Barbara DeCesare

How I Got this Scar

I fell in the infield
like I fell for you:
without grace or balance
or choice or warning.
Too eager and too late to beat fate,
out of my position,
and diving for something
I wasn't good enough
to catch.

Barbara DeCesare plays second base and right field.



Order The June Issue by midnight on Friday, June 1, 2012 and be entered to win
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Chris Mason (Day 2)

Are Arf-Arp Art?

  1. First contraptions.
  2. Doggish in the Great Hall.
  3. Mama and Papa’s frowns.
  4. All of vibration in a tiny room.
  5. That she of such a shape.
  6. A common objecthood.
  7. “Oh Arf-Arp!”

Improv - Inkblot

Walk Calvert Street
girlfriend England
teenage college
mouth sounds click like
bebop discuss
why so do to
her bemusement
sidewalk stuff we
see touch pick up
love day puzzles

Klangfarben - Klondikers

Gruff prospector
pans for nuggets.
Chinese miner
clinks rare earth rock.
Kid drops bottle
into wagon.
Whispered cursive
soprano song.

Chris Mason is the author most recently of Hum Who Hiccup and plays in the bands The Tinklers and Old Songs and Coo Coo Rockin Time. These three poems and "Zeno - Zero"  are from a book-length series called Where To From Out.


Chris Mason

Zeno - Zero

told us
arrow never
hits target
goes half
seven – eighths
of way - always
more fractions
to pass.
get old
we forget
things but never
forget all
seven - eighths
not forget all
things forget
all things
we know scarce
info of life
of Dad’s life
we know
seven - ninths
always is more
story more
all of arrow
told us

Chris Mason is the author most recently of Hum Who Hiccup and plays in the bands The Tinklers and Old Songs and Coo Coo Rockin Time. This poem and another selection of poems to be published on May 29 are from a book-length series called Where To From Out.


Anya Groner

Archive of American Futures

The cafes at the cusp of the twenty-second century
will fry bubble gum and serve reconstituted snow peas
by hovercraft robot, or so my students tell me.

The icing in the ice water will never melt,
and neither will the ice cream cake. Cheese Whiz
will be nutritious. Their future! How I long for it.

When consequences are long out of fashion
and babies feed themselves. When corn-fed
catfish jump from the pristine Mississippi

onto dinnerware made from the scratched CDs
of ancients. The quiet kid, Corey, sits in the back
and scratches his forearm until the old scabs bleed.

In the future that I write, Corey will hum
Satisfaction while he makes spoon bread
and greens in a sunny urban homestead

and forgets about the time he looked
out his bedroom window and saw
his father dying, shot in the head by a child.

With one hand in a hot mitt and the other
holding beer he’ll glance through the curtains
and laugh as stray dogs wander home.

Anya Groner's work has appeared in journals including Ninth Letter, FlatManCrooked, Pank and Memphis Magazine. She received an MFA at the University of Mississippi where she was a John and Renee Grisham fellow in fiction. She currently lives and teaches in New Orleans.


Diana Salier

in a funeral home that is filled to capacity

heath ledger is dead
michael jackson is dead
brittany murphy is dead
amy winehouse is dead
steve jobs is dead
etta james is dead
lord voldemort is dead
osama bin laden is dead
surprise - bruce willis is dead
my friend’s brother is dead
my friend’s mom is dead
my friend's sister is dead
my friend’s dad is dead
my friend's boyfriend is dead
my friend's dog is dead
my cousin is dead
my grandma is dead
my grandpa is dead
my other grandpa is dead
jen lindley is dead
marissa cooper is dead
laura palmer is dead
seymour glass is dead
jd salinger is dead
paul is dead
sherlock holmes is dead

in london // i meet a british girl
i tell her my name is diana
like the dead

Diana Salier is the author of Letters From Robots (Night Bomb, 2012) and the chapbook Wikipedia Says It Will Pass (Deadly Chaps, 2011). She is in Portland wearing striped pajamas. Say hello at


