Barbara Gibson

McLane Creek

No need to be afraid
in the dark wood.
Walk near the fox’s den,
the possibility of a coyote,
or toward the beaver’s lodge
sinking into the lily pond.

When you take a single step
into the dense green,
into the comfort of high firs
and the dazzle and pattern
of light among leaves,
there is no need to worry.

You will discover the realm
of dropping yourself,
of losing interest
in the small, failed you.

There is no need
for fear because every fern
and every simple moss
assures you
that you are suitable
for such a life.

The shimmering dragonfly,
stunning and buzzing,
and the red-winged blackbird
skimming over rushes, and each
finch who sits on a sturdy thistle

truly, though you
may not see this,
welcomes you into
the still pond and into
the buzzing meadow
of bright acceptability.

So therefore it is
not necessary to be afraid
once your legs and heart
walk you into the deep,
vivid comfort of just how
here you are.

Barbara Gibson was a counselor at The Evergreen State College, retiring in the late 90’s. She has written poetry all through the years and the changes. She also writes plays, one of which, “The Abolitionist’s Wife: the Saga of Mary Brown” was produced in Olympia this summer to sold-out audiences. Major literary influences include Paul Goodman, Kenneth Rexroth, and Robert Bly, all of whom she was lucky enough to know personally. In Olympia, she is privileged to be a friend of Jeanne Lohmann, who would be Olympia’s Poet Laureate, if we had one. She appreciates the talented and generous poetry community there.

Thom Caraway

The Leper Attends the Idaho State Roadkill Fur Auction


Like mine, their removal
is detachment from
the body, ruined
but not too ruined.

I think about the men
who hustle the long roadwork
of Idaho, who have learned
the language of blood,
smeared down fifty yards
of highway—the parallel skid tracks
of the locked-up vehicle,
a body inside, a body outside—
those men whose job it is
to quantify the dead.

Love is not
the coexistence
of two alonenesses.

Like the roadkilled raccoons,
porcupines, deer, skunk,
the occasional bear, the coyote,
house cat, lost dog—
like all the other beloveds
lost on the back roads
of this terrible wilderness,
and like the men who
collect, strip, and scrape
the pelts, I would also
remove my skin if it meant
my permutation into the world.


“The Leper Attends the Idaho State Roadkill Fur Auction” is reprinted from Ruminate.


There was a time in his life when Thom Caraway wanted to be a truck driver. He still occasionally regrets his decision not to pursue that path, a regret that was inadvertently reinforced by his son, Sam, who recently said, “Bus drivers have the coolest jobs. Why aren’t you a bus driver?” Thom lives in Spokane, and does a variety of things that, to a six-year-old, are not as cool as driving a bus. (Though one might be: Thom has just been named Spokane’s inaugural Poet Laureate.)


Jeffrey G. Dodd



The day my sister’s cancer staked its claim
I learned that Milosz left Harry Potter
on his desk when he died, his letters
from the pope piling up in his mailbox.
And what letters. Two old Poles talking life:
“Ah Czeslaw,” says the pope, “I’m just the grease.
You’ll have to talk to the wheels.” No one knows
the question, but this is a pope I can
get behind. Humble. Humorous. Infallible.
And I think of me and the pope: he’ll let me
call him Karol as he tours me through
the Vatican, and we’ll send papal envoys
for pizza, and on his day off we’ll visit
the Fiat factory in Turin, stick our fingers
in mounds of fresh ground pork at a local
grocery store, and he’ll teach me the Polish
folk tunes sung before the war. And I’ll get
to a Mass or two in Latin or Italian,
and late one night I’ll find decorum
and a minute to ask the question I came
all this way to resolve: the thing about
my sister. And you know the thing he’ll say
about my sister, about the angel on his right
and the grim believability of it all.


“And” is reprinted from Santa Clara Review.


Rylie Dodd buys cowboy shirts for her husband Jeffrey G. Dodd. The couple lives in Spokane, WA, but he’s from southeast Texas and sometimes needs his homesickness eased. Plus, the little pearlescent snaps are so crisp and tactile. Someday, she thinks, he’ll write a poem about them. The snaps, not the shirts. She’ll be featured prominently. Like his other poems, it may be published in journals such as Ruminate, Rock & Sling, Copper Nickel, and Meridian. She doesn’t tell him this; he doesn’t need the ego boost.

