Charles Leggett


So dense and swift these clouds, it’s the tanned olive
moon that seems to move;
as if into this wind your life will lean
susceptible to imagery, the inwrought
pull of all these metaphors we live
in. Now look—the mien
even of the drape is fraught

with it: coronas, eyes recoiling off
the ceiling; or a gaff
trickles the storm drain; or a stage’s curtain
murmur passing cars; the blowsy skein
of each second, frozen-framed, a tea leaf
scholium, a garden
in a cartoon hurricane.


“November Storm Break” is reprinted from Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry.


Charles Leggett is a professional actor based in Seattle, WA.  Recent publications include Bottle Rockets, The Centrifugal Eye, and Cirque.  Others include The Lyric and Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry; work is forthcoming in Big Pulp, GlassFire, Constellations and Graze Magazine.  His long poem “Premature Tombeau for John Ashbery” was an e-chapbook in the Barnwood Press “Great Find” series.


Peter Munro

Hero’s Journey


rictus rictus
tooth and bone
sperm and shell
feather and strike
scale and fang
flower and thorn
skull and socket
antler and butt
talon and egg
horn and hoof
sand and spine

The rattler’s hiss down a red boulder
breaks into my waking
dream of an elder guiding
me along the rim of this canyon.
My true guide shakes to a stop, forked
tongue flickering to taste the breeze.
The path on this brink edges me
toward vertigo in the lingo of doves
and diamond backs.

Sometimes to travel one must become still.
This is the hardest journey.

Sometimes, the necessary travel. One must
This is the hardest.

When I take my blood to the desert
there is a river in the desert.
Dust assembled into current whirling
around bone, carried by bone.
A name, one name.
This petroglyph.


“Hero’s Journey” is excerpted from “DESERT RIVERS” and reprinted from Chelsea 60.


Peter Munro’s first calling is poetry.  Fortunately, he also has a second calling, fisheries science, loved second best but still much beloved plus it provides him a day job.  As a poet, Munro has had poems published in a variety of journals, including Poetry, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Iowa Review, The Atlanta Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, The Literary Review (Web), the Seattle Review, The Southern Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, The Crab Creek Review, Rosebud, and Borderlands.  Munro is grateful to be a member of the 2013 cohort of the Jack Straw Writer’s Program.   As a fisheries scientist, he helps conduct trawl surveys of commercially important bottom fish in the Bering Sea, the Aleutian Islands, and the Gulf of Alaska.

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.

Nelson Bentley

A slight break in protocol today in order to present this unpublished poem by the late Nelson Bentley, dated 1954.  Many thanks to Sean Bentley for the opportunity to publish a beloved figure in Washington’s poetic history one more time.


Kalaloch: Looking Toward Destruction Island


A driftwood barricade blends into dying pines.
On the beach, Thomas’s hullabalooing clams,
Gull and pipers, run
Through a creek where it meets the ocean.
The tide’s rolling
Backs me toward driftwood. Destruction Island
With its white lighthouse is a long black rock
Some miles at sea. A tree holds roots aloft,
Foot and head

Irrelevant in the pattern.
The low roar of ocean
Takes voice in the first row of whitecaps.
The horizon towers. Stillness deep
In driftwood juts seaward. In the last rim of pines
A crow calls. One washed-up trunk points
Inland like a cannon, roots smoothed as shell.
Gulls and creek water are smally

Beautiful as I walk pushing a buggy.
Gull feathers, shell fragments, lodge and dislodge.
Sandpipers run on their reflections,
Between wave reaches.
A clan of shells on the wet
Mirror spread butterfly wings, just lit,
Black on fresh fragrant sand.
I watch the pipers, white bellies and

Speckled backs, fragile feet, bills dabbing, as they run
To keep on the verge. What focuses the scene
Is the slender human footprint
Beside the assortment of twelve bright stones;
Beth’s brown form and black hair,
Far down the tidal fringe;
Shawn at four months in blue turtleneck sweater,
Alert eyes from his buggy above the foam’s reach.

Beside him, in the wet sand, a gull flies.
Foaming cold swirls around my ankles,
Brushed by gullfeathers.
Flying pipers sound over surf’s white thundering.
The tide digs hollows
Under my heels;
The sandpipers’ feet and their
Reflections dance the shore.



