Kay Mullen

Out of the Alphabet Horn


tumbles the fruit and fire of my life,
the heart and harvest of words.
As a child I learned to breathe soft O’s
and Ah’s, click T’s and K’s, letters

strung like beads of stone.
Our ancestors survived on oxen, inverted
the yoke to form A. Clans clung to seeds
of insight and drew a bow on the eye

of history. They predicted with patterns:
B hogans standing to guard the rivers,
V hooks for prodding horses with H-fence
protections, O’s in the eyes of osprey,

M’s estuary. Letters tumbled to me
over centuries. Even Einstein withdrew
from questions of monkey tail’s Q,
astonished at history ahead of itself.

There is always room in the beta
for the Buddha, bract of the scauler willow,
women with eyes in their hands,
drawing the unpredictable bow.


“Out of the Alphabet Horn” is reprinted from Tattoos on Cedar, 2006.



Kay Mullen’s work has appeared in a variety of poetry journals and anthologies, most recent journals: Valparaiso Poetry Journal, Appalachia, Wrist Magazine, San Pedro River Review. She has authored three full-length poetry collections, Let Morning Begin, 2001, A Long Remembering: Return to Vietnam, 2006, and most recent, Even the Stones, 2012. Kay received an MFA in poetry, Rainier Writing Workshop,Pacific Lutheran University.


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.

Sylvia Byrne Pollack

Vagrant Waltz
For Yaffa

It’s time in mid-summer
to think about nothing,
turn from ideas,
make ice cream instead,
float on a raft of popsicle sticks.

You will know when to get up,
wield pencils like chopsticks,
tease apart vagabond thoughts
meandering through your mind.

When bedraggled ideas knock
at your door, don’t turn them
away. Like your mother before you
give handouts to hoboes –

a sketch of a cat will be
etched on your gate.
Words will come tramping
into your dreams, vamp
your domesticated mind

with rumbles, a jungle
utterly outside your safe picket fence.


“Vagrant Walz” previously appeared in Shark Reef.

Sylvia Byrne Pollack retired from careers in cancer research and mental health counseling but remains on “active duty” as a poet and grandmother. She lives and writes in Seattle. Her recent poems have appeared in Hobble Creek Review, in Drash: Northwest Mosaic and are forthcoming in Solo Novo.