Molly Tenenbaum

Apple Ladder


Slimmer than
a lancet arch,
ascending scant,
tapering, then
just air; and lovely
leaning in trees,
lovely leaning
bare by the house,
rungs and clapboards
aligned, side rails
tense with upwardness,
the stronger across
the more the green
wood dries.

And so our grasp
of all, our reach
to gather, climb
to view, our stand
above the orchardslope
could be as lovely,
twined in leaves,
contained as ladders
in themselves,
and light
as ladderwood.

As if, though slung
with heavy sack,
we pause, don’t ache
to put it down,
or press for more,
but stand half-high,
our footings half-
obscured by grass,
at our cheeks
half-shaded curves
of fruit, above
our heads, ripe sun,
and crowns of more fruit hanging.



Molly Tenenbaum’s three poetry collections are The Cupboard Artist (recently released from Floating Bridge Press), Now (Bear Star Press, 2007) and By a Thread (Van West & Co, 2000),which includes the poem “Apple Ladder.” She is also the author of three chapbooks: Blue Willow (Floating Bridge Press 1998), Old Voile (New Michigan Press), and Story (Cash Machine, 2006). Her work appears in many journals, and her honors include a Hedgebrook residency and a 2009 Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship. She’s also a musician, playing Appalachian string band music; her CDs are Instead of a Pony and Goose & Gander.

Joseph Green


Jesus, Charles Manson


That hair, he said. That hair
and that beard and that look
in your eye, he said. That hair
and that trash on your tongue
and that beard and those jeans,
he said. I wonder what you think
I see when I see you, he said,
with that hair and that beard
and that look in your eye and
those filthy jeans and that trash
on your tongue, and by now
he was shouting, that greasy hair
and that beard and those filthy jeans
I mean Jesus, he said, you look like
Charles Manson with that greasy hair
and that beard and that look in your eye
and those trashy jeans and that
filth on your tongue and that look
and that trash and that filth
and that hair and that beard
and those jeans I mean Jesus.
He said, I mean Jesus.



Many of Joseph Green’s poems have been collected in His Inadequate Vocabulary (1986), Deluxe Motel (1991), Greatest Hits 1975-2000 (2001), and The End of Forgiveness (2001). “Jesus, Charles Manson” is from his new collection, That Thread Still Connecting Us (2012). At the Peasandcues Press, he produces limited-edition, letterpress-printed poetry broadsides, using hand-set metal type; and at the C.C. Stern Type Foundry, in Portland, he is part of a team working to preserve the craft of casting the type itself. He lives in Longview, where he retired from teaching in his twenty-fifth year at Lower Columbia College.

Christopher Howell

Dinner Out


We went to either the Canton Grill
or the Chinese Village, both of them
on 82nd among the car lots
and discount stores and small nests
of people waiting hopelessly
for the bus. I preferred the Canton
for its black and bright red sign
with the dragon leaping out of it
sneezing little pillows of smoke.
And inside, the beautiful green
half-shell booths, glittery brass encrusted
lamps swinging above them.

What would I have?
Sweet and sour?
Chow mein with little wagon wheel shaped
slices of okra and those crinkly noodles
my father called deep fried worms?
Fried rice?

Among such succulence, what did it matter?
We could eat ‘til we were glad and full, the whole
family sighing with the pleasure of it.
And then the tea!
All of this for about six bucks, total,
my father, for that once-in-a-while, feeling
flush in the glow of our happy faces
and asking me, “How you doing, son?”

Fine, Dad. Great, really, in the light
of that place, almost tasting
the salt and bean paste and molasses, nearly
hearing the sound of the car door
opening before we climbed in together
and drove and drove
though we hadn’t far to go.


