats and guinea pigs. She teaches at a small liberal arts college; when she is not teaching or writing, she is running.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Eleven
Michelle Auerbach

Every time an eleven rolls by, it is impossible to prize from it anything I can use. Driveways paved with oyster shells, meringues from broken eggs. I have a skull necklace bleeding intimate details. Those elevens, especially this one, this week this year, they shriek, they bellow, they call with the rasp of roll-your-own’s and Singapore slings in dusky industrial Midwestern cities on the eve of something impermanent, I mean important. They are sylphs, those elevens. Those elevens, long and lean and long ago and long in coming and long to wear out and I long for them. They can ruin your dinner without filling you up, elevens. But when I take them apart late at night, and arrange the pieces, I can’t ever figure out how they (don’t) work.


Michelle Auerbach is the author of The Third Kind of Horse (2013 Beatdom Books). Her writing has appeared in (among other places) The New York Times, The Guardian, The Denver Quarterly, Chelsea Magazine, Bombay Gin, and the literary anthologies The Veil (UC Berkley Press), Uncontained (Baksun Books), and You. An Anthology of Essays in the Second Person (Welcome Table Press). She is the winner of the 2011 Northern Colorado Fiction Prize. She is an editor at Instance Press and can be found at michelleauerbach.com.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

On Forgiveness
Sara Moore

Because she asked for a rose
as if it were a palmful of milk.
She wanted some sustenance
from that rose smell, like sweet rot.
She wanted a rose
to bring flies in
to pick us both apart.
Petals to pull off
from the core—She wanted
a beast to tug at our limbs
until they released—
Tell me—what
do our insides
smell like—so sweet
they could be terribly past
ripeness:
We
both
are.


Sara Moore teaches English and Creative Writing at Northern Kentucky University. Her poems have been featured in numerous journals and anthologies, including Illunimations, the Yellow Medicine Review, Accent, and Vine Leaves. Her chapbook was a recent finalist in the Sundress Press Chapbook Competition. Follow her here: saralizmoore.wordpress.com

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Brigid Morrell #1
Untitled #1
Brigid Morrell

The Master’s Daughter
(Chile 1966)

Ana Garza

Before Allende and the end of the peasant class,
she learned to suture and to clamp
blood Vessels beside her father in his operating room
on days he didn’t beat her
head into the dispensary cabinet or contemplate
the roses in his garden from a veranda chair, drawing
on a cigarette, describing
sepsis, explaining that she should learn
to keep herself hidden when his temper flared.

She learned more than that, became expert
at scouring rooms and fixtures in the house
and in the operating room, boiling
scrubs in large vats beside the cook, counting
syringes and forceps, laying out
the scalpels, holding back
flaps of arm or leg or chest, throwing
stitches fine enough for embroidery silk, dropping
tumors and bad appendixes in the incinerator, collecting
old blood, laying out
the gardening gloves and the watering can for the roses,
which were his alone to tend,

always at the end of the day. She wrote lists
on the veranda the nights before his visits
to the farms, keeping track
of who to call on, which whips to take, how many strokes
for repeat offenders, how much salve to order for the week
ahead; her father glided
between the rose bushes, correcting
what she missed, caressing
the petals, like a woman’s body
the way he did before the scalpel went in
those times he forgot she stood beside him.

Then after he sprinkled
the last of the day’s blood into the soil, she poured
his cognac, filled the vase
with water she’d distilled
herself, receiving the roses

bare handed as he yanked
the guard petals and stripped
the thorns and leaves. “So beautiful,”
he whispered into the rich red faces, pealing back
his gloves, “so alive,”
murmuring that order was the sweetest flower
of knowledge and sure action.

She nodded
The way she always did, dipping
the stems and holding
her breath above the vase, its roses
giving up the scent of rotting meat.


Ana Garza has an M. F. A. from California State University, Fresno. Forty-seven of her poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, with two forthcoming in Word Gathering.

Brigid Morell lives in New Orleans. She takes pictures everyday.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz #3
Untitled #2
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

September Roses
W.F. Lantry

These climbing roses, floribunda, red
and cream, through shades of multiwhorled blush
should not be blooming now: a month ago
a herd of deer had grazed along the fence
consuming every leaf. Since then, the slow
process of renewed growth built to a rush
of blossoming, so now, the branching stems

bear up a myriad of living gems
whose color changes often: if I gaze
near evening at one, I can’t recall
how it began the day. Its opulence
must change, scarlet to white, quickly through all
the intervening shades, so if I praise
the ruby glow of buds, before I’m done

each petal will be transformed by the sun
into some other jewel tone. And yet
perhaps that change should be our vision: when
we focus on their vibrant transience
we may see something more than what had been
or what will be, we may even forget
Autumnal clouds advancing overhead.


W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, received his Licence and Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. His poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, and a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line Press 2011), a lyric retelling of Attar’s Conference of the Birds. Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors’ Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, and in 2012 the LaNelle Daniel and Potomac Review Prizes. His work has appeared widely in print and online, in journals such as The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Valparaiso Fiction Review, Asian Cha, Descant, Gulf Coast and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz writes stories, takes pictures and makes teddy bears by hand.

Issue No. 6, Autumn 2013

Barbara Carter #1
Feathered #1
Barbara Carter

Prey
W.F. Lantry

Open your eyes. The beast prepares to feed
her sightless eyes now burning heatless coals
cleansing her heart and yours, taut skin more red
than any bronzework cauldron, where the dead
allow their weary, frayed, contorted souls
to brew together, liquor distilled here

and drunk in ritual by torchlight, clear
and sweeter to the huntress than her name
on those eternal lips. Now her mouth tears
your shoulder’s flesh, as, wailing, she declares
accustomed ecstasy renewed, the same
each time for her, but only once for you,

her chosen quarry, grounded. There are few
she deigns to hunt, the antlered stag, gazelle
of forests, taken carefully, by swift
motions of ceremony, now a gift
to meet the hunger spelled voices compel
and only she can hear. Your role? Provide

her sustenance, until frenzies subside:
until she’s sated, and the harsh caress
begins to slow. The song within her breath
gives you to understand this little death
is like rebirth. There’s always more. She’ll bless
each wound, and touch them, as they, healing, bleed.


W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, received his Licence and Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. His poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, and a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line Press 2011), a lyric retelling of Attar’s Conference of the Birds. Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors’ Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, and in 2012 the LaNelle Daniel and Potomac Review Prizes. His work has appeared widely in print and online, in journals such as The Wallace Stevens Journal, The Valparaiso Fiction Review, Asian Cha, Descant, Gulf Coast and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.

Barbara Carter is a visual artist living in Nova Scotia Canada. You can visit her website at: barbaracarterartist.com