Mark Neely

tonight I am kicking down the doors

tonight I am kicking down the doors
three gray rats hunch on their splayed pink feet

in the kitchen and bicker over a ripped-up
bag of Ruffles there’s nothing left

on the walls except a painting of two kids
staring out across a lake at the word NIXON

perched in stenciled letters on the water
I don’t envy painters anymore

they have to give everything away
they all use text in their work nowadays

these painters should hire me to tell them
which words are good which ones stick

in the throat like cancer pills
Nixon is a good word

blister and eclipse and possum
are all good and doorframe

what I can never get behind
is an ugly word for a pretty thing

bucolic is such a word shrike is such a word
Uranus is such a word as is panties

possum is a pretty word for an ugly thing
possums play dead until the dog is gone

haven’t we all done that a time or two
under our black hedges

my old friend Bill Bennett used to charge out drunk
whenever he saw a possum and give it a good kick

before it could scuttle under the neighbor’s fence
when he really got his foot into one

it would curl its evil eraser nose
under its body and lie there dead but Bill

was no dumb predator he would get a running start
and give it another mighty kick or fall down

trying and when he caught one just right he could
get some serious air under a possum once he jacked one clear

over the eight-foot fence when Bill got stoned
he would aim the speakers out the window

and dance in the grass like a wild horse
last I heard he’d become a Scientologist

and believed an alien dictator named Xenu
froze millions of his rebellious subjects

and shipped them to earth in cargo planes
stacked the planes around volcanoes

and set off nuclear explosions in all the volcano craters
God how beautiful that must have been

seventy-five billion years later here I am
trying to run off these three imperturbable rats

who keep circling back for Ruffle crumbs
until I summon the spirit of Bill Bennett

and BOOM BOOM BOOM kick them all out the door
into the front yard and they go running

down the slope dive into the creek and paddle
away with their noses stuck above the water

fuck all the experiments
fuck Bill Bennett and his stoned exuberance

when I smoked pot all I did was watch Raising Arizona
fifty times now I’m too sober in this empty room listening

to the rats moving in the sewer pipe
making their way back towards the house

like buried memories digging for the surface
for twenty years you in the doorframe

shaking your head at the stupid boys
under the long straight hair you wore

then and Bill Bennett’s beautiful crazy
face and a possum ringed with porchlight

flying in its destined arc and landing in the darkness
like an alien spacecraft

Mark Neely's book is Beasts of the Hill (Oberlin College Press). He lives in Muncie, Indiana.


Jamie Gaughran-Perez

Hey There Tiger Retract

Did I tell you I used to do this for a living?
Yes, Biggie.

Who taught you to revisit your roots?
You did, Biggie.

Who called you silly?
Only you did, Biggie.

This isn’t what I expected.
Yes, Biggie.


Fishbone spines
Certain leaves
Mountain ranges
Rips in the ocean floor
April and May
The color orange
Sext me


In Scottish ghost stories they wail something terrible and your hair turns white.

In Chinese ghost stories they hop and can’t go diagonally.

In Slavic ghost stories they rise at night and you stake them.

In American ghost stories they have hook hands and reflections in bathroom mirrors.

In Japanese ghost stories it is always a girl and she always wins.


Have you ever been buried by the deluge?
Yes, Biggie.

Video of Jamie reading this poem at In Your Ear at DCAC.

Jamie Gaughran-Perez has lived in several states in the US. He is an editor for Narrow House and plays bass guitar in Sweatpants.


Sara Peck


disrupting the habitats
cherry blossom petals
from the tree two neighbors south
have blown over into our yard
scattered themselves all
in seed rains under the canopy


of the pinnate leaflets
of the kale that never wholly died, we build
tents, avoid the heavier bits
of rain


regarding the invasive
plants, nobody has told me whether
you’re allowed to keep plants
it’s a small responsibility and
I would send you
a succulent

Sara Peck holds a brand new MFA from Columbia College. She now splits her time between Chicago and Charleston, SC, where she teaches with a creative writing camp for kids, brews sweet tea, and prevents her cat from eating the house plants. Her work is published on anderbo, trnsfr, and Phantom Limb, among others.


Seth Siegel


As soon as I unlocked the front door, I could tell Banksy was gone.

My wife was reading Cook’s Illustrated, an article about perfect croissants.

