Erin Malone

And Then


In the windows we were drawn:
I held my knobby baby
in dawn’s automotive light.
A fleet of cars sailed by
as school-kids stomped their boots
shook their shiny coats.
I put my baby in a basket.
We slept in fits & as the weather
turned we started to grow older.

I bounced him hobbledy-hoy, hobbledy-hoy!
I wound my wobbly bumpkin
& in the garden
let him go. We went in circles.
This is the way the farmers ride.
Another year. Another.
I lost count of worn-out shoes.
Bees came to the flowers of his ears.
His hair got long.

Around us red leaves
lettered to the ground &
I became a tree.
I swung my boy like a bell
by his knees. His mouth
made the shape of a song.
Where had he heard it?
I listened to the tune.
This was not a song I’d known.


Erin Malone’s poems have appeared in journals such as FieldBeloit Poetry JournalPOOL and online at Verse Daily. Her chapbook, What Sound Does It Make, won the Concrete Wolf Award in 2007. The recipient of grants from Washington’s Artist Trust, 4Culture and the Colorado Council of the Arts, she has taught writing at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and at the University of Washington Rome Center in Italy. Currently she teaches poetry in Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program.


Larry Matsuda

Too Young to Remember

Minidoka, Idaho— War Relocation Center

I do not remember the Idaho winter winds,
knee deep mud that oppressed 10,000 souls
or the harsh summer heat and dust.

I do not remember miles of clotheslines,
mounds of soiled diapers, clatter of families crowded
into barracks, the greasy closeness
of canned Vienna sausage,
of pungent pork and sour brine
exuding from mess halls.

Floating in the amniotic fluid,
tethered in salt sea, odors
nourished by fear and sadness—
my Mother’s anxieties
enveloped and nurtured me.

Maybe it was the loss of her home,
the sudden evacuation,
being betrayed by her country.
Or maybe it was the stillborn child
she referred to as It,
sexless blob of malformed tissue,
a thing without a face that would have been
my older sibling.
My aunt described it as budo,
a cluster of grapes.

I recall what Barry, my psychiatrist friend,
said about parents emotionally distancing themselves
from children born immediately after a stillbirth.

Sixty years later on drizzly Seattle days,
when November skies are overcast,
and darkness begins at 4:00 p.m.,
I feel my mother’s sadness
sweep over me like a cold wind from Idaho.

I search for Minidoka,
unravel it from the memories of others.
Like a ruined sweater, I untwist the yarn,
strands to weave a tapestry
of pride and determination—
the “children of the rising sun” once banished
to desert prisons, return from exile
with tattered remnants, wave them overhead,
time-shorn banners salvaged from memories
woven in blood and anguish.

I wish I could remember
Minidoka. I would trade
those memories for the fear and sadness
imbedded in my genes.



Note:  The Minidoka War Relocation Center was one of ten U.S. World War II concentration camps that held120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans for approximately three years.

This poem appears in A Cold Wind from Idaho, Black Lawrence Press, New York, 2010


Larry Matsuda was born in the Minidoka, Idaho War Relocation Center during World War II. He and his family along with 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were held in ten concentration camps without committing a crime and without due process for approximately three years.

Matsuda has a Ph.D. in education and was recently a visiting professor at Seattle University. He was a junior high language arts teacher and Seattle School District administrator and principal for twenty-seven years.

He studied poetry under the late Professor Nelson Bentley at the University of Washington and has participated in the Castalia Poetry Reading Series there. He has read his poetry at numerous events in Washington, California, Oregon, and Idaho including the famous Kobo at Higo’s venue in Seattle’s International District with his mentor Tess Gallagher.

