Joseph Powell



Even her porch was lined with boxes,
and cats, rheumy-eyed or clear, lay on shelves
above the washer and dryer, on cupboards and chairs,
or scratched in plastic dishpans filled with sand
spread like pots to catch a leak.

Her dentures didn’t fit, red lipstick
wobbled over wrinkled lips, a thin grime at her temples,
but her sheets were laundered every week.
When she invited me in, the laundryman,
she sat in a rocker and wrote a check
in a slow tottery script, stopping to tell little stories.
I watched the pen pause, hair float in window light.

Her cats were small-town legendary.
And though she had over fifty,
people kept dropping off more.
They walked away without ever going inside
where crusty saucers spotted the floors,
cats ate from the frying pan and dishes on the stove,
and the smell like an animal larger than all the cats together
moved everywhere at once on brown toes.

I didn’t know the inside of her life—
what love had done, the paths ridicule
made through whatever garden she was prone
to dream of, the pathos that seemed an answer,
that nugget of loathing required to love this much
the things others abandoned.


Joseph Powell has published five collections of poetry.  The first book, Counting the Change, won the Quarterly Review of Literature’s Book Award in 1986.  The most recent books, Hard Earth (2010) and Preamble to the Afterlife (2013),  were published by March Street.  His book of short stories called Fish Grooming & Other Stories  was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, 2008.  He has also co-written a book on poetic meter called Accent on Meter published by the NCTE in 2004. For his poetry Joseph Powell has won a National Endowment for the Arts Award (2009), an Artist Trust award (2005), and the Tom Pier Award (2006). He has been Central Washington University’s Phi Beta Kappa Scholar of the Year (2004), and was awarded Distinguished University Professor in Artistic Accomplishment (2009). He has taught in the English department at Central Washington University for the last twenty-nine years.

Arlene Naganawa

Michael Jackson Dreams the Elephant Man


The thick bones float toward him,
the great misshapen skull bathed in white.
Shyly, he touches the explosion of cranium,
traces the cauliflower
ossified at the back of the head.
Presses his fingers against the spine,
feels pain locked in the vertebrae
of twists and spirals, feels nights
crouched in a hall beneath the crudely-
lettered sign: Half-Animal Half-Man.
Feels the rising velvet curtain.

The head rises before him, luminous.
The dreamer feels the scalpel
slicing tissue, gouging bone, chipping away
imperfections, carving his soul into something
more exquisite than God intended.
Weeping in white light
the monstrous skull whispers:
I was not loved. Yet, I believed.
The dreamer echoes:
Yes, to be beautiful,
bleeding under the bandages.


“Michael Jackson Dreams the Elephant Man” is reprinted from Crab Orchard Review.


Arlene Naganawa’s poems have appeared in The Floating Bridge Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cider Press Review, Caketrain, Flying Chickadee, The Comstock Review and elsewhere. Private Graveyard won the Gribble Press Chapbook Contest in 2009 and The Scarecrow Bride was the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award runner up for 2013.  She lives in Seattle.

David Stallings

Leaving Nashville, 1952


I’m packed between suitcases and boxes
into the back seat of a Buick Dynaflow. The view

blocked, the air thick with Dick’s Camels
and my mother’s Herbert Tareytons.

I try to filter my breath
with Kleenex—

the asthma isn’t fooled.
How will I make it all the way to Alaska?

On the way out of town, Dick swings into a gas station.
The trailer we’re towing slows us down,

and another car slips in front.
Asshole! my new stepfather roars, and grabs

for his .45 automatic in the glove box.
All I see is his arm

and my pleading mother’s grip
on his wrist.

I can barely breathe.


“Leaving Nashville, 1952” is reprinted from Boston Literary Magazine.

David Stallings was born in the U.S. South, raised in Alaska and Colorado before settling in Washington State. Once an academic geographer, he has spent many years promoting public transportation in the Puget Sound area. His poems have appeared in several North American and U.K. literary journals and anthologies.

Suzanne E. Edison

The Fantasy
………….after Louise Glück


Walking the halls with my daughter,
her IV pole like Asclepius’ staff, snake
twined, she rolls past

curtained cubicles, other children
with cancer, Crohn’s, cauldrons
of misinformed codes, cellular traffic jams,

bodies rising against
themselves. Hydra monsters
slither out their noses, spiral from chests,

wrapping arms like bindweed.

While medicine drips—a cup
of Gorgon’s blood might heal—injecting
sunny day regularity like morning coffee—

we mothers clutch Medusa’s mask,
stroke stubble-crowned heads, calm
buzzing needles of fear.

