Tess Gallagher

Sah Sin was published with Tess Gallagher’s permission for a two-month period.


Sah Sin is the Nootka word for hummingbird.  “Sah Sin” appears in Tess Gallagher’s latest collection, Midnight Lantern (Gray Wolf, 2011)


Poet, essayist, novelist, and playwright, Tess Gallagher was born in Port Angeles, Washington. She received a BA and MA from the University of Washington, where she studied creative writing with Theodore Roethke, and a MFA from the University of Iowa. Her most recent collection of poems is Midnight Lantern (Gray Wolf Press, 2011).  Her first collection, Instructions to the Double, won the 1976 Elliston Book Award for “best book of poetry published by a small press.” Other collections include her first New and Selected, Willingly (1984);  Dear Ghosts (Graywolf Press, 2006); My Black Horse: New and Selected Poems (1995); Owl-Spirit Dwelling (1994); and  Moon Crossing Bridge (1992), written to and about her husband, author Raymond Carver, who died in 1988. About Gallagher’s work, the poet Hayden Carruth wrote, “Gallagher’s poems, beyond their delicacy of language, have a delicacy of perception, and the capacity to see oneself objectively as another person doing the things one really does, with clear affection and natural concern.” Her honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment of the Arts Awards, and the Maxine Cushing Gray Foundation Award.


Rebecca Hoogs



Here I am sucking on cherry pits
leftover from the cult of Mithras.


Here I am on a child’s sarcophagus:
children collecting walnuts to chuck
at a pyramid of walnuts.


Here I am with my melon hairstyle
and my prosciutto smile which identify me
as belonging to the 2nd century.


Here I am the sound of one sense
through a bone flute in past tense.


Here I am as she who walks and as she
who walks behind and as she who walks behind behind
and is only the hand which pours water or wine.


Here I am as a pair of sheet bronze hands
with gold buttons to navigate by.

Epic Poetry

Here I am writing epic poetry in my head
since I lost my epic pen.


Here I am announcing the flood.


Here I am a copy of a copy
of an original feeling now lost.



“The Muses Narrate a Slide Show” originally appeared in The Monarch Review.


Rebecca Hoogs is the author of a chapbook, Grenade (2005) and her poems have appeared in Poetry, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Zyzzyva, The Journal, Poetry Northwest, The Florida Review, and others. She is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (2004) and Artist Trust of Washington State (2005). She is the Director of Education Programs and the curator and host for the Poetry Series for Seattle Arts & Lectures.



Shannon Borg

Attempting the Equator: Amelia Earhart, 1937

… for it was her voice that made
the sky acutest at its vanishing.
—Wallace Stevens


Whenever the cameras wanted her to kiss her husband goodbye
she shook his hand. Newsreel never showed the crimson

in her cheek, the gap between her teeth — he told her: Smile
with your mouth closed, dear. And no hats! We want to see

your tousled locks. So it came to this—nothing to do but tie
a smoky rope around the world. This is the last flight,

the camera clicking questions, You can never miss
an island, she says, tooth-gap smiling its emptiness. This

was her domesticity—a zigzag stitch
connecting hemispheres, above the abyss of Africa, from one

ocean’s obscurity to another. In the cockpit, bottles of water,
tomato juice, airsick pills, sandwiches she couldn’t eat.

From Los Angeles, her stomach in a knot six days. On the phone
from Honolulu to her husband—I’m experiencing

“personnel difficulties”—her radio expert gone, yes,
but this was different, this was code

for the navigator’s whiskey jag. Quit now, come home
Amelia—the line breaking up—I’m finding it

hard to hear you, he says, I’m losing you—
And still to come, the hardest stitch—across

the Pacific’s sheen to Howland Island—the needle could
lose north, cloud’s blue fabric slip apart. This is home—

the Lockheed’s berth, emptied for tanks of gas, emptiness
meant for the parachute and life raft she left behind.

