Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Dear October,

Hurl me into frost,
pin me in place with tiny pricking stars.
Dark and light weave like shadow and snow,
a thick rough braid down the back of autumn.

October, your sky is biting:
moon, yellow half-smile;
stars, glint of gold caps.
Breath of wind—bad. The smell of chill,
as metal has a smell that’s almost taste.
The cold has come with a crunch,
a tooth-grinding bite restraint.

Teeth, those ancient magics,
bone-blossoms, word-cutters,
us and not us, saved and sold,
quarters and sentiment,
the most thankless talismans
of faery-land—our link, as ever,
to sustenance, digestibility,
the roots of the old world,
gumming into compost
for the new.

October, your sky is a pointed hat,
your trees, swollen fingers,
your wind a tongue, a licking and clicking
at the boot heels of the dark figure,
blended gray light, leaf-silhouette,
chasing the turning horizon
into tomorrow’s winter.

If this is a story you are the teller
who reveals themself to be the villain
whom the reader will exonerate in secret,
in the light-echoed hollow of a stone cathedral
heart. Arch and glass, stained, struggling
towards the velvet train of heaven,
stuck with clouds like stickers and burrs—

You hid your heart under my floorboards
and the whole house was sucked down in.
October, eight is the magic number, one too far
for perfection, and you are the mirror we
still inquire of—most fair, most cold, most
anticipation-hungry, snow-blind.


LeighAnna Schesser lives in south-central Kansas with her husband, two children, half-wild garden, and many overstuffed bookshelves. She spends her days exploring the world and the arts with her toddler, snuggling and laughing with her baby, fiddling, and prioritizing good books and hot cups of coffee over housework. She earned her B.A. in Theology at Benedictine College and M.F.A. at North Carolina State University. Her work has appeared in Transcendence Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Synaesthesia Magazine, and Kindred. Her chapbook Heartland is forthcoming from Anchor & Plume in June 2016. She blogs at leighannaschesser.wordpress.com.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Gynaeceum
Shanon M. Ingles

From this angle the black cake of her mascara hangs –a sleeping bat,
skylined and dreaming of all the fruit flies clamoring in its stomach.

Wings ripped and tattered. The lace fringe of her bra. Ribbed metallic bodies,
melting together like plastic-wrapped lipstick tubes, glistening in halogen storefronts,

She’s built towers of pomegranate and plum. Swirled in dust bowls of blushing
coppers, pinks. Swam in moats of cream, as if lost at sea, lost in the
Crème de la Mer. But my mother definitely didn’t come from the ocean.

She came from her 401k and rubs her retirement all over her face. Retinol gels
like sea foam. White gooey clumps too soothe the lip lines. Obscene enough
for any amateur web cam. It’s as advertised: Perfect for all those sensitive places.

She could easily be Countess Bathory. Crème de la girl. Red and clotting.
Gynaeceum-tested. FDA-approved. When she rubs it around her pinned-back
eye-lines, the screams of a thousand dead eggs clamor. But hell if she can hear them.

She blinks her Venus flytrap lashes and asks me to hand her a towel.
The black wiry vortexes of her pupils dilate. Eyes that turned green after her hair
silvered and her tits filled with sand. She cut herself over that.

And I suddenly realize that could be my blood.


Shanon M. Ingles is a video game writer, designer and copywriter living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Her 15 year career has encompassed every kind of writing — from journalism, advertising, screenwriting, to game writing at companies like Electronic Arts, 505 Games, Sony, and NBC Universal. She earned a B.A. in cognitive psychology from New College of Florida and attended graduate school at University of Texas at Austin’s Radio-Television-Film program, where she was awarded a Michener Fellowship for screenwriting. Shanon currently works as an episodic game writer for Telltale Games.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Guest
Shanon M. Ingles

Northern Lights whirl
into the stratosphere of
constant night, green
and eerie like the ice
fishermen’s faces, slicing
a hole in the river,
under the milky band
of the milky way.

Every year they chisel the
Ice Hotel
with snaggletoothed saws
and augers, shaving slabs
of frozen water
from the river’s womb.

They fish her out
with lines and shiny
hooks that snare, tear
into her long dead flesh.
Grayed and stiff and soft.

