David K Wheeler

Slaughter Season


Before August was over, and the air remained a cotton fog in the lungs of all the school
chums back on grounds bleached by the heat that came early and stayed late,

we single-filed back through the wide stairwells and blue gymnasium that doubled as
the house of God on weekends when metal lockers weren’t slamming shut

and into students, winding around the hallways toward biology class, or Bible—it’s hard
to remember which, with the windows open and the room not getting cool;

the sweltering heat only made it that much harder to pay attention to whatever we
studied; we heard squeals across the street from animals they raised

at the subsistence ranch—pigs, cows, emus, and dogs at differing times over the
years and seasons—but, that humid afternoon kill was definitely a pig

because we later found the bloody stump of its neck and head, skinless and chewed, on
the thirty-five yard line of the overgrown football field behind the school

where the ranch hound took it like she’d found a new toy that tasted like true hide
and real blood instead of the rubber guts she was given on her birthday;

and, the real blood was on her snout and paws and in the yard and across the
parking lot, but also in the air, a thick stain on every breath that smelt like flesh

had come unpackaged and fissured from muscle, bone, tissues, and every sinew tied
together into the fabric and skin that manages to hold every piece together, in,

until one bullet and steel meat hooks pull the sheets apart to drain the blood and expose
the vital organs to elements like Idaho sky and quiet breezes from the south

that carried the fumes into the classroom where a girl cried while Mr. Syth tried to pry
us from the windows so as to discuss dissection technique—or was it sacrifice?

“Slaughter Season” is reprinted from Contingency Plans (T.S. Poetry Press)


David K Wheeler is the author of Contingency Plans, which was a finalist for the 2011 Booksellers Choice Award sponsored by Melville House. He has contributed writing to The Morning News, Burnside Writers Collective, and The High Calling, and received his Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University. He now lives in Seattle.


Nelson Bentley

A slight break in protocol today in order to present this unpublished poem by the late Nelson Bentley, dated 1954.  Many thanks to Sean Bentley for the opportunity to publish a beloved figure in Washington’s poetic history one more time.


Kalaloch: Looking Toward Destruction Island


A driftwood barricade blends into dying pines.
On the beach, Thomas’s hullabalooing clams,
Gull and pipers, run
Through a creek where it meets the ocean.
The tide’s rolling
Backs me toward driftwood. Destruction Island
With its white lighthouse is a long black rock
Some miles at sea. A tree holds roots aloft,
Foot and head

Irrelevant in the pattern.
The low roar of ocean
Takes voice in the first row of whitecaps.
The horizon towers. Stillness deep
In driftwood juts seaward. In the last rim of pines
A crow calls. One washed-up trunk points
Inland like a cannon, roots smoothed as shell.
Gulls and creek water are smally

Beautiful as I walk pushing a buggy.
Gull feathers, shell fragments, lodge and dislodge.
Sandpipers run on their reflections,
Between wave reaches.
A clan of shells on the wet
Mirror spread butterfly wings, just lit,
Black on fresh fragrant sand.
I watch the pipers, white bellies and

Speckled backs, fragile feet, bills dabbing, as they run
To keep on the verge. What focuses the scene
Is the slender human footprint
Beside the assortment of twelve bright stones;
Beth’s brown form and black hair,
Far down the tidal fringe;
Shawn at four months in blue turtleneck sweater,
Alert eyes from his buggy above the foam’s reach.

Beside him, in the wet sand, a gull flies.
Foaming cold swirls around my ankles,
Brushed by gullfeathers.
Flying pipers sound over surf’s white thundering.
The tide digs hollows
Under my heels;
The sandpipers’ feet and their
Reflections dance the shore.



Nelson Bentley (1918 – 1990)  studied under W. H. Auden. He was a friend and colleague of Theodore Roethke, among other Northwest poets who created a distinct regional voice. In his forty years as a professor at the University of Washington, he conducted workshops, hosted readings at literary venues around the city and on radio and public television, juried poetry contests, edited poetry for journals and newspapers, and was a co-founder of Poetry Northwest and The Seattle Review. Although he was a fine poet in his own right, he believed his own greatest accomplishment to be his work in teaching hundreds of other poets who published in nationally recognized poetry outlets. He founded the Castalia Reading Series, which started at the University of Washington in the mid-seventies and continues today.  The Friends of Nelson Bentley continue to celebrate his life and legacy.

