Jill McCabe Johnson

Kitchen Waltz


We tilled our garden beds, making way for heirloom starts,
cuddled into careful impressions. The peppers we staggered,
left to right, front to back, and they did, in a way, resemble dance steps,

instructional patterns for those less nimble, like me.
I questioned the wisdom of eggplant near sunflower. He questioned
my carelessness: the brush against chickweed, launching seeds

into startled orbit. But then I brushed him, or he grazed me,
and we gathered sprays of rosemary, marjoram, thyme,
and a quiver of chives before stepping inside.

Something happened next in the kitchen, the alchemy of lovers,
where food as primeval as catfish finds sesame oil and tikka masala,
scallions and pecans. Greens melted in the pan, then on our tongues,

like our muscles later in bed. I doubt either of us dreamt of dancing,
but one of us said, “Turn,” in our sleep. Loud enough to wake us both,
but not so loud we could tell who had spoken. Two cooks,

one mind. A drowsy shifting under the covers. Two forks entwined.
A stomach pressed against a back, the other stomach unbridled and breathing.
I thought of quail—savory, delicate, and buttery—with fresh sage and arugula.



“Kitchen Waltz” is reprinted from Floating Bridge Review.


Jill McCabe Johnson’s first poetry collection, Diary of the One Swelling Sea (MoonPath Press, 2013), was inspired by the Salish Sea surrounding her home in the San Juan Islands. Jill is the founder and executive director of Artsmith, which provides artist residencies and other programs to support the arts. She earned her MFA from Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop, and will graduate in May 2014 with a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska where she pretends the acres of corn and tall grass prairie are another form of the sea.


Linda Malnack

Double Life of a Still Life


They breathed
once, planetary in their skins, red
ripe, indebted

to the sky, but attracted to earth.
Yellow lanterns
hung by wind, pears over marigolds.

And peaches,
their washes of fuzz hazy in the blue
dish beneath

a reincarnated sun and its pitted
lover, the moon
who looks, ever looks into the white

will be. So this
is what fruit becomes, longitudinal
light, its juice

running, the weighty abuse, a glad
letting go.
Grass’ sweet buffer–romance,

seeds, skinned
knees. All in the time it takes to deal
a blow, a hand

of hard luck: pulp slick in the dirt,
last life of a still
life brown in the orchard, and you

taking what was,
what is, and smearing its sad cider all
over your hands.


“Double Life of a Still Life” is reprinted from Northwest Review.


Linda Malnack has published poems in many journals, including The Amherst Review, the Seattle Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She won the Willow Springs Poetry Award in 2000 and the William Stafford Award (Washington Poets Association) in 1998. Currently, she volunteers as an associate editor for the poetry e-zine, Switched-on Gutenberg.

Tim McNulty

Willow Withes


My grandfather used willow withes
cut from a backyard shade tree
to tie back his grapevines to their arbors—
leafy rows that bordered
the other crops sewn into his small,
hillside farm.

With a bundle of cut swaths tucked in his belt
he strode the rows like a swashbuckler,
whipping wands and binding unruly growth
into order. Following along
with my armload of cut willow limbs,
I could barely keep up.

I did better with strawberries.
scooching my butt down the dusty rows,
filling my grandmother’s big two-handled colander,
the taste of ripe berries erupting warmly
against my tongue.

Scooching, too, I could thin carrots
with the best of them,
grasping the lacy tops close to the soil
and tugging.
The small, fingerling carrots, rinsed
in the tublike yard sink,
crunched sweetly between my teeth.

Other days I gathered brown eggs
from the cloying henhouse,
or fed the rabbits in their shaded hutches,
or broke the ends off stringbeans
with Noni under the backyard willow,
her apron a brimming green horn-of-plenty.

Or watched plains of tomatoes ripening
on wire-mesh racks,
smoke from the summer kitchen redolent
in the fragrant air.

The green willow withes dried over summer
as the wine grapes thickened and set,
and by September, when all the family gathered
for harvest, their golden coils seemed
an organic part of the vines,

bound like memories, now
with the farm gone, shoring up the bounty
beneath yellowing leaves,
so it can be gathered,
and pressed and tasted.

