After Bukowski by Nicole Michaels

People die of the dumbest things.
They slip and fall,
they get TB and wreck
cars. They choke on ramen noodles,
and succumb to allergic reactions to bees and wheat,
blow up their junk with firecrackers.
Ever had an aneurysm while shopping for oranges?
Somebody has.
We love,
we drown in waterfalls,
heads upturned like turkeys.



Nicole Michaels is a Marin County, CA native who makes her home in frontier Wyoming. She is a working poet with a degree in English from Stanford University where she studied under the late Diane Middlebrook and chose an emphasis in feminist studies. She spent some time in the American South as a journalist for small papers.


Detail, photo by GFreihalter, of Charles Bukowski, Graffiti, Rue d’Alsace im 10. Arrondissement von Paris

Old Manuscript by Alfred Kreymborg


The sky
is that beautiful old parchment
in which the sun
and the moon
keep their diary.
To read it all,
one must be a linguist
more learned than Father Wisdom;
and a visionary
more clairvoyant than Mother Dream.
But to feel it,
one must be an apostle:
one who is more than intimate
in having been, always,
the only confidant –
like the earth
or the sea.



Alfred Kreymborg, 1883 – 1966


Photograph Starry Night at La Silla, European Southern Observatory.

House Hunters by Mary Ellen Saughan

We looked at house after house and though you would have been happy with several we found none to my liking, this one too large, that one too small, this one too new, that one too old, one too near the neighbors, the next too isolated, one with too many walls, another too few, who wants a bathroom without a door? I asked and no one answered and then we came to this house, perfect in every way, not too big, not too small, not too close or too far, not too many walls or too few, though with the condition that we never remove the wallpaper from the master bath, the black wallpaper with pink flamingos scattered across the landscape as it was the sole surviving reminder of the owner’s honeymoon 30 years earlier and she believed that to remove or conceal this wallpaper would put a curse on both herself and the buyer, so we were required to sign a contract swearing never to tamper with the existing wallpaper, not ever, which we did – sign I mean – not looking at each other, the paint chart secreted away in my pants’ pocket, the bold new color bleeding into the gabardine of my best trousers and indelibly staining my leg, a constant reminder of the day you took your bags and drove away leaving me in a house perfect but for the wallpaper, your parting words staining the air blue, the color of a curse, I’m pretty sure.



Mary Ellen Shaughan is a native Iowan and a late-blooming poet. She now lives in a hotbed of poetry in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Foliate Oak, Blue Moon, 2River View, A Quiet Courage, and in a recent volume of poetry entitled Home Grown.

Califragile’s Chico, CA Launch Party a Great Night; Gets News Coverage

social stewards at launch partyCT leads closing activity at launch party

C.T. Butler facilitates an activity.

Wren & CT at launch party 2

Wren Tuatha and C.T. Butler at the greeter’s table.

CT introducing Wren at the launch party

Co-Publisher C.T. Butler introduces Editor Wren Tuatha to start the readings.

Mike, Kate and Paul converse at launch party

Califragile contributing poet and organizer Paul Belz (right).

Thanks to the many Chicoans who braved an unusually cold night to celebrate the great contributors and planned projects of Califragile. Special thanks to Guillermo Mash of ChicoSol News for his photographs, video and coverage! Enjoy them here!


Political Experiment by Paul Belz

The landlord, “The Laird” went away,
deserted this island like a pond drying up.
His mess – broken down houses and pier,
spotty electricity, bare land, followed him.
Dancers, farmers, dreamers took charge.
No awaiting laird’s permission to plant trees.

A mud matted border collie
demands hikers toss stones towards Laig Bay
and Isle of Rhum whose wind slashed hills
slip in and out of clouds. No laird,
just an insistent dog who digs, tosses sand
when her guests pause to watch ring necked plovers
scurry on rocks. The hikers aim stones away from birds
and their barking friend fetches.
Late feudalism stumbled,
choked, flowed into abrupt democracy.
Cattle graze
on common land among old volcanic peaks,
Rabbits hop, corn crakes flutter among blue flowers.
Bats zip and zap mid air
near hidden cottages and crofts.
Thin roads weave through grassy hills.
Drivers pull over for sheep who “Baaa!”
in a hundred tones. White waterfall crashes
down black basalt cliffs.
No laird here;
farmers, historians, artists, teachers, cooks –
and a dog who runs back with a stone.