We call upon our powers of invention
imagining we are the ones
who escape unharmed and

ward off time in cartoon
fantasies, where Roadrunner
is never road-kill.



“The Fantasy”; Ars Medica, Spring, 2012


Suzanne E. Edison’s work appears in print: in her small books, Tattooed With Flowers and What Cannot Be Swallowed; The Examined Life Journal of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine; The Healing Art of Writing,Volume One; Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine; Ars Medica; Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith, Mysticism and Awakening; Pearl; and Crab Creek Review, among other places. Also found online at DermanitiesLiterary Mama, and KUOW.  She lives in Seattle, Washington.


Kathryn Hunt



All through the night,
all through the long witless hallways of my sleep,
from my hospital bed
I heard the newborn babies cry,
bewildered like new arrivals anywhere,
between worlds, unacquainted with
the names of things.

That afternoon a kind nurse named Laura
had taken me for a stroll to exercise
the red line of my wound . . . .
We stopped by the nursery window
and a flannel-swathed boy
in a clear plastic cradle was pushed to the glass.
We peered at him and said, “Welcome.
You’ve come to Earth.”
We laughed and shook our heads.

All through the night,
all through the drug-spangled rapture of my dreams,
I heard the newborn babies sing,
first one, then another. That bright hiss,
those soft octaves of wonder,
the fierce beginning of their lament.


“The Newborns” is reprinted from The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Kathryn Hunt is a writer and filmmaker. Her stories and poems have appeared in Rattle, The Sun, Willow Springs, Crab Orchard Review, and Open Spaces, among other magazines. She is a director of documentary films, including Take this Heart, a feature-length film that was honored with the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism. She recently completed a memoir, The Province of Leaves, the story of a mother and a daughter and the tangled, maddening, and abiding claims of family. She teaches writing classes in memoir at the Writers’ Workshoppe in Port Townsend. She is a passionate gardener and loves to spend as much time as possible on the hiking trails in the Olympic Mountains near her home.

Ann Spiers

Bunker Trail, Vashon Island


……..New Year’s Eve (8 p.m.)
His body is well dressed
in wool coat and heavy gloves.
His body rides the currents
from the Narrows
north up Colvos Straits,
passes our iced windows
to beach on Dolphin Point.

His body is covered
with care in wool and knit.

……..New Year’s Eve (Midnight)
Sandbags are a mesh of smell,
dormant in stacks of dozens.

Each beach has a load of sand
that migrates back and forth.
We shovel load after load
into bellies of sandbags
in the night and north wind.

Sandbags have a rough stink,
hemp, creosote, and sea mire.

……..New Year (3 a.m.)
For decades, I did this dream,
waking deeper, blacker into its hole.

The cabin splinters, waves work
dark rafters and pilings akimbo,
exposing chairs, children’s bunks.
The fire settles to a fizzle.
Elated to get the task over,

I lean in, pulling our sons
up and up, by the wrists.


“Bunker Trail, Vashon Island” is reprinted from 13th Moon, then Nature of an Island, and is forthcoming in Bunker Trail (Finishing Line Press).


A Washington native, Ann Spiers is the current Vashon Island Poet Laureate. Her recent chapbooks are Bunker Trail (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), What Rain Does (Egress Studio Press, Bellingham), A Wild Taste (May Day Press, Shelton), and Long Climb into Grace (FootHills Publ., New York). She leads workshops developing poem cycles for chapbooks.

Hans Ostrom

Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven


They call each other `E.’  Elvis picks
wildflowers near the river and brings
them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.

In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports
Levis and western blouses with rhinestones.
Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers

and T-shirts, a letterman’s jacket from Tupelo High.
They take long walks and often hold hands.
She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.

Emily’s poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,
Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard
Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.

Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon
he will play guitar and sing “I Taste A Liquor
Never Brewed” to the tune of “Love Me Tender.”

Emily will clap and harmonize.  Alone
in their cabins later, they’ll listen to the river
and nap. They will not think of Amherst

or Las Vegas. They know why God made them
roommates. It’s because America
was their hometown. It’s because

God is a thing without
feathers. It’s because
God wears blue suede shoes.


“Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven” is reprinted from The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006 (Indianapolis: Dog Ear Press, 2006).

