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.

Travis Laurence Naught

From the Virgin Journals:

Stealing Thought

He has a kid and that proves his virility
Or at least proves his knowledge and ability
To take one without being caught

Jealous Man

“Stealing Thought” is reprinted from The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012).
Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. He was named in Eastern Magazine’s 2013 Spring issue as one of 20 under 40 young alumni with rising careers. His poetry memoir, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012), was used as curriculum in an Eastern Washington University disability studies course during spring of 2012. Still Journaling (e-book, 2013) is also widely available. Travis graduated from EWU in 2005 with a BA in psychology and went on to complete coursework for an MS in sport psychology. He lives in Cheney. Coffee and poetry keep Travis alive.

Jeremiah Webster

Other Space

By the glass, by the portal,
by the water’s window, by the pane
is my boy, having positioned his stroller
by the aquatic gate, I stand and watch
his eyes mimic the walleye,
his mouth become the bass mouth,
his body go still as the scales that hang
in the care of Pisces before us.
He breaks his gaze
to look at me, seeking
assurances I cannot give, the reason
we reside in this space
and not the other.


“Other Space” is reprinted from Crab Creek Review.

Jeremiah Webster‘s poems have appeared in Crab Creek ReviewNorth American Review, Rock & Sling, and Beloit Poetry Journal. His unpublished collection, Crux, was a finalist in this year’s Crab Orchard Review prize.  He has written the introduction for a new edition of T. S. Eliot: Paradise in the Waste Land: Early Works (Wiseblood Classics).  He lives in Kirkland.


Heather McHugh

Not to Be Dwelled On


Self-interest cropped up even there,
the day I hoisted three, instead
of the ceremonially called-for two,
spadefuls of loam on top
of the coffin of my friend.

Why shovel more than anybody else?
Why did I think I’d prove? More love
(mud in her eye)? More will to work?
(Her father what, a shirker?) Christ,
what wouldn’t anybody give
to get that gesture back?

She cannot die again; and I
do nothing but re-live.


Reprinted from Upgraded to Serious (Copper Canyon).


Heather McHugh, recipient of a 2009 MacArthur Fellowship, is the author of thirteen books of poetry, translation, and literary essays, including Hinge & Sign: Poems, 1968 – 1993 (Wesleyan) and The Father of the Predicaments (Wesleyan). Her prize-winning translations include a Griffin International Poetry Prize and her volumes have been finalists for both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. McHugh has taught literature and writing for over three decades, most regularly at the University of Washington in Seattle and in the low residency MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. From 1999 to 2005 she served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and in 2000 she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 she started a non-profit organization called CAREGIFTED.



Terri Cohlene


I’m wearing my
hey big boy
come ‘n get it
hoochie mama
Saturday night
go to town looky here
goodie bag
neckline to my navel
hem hiking to home plate
jungle red silk

He’s wearing his
cool breeze
I don’t think so
not in a million years
even if you were the last woman on earth
crease up the front
frayed at the edges
high water
medium tan

We triple lock the door behind us,
silently ride the elevator to the lobby,
glide through the turnstile door.
He sits on the edge of a park bench,
feeding this morning’s burnt, twelve-grain
toast to the pigeons.

I hail a yellow and black checkered, up town taxi.



“An Unlikely Couple” is reprinted from Pontoon 8.


TERRI COHLENE grew up in Skyway, a suburb of Renton, Washington.  She is the author of eight books for children and Clique, a stage play for young adults.  Her poetry has appeared in the anthology, America at War, and journals such as Pontoon 8 & 9, Floating Bridge Review, and Switched on Gutenberg.

Erika Michael



Trying to resurrect the true image of my parents, I sought whole cloth
to fashion patterns larger than shadows cast by figures bearing offerings
of life and words that sheared my heart — but in truth found only remnants
which I stitched into a ghost and scarecrow tied with tooth and gut.

My father was a cutter of piece goods stacked in three-inch layers on
a table — my mother sewed the seams on power machines — this I recall:
his severed fingertip and her nail pierced with stitches, stopping
for ten minutes with a bloody curse and bandages the whine and roar —
the mad attempt to piece together lives destroyed by war.


“Needletrades” is reprinted from Cascade: Journal Of The Northwest Poets Association.


Erika Michael is an art historian, painter and poet, born in Vienna, raised in New York, and living in the Seattle area since 1966. Her poems have appeared in Poetica Magazine, Cascade: Journal Of The Northwest Poets Association, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, and in Mizmor l’David Anthology, Vol. I, The Shoah.  She has a PhD in Art History from the University of Washington and has taught at Trinity University in San Antonio; Oregon State University; and University of Puget Sound. She reads her poetry at various venues around the Northwest.


Anita K. Boyle

When I Went Past My Prime Last Wednesday


Oh, sweet dove, the morning is mine
today. You’re cooing in the wrong window.

Every day, you look more like the swollen hands
of one who’s pared the peels off a hundred

and sixty-three potatoes forty-five minutes
before dinner. Take a seat.

“These days” you say, “are dangling tomatoes, ripe
yet frozen on the vine.”

I’m standing alone on the alpine heights,
echoes engraving the stones.

You can ride my blind horse
far as she’ll go, but then get off,

let her come home.
Just leave my dark mules alone.