Hi honey, where is Banksy, I asked.

She turned a page and said he was not there anymore.

Hi honey, where is Banksy, I asked.

I threw him off the balcony, she said.

I looked out the window of the apartment. There was a grassy patch and a parking
lot, but no Banksy.

Hi honey, where is Banksy, I asked.

After I threw him out I watched him limp away down the hill, I’m sure he’s fine.

I asked nicely this time.

Hi honey, where is Banksy, I asked.

I don’t like you and I really don’t like your dog. Banksy sheds his little blond hairs all over the house and I have to clean it up. It’s disgusting.

Hi honey, where is Banksy, I asked.

After you left for work he threw up on our bed, on my side of the bed just to spite me, then he tipped the water bowl over, and started barking at the toilet. It was too much and he knew it was. I sent him out the front door with a stick and a red and white polka-dot handkerchief for his belongings.

Banksy was always a survivor. He always ate grass or snow or cat poop. He could live on handouts and jump freight trains, but it didn’t seem plausible.

Hi honey, where is Banksy, I asked for the last time.

How many times are you going to ask me that? He jumped on me, so I got the machete and when he was sleeping I cut off his legs at the joint and threw them in the compost. I wrapped him up in gauze and gave him to an old lady neighbor who said she’d feed him well and give him rides around the block on an American Flyer, from time to time.

I didn’t like where this was going so I washed my face and joined my wife on the couch. I asked her what a dough hook was.

It was true, Banksy was gone.

Seth Siegel is a social worker in Juneau, and has been published in Emprise Review, Metazen, and elsewhere.


Elan Lafontaine


“It’s because!” I whispered, “Linda, because!”
“Linda, I am just,” I repeated, “trying, it, Linda!”
“Linda, I am, just trying it!” I whispered.
“Linda, Linda - no one, talks, Linda?”
“Linda! Linda, no one!”
“Because I am, Linda!”
“Because I am!”
I, am just, trying, it, Linda!”

“Wait, son, wait,” Father Joseph begged. “Really!”
“Hey! Son!” He begged. “Sorry! Excuse me!”
“Wait! Son!”
“What’s, the drink, son?”
“What are the things are you drinking, son?”

“Mother!” my son says.
“Mother, you, you hated it, mother!”
“You hated it, mother!”

Linda says, “Son!”
My husband says, “Son!”
Linda says, “Son, shush up!”
My husband says, “Shush, son!
Son.” I say softly.
Joseph; son Joseph was; Joseph, was going to; was going to speak, about, something, son.”
“Let! That! Happen, son!” I say.
Son!” I say.



“Mother!” My son says.
My son says, “Mother! You, - mother, you, you hated it, mother!”
You, hated it, mother!
Joseph!” jokes my husband.
My husband jokes, “Were you, -- Joseph, were you, -- you were, Joseph, saying?”

“Well son,” I say, “Well, I’m, I’m son,” I say, “I’m, I’m guessing.”
“I’m guessing…I’m guessing…I’m guessing… sodas?”
“I’m guessing…I’m guessing…I’m guessing…drinks, son?”
“I’m guessing…I’m guessing… drinks?”
“Sodas, son?” Linda asks.
“Drinks, son?”
Linda is good - I am good – we are good.

Elan Lafontaine is 22. Work he has done has been seen at NOON, elimae, metazen, and BLIP.


Graeme Bezanson


In an underground bunker they’re teaching the alphabet
To gorillas, sloth, animals with articulated fingers.

The aye-aye’s impulse is to reread everything.
A climber shedding her antecedents

Transforms the tree house into a sniper’s
Nest into a permanent dwelling

Growing so ancient in the process that she is
Descended from nothing. Clairvoyance or

Astigmatism, a clear consensus was never reached.
To my mind she was far sounder than an enormous bell.

Graeme Bezanson is a founding editor of, an online journal of essays and poetry criticism. His poems have recently appeared in Washington Square, Coconut, Horse Less Review and The Agriculture Reader. He lives and works in Manhattan.


Colin Winnette & Ben Clark

Diving Trip

There’s a cliff near the lake where you can jump without fear of getting hurt.

