Ann Batchelor Hursey

Made by Hand

My thumb loops yarn, inserts
……….the needle’s tip,
pulls yarn through each stitch: right
……….to left, back
to front—worked-in, slipped-off
……….my needle—
I purse my lips and knit
……….this prayer shawl
to warm a friend’s shoulders.
……….My son appears
to say, Knitting makes you
……….look older.
Startled, I think: Is this
……….the first time
he’s seen gray on my temples?
……….Is it the way
I squint beneath the lamp?
……….My needles slide,
knit three, purl three—and then
……….reverse the row
below; a three-beat seed
……….stitch, trinity
of healing thoughts. As fingers
……….move I tell
him how I cast sixty stitches,
……….like my age—
My needles slide, knit three, purl
……….three—three beat
trinity of healing thoughts—
……….Me, thinking when
was the first time I thought
……….my parents old?
Unobserved, I used to watch them
……….sitting, side by side—
their eyes on strangers— and me
……….wondering when
did they put on weight, when
……….did their shoulders
soften? My son speaks again,
……….would I listen
to a Haydn solo, the piece he
……….needs to learn
next week? He leans against
……….my knees, catches
the shawl, now falling off
……….my lap. My
hands graze past his unkempt hair
……….as we listen to
this floating melody, this
……….slow concerto.
It’s then I start my final row,
……….turn all that
length now gathered on the floor—
……….consider skills
of binding-off. Remembering
……….do it loosely.



“Made by Hand” is reprinted from Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry, Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy, Editors (Two Sylvias Press, 2012).


Ann Batchelor Hursey’s work has appeared in the Seattle Review, Crab Creek Review, Poemeleon, Chrysanthemum and Persimmon Tree, among other publications. Besides collaborating with artists, musicians, and community gardens— she has written poems about fair trade and handmade things.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Born and raised in Ohio, she’s now lived longer among Firs and Cedars than Sassafras and Buckeyes. She lives in Mountlake Terrace.


Laurel Rust



My mother answers, tells me
she is putting the phone
in her skirt pocket
so she can sit on the couch
in the living room,
put her feet up.
It is evening, after all, the time
when her legs give out.

After so many years in the chill
of her distance, I am carried
in the warm dark of her pocket. I ride
her hip, surrounded
by the muffle of fabric, the squeak
and scrape of her walker
across wood floors,
her labor, the long journey
from kitchen to living room,
and finally the whoosh
of the couch cushions as she sits down,
folds her walker.

Then she lifts us both
out of darkness. When finally
she catches her breath, she holds me
to her cheek. My mother gives me
her voice. She gives me
my name.


Laurel Rust is a Washington native. She graduated in English from the UW and was fortunate to take part in Nelson Bentley’s incredible poetry classes. She is the single mother of a now grown son and lives on Orcas Island. In 1998, Brooding Heron Press of Waldron Island, WA, published a chapbook of her work, What Is Given. She has self-published a number of hand bound, small edition chapbooks since then. Her work (stories, poems, and essays) has appeared in Fine Madness, Pandora, Faire, Calyx, Spindrift, Clover, Prune Alley, and Trivia: A Journal of Ideas.


Anita K. Boyle

When I Went Past My Prime Last Wednesday


Oh, sweet dove, the morning is mine
today. You’re cooing in the wrong window.

Every day, you look more like the swollen hands
of one who’s pared the peels off a hundred

and sixty-three potatoes forty-five minutes
before dinner. Take a seat.

“These days” you say, “are dangling tomatoes, ripe
yet frozen on the vine.”

I’m standing alone on the alpine heights,
echoes engraving the stones.

You can ride my blind horse
far as she’ll go, but then get off,

let her come home.
Just leave my dark mules alone.

Anita K. Boyle is a poet, artist and graphic designer, and the author of What the Alder Told Me (MoonPath Press, 2011) and Bamboo Equals Loon (Egress Studio Press, 2001. Her poems have appeared in Conversations Across Borders, StringTown, The Raven Chronicles, Crab Creek Review, Clover, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She is lucky enough to live near an inspiring pond outside Bellingham, Washington with her husband, the poet James Bertolino. This fall, they will spend a little time in Italy, where they will see the small Alpine town where Jim’s grandparents came from (Locana), and which will be her first adventure outside of North America.

Esther Altshul Helfgott

Letter to Abe

– after Izumi Shikibu, a woman of ancient Japan
with thanks to Jane Hirshfield and The Ink Dark Moon

I’ve written
the story of our years
together, Abe
They still hold me
All of them.

At Thornton Creek
I saw a cormorant sunning
on a rock
I looked for you
but you weren’t there.

I wonder
which galaxy you’re in
Are we still
under the same moon?

I wish I knew
where you were tonight.
I would visit you.
Will you send me a message
soon? I’ll wait.

I don’t remember
yesterday. It’s the same as today.
The only difference is
the planet moved
slightly –

How lucky I
am to have
this chair,
the one you used
to sit in.

It took
you eight years to die.
All that time
I waited for you to get better.
Why didn’t you?

to Mozart , I see
us holding hands,
snuggling in the movies
watching Amadeus.

when I look in the mirror
I see you.
Even our hair is the same—
— curly and mussed.

no longer
a mourner’s

There is
no sorrow in my missing you
only gratefulness
that we have

But on some days
like today
the third anniversary
of your death
my heart longs.


Esther Altshul Helfgott is a nonfiction writer and poet with a PhD in history from the University of Washington. Her work appears in Blue Lyra Review, Journal of Poetry TherapyMaggid, American Imago, Raven Chronicles, Floating Bridge Review, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease, HistoryLink, The Seattle PI blog pages, and elsewhere. She’s a longtime literary activist, a 2010 Jack Straw poet, and the founder of Seattle’s “It’s About Time Writer’s Reading Series,” now in its 23nd year. Esther’s book, Dear Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Diary & Poems, is forthcoming from Cave Moon Press in 2013. The poem presented here is from her next manuscript, “After Alzheimer’s: Poems & Diary.”


Kristen McHenry


Then there’s that stage
between Mother and Crone
when the maidens, clean as dryer sheets
are unbearable to fathom,
and all your chickadees, real or
proverbial, have flown the coop
and you find
yourself blissfully alone
with your attitude problem and your
ungodly imagination, and to top it
all off, you’re pretty certain you’ve developed
the power of invisibility, having sat
still and silent for so long
on a trunkful of vignettes and jittery,
unsettled wisdom—having found yourself
again, and at such an age, as unformed and
as the body of a Maiden.


Kristen McHenry is a resident of Seattle, Washington and is a poet by night, and supervisor of volunteers for an urban hospital by day. Among other publications, her work has been seen in Bare Root Review, Numinous, Tiferet, Sybil’s Garage, Big Pulp, and the anthology, Many Trails to the Summit published by Rose Alley Press. She was a top five finalist in the 2009 national poetry competition “Project Verse.” Her chapbook The Goatfish Alphabet was runner-up in Qarrtsiluni’s 2009 chapbook contest, and was published by Naissance Press in 2010. Her second chapbook, Triplicity: Poems in Threes, was published by Indigo Ink Press is 2011. Kristen serves on the editorial staff for Literary Bohemian, and teaches creativity workshops in her “spare” time.


J. W. Marshall

from Taken With


I’d wheeled Mother where
Faith Hour was slated to begin
after the chaplain got there

wiping first her chin
because a spoon in her hand
was an inexact tool.

I was set to leave.
Where are you going Mother asked.
I’m going home.

Take me with you she said
and laughed a kind of wreck.
The woman to her left

said take me with you too
then the six or seven of them all
took the sentence on

like hail taking on a garbage can.
Take me with you haw haw haw.
Take me with you laugh laugh laugh.

Like a headache made of starlings.
I can’t I said I have a wife and dog.
A dog haw haw haw haw.

A wife laugh laugh laugh.
Take me with you take me with you.
Haw haw laugh laugh laugh.

I zippered my coat closed
with a ferocity that shut them up.
Unbalanced silence in the room. Mom

knocked it over saying
you should go.
Saying I’ve been where you’re going.

Anyway go walk your dog.


Reprinted from the book-length poem, Taken With (Wood Works Press, 2005) and also the full-length collection, Meaning A Cloud (Oberlin College Press, 2008).


J. W. Marshall co-owns and operates Open Books, a poetry-only bookstore in Seattle, with his wife, Christine Deavel.  His first full-length book of poetry, Meaning a Cloud, won the 2007 Field Poetry Prize and was published by Oberline College Press in 2008.  Prior to that two chapbooks of his poetry were published by Wood Works Press, Blue Mouth in 2001 and Taken With in 2005.  Most recently his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hubbub, Poetry Northwest, Raven Chronicles, and Seattle Review.


Jed Myers



The pocket of chaos in my father’s head,
so far, has left him unable
to walk, find words, lift food on a fork,
or know what day it is. It makes him
emotional—he weeps as I enter
the room in which he reclines for hours
a day on his hospital bed. He speaks
with a new stutter, says Help me
whenever he comes to a hole in the ground
of his memory. Yes, it was
Connie Mack Stadium, Dad—I knew
what he was getting at. I see it too,
as it was, out past Strawberry Mansion
in the summer evening light. It was leveled
decades ago, when he never wept.


“Leveled” first appeared in Summerset Review.


Jed Myers lives in Seattle. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Golden Handcuffs Review, qarrtsiluni, Atlanta Review, Drash, Quiddity, The Monarch Review, Palooka, Fugue, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Rose Alley Press anthology Many Trails to the Summit, and elsewhere. He hosts the long-running open-mic cabaret NorthEndForum, and is a member of the ensemble Band of Poets. He is a psychiatrist with a therapy practice, and teaches at the University of Washington.

