Linda Greenmun

Hillside Above Saratoga Passage


Adrian and Benjamin launch their kites,
Release what is larger
Within, allow it to ride the wind:
One ascends on red dragon-scaled wings.
The other glides as a flat fish—a skate—
Huge rainbow body ruffling on salt air.
We have turned from dimes
Exchanged for uprooted weeds
That the oldest has picked. And from
The youngest collecting gamatoes
The word slowly transformed
By his tongue, clicked against his palate,
Into t-t-tomatoes
Work, then this lifting.


“Hillside Above Saratoga Passage” is reprinted from Manzanita Quarterly.


Linda Greenmun was one of the founding editors for Floating Bridge Press.  Her book of poems, Wheel of Days, received a Fellowship in Literature from The Washington State Arts Commission and Artist Trust.  She lives with her husband, Renny, on Camano Island.  She is working on a second manuscript, “Cloud Dwellers.”


Jeffrey Morgan

The Rental


The stairs to the basement sound like an animal in another language.
I smell mold, but think about God and try to understand

His attention like a particle that might not exist.
Realtors have a way of speaking that means nothing

to me: proximity to transportation; square footage and usable space.
I step into the closet to be polite. I think it would be funny

to moan like a ghost, but don’t. I like the wastefulness of long hallways
on every floor, the new refrigerator’s virginal magnetism.

I feel obligated to flush each toilet.
She asks me what I do. She asks me if I have children.

I listen to water moving in the pipes and condense my face
in a way I hope conveys approval. She wonders what I’m holding together,

and I want to explain all the invisible forces.



“The Rental” is reprinted from Third Coast.


Jeffrey Morgan is the author of Crying Shame (Blazevox, 2011). Newer poems appear, or will soon, in Barrow Street, Bellevue Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pleiades, Diode, Third Coast, and West Branch, among others. He lives in Bellingham, WA and blogs very occasionally at

Polly Buckingham

The Crone

I wake in a city.
Bodies cover the snowy streets.
The left-over

halves of people bend
their heads against dead chests.

An infection rages in my eyes.
I rest in complete dark.

My dead sister
sits at my bedside pushing

my hair from my face,
wiping my forehead with a dead

I am a tree. I am a crone.
I stare into the flaring fire.

I stand in a basement
filled with brown water.

I meet my sister at a carnival.
We hold hands and run into the crowd.

I’m standing in a glass ball
filled with fog.

I turn and turn and turn.


“The Crone” is reprinted from Chattahoochee Review.


Polly Buckingham’s poems and stories appear in The New Orleans Review, The North American Review, The Tampa Review, (Pushcart nomination), Exquisite Corpse, The Literary Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Potomac Review, HubbubThe Moth and elsewhere.  She recently won the Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award and as a result has a fiction chapbook forthcoming from Hoopsnakes Press.  She was a finalist for Flannery O’Connor Award in 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Polly is founding editor of StringTown Press and teaches creative writing and literature at Eastern Washington University.

Aaron Counts

Becoming Iron

High above the hustle
of the Brownville Projects,
bullies find Mike’s solace:
a rooftop walk-in filled with
pigeons named for boxing greats.
In his hands, Mike cradles
his prize racer, Mongoose,
cooing as the bird pecks
seed from his lips.

Lemme hold it,
the big guy says, and wrenches
Mongoose from Mike’s chubby
fists. The sidekick chuckles
and the bullies pass the bird back
and forth, take turns pushing
Mike away, laugh as he pleads
with them to thtop it.

Mike almost holds in his squeal
as they pop the head off Mongoose,
twisting its cap as easy
as opening a soda bottle.
The big bully shoves
Mike back in the coop,
then throws the limp bird at his soft
chest and walks away smiling.

When they’re gone, Mike raises
his arms; palms open like he’s addressing
his congregation, and commands
the other birds out of the coop.
Feathers flutter in the air like dirty
snow, and Mike slumps
against the back wall, crying. He wipes
his nose on his sleeve and vows
to take the head off every fool
that tests him.

He’ll start with the tips of their ears.



Aaron Counts has written and read with professors, prisoners, high school dropouts and national book award winners. He is a teaching artist with Seattle’s Writers-in-the-Schools program, and his non-fiction book, Reclaiming Black Manhood, has been taught in area jails, prisons and juvenile detention facilities. He holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia.

