Christopher Arigo

I found a geophysicist


I find that I say
your name differently
and keep it safe in my mouth—
lips parted—just so—
to allow our sighs escape.

I learn new words: regolith or
batholith, syncline or anticline—

Which one are you? I wonder.
Downward or convex?

(Rego means blanket in Greek,
means cloaked in stone).


Questions sound different
when I ask you—
a softer lilt
end of line.

Or when you counter:
haiku or sonnet—which one are you?

(A haiku is a moment
snatched from time, says Basho).


Questions are weightier
somehow, yet afloat, drifting
almost like answers or mantle.

How far into the earth
are you willing to go?

(I want to be cloaked
in stone with you.

I want to snatch moments
from time for you).

Questions are plates waiting to collide,
waiting to make Himalayas.


Christopher Arigo‘s first poetry collection Lit interim won the 2001-2002 Transcontinental Poetry Prize (selected by David Bromige) and was published by Pavement Saw Press (2003). His second collection In the archives  (2007) was released by Omnidawn Publishing. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington State University in Pullman.


Leigh Hancock

My Dentist


My dentist has hair
the color of lint,
stubble (at least
on the days I see him)
and wrinkles around his ears.

He leans back (too far I think),
elbows stiff
like a child
holding his first sparkler,
thoughts in Missouri perhaps
or lost in last night’s bouillabaisse.

Come closer, I murmur,
but my mouth is a steel bouquet,
my tongue corralled in rubber.
The hurts of this life
(and maybe one or two more)
huddle with me on the long green chair,
a boatful of refugees
drifting toward pain.

Come closer, dear dentist.
Look past the cracked crown
and yellow decay,
the rumpled gums and downy chin,
gaze deep into the basement of my fear,
the pilot light that keeps
the whole house warm,
and tell me without solace
what you see.

Put aside your drill, lower your mask.
The smell of burning bone is everywhere.
This is as close as we ever get.
Lean closer,

Leigh Hancock has been writing poems for most of her life.  She has an MFA in writing from the Universityof Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow.  She has also received fellowships from the Wurlitzer Foundation, Hedge brook Via Montalvo and Fishtrap.  Her work has been published in several anthologies and magazines including Calyx, Mothering and Sundog.  She lives lives in White Salmon along the Columbia Gorge with her husband, son and border collie.

Graham Isaac

A Tool Breaks Its Promise


You tricked me, leafblower! out amongst
the lawns, admiring my own arms for

their usefulness, peeled bark, owned houses,
guidelines toward mulch. I wanted you

to be the wind, harnessed, I wanted
you to make me God. But like the firehose

or blender or hangglider before you, this is a
clumsy toy, a dignity steal for men in buttoned

shirts even on their day off. Listen: my home
is my castle and the lawn is my moat and the

leaves, they are alligators, even in the fall.
You’ve punchlined me, set me to the neighborhood

council in apology rags, contrition tie, shame loafers.
I drive back, my satnav malfunctioning, Joe,

over there, on his riding mower, grinning,
near asleep in his beer.


“A Tool Breaks Its Promise” is reprinted from Wonder And Risk. 


Graham Isaac is a writer and performer living in Seattle, Washington. Previously he lived in Swansea, Wales, where he attained a Masters of Arts in Creative and Media Writing from University of Wales Swansea, and co-founded The Crunch, an open mic for spoken word. He co-curates the Claustrophobia reading series and was one of the organizers behind the Greenwood Lit Crawl. His work has appeared in various journals, including Licton Springs Review, Your Hands Your Mouth, Hoarse, The Raconteur (UK), Beat the Dust and more. He is allergic to cats.