Nelson Bentley (1918 – 1990)  studied under W. H. Auden. He was a friend and colleague of Theodore Roethke, among other Northwest poets who created a distinct regional voice. In his forty years as a professor at the University of Washington, he conducted workshops, hosted readings at literary venues around the city and on radio and public television, juried poetry contests, edited poetry for journals and newspapers, and was a co-founder of Poetry Northwest and The Seattle Review. Although he was a fine poet in his own right, he believed his own greatest accomplishment to be his work in teaching hundreds of other poets who published in nationally recognized poetry outlets. He founded the Castalia Reading Series, which started at the University of Washington in the mid-seventies and continues today.  The Friends of Nelson Bentley continue to celebrate his life and legacy.

Jennifer Maier

Haute Couture


Just when you think it can’t be mended,
the April sky,
dingy from over-washing,
gray hem of clouds coming down,
they arrive—
the assiduous tailors,
with their blue smocks,
their scissortails.

Then you step out of winter like a grave
and awkward garment,
happy beyond measure to know
that from this same bolt of blue
they clothed the pharaohs,
an Etruscan woman scaling a fish,
even your elderly neighbors,
sitting together
with their oxygen canisters
at the edge of the lawn,

May slipping softly
down over their shoulders
as in the old stories,
where the blind see,
the beggar walks in robes of gold,
and everyone is saved.


“Haute Couture” is reprinted from Now, Now (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013)


Jennifer Maier is a  professor of  literature and creative writing at Seattle Pacific University and an editor of the arts quarterly IMAGE. Her work has appeared in Poetry, American Poet, Poetry Daily, New Letters, The Writer’s Almanac and elsewhereHer first book, Dark Alphabet (Southern Illinois UP), was named one of the Ten Remarkable Books of 2006 by the Academy of American Poets and was a finalist for both the Washington State Book Award and the 2008 Poets’ Prize.  A second collection, Now, Now, will be published in 2013 by The University of Pittsburgh Press.


Jane Alynn



She remembers how he entered the flower,
keen on the honeysuckle
that fluttered itself,
enamored of red—
his brazen body, hovering,
darting in and out,
interrupted, now and then,
by the humming
of a nectar-seeking rival,
equally as beautiful.
Then with the flush of spring
he turns a coppery back to her
ascends, slowly, to great heights
and dives on whistling wings
in a giddy twist toward her, tail on fire.
She’d like to get used to this.
But such displays are short-lived.
Given to being alone,
never alighting—or not for long,
ever a flitterer, he buzzes off
to the next flower
as she knew he would,
leaving her the nest
and a hunger
greater than her tiny body lets on.


“Hummingbird” is reprinted from Necessity of Flight (Cherry Grove Collections, 2011).


Jane Alynn is a poet, writer, and fine art photographer. She is the author of Necessity of Flight (Cherry Grove, 2011) and a chapbook, Threads & Dust (Finishing Line Press, 2005). In addition to winning Second Place in New South’s 2012 Poetry Contest, she received a William Stafford Award from Washington Poets Association in 2004. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals as well as in many anthologies. Recently, her poems, written in collaboration with visual artists, have been exhibited in galleries, a synergy she also explores in her photographic artwork.


Terry Martin




Orange light quiets the sky.
Color stains trees
into lengthening shade.

Lean back in your chair,
feet bare in tickling grass,
while the sun sinks behind the hill.

Sparrows flit
from limb to limb
in the orchard.

The smell of apples
becoming themselves
can ripen you, too.

Feel the air begin
to cool your shoulders,
kissing your face, blessing it.

Catch the earth’s pulse
through the soles of your feet.
Listen to the dark arrive.

Fill your empty place
with this horizon.
Hold it all lightly,

like that. Just like that.
Sit here, home,
the taste of evening in your mouth.


Terry Martin is the author of The Secret Language of Women (Blue Begonia Press, 2006) and Wishboats, published by Blue Begonia Press in 2000, winner of the Judges’ Choice Award at Bumbershoot Book Fair. Over 200 of Martin’s poems, essays, and articles have appeared in numerous publications. Hiker, river-watcher, and lover of the arts, Terry lives with her family in Yakima, and teaches in the English Department at Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She is the recipient of CWU’s Distinguished Professor Teaching Award, and in 2003 was honored as Washington Professor of the Year by the CASE/Carnegie Foundation–a national teaching award given to recognize extraordinary commitment and contribution to undergraduate education.