Emily Bedard



Remember the time you announced
that you were no longer going to clean
your ear wax out, that you were, at last,
going to trust your ears to do their job
the way the Good Lord had intended,
which would have been easier to commit to
had you actually believed in God,
though sometimes grand gestures require
grand sacrifices, in this case your atheism,
which you sort of just wiped off yourself
with a mental swab and tossed out
the window of our conversation? At first
nothing was different. You were the same guy
with the same ears, a little mashed maybe,
but well formed, and the same hearing,
fond of the black-capped chickadees outside
our window in the early morning and the children
doing their Uncle Murray voices as they ran
through the sprinkler and the obscure radio shows
you found on the dial late at night by yourself.

………………….But gradually, by spring maybe,
the accumulation had begun to take hold
and you missed little snippets of conversation
around you, you looked in wonder at the patterns
of intricate feathers on the tiny gray wings,
undistracted by song. You had a look of half
amazement and half despair as the burbling,
clicking, rustling world fell away behind the wall
of silent wax in your head. We spoke to your face,
we raised our voices, but you just stared
at our mouths opening and shutting like fishes
gulping the wrong kind of air. And when
the muffling was complete, when your two ears
like tender contoured shells on the sides of your head
had fully erected a fortress of quiet, you just swam
alone in there in circles, listening to
the whispers of a God you had never believed in.


Emily Bedard writes poetry, fiction, and collaborative screenplays with her sister, Bridget Bedard. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Montana and lives in Seattle, where she teaches for Richard Hugo House, Seattle Arts & Lectures, and the Henry Art Gallery. Currently, Bedard is working on a new collection of poems, a novel, and a group of memoir-ish essays, all at the same time.

Carlos Martinez

In the imagined forests of El Yunque
…..The tropical forest of Puerto Rico


Where I’ve never been. Where I will never go,
except in dreams on hot nights, windows

cranked as open as they will go, where ghost frogs,
the famed coqui, will make its little sound, like

sparks being struck from stone by teeth. There,
where it is humid, every leaf unidentifiable,

dripping with metronome regularity, is where
I go, when I fall asleep, old head, gray head,

nestled into old pillows that have come
through all of these years with me, alarm clock

set for early, I wouldn’t want to miss anything
in what time remains. I wake on the other side,

native, young, before the time
of the great wooden ships that appeared suddenly,

not today, but a yesterday, long ago when steel helms
almost rusted through cut through jungle foliage,

swords in air weaving back and forth, the sound
of feet running into jungle, deeper, into darkness

and history. I am there, genetic memory, made so
by the high Indian cheekbones of my mother,

now dead, who drifted across open water
to bear me, one night, in a New York as gone

as the jungles in which, when asleep, I run.


Carlos Martinez is the author of the chapbooks Meanwhile, Back in Kansas (Finishing Line Press, 2007), The Cold Music of the Ocean (Finishing Line Press, 2004), and The Raw Silk of the Dark (Finishing Line Press, 2008). He was born in New York City and worked for many years in King County government before leaving to teach poetry and literature at Western Washington University. He lives in Ferndale, Washington.

Ronda Broatch



Call yourself crazy, but these swallows in the eaves speak
of arriving, of settling in like flames.
…………………………It is midnight when you steal

with your daughter into the garden, blessing
a nursing bra, holey pair of panties. How you stare, amazed
as people grow from the ground, shimmery

in prom fronds, tuxedos to praise the raging body
of what moments ago you called your home, gaping
windows keeping nothing sacred. Morning you return,

…………………………………………………………………..your house a post-
holocaust sanctuary, plastic hair brush grafted to the altar
of your vanity. Fascinated, you see in the sodden marriage

of your photos a glue no prying will undo: wife to husband,
the mouth of your child an O against the ear of a relative
whose name escapes you. ….All the next year

you dream of flight, of burning and birth. ….You find
a looseness in this, and you sleep more and longer.
….wandering often
…………………… amongst the ashes where you haunt
the ghosts of your belongings: knitting needle stuck
to the baby’s doll, the hearts of sweaters eaten away by mice.