His poems appear in Poets Against the War website, The New Orleans Review, Floating Bridge Press, The Raven Chronicles, Ambush Review, Cerise Press, Black Lawrence Press website, and the International Examiner Newspaper. In 2005 he and two colleagues wrote and co-edited the book Community and difference: teaching, pluralism and social justice, Peter Lang Publishing, New York. The book won the 2006 National Association of Multicultural Education Phillip Chinn Book Award. In July of 2010 his book of poetry entitled, A Cold Wind from Idaho was published by Black Lawrence Press in New York.

He lives with his wife, Karen, and son, Matthew in Seattle and is a consultant presently helping to re-design schools as better physical learning environments.

Student Poem

Negativity and racism roams through our society, it’s something we can’t get rid of, permanent like a sharpie.
I can be the nicest person in the world, or your worst enemy, switch like a light switch.
The realness that I write, I can make your mind twitch. Make you think if you should stop or keep reading, why stop now? You have to hear the happy ending.
Step by step my confidence starts to rise, it’s a good morning, and I’m glad to see the sun rise.
Listen to my words and let them take you on a joyride. Fly so high, drive past Mars, glare at all the stars and shake hands with god.
Visit all my friends that never got a chance, where their first mistake was hopping that fence, trying to be someone they’re not.
Having their pants dangle by their thighs, walking down the street throwing up gang signs.
They loved being “hood” they loved it with a passion, with a flag out their pocket, yes that was their fashion.
Bullets fly through the air and now their life is flashing.
I guess so much for a happy ending, but take notes from my words of wisdom.
Life is dangerous so be careful with what you say.

Trey, 16 and a student at Franklin High School in Seattle, participated in the 2012 Dr. Carver Gayton Youth Curator Program at the Northwest African American Museum.  He and his fellow curators worked with writer Daemond Arrindell on poems based on  the Northwest Gallery exhibition, “Xenobia Bailey: Aesthetics of Funk.”

Kate Lebo

Every Beginning Wants a Good Place to Start


According to laws of ownership,
you’re homeless. According to virology
you’re hunted, sore-throated, snotty.
By psychology you’re understood
and spun out, an iced tire. In fashion
you’re an adopter, a crofter, a little black
smock of sleep.

Notice how roofs lift their houses into reason,
their stories into debt. How leather walks years
after the first bloody cut
and shoes say something faster about a man
than his wallet because you don’t
have to ask to see them.

Starting today, you’ll study the discipline
of what you don’t know
about what you don’t want. You want this
like the flu wants lungs. Today,
keep it simple when simple makes sense.
Don’t start with schoolbooks. Start
with breakfast.


Kate Lebo’s poems appear in Best New Poets 2011, Poetry Northwest, Bateau, and The Pacific Poetry Project, among other anthologies and journals. She’s an editor for Filter, a literary journal made entirely by hand, and the recipient of a Nelson Bentley Fellowship, a 4Culture grant, and a Soapstone residency. Currently an MFA candidate at the University of Washington, Kate hosts a semi-regular semi-secret pie social called Pie Stand whenever schoolwork allows. Visit Pie-Scream for more about Kate’s zine A Commonplace Book of Pie and other tasty treats.

Michael Schmeltzer


…for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. – Genesis 3:19, KJV

As the days passed, my limbs turned purple and my face turned to the colour of dust. – Kazuko Yamashima, atom-bomb survivor


Suppose we are not made of fire. Suppose we turn
children to dust. Should we carry their ash in an urn
as if the sacred exists? What some call love,
others burn as fuel. How should we speak of
paper and people enduring the feral infernos?
I have no choice. I ache. I shower with shadow.
I wrote a poem on my lover’s stomach with
my tongue. Which lasts longer, the width

of saliva, the sonnet, or her skin? Answer
the question in phoenix-tongue. The towers
collapsed on my birthday and a crimson bird
built a nest in a tree. We were kids then, sure,
but how do you explain this; we set the nest ablaze.
One egg cooked in the center. The rest we saved.


“Phoenix-Tongue” originally appeared in PacificREVIEW.


