Issue No. 7, Winter 2013


Amphictyonis
Stella Isis Rothe

Winter Feature, 2013
Gethsemane and Ouroboros by David R. Cravens
Herself, Unhinged: a series of collages by Drew Barnes

Fiction
The Halfway House by Maureen Eldred
In Country by Chloe N. Clark
Exaltation by Sarah Rakel Orton
Sorrow Brings a Dancer by Douglas Sterling
Red Cap by Hannah Stoppel
Banana by Dawn Wilson
Two Islands by Anita Felicelli
Mirage by Olivia Pourzia

Flash Fiction
Kate Winslet by Samantha Memi
Why Prince Theo Had Plastic Surgery by Amber Dawn Hollinger

Poetry
The Little Red Truth by Kristin Stoner
Curiosity by Laura Madeline Wiseman
Mars, Temple, and Ego Magic by Corinne Gaston
The Black Widow’s Bite and Medusa, Besieged by Jeannine Hall Gailey
The Fall of Ithaca by Jennifer Lynn Krohn
If Eurydice Were My Mother, Coatlicue Defends, Amongst Others, the Tunguska Event, and Manju Speaks by Jennifer Givhan
A Scandinavian Hotel in Couplets and I Have Decided to Write the Greatest Poem in the World by Alexandra van de Kamp
Blue Gardenia by Beau Boudreaux
Rumi Me by Sheikha A.
Imagine a Mask of Feathers and The Girl the Gods Let Go by Sadie Ducet
Samhain, Newgrange, and Cave by Barbara Crooker

"Preludes and Nocturnes #2" -- Stella Rothe
Preludes and Nocturnes #2
Stella Isis Rothe

About the Contributors

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Manju Speaks
Jennifer Givhan

Rajasthan police were stunned when a marble miner showed up at an outpost holding his daughter Manju’s bloody head in one hand & a sword in another. Manju had been living with her parents after leaving her husband two years ago. She’d allegedly had affairs and arranged to elope.

The blade did not slip, was not
a trick, a blood-baked flick.

That flanged head, that shocked black
hair that father carried through town

triumphant, his bulbous face
twisting, his dishonored sandals

clapping dirt—not
mine not mine not mine.

I didn’t have a neck.
I didn’t have a lover.

No wedding, ever. No demon father.
I belong to cloudskull, starfruit, dreamfog.

My ma’s hands swallowed me back
in the field where she was late picking pulses.


Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a 2012 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection, and she is a fellowship recipient in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in over fifty journals, including Prairie Schooner, DASH Journal (where her poem won first prize), Indiana Review (where her poem was a finalist for the 2013 poetry prize), Contrary, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review. She teaches composition at Western New Mexico University.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Coatlicue Defends, Amongst Others, the Tunguska Event
Jennifer Givhan
after Gloria Anzaldúa

First, I stole just two of Jupiter’s moons, sliced
midline to let flow their bowels till
my sluicing mouth bared jawbone, chewed
white meat, its death-cud & onions.
For my hair, their jagged rinds,
two little tusks knifing my forehead.
On my back, I carried contempt,
a cradle sweet as cake

Next came Venus, whose half-eaten peach
I peeled, his sulfur-stained teeth,
crushed like old tin cans;
then I left him to tend the planetarium
like a sad vegetable garden in his abuela’s backyard,
the one place in his solar system most like Hell.
His transit, a red bellybutton
brutalizing the sun, but it’s my
embryonic eye. My bruja’s caldron
aftermath.

Did I do them wrong? My men &
their babies? Bruises of womb,
breeching stone gods, pit vipers spitting
cottonmouth-black. But there’s no unwashing these deserts
I create. I couldn’t admit
accident.

This is a story of
catastrophe, honey. You’re the result of ancient
impacts. So too, your own bright new moon, horns
tilted toward the East,
split in two; I set
it wobbling, swinging like a bell,
a flying mountain. Those Siberian trees?
Birthday candles
I blew
then made a wish.


Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a 2012 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection, and she is a fellowship recipient in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in over fifty journals, including Prairie Schooner, DASH Journal (where her poem won first prize), Indiana Review (where her poem was a finalist for the 2013 poetry prize), Contrary, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review. She teaches composition at Western New Mexico University.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

If Eurydice Were My Mother
Jennifer Givhan

She would’ve played the electric guitar.
She’d have unraveled the white buds of her future
like corn husks—each tiny skull, a firework.

I’d be the baby at her heels, snake she’d squash,
swallow, become. Could she have known
that Lynyrd Skynyrd would string

my ribcage someday? Unspeakable as scraping
uterine tissue, papering happy birthday
to my duckling-colored bone frame.

She never existed but in the hell they put her.
Perhaps in the end we must return to gnawing
rats. She’d understand that mammals have played

this trick for millennia, surviving in clawed-dirt
dugouts and eating their own slicking pink young.
These are the stories we create. The myths we ate.

Listen to the half-beat of our curse, clay-old
& sticking. Listen to your dear ones crying.
Eurydice, are you calling me home?


