Elizabeth Myhr


you are a boy on your small mare searching


but neither of us can find her

in the oysterbed of hoofbeats and wind

in the torn light between grasses and dunes


the lost sword washes up on the sand


I urge the white horse of memory

with a whip and a branch of heather

your wildest sorrow wet and bright


racing the cloudy stallions of afternoon


but inside the bedsheet’s dry white tent

you hold in your face the salty blade

and I wear by your tears’ consent


her wet crown and the pearl at my neck

as over your shoulder great and riderless

he comes for you snorting with loose bit

  and reins trailed through hoof gouged moor


his saddleless highbred back soaked to one long muscled darkness with rain



Elizabeth Myhr is a poet, editor and publisher. She holds a BA from the Evergreen State College and an MFA from Seattle Pacific University, has served as artist-in-residence at Centrum, and is a Milotte Foundation scholar. In 2010 she co-founded Calypso Editions, a virtual, cooperative press that specializes in literature in translation and emerging writers. Elizabeth currently serves as an editor and manager for Marick Press and Calypso Editions, and has served as editor at Web Del Sol Review of Books, Raven Chronicles and Shining Horns. Her book the vanishings & other poems was published by Calypso in October, 2011, and was listed by Christianity Today as one of its three notable poetry books of 2011. Elizabeth lives in Seattle with her family.

Paul Fisher

In My Father’s Absence


Men make women messy,
my mother loved to vent
while supervising pickups
of plastic soldiers from my room.
But I was six, too young
to count the dead,
too full of spunk to quake
before the high-pitched chorus
echoing each a cappella rant.
Perhaps the better half of God
once raised her voice
while ordering untidy worlds,
rewinding wind and whirlpools,
boxing ears and grounding boats.
I see her on the seventh evening
watching leaves and snow
descend in whorls like cereal and sugar
her ragamuffin children stir and spill
among the twigs and burls,
the wooden blocks and battle gear
she reads like bones,
then sweeps from forest floors.


“In my Father’s Absence” originally appeared in Nimrod International Journal.


Paul Fisher was born and raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Bellingham. He earned an MA in Art and Education at Washington University in St. Louis, an MFA from the Poetry Program at New England College in New Hampshire, and is the recipient of an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Poetry from the Oregon Arts Commission. His first full-length book of poems, Rumors of Shore, won the 2009 Blue Light Book Award, and was published by in 2010. Recent poems have appeared in journals such as Cave Wall, Crab Creek Review, Naugatuck River Review, and Nimrod International Journal.


Claire McQuerry


The wicks are electric
in Iglesia San Dominic.

Sear of filament in glass:
tiny coal, a forty-watt

star. None of your cathedral
glitter, clutter of light

on the paving, this grid
of switches, little

circuit timed to twenty-nine
minutes and after, nothing

whiskered with soot. No remnant
but the afterburn, blue

on the dark globes
of your eyelids. Some

things in life are not meant
for such precision—the snug

dovetail of your joined hands;
the bent maple outside

my window, aflame
with leaf, its sheath

of frost; flickered
approximation of star—that dark

voice, and our reciprocal
lights. Trace elements

in smoke, fine blue
strands that rise, streak

the marbled mouth of a saint.


“Votive” is reprinted from Lacemakers (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012)


Claire McQuerry’s first collection, Lacemakers, was winner of the  Crab Orchard Prize and published in 2012 by Southern Illinois University Press. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Missouri, where she serves as the Contest Editor for The Missouri Review. Her poems have appeared in Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, Western Humanities Review, Louisville Review, Los Angeles Review, and others. She lives in Richland.

Mark Anderson

For Connor

This is a poem for Connor
Connor who I have never met,
Connor who I may never know:

For two whole hours I listened to his girlfriend’s mother
as she talked behind me in a strip mall coffee shop
about the boy whose soul she was trying to save.
It was 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning
and this is how I had always needed to learn about holiness.

She says “Connor has a good heart
but he was never taught to use it.”
And I think to myself,
what funny things we overhear
when we are always listening.
From what I gather the problem is this:
her daughter is a meek white lamb
from the land of picket fences
and Connor is what is born out of adrenaline,
reformed and settled at the bottom of his stomach
but still not converted.
And as for myself,
I have been caught sinning so few times in public
that there are fools who have mistaken me for holy.
But at that very moment,
I had been through something
very recently, which was
very similar, and which ended
very badly for me.
So I feel for him,
and I press my ear so far into that lady’s throat
that I can hear her breathing above the espresso machine.