Lana Hechtman Ayers

The Toe

Despite how mystically moonlight snakes a path across the lake tonight, and because love is the property solely of country music, and since Plath’s bell jar of pain runneth over for all eternity, I will write only of a toe—a plain enough thing—the fourth toe on my mother’s right foot and how each day, despite my bathing it, my application of greasy salve, the wrapping and rewrapping to apply just enough pressure, it continued to blacken, the toe like a banana past sweetness to the other side of neglect, or salt beef dried to jerky, tenderness abandoned to gristle, so I write this about my mother’s toe, how the doctor tells us it must go as if speaking of an ingrown hair or a splinter, as if it were nothing important, nothing a person spent her whole life walking on, on grass, over damp-mopped kitchen linoleum, dancing backwards in high heels over slick-waxed ballrooms floors, or in babyhood grabbed for all googley-eyed and occasionally even sucked, this dried-up toe that oddly causes mother no pain, and yet when the doctor says the toe must go, this woman who was a marble column at father’s bedside during his failed chemo, who later presided over father’s grave, stolid as a granite headstone, and not long after, this woman who sat composed as Rodin’s “Bather” as another doctor spoke the word mastectomy to her, and all through radiation wore a Mona Lisa smile, this woman does a thing I’d never seen her do, my mother cries, sobs, weeps, exhausts all the tissues in the doctor’s stainless dispenser, and keeps crying over this very small rotten toe, this calamity of losing what one least expected to lose.


“The Toe” appears in the e-book anthology Fire on Her Tongue (Two Sylvias Press, 2012).

Lana Hechtman Ayers, originally from New York, lives in Kingston, Washington after a seventeen year sojourn in New England. She has been writing poetry since she could hold a crayon and is now working on her first novel. Her two most recent poetry collections, What Big Teeth (chapbook) and A New Red (full-length), are concerned with the real adult life of Red Riding Hood and associates. Lana runs two poetry chapbook presses, Concrete Wolf (national) and MoonPath Press (dedicated to Pacific Northwest Poets). Ice cream is Lana’s favorite food group.

 Lana will be reading new work at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle on Friday, July 27, at 7:00, along with poets Raul Sanchez and John Burgess.


Timothy Kelly




The stroke has left her listing
left, her left limbs lagging, and
we are trying to walk ten short
feet without her walker, using
an aluminum quad cane instead,
a new concept, and directing
her straight into a mirror so she
can appreciate the asymmetries
of her gait, and be cued to look
ahead instead of irremediably
at the floor. She remembers
nothing since the firemen and
the ambulance; a month lost
so far, though her speech and
vision are mercifully unaffected
by her peculiar, sequestered,
arguably lucky, anatomically,
bleed. At the mirror, she looks
at me standing behind her,
my right hand wrapped in her
belt. I say Bend your left knee,
Mrs. Davis, and she says, left
eyelid drooping, left side of her
mouth skewing down, You
wouldn’t know it now, but I
was beautiful once. Men came
from Fort Lewis Sundays when
I was 17 to watch me swan out
of First Baptist. She laughs and
I laugh, then she tears up, and I
say Can you bend your left knee,
Mrs. Beautiful? and she says
You about useless, boy. And
I say Yes, ma’am. True truth.
But happiness is fitful, don’t you
find? A flitting wren in a lilac
glides down, lights on your knee.
The left. This. Can you bend it?


Timothy Kelly holds Master’s Degrees in Physical Therapy from the University of Washington, and in Fine Arts/Creative Writing from Boston University. Since 1982, he’s worked in Olympia, WA as a Physical Therapist. He’s published three collections of poetry: Articulation, published by Lynx House Press, won the King County Arts Commission Publication Award in 1992; Stronger, from Oberlin College Press, won the 1999 Field Poetry Prize; and The Extremities, published by Oberlin College Press in 2008. Toccata and Fugue, published by Floating Bridge Press, won the Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award in 2005.

Holly Hughes

The Bath


The tub fills inch by inch,
as I kneel beside it, trail my fingers
in the bright braid of water.
Mom perches on the toilet seat,
entranced by the ritual until
she realizes the bath’s for her.
Oh no, she says, drawing her
three layers of shirts to her chest,
crossing her arms and legs.
Oh no, I couldn’t, she repeats,
brow furrowing, that look I now
recognize like an approaching squall.
I abandon reason, the hygiene argument,
promise a Hershey’s bar, if she will just,
please, take off her clothes. Oh no,
she repeats, her voice rising.
Meanwhile, the water is cooling.
I strip off my clothes, step into it,
let the warm water take me
completely, slipping down until
only my face shines up, a moon mask.
Mom stays with me, interested now
in this turn of events. I sit up.
Will you wash my back, Mom?
So much gone, but let this
still be there. She bends over
to dip the washcloth in the still
warm water, squeezes it,
lets it dribble down my back,
leans over to rub the butter pat
of soap, swiping each armpit,
then rinses off the suds with long
practiced strokes. I turn around
to thank her, catch her smiling,
lips pursed, humming,
still a mother with a daughter
whose back needs washing.



Holly J. Hughes is the editor of the award-winning anthology, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease, published by Kent State University Press and the author of Boxing the Compass, published by Floating Bridge Press. Nominated for several Pushcart prizes, her poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies. The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, a collaboration with essayist Brenda Miller, is forthcoming from Skinner House Press. A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University’s MFA program, she has taught writing workshops at Fishtrap, North Cascades Institute, Edmonds Write on the Sound, Rainier Writers Workshop and Field’s End, among others.