Mark Simpson

Sweet Plenitude


The Aurora Borealis reminds me
of the disappointed—
the bum on the street, the little girl
not invited to the party.
Early one fall I saw it.
I stood on the back patio at 3am
looking northward,
and made out, finally, the streaked sky—
washed out colors indistinct
against the dark.
3am for this, I thought, retuning to bed,
the magnetic flexure of air carrying on
its vexed dance without me.
The bum wakes from his cold nap
and the little girl turns on the TV.
I lie sleepless for the rest of the night.
What has become of the fullness
we have been promised?
In the wood lot, owls have left
the bones of mice—
so many under the green pines.
Day after day of enumeration.
The sun’s white disk behind early fog,
too weak to cast shadows—
so that things must stand for themselves,
frost-edged, claiming their own territory.


“Sweet Plenitude” is reprinted from The New Poet.

Mark Simpson’s work has appeared in a number of magazines, including Hiram Poetry Review, Cream City Review, Faultline, and Poetry Quarterly, and online in Full of Crow, Albatross, and Dialogist. He works in Seattle as writer for an instructional design firm. A chapbook, Fat Chance, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.


Heather Curtis

Trees of my Childhood

Returning to home of my youth
I walk the yard –
Lingering among the trees
I climbed and knew as a child.

They gave me pause
and entreated me to
embrace them.
Shoulders swooning
and heart willing
I nearly did –

I longed to engage them
in conversation,
like the days when they were
the greatest actors
in my most masterful plays;
We performed daily while I lay
in their arms and played at their feet.

But I stopped short
under the gaze
that I assumed was
judging from the window.

I was ashamed then,
and again, more fervently,

Heather Curtis grew up in Wisconsin and earned an English degree at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, before migrating to Washington. She currently resides in Anacortes where she writes, enjoys nature, and is actively pursuing publication for her poems. This is her first.

Amber Nelson


……..In this bright gray
light, the blinding day,
listen to the whispering
of angels. Tittering wings and wordlessness float in strings
of sound. Such trembling
music. The pavement shines.
I ride the gales, wind and night,
they push against, slip through skin—gripping each cadence—
so hairs stand, ascending pins.

It’s warm, still
inside the chill
of fall.

But still, in motion. Still inside
the weathered chaos. Stillness.
This is —happiness?

………….Everything shines
………….when it rains.
When it rains
and right after
………….Everything shines:

the Pacific’s quiet arousal.

The Kingfishers rouse
for quiet repose, in
blue winged days. In praise
………….I build sunlight
under fingertips,
in each rib. Feel it lit
inside the wick of grim rubbings,
uncertain burns: a light singing.
In air. In air. Remember—
………….this light, its organ
warmth, sounds brass chords,
a mast of fog in rooms
that melts away. Hold on—
………….to such crisp, wet

Everything shines:
sun sheering leaves so you can see:
the shake of white: the shake
of still, of empty white: sleet
of lupine time: fields: the gorgeous
tickle of clean sheets: a sweep
of sea aligning beach: a lingered
quiet drunk in mint: balloons
suspending: stars.

………….O obvious stars!
Their light uncovers
all that’s honied, sweetly
shining, shining.

………….Everything shines.
Each sun or star or skin
the leaves the wind and
eyes each dream idea mourning
lover scissor headlight touch

It’s always been this way,
lost inside a simple forgetting,
brash midland breachings
of each, our gauzy seams

Still. Warm. Shining.

………….Joy—each wheel
a spindle slick on these wet
leaves the fall, which falls
a maple in my stride, a tail whip
that gasps in lungs and stays
aglow—a pink and golden hue
blazed within my skin, in ribs,
a lift, a blessing.
………….I ride into the day—


“As A Threshold Brook” is reprinted from Taiga Issue A.


Amber Nelson is the co-founder and poetry editor of alice blue, a well as the founding editor of alice blue books. Her work can be found variously online  and in print, and she is the author of 3 previous chapbooks: This Ride is in Double Exposure (h-ngm-n books), Your Trouble is Ballooning (Publishing Genius), and Diary of When Being with Friends Feels Like Watching TV (Slash Pine Press). Her first full-length book, In Anima: Urgency is forthcoming in May from Coconut Books.