Christopher Howell has published ten collections of poems, most recently Gaze (Milkweed Editions, 2012), and Dreamless and Possible: poems New & Selected (University of Washington Press, 2010). He has received three Pushcart Prizes, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a fellowship from the Washington Artist Trust. He has also been honored with the Stanley W. Lindberg Award for Editorial Excellence, and has twice won the Washington State Book Award. Since 1996 he has taught at Eastern Washington University’s Inland NW Center for Writers. He lives in Spokane.


  • Elizabeth Austen is teaching Poetry: The Practice of Revision. Wednesdays from 7 to 9p March 14 to May 23 (no class May 16). Registration is open online at Richard Hugo House, Seattle, or via phone at (206) 322-7030. $360 general public/$324 Hugo House members.


  • Monica Schley, harp and poetry
    appears MARCH 9 at Bellevue Art Museum’s member’s celebration 6:30-8:00
    Price is free with museum membership OR sign up to join as a member that night
    followed by BAMignite: Meditation Rave (starting at 8:00)
    and MARCH 22 as part of FogDog Gallery‘s bi-monthly poetry series in downtown Arlington 7:00pm


  • Reading for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo
    7 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, Seattle Central Library, Level 4, Room 1


  • The Believer just published Doug Nufer’s self-interview on their log/ logger blog.


Holly Hughes

The Bath


The tub fills inch by inch,
as I kneel beside it, trail my fingers
in the bright braid of water.
Mom perches on the toilet seat,
entranced by the ritual until
she realizes the bath’s for her.
Oh no, she says, drawing her
three layers of shirts to her chest,
crossing her arms and legs.
Oh no, I couldn’t, she repeats,
brow furrowing, that look I now
recognize like an approaching squall.
I abandon reason, the hygiene argument,
promise a Hershey’s bar, if she will just,
please, take off her clothes. Oh no,
she repeats, her voice rising.
Meanwhile, the water is cooling.
I strip off my clothes, step into it,
let the warm water take me
completely, slipping down until
only my face shines up, a moon mask.
Mom stays with me, interested now
in this turn of events. I sit up.
Will you wash my back, Mom?
So much gone, but let this
still be there. She bends over
to dip the washcloth in the still
warm water, squeezes it,
lets it dribble down my back,
leans over to rub the butter pat
of soap, swiping each armpit,
then rinses off the suds with long
practiced strokes. I turn around
to thank her, catch her smiling,
lips pursed, humming,
still a mother with a daughter
whose back needs washing.



Holly J. Hughes is the editor of the award-winning anthology, Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease, published by Kent State University Press and the author of Boxing the Compass, published by Floating Bridge Press. Nominated for several Pushcart prizes, her poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies. The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World, a collaboration with essayist Brenda Miller, is forthcoming from Skinner House Press. A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University’s MFA program, she has taught writing workshops at Fishtrap, North Cascades Institute, Edmonds Write on the Sound, Rainier Writers Workshop and Field’s End, among others.

Katharine Whitcomb

When Traveling in Airplanes I Always Think of God

especially circling a city before landing at night
when the streetlamps spray the invisible avenues with blown golden seeds.

I think of God when the police shoot

King Kong on the tiny screen three rows ahead of me.

I think of God in the spring because everything

finally breaks open.

I think of God when I start awake after re-dreaming a crash against the mountain.

And who have I become? A captive watching them kill the beast?

When we were a little higher up illuminated by our wing lights

the clouds looked solid and edible like God’s big cake.

Once upon a time I thought I heard words meant for me.

I believed I could teach people just by living my life but then I got so tired.


Katharine Whitcomb is the author of a collection of poems, Saints of South Dakota & Other Poems, which was chosen by Lucia Perillo as the winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award and published by Bluestem Press, and two poetry chapbooks. Hosannas (Parallel Press, 1999) and Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. Her poetry awards include a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, a Loft-McKnight Award, a Writing Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and a Halls Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She has had work published in many journals and anthologies, including Fire on Her Tongue, Making Poems, and Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She lives in Ellensburg, WA, where she is Coordinator of the Writing Specialization English Major at Central Washington University.