Ann Batchelor Hursey

Made by Hand

My thumb loops yarn, inserts
……….the needle’s tip,
pulls yarn through each stitch: right
……….to left, back
to front—worked-in, slipped-off
……….my needle—
I purse my lips and knit
……….this prayer shawl
to warm a friend’s shoulders.
……….My son appears
to say, Knitting makes you
……….look older.
Startled, I think: Is this
……….the first time
he’s seen gray on my temples?
……….Is it the way
I squint beneath the lamp?
……….My needles slide,
knit three, purl three—and then
……….reverse the row
below; a three-beat seed
……….stitch, trinity
of healing thoughts. As fingers
……….move I tell
him how I cast sixty stitches,
……….like my age—
My needles slide, knit three, purl
……….three—three beat
trinity of healing thoughts—
……….Me, thinking when
was the first time I thought
……….my parents old?
Unobserved, I used to watch them
……….sitting, side by side—
their eyes on strangers— and me
……….wondering when
did they put on weight, when
……….did their shoulders
soften? My son speaks again,
……….would I listen
to a Haydn solo, the piece he
……….needs to learn
next week? He leans against
……….my knees, catches
the shawl, now falling off
……….my lap. My
hands graze past his unkempt hair
……….as we listen to
this floating melody, this
……….slow concerto.
It’s then I start my final row,
……….turn all that
length now gathered on the floor—
……….consider skills
of binding-off. Remembering
……….do it loosely.



“Made by Hand” is reprinted from Fire On Her Tongue: An eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry, Kelli Russell Agodon and Annette Spaulding-Convy, Editors (Two Sylvias Press, 2012).


Ann Batchelor Hursey’s work has appeared in the Seattle Review, Crab Creek Review, Poemeleon, Chrysanthemum and Persimmon Tree, among other publications. Besides collaborating with artists, musicians, and community gardens— she has written poems about fair trade and handmade things.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Born and raised in Ohio, she’s now lived longer among Firs and Cedars than Sassafras and Buckeyes. She lives in Mountlake Terrace.


Kim Loomis-Bennett

Marnie Clark


Every time he got to me, every time he lay on me,
I wore a path to a thistle-choked ravine.

Past the garden, past father’s grave,
when step-father got his hands up my skirt,

prodded into me—Marnie, my darling, my dove
his calluses against my raw thighs, my neck when I struggled.

I’d stare across the ravine—blue hills like frozen waves.
A stern breeze scrubbed his stench from my skin.


He was awfully quiet; how Mother knew I couldn’t say.
After he left, I saw her sharp face peering in the shed window.

I slid off an old bench, yanked my dress into place.
She stared in like I was a stranger—I stared back.

Mother ranted at my gaunt figure when I couldn’t eat,
lost my job at Hoyt’s café—mostly she missed my pay.

I paced my room at night, always a book in hand,
always a lantern glowing low, softly reading Bible lore.

Her face soft, my little sister Helen
hugged her ragdoll, lulled to sleep by my footfall.


Mother gave me pills to start my monthlies,
banished her husband to a cellar room—Marnie, my dove.

Helen asked why her daddy slept down with the spiders;
I said they caught his bad ideas, wrapped them in webs.


I was sent to work at an all-woman’s hotel, west of us in Seattle,
rode the train out, ready for liberty, even if only as a Lincoln Hotel maid.

I found amusement in foreign travelers’ voices,
odd curios in waterfront shops, the long shadows of tall buildings,

even a tinge of contentment in polishing mahogany furniture,
making up brass beds with horsehair mattresses.

The mist off Elliot Bay washed my mind. Mt Rainer’s white peak
oversaw my dreams. Outside my window in the worker’s quarters,

fog leaned against the heavy green of the cedar trees,
mellowed wagon and car traffic, held the slight light of the lilacs.


I counted how many rooms I’d clean before Helen could be safe,
counted on getting a little house—away from him.

I turned calendar pages, the days adding up so slowly.
Poured my savings onto my bed, the money measly in my hands.


Another maid showed me the new Hillside Brothel
on Tenth Avenue South—I listened in the hall,

heard the man’s moans, the short time he was in and out,
saw the cash, knew I could do that.

At first I spent the extra on a white silk wrap,
rouges, perfumes and creams, trinkets and toys for Helen.

