Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

The Glass Slipper Speaks
Michael Boccardo

Never had I been alone before, bereft,
inadequate. Orphaned from my only sister.

Our first night out: pirouettes, laughter
like struck crystal. The world a rush

of steps—dancers coupling, parting,
the floor a fanfare of shadows.

Above us, skirts swirled dazzling
chandeliers while our heels clicked out

one waltz after another. Not until
the second invitation did our soles know

the story of silk, brocades
gliding beneath us, stitched with limbs

yet to blossom—hazel, copper—
pigeons hemming the sky into place.

By the final evening, even we couldn’t
help Cinderella outrun the rumors:

a father who fled on horseback,
how she preferred brick and cinders

to linen, the headboard’s scrolled
mahogany. And the worst—her mother’s life

pawned for a frock that fizzed
down her hips like cheap champagne.

If she’d found me sooner, what then?
Who would I blame? The night halved

by magic? Darkness? A spill
of marble stairs glazed with pitch?

I tried to learn the word
stepsister, again and again. Every time

I choked, my mouth a swill of blood
and bone, the nub of a toe like a mouse floating

on its side, fetal. All I craved were petals
crushed underfoot, cathedrals holy

with gold. But once the Prince was charmed
by my arch—five crescents flattered

under moonlight—fate veiled us
in tissue, artifacts shelved high

among rags and rows of scented polish.
Life became a clock whose hands

had stopped. So many midnights, so many
stars splintered by spells. The day

grown dark as smoke. How little we knew
about romance; how the value of illusion

is measured merely by the strength
of a curse. What is left for us now

but to turn enchantment inside out,
sift from its scattered mechanics the warnings

we never heeded? Blindness. The stump
of a heel. Everywhere ashes. Ashes. Ashes.


Michael Boccardo’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Lindenwood Review, Tinderbox, Kestrel, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Best New Poets 2013, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina, and others. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, as well as the assistant editor of Cave Wall. He resides in High Point, NC, with his fiance and three tuxedo cats.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

The Artist Has a Powerful Hunger
or
The Artist Feels as Though She Can Fly

Alicia Elkort

When I got out of bed
this morning,
I thought only
about whether to have
Quinoa porridge
with raisins or blueberries,
and how much butter
was too much.

As the porridge
warmed,
I went outside to look
at the sky.
When I looked up,
I saw a cloud shaped
like a marshmallow, just ripe
from the fire. Reflexively,
I opened my mouth.

That’s when it happened.
I swallowed a crow
whole,
didn’t even
need to burp.


An emerging poet living and writing in California, Alicia Elkort has worked in the film industry for over 16 years and is currently producing a documentary on prayer. She edited and contributed to the chapbook, Creekside, published under the auspices of the Berkeley Poetry Review where she also served as an editor. She earned a B.A. degree in literature from UC Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology with an Emphasis in Consciousness, Health and Healing. Her poems have appeared in Ishaan Literary Review, Red Paint Hill Quarterly, and Elsewhere Literary Review.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

Sometimes I Would Imagine a Knife
Alicia Elkort

Sometimes I would imagine my arm.
Always my left arm. I would take my
knife, clean and sharp, sweet ivory
carved handle, and I would slice

precise 1 and ½ inch pieces, fingers
to wrist, moving up my arm to my
shoulder. I would survey the burnished
bloody droplets, slipped veins, ripped

muscle—peace. Then eyes sealed,
lid upon lid, eyelash upon eyelash each
skin cell, a bouquet of nerve endings,
anarchy, relief. When I’d open my eyes,

I’d see my arm all of one piece, breathe
in the scent of a funeral, follow the marbled
casket of a nine-year-old girl lowered to dirt.
Glancing above the sycamore tree,

I see the girl floating, white daisies
ascending braided, rusty-boned hair.
I know now, she is me. Arms out-
stretched, she offers her palpating

heart, her white-laced dress dripping
spinning helichrysum, When I take
her heart, I notice purple petals, green
sepals, yellow pistils, all growing

from the palms of our hands. When I look
up, she is gone. In her place, a rotted tree
trunk littered with the entrails of skinned
skunks, putrid leaves and dried red roses,

flaccid and brown at the edges. But that
was then. I have no need for the knife
anymore. Alchemy has turned metal
to something softer, malleable, creative.