Her bony wrist bare, even the bracelet forgotten,
elephant hair for luck. But her faith immense as the godless sky—

Howland, strip of sand less than two miles wide, thin
mouth on the sea’s vast face, wouldn’t it open for her,

mouth how? Clear morning, her face hot, eyes burning
the horizon with looking, the sun’s thin resting place. Everyone gone,

it seemed, from the world—no husband, no agent, no line
of cars crawling under ticker-tape snow, no heady scent

of roses, intoxication of fame. Just Earth’s endless, indifferent
curve. And this place, this plane: floating, rising, seeming

to fall, then finding solid air. Gasoline evaporating
like a spirit somewhere deep in the motor’s hum, and the scent

of whiskey from the navigator’s mouth, the hush
as he breathes cigarette after cigarette into ash.

You can never miss an island. Her voice breathless
into the speaker—I’m flying the line, can no longer

hear you. Repeat. Cannot hear … her voice falling away
like a chute opening over the sea—slow, circling down

then, a moment of pure seduction in the drone of fear—
engines quiet now—she points the nose and wings straight

into the darkest cloud bank, hears nothing
of the radio’s crackling code, needle no longer stitching but spinning—

and emerges sunblind and exhausted, into neither
heaven nor hell, but slips between, into the needle eye,

the island herself, into the last silver glint of possibility.



Shannon Borg is a poet and wine educator living on Orcas Island. Her publications include Corset (poems, Cherry Grove, 2006); Chefs on the Farm (a cookbook, Mountaineers, 2008), and poems in The Paris Review, London Review of Books, Poetry Northwest, and other journals. Shannon holds an MFA from the University of Washington, and a PhD from the University of Houston. Her most recent project is called 26 Kitchens: How Neither Here Nor There Became Home, a collection of essays chronicling every kitchen she’s lived in. It is currently posted on her blog 26Kitchens.  

David Gravender


There should be words like “mossehurr,” to indicate
that soft-falling rain that soaks and nourishes the
mossy mats without quite wetting the hair… –
-Robert Michael Pyle

We should have so many words we lack—our mouths
clear-cut slopes the rain drops invisibly through—
a nomenclature native and true as any flora
to spell the space that falls between the glisten
of your hair and moistness of my eye, what passes,
a racing cloud, over everything we say. A word
that would mean the clean aftermath of rainstorms
in spring; your skin, pink and warm, emerging
from fogs of soap; the dream that ghosts
my waking day—a language of evanescence
transpiring from the skin of every moment
though our dictionaries grow mossboled
and softbacked, unbearable dense forests
of verb and noun decomposing in a sunless litter
soft as bogs or the burr of lapsing tongues.


“Mossehurr” originally appeared in The Seattle Review


David Gravender lives with his family in the Convergence Zone (aka Mountlake Terrace). A recipient of an NEA Fellowship, the William Stafford Award, and other prizes, he has published poems in a variety of venues throughout the US, Canada, and UK, including The Seattle Review, The Malahat Review, Descant, Floating Bridge Review/Pontoon, Literary Salt, Riddle Fence, The Cortland Review, and even Metro buses. He earned an MA in English from the University of Toronto and a BA from the University of Washington; he now works as a technical editor.

Christopher Herold







Christopher Herold has been writing haiku for more than forty years. He is co-founder and former managing editor of The Heron’s Nest. Six collections of his work have been published. A Path in the Garden received a Haiku Society of America Merit Book Award. In the Margins of the Sea was a winner in Great Britain’s Snapshot Press manuscript competition. Inside Out, was runner-up for a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award. He has received two Museum of Haiku Literature awards. His work has been published worldwide in more than twelve languages. He lives with his family in Port Townsend, Washington.

Colleen J. McElroy

Breaking Wild Horses


When romance walked in
there were too many fatal secrets
hiding in sheltered places.
We tried reining them in
corralling their savage cries
for attention – nothing seemed
to hold them at bay especially
as night broke the skyline
with the first signs of morning
and our guards were down —
our fences rattling with weakness
the whinny and stomping
of half remembered injuries
and families scabbed over.
We fussed with the images
trying to tidy them into civil
obedience – read how others
had calmed their unruliness
as they nuzzled soft places
left trails of rancid breath
flicked debris into the room (onto the table).
When romance moved on
the old nags came closer to the house
chewed on the lace curtains.
We couldn’t just put them down
not after they had been around
so long and carried so much baggage.
So we groomed them
trotted them out for prizes
boasted about their origins —
how difficult it had been to finally
keep them away from our comings
and goings – herded them into a far field
where their passing might go unnoticed
where even weeds bloomed in colors.