The lights of their warm
lanterns catch luminescent
strands of hair, billowing
just beneath the surface.
Dancing fire. Magma
under the ice.

Inside, her hair glows like
the fiber optic chandelier.
Blue and white and breaking
through the cracks of the cut
ice, as if to sleep in a prism,
in a beam of cool light.

Her skin beaded with
frozen sweat, Glittering
azure lips, violet skin,
like a regal robe
peeling off her bones.

A fur-clad sculptor notes
that she’s the only one
who belongs.

A girl in an ice cube.
at the Absolut bar,
where the sculpted sculptors
drink vodka and whiskey,
and toast

To
the Ice Queen.
Checked-in, splayed out,
the rosy chilled out of her cheeks.
The temporary chisel of her chin
gathering droplets as she thaws.


Shanon M. Ingles is a video game writer, designer and copywriter living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Her 15 year career has encompassed every kind of writing — from journalism, advertising, screenwriting, to game writing at companies like Electronic Arts, 505 Games, Sony, and NBC Universal. She earned a B.A. in cognitive psychology from New College of Florida and attended graduate school at University of Texas at Austin’s Radio-Television-Film program, where she was awarded a Michener Fellowship for screenwriting. Shanon currently works as an episodic game writer for Telltale Games.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Danae at Sea
Sandi Leibowitz

You either deny a prophecy
or embrace it.
I wailed it was a lie
until he walled me up.
Then I waited,
prophecy fisted in my heart.

When the sunlight turned odd,
too golden to be right,
I knew my time had come.
I opened my arms to it,
opened my mouth to it,
opened my legs to it,
let the future enter me.

In the god-bereft darkness,
I never weep.
I ride this coffin in the waves
as if it were a racing mare,
certain I will win my destination.

Like my child,
I await deliverance,
the flood of light
sudden as sword-stroke.


Sandi Leibowitz is a school librarian, classical singer and writer of speculative fiction and poetry. Her work appears in Liminality, Mythic Delirium, Inkscrawl, Kaleidotrope, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 5 and other magazines and anthologies. A native New Yorker, she has ridden in a hot-air balloon over the Rio Grande, traveled in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, and visited with Arthur in Avalon.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Bo Peep Tells the Real Story
Phyllis Wax

When I got home Mom and Dad started yelling
Where are your sheep? Where are your sheep?
And how did your beautiful dress get ripped?

Well, what was I to say: those sheep are no damn good?

We were hardly out of sight of the farmhouse
when their hairy ears popped up and
they were twirling their mustaches
and leering. Then the pawing began.
I ran and ran. I didn’t want them following me home.
Next thing you know we’d have been in bed.

Believe me—believe me:
they were no lambs.
Just ask Little Red.


Phyllis Wax writes in Milwaukee on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, both print and online. She has read her poems on the radio, and in coffee shops and bars. They have been exhibited in fiber art/poetry shows in galleries, libraries, a bank and a theater lobby. She co-edited the 2002 Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar. Phyllis can be reached at poetwax38@gmail.com.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Hunger
Andrea Blythe and Laura Madeline Wiseman

Go, they said, to where the rocks hang, jagged and sharp,
where we could walk for miles without car sounds, without
the violent honking rush of city and its constant needs of buy
and get and more, no big boxes or chain strips or WiFI.

Go, they said, to where rocks hide, buried in dirt, hidden in water,
where we can feel, let our toes slide, listen for the cascade of stones
tumbling over like minutes falling, like breadcrumbs, like lives.

We go to where the grotto offers its opening, a dark chamber,
an oven, or maybe a house, wet with melting drip of frost
and iron-streaked, like caramel or chocolate, or a kind of sweetness.
The witch is here, we say and enter holding hands.

We come expecting terror, hungering for the thrill of this leaving,
this arrival. Go, our parents said, but she said, Stay
with me. You’re welcome at my hearth
. We shelter here,
my brother inside her cage, glutting on glazed donuts, sugar-sprinkled
bread, men made of ginger. I sweep up the ashes, saving the bones.