It’s in view of the dam, too. So everyone driving past can see.

We could dive, and a fall would last long enough to yell whatever we felt like yelling.

But when you dove, you didn’t reach the lake.

You were trapped, just a foot or so above the water, just hanging there.

You looked great hanging there. Your muscles were taut.

They twitched every so often.

Everyone was watching you because you were either perfect or horrifying.

So much time passed that you got used to floating there.

You realized you could turn onto your back.

You were happier than ever.

You watched us dive whenever we came back. You complimented our form.

You still had to eat, suspended there. So we brought you light, tossable items.

You shelled the pistachios with your toes, arced them perfectly toward your mouth.

You thinned out regardless. And when you were invisible, we had to stop diving.

This poem is from Kate Jury Denton Texas, a book of poems written collaboratively by Colin Winnette and Ben Clark. Colin Winnette is the author of four books of fiction: Revelation (Mutable Sound 2011), Animal Collection (Spork Press 2012), Gainesville (forthcoming Atticus Books 2013), and In One Story, The Two Sisters (forthcoming Atticus Books 2013). He was a Finalist for the 1913 Press First Book Award. He can be found online at Ben Clark is the author of Reasons to Leave the Slaughter (Write Bloody 2011). He can be found online at They both live in Chicago.


j/j hastain

I thank you for everything, each layer, until the millionth egg

in the opera that xe began writing (after reflecting for many weeks on Griffin and Sabine), xe was devising a depiction. a strange portrait. having had its mouth surgically closed up because it was a threat to the patriarchy, the Character in the portrait had literally had pieces of metal soldered over its maw. regardless of the fact that the Character could not physically use its voice anymore because its maw had been trapped, it trained itself to psychically use its voice. xe debated with xemself about how to portray that complexity. “yes,” xe thought. “it would have to have a mental voice.”

the image that xe decided upon (in order to most accurately render the strange portrait and its complex voice into something visible), was that of a oscillating-ly dark and luminous egg.

how many sides does an egg have? xe wondered. but, it was not until xe began to consider whether or not the egg is filled or empty that xe spoke: “one if it’s filled in, two if it’s hollow.” xe was aware that with that statement xe was at middle of a not yet known question.

j/j hastain lives in Colorado, USA with xir beloved. j/j is the author of numerous cross-genre works previously published and forthcoming (a few of which are): prurient anarchic omnibus (Spuyten Duyvil), long past the presence of common (Say it with Stones), a womb- shaped wormhole (BlazeVox), treOOA(with Eileen Tabios/ Marsh Hawk Press). j/j’s writing has appeared in numerous journals including Trickhouse, Vlak, Big Bridge, The Offending Adam, Dear Sir, Eccolinguistics, Housfire, EOAGH, Aufgabe, Queerocracy Art, Masculine Femininities, Caketrain, Plath Profiles, Bombay Gin. j/j is currently in the process of curating an Anthology of Queer Nudes (Knives Spoons and Forks Press, 2013) and has helped curate (and participated in) two major Trans anthologies. j/j is an Elective Affinities participant, a member of Dusie kollektiv, writes for Lit Pub and is a regular contributor to Sous Les Paves. j/ j currently writes creative reviews for Big Other, Jacket2, Horse Less Press, PANK and Emprise Review. j/j’s work has was appeared in a Queer-focused show at the Leslie-Lohman Annex in New York. j/j’s books have been finalists in the Kelsey Street, Grey Book Press, Grace Notes Books, Switchback, Omnidawn, DIAGRAM and Ahsahta book and essay competitions. j/j’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Publishers Triangle. j/j’s manuscript extant shamanisms won the Pavement Saw poetry award. j/j’s manuscript dear secondary umbilical, won second place in the Mad Hatter’s Wild and Wyrd Poetry Contest. In 2011 j/j’s book we in my Trans was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award and j/j’s book prurient anarchic omnibus was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.


Sabra Embury

April Stultus 

Somehow I need to knock my husband out. Chloroform? Where do you buy that? Can I order that off ebay? Maybe I can slip Benadryl into a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Irresistible. 