Setting the glass down on the
white enamel table,
tartness waking the tongue.


“Willow Withes” will appear in Ascendance, forthcoming this fall from Pleasure Boat Studio.


Tim McNulty is a poet, essayist, and nature writer. He is the author of three poetry collections, Ascendance (Pleasure Boat Studio), In Blue Mountain Dusk (Broken Moon Press), and Pawtracks, (Copper Canyon Press), and eleven books on natural history.  Tim has received the Washington State Book Award and the National Outdoor Book Award.  He lives with his family in the foothills of Washington’s Olympic Mountains, where his is active in wilderness and conservation work.

John Davis


Today I’m lonely for light brown rain clouds
layered like frango mint ice cream, a flavor
gone the way of downtown department stores—
boarded up or sold. Saturdays I rode the bus
through Industrial Seattle, pulled the bell-cord
at Frederick & Nelson’s, beelined
past perfume counters, ran down brass-railed
stairs, quick right into the Paul Bunyan Room,
spun in my own orbit on a metal stool
until a waitress wearing a black and white

maid dress, hairnet, pencil tucked behind her ear
wiped a rhapsody of handprints and perfect
circles of plates and cups, scribbled frango mint
milk shake on her pad. How I spun,
thrumming, kicking the leg of the stool—
a young John Glenn circling the Earth.
Heaven arrived in a metal container,
condensation sliding down the chalice like angel
blessings. In that first moment of pouring
and swallowing, I was the ice cream, the milk,
the frango, the body and bread of Christ and life

everlasting, Judgment Day, the place
where questions about angels were answered,
sugar traveling to invisible bouffants in my body.
I was every rivet of the metal, was sugar
melting ice, was Marilyn Monroe’s eyes.
Every vessel in my body whispered frango,
frango. On the wall Paul Bunyan ran
in brown and green earth tones. On the stool
I spooned chunks of heaven with my straw,
swallowed, toasted the first day of the universe.


“Frango” is reprinted from Jeopardy.


John Davis is the author of Gigs (Sol Books) and The Reservist (Pudding House Press.) His work has appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Cider Press Review, Crab Creek Review, Cream City Review, Cutbank, Iron Horse Literary Review, The North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Rio Grande Review, Sycamore Review, and many others. He lives on Bainbridge Island where he teaches high school and performs in rock and roll bands.

Gloria Piper Roberson

Clifton’s Cafeteria, LA, CA 1940’s


We ate there every evening
after our late night Vaudeville performance
at the Hippodrome Theatre on Main Street.

We chose from an uncountable variety of foods–
peas, peas and carrots, string beans, lima beans,
pickled beets or plain, creamed corn, and spinach.

Mashed potatoes with gravy pools or if you preferred
a pat of butter. Sliced and diced or whole peaches, pears,
and apricots, stewed purple plums with cinnamon.

Hot baked or fried chicken, crisp hash, and pork chops
wearing their green feathered parsley. There was Jell-O plain,
fruited, and marshmellowed. Pies for every tastebud

that bloomed. Two-layer carrot cake that oozed cream cheese
frosting and chocolate cake freckled with walnuts
and always the menacing, unforgiving, staring fish-eyes

of tapioca pudding. You could wear scruffy overalls, empty pockets,
mink coats, or Crowns and fill a tray with any plate that huddled
and waited—five or 10 cents each. Then pick the Rain Room

with its tin roof, Jungle Room with chattering, screeching monkeys
and an occasional roar that ducked your head in fear or
the Waterfall Room with its misty, tumbling water that collided

with lily pads, the Polynesian Room where leis and hula skirts
swayed on the walls as if at a luau—then sat and became part
of the cacophony of glee. Father fended for himself at home

those nights with a pot of beans, and his own cornbread,
and a quart of beer from Ward’s Grocery Store around the corner
on Hadley street. If he wished, he could wipe his lips clean

with one of the initialed Clifton’s napkins
Mother always inserted covertly
into her purse beside several swabbed, white dishes.