–Isle of Eigg, Scotland, July 2015.



Paul Belz is an environmental educator and writer, currently based in Chico, California. He teaches natural history for preschool and elementary students, their parents, and teachers. Paul has published articles in Terrain Magazine, the East Bay Monthly, Childcare Exchange Magazine, the website Boots’n’All, and the blogs Wild Oakland and Green Adventures Travel. He’s co-editing a book on bioregional education with Judy Goldhaft of San Francisco’s Planet Drum Foundation. His poetry appears in a number of publications, including Canary, Living in the Land of the Dead (an anthology on homelessness by San Francisco’s Faithful Fools Ministry), Poetalk Quarterly, Just Like Cabbage, Only Different, The Poeming Pigeon, Blueline, the anthology What’s Nature Got to Do With Me? and others. His other joys include hiking and camping, world travel, vegetarian cooking, and long walks around San Francisco and his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

#MeToo: Infused by Amy Baskin

The teapot, still on the table
knows how to keep still. She waits here,
holding hot water and tea leaves,
insulates your brew, works for you.

Defense is not her vocation.
The teapot, still on the table
can’t scream or burn you like kettles.
Still, don’t handle her swanlike spout.

Thank her whether she’s full of tea
or empty. She can nourish you,
that teapot. Still, on the table,
she just wants to keep the tea hot.

What reason, if any, should you
respect her weak and fragile clay?
Can you hold and give and pour like
the teapot? Still. On. The. Table.



Amy Baskin’s work is featured in Every Pigeon, apt, What Rough Beast, Riddled with Arrows, Fire Poetry Journal, The Ghazal Page, and more. She’s a 2016 Willamette Writers Kay Snow Poetry award recipient for her poem, About Face. She’s worked on revision with Paulann Petersen and Renee Watson of I, Too Collective, and participates in generative groups hosted by Allison Joseph and Jenn Givhan.

My Brother, a Broken Violin String, in Four Parts by Michael H. Brownstein

The tension in my brother a router bit
slipping away from its collet and shaft
tormenting all of us into worry and expense
as if money is the only matter between us,
the only act of love, of caring, of speech,
friction and the noise of friction, metal
and the noise of metal, wood and the noise
of wood, empathy and the basic spread
of impious injustice, a total lack of power.

He could have been a hurricane,
but when the storm surge came,
he backed away rather than move forward.
In the tension of rain and wind,
he howls, scratches, screams
and then opens the sky to quiet,
but he cannot sleep, he cannot dream.
What if my brother could take
his hurricane and run into another?

The Atlantic is heavy with warmth,
sun, wind, hollows, thick humidity,
even the moon a lampshade of light.
My brother, my brother, he sighs,
worries, asks the same question,
retreats within the same answer,
stumbles into rusted out landscapes,
tension and rusty bits of machinery,
decisions best made by someone else.

My brother hides in plain sight
near the frontier of Israel and Palestine,
a checkpoint, soldiers with automatic weapons,
armored vehicles, more automatic weapons,
summer heat, winter heat, shade and shallow imprints,
barbed wire and rusting barbed wire, water
caught in sand, wind caught in sand, tensions
a category three soon to grow into a five,
my brother, broken bits, maybe a hurricane.



Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).


Detail of After the Hurricane by Winslow Homer.

#Immigration: A Well-Lit Ocean by Trish Saunders

Row along, children, nothing to see here,
it’s not an oar that floats in the seaweed
but a branch, slender as hope;
that stifled cry was a gull—

how much time have I spent reassuring you?
probably not enough;

a beached boy lying face down is not a boy,
but a large doll,
eyes closed
in sleep;

waves turn his face
from the pitiless sun,
but keep his blue shorts on,
one last kindness.
Stars wince.




Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.


Photograph of Syrian and Iraqi refugees arriving in Greece by Ggia. 

Photograph of the body of drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi by Nilufer Demir. 

Bottoming Out by Devon Balwit

“The neurochemistry is so similar that it’s scary,” –Julian Pittman

O blue piscine, droop-finned.
O saline sorrow, interested in nothing

but bottom-muck, ventral and anal fins
dragging pebbles, the world muffled

by glass, only boredom within reach,
circuit after circuit, the same effort

to go the same distance, gills laboring,
tank water ever less breathable.

