Amy Schrader

A Proverb


Your byword to my nayword. Check
& mate, my shining knight. Marriage is more
than four legs in a bed. Bare & backed
by bone. I killed & BBQ’ed the boar,

another eats his flesh. Sweetest & sliced
near the marrow. Narrow hallway, narrow
mind. I’m out of mine & out of sight.
Out of words, which we let fly like arrows

raining down. Like cats & all. Despite
the fact you’re skinned & hung, you’re looking
like a king. I’m watching you. You despot;
you cloak your eyes & steal the cream.

So curiosity is killing us.
My dress is black & backless.



“A Proverb” is reprinted from The Journal.

Amy Schrader holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington. She was a recipient of a 2008 Artist Trust Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) award, and her poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in Coconut, The Journal, ILK, Bateau, and the Fairy Tale Review. She lives in Seattle.

Mary Elizabeth Gillilan



A cloudburst over the bird yard
turkeys gone to church—mouths agape
heads up

Grandma shakes her head, rheumy eyes
stare past something
I cannot see

She pours me Boston coffee, milk
and Folgers equal parts, I blow circles
across the top of the cup

Drown—they’d as soon drown
mean too—Grandma with her cane
shooed the cloud devotees back
to the barn. Her red Irish head soaked
and black round eye glasses smeared
with dust and rain.

Bare-footed and wrapped in Mama’s
hot pink shawl, tonight I crane my head
upwards and gawk at a moon
too large for consumption
but I drink until moon drunk

every bit as bright
as a turkey in the rain.



Mary Elizabeth Gillilan is the editor-in-chief of Clover, A Literary Rag. She leads writers groups at the Independent Writers’ Studio in Bellingham, Washington. Her novel, Tibet, A Writer’s Journal was published in 2007. Her greatest achievements are her two wonderful daughters. She lives in a hundred year old house in Bellingham with three rescue dogs and a cat.

Cora Goss-Grubbs

Morning Rite



Cora Goss-Grubbs lives in Woodinville, WA, with her spouse and two sons, in a house sandwiched between a wetland and a blueberry farm. Her work has appeared online at Literary Mama, and Diverse Voices Quarterly (Pg. 39). Her poems and essays have been published in She’s Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out and fighting back by Tightrope Books; Pontoon 10, an anthology of Washington State Poets; and Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women. She is a 1998 and 2010 Hedgebrook alumna and 2003 Jack Straw Productions writer-in-residence. Currently Cora is working on a young adult novel.

Aaron Silverberg

The Genius of Moths


before there were incandescent bulbs
burning the night air
what did moths do for amusement?

sure, there were a few fires about,
but that wasn’t much fun
as their tinder wings would burst
instantly to flames.

no, they must’ve dreamed up electricity,
put it into the fluttering head of Thomas Edison
as he slept fitfully
in his Menlo Park single bed.


Aaron Silverberg lives and writes in Seattle. He is a personal life coach and the author of several poetry collections, including Thoreau’s Chair and Diamonds Only Water Can Wear.

Karen Bonaudi

Editing a Vapor Trail


Especially if I’m young,
scatter me
anywhere it’s legal.
For I have not lived
by land, but by stars.
Describe the trajectory
as a warm cave
of eternal friends,
as mothers singing
over webs and bones.
Hear my voice
down a long reed.

Cast me like a net,
that I shall touch
at last
echoes of first light
and my children
shall make their pilgrimage
to the wind.


“Editing a Vapor Trail” is reprinted from the Bellingham Review and the chapbook Editing a Vapor Trail  (Pudding House Press).


Karen Bonaudi has led poetry workshops in elementary schools, taught adult creative writing classes, conducted workshops and critique panels, and performed with the All Bets Are Off troupe.  Among other publications, her poetry has run in the Bellingham Review, Salal Review, South Dakota Review, Pontoon 2, on-line whispers & shouts and others. Her chapbook Editing a Vapor Trail was published by Pudding House Press.  She lives and works as a private contractor in Moses Lake and publishes and on the web.

Roberta Feins

New Year’s Eve, 1921


I was combing my sister’s fragrant hair,
braiding it down her white nightgown,
when Mother came into the room
to tell us The world will end tonight,
sometime before the year is over.

Out of bed, she said, and on your knees.
We shivered and sniffed on the cold floor
as she wept above our heads, calling
Oh, hasten time towards Your Glorious End,
which I and my two lambs eagerly wait, Amen.

Emily and I crawled under the covers,
twining our feet together for warmth.
The preacher’d predicted the scythe would reap
so fine a path that of two in the bed,
one would be saved, the other doomed.

Through the sludge of hours, I waited, knowing
my sister and myself were both equally
guilty of the sins of children: inattention,
disobedience, dirt. Which of us
would rise through the room’s frost air,

through the ceiling and the roof, to soar
upon the warm wind of God? Which,
waiting to be lifted, would plummet
plunged into to the icy lake of Hell?
My salvation would be my sister’s doom.

In terror that God might come, in fear
of being alone, of being caught
in a selfish wish, I lay, listening
to her breathe, trying not to think,
until the cuckoo clock panted midnight.