Gloria Piper Roberson is a wife of 62 years, a mother of four, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of twin boys and their younger sister.  She has taken 12 quarters of Creative Writing at Wenatchee Valley College since 2002, eight with Derek Sheffield.  Her work has appeared in Mirror Northwest (2006-2007) as well as Whitman Community College’s The Noisy Water Review (2006-2007) and she authored the book Winning Hearts…Winning Wings, The Story of the First Nonstop Transpacific Flight (Wenatchee Valley Museum Cultural Center, 2003) which has been translated into Japanese. She lives in Wenatchee.

Cora Goss-Grubbs

Morning Rite



Cora Goss-Grubbs lives in Woodinville, WA, with her spouse and two sons, in a house sandwiched between a wetland and a blueberry farm. Her work has appeared online at Literary Mama, and Diverse Voices Quarterly (Pg. 39). Her poems and essays have been published in She’s Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out and fighting back by Tightrope Books; Pontoon 10, an anthology of Washington State Poets; and Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women. She is a 1998 and 2010 Hedgebrook alumna and 2003 Jack Straw Productions writer-in-residence. Currently Cora is working on a young adult novel.

Sarah Cohen

The Heart


It was born of a spark it never knew,
and raised alone indoors.
Like a bear in winter
it must dream cave dreams.
Sage of interiors, it might travel
in a trance to other realms.

Even in rest
its vigilance can never falter.
Even in paradise
it would be striving, blind.

A girl bends over a sewing machine,
her stitches tiny and flawlessly even.

Imagine never taking a minute’s rest
for decades, then resting forever.


“The Heart” is reprinted from Pool.


Sarah Cohen’s poems and other writings have been published in The Paris Review, Threepenny Review, Boston Review, and many others. She teaches English at the University of Washington and lives in Shoreline.

Lindsey Walker

My Kitchen Can Beat Up Your Kitchen


My sweet tea is a song played on a saw.
My sweet tea is the bluest yodel,
the bone-chill fog raking fingers down the Unicois.
The throats of those who’ve ever tasted
hum with the wanting
of my sweet tea.

The stovetop moans
under grease splatter; red coils
smoke spilled peanut brine.
Linoleum cracked, peeled, scuffed.
My kitchen testifies
in odors of cornbread and orange pekoe.

My catfish is crusted with the dry tears
of freshwater mermaids, their brown fins muddy,
their whiskers!
My catfish is fried in fat rendered from cherubs,
the batter crisps, the flesh yields.
All tongues rejoice in glossolalia,
for the salivating
salvation of my catfish.

My okra hops a train, rides the rail
all the way up to Chattanooga.
My collard greens evangelize the feet
of adventurers before they enter my kitchen.
My dumplings hotwire a Cadillac made of teeth;
they hold the uvula for ransom.

The stockpot boils over, yellow froth
off sweet potatoes. My kitchen
is haunted by ghosts
wielding flour sifters, whose recipes
in graphite curl with broth steam.
My kitchen is a wishbone
I snap in half.


Lindsey Walker is a poet and writer originally from Chattanooga. She has won the Loft Poetry Contest, the League for Innovation Award for essay, and the Whidbey Writers Workshop Students’ Choice Award for fiction. Her work has been published a little in print and a lot online, recently by Your Hands, Your Mouth, the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and P.Q. Leer. Her poetry will be featured in the upcoming issue of Third Wednesday. She lives in Seattle with a boy and a dog.

Therese Clear

Kitchen Mischief


Best when used by. Rich
and creamy. Extra virgin.
Those with sweet flavors.
Double-acting. Will perk up.
Only cold water should be used!

Add hot juice. Beat. Bring to a boil.
As desired. Grease lightly.
Until completely dissolved.
Shake well.
May explode if heated.

A pinch or two.
Gives zest to.
Adds pungency.
Fast rising and active!
Questions? Comments?

Do not use delay timer.
Knead. Let double in size.
Even the most delicate.
Most unadulterated.
Raw & real. Honey.


Therese Clear is a Seattle poet, a founder of Floating Bridge Press,
and has been publishing her work for over thirty years. Poems have
appeared in Poetry Northwest, Fine Madness, Calyx, Crab Creek Review,
Atlanta Review,
and other journals and anthologies. She manages
production and shipping for a Seattle glass artist.