By permission of the author.  © Copyright 2012.


Colleen J. McElroy lives in Seattle, Washington where she is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington, and served as Editor-in-chief of the Seattle Review from 1995-2006. McElroy’s collection of poems include most recently, Sleeping with the Moon (2007), for which she received a 2008 PEN/Oakland National Literary Award. Her latest collections of creative non-fiction include: A Long Way From St. Louie (travel memoirs), and Over the Lip of the World: Among the Storytellers of Madagascar (finalist in the 2000 PEN USA Research-based Creative Nonfiction category). Winner of the Before Columbus American Book Award, she also has received two Fulbright Fellowships, two NEA Fellowships, a DuPont Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. Her work has been translated into Russian, Italian, Arabic, Greek, French, German, Malay, and Serbo-Croatian. McElroy’s ninth collection of poetry, Here I Throw Down My Heart, will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2012.

Student Poem

That Man
by Blake (4th grade at View Ridge Elementary)

In that
movie I wish
I could be
that man.

that man
can do lots
of different
kinds of tricks
like back flips,
front flips, 360’s.
Oh and you can’t
forget the triple
4.9000 trick.

That man
is a magician
and an action
figure. There’s this
really special trick
that he does and
he never does it.

People say that
man has to show
us but he says
what are you
talking about.

And I say
that man is awesome.


I’m pulling this poem out of my personal storehouse of student work from View Ridge Elementary in Seattle, where I have worked through Writers in the Schools for five years now. “That Man” makes me laugh every time I read it, guaranteed. Thanks to WITS for helping to make the world go round.  –KF

Ann Teplick



MOON, in ten parts

For a dying father



When December crystals the hospital window, when the moon flutes to your bed, when I turn out the light, you ask for your top hat and tails. I fetch mine, too.



Nothing more to do than borrow moonlight for this journey. A baby step? A baby’s breath? Rubenesque, and plumped in love?



Hearts break dead center, in the river where the moon waits at the bend—crescent, gibbous, full.   Be my huckleberry friend as we ring the rosy, pinkies linked, crown you King of the perfect fathers.



Moon on the tip of your nose, Eskimo kiss. Moon on the tip of your toes. Jitterbug kiss. Moon, sandwiched in Oreos. Let’s kiss the wafer, scrape the crème, let our teeth scream for more! more! more! time to be father and daughter.



The moon is Columbo’s glass eye, sticky with tricks, that wanders and foils the slicksters.



And while we’re at it, let’s cast the brush aside—no more watercolors, acrylics, or oils—from here on, let’s speak to the moon face-to-face about the hooey of green cheese, how we crowded around the TV, yahooed, confettied the room with buttered popcorn, the moment Neil Armstrong set those big galoofy boots for 600 million to see. And how nothing could keep us from moon walking in 1983 with Michael Jackson to “Billie Jean.”



Moon in a barrel, you never know just when the bottom will fall out. When you will open your eyes. When you will try to climb out of bed, again. You never know if I will undrape this flag of grief, left ear on your heart, left cheek on your ribs, left my wife and 48 kids, right right right in the middle of the kitchen floor. Let’s sing that song again, on our way to Murray’s Delicatessen, in our corduroy shoes, switch the hops of our feet. Live inside of the beat. Silly, for pastrami on rye.



I shift your pillow closer to the moon. Shift to the denouement, to fatherless. Shift to your hands and feet, a minty blue. Shift to the miles of junk for the dump—Spic and Span your condo. Shift to your face, concave and hollowed. Shift to the Strawberry milk, our darling. Shift my hips, fidget for a script. Shift to the gurgle in your throat, swab the mucous. Shift my last words from death march to Boogie Woogie, watch you fire the keys. Lay it down with “Chicago Stomps” and “Honky Tonk Train.” Bugle Boy, Bugle Boy, Company C.” I shift your pillow closer to the moon.