Then when he's yawning and saying how tired he is, I'll say, "Why don't you hit the hay, honey. Get an early start tomorrow!" He'd say,“That's a good idea” and tuck himself in. This is nice because I'd hate to have to drag him across the house while he was sleeping. Dead weight really makes it difficult to pick somebody up! 

Next, I'd bring in a well-hidden buttload of hospital equipment: monitors, saline bags, syringes, and tape to secure ubiquitous clear tubing. Now, all that's the easy part. The hard part would be to find a five year- old child resembling our six month-old baby. He'd have to be just a touch exotic, with large green eyes and dark hair. I'd find him, perhaps through a casting call! This is LA after all. Perfect! 

With that in mind, we wait...till my husband wakes up--in bed in a hospital gown, tubes are attached to his arms, while the heart monitor beside his bed bleeps, bleeps, and while the Benadryl's still has him slightly discombobulated, the boy says his line: 

"Dad, DAD! Mom! He's awake!" 

This is where I would say, "Honey, welcome to 2016. You've been in a coma. The doctors told me to pull the plug, but I told them you were strong. You've come back to us!" This is where I'd hand him a plate of scrambled eggs and toast and say, "I made this everyday for 5 years. I figured you'd be hungry when you finally woke up."

Sabra Embury is the founding editor of the microfiction journal Troika Moonshine 300. Her work has been featured in Maintenant, NANO Fiction and Tottenville Review. She currently lives in Los Angeles and writes for The L Magazine.


Weike Wang

Chemist (n):

Chemist is the abbreviation for alchemist. An alchemist works to convert other substances into gold. Centuries later, this project remains open. Modern chemistry as we know it was invented by Antoine Lavoisier with his law of mass conservation. Mass is different from weight and potentially more polite. Going up on an elevator, your weight suggests you go on a diet. Your mass will not. Once the law of mass was established, chemists went on to make the periodic table. The first Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded in 1901. Alfred Nobel was the chemist who invented nitroglycerin or dynamite and the Nobel is his consolation prize to all of us. Since 1901, chemists have advanced their understanding of atomic structure while popular culture still demands the Bohr model. The Bohr model is obsolete. Electrons do not circle the nucleus like planets; they settle around it in probability clouds. A better description of electrons would be potential precipitation. At one point in time, the mark of a good chemist could be seen by a show of hands. Chemists used their fingers to check the doneness of a reaction and the fewer fingers you had the better. Under current health regulations, the chemist follows protocols in much the same way a cook follows recipes. Chemistry however is cooking you cannot eat. Given the latter, a chemist is simply a bad cook.

Weike Wang currently lives in Boston, MA,  She is a student at the Harvard School of Public Health.  


Russ Woods


Sara went to sleep next to her
dog and when she woke up she was in a new, vast bed. She spent

years traveling the bed searching for the dog but only ever found signs of him, some of which were very, very old.

I may never find him she said.
I can only wait for him to return to me in this lonely place.