Jennifer Givhan was a 2010 Pen Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, as well as a 2011 St. Lawrence Book Award finalist and a 2012 Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection, and she is a fellowship recipient in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Her poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in over fifty journals, including Prairie Schooner, DASH Journal (where her poem won first prize), Indiana Review (where her poem was a finalist for the 2013 poetry prize), Contrary, Rattle, and The Los Angeles Review. She teaches composition at Western New Mexico University.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Medusa, Besieged
Jeannine Hall Gailey

Your only sin that men – a god, even – desired you.
Now, cast out with your mutant half-god children,
your winged Pegasus and your shame.

Athena robbed you of your shining hair, glossy and soft,
the twinkle in your eyes turned to poison.
Now, holed up in a swamp or cave,

(where you’ll do the least damage, you think)
you can moan on about injustice, curse the gods
who raped you in a temple and made you a monster.

At least now they will leave you alone.
In silence, you can monitor your own slow decline
in a garden of stone figures, quiet except for the hiss

of your own snaky ringlets,
your power a weapon – you don’t know yet –
the last thing that will be stolen from you.


Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of three books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006), She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011) and her latest, Unexplained Fevers, from New Binary Press. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

The Black Widow’s Bite
Jeannine Hall Gailey

is full of tired venom, a ballerina lost in flames.
The years spent conforming to black bodysuits
and government cabals. Can’t whitewash her childhood
away, can’t forget years spent whispering secrets
into untrustworthy ears. How many hawks and highwaymen
on the side of the road, how many daredevil escapes?
Fighting for one country or cause after another,
it’s not exactly patriotism or passion that mobilizes her
but where else, exactly, does she fit? Educated in warfare
and mind games and little else, her 73rd birthday
behind her and barely a wrinkle, what can she turn to now
but the bottle of fine vodka, Mussorgsky (another team player
betrayed) and dreams of fallen empires? Peel back the layers
of her identity – who was Natalia before the orphanage fire,
a little girl playing at being the last Romanov?


Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington, and the author of three books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006), She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011) and her latest, Unexplained Fevers, from New Binary Press. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals such as The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University. Her web site is www.webbish6.com.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Cave
Barbara Crooker

While you scramble over the rocks, lost in some boyhood
dream of pirates, hidden treasure, or something missed
by smugglers bringing in hooch, I’m waiting
on a cold stone wall. There’s nothing here but rock,
tons of rock; the mountain could shrug,
and we’d all be crushed. It’s not really a cave,
but a natural shelter, hodge-podge of boulders,
giant’s careless pile of toys. There’s a spirit here
of indifference, something that wants us gone.
Driving up, it was all red leaves, blue sky.
Now everything’s gray, leached of color,
from the overhang to the rising cliffs. Schist
and granite, the bones of the earth. And I’m
an ant, a speck, trying to stay warm, thinking
about the apple in my pack, something I could
put my hands around, something that rooted in soil,
drank water, something that burns like the sun.


Barbara Crooker’s previous publications are: The Valparaiso Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Tar River Review, The Hollins Critic, The Green Mountains Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, and Garrison Keiller’s Good Poems for Hard Times and Good Poems American Places, plus her work has been read twenty times on his Writer’s Almanac. She has been fortunate to receive poetry writing fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her books are Radiance, winner of the Word Press First Book Award (2005) and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press, 2010); and Gold (The Poeima Poetry Series, Cascade Books, 2013).

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Newgrange
Brú na Bóinne (Valley of the Boyne, Ireland)

Barbara Crooker

It’s deep time here, this barrow grave five thousand years old,
where we follow like sheep behind the guide to the heart
of its cruciform center. I’ve never been in a space so dark.
What was it like to live then, to fear that the sun would not return,
that crops would whither, deer flee? That night’s dark cloak
was all there was? But miraculously, on the lip of the solstice,
the light returned, liquid and golden, ran down the narrow corridor,
hit the back wall, splashed in the stone basin, and they knew summer
would come back, run to fruit. Light, dark, freeze, thaw, seedtime,
harvest, wheel of the year, the spiral dance. What would they make
of our device-laden lives, fossil-fueled cars, over-stocked larders?
Who stands in the dark and listens now, gaping up at the stars?


Barbara Crooker’s previous publications are: The Valparaiso Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Tar River Review, The Hollins Critic, The Green Mountains Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, and Garrison Keiller’s Good Poems for Hard Times and Good Poems American Places, plus her work has been read twenty times on his Writer’s Almanac. She has been fortunate to receive poetry writing fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her books are Radiance, winner of the Word Press First Book Award (2005) and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press, 2010); and Gold (The Poeima Poetry Series, Cascade Books, 2013).

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Samhain
Barbara Crooker

Night opens its woven basket, spills
spools of thread on the worn rug
of the sky. Places a silver thimble
to light the way. So sweep the hearth,
light the fire; winter is coming.
Look in the mirror swirled
with smoke, turn over a card,
sprinkle salt in the doorway.
A single candle flickers,
drowns in its own wax.


Barbara Crooker’s previous publications are: The Valparaiso Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Tar River Review, The Hollins Critic, The Green Mountains Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, and Garrison Keiller’s Good Poems for Hard Times and Good Poems American Places, plus her work has been read twenty times on his Writer’s Almanac. She has been fortunate to receive poetry writing fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Her books are Radiance, winner of the Word Press First Book Award (2005) and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press, 2010); and Gold (The Poeima Poetry Series, Cascade Books, 2013).