Now I understand how the third verse of moon and the third verse of longing are spun. Over, under, over, under, knit one purl two, loop de loop, dress the loom for tabbies, twills and satins. I understand, now, the act of clinging, the floss by floss unbuttoning, in this ropy slow motion.



Spanning continents, your in-breath, Nathan. Out-breath, Nathan. We cradle your shoulders, cheeks, crown of your head. Thread of gray hair that sits like a sage to an aria of grace, disappears the moon.



“Moon, in ten parts” originally appeared in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, Vol. 15, 2011.


Ann Teplick is a Seattle poet, playwright, prose writer, and teaching artist, with an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. For eighteen years she’s written with youth in schools, juvenile detention centers, psychiatric hospitals and hospice centers–working with Pongo Teen Writing, Writers in the Schools, Powerful Schools, Richard Hugo House, and Coyote Central. Her work has appeared in Crab Creek Review, Drash, Chrysanthemum, Hunger Mountain, Reality Mom, Honest Potatoes, Jack Straw Writers’ Anthology, Washington State Geospatial Anthology,and others. Her plays have been showcased in Washington, Oregon, and Nova Scotia. In 2010, she participated in the Artist Trust EDGE Personal Development Program for Writers. In 2010/11 she received funding from Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and 4Culture for a collection of poetry The Beauty of a Beet, Poems from the Bedside. In 2011 she was a Hedgebrook and  Jack Straw fellow.  She is currently a member of the Washington State Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Training Lab.







Allen Braden

Van Gogh’s Noon: Rest from Work (after Millet)


His wheatfield redistributes the light evenly
over the pair of strawstacks, of shoes and sickles
set off to one side which belong to the couple
drowsing in the dark gold shade of afternoon.
Only the wagon in the background is singular
though two oxen are loitering near enough
to rub dumbly against its iron-shod wheels.
Less distinct in the distance is a crop of wheat,
as high as a wainscot between earth and sky,
still not cut or bundled or loaded for winnowing.
No question of the tasks which await them,

those two in the foreground who are faceless
as cattle and as serene in their exhaustion.
An observer can practically feel the prickling
of the severe stubble where they are at ease,
the itch of chaff when their sweat evaporates.
How masterfully each subject mirrors itself,
the man and woman in a cotton tunic or smock,
the way even one work shoe parallels the other
and sickle blades curve into quotation marks
as if to complete some statement on the balance
between art and whatever is perfectly ordinary.

–Allen Braden

Allen Braden is the author of A Wreath of Down and Drops of Blood (University of Georgia) and Elegy in the Passive Voice (University of Alaska/Fairbanks), winner of the Midnight Sun Chapbook Contest. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and from Artist Trust of Washington State as well as the Emerging Writers Prize from Witness magazine, the Grolier Poetry Prize, the Dana Award in Poetry and other honors. Former poet-in-residence for the Poetry Center and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he lives in Lakewood, Washington.



Sierra Nelson



You are traveling slowly,
like a great shipwreck still sailing.
Almost tenderly, the sun puts a hand to your forehead.
Yes, you think, I’ve been unwell. You sink into the feeling.
But the sun is blind and must touch everything:
always feeling its gold way forward towards the dark.



This poem first appeared on a Seattle metro bus through the Poetry on Buses program, and is featured in I Take Back the Sponge Cake: A Lyrical Choose Your Own Adventure by Sierra Nelson and Loren Erdrich, Rose Metal Press 2012.


Seattle poet Sierra Nelson is co-founder of The Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society, president of Seattle’s Cephalopod Appreciation Society, a MacDowell fellow, and has poems in Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, Thermos, Fairy Tale Review, and Forklift Ohio, among others. Her lyrical choose-your-own-adventure book,  I Take Back the Sponge Cake, with visual artist Loren Erdrich, debuts from Rose Metal Press this month. Sierra will read from her new book at Open Books on Friday, April 20 at 7:30 pm, along with poet Zachary Schomburg.