Jennifer Maier

Haute Couture


Just when you think it can’t be mended,
the April sky,
dingy from over-washing,
gray hem of clouds coming down,
they arrive—
the assiduous tailors,
with their blue smocks,
their scissortails.

Then you step out of winter like a grave
and awkward garment,
happy beyond measure to know
that from this same bolt of blue
they clothed the pharaohs,
an Etruscan woman scaling a fish,
even your elderly neighbors,
sitting together
with their oxygen canisters
at the edge of the lawn,

May slipping softly
down over their shoulders
as in the old stories,
where the blind see,
the beggar walks in robes of gold,
and everyone is saved.


“Haute Couture” is reprinted from Now, Now (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013)


Jennifer Maier is a  professor of  literature and creative writing at Seattle Pacific University and an editor of the arts quarterly IMAGE. Her work has appeared in Poetry, American Poet, Poetry Daily, New Letters, The Writer’s Almanac and elsewhereHer first book, Dark Alphabet (Southern Illinois UP), was named one of the Ten Remarkable Books of 2006 by the Academy of American Poets and was a finalist for both the Washington State Book Award and the 2008 Poets’ Prize.  A second collection, Now, Now, will be published in 2013 by The University of Pittsburgh Press.


Amethyst Dauphin



My identity is the abandoned house
neighbors point
to tell frightening stories about.
I know which ones they believe.
My identity is a black joke on Father’s Day
a ghetto butterfly in the suburbs
a porn studio
is not a window
I stopped looking at
others in order to understand
I am a bearded woman
a mid life crisis
a body bag
a place to dispose all of my dead weight.
I am an unkept bedroom.
I know where everything is.
I am trying to be as fluid as word
I want my character to be
rearranged and made better.
I am a poet.
I write to make love to my existence.
I am an old folks home.
There are war stories in my make up.
Sometimes I grow tired of fighting.
I am an antediluvian breath who
can hardly hold themself in.
I spend so much time thinking about
my construct
I forget to thank ancestors who
drink heartache like wine.
I am twenty,
and I am trying to understand my place in
this world so I document the person
my sadness makes me.
When I believed I did not have a right
to exist,
I stopped writing about what I
couldn’t change.
I wasn’t the person I wanted to be
so I evolved
became someone who wasn’t as
near as then.
I am unlearning all of the selves
who have been created for me.
I am trying to be my own god.
I don’t want someone else to take credit for saving me.



A self-described “gender fluid person,” Amethyst Dauphin was part of a slam poetry team preparing to represent Seattle at Brave New Voices, an international poetry festival. Dauphin aims to document the path taken to understand their gender, and reflects a deep regard for language rooted in the experience of growing up in a household where English, Spanish, French and Creole were spoken on a daily basis. Dauphin is a teaching artist, and has performed with Kwame Dawes, Rafael Casal and Buddy Wakefield, as well as Seattle-area musicians.

Tim McNulty

Willow Withes


My grandfather used willow withes
cut from a backyard shade tree
to tie back his grapevines to their arbors—
leafy rows that bordered
the other crops sewn into his small,
hillside farm.

With a bundle of cut swaths tucked in his belt
he strode the rows like a swashbuckler,
whipping wands and binding unruly growth
into order. Following along
with my armload of cut willow limbs,
I could barely keep up.

I did better with strawberries.
scooching my butt down the dusty rows,
filling my grandmother’s big two-handled colander,
the taste of ripe berries erupting warmly
against my tongue.

Scooching, too, I could thin carrots
with the best of them,
grasping the lacy tops close to the soil
and tugging.
The small, fingerling carrots, rinsed
in the tublike yard sink,
crunched sweetly between my teeth.