Then a celebration, without horns
or colored hats: just the blessed relief
of quiet, thoughtless sleep.
Next morning at the breakfast table,
Mother served oatmeal and red-eyed silence.


“”New Years Eve, 1921” is reprinted from Poets West Literary Journal. 


Roberta Feins was born in New York, and has also lived in North Carolina and (currently) in Seattle. She works as a computer consultant. Roberta received her MFA in poetry from New England College in 2007. She has been published in The Cortland Review, Pif Magazine, Antioch Review, Tea Party, Floating Bridge Review, The Lyric, and Five AM. Roberta is an editor of the e-zine Switched On Gutenberg.

Bill Carty


I’ve heard third-hand each stanza is a room.
In June, yard too means room. In June, yard
means the room where I cure my innards,
where I stew them in liquor. The crevasse

over the stream where the snow melts first
is a room and so is each tulip.
The nurse log becoming the forest floor
is a room with the promise of future rooms.

In bed with another, my hand seeks the knob
to the next room. The tattered couch makes
the porch a messy room and, says the landlord,
“has to go.” For a second I thought

my car a room, but it’s just traffic.
Asthma is an owl in the room
of my lungs. A tenderloin sliced yea thick
is a room with walls of burnt skin.

Each song is a room I leave blushing
when my singing’s done. All these rooms.
All the clouds drifting through their open doors.
No wonder I am always outside.


“Room” is reprinted from Sixth Finch.

Originally from a small town in coastal Maine, Bill Carty moved to Seattle after receiving a BA from Dartmouth College and an MFA from University of North Carolina-Wilmington. His poems are published in numerous local and national journals, including Sixth Finch, Diagram, Floating Bridge Review, Transom, and Page Boy. His chapbook “Refugium” was recently published by alice blue books. Bill’s first full-length manuscript, “Tomahawks,” has been named a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Four Way Books Intro Award and Saturnalia Books. In 2010, he participated in the Jack Straw Writers Program, and he is a Made at Hugo House fellow for 2012-13.

Bethany Reid



February’s false spring
brings to the farm a spate of new calves
and a lone coyote

tired of hunger. My mother
calls the coyote “he,”
as in, “You’d think he’d be satisfied

with one.” But he takes all
plus one cow in labor. It’s our version
of tragedy, the small herd, the lost

calves dramatic as Shakespeare
though I don’t know who’s the hero
of this piece, maybe my brother’s stepdaughter,

thirteen, carrying her 22-rifle
and stalking our coyote
over the brown winter fields,

marshes seeping to her boot tops
and the scree of a red-tailed hawk
falling over the deep woods. Our coyote

is nowhere to be found, curled
in her den, I suspect, with wet pups,
her dugs so swollen

she can’t hunt. Then one new calf
turns up at feeding time
with its mother

and, in the orchard,
blossoms curl against black boughs
like hands waiting to unfold.


“Hunger” is reprinted from Sparrow, now available from Writers & Books.


Bethany Reid teaches American literature and creative nonfiction at Everett Community College — and the inevitable college composition. She and her husband live in Edmonds with their three teenaged daughters, and their three cats.  Her first full-length collection, Sparrow, is just released from Writers & Books.



John Wesley Horton


Someday I’ll be like the prehistoric painter with a crooked finger
who left handprints on a rock face; remembered for making
a handicap into symbolism, threatened by oblivion every time
someone exhales. This is why I’d rather leave you breathless
than engage in conversation. This is how a spirit rattles chains.
Old gods challenged the imagination, visiting Earth like swans,
or else arriving like crepuscular rays, knowing dusk and dawn
to be the truest times of day. Lucretius believed all things
mattered, that even the least significant ideas were made up
of atoms. Great Caesar’s Ghost was just a film he sloughed off
like dry skin. All your recollections belong to someone else.
We know cicadas molt before they get their wings, leaving
flightless memories clinging to the trees. Lobsters must
feel the urge to come out of their shells. Maybe this is like
our need to be re-born. Maybe this is why we say we’re new
every seven years. But what is it with our interest in scars?
What about the impulse to apologize for what we can’t erase?
Captain Cook spied the sun through a state-of-the-art glass
and never discovered the secrets of Venus. But then, his sailors
returned from Polynesia with tattoos. Is it love, or the lack,
that makes us mark each other? Aeneas bore his father’s weight
in front of every conquering Greek. A microscope confirms
the wolf in every Border collie’s DNA. There’s a Trojan Horse
for you. There’s a little chimp in every Borderline personality.
Sometimes we channel our ancestors in the dining room
and wind up like F. Scott Fitzgerald in the garden eating dirt.
An Aborigine touching up ancient art will tell you spirits move
his hand. Like once I spoke to a man who said he was my dad
on a Ouija board. Once I read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians
under the influence of psilocybin. Some ghosts are better left
unread. Other ghosts are shadows of the most horrific things,
like the girl who survived My Lai pretending to be a corpse.
We can imagine so many angry ghosts. Maybe that’s why
Epicurus wanted us to believe death was the end of our days.
Maybe that’s why Yeats used his wife like a rotary phone
when he spoke with the dead. He imagined himself in death
as a mechanical bird. His readers would be voices speaking
his disembodied words. At dawn I can’t tell the difference
between horizon and the sea. