Tim Sherry

Word Game with a Little Boy


To let him win,
or to play the big word
with five letters and a Q
on the triple word square
is too much ethics to decide–
and I make ON
up in the corner.
We show our left-over letters
and subtract the points.
He beats my by 8,
throws his hands up in the air,
and smiles all the victory
of a little boy
who doesn’t need to learn
so much about losing just yet.
When we are putting the game away,
he looks at me
and asks if I let him win.
Inside the box
there must be a big word to answer;
but I say no,
and he looks at me as if
he is adding up in his head
what just happened.


“Word Game with a Little Boy” is from the full-length collection, One of Seven Billion, which will be published in the spring of 2014 by Moonpath Press.


Tim Sherry, a long-time public high school teacher and principal, lives in Tacoma, Washington.  He earned a BA from PacificLutheranUniversityand an MA from the Universityof Chicago.  His poems have appeared in Crab Creek Review, The Raven Chronicles, Interdisciplinary Humanities, and Seminary Ridge Review among others.  He has been a Pushcart nominee, and most recently his poem “Of Fires” was a finalist for the Rash Award in Poetry and published in the Broad River Review. His full-length collection, One of Seven Billion, will be published in the spring of 2014 by Moonpath Press.



Dennis Held

Sonnet for a Baby Seal


Not the one you see on television,
Head tilted up to look like a whiskered
Infant, those pleading, liquid eyes . . . this one
Was real, on black Alaskan sand, ridiculous
With an eagle beating its wings against
The seal’s head, both screaming, the pup too young
To get away, too old to die at once.
The eagle, talons buried, pecked at one
Eye only, to force a way in. Of course
I beat the eagle off with driftwood.
Yes, I tried to kill the baby seal. No one
Could say I didn’t try hard enough.
But when I turned to leave, it swam away,
Blinded, silent, bearing news from Hell.



“Sonnet for a Baby Seal” is reprinted from Ourself (Gribble Press. 2011).


Dennis Held received his BA from The Evergreen State College, and his MFA from the University of Montana, where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets prize. He lives in Spokane, and teaches in a writers in the schools program for Eastern Washington University. His work has appeared in Poetry magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, and many other journals. His first book of poetry, Betting on the Night, was published in 2001 by Lost Horse Press, and his second collection, Ourself, was published in 2011 by Gribble Press.

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.


Linda Bierds


At hand: the rounded shapes—cloud white, the scissors—sharp,
two dozen toothpick pegs, a vial of amber glue.
It’s February, London, 1953,
and he’s at play, James Watson: the cardboard shapes,

two dozen toothpick pegs, a vial of amber glue.
White hexagons, pentagons, peg-pierced at the corners—
he’s at play, James Watson, turning cardboard shapes
this way, that. And where is the star-shot elegance

when hexagons, pentagons, peg-pierced at the corners,
slip into their pliant, spiral-flung alignments?
Where is that star-shot elegance? This way? That?
He slips together lines of slender pegs that quickly

split in two. (Pliant, spiral-flung, one line meant
solitude. But one to one? Pristine redundancy.)
He slips. Together, lines of slender pegs quickly
conjugate. White hexagons, white pentagons:

not solitude but—one, two, one—pristine redundancy.
So close the spiral shape, now. Salt and sugar atoms
congregate: white hexagons, white pentagons.
So close the bud, the egg, the laboratory lamb,

the salt and sugar atoms’ spiral shape. So close—
it’s February, London, 1953—
the blossom, egg, the salutary lamb. So close
at hand, the rounded shapes—cloud white, the scissors—sharp.


“DNA” is reprinted from Virginia Quarterly Review and First Hand (G. P. Putnam and Sons, 2005).

Linda Bierds – DNA from UW College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.


Linda Bierds was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Her family settled in Seattle when she was seven. She earned her BA and MA, with an emphasis in fiction, from the University of Washington. Her many collections of poetry include Flights of the Harvest Mare (1985); Heart and Perimeter (1991); The Ghost Trio (1994), which was a Notable Book Selection by the American Library Association; The Profile Makers (1997); The Seconds (2001); First Hand (2005); and Flight: New and Selected Poems (2008). Bierds is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, and the MacArthur Foundation. She teaches English and writing at the University of Washington, and lives on Bainbridge Island.


Sarah Galvin

The Sign with Nothing On It

This blank sign in front of the motel was my favorite object in the neighborhood as a child. It is shaped like it outlines words, but it has been a solid gray-green for as long as I can remember. “Look, it’s the sign with nothing on it!” I yelled to my parents when we passed it in the car. After much thought about why a blank sign existed, I decided it must be art.

My uncle said, “Paintings of the crucifixion can be beautiful. That’s the difference between a real crucifixion and a painting. That’s why people make paintings.”

The night my mom drove her car into the front yard, my uncle came all the way to our house. I was standing alone in the kitchen with the lights off, and he picked me up. My uncle who used to put his fake teeth in his belly button and make it talk to me.

I imagined crucifixions were the popsicle truck colors of the neighbors’ weathered plastic Jesus, and smelled like adults’ coats after some event where it was necessary to sit down and be quiet.



“The Sign with Nothing On It” is reprinted from Io.


Sarah Galvin is the author of The Stranger’s “Midnight Haiku” series, which are neither haiku nor at midnight. She has a blog called The Pedestretarian, where she reviews food found on the street. The thing she loves most about reviewing discarded food is receiving text messages that say things like “I hear the bus stop on 3rd and Union is covered with ham.” Sarah is poetry MFA student at University of Washington, and her poems can be found in io, Proximity, Pageboy, Dark Sky, and Ooligan press’s Alive at the Center anthology.

Lyn Coffin

Paradelle on Love


Once, our hearts were open. We made love.
We made love once our hearts were open.
We turned and embraced in huge, unmade spaces ruined by war.
Unmade, we turned and embraced in huge spaces ruined by war.
Once we turned and embraced open war in huge spaces we made,
our hearts were ruined by unmade love.

Have you vanished from the face of this life?
You have vanished from the face of this life.
Still, I miss belonging to you and longing to have love.
Still, I miss belonging to you to have love and longing.
I have vanished from this life to miss longing,
and still you have the face of love belonging to you.

Our old blind pain did not help us find a way to God.
Our old pain did not help us find a way to blind God.
God could not let us be true to one another.
One God could not let us be true to another.
Let us find another blind God to be true to.
Our old one way pain God did not, could not help us.

Our old way of belonging to blind war turned
our hearts’ spaces to pain. We once embraced love,
and could have vanished from another God,
to find the one true face to help us. You were not open,
God. You did not let be, and have ruined us. And,
still, in this unmade life made huge by longing, I miss love.


“Paradelle on Love” is reprinted from Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the Range (Rose Alley Press), edited by David D. Horowitz. More about the paradelle form here.


Lyn Coffin is a widely-published poet, playwright, fiction and non-fiction writer, as well as a translator. Thirteen of her books have been published, and two more are due out in 2013. She teaches Literary Fiction at the University of Washington (Department of Continuing and Professional Education), and a Translation Seminar at the Shota Rustaveli Institute in Georgia, the country, her teaching there support this year (2013) by the American Embassy in Tbilisi. Decades ago, one of her fictions was published in Best American Short Stories 1979 edited by Joyce Carol Oates, and plays of hers have been performed on Off Off Broadway, as well as Malaysia, Singapore, Boston, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Seattle. She is currently working on a full-length translation of the great Georgian epic, The Knight in the Panther Skin, by Shota Rustaveli. She will lead a presentation on the poetry of Mohsen Emadi at the 2014 AWP in Seattle. She has been named Wordsworth poet twice, mostly recently this summer. Her awards include an honorary PhD. from the World Academy of Arts and Culture (UNICEF) for “poetic excellence and her efforts on behalf of world peace.”


Melinda Mueller

b. 27 November 1757? – d. 26 December 1800

… a wandering beauty is a blade out of its scabbard.
You know how dangerous…

–John Crowe Ransom, Judith of Bethulia

Enter Rosalind, with her legs unsheathed
Of their skirts. Every blade in the theatre
Stands en garde before “Ganymede” has breathed
A line. Such dangerous games are sweeter

The more dangerous. Does wearing breeches
Breach the gates of her virtue? The question
Profits the house. The Crown Prince beseeches
Her, with ardent letters, to indiscretion—

Which is his aphrodisiac. For love,
It seems, he will risk all. Ah, men have died
And worms have eaten them, but not for love.
He leaves her undone and penniless beside.

Beauty, though a weapon wielded by who wears it,
Proves a guardless sword that wounds her when she bares it.


Mary (née Darby) Robinson became famous for her beauty and for her performances at Drury Lane Theatre, particularly in “cross-dressed” roles such as Shakespeare’s Rosalind and Viola. She was mistress for a time to the Prince of Wales, who promised her an annual income in recompense for giving up her profession on the stage—and later reneged. Later in her life, after suffering an illness that left her partially paralyzed, she became known again; this time as a writer of poetry, novels, and essays (including several in defense of the rights of women, such as A Letter to the Women of England on the Injustice of Mental Subordination).
“Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love” is Rosalind’s reply, in her guise as a young man, to Orlando, when he professes that love will be the death of him (As You Like It, Act IV Scene i).