Anita K. Boyle is a poet, artist and graphic designer, and the author of What the Alder Told Me (MoonPath Press, 2011) and Bamboo Equals Loon (Egress Studio Press, 2001. Her poems have appeared in Conversations Across Borders, StringTown, The Raven Chronicles, Crab Creek Review, Clover, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She is lucky enough to live near an inspiring pond outside Bellingham, Washington with her husband, the poet James Bertolino. This fall, they will spend a little time in Italy, where they will see the small Alpine town where Jim’s grandparents came from (Locana), and which will be her first adventure outside of North America.

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.

Dan Lamberton

The Abundance of Rain


I have some confessions to make—
they have to do with this century
and how much I don’t want to be led
along by it any further. They have to do
with today being nothing about tomorrow,
but, rather, about history and how
all I know is before me, that is, before
I was, and I confess that
I search through old photographs
for reminders of who I am. If the people
in early Nebraska somehow hung pictures
of their old homes in Virginia
on the sod walls above their gritty beds,
and I am the grandchild made through them,
then I still carry their dissolved walls
in me, and I confess I want mostly what is past.

Granted, we live in two directions. There should be,
for the young, the chance to make children. But once
made, have them look backward. Start
with pictures of the unclothed, with Eakins’ nude men
along a tug-of-war rope, their haunches in the grass,
and their heels dug in, and their arms showing they’re no
different from me. A little differently muscled perhaps,
more formed by old work, by scythes and stone boats,
but they look like I do and they died. But first they enjoyed
themselves. And look next at unclothed women, Muybridge’s
panels of them, pouring water on each other’s heads,
picking up children. They have nothing Victorian
about them. They lived through all that and survived.

There’s a haystack, “1947, Near Norfolk, Nebraska,”
in a Wright Morris photo. And I know that
each of those straws were arranged
by the physics of elbows
and the leverage of hayforks
and that elbows and hayforks
depended upon the occasional abundance of rain.

So that’s it. It’s about rain, and how I am
drawn back into it. Remember how we lay
together, in that wood-paneled room near Seattle
with rain washing down so hard we felt
what we were doing was cleaned the second
it happened? It’s not that our future was rain,
but that its sound was a sound we both knew,
that took us out to itself and we heard, “There
has always been rain and there has always, therefore,
been you. Even more, there have always been
numberless thousands of you, not just
now, not just all of you now who are blind,
but there was always this sound, rain’s and yours,
pounding the outside and inside of walls
like these, and the Indians’ leather walls,
and the hopeless poor people’s walls,
and also, alas, the walls of all those
whose ears are closed and who think
they’re creating the future.”

“The Abundance of Rain” is reprinted from a broadside by Ian Boyden, Crab Quill Press.


Dan Lamberton has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington and has published poems nationally in journals and magazines such as Sojourners, Northern Lights, and Poetry Northwest. He is the author of On the River through the Valley of Fire: The Collaborative Ceramics of Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman (American Museum of Ceramic Art, 2008). His essay, “Randlett’s Roethke:  It Was All So Visual”  considering Mary Randlett’s late photos of Theodore Roethke, appears in the 2013 Spring & Summer Photography issue of Poetry Northwest. Lamberton has delivered, throughout the state, over 60 lectures on Washington’s poets for Humanities Washington. He has also lectured in Seattle for the Teachers as Scholars program, sponsored by the Seattle Arts and Lectures Series, and has taught a summer course at the University of Washington called “A Sense of Where We Are: Literature and History of the Pacific Northwest,” and completed a northwest literary history anthology in cooperation with the University of Washington history department. Dan is Professor of English and Humanities Program Director at Walla Walla University.


Gloria Burgess

The Open Door
for my ancestors and our children

i wasn’t there…..i didn’t stand at the threshold
of the open door…..my back wasn’t wracked
beneath a ceiling so low even children lay prone
my spirit wasn’t riven…..i wasn’t cowed
bloodied……..shamed……..no one stripped me
of my name…..i wasn’t there…..i wasn’t at Goreé
or anywhere along that shore

i was born inside the golden door
and i’m here by grace standing on the shoulders
of women and men stout in spirit fierce in soul
and oh by the blessed sanctity of God
though i wasn’t hounded through that open door
or driven to cross a merciless sea i still
have the sting of salt in my soul nightmares
of a watery grave…..i still search furtively
for signs of my tribe outstretched hands a cool
drinka water calabash smile……i still tread softly
muted by the glare of ghostly strangers…….i still push back
the rising bile when a glassy-eyed elder looks too long
or wide…..i’ve learned to question all kinds of kings
to stand firm on the laps of queens…..some days
i can’t tell the difference and fall to my knees
dragged down by the tide all over again


“The Open Door” is reprinted from Gathering Ground (University of Michigan Press); The Open Door (Red Oak Press).


Gloria Burgess’s poetry celebrates the spiritual and evocative oral traditions of her ancestry—African, Native American, and Celtic. Her poetry appears in diverse publications, including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Gathering Ground, The Open Door, and Journey of the Rose. In her latest book, Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, she weaves in threads of inspirational poetry, narrative, and reflections, along with the touching story of her father’s life-changing relationship with Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. www.gloriaburgess.com