Valentina Cano – Poem

A Night for Paralysis

Sometimes my blood crystallizes
and refuses to do anything
but scratch at the veins that cocoon it.
No air passes through me,
and I am locked in place,
a doll in mid-smile.
At these moments,
I’m afraid a breath will topple me over
and I will shatter,
my glittering insides
dancing across this floor.

Hal Sirowitz – Prose Poem

How to Maintain Trust

Her kisses ruined my evening. I kept exhorting myself, “Stay in the moment. Be happy what you’re getting. Don’t get stuck in the ‘Disease of More.'” But each kiss led to expectations, ending in frustration. “That last kiss,” I contemplated, “would have caused another woman to loosen her buttons. Why were my kisses doing nothing out of the ordinary? Should I use my hands? But didn’t she declare this only a touching of the lips night. Our hands weren’t supposed to be part of the equation. I was hoping my hands would fall asleep, but they stayed awake. It was like answering the telephone with your feet. Our hands were supposed to be held behind our backs.” I put my hand gently on her collar. “No hands,” she said. “You’re cheating.” “What’s a little cheating,” I said, “among friends?” “If you persist,” she said, “we might as well throw trust out the window.” Then, she got off the couch, and opened the window. “Go ahead,” she said. “Throw trust outside. That will technically end our kissing session.” Why out of all the woman in my Education and Evaluation class, I go out with the one who’s the most literal?

Stephanie Guo – Poem

the brief and wondrous death of jeremiah tompkins

they found him crouched
under a cardboard box
at the intersection of twitch
& lynch. he was sweating softly
when they took him in, having just
swallowed his tongue

it was a bright and thirsty
afternoon. his silvered hair
caught in our eyes. he
was fluid and spoke softly
when jaunted side to side
by the boys, yessuh,
and the horses, yes’m,
and the wives.

the tree was thronged
by eva’s twelve grandmothers
and my three sons
and the sun’s slivered proximity.
i grabbed my youngest, addam,
and said, nowlookaway –

he didn’t kick
as the noose tightened.
on the way up
he gazed at us
as if
were the gnarled woods
that fed into the fairy spring
the constellation of freckles
dotting his lover’s cheek
the sister he’d left
needling her way
through blanched postcards
and war rations
and stiffened script
when he went up

north. he looked at us
as if we
had been the ones
under a cardboard box
at the intersection of twitch
& lynch: saliva congealing:
pockets rustling: a sweet

and fumbling acrid: heavy:
on our lips:

(in the corners of my eyes,
i make out
the hunched posture
of my retching son)

why: he looked at us
until he couldn’t:

John Grey – Poem

Survival of the Species

You explain shrews in winter,
how they mostly freeze and die,
how just a few survive
but they’re so adept at propagation
that that’s all it takes
to renew the species.

You think nothing
of a hundred thousand tiny rodents
folding up inside their fur
to futilely ward off sub-zero temperatures,
their blood, their flesh chilling
from the outside in
until there’s just a heart
beating its way into that icy oblivion.

You think nothing of that
scramble of survivors,
half-sensual, half-desperate,
to grab at the fleeting shreds
of living left to them,
replenish their meager species
just so there’ll be more
to suffer through
what they have suffered.

You think nothing of saying
there’s a beauty
to that rustle in the leaf-molds,
those high-pitched
squeals of lovemaking,
the bustle of litters, of feeding,
of shrew imprinting shrew.

It’s all part of our walk
deep into the forest.
It’s all part of our childlessness
and the deeper chill
that brings you.

Andrew Taylor – Poem


A coldness
large and white
like a Russian Winter

It’s the gap
that does it
the wait

for a new elusive
ideal summer

the thermometer
doesn’t show it
the calendar does

such vulnerability
a transient work
this will not
sort your head out

take the window seat
it is actually a pew

with the selling
of the gold
there was talk
of security

but there never was

Kelli Stevens Kane – Poem


from Hallelujah Science

I cut a record in dreamland
to give the world a taste of its own medicine
I cut patterns for dresses for angels in black fabric
I cut the moon out of cookie dough and bake it at 350 degrees
I cut split ends from my hair and drop them down into a Frisbee
I cut my finger on the thin blade of a wide ruled loose-leaf
I cut a cucumber with a pocket knife into whole half-circles
I cut a moment and watch it sprout
a million minute petals
they pick me up
and carry me
back to the beginning,
(once upon a time)
where there are no