Melinda Mueller grew up in Montana and Eastern Washington, and has lived in Seattle for 30 years.  She majored in botany at the University of Washington, where she also studied poetry with Nelson Bentley. She teaches high school biology, biotechnology and evolution studies at Seattle Academy.  Her most recent book, What the Ice Gets (Van West & Company, 2000) received a Washington State Book Award (2001), and a “Notable Book” award from the American Library Association (2002).

Larry Laurence

for J.W.


Three angels manifest themselves at a bar. They make it known
to the mind of the bartender, This day is our birthday.

No. Three baleen whales, a gray, a blue, & a humpback,
swim into a bar. They sing in high-pitched vocalizations & clicks,
This day is our birthday.

No. Three rocks, an igneous, a metamorphic, & a sedimentary,
roll into a bar. In Morse code they knock against themselves
to the bartender, Today is our birthday.

No. Three weeds, a sheep sorrel, a redstem filaree, & a Canada
goldenrod, seed themselves at a bar. Utilizing the slight air
currents available they rustle to the bartender, Today’s. . .

No. Three trees, a Jenny sycamore, a paw paw, & a blossoming pear. . .

An anaconda, a coachwhip, & a Texas blind snake. . .

OK, a swift, a chicken hawk, & a blue jay. . .

OK, OK. Three subnuclear particles appear & do not appear
simultaneously in various unknowable interstices of realities themselves
barely conceivable at the bar & outside the bar. They harmonize

in vibrations at once audible & inaudible to the bartender
in such a way to at last, at long last, prove senseless the dichotomy
of the observer & the observed, Today’s our birthday!

No matter, says the bartender. We, all of us,
gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.



“INCLUSIVE OF HELLO AND GOODBYE” originally appeared in POOL, A Journal of


Larry Laurence lives in Seattle and works as a rehabilitation counselor. Books are Life  of The Bones To Come, Black Heron Press, (a National Poetry Month selection by NACS, National Association Of College Stores) and Scenes Beginning With The Footbridge At The Lake, Brooding Heron Press. Poems appear in the anthologies How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, Roundhouse Press, Jack Straw Writers, Jack Straw Productions. Awards include grants from Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust plus a residency at Squaw Valley Community Of Writers. He studied poetry (and growing up) under Philip Levine.

Tod Marshall

Angry Birds


When the eagles leave, spawned out red fish
must be mostly eaten, finished with silt,
sand, and eggs, a genetic frenzied push
to breed here, now, with furious force. We will
ourselves into bed, away from Netflix, X-
box, the new astonishing app that counts
calories, miles to go, snowflakes, the next
minute’s number of moans: O happy grunt
that says hey-ho, this is done, pixilated
and, best of all, uploadable as a ring tone
that goes fishy, fleshy, fowl. Someone’s IPhone
measures the speed of a bird penetrating
the lake to seize a foundering Kokanee.
“So fast!” Not death, the connectivity.



Tod Marshall was born in Buffalo, NY.  He earned an MFA degree from Eastern Washington University and a PhD in literature from the University of Kansas.  His first collection of poetry, Dare Say, was the 2002 winner of the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series. He has also published a collection of his interviews with contemporary poets, Range of the Possible (EWU Press, 2002), and an accompanying anthology of theinterviewed poets’ work, Range of Voices (2005).  In 2005, he was awarded a Washington Artists Trust Fellowship. In 2009, his second collection, The Tangled Line, was published by Canarium Books; it was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.  His third collection will be released in February 2013.  He lives in Spokane and teaches at Gonzaga University.

Jay McAleer

Composite # 6

When confronted with the issue, many people will admit that at numerous times they have felt as though they were waiting for their lives to begin.

Strange how things change, rearrange, as if another person inhabited the body, my body, anybody, any body. Not that far fetched – go fetch an identity, some entity to fill the subtle void. Avoidance is the trick, total avoidance, in addition to the fact that when you look back nothing seems to be there. My history, a catalogue of events, a residue of experience, the thick residue of experience. This series of events, a spider’s web, and the ripple is felt across the strands. Strands like sands of time, thyme and rosemary, everything stewing together, the salt of the earth and all that. The fingers dipped in the water as we bow down, so many bent knees, genuflection, circumspection. The words pop out, the word the world, only a letter difference there, fluttering will get you nowhere. Know where? “Over there,” they used to sing or at least they did in the movies and all of us marched along.



Jay McAleer is a poet and fiction writer from Seattle. He was recently selected as a 2013 Jack Straw writer and is honored to be part of that program. Composite # 6 is an excerpt from a series of interlinked poems entitled Composites.