Please—a scuba diver, a dropped leaf,
a stick, a new feng shui—anything

to lift her to surface dapple, to a scalene
of odd angles. Imagine yourself

in such nothingness and count days.
A handful would break you, a lifetime

and your mouth would be as hers—gaping—
streamers of shit looping slow circles.




Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found or are upcoming in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Ekphrastic Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.

Tea Leaves by Leah Angstman

To the family, the Sabbath lost would entail the loss of the home day—the day of domestic re-union, instruction, worship, and charity. Family government would lose its tone…domestic purity would be imperiled—for the two oldest institutions in the world are interlinked…
Rocky Mountain News Weekly, via American Messenger, April 23, 1859


Easy to gloss over, hidden words with more
than meaning. Instruction, family government.

But what it meant was I might have the ladies over to tea.
We might gossip about politics, a coming war in the South
that seemed so far from us, men’s talk, workweeks and
Walter’s suspenders always on the mend,
Elsa’s troubled children. (And they were trouble.)

But worst was the tea, to Frank. The tea.
It meant liberation, a mind inside mine. I could
hold a cup and see worlds in it, swirling around a
broken axis, cycloning apart from his center.
Family government would lose its tone;
make no mistake, this was Frank’s voice,
speaking through an edition, forbidding me to cyclone.

Sundays were for him, for him, for him.
For his pork chops, for his tall tales. For his instruction.
A list too filled with vanities of man to axis
around vanities of women—another day that I
must drop my cup to lift his.



Leah Angstman is a historian and transplanted Midwesterner, unsure of what feels like home anymore. She is the recent winner of the Loudoun Library Foundation Poetry Award and Nantucket Directory Poetry Award and was a placed finalist in the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, Able Muse Book Award, Bevel Summers Prize for Short Fiction, and Pen 2 Paper Writing Competition (in both Poetry and Fiction). She serves as Editor-in-Chief for Alternating Current Press and a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and her work has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, Electric Literature, Slice Magazine, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. Find her at



Detail of Afternoon Tea Party by Mary Cassatt, 1891. 

Peel This Face Away by Jamie O’Connell

I am / eucalyptus bodies / pickpocket squirrels in
groves / I am always alone / planting crows
inside sand dunes / protect sandpipers from cement /
eucalyptus peels / like plastic tumbleweed / the
golden gate bridge constructed by sunken ships /
and ropes / anchored into pangaea / eucalyptus
bodies / sweep branches / rain into sewers / construct
the golden gate / with spongy wood / little houses on
the hilltop / receding sand on ocean beach / paint swept
by fog / street cleaning hours from ten to three /
I am always alone / sun scars on cars / disintegrate
sand cement / over peninsula / wrapped with clouds /
atmosphere holes and whole water / wrapped around
eucalyptus bodies / peel this face away / peel cement off
streets / construct ships of Pangaea / I’m always
searching for rip tides / pull sand / eucalyptus bodies
in sewers / pull pacific ocean / we are the invasive
species / the dunes are protecting or not



Jamie O’Connell currently lives in the Bay Area, where she received her MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. Her poetry can be found in Menacing Hedge, Troop Zine, Newfound, and Forth Magazine, and her multimedia work has been exhibited in College Avenue Galleries in Oakland. She spends most of her time with her majestic zebra-striped dog/direwolf, Daisy. Visit her site here:



Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Jamais by Laura S. Marshall

I’d like to believe that you invented French,
that no words like frisson or frémir
existed before you breathed them
against the skin of my neck.

You took my tears and my sighs
and you gave them magical names like larmes
and soupirs, words and sounds and feelings
that never were thought or heard or felt

before you and me,
and now I speak courrament and can
understand without
a dictionary in my hands.

Now we only communicate in French
when we are together: We are all plush tones
and prosodic stress and soft sighs
and mots véloutés and grandes respirations

and we write multipage poems for each other.
Once you sent me a letter,
but it was accidentally in English,
which you still speak with your family

and the people in your office and at the store.
In the letter you wrote not of frissons
or larmes or soupirs but of things I couldn’t
translate or even pronounce. I held it

up to the light, pretending you were inventing
something again, a new way to say: “Oh,
here’s another gift for you, something
to unwrap like French” or “Now

we don’t even need words at all – I’ve made you
something better.”
But you never mailed
the letter. You never even wrote it. In fact

you just called, mumbling, humming,
a little drunk, to get a number
for one of my friends. You were hoping
she could teach you new words and new phrases

and when I gave you the secret code
you used a word I knew once and I said – what –
not hanging up the phone, though
I wanted to pretend that your voice lowered

to velvet and brushed new words
over my ears, my skin, to make me
shiver and tremble and sigh
and maybe even cry

with the magic of the names.
But of course you only laughed
and you thanked me with your flat hard voice,
with your stupid English words.