Donald Mitchell

(for my brothers)

We can smell them
long before we see
the fallen cottonwood
on the other bank,
or the pale bones
of chewed stumps.
It’s a blend
of resin and musk,
stronger than any church incense.
More like a song
it drifts against the wind
following the steelhead
upstream. Such places
obey different laws
than we obey. Our father
taught us
to be taught
by signs like this.


Donald Mitchell live in Deming, WA on his family’s 130 year-old homestead. He is a self-published poet and his works include the collections Signs of Faith, The Shark Skin Man: A Story and Poems, and Hello Eternity. Raised by a preacher who was also a woodsman and fur trapper, he found an early draw to the soul of the woods and streams of the Nooksack River watershed. This attraction led him to interests in biology, anthropology, comparative culture and religion and the perilous art of making poems.

David K Wheeler

Slaughter Season


Before August was over, and the air remained a cotton fog in the lungs of all the school
chums back on grounds bleached by the heat that came early and stayed late,

we single-filed back through the wide stairwells and blue gymnasium that doubled as
the house of God on weekends when metal lockers weren’t slamming shut

and into students, winding around the hallways toward biology class, or Bible—it’s hard
to remember which, with the windows open and the room not getting cool;

the sweltering heat only made it that much harder to pay attention to whatever we
studied; we heard squeals across the street from animals they raised

at the subsistence ranch—pigs, cows, emus, and dogs at differing times over the
years and seasons—but, that humid afternoon kill was definitely a pig

because we later found the bloody stump of its neck and head, skinless and chewed, on
the thirty-five yard line of the overgrown football field behind the school

where the ranch hound took it like she’d found a new toy that tasted like true hide
and real blood instead of the rubber guts she was given on her birthday;

and, the real blood was on her snout and paws and in the yard and across the
parking lot, but also in the air, a thick stain on every breath that smelt like flesh

had come unpackaged and fissured from muscle, bone, tissues, and every sinew tied
together into the fabric and skin that manages to hold every piece together, in,

until one bullet and steel meat hooks pull the sheets apart to drain the blood and expose
the vital organs to elements like Idaho sky and quiet breezes from the south

that carried the fumes into the classroom where a girl cried while Mr. Syth tried to pry
us from the windows so as to discuss dissection technique—or was it sacrifice?

“Slaughter Season” is reprinted from Contingency Plans (T.S. Poetry Press)


David K Wheeler is the author of Contingency Plans, which was a finalist for the 2011 Booksellers Choice Award sponsored by Melville House. He has contributed writing to The Morning News, Burnside Writers Collective, and The High Calling, and received his Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University. He now lives in Seattle.


Mark Halperin



Inside the old, gray stone house,
its eaves trimmed in the flat-board,
Midwest style of the neighborhood,
the children are learning Hebrew
and history and to be Jewish
as best they can where Jews are few.

Maybe they are learning to be rare
while old snow melts from the roof
and the sun, absent recently, proves
it can shine in the blue
and white sky. These are colors
the children would be sure to notice, who

are learning the flag of Israel
and their ties to all that history.
Recognize them? They’d rather be
screaming and chasing each other
under them like other children.
And they will soon, but must wait. More

than one of my uncles would have said
Jews can’t live in Yakima or
the town we drove from. One would be sure
we’d never be American
enough, another terrified
we just might, all of them come

too far not to understand
only the shadow of the past
grows, but thinner, more odorless.
The children sit in a room
waiting for their parents
to rescue them from Temple Shalom.

They are further away all the time,
as Temple Shalom is, under its blue
and white skullcap. It weathers the distance
carried even here, the Jew’s
childlike refusal whose name,
if there is one, like God’s, we must not use.


“On the Steps of Temple Shalom” is reprinted from Time as Distance (New Issues/Western Michigan U Press).


Mark Halperin’s fifth volume of poetry, Falling Through the Music, was published by University of Notre Dame Press (2007).  He is co-author of Accent on Meter (NCTE), and co-translator of A Million Premonitions, poems from the Russian of Victor Sosnora (Zephyr Press).  Halperin lives near Washington’s Yakima River and fishes avidly.

