Feature: Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

"Yo" -- Christine Kern
Yo

"Be Gentle" -- Christine Kern
Be Gentle

"Red on Rose" -- Christine Kern
Rose on Red

"Touch Me" -- Christine Kern
Touch Me


Christine Kern is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. She has recently completed her thesis work which has helped her define herself as a contemporary fiber sculptor. Within this short amount of time she has had the opportunity to engage in the contemporary art world, develop her portfolio and fully realize her artistic potential. Prior to her graduate degree she received her Bachelor’s of Art in Art Education and looks forward to her upcoming position as a high school ceramics/sculpture teacher. In conjunction with her education she has had the opportunity to exhibit her art in select galleries and in literary magazines.

Feature: Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

In the Dining Hall of the Glass Mountain
Mary McMyne

“Who has eaten something from my plate?
Who has drunk out of my little glass?”
— “The Seven Ravens,” Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (1857)

It’s your fault, sister, your fault we flew to the end of the world
beyond the stars, the sun and moon who would eat you alive.

Do not complain that the door unlocked only with finger-bone.
What’s fair is fair: A piece of you to return the pieces of us
Father’s unjust love scattered to sky.

If you hadn’t been so pretty pretty pretty, Father wouldn’t
have betrayed us. Now you’re one of us—nine-fingered,
of the earth—sit down, sister, and dine.


Mary McMyne is a poet, writer, and fairy tale aficionado living in northern Michigan. Her debut poetry collection, Wolf Skin (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), won the Elgin Chapbook Award. Her fiction has won the Faulkner Prize for a Novel-in-Progress, a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and other honors. Her writing has appeared widely in venues like Southern Humanities Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Word Riot, Ninth Letter, Pedestal Magazine, and Chattahoochee Review. An Associate Professor of English at Lake Superior State University, she co-edits the journal Border Crossing. She edits poetry for Faerie Magazine. Visit her online at marymcmyne.com.

Feature: Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Bones Knock in the House
Mary McMyne

—after Proverbs 1:8-9

 

We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.
Only soup-stones and thistle in the cupboard.
Bones knock in the house, sucked clean of meat.

The wood is a wild place at winter’s end:
cobwebs singing with dewdrops, flights of ravens in trees.
We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.

Our voices drift over snow, over bird-eaten bread-crumbs.
They still drift—if you listen closely—in the breeze.
Bones knock in the house, sucked clean of meat.

A mother’s love is boundless, an endless chain
to adorn your neck. A garland to grace your head.
We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.

O snow-sugared house, O frozen window,
O witch who was not my mother, who would never
knock us down in the house, suck our bones clean of meat,

it was you who caged my brother, you
who looked at him and saw something to eat.
We were skeletons already, hollow-cheeked.
Bones knock in the house, sucked clean of meat.


Mary McMyne is a poet, writer, and fairy tale aficionado living in northern Michigan. Her debut poetry collection, Wolf Skin (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), won the Elgin Chapbook Award. Her fiction has won the Faulkner Prize for a Novel-in-Progress, a grant from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and other honors. Her writing has appeared widely in venues like Southern Humanities Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Word Riot, Ninth Letter, Pedestal Magazine, and Chattahoochee Review. An Associate Professor of English at Lake Superior State University, she co-edits the journal Border Crossing. She edits poetry for Faerie Magazine. Visit her online at marymcmyne.com.

Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Chasing the Mustang Moon
Sandi Leibowitz

They say she was a hunter
they say she strode the plains
bridle in hand,
eyes ever on the skies

Her quarry often outpaced her
but still
once every month she swung
her lasso of twisted silver light
and found it catch

How she pulled
and was pulled,
boots digging into the earth,
throwing up clods,
scoring canyons

Her whoops drove through chasms,
startled vultures into feather-loosing frenzies,
toppled hoodoos,
vibrated the vacant skulls
of ghost-cows in the sands

At last she cornered that ornery prey,
forced it to submission,
white sides heaving,
hoofs stamping grooves
into the heavens
Up she swung onto its back
and oh, how she rode

plunging through the star-plains,
scattering the silver herds,
mermaid-hair streaming through the void,
while her wild mount bucked
and reared, fierce as ocean,
colliding with comets.

Finally thrown, hurtled down
the black acres of air,
she dusted herself off.
Maybe she drank up a river or two
before her boots wandered her westward.
She lifted her eyes,
spied far off the silver flanks
of that wild dappled stallion

and, lasso twirling,
haloing the sage,
resumed the hunt once more


Sandi Leibowitz is a school librarian, classical singer and writer of speculative poetry and fiction. Her work appears in Mythic Delirium, Mithila Review, Metaphorosis, Through the Gate and other magazines and anthologies. Her poems have been nominated for the Rhysling, Dwarf Star, Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net awards, and appear on editors’ lists of recommended reading. As a child she galloped through the apartment to the William Tell Overture, tossing her mane, but never did manage to lasso the moon. She lives in New York City in a ravens’ wood, next door to bogles.

Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

The Buffalo Return To Illinois
René Ostberg

The earth keeps score of what it’s been
and who’s its friend.
That field

connected to the crumbled lot
where a shuttered Shell fed the chevys of Chicagoland
getawaying west runawaying north disturbing the dust
longsettled on the Illinois blacksoils deep-soaked with
Sauk blood and pioneer sins and Potawatomi bones

knows it was once prairie

long ago when it was flush
with ferality and friends, a million and many loves
cowbirds bobcats kingsnakes coyotes crickets
a place unmapped
unnamed
unforsaken

and
it loved nothing so deep and doomperfect
as the buffalo.