Now, when I read about the deaths of Ashlynn Connor,
Rachel Ehmke, Erin Gallagher, Felicia Garcia,
Tiffani Maxwell, Rehtaeh Parsons, Audrie Pott,
Phoebe Prince, Marjorie Raymond, Amanda Todd…

I imagine the sun rising over an unceasing
field of verdigris grasses, illuminated trees
whooshing in the wild and forgiving wind.
In a flood of morning tears, I approach

each girl, the birdsong a reveled resonance
before the train crash, before the bus brakes,
before the red wrists, before the hanged heads,
and I hand each and every girl my knife.


An emerging poet living and writing in California, Alicia Elkort has worked in the film industry for over 16 years and is currently producing a documentary on prayer. She edited and contributed to the chapbook, Creekside, published under the auspices of the Berkeley Poetry Review where she also served as an editor. She earned a B.A. degree in literature from UC Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology with an Emphasis in Consciousness, Health and Healing. Her poems have appeared in Ishaan Literary Review, Red Paint Hill Quarterly, and Elsewhere Literary Review.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

The Many Places We Leave Behind
Jeri Edwards

I have to say something about that small
improbable green of spring grass in the ebb of afternoon,
the tart smell of earth from morning’s rain,
crinkled foil light glinting off rippled lake,
a home to darker worlds deep in hemlock limbs.

How I go there to see a glossy backed crow,
the one I call Old Broken Feather
with a saw-toothed wing that drags down on the right,
makes him walk even more cockeyed.

He inhabits this place like a room,
prone to poise on the upslope, head lifted, bill opened
as if he recognizes his good fortune to take flight,
somehow make use of the useless.
He looks at me with a sizable glance
as if to acknowledge he knows
whatever is let go a taker moves right in.

I should mention this place calls me from the inside,
runted stones of paths,
seethe of heat in immutable sun,
choir of clouds in winter gales.

I am not ashamed to say I talk to Old Broken Feather
when I see him, remind him old is not age related,
rather an endearment.
After all, I tell him while
he tattoos the ground for bugs,
my mother used to call me old.
“Old Faithful,” she’d say into the phone on my weekly calls
when she still knew who I was.

I need to tell you Old Broken Feather doesn’t respond,
just hops about in the tall uncut near a tangle of reeds,
part of the many places we leave behind.
Like, where I was at the time of my mother’s death:
she, alone in a small room
somewhere in Maryland,
I, on the wooden walkway
in front of Old Faithful (can you believe it?)
its hot plume bursting 200 feet into the icy air,
its beauty a terrible thing.


Jeri Edwards is a writer and a pastel/mixed media illustrator who grew up in Virginia with a couple of acres of woods as her backyard. She now divides her time between the Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California and Northern Arizona and wherever she can be surrounded by nature. She has been published in literary journals such as Quiddity, Yalobusha Review, Portland Review, Worcester Review, Lumina, Westwind.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

The Fairest Queen
Samantha Brodsky

My stepdaughter’s cheeks do not show even a
whisper of crimson, yet her lips are
stained blood-red. Sometimes I want to crush
her porcelain flesh in my palms and dance in
its pale dust. Sometimes I melt into blackness,
shrinking into a midnight, feathery sparrow
and soar over the thorny, crooked limbs of trees
consuming with my crescent-curved beak all sleeping
souls. I feast upon the meat of the weak and feeble.
I devour kidneys and livers through cackles.
I know only echoing, shadowed hallways,
striking grandfather clocks and enraged
reflections. I see the deep rivers that wind across
my skin and I want to shatter Mirror into jagged
pieces. I bathe in the treacherous winds of my kingdom,
craving to dig my claws into my stepdaughter’s chest
making juice from her heart, squeeze it to a pulp until
it becomes as cold as glass and my pores drink up her youth.