Hans Ostrom is Professor of African American Studies and English at the University of Puget Sound, where he won the President’s Award for Teaching.  Ostrom grew up in a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada.  Later he attended the University of California, Davis, where he studied poetry-writing with Karl Shapiro.  Ostrom went on to earn a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English from UCD. He has taught since 1983 at Puget Sound. His publications in poetry include the books The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006  and Clear a Place for Good: Poems 2006-2012. Hans’s poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Ploughshares, the Washington Post, and a variety of other magazines.With Kate Haake and Wendy Bishop, he wrote Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively (Longman), a textbook about writing fiction, poetry, and drama. Ostrom has also published books about the work of Langston Hughes, and he is co-editor with David Macey of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature (5 vols.) He is a novelist and a screenwriter.   His YouTube channel, Langstonify, features over 800 videos of poems.

Deborah Woodard


I can play each part, be Hamlet, hands in pockets, and then the bikers disappearing over
the lip of the grave. Plus, the dog’s four legs. There’s a cold gold light, everything shaking
and Ophelia newly dead. My initial schlep toward Hamlet and the tannic depths of the glass      cap
cast glitter, the plaid shorts stayed snug over the leggings. Let inspiration toss more               confetti:
sky turn apricot, mind crack down the visor. Raise the visor. See both sides of the dunce.
I found a little more strength. Summon the dream. Be quick! (Difficult in sun.)
There was the most serene sky with peaks, blue sitting up there awhile with white.
Was there another place? The teabag withers inside my cup, its little paper flag
bumping gently in the air. My long jacket—well, that’s the kind of ease that comes
with green and brown suspenders. The tipsy birds were insects in the distance.
It was déjà vu to clear my throat, begin. My son, dig yourself out. Move. Displace.
The burgundy hedges stayed unruffled, despite Hamlet shambling in and out of them.
I’d like two pairs of legs, please. My son is not very bright. He’s fully leafed, well, almost.
The holly never drowses. Let it scratch out notes on the sky’s paper.
How is hell going to be? Well, hell. What’s the difference between a violin and a viola?
A viola burns more slowly. (There’s more of it. Heh, heh.) Uncover the berries.
The little bits of scarlet make us feel safe, like the grey of bare branches, truisms.
Ah, and now there’s my son Hamlet again. Ophelia guides him with her ungloved hand.


“Phantom” first appeared in Chelsea.


Deborah Woodard was born in New York City and raised in Vermont, and currently lives in Seattle. She holds an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and a PhD from the University of Washington. Her first full-length poetry collection is Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006). Her second collection, Borrowed Tales, was released from Stockport Flats in December, 2012. She is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Hunter Mnemonics (hemel press, 2008), which was illustrated by artist Heide Hinrichs. Her translation the Italian of Amelia Rosselli, The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems 1953-1981, was published by Chelsea Editions (2009). She teaches hybrid creative writing and literature classes at the Richard Hugo House.



Jason Whitmarsh

History of MacGyver


MacGyver, aged 17, escapes a locked car using a toothpick and a can of aerosol. MacGyver, aged 8, plunges twelve stories into a dump truck. He emerges unscathed, carrying a nearly translucent umbrella. MacGyver, aged fourteen months, establishes contact with a friendly behind enemy lines using a pacifier, an English muffin, and a Glock. MacGyver, in utero, counts his possessions: ten soft fingernails, a fine, potentially braidable hair covering everything, any number of already vestigial parts: the muscles of the ear, gills, the tail bone, the tiny appendix.


“History of MacGyver” is reprinted from Poetry Northwest.

Jason Whitmarsh earned his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington. His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Yale ReviewHarvard ReviewPloughshares,and Fence. His book, Tomorrow’s Living Room, won the 2009 May Swenson Poetry Award. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children.

Mary Elizabeth Gillilan



A cloudburst over the bird yard
turkeys gone to church—mouths agape
heads up

Grandma shakes her head, rheumy eyes
stare past something
I cannot see

She pours me Boston coffee, milk
and Folgers equal parts, I blow circles
across the top of the cup

Drown—they’d as soon drown
mean too—Grandma with her cane
shooed the cloud devotees back
to the barn. Her red Irish head soaked
and black round eye glasses smeared
with dust and rain.

Bare-footed and wrapped in Mama’s
hot pink shawl, tonight I crane my head
upwards and gawk at a moon
too large for consumption
but I drink until moon drunk

every bit as bright
as a turkey in the rain.



Mary Elizabeth Gillilan is the editor-in-chief of Clover, A Literary Rag. She leads writers groups at the Independent Writers’ Studio in Bellingham, Washington. Her novel, Tibet, A Writer’s Journal was published in 2007. Her greatest achievements are her two wonderful daughters. She lives in a hundred year old house in Bellingham with three rescue dogs and a cat.