Laura S. Marshall is a writer and editor who lives in New England. She studied linguistics as an undergraduate at Queen’s University in Canada and as a grad student at the University of British Columbia. She has studied writing at the Ashbery Home School, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at UMass Amherst, and the College of Our Lady of the Elms. Her work appears or is forthcoming in literary publications including Epigraph Magazine, Lavender Review, Junoesq, and the Queen’s Feminist Review, as well as newspapers and trade magazines.


Detail of Les Deux Amies by Lagrenee.

#MeToo: Persephone by Caroline Zimmer

You went down, dragged
with eddies of dead,
foaming heads in the current
that welled like spit.

I went down,
his whore
on the trap house floors
that crumbled and caved in.

You went underground,
where triple hound maws
snapped. You spilled your blood
for their bruised tongues to lap.

I went, 90 pounds
with one clock to the jaw,
heard cockroaches in the walls
and his roommate fap.

He showed you his cock,
his sinkhole mouth,
bulge and roll scrotum
of pomegranate beads.

He showed me the jail lock,
the carnal brink
and bloodied my ass—

Our mothers don’t sleep;
who knows what they know?
When we come staggering back,
they stare, ash faced and blank.

The earth opens up like a woman, to waste.
Do they too suffer our surrender?
My mother picks scabs off her face.
We tie knots in our souls to remember.

The return is inevitable for us,
thawing through winter’s atrophy.
Pollen fails to mix with our hair’s death dust.
Mother’s leafy arms do nothing for me.

With the clotted seeds of the first dead fruit,
You descend again, stolen child, sovereign trapped.
Barefoot from the ER, I also get back,
fumble dreamily there with the needle in my lap.



Caroline Zimmer’s poetry, as well as her visual art, has appeared in The Maple Leaf Rag, Umbra and Unspoken magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where she lives with her Doberman, Iris and her fiancé, fellow poet, David Rowe. Caroline tends bar and reads tarot cards out of her home.


Detail of The Rape of Persephone by Rupert Bunny, 1913.

chimerism by Beth Gordon

fresh-boiled bats exit the atmosphere hungry balls of sonar an endless Icarus
serenade crystal quartz and crystal water vie for room in a melting
womb the vanishing twin reimagines landscape compositions still life
with skeletal bears flocks of flesh-gorged vultures empty mockingbird
nests you say sand you say snow you say white swallows white with no hope
of flame of reunion at journey’s end you say they died of broken hearts I say
we will roam future streets frozen ghosts in frozen ghost towns we will search for dead things forever floating in jars if this was a list it would be endless



Beth Gordon is a writer who has been landlocked in St. Louis, Missouri for sixteen years but dreams of oceans daily. Her work has recently appeared in Into the Void, Quail Bell, Calamus Journal, By&By, Five:2:One, Barzakh, and others. She can be found on Twitter @bethgordonpoet.





Related Article: It’s so hot in Australia that bats’ brains are frying

Images via Wikimedia Commons.

Oxtail Soup by Tanya Ko Hong

Leaf_Print_on_Sidewalk oxtail soup_02

I look at the bruise on my left hand
dark purple

mung—holding in the pain
silence of sorrow
ashes spread on the ocean
settling in layers
palimpsest of lives
like maple leaf

impressions left on the sidewalk after
they’ve blown away
a raven on the roof that said
Disconnect the phone

Turn on the gas
making Oyako Donburi
tears come
cutting up the onions—
the best gift

I crack cold eggs
Whip pour over
boiling napa and chicken broth
close the pot lid
turn off the gas

pour over bowl of rice
feed child—

Empty unmade bed—
a summer river where
I didn’t want to see his body—

one poet said
after his wife’s funeral,
he found a strand of her hair
on the pillow and wept

I made sukiyaki the day my dad died—
I had to feed my children.

Oxtail soup
That’s what Daddy made—
suck out all the dead blood
and boil until broth turns milky—

When I leave
I want to leave beautifully.