Michael Schmeltzer earned an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His honors include four Pushcart Prize nominations, the Gulf Stream Award for Poetry, Blue Earth Review’s Flash Fiction Prize, and the Artsmith Literary Award. Most recently he was a finalist in poetry contests held by Third Coast Magazine and Water~Stone Review. He helps edit A River & Sound Review and has been published in Natural Bridge, Mid-American Review, Water~Stone Review, New York Quarterly, Bellingham Review, and Fourteen Hills, among others. He lives in White Center, Washington.

Paul Hunter

What A Boy Lies Awake Wondering


Footsore trudging these fields
while overhead dip and wheel
unfolding lives on the wing
some evenings every other living thing
seems dipped in desire glistening

so I envy the horse that can ripple
its skin out from under the horsefly
and the thousand-eyed horsefly
that bites me clean through
the workshirt stuck to my shoulders

I envy the hen so suspicious
of me she can turn her head backwards
and the slippery calf being nudged up
licked clean of its birth
all set to dance at a touch

and the water skeeter astride
the silvery skin of the horse trough
inhaled by those whiskery muzzles
and the green snake so still in the lilac
whose tongue neatly scissors the world


“What A Boy Lies Awake Wondering” is reprinted
from Ripening, (Silverfish Review Press, 2007).


Paul Hunter has lent a hand where it was needed—as teacher, performer, grassroots arts activist, worker on the land, and shade-tree mechanic. For the past 18 years he has published fine letterpress poetry under the imprint of Wood Works, currently including 26 books and over 60 broadsides. His poems have appeared in Alaska Fisherman’s Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bloomsbury Review, Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Raven Chronicles, The Small Farmer’s Journal, The Southern Review and Spoon River Poetry Review, as well as in six full-length books and three chapbooks. His first collection of farming poems, Breaking Ground, 2004, from Silverfish Review Press, was reviewed in the New York Times, and received the 2004 Washington State Book Award. A second volume of farming poems, Ripening, was published in 2007, and a third companion volume, Come the Harvest, appeared in 2008. He has been a featured poet on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. His recent prose book, One Seed to Another: The New Small Farming, was published by the Small Farmer’s Journal in 2010. A fourth collection of farming poems, Stubble Field, is due out from Silverfish Review Press, in May 2012.

Linda Andrews

Asbury Park


Another day goes down
on the old house I am lucky
enough to live in. On the radio a voice
remembers a farm house and suddenly
I do too, a farm house where written words
had no taker, no easy place to pile in corners
or at the sides of beds. This was the place
of Russian grandparents who could neither
read nor write. How odd, now, to save
their house with words.

There’s the corner for the parakeet cage, hung tall
as from a floor lamp, fluttering racket, bird let loose
to flap in your hair. Long table for beer bottles,
pumpernickel bread, head cheese, duck’s blood
soup, horseradish. The kitchen burned with pepper.
Sun blaze of Michigan summer through
the tall windows. Beets from the garden,
bootlegger renter in the basement.

There’s the gas stove where my long hair caught fire.
First the burning smell, then the knowledge.
Hair singed, brittle, broken by the kitchen towel
my grandmother grabbed me with. Let loose
the bird. It never made a mess like this.

Or a mess like the day the bootlegger threw
the mash out in the yard where the ducks
found it, ate it, fell down drunk, were assumed
dead and plucked by my grandmother.
They woozed back to life about the time
grandpa came home, bleary from having
a few beers himself, and found the ducks naked,
curving through the yard.

Long before I came along, destined
to catch fire in the kitchen, my father shot
pheasants from the attic window, the same
attic where, on his way to being able
to fix anything, he took his mother’s sewing
machine apart, was spanked hard for his curiosity,
then he put it all back together and started
the treadle whirring for the next
twenty years. Out back along the tracks
in the tall weeds my 4’11” grandma once waited in the dark,
big stick in hand, waited for the man who said
her sons had stolen his apples. Watch him try
to get home, drunk as a duck, as she waylays him,
tells him don’t you ever say it again and he never does.

