Dana Guthrie Martin

Our Story


I thought I knew what I wanted to say
about language, but all I can think of now
is my father on the lake, his rod bent,                                                                                                                                            our anticipation
of what would happen next — a fish

writhing in the boat near our feet
as my mother tried to lift it into the cooler,
one last look at its not-yet-clouding eye
before we slid the cooler’s lid into place.                                                                                                                          When the line went lax

and we lost one, we were suddenly not.
Not family, not unified, not defined                                                                                                                        against what could have been:
the thrill, the fear, the sadness of what we,
together, had done. We were not organized

around the words capture and gut and dinner
and sport. We were wordless — indistinct
from boat, lake, countryside, gravel roads.
How would we become us again,                                                                                                                                                  without the body

we gathered for? Without that single word —
fish — and all it held, holding us apart
as other, as separate from, as living?


“Our Story” originally appeared in Knockout Literary Magazine.

Dana Guthrie Martin’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Hobble Creek Review, Knockout Literary Magazine and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, forthcoming), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012) and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). She edits Cascadia Review, an online poetry journal that showcases work by poets in the Cascadia bioregion.



David Gravender


There should be words like “mossehurr,” to indicate
that soft-falling rain that soaks and nourishes the
mossy mats without quite wetting the hair… –
-Robert Michael Pyle

We should have so many words we lack—our mouths
clear-cut slopes the rain drops invisibly through—
a nomenclature native and true as any flora
to spell the space that falls between the glisten
of your hair and moistness of my eye, what passes,
a racing cloud, over everything we say. A word
that would mean the clean aftermath of rainstorms
in spring; your skin, pink and warm, emerging
from fogs of soap; the dream that ghosts
my waking day—a language of evanescence
transpiring from the skin of every moment
though our dictionaries grow mossboled
and softbacked, unbearable dense forests
of verb and noun decomposing in a sunless litter
soft as bogs or the burr of lapsing tongues.


“Mossehurr” originally appeared in The Seattle Review


David Gravender lives with his family in the Convergence Zone (aka Mountlake Terrace). A recipient of an NEA Fellowship, the William Stafford Award, and other prizes, he has published poems in a variety of venues throughout the US, Canada, and UK, including The Seattle Review, The Malahat Review, Descant, Floating Bridge Review/Pontoon, Literary Salt, Riddle Fence, The Cortland Review, and even Metro buses. He earned an MA in English from the University of Toronto and a BA from the University of Washington; he now works as a technical editor.