You admire charred trees for their audacity
to reach beyond earth, think of planting beans, of attaining heaven
by climbing. You pine for simpler things,

whole days outside. Blood, as a method of expression, not a map
of your years. In the soil you find another piece of glass
and your eyes burn –

pollen, or the low morning sun – you’ve no time to question it now,
what with these seeds to tamp down, one more year rushing by
………………………………………………………………like a house on fire.


“Anatomy of a Natural Disaster” is reprinted from Linebreak.

Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and Some Other Eden (2005). Nominated seven times for the Pushcart, recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Book Award, Ronda is currently Poetry Editor for the literary journal, Crab Creek Review. She is also a photographer, and samples of her work can be seen on her photo blog, Ronda Broatch Photos.


Sarah Galvin

The Sign with Nothing On It

This blank sign in front of the motel was my favorite object in the neighborhood as a child. It is shaped like it outlines words, but it has been a solid gray-green for as long as I can remember. “Look, it’s the sign with nothing on it!” I yelled to my parents when we passed it in the car. After much thought about why a blank sign existed, I decided it must be art.

My uncle said, “Paintings of the crucifixion can be beautiful. That’s the difference between a real crucifixion and a painting. That’s why people make paintings.”

The night my mom drove her car into the front yard, my uncle came all the way to our house. I was standing alone in the kitchen with the lights off, and he picked me up. My uncle who used to put his fake teeth in his belly button and make it talk to me.

I imagined crucifixions were the popsicle truck colors of the neighbors’ weathered plastic Jesus, and smelled like adults’ coats after some event where it was necessary to sit down and be quiet.



“The Sign with Nothing On It” is reprinted from Io.


Sarah Galvin is the author of The Stranger’s “Midnight Haiku” series, which are neither haiku nor at midnight. She has a blog called The Pedestretarian, where she reviews food found on the street. The thing she loves most about reviewing discarded food is receiving text messages that say things like “I hear the bus stop on 3rd and Union is covered with ham.” Sarah is poetry MFA student at University of Washington, and her poems can be found in io, Proximity, Pageboy, Dark Sky, and Ooligan press’s Alive at the Center anthology.

Sherman Alexie

Death Song for Polar Bear


Dear polar bear—pale warrior, snow
Walker, seal hunter, floe-to-floe
Swimmer—when you tire and slip below
The water’s surface, do you see ghosts

Of other drowned bears and join the ursine
Migration into a far north afterlife?
Of course not. But, polar bear, when you die,
I hope you are dreaming of blood and ice.


Copyright © 2013 by Sherman Alexie. All rights reserved. No reprinting or reuse of any kind without the author’s prior written approval.



Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Sherman Alexie is the author of, most recently, Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories. He has also recently published the 20th Anniversary edition of his classic book of stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Poet, short story writer, novelist, moviemaker, and comedian, Alexie lives in Seattle with his family.

Alicia Hokanson

Teaching Homer to Eighth Graders

What appeals to them most is that Odysseus
was one horny guy
moving from goddess to nymph;
not that he kept his vision
of Ithaca like a flame in his gut.

And Telemachus – that wimp –
turned out to be okay,
he could have strung the bow
if his dad had let him.

Argos, on the dungheap, rolls
his eyes and dies,
joy in his doggy heart
when he hears his master’s voice.

And Eurylochus-–a fool to eat those cattle–
got what he deserved.

Nausicaa? An idiot
to let a naked man
from the bushes by the river
nearly hug her about the knees.

With what glee they read
the bloody battle in the hall.
How cool that Antinous
got it in the throat
and that Melanthius
was strung up on a brutal wall.

How far we’ve come when they begin
to feel the complications of return
to greening Ithaca, and kneel in the orchard
with Laertes weeping. The old guy
fooled by a son just beginning
the ship-wrecked journey home.


Reprinted from Yalapaloosa Review.


Alicia Hokanson’s poetry collections are Insistent in the Skin (Brooding Heron Press, 1993), Mapping the Distance (King County Arts Commission Publication Prize, 1989), and Phosphorus (Brooding Heron Press, 1984).  She lives in Seattle and teaches at Lakeside School where she holds the Bleakney Chair in English.