I have not abandoned this house, even after
I moved away, the grandparents died and the house
sold. It is mine, jealously, even after new people
bought it, burned it down for the insurance,
left it to become flame and fragment. It is mine,
obsessively. I’ll never let the bootlegger out of
the basement. I keep my grandmother always
climbing her footstool to reach the tall white cabinets.
My grandfather is forever walking home
along the railroad tracks that edge Asbury Park,
coal in his pockets, apples in his lunch pail,
suspenders carving an X into his back.



Linda Andrews’ poetry and stories have been featured in numerous journals and reviews including Calyx, Nimrod, Spindrift, Poetry Northwest, Crab Creek Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, Willow Springs, Midwest Quarterly, Gadfly,and Seattle Review. A book of her poems, Escape of the Bird Women, was published by Blue Begonia Press in 1998 and received a Washington State Governor’s Writers Award the following year. She is the recipient of a Ucross Foundation Fellowship residency, an Artist Trust fellowship grant, a Vernon M. Spence Poetry Prize, and an Academy of American Poets Prize through the University of Washington. Andrews holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Michigan State University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. For breadwinning purposes, she has worked as a speech writer, co-author and editor for non-profit health care executives in Seattle. In this capacity, she has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Health Care Resources, American Pharmacy and others. She is currently on the faculty of Walla Walla Community College and teaches writing and literature.

Carol Light

January Walk


The wind has twisted the tops of hemlock and fir;
cones and needles spatter the muddy path.
Rising from nearby chimneys: wood smoke and ash.
A cold mist washes my cheek and cattails stir
the breeze, climbing dried and broken reeds
while birdsong mixes swift, twitter, chit,
and swallows hide among the rosehip thickets.
My jacket snags on tangled arches, while beads
of dew fall from the vine. The year begins
anew. I thumb the cat-tongue underside
of a blackberry leaf, startled by its thorn.
One snapped branch divides our trail. The winds
have spun so little down. Despite the wide
weather warning, this time we missed the storm.


published in Poetry Northwest


Carol Light has poems published in Narrative Magazine, American Life in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Literary Bohemian, Pacific Poetry Project, and elsewhere. In 2011 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, named a Writing Fellow with Jack Straw Productions, and received a GAP award for poetry from Artist Trust. She studied poetry in the MFA program at the University of Washington where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets prize. She teaches part-time at Olympic College and lives with her family in Port Townsend, Washington.

Kevin Miller

Chrome and Oranges


Some days I drag what I have done
like a sack of wet laundry,
the more I lug the heavier it gets,
and if I don’t tend to it, it sours.
Tub of guts, we said as kids—
it had nothing to do with towing,
still this knowing attracts flies.
Might as well add envy to the pile,
jealous as I am of those able to forget.
And while stench may be a trigger,
I cannot recall the name of the woman
at work who smelled like shower steam
on powdered skin every morning for ten
glorious years. Instead, something I said
to J.B. forty years ago appears like a bull
on the highway. It gives asphalt a lesson
on black, leaves me replaying a stupid beef
over a woman who left both of us.
The Christmas I was ten I rode my new bike
to Richard’s to show off all that chrome.
He showed me checkers and an orange.
Those handlebars rust at the bottom of the sack.
Bad days, I hang each item on a line.
They sag like wet squares of sheetrock.
From a distance, you might wonder how
one man could own so many white shirts.


“Chrome and Oranges” previously appeared in the Massachusetts Review.

Kevin Miller lives in Tacoma, WA. Pleasure Boat Studio published his third collection, Home & Away: The Old Town Poems in 2008. Miller taught in the public schools of Washington State for thirty-nine years. He received grants from Artist Trust and Tacoma Arts, and received the Bumbershoot/Weyerhaeuser Publication Award for his first collection, Light That Whispers Morning.