Other days I gathered brown eggs
from the cloying henhouse,
or fed the rabbits in their shaded hutches,
or broke the ends off stringbeans
with Noni under the backyard willow,
her apron a brimming green horn-of-plenty.

Or watched plains of tomatoes ripening
on wire-mesh racks,
smoke from the summer kitchen redolent
in the fragrant air.

The green willow withes dried over summer
as the wine grapes thickened and set,
and by September, when all the family gathered
for harvest, their golden coils seemed
an organic part of the vines,

bound like memories, now
with the farm gone, shoring up the bounty
beneath yellowing leaves,
so it can be gathered,
and pressed and tasted.

Setting the glass down on the
white enamel table,
tartness waking the tongue.


“Willow Withes” will appear in Ascendance, forthcoming this fall from Pleasure Boat Studio.


Tim McNulty is a poet, essayist, and nature writer. He is the author of three poetry collections, Ascendance (Pleasure Boat Studio), In Blue Mountain Dusk (Broken Moon Press), and Pawtracks, (Copper Canyon Press), and eleven books on natural history.  Tim has received the Washington State Book Award and the National Outdoor Book Award.  He lives with his family in the foothills of Washington’s Olympic Mountains, where his is active in wilderness and conservation work.

Jane Alynn



She remembers how he entered the flower,
keen on the honeysuckle
that fluttered itself,
enamored of red—
his brazen body, hovering,
darting in and out,
interrupted, now and then,
by the humming
of a nectar-seeking rival,
equally as beautiful.
Then with the flush of spring
he turns a coppery back to her
ascends, slowly, to great heights
and dives on whistling wings
in a giddy twist toward her, tail on fire.
She’d like to get used to this.
But such displays are short-lived.
Given to being alone,
never alighting—or not for long,
ever a flitterer, he buzzes off
to the next flower
as she knew he would,
leaving her the nest
and a hunger
greater than her tiny body lets on.


“Hummingbird” is reprinted from Necessity of Flight (Cherry Grove Collections, 2011).


Jane Alynn is a poet, writer, and fine art photographer. She is the author of Necessity of Flight (Cherry Grove, 2011) and a chapbook, Threads & Dust (Finishing Line Press, 2005). In addition to winning Second Place in New South’s 2012 Poetry Contest, she received a William Stafford Award from Washington Poets Association in 2004. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals as well as in many anthologies. Recently, her poems, written in collaboration with visual artists, have been exhibited in galleries, a synergy she also explores in her photographic artwork.


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.


Eric Ode

The Barnacle

the barnacle
hunkers to hide
until she is only
a stony, cone-shaped shell,
silent and still,
in the shallow tide.

But when I stop
and when I sit
and when I watch
and wait a bit,
she reappears to dance about,
in and out,
this way and that,
like a feather on a fancy hat
caught in the wind.


“The Barnacle” is reprinted from Sea Star Wishes (Sasquatch, 2013).


Eric Ode is a national award-winning children’s singer, songwriter, and author.  His original music has been recognized with Parents’ Choice Awards and is heard on many comilation albums and national children’s radio programs.  His book of children’s poems from the coast, Sea Star Wishes (Sasquatch, 2013) was National Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt’s book pick for July. Eric Ode lives in Bonney Lake.

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.

Timothy Roos

Wolf Eel


The fish line pulled heavily as a dog
dragging front paws first.

A gray creature emerged,
wide head, bulging eyes.
Its long, freckled tail twirled,
a risen flag over the depths
of prehistory.

I worked it free of the foreign wind,
my questions afloat beside me.
Needle-tipped canines clicked
against my pliers.

How odd then, returning to shore
empty handed, to feel myself
embraced, unbroken,
in the kingdom of the peculiar.


“Wolf Eel” appeared in Tidepools and it won its first place poetry prize in 2008.


Timothy Roos grew up in western Washington, and has lived in central Washington, southern California, and on the Olympic Peninsula, where he and his wife raised two children.  He works as a special education teacher in Port Angeles, pursues wildlife photography and fishing, and travels the Western states.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Raven Chronicles, Pontoon, Poetry East, Soundings Review, Plainsongs, Dandelion Farm Review, and Tidepools.