It remembers the way it liked to lay itself long thick and level
waiting its black-bearded beloveds, and the way it trembled
when a herd approached hooves shuffling wildgooseneck tails
twitching the prairie’s skin itching tickling with the bisons
nibbling and calves gamboling young and ferocious
chasing extinction out of the milkweed out of the tallgrass
away from the purple clover and smoke.

Every night the field calls for its old friends
buffalo lover friend dream lost gone buffalo come back
into the rumbled wake of auto exhaust
putting the rustle of weeds to blame for the racket
should anybody ask, or on the gas attendant ghosts
and unresolved underearth clashes
of white bloodguilt and redsouled resistance.

But weeds or no weeds guilt or no ghosts the field will not speak
of those years when the buffalo were hunted
away
only to tell any other earth corners who’ll listen
that as the hunting turned to slaughter and the prairie
turned to a killing field
it drank the blood of its black beloveds
into itself
like milk and rain and
revenge melting

to raw remembrance.

Tallgrass timberland skinned
penny thin Lincoln slim
plains
scalped
fenced farmed within an inch
of forsaken

a bo-peep place now bare
bisonless

mapped now but missing
its mighty herds
unknown
unloved
ununderstood

unbuffaloed.

All it wants is to tremble once again
under the weight of a thousand black hooves.

It was a recent October morning.
When the field woke to thunder
groans and hooves. Two dozen black tongues licking
the Illinois air. Black snouts glistening soft like
constellations
on a fogged-in flatlands night
black beards bristling
the slickening skin off the gas attendant
ghosts.
The field wept joy in butterflies and coneflowers
welcomed its old friends in rusted
meadow murmurs and the buffalo
lay their glad heavy heads down
to let the old prairie sing a new plainsong
of tallgrasses trembling
and reclamation.


René Ostberg is a native of Chicago. Her writing has been featured at Tiny Donkey, The Masters Review blog, Literary Orphans, Thank You For Swallowing, Drunk Monkeys, Booma: The Bookmapping Project, and other places. She still lives in Illinois, outside Chicago, where she enjoys riding her cherry red bicycle all around town and spending time with her three cats. Her website is reneostberg.wordpress.com.

Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Fruitless
Lynn Fanok

A promise of gold grips these fortune hunters:
grown out of control by listening to snake tongues,
they discover a lion’s share of days into nights.

Drop your shifting from the river’s edge
to your token burlap sack of dust.

You’re a locomotive engine hissing in the heat along with
other minor miners—deputies of desperation, clutching empty canteens;
stealing another’s bread and water.

Chuck it in. Call it what it is—a tale of fools, of desperation,
spread around a campfire, caught fire.


Lynn Fanok’s return to graduate school reignited her interest in writing poetry. She has written a collection of poems about her experiences as a survivor’s daughter examining her family, memory, and history. Her poetry has appeared in several online journals. Lynn lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where she leads a poetry series at a local independent bookstore. You can read more of Lynn’s poetry at lynnfanok.weebly.com.

Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Amy Winehouse: Blue-eyed Soul
John Davis

That lion growl up from the forest floor
that bass along the bough of every tree

in every song, a burst of tongue. No excuse of love.
It was love. No leafless tree. It was the tree.

Another note and another, on this side
and the other side of clouds and inside the light

of cold stars. They are gone, those notes
that defined song that burned a hole

in the name of music. Who cares worst-dressed
when her soul rolled through a song, flattened

the dough, punched it, rolled it, kneaded
until it rose, warmed, ready to eat.


John Davis is the author of Gigs and The Reservist. His work appears in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, Cutbank, Georgetown Review, The Laurel Review, The North American Review, Oxford Magazine, Poetry Northwest and Sycamore Review. He teaches writing, performs in rock and roll bands and lives on an island near Seattle.

Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Julius Rosenberg Murmurs from the Dead
John Davis

Remember 1945. She didn’t do it.
She birthed our boys. She wanted to sing
on stage. She didn’t do it. She didn’t
type it. And the it. You know the it.
Her sister-in-law did it. But Ethel
didn’t do it. Thought they’d charge her—
force me to finger co-conspirators
which would save her. Yes I was a
communist. Yes I was a spy. I passed along
some inept sketches. At her trial she didn’t cry,
not the weak woman the judge wanted her to be.
You can shake a cloud like a blanket
let the mist spill out. And she didn’t
do it. No raindrops there. She didn’t do it.
It took extra jolts of the electric chair
to kill her. She was that innocent. She didn’t
do it. She birthed our boys. She did that.


John Davis is the author of Gigs and The Reservist. His work appears in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, Cutbank, Georgetown Review, The Laurel Review, The North American Review, Oxford Magazine, Poetry Northwest and Sycamore Review. He teaches writing, performs in rock and roll bands and lives on an island near Seattle.

Issue No. 18, Autumn 2016

Anchors
Seth Jani

Distillate faces,
Going through
The eerie margins
To the place
Of crystalized light,
Of spacious winds
That blow all day
And never stop,
Never fade into
A grove of aspens.
We become ghosts,
Or maybe we become
Solid beings,
Always drifting back
To our lack of substance,
The mirage of colors
We call the soul.
In the port of final anchors
We set down
Our quiet golden weights,
The ones we have been
Building for many lives.
Eventually even the spectral
Captain fades.
We become those darkened stones.


Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven Circle Press (www.sevencirclepress.com). His own work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, VAYAVYA, Gingerbread House, Gravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. More about him and his work can be found at sethjani.com.