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.


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.


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.”


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.

Jeffrey G. Dodd



The day my sister’s cancer staked its claim
I learned that Milosz left Harry Potter
on his desk when he died, his letters
from the pope piling up in his mailbox.
And what letters. Two old Poles talking life:
“Ah Czeslaw,” says the pope, “I’m just the grease.
You’ll have to talk to the wheels.” No one knows
the question, but this is a pope I can
get behind. Humble. Humorous. Infallible.
And I think of me and the pope: he’ll let me
call him Karol as he tours me through
the Vatican, and we’ll send papal envoys
for pizza, and on his day off we’ll visit
the Fiat factory in Turin, stick our fingers
in mounds of fresh ground pork at a local
grocery store, and he’ll teach me the Polish
folk tunes sung before the war. And I’ll get
to a Mass or two in Latin or Italian,
and late one night I’ll find decorum
and a minute to ask the question I came
all this way to resolve: the thing about
my sister. And you know the thing he’ll say
about my sister, about the angel on his right
and the grim believability of it all.


“And” is reprinted from Santa Clara Review.


Rylie Dodd buys cowboy shirts for her husband Jeffrey G. Dodd. The couple lives in Spokane, WA, but he’s from southeast Texas and sometimes needs his homesickness eased. Plus, the little pearlescent snaps are so crisp and tactile. Someday, she thinks, he’ll write a poem about them. The snaps, not the shirts. She’ll be featured prominently. Like his other poems, it may be published in journals such as Ruminate, Rock & Sling, Copper Nickel, and Meridian. She doesn’t tell him this; he doesn’t need the ego boost.

Donald Mitchell

(for my brothers)

We can smell them
long before we see
the fallen cottonwood
on the other bank,
or the pale bones
of chewed stumps.
It’s a blend
of resin and musk,
stronger than any church incense.
More like a song
it drifts against the wind
following the steelhead
upstream. Such places
obey different laws
than we obey. Our father
taught us
to be taught
by signs like this.


Donald Mitchell live in Deming, WA on his family’s 130 year-old homestead. He is a self-published poet and his works include the collections Signs of Faith, The Shark Skin Man: A Story and Poems, and Hello Eternity. Raised by a preacher who was also a woodsman and fur trapper, he found an early draw to the soul of the woods and streams of the Nooksack River watershed. This attraction led him to interests in biology, anthropology, comparative culture and religion and the perilous art of making poems.

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.

Sally Green



Don’t know why you have to go
and ask me such a question.

I don’t even like the word. It’s one of those
brutal sounds gets inside you churning
up feelings, even ones you didn’t know
you owned. Like a plow tearing through
played-out land gone to seed.

And it makes no matter whether
its kin, or a dear friend
the pain of it all spreads quick
as prairie fire threatening everything
in its way. And that’s all
I’m going to say.


“Aunt Mabel Talks About Adultery” is reprinted from Clover. 


Sally Green—poet, printer, book designer, calligrapher—is copublisher
of the award-winning Brooding Heron Press, which publishes fine,
letterpressed editions of poetry (Gary Snyder, Denise Levertov, Donald Hall,
Hayden Carruth, John Haines, etc.). In 2008, Pacific Lutheran University
awarded her a Stanley W. Lindberg Editor’s Award for excellence. Her own
poems have appeared in The Poets Guide to the Birds (an anthology edited by
Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser, and published by Anhinga Press), The Ladies
Printing Bee, Clover, The Planet Earth Poetry Anthology (Leaf Press) as well as
other publications. She was a featured poet at the annual Lower Columbia
College literary festival, the Planet Earth poetry reading series at The Moka
House in Victoria, and the Northwind Reading Series in Port Townsend.

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.