Later, I found my way into gambling parties, lost
track of my Hillside wages, worked extra to make it back.


Mother wrote: Helen moved away for a bit,
I threw away the coat you sent. Stay away.

Making beds by day, lying on them all night,
the counted-on money never amounted to much.

The dark over the city, the dark over the ocean—
my hopes tangled up in linen.



Kim Loomis-Bennett is a life-long resident of Washington State, besides a detour into Oregon where she met her husband. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in The November 3rd Club, The Copperfield Review, Poet’s Quarterly, and Hippocampus Magazine. Her most recent work is included in The Prose-Poem Project.  She teaches at Centralia College. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and will graduate with her MFA, January 2014. She lives in Lewis County with her family. Her work, Soiled Doves: A Poetic Sequence, published in 2011, is available as an ebook.


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.


Patrick Dixon

Boat Puller
…..for Jim

We were alone on the boat –
a green deckhand and a middle-aged Norwegian
riding emerald rollers sprinkled with drops of gold
in the late afternoon sun.
And though you were teaching me
how to get a salmon out of the bag
without popping the mesh,
…..I was somewhere else:

… the stern I saw myself
neck deep in Indiana, floundering in all those years
of not knowing who I was. or how to escape
who I had become; drowning in aching nights
spent hoping for the moment I might know
a way to set my feet upon a path of my own.

While I was picking fish with you,
stunned at the sight of the sea so near
and the mountains filling the western sky,
I thought of dry midwestern cornfields,
and of lost, empty days filled with a wish to leave
…..but nowhere to go.

You bent over a red to show me how to use a fish pick,
never realizing what was happening to me,
how you were stripping away the web of my past life,
pulling me through to solid ground.


“Boat Puller” originally appeared in Oberon Poetry Magazine.


A retired educator, Patrick Dixon moved to Alaska in 1975 where he
taught for 23 years. He commercial fished for salmon on Cook Inlet
from 1977-1997. His writings and photography have been published by
The Smithsonian, Oregon Coast, Cirque Literary Journal, The Oberon
Poetry Magazine, The Waterman’s Gazette, The Alaska Fisherman’s
Journal and Pacific Fishing Magazine, among others. Now living in
Olympia, Washington, he reads his work and shows his photographs
throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Eric Stepper

What You Say

“Some have tried to help
Or hurt: Ask me what difference
Their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.”
William Stafford

Here you are at my office door again–Bill,
Going on about the stock market and the Federal Reserve–again.
Nominal GDP, gold index, bond fund, funds rate
Short term, long term, rate hike, inflation spike.
The conversation street is one way,
And you supply me my opinion.
I find myself wandering,
And try not to almost make sense,
Start a sentence–I don’t know where it is going–
And see if I can find the end.
Bill at my office door, here I go again.



During the day, Eric Stepper is a mild mannered CPA, but at night he leaves the numbers behind and works on poems.  He recently took the next step in his poetry vocation by taking a creative writing class with Derek Sheffield at Wenatchee Valley College.  This is his first published poem.  A board member for the Chelan County Literacy Council, he lives in Wenatchee, Washington, with his lovely wife, Kristina.

Matthew Nienow

O Anchor


Dark charms the anchor in its house

of water and what type of bottom
it drags, for what type of work, for you,

with your need to stay in roughly the same place

for a night, with your questions of how
much to let out

and how well your windlass works

and how you feel sometimes hauling
200 foot of chain by hand in the dark,

wondering what in your life sent you

here, where the world exists as much
below you as above; where you are

as much the chain as the chain.


“O Anchor” first appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal and was reprinted in Best New Poets 2012.

Matthew Nienow’s most recent chapbook is The End of the Folded Map (Codhill Press, 2011). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, New England Review, Poetry, and many other magazines and anthologies. He has received fellowships, grants, and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Elizabeth George Foundation, Artist Trust, and 4Culture.  He lives in Port Townsend with his wife and two sons, where he works on boats and other things made of wood.