Andrea Blythe writes speculative poetry and fiction, which has appeared in various publications, including Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, Strange Horizons, and Bear Creek Haiku. www.andreablythe.com

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks, including Drink (BlazeVOX Books, 2015) and Wake (Aldrich Press, 2015). www.lauramadelinewiseman.com

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

The Huntsman’s Heart
Andrea Blythe and Laura Madeline Wiseman

Among the garrets with his sister, he welcomed the swirling winter snow,
the frosted market square, the women in white fur-coats, the sleighs
that syncopated the imprints of road that lead in and lead away.
They rode the sled, flew down hills, followed the treeline to town,
found the general store with spiced brewed cider and a fire to melt
the dusting on their coats. He warmed her fingerless gloves
above the cast iron stove and lifted objects from the shelves,
considering the globe, the heft of glass around a home, embracing
a white noise of storms no waiting could escape. Isolation
of miniature pine tree grove, solitude of cabin inside a fence,
illumination of one window pulsed with internal fire—this orb
was a gift he could give. He grew up, grew into a black beard,
bore thick arms, bared the axe, the arrow, the hooded mask.
He was the woodsman, the huntsman, the one who stumbles
upon the princess, saves her or slays her, but never offers the kiss.


Andrea Blythe writes speculative poetry and fiction, which has appeared in various publications, including Nonbinary Review, Linden Avenue, Strange Horizons, and Bear Creek Haiku. www.andreablythe.com

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of twenty books and chapbooks, including Drink (BlazeVOX Books, 2015) and Wake (Aldrich Press, 2015). www.lauramadelinewiseman.com

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Laurel Run’s deep green,

so full of light
gathered & flung out that water
shimmers in all directions. A fallen
tree, stripped to inner bark, shows
former jagged edges water-polished.
Rhododendron leaves line the brook’s
bed. What strata of life lives here below
the water-striders, the spiders web-hung,
that struts its short span hourly? And we,
whose longer spans churn with torpor,
trapped in daily worries, what fields
we have to wander. The green’s so light
it gives a blessing. Take off your shoes,
make yourself at home.


Susan Sailer’s poems have recently appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Kestrel, and Sugared Water. To date she has published a chapbook, Coal, a book, Ship of Light, and have a second book forthcoming in 2016, The God of Roundabouts.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Living in Interesting Times
Anatoly Kudryavitsky

We have a slight problem, general:
our children can’t locate themselves
in space and time
because maps are muddy and calendars
have no dates for days like these.
Medieval gloom ghosts into town
from behind old army barracks.
Sell us some primal wisdom; we’ll
pay you in golden possibilities.

Seven fat years have been devoured
by ninety-seven shy black holes.
Adieu, adieu, and adieu.
Rough-edged shards of humanity fly
in all directions. The air reeks of defeat
which the papers find more interesting
than a victory.
“And who are we losing to, anyway?”
walking billboards ask each other.

The future has gone on sale
in the memory shop, but it is the present
that crunches under the teeth of passers-by.
Besides, they all keep
bottles of oblivion handy.
The peace-keepers trade their dreams
for freshly minted safety,
so their nightmares can pass
for urban legends.


Anatoly Kudryavitsky has published three collections, the latest being Capering Moons (Doghouse Books, 2011). His latest novel entitled DisUNITY has been brought out by Glagoslav Publications in 2013. He lives in Dublin, Ireland, where he is the editor of Shamrock Haiku Journal.

Issue No. 15, Winter 2015

Viking Breath
Anatoly Kudryavitsky

How does it feel to be the Cultural Attaché
for the North Pole, the ice
of the voiceless?
No encyclopaedia will give you shelter.
As life drifts by, the waters ache
and pallid faces stare from every porthole.

Winter is inside us, it’s tasty
like a sea onion.
Who will get the first bite?
Crunchy things surround us:
the shore, the bleak frosty sun,
the clouds glistening like Santa’s beard.

Amundsen has sailed into a greater crispness.
Penguins are chanting defiant slogans
outside our red tents.
What are we waiting for?
What is sprouting up
in our hoar-frosted hearts?


Anatoly Kudryavitsky has published three collections, the latest being Capering Moons (Doghouse Books, 2011). His latest novel entitled DisUNITY has been brought out by Glagoslav Publications in 2013. He lives in Dublin, Ireland, where he is the editor of Shamrock Haiku Journal.