Samantha Brodsky is a sophomore Writing Major at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY. She’s from Ridgewood, NJ and aspires to get her work out there in any way she can. Running through her veins is a combination of highly caffeinated coffee and creativity.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

The Good People
Courtney Bates-Hardy

Pull back a curtain of emerald stems
to reveal an other-vale. Tread carefully
through a forest of fuchsia stalks—tart
rhubarb sheltered by leaves like lily pads.
There’s so much sun in this green,
it bleeds shade. A little red wagon
lies rusted in the dirt, where two
prairie lilies peek around a wheel.
There are virginal buds, promises
like ring boxes, blush with petals.
Cement won’t keep them out, stems bloom
between cracks, surrounded by moss patches
like an exploded orange on grey rivets.
Slide down a curl of grass, a waterslide
of raindrops to the clarity of a line
of smooth rocks—sand dollar moons
and the blackened blue of mussel shells.
The tide could wash them away but
spiky leaves hold the wave. Lie under
a broken sky so fragmented a glimmer
of gossamer wings catches the light
and refracts. Remain cautious,
throw crystal salt on your path
and never
say their name.


Courtney Bates-Hardy holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Regina. Her work has been published in several literary journals, including Carousel and Room. Her first chapbook, Sea Foam, was published by JackPine Press in 2013. When she’s not writing poetry, you can find her reading comic books or practicing yoga. She lives in Regina with her husband and their imaginary dog.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

House of Mystery
Courtney Bates-Hardy

At seven, you appear in the hallway of the same house
Every time you dream. The wood panelling is dark,

Like the paintings on the walls. You know your family
Is here, trapped in different rooms, but the doors shift

And lock. A witch awaits with her dogs; she only
Chases you when you lose your way, breathing too

Hard to remember where you’ve been. At twelve,
You realize you’ve never seen the witch: a shadow

On the wall with long teeth that recede each time
You dream again but the doors still won’t open

Or let you see where you are. At eighteen,
You only dream of the doors, floating in air,

Stretching into clouds or fire. At twenty,
The dream has stopped but you still walk

Down a hallway with many doors,
Opening one after another.


Courtney Bates-Hardy holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Regina. Her work has been published in several literary journals, including Carousel and Room. Her first chapbook, Sea Foam, was published by JackPine Press in 2013. When she’s not writing poetry, you can find her reading comic books or practicing yoga. She lives in Regina with her husband and their imaginary dog.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

Moroccan Mosque
David Radavich

I walk by column
after column

arced in
careful procession,

tiles in blue
and green,

stone carved
like the insides
of women

and everywhere
peace, peace.

Water trickles
in the silence

outside prayer.

I sit for a moment,
dim saint
eating light.

This can only be
pure love

unreciprocated

sun
kissing air

above the rectangle
of the courtyard.


David Radavich’s recent poetry collections include AMERICA BOUND: AN EPIC FOR OUR TIME (2007), CANONICALS: LOVE’S HOURS (2009), and MIDDLE-EAST MEZZE (2011). His plays have been performed across the U.S., including six Off-Off-Broadway and in Europe. His latest book is THE COUNTRIES WE LIVE IN (2014). davidradavich.org.

Issue No. 13, Summer 2015

A List of My Most Recent Sins
Laurin DeChae

  1. I have licked the last gleam of honey clean from between your fingers.
  2. There are buttercups on the bottoms of your feet and I plucked
    them free, setting them loose amongst the wildflowers.
  3. Zip me, you said and I buttoned the back of your dress
    with bees. Watched them sting and sting again
  4. Wreathed a ring around your neck, around again, ripe for the hanging
    and wove into your hair white clovers and thin spears of grass.
  5. I’d adorn you in weeds any day just to hear you shriek.
  6. When you kissed me, I bit you and let the blood
    rest in the cup of my tongue.
  7. Let birds make nests with moss in your ear
    cavities. At least you’ll always hear their hunger.
  8. When I washed your hair it was with the scum of the river.
  9. Shot you with a star, right through the breastplate. Dance with a gilded skeleton.
  10. I relish in the sound of the switch cutting air with the sharpness of moths’ wings.
  11. I built you a body for the last time.

Laurin DeChae is a M.F.A. candidate for poetry at the University of New Orleans, where she acts as the associate editor for Bayou Magazine. She is active in the fields of education and composition, assisting in programs such as the Greater New Orleans Writing Project, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. She has work forthcoming in Harpur Palate and Milkfist.