Carrie Lorig

s c a t t e r s t a t e 

it’s like dissecting the pain beast and following it at the same time. this part is a body i’ve never heard of. this part is a body i’ve never heard an animal noise from. animals make noiseflowers, sweeter and tamer than any animal writing. animals make noiseanimals that eat spaces in the earth. animals make animal clowns that speak like the earth. i said this book of animal writing in order to find the hurricane sugars in the hooves of pain beasts. i eat the earth that hunches up into the soft spaces of their feet, the little hurricane lockets, and my body tightens and tightens with more parts. the pain beast munches bedroom dust out of my palms. the sounds of a record sand out its mouth. it paints the bone rise in the morning. its paints the need steamed around haunch colored blooms. the pain beast bursts out of the earth like a failure to speak spanish, hole, window propped open by you, mountain. it drops a potato in my palms. now everything makes a crack of water in the beach. i grew some space between my heart, an unending field noise. the pain beast eats the space between my heart and begins to speak foil map, a plane rewriting a word in the sky with sand, your back silence, the ink that was in the room with us. i rain the pain beast’s mouth with the skin on the shelf. we moo cry the moon deserts larger, brighter. the body of the moon hurts and makes an earth noise. the pickled glitter of it. the pain beast asked about its mane. the color of long litter pushed against the neck is? i took the land of its mane and i put it under the moon. the space between the moon grew as its haunches rose. the moon stopped speaking cloth vibrations in such size. it stopped speaking leaves arranged in the color of a hole. my mouth pickles the hurricanes until they are my hair. my mouth pickles the hurricanes until they are never your hair. it is not a mane, it is straps to bite down on. i’m sorry it hurts to know your parts are heard of. i heard you get up in the middle of the night and put the land there. i heard the skin on the bed move. i heard the space grow between your hand. the animal noise of it creaked and it gave me a scar like this. at night it reflects the light from your back. some of my hair is loose near my neck. i’ll let you know if i hear anything more from you. i’m sorry the pain beast makes people wear a hole in their pile of sticks. the pain beast makes me wear the shade of the sky overhead, where the last noise you made is buried around and around and around and around. the pain beast is more of a red stuck inside a drain than a reason a body would trouble the fields inside of it. the pain beast’s parts get up and move. there are so many pieces of land that need love and air. land that dissolved your noiseflowers into a fat has straps around based on your voice. nothing but nothing gets out. you are the closest thing to a word i think i can feel in my mouth. it moves with a part i don’t know the name for. blood with sound buried inside of it falls out of my ears and turns the faces the earth makes blue. it makes the pain beast rub its back in the sand because it is suddenly covered in bites from the word that used to be in the sky. the pain beast hides its parts inside of its blood. inside of the pain beast i found flat rocks arranging the water around them. i said this is not your part. we never gave you a part like that. does a word i haven’t used before say it that way? the moon deserts were scheduled to depart at the usual time. instead, they slap their cheeks with the ends of the earth to keep themselves and a hum in the sky.

Carrie Lorig lives in Minneapolis, MN. She has an orange bike for legs and a shattered cheek from all the poetry. Here is a blog.


Stacy Rollins

Sleep, Mode of Anti-behavior in Persons and PCs 

Sleep terrorists deploy noise. The automobile is the terrorist’s cannon for shooting heavy artillery in waves, ground-based transmissions of sonar combat. Make and model of vehicle are irrelevant, as is color and scenery of crime. Picture a red light. He is there, idle, riding low to the ground. But to say you can see his trespass in color by the light of night is prevarication, folly of sprite American lap dogs undisturbed. Grade-A sleep terrorists (GASTs) are essentially motile, anathema of happy lap dogs. GASTs may come in cartons of four; more frequently, however, the terrorist boasts solo like a stomping rooster, ready to start others’ days at night with booms. 

The Doppler Effect cahootes with the terrorist. Do not be duped: The Doppler is not the anchorwoman on location at the beach during hurricane Camille, standing by to show and warn. Rather, it is the Secretary of Offense, budgeting artillery equitably and fanning the fare. It is futile to target The Doppler, even with roaming thoughts of retribution. At the end of his circuit, the grade-A sleep terrorist parks at the bar and attaches his posterior to a receptor. The bar may have aligned itself already with its likenesses in strip formation to produce the armada of woe, the commune of bass. Whether independent or in family assembly, the bar is a grade-B sleep terrorist and the stationary second home base or barn of grade-A. Here, hardy glasses of the deep amber barley fluids and these glasses’ inaudible twinkly tinklings inspire him. He knows that what he can not hear is there, and that in his vehicular rounds he helps shatter clear song. “Cheers,” the smug terrorist says unto the din and hubbub, satisfied that the din and hubbub are both too busy to listen. His eyes are swollen slits in the smoke. 

The band in the back rocks a bleary-eyed gentleperson out of her warm mattress stack and she calls cops to complain. Two cops rush in with a gust of cold sweat, panting white. But common cops can’t deprive the sleep terrorists of their basic necessities the way those terrorists can the complainers theirs. The cops console her as though her flannel nightgown means nothing. “This is my computer desk,” she explains, pointing, “where tomorrow I will be forced to think. I am not a mover or a shaker and I do not wish to be moved or shaken.” 