Previously published in Paris Press Spiraling Poetry.



Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, poet, translator and cultural curator, has been published in Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Entropy, Cultural Weekly, Korea Times, Korea Central Daily News, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Mother to Myself, A collection of poems in Korean (Prunsasang Press, 2015). Her poem, Comfort Woman, got honorable mention in the 2015 Women’s National Book Association. Tanya is an ongoing advocate of bilingual poetry, promoting the work of immigrant poets. She lives Palos Verdes, CA.


Photograph by Ryan Hodnett.

(Three Little Words) by Alexis Rhone Fancher

 For Francesca Bell.

M has never said I love you before.
Not to me.

He cries at weddings, like a girl.

The sex is only good if we’re totally fucked up.
It blurs how wrong we are for each other.

English is not M’s native tongue. It eludes him.

Maybe he misspoke?
His prepositions hang mid-air.

He says it’s hard to think when it’s hard.

M’s white teeth nibble at my clit like a ferret.
The two front ones indent slightly;
it makes him look goofy, like a joke.

Sometimes when we have sex, M’s calico meow trips
across my back. Rakes a claw. Caterwauls.

She doesn’t want me here.

Sometimes when we have sex, I am the one in heat.

Outside, the tin roof rain suicides
on the hard-packed earth.

M is fucking me from behind, his
body melded into my ass, fingers kneading my breasts.
He’s mumbling up the courage.
I know what he’s trying to say.
I want to fuck him mute.

In the bedroom there’s this
Dennis Hopper photo of Tuesday Weld,
driving, top down, blonde hair streaming.
Circa 1968. She’s unfettered.

Why can’t he see that
I am that girl, my top down,
my hair streaming,
my consequence-less life?

M. bought the print for me but
I don’t want it.
I want nothing from him but
a silent film, a carnival.
I want him to want that, too.

I want him to shut up but
he zeros in on my ear

and says it.


First published in Cactus Heart Magazine, 2014.



Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.


Photograph by Adhvaith.

Channeling by Martin Willitts, Jr.

The heat is hissing, and the lake is lower.
If rain ever comes to the rescue,
will it be too late? A few murmured sentences,
not offering relief? There’s a weariness to this
silence, just a stone’s throw away, a ghostly,
eerie light — hovering, a damselfly
barely making noise. This is channeling; but what,
we do not know, and we do not like the unknown.

We may not know restraint. We question.
We may not appreciate it if we do not get answers.
The lake is emptying with heat, hissing.
It’s light at its cruelest. It’s a damselfly whisper.
Like a thread unraveling, it’s the soul-light
emerging from a skull at death, I’ve seen it.



Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks and 10 full-length collections. He has 3 more full-length collections forthcoming including “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press), “News From the Slow Country” (Aldrich Press), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press).

#MeToo: Two Poems by LeeAnn Meadows

When I Told

When I told my mother
she held me in her eyes,
wide and moist for only a second,
then she straightened her face
make herself presentable
and said,
”Your father could never have
done something like that. . .
You must be mistaken.”

When I told my brother
he listened unresponsively.
Later said he thought of me like someone
who had been abducted by aliens.
All other aspects and belief systems
are normal except this one aberrant belief.

When I told my lover
he held me in his long wiry arms
and let me cry.

Previous Published in Take Back the News.

Forewarning, 1969

I see you, Mother,
your bare legs crossed
in the wingback chair
outside the rental on the riverbed,
walls still stained waist high
from the 64’ flood.
A bright bold print stretched
across your pregnant belly,
full with your firstborn.

I want to warn you.

The handmade sweater
you are knitting
will not always fit
the tall, thin man you married.
His prominent forehead hidden
under reddish brown curls
Working as a civil engineer
he will survey the centerline
for Highway 101,
an important task.
Nightly you will greet him
with a ready smile and dinner.
I want to warn you
pack your walking shoes.

After your second born,
your husband will not come
straight home from work.
He will start drinking
lie down with strangers
then sleep with every
best friend you make
until eventually, you stop
making friends.
I want to warn you
leave now because later
you will think about leaving,
but find yourself without
the courage to lace your shoes.

I want to warn you.
Your smile will strain
and you will start
to believe his lies.
Eventually, you will join
the False Memory Society,
as you become unable
to cradle the truth
in both hands.