Because Connor and I
are the same shape
of wide eyed wishing wells
who want love
more than any other form of redemption.
But at that moment
love was falling through for the both of us.
So I swallowed my coffee slowly,
and I listened as hard as I could.

Because that morning
the only thing that could save me
was to feel just a little less alone,
which is exactly what his story did for me.
I should mention
if I hadn’t been listening then
I might not still be standing here
to speak to you.
So I wonder what makes an angel.
Does it have nothing to do with wings?
Before they have their wings
do they come with names like Connor?
Do they suffer like the rest of us?

And this is not a poem.
This is just a thank you note
to Connor who I have never met,
Connor who I may never know.


Mark Anderson puts together the Broken Mic poetry open mic (and, according to its Facebook page, “emotional spaceship ride”) each week at Neato Burrito in downtown Spokane. Age 24, the Inlander recently described him as the “grandfather” of Spokane’s poetry scene. That’s because he’s fought to keep performance poetry alive in Spokane through Broken Mic and poetry slam competitions. Recently, he was awarded the Ken Warfel Fellowship, for poets who “have made substantial contributions to their poetry communities.”

Megan Snyder-Camp


Our church was all brick, no name on it
and no stained glass. Every few years
a new preacher took over and tried to make us sing.
One told us Wile E. Coyote’s lifelong quest
for the Road Runner was like us hungering for Jesus.
He said we all know Coyote never gets
the Road Runner. We said that’s right. But no.
No, my friends: one time, Coyote
gets exactly what he prayed for. That skippety
Road Runner gets fat on radioactive birdseed
and this seed is the seed of Godliness, our Road Runner
big as a skyscraper. And Wile E. Coyote’s dedication,
his constant prayers for this one thing, his need
to hold the baby Jesus in his own hands,
to not have to take it on faith—he gets what he wants.
That’s right. Wile E. Coyote catches up
with the Road Runner, who’s now a thousand times
his size. He grabs hold of the Road Runner’s leg
with his tiny little hand. He’s caught him.
Coyote never thought this would happen. He’s built
his whole life around this one goal. Put himself
out of work is what he’s done, my friends.
Our Coyote holds up a little sign
saying “now what?” We waited.
Then one Sunday the preacher’s gone, a stranger
in his place, wearing his robes. The fan
on high, lilies asea. One of you, he shouts, is free.
One of you will not have to pay the piper.
One of you will walk this earth and you shall not
stumble and you shall not thirst. One of you
is lost and you shall not be found. We left,
each one of us. Some did come back. Some
only went as far as the laundry line before missing
the feel of slippers on carpet. Some watched the sky
that night and took comfort in the blinking radio tower.
Some flew. There was so much to be undone.


Megan Snyder-Camp’s first collection, The Forest of Sure Things (2010), won the Tupelo Press/Crazyhorse First Book Award. She has received grants and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Djerassi, the 4Culture Foundation, and the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. Her work has recently been featured on the PBS NewsHour.

Laurie Lamon

The Beginning and the End



What do we make of the God of vengeance, the bloodshed of kings,

  the women running from homes without

preparation; what do we make at the end of astonishment’s

    glance without preparation for darkness, and afterward,

darkness? What do we make of the landscape where stone begat stone,

   where soil was lifted and carried, and the cell’s

transparency was lifted and carried; what do we make of the feathers,

   the imprint of glass, the black weather swept

into floorboards; what do we make of the twenty-seven bones

    of the hand, the clod of dirt, the ring?

What do we make of the son replacing his meals with mourning,

   his evening run and the hour of bedtime reading

with mourning? What do we make of a father’s wristwatch, a hospital

   window, sun-splintered; what do we make

of the driver’s license and telephone number, the heart’s

   empty quarter, the history of voices, birthplace and geography,

the blurred eye, the shoelace pulled from the shoe?



“The Beginning and the End” is reprinted from Without Wings (CavanKerry Press, 2009).