The cops do not see. The stout one fiddles with the radio at his belt because the signal is breaking up. Over and out. They do not see because she does not say: Sleep mode of person dangles like a thin icicle, a temporary crystal of dim chill, moonlit spectrum of dream. Sleep mode of PC hides the screensaver, recurrent astronaut dream of person. The terrorist is driven to wreck rods and conical suspension, to murder the sleep person with her very own dangling mode. The terrorist hates the PC because it saves its screensaver, thereby reminding the person of how things might be. They might rightly be if she could take a caesura, if taking one would count for something.

Stacy Rollins received her M.A. in Creative Writing from Florida State University in 2003 and is the author of two books. There are large deposits of poetry and prose poetry on her hard drive that appear to belong to her, as well. Her most recent work appears in Atticus Review. She enjoys planting and trimming paronomasia mazes and getting lost in them, stubbing portmanteaus, dealing in Tarot spreads and magic spellings, unplugging the circuitous, creating visual art, singing, and grating her lemony zest for life in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where she lives with her boyfriend of eight years. 


Berit Ellingsen

Poison Ore Heart

For this story you must believe that the mind is imprisoned inside the body, that the body is separate from the rest of the world, and that the mind’s thoughts make up a whole personality. Only then will this story become true.

The world was an epic poem, but became a dirge. We wrung the air and the water and the soil like a rag until everything became too hot and dry. We shared our resources, but only with those who could give something back. The rest had to make do with history. Then the snow came. For a while it reprieved the heat and lack of sweet water, until the stream became a river and the river became a flood. The earth had turned as dry and cracked as our lips and liquefied until the snow buried everyone in white.
     It was then the memory of the poison ore heart came to us, suddenly and in a dream. The heart had fed us with flames until it was so weak it was no longer worth defending, always-halving but never-ending, like an old and dying sun. Reawakened, the heart might chase away the snow and bring enough spring for sowing. We had to do it.

This is where it ends: In a steel hall between reticent, snow-burdened mountains, under a mute sky, snow falling like ashes, and the air so frozen that metal tears the skin off your fingers. The lashing nettle-wind shrieks and tries every door and hollow window frame like a burglar coming at night, clinks across the shard lake on the concrete floor. The red-rusted leylines with the piss-golden insulators curve into the sky and sing of legacies lost, of eternal life squandered.

Rows of people dig a deep, wide hole in the sun-scorched ground. Their clothes are wrinkled with sweat and grime, their eyes hooded with resignation. Projectiles tear holes in their bodies, flings them around like plastic bags in the wind. The diggers pitch into the hole. Behind them, another group of diggers step up to the ragged lip, shovel over the first group, before they too dance like marionettes with cut strings. You fill your mouth with food, but you can only chew once before you spit it out, it tastes too much of ashes.

The heart starts with a shudder and a spark like the first flame, loops in tight, heating circles, Oroboros devouring itself with joy. The heart swells to fire and claws at the sky. The world explodes in heat and pain, like a cry of war or murder, but you run to it instead of away from it, because there is nowhere else to go. The poison ore heart will chase away the ages of softness and surety so far they may never return. But this is not the end, only a beginning.

You and I denote no one and no thing. They are simply chalk marks on the blackboard or letters on the page.

Berit Ellingsen is a Korean-Norwegian fiction writer whose stories have or will appear in SmokeLong, Metazen, decomP, Unstuck, Bluestem and other literary journals. Berit was a semi-finalist in the Rose Metal Press Chapbook Competition and a runner-up in Beate Sigriddaughter’s Ghost Story Competition in 2011. Her chapbook What Girls Really Think was published by Turtleneck Press in February 2012. Berit’s novel, The Empty City, is a story about silence ( Find out more at


David Queen

Thomas and Cora

In the early part of winter one year, Thomas asked Cora what she'd meant when she told him that she usually felt alone, but she didn’t know how to reply.

Together, they stood on a bridge above the river. Cora gripped the railing, and turned to face Thomas. Her lips were purple from the cold. She shook.

“You know when you’re listening to someone play a song on a piano, and you think you hear notes that are there, hidden in the back, but they’re not actually played?”

Thomas cupped his hands around his breath for a moment.