John Glowney



My neighbor tonight is in his underwear
carrying out a bag of trash, a working-class
Santa, no robe, his spindly calves
catching the sequined moonlight
like the face of the sickly kid
in the war movie on the late night
you know will freeze up in the big battle.
He is not drinking or cursing the dark
or taking a drag on the faint fire-fly
of a cigarette; he is just crossing
the cracked and scored rectangle
of the driveway/ basketball court
wearing only white underwear
and a pair of flip-flops that make
an odd little tune, clip-clip, scrape,
clip-clip, above the canned applause
of a tv show looping out
of the window into the zombie slave
glow of tonight’s stars. And to
the other hierarchal order of almost
but not quite invisible beings
for whom he’s carrying this load
of manna, to the unwashed crowd
awaiting bread crusts, coffee filters,
banana peels, grapefruit rinds, left-over
chicken pot pie, his mind is
great and unknowable and terrible
and his questions play the die
of chance or fate, and what he
empties into the metal can may
not be enough, or may not be in
time, or will not last until the next
visitation, but he has risen anyway
from his tv and his bag of potato chips
as if he understood the role of a god
was to atone for his long absences
as best he can.


“Visitation” previously appeared in Pontoon.


John Glowney is a past winner of Poetry Northwest’s Richard Hugo Prize and Poetry Society of American’s Robert H. Winner’s Memorial Award. His poems have appeared in, among others: ZYZZYVA (forthcoming); Passager; Pontoon; Poetry Northwest; River Styx; Green Mountains Review; Connecticut Review; Southeast Review; Alaska Quarterly Review; Nimrod, Mid-American Review, Northwest Review; Michigan Quarterly Review.  He is a practicing attorney in Seattle.

Suzanne Bottelli

xxxxxxxxxxxxxcento for Thomas Merton


our weakness should not terrify
xxxxxxxxit is the source of our strength
and if I stand back and considerxxxxxxxxmyself and You
xxxxxxxxas if something had passed between us
is that contemplation?xxxxxxxxxxI will inevitably see
xxxxxxxxthe gap between usxxxxxxxxxxmy mind
making a noise like a bankxxxxxxthere is only one vocation
xxxxxxxxdistance from all thingsxxxxxx a lament
as rough and clean as stonexxxxxI wish it were over –
xxxxxxxxI wish it were begun



Suzanne Bottelli grew up in New Jersey and lives in Seattle, where she is a Humanities teacher and an Environment program coordinator at The Northwest School.  Her poems have appeared in Fine Madness, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and West Branch, among others.  She has received GAP awards from Artist Trust, as well as a Seattle Arts Commission Literary Artist award.  Her collection A Visual Glossary of the Physical World has not been published but was a semi-finalist for Eastern Washington University Press’ Blue Lynx Prize and a finalist for Black Lawrence Press’ St. Lawrence Book Award.  Bottelli is currently working on a book-length poem that is located in the Watchung Mountains of New Jersey.  This work investigates the geologic, environmental, and social layers of the region roughtly between the Passaic and Raritan Rivers, including the “deserted village” of Feltville.

Michael Bonacci

–Gerard Manly Hopkins

My mother’s on the mountain,
a seventy-five year journey

joined to deadfalls and blowdowns –
the Romance of fallen trees.

The stuff of her, golden dust
in the candy jar that always held lemon drops,

flung to the breeze, lighting on
licorice ferns, salal and salmonberry,

frenetic fronds of fireweed.
Father followed a year later,

asked for the river, the alluvial fan
at the edge of the flats

around the islands and out to sea.
Flipping through field guides

and fingering topographical maps
I try to conjure them,

buds of the earth’s bounty
briefly grasped, and from a distance.


Michael Bonacci‘s collection of poems, The Former St. Christopher, won the 2004 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award.  Michael.writes poetry, adapts historical documents for the stage, and is still shopping around that first novel hoping to find an agent who will bite.  Artisan bread baking is another way to keep his hands busy, and now that his Japanese style landscape is maturing, he’s learning how to edit with pruning shears. He and his fiancé David Bricka, and their amazing wonder dog Buddy, live in Mount Vernon, WA.

Student Poem

Galileo Demands An Apology
by Sarah Groesbeck


“Eppur si muove: and yet it moves.”
– Galileo Galilei

How fickle and stubborn
you are. Once praising my telescope and
the celestial bodies uncovered,
now branding me a heretic
for going against God and His scripture by saying
we are not the center.
I set out only to discover the truth;
to follow the evidence
with a mind open to wherever it may lead.
You, however, carelessly dismiss my results
by thumbing through verses.
And yet it moves.
I implore you, open your eyes and look
to the heavens, to our sister Venus
and the revolving moons of Jupiter.
See what I see;
only then will you discover
the Earth is moving.


Sarah Groesbeck, a Seattle native, is a student at Highline Community College. She is going for her AA degree with an emphasis in Mathematics. She decided to be brave and took a Creative Writing class where she discovered a new delight in poetry.