Previously published in Sin Fronteras: Writers without Borders.



LeeAnn Meadows was born and raised in Humboldt County, California and now calls New Mexico home. She lives on the outskirts of Las Cruces with her artist/husband, Glenn Schwaiger, and two dogs in an old adobe motel surrounded by pecan trees. Her work has appeared in Sin Fronteras, Adobe Walls, and Malpais Review.


Art is detail of Knitting Girl by Anders Zorn.

Comrades of the Dream Life by Sergio A. Ortiz

I recognize you,
those with the moon
spread on their face,
whose faces have no beginning
but have a resounding
and enveloping end,

the ones with smiling sores
on their bodies,
who sweeten thorns
and pin hope to hearts,
who have painful tails
and tender eyes, and move
like a falling leaf or a
shooting star.

I regret your arrival
before or after the pain,
always at the wrong time
but when needed.

Volunteers of laughter,
multipliers of atmospheres,
inventors of the game
who win without winning
even when losing.

Brothers of the flesh,
companions of the fierce tooth
that leaves a mark,
connoisseurs of navels and buttocks
and of their own music,
I greet you!



Sergio A. Ortiz (Featured Poet, August, 2017) is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a six-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016/17 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, Drunk Monkeys, Algebra Of Owls, Free State Review, and The Paragon Journal. His chapbook, An Animal Resembling Desire, will be published by Finishing Line Press. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.



Photograph by See-Ming Lee. 

#MeToo: renewable vs. disposable by Amy Baskin

the earth is a little coconut
crack her open for the meat
and liquid sweet
warm her up to tropic state
sprinkle her on chocolate cake
grate walls of her inner shell
keep nothing trapped inside

and then the metaphor fails

a coconut can be planted and grow
another tree full of coconuts to sell
but not the earth
planned obsolescence is built
right into her flawed design
ravage her once and look for another
the earth is disposable
but not the coconut



Amy Baskin’s work is featured in Every Pigeon, apt, What Rough Beast, Riddled with Arrows, Fire Poetry Journal, The Ghazal Page, and more. She’s a 2016 Willamette Writers Kay Snow Poetry award recipient for her poem, About Face. She’s worked on revision with Paulann Petersen and Renee Watson of I, Too Collective, and participates in generative groups hosted by Allison Joseph and Jenn Givhan.

#MeToo: For the Man Who Colonized My Body by Hinnah Mian


my mother tells me of how
her homeland was once
taken over by those who
felt as though they
were entitled to it
simply because she
wasn’t pretty enough
to call it her own

i can’t tell if its my
memory or hers
when i see the
stare of a soldier
holding his gun as
if its bullets
belonged in my body
as much as i
was supposed to belong
on this soil

she tells me we are
blessed to have two homes
on both ends of the world
and i tell her it is a curse
to not belong to
either of them

my mother tells me of how
disappointed she was in me
when i had my land
get taken over by
a man who felt as though
he was entitled to it
simply because i was too
pretty to not share it

he left his marks on me
the way the bombs
left their marks on
my mother’s hometown
when she was learning
how to be a little girl
in the comfort of her
own bomb shelter

she tells me of how
she was taught to
avoid the men marching
around with big guns
and uniforms because
they always seem to
have a hand on
the trigger

i tell her it is
hard to avoid them
when nowadays
everyone seems to
conceal their weapons

my mother tells me
the biggest regret
she ever had
was to let her country
get taken over by
those who can’t even
seem to recognize
its beauty

she doesn’t seem
to realize it
hurts the same
even as they
whisper you’re
so beautiful
when they are
your body



Hinnah Mian is a Pakistani-American Muslim poet who studies at Kenyon College. Her work has been previously published in the Blue Minaret and HIKA.


Photograph by DeviantArt ComaBlue.

Postures by Devon Balwit

The cellist rests her instrument between
her knees, finds the sway

and draws her bow. Atlas fits his shoulder
to the groove of the Earth, lifting.

The dog circles before settling, lays
his nose daintily across a paw.

The poet teases out spider-silk as long
as she has a body like the trees

that kindle then stand naked
in their bones, unabashed at being seen.



Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry); We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/ Complicated (with the Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic), and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found or are upcoming in Cordite, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, The Ekphrastic Review, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Rattle, Posit, and more.



Detail of The Cellist, 1908, by Joseph DeCamp.