“I can't stand this cold,” he said.

“Did you hear me?” she asked.

“Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve never really noticed that before.”

Thomas put his arm around Cora, and together they walked back the way they’d come, wading through the snow.

Now Cora is dead and Thomas has since put all his time and effort into creating those little glass bottles with model ships inside them.

It was always a mystery as to what brought them together in the first place, Thomas and Cora.

David Queen was born and raised in Ohio, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently working on his first collection of short stories, which originated in the form of his blog Postcard Stories; an ongoing series of stories based on real vintage postcards that he collects. 


Cherolyn Fischer


i tore a hole
in the universe
and found a hidden tunnel of light. a hundred mouths screamed down it and exploded it
with throbbing echoes.
shards of broken universe flew
out both ends of the tunnel
and in every direction fragments spun:
eve covered her eyes from the blinding whitelight,
     time stopped its ticking,
neurons slowed to a halt,
     ricefields sprouted wings,
liquid turned to bone,
     street dogs melted into clouds.
they drifted
     a w a y.

i tore little holes
in my skin, and saw the universe again, burning and swirling redhot just under the
the flames spat out
a fat juicy strawberry. i took a bite and immediately knew i was eating my own heart.
my blood made me dizzy, i wheeled into space and
e x p a n d e d
into everything,
my atoms p u l l e d  a p a r t ,
forever spinning,
     like a record
you forgot
     to turn off.
scratch-thump. scratch-thump. scratch-thump.

Cherolyn Fischer lives in Minneapolis, MN. She strives to unearth the true nature of humanity through poetry and music. This is her first published work.


Scott Keeney

Apterous Dragonfly

I think I understand when you rush things
the ordinary intervals become overwhelming
so I don't have to write day in and day out
but I do anyway. I write the stars and that's
no good I don't have that opinion or friends
“how gay.” I felt most at home in the world
in the 1970s, from ages one to six, you can
put a stamp on that envelope and mail it
in like this poem or bicycle ride with me
to the cinnamon river in this vanilla spring
through this desperate small brown town
everybody lives in wondering why there's
not a rat in desperate like there is in separate
I maybe should have called it chocolate
but it's too late you can't walk through
the same room twice any more than you can
eat PB&J at a picnic table in the sun with-
out getting thirsty or feel an obligation to
the people who came before you, the good
ones, the dead ones, every time you place
your fingertips on the keys gently poised
to type up something spectacular like
a general attitude things would be better
if you moved to Montana and opened up
a smoothie bar with WiFi and a small selection
of poetry books for reading or for sale. As
I moved through the 80s—or was it the 80s
moved through me?—I came to appreciate
William Bonney more than Jesse James,
thus separating myself, enough at least,
from my father, which is emblematic of
my position here today. It's the same feeling
I get when I'm up on the roof brushing off
snow or scooping leaves from the gutters.
Sure, language can take us somewhere
but only if we're willing to go. That limitation
is the circle we inhabit, less wind in the sail
than sand in the pail. I don't want to echo
anyone in this, not Wordsworth, not Pound,
would rather strike out on my own California
of sound with mistake-filled flourishes like
apterous dragonflies, useless, ugly, unable
even to hide, uncomfortable communication
cultivated from regolith and subsoil and rabid sky.

Scott Keeney is the author of Sappho Does Hay(na)ku (Sephyrus 2008). His poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, failbetter, Juked, Mudlark, New York Quarterly, and Shampoo among other places.


Thierry Brunet


I entered a Taco Bell by
the safest gates - for some
amoebas burrito - people
fed with wagons of noise –

what everybody was fighting
for – catabolic brutality – like
Lego bots but with red shirts
and reckless bones – they are

the last outline – hardly pushed –
swimming in interrobangs with
lazy shoulders to revel in success

Thierry Brunet currently lives in Antibes, on the French Riviera. His poems and illustrated texts appear or are forthcoming in Cricket Online Review, Word For/ Word, WORK, Sous Rature, Danse Macabre, Alice Blue, NAP, The South Dakota Review and elsewhere. His first full-length collection, Waste, has been published by BlazeVOX.