Laurie Lamon’s poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New Criterion, Ploughshares, Arts & Letters, Journal of Contemporary Culture and others, including 180 More Extraordinary Poems for Ordinary Days, edited by Billy Collins, and the Poetry Daily and Verse Daily websites. In 2007 she received a Witter Bynner award, selected by Poet Laureate Donald Hall.She has also received a Pushcart Prize. Lamon holds an M.F.A. from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Her two collections of poetry are The Fork Without Hunger and Without Wings, CavanKerry Press (NJ), 2005 and 2009.  She is a professor of English at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.


READING:  Laurie Lamon will be reading from The Plume Anthology of Poetry, 2012 at Elliott Bay Books on Thursday, November 1, along with poets James Bertolino, Brian Culhane, Tess Gallagher, and Richard Kenney,

Annette Spaulding-Convy

Hollow Women

My smile is a cloak that covers everything. I speak
as if my very heart is in love with God. What hypocrisy.
From the Letters of Mother Teresa


Don’t feel sorry for us, medicate
us, don’t meditate on us with rainbow energy.

Don’t call child protective services, assume
my husband isn’t getting any, don’t
bring me a week’s worth of zucchini lasagna.

Believe me, I keep discovering my house
is not a convent and this kitchen not a chapel.
There isn’t a room where the paring knife hole
in my side can bleed its nothing, bleed
its nothing without interruption.

Just give me Halloween—
one black and white nun costume to trick
even Jesus, a loaf of pan de muerto
to feed the thin cratered moon.

Give me All Hallows’ Eve—
an orange vegetable metaphor with a silver
spoon. Scooped and emptied, I’m wrapping
every damn seed that tangles me
in yesterday’s newspaper, chicken feed.

So let me mourn when nobody’s died.
I swear it’s less like navel-gazing and more like the black
hole of my gut, my white cell pleiades
spinning in the part of the painting the artist leaves blank.

And don’t let hollow women burn
their brooding letters like straw.
Remind them sometimes even saints suck

it up, grin, summon
grace from a god-empty breast.



“Hollow Women” is forthcoming in In Broken Latin, 2012, University of Arkansas Press


Annette Spaulding-Convy’s full length collection, In Broken Latin, will be published by the University of Arkansas Press (Fall 2012) as a finalist for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, In The Convent We Become Clouds, won the 2006 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. She is a 2011 Jack Straw fellow and her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review and in the International Feminist Journal of Politics, among othersShe is co-editor of the literary journal, Crab Creek Review, and is co-founder of Two Sylvias Press, which has published the first eBook anthology of contemporary women’s poetry, Fire On Her Tongue.

Kathryn Smith

After the Funeral

We pushed our bicycles up to Halstaad’s Field, fallow
for years now, overrun with brambles and thistle.
Sweat soaked our clothes, too black for August amid weeks
without rain. At the hill’s crest, the farmhouse faded from view—mother
at a window somewhere, inconsolably repeating the scripture’s refrain—
and we cut across to the narrow trail we’d worked three summers carving.

It took longer than it should have to catch my breath, but when Eddie said,
“I dare you,” I mounted my bicycle and let fly. The kingdom of heaven
is like a cloudless summer sky, earth beneath it parched

and aching. I could feel Eddie gaining on me, and I pedaled
harder, veins thrumming my temples, reveling in the dust storm
we had created, coating our clothes and our faces. The kingdom is like
the forgotten field, rocks heaved to the surface by centuries of frost.
Then, the scree-strewn clearing a hairsbreadth away, which,
at the point of overtaking, the slightest clip of the handlebars
sends you toward, and over, chain sprung from its wheel, pedals
spinning a windmill fury. The kingdom of heaven is like—look, Eddie,
no hands!—rising from the saddle as though lifted, weightless, close
as I’ve been to birds when their wings are stretched in flight.

When we returned, mother wouldn’t know us, transformed
as we were by sweat and dust, beaming like children who’d never
lost a thing, who’d tasted the kingdom’s salt moments before
the yawning sky lets go to gravity, before the tumble
and burn, the elusive wisp of freedom snatched by the sear
of gravel as it enters, irrevocably, the flesh.

Kathryn Smith received her MFA from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University, where she helped edit Willow Springs.  She is a copy editor for The Spokesman-Review, a master gardener in training, and a community volunteer.  Her poems have appeared in Rock and Sling, Redactions, and Third Coast.  She lives in Spokane, Washington.