Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

The Girl the Gods Let Go
Sadie Ducet

One by one, I saw you, sisters, plucked,
picked out for flashing eyes or ankles,
the thick coils of your hair.
The gods delighted and away you went,
leaving me all those centuries ago.
I arrived each time alone at the riverbed.
Waiting, I practiced my sighs of alarm, gasps of delight,
I trailed my fingers through the water
just so, and sent fleet glances, right
then left, over my shoulders, and…nothing.
No one came. I was not pursued.
It proved a strange aerobics.

So I delivered myself at last to minivans
and pool parties you never dreamt.
Three kids and a successful spouse, a dog,
and all was well, more or less, until
I found my golden corset in the closet,
long buried, and, curious, I tried it on.
It hardly fit. Squashed to overflowing,
ablaze and breathless with memories and armor,
my knife sheathed at my hip, still sharp, but useless
and now needlessly ornate. And then my husband came in
What the heck is that get up?
Nothing—
never mind—just help me take it off.

I wept that night, missing you, missing
the eyes of wild deer in the dark. But now,
at last, a someone comes, cold, blank, to my bed.
I wake to lead-colored bruises. Surrounded by shades
of if and never, how could it be other?
I did not have your graces, sisters, only
clumsy passion and long memory,
paltry gifts. But I have forged myself
within twinned fires of regret and deep
resentment. There are, still, those cold
gods we never name. They need my heat.
They gorge themselves on all my melting tears
and nurse to strength, drinking my bitter milk.


Sadie Ducet’s poetry appears in places like The Progressive, Literary Mama, Midwestern Gothic and Off the Coast, although she never does. Her work is curated by fellow Wisconsin poet Sarah Busse, co-editor of Verse Wisconsin and one of two Poets Laureate of Madison.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Imagine a Mask of Feathers
Sadie Ducet

Oddly invisible, and without
the matching set of wings—
don’t try to draw this at home
you’ll only freeze a falsehood:
carnival gimmick, plastic
souvenir, flat with sequins and
the leaping eye shadow—

What we’re after, you and I,
is the feel, the downy
whirr, soft tickle, that—
when you press in (press in)—keeps
sinking back. We want
the low trill, the pulse, the brush—
plunder. pillow.

This is not, after all, some bright
exotic thing. Imagine the wren
or the owl. Imagine the dove,
caught. Imagine the fingers nestled,
down. In.


Sadie Ducet’s poetry appears in places like The Progressive, Literary Mama, Midwestern Gothic and Off the Coast, although she never does. Her work is curated by fellow Wisconsin poet Sarah Busse, co-editor of Verse Wisconsin and one of two Poets Laureate of Madison.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Ego Magic
Corinne Gaston

I was born amongst priestesses and horned gods
in a temple of a half-truth wasteland
I was draped in purple, before kings stole my color for their robes
I am a knife, leaping of my own will into the hearts of wolves
I am the witch in the company of vagabonds
I drink murky infinity in an espresso cup
I suck out the marrow from the bones of time
I devour the past
I boldly stride through the threshold of death
and return with the elixir of life
I stand before dragons who shriek with all their ghastly teeth
and I kiss them
I am the voice you hear in the deep, star-swallowing well
I am the underneath


Corinne Gaston is an undergraduate university student who lives in a cooperative house that boasts four personable but histrionic cats and a small garden that never runs out of Swiss chard. Between being gifted dead birds, reading Octavia Butler, dumpster diving, and worrying about the next inevitable L.A. earthquake, she sometimes goes home to Pennsylvania where she finds snakes and tiny waterfalls in the woods. Her work has recently appeared in Bone Orchard Poetry and Camel Saloon.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Mars
Corinne Gaston

I can still feel the smoky wild dagga of your eyes
the char of your hair,
the embers in your laughing breath.

You, who devoured tarot cards like candy.
You, who prayed
with your forehead pressed with ash
and your hands knucklebone deep in the ochre dirt.

Your crowned spirit shed its body like a garter snake,
leaving it here for us to burn

and in days to come I will build you monuments of spiraling bricks,
paint them
with the charcoal of your funeral pyre
here beneath the curtains of infernal sunset.

Here
where I bathe in molten puddles
and tuck rose petals beneath my tongue,
where I dress your corpse for burial.

You were my mercurial star,

the alizarin drumbeat of my heart.

Tonight,

in the red gardens of Mars, the lions weep.


Corinne Gaston is an undergraduate university student who lives in a cooperative house that boasts four personable but histrionic cats and a small garden that never runs out of Swiss chard. Between being gifted dead birds, reading Octavia Butler, dumpster diving, and worrying about the next inevitable L.A. earthquake, she sometimes goes home to Pennsylvania where she finds snakes and tiny waterfalls in the woods. Her work has recently appeared in Bone Orchard Poetry and Camel Saloon.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Temple
Corinne Gaston

Out of all things I could want,
I want another night in the garden with you.

Another night of us bathed
in the orange evening song of seven-thirty.
When the hummingbirds linger around us
and the spiders come to bow at our feet.

When you have gathered our oracles:
the copper fleur-de-lis you carved for your family’s name,
my little marble figurines,
the ceramic jar I pinched together with my thumbs.

The incense burning sweet.

I would kiss the skin above your elbows, the veins
running railroads
down the mountains of your arms.

I would lie between the tomato sprouts with you
in the chartreuse froth of ferns,
beneath the citrus glow of the guava tree,
wander in the taste of your mouth,
the warmth your chest.

We could weave the breath of our prayers into the soil
and lick grainy salt from our fingers, our fingers
gathering the whispering smoke in the grass, whispers
building where bricks have failed.

What gifts could I bring you?
You
with your sparrow words of love
and the soft nightingale-brown of your eyes?

In the next night, let us crush the shards of sea-glass
hanging from the stooped tree that makes liquorice-bitter avocados.
Let us scatter the dust
into the air, sow the green glitter into the soil.

Let me feed the crumbs of your fears
to the mockingbirds.
The evening
purples around us like a bruise.


Corinne Gaston is an undergraduate university student who lives in a cooperative house that boasts four personable but histrionic cats and a small garden that never runs out of Swiss chard. Between being gifted dead birds, reading Octavia Butler, dumpster diving, and worrying about the next inevitable L.A. earthquake, she sometimes goes home to Pennsylvania where she finds snakes and tiny waterfalls in the woods. Her work has recently appeared in Bone Orchard Poetry and Camel Saloon.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Rumi me
Sheikha A.

tonight;
if you say you seek me,
claim me.

I have walked
the farthest roads
and sought the highest
skies, no night
can show a moon
as tonight’s,
projecting my shadows
as bruises
or memories
of flickering motions
for gazers
or wanderers
to spend away precious
sleep, over narrations
the clouds spill
into the night
of its gauntlet garb
gleaming gallantly
guiltless of how the moon
wills reality
to elude half bent eyes
to a worship
whose mind betrays
faith from realization.

Rumi me,
away from the garb-less moon,
to seek instead
the truth.


Sheikha A. is a writer currently based in Pakistan who is also a recent first place winner of the Poetry Sans Frontier competition and a regular contributor to the eFiction India Magazine. She has been published in several online journals such as Red Fez, Open Road Review and American Diversity Report amongst others. Her works talk about her life’s experiences and reflections on the turmoil between what was and could have been, and what is and could be. This state of constant inertia of the mind trapped in imagining the unreal as real is what produces her written word.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

I Have Decided to Write the Greatest Poem in the World
Alexandra van de Kamp

It will encompass the mother-of-pearl glow of the Caribbean
and the best latté I ever sipped, which was in a café
bordering a sloping plaza in Siena, Italy. There will be tendrils
in this poem, green shoots growing out of its spine,
and an occasional rose so soft and brimming that anyone
would swear it was a champagne glass they could sip
demurely from, and with each taste, pain would evaporate,
such as a six-year-old getting shot outside the local library
or breast cancer feasting on the 21st century female body.
I don’t think I will insert scoliosis into this poem. My mother
might make a brief appearance: her right pinky bent
since birth, so that her hand always seems to be holding a teacup
when it isn’t—that hand half-curled around a shapely
emptiness. I will lay, side-by side, like knives in a velvet drawer,
the nights my husband and I made love with the nights we didn’t.
Myrna Loy will make a cameo appearance—martini shaker in her
evening hands. There will be a gaggle of detectives, and someone
will finally be proven innocent. The trees won’t succumb and the houses
won’t give, no matter the speed and mood of the green wind, and the tea
I pick up in my hands will smell of vanilla extract and a ten-year-old
about to blow softly into his piccolo.


Alexandra van de Kamp lives in Stony Brook, NY, with her husband and teaches at Stony Brook University. She has been previously published in journals such as: Court Green, Washington Square, River Styx, Meridian, Lake Effect, Arsenic Lobster, The Denver Quarterly, The Connecticut Review, 32Poems and Sentence. Work is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review. Her poetry has been featured on VerseDaily, and her first full-length collection of poems, The Park of Upside-Down Chairs, was published by CW Books (WordTech Press, 2010). Her most recent chapbook, Dear Jean Seberg (2011), won the 2010 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest. A collaborative prose poem called With was published by Firewheel Editions in 2013 and a new chapbook is forthcoming from Red Glass Books. You may see more of her poetry and prose at her website: alexandravandekamp.blogspot.com.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

A Scandinavian Hotel in Couplets
Alexandra van de Kamp

I dreamt I was in a Scandinavian hotel in New York City.
The wallpaper was ruby and gold; the lamplight

gave off a 1930’s, Marlene-Dietrich glow. It was evening.
My father was calling for room service.

We were broke and couldn’t afford another night
in this establishment. The bellboy arrived and announced

Scandinavian guests were in the lobby, expecting
to have our room—the one with last resorts dripping

down its gold-embossed walls. How can a dream conjure up
a hotel like that? A hotel honey-glazed with the signatures

of who we are. Our body parts, for instance—how fond
I am of my hands when I think of them. Our family members.

My father willing to sip a cognac until the last moments
before surrender, before he must admit he’s outlived

his version of the moving pictures: Orson Welles puffing
on a cigar, pondering his underrated genius.

Or my sister, with her belly-dancer figure
and champagne breasts, jangling her bracelets, her

three-tiered wedding cake of second chances. New York
unfurled its dark flags and incense-filled mirrors

outside our windows, and my brother, paced— impatient
with our hesitation in a crisis. But what a voluptuous

panic, what a ripe indecision: me buoyed there, briefly,
with most of my family, as if we were on a cruise liner

of the subconscious—between shores, floating on
just who we were at that moment: our shoes

and haircuts, the damask glow of our skin;
the bellboy having recently left; the phone

dangling in my father’s hand.


Alexandra van de Kamp lives in Stony Brook, NY, with her husband and teaches at Stony Brook University. She has been previously published in journals such as: Court Green, Washington Square, River Styx, Meridian, Lake Effect, Arsenic Lobster, The Denver Quarterly, The Connecticut Review, 32Poems and Sentence. Work is forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review. Her poetry has been featured on VerseDaily, and her first full-length collection of poems, The Park of Upside-Down Chairs, was published by CW Books (WordTech Press, 2010). Her most recent chapbook, Dear Jean Seberg (2011), won the 2010 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest. A collaborative prose poem called With was published by Firewheel Editions in 2013 and a new chapbook is forthcoming from Red Glass Books. You may see more of her poetry and prose at her website: alexandravandekamp.blogspot.com.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

The Fall of Ithaca
Jennifer Lynn Krohn

Nothing is left—
the bodies carried out,

the floors mopped,
the servants hanged.

All that remains
is an absence

and a man tanned by the sea,
gray in his beard.

After twenty years, Penelope
recognizes her husband.

Still she steps back.
Penelope—in youth ignored—

is praised for her patience,
her fidelity. Her image—

fingers knotting and unknotting
thread—is held in contrast

to her prettier cousin.
Both women besieged.

What she loved most
in Odysseus

was his absence.
As he tallied the dead,

she counted the spring lambs.
As he lay in supernatural embrace,

she enjoyed the luxury
of an empty bed.

The toes of Penelope’s servants
dance on the breeze.

Staring at her prodigal husband—
her small kingdom lost.


Jennifer Lynn Krohn was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she currently lives with her husband. She earned her MFA from the University of New Mexico, and she currently teaches English at Central New Mexico Community College and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Jennifer has published work in The Saranac Review, Río Grande Review, RED OCHRE LiT, Prick of the Spindle, In the Garden of the Crow, Versus Literary Journal, and Gingerbread Literary Magazine.

Issue No. 7, Winter 2013

Blue Gardenia
Beau Boudreaux

Bulbs of opaque light ebb
a shot of bourbon

hush of late evening, electric murmur
couples in clouds of smoke,

whispers hush her on stage
microphone an altar, divining rod

tall men lean against the mahogany bar
we pause for an unguarded moment

she begins her part, sway the crowd
brush back her sienna-brown locks

a camel chemise, chamois voice
courses us downstream for the evening.


Beau Boudreaux teaches English in Continuing Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. His first book collection of poetry, RUNNING RED, RUNNING REDDER, was published in the spring of 2012 by Cherry Grove Collections. He has published poetry in journals including Antioch Review and Cream City Review, also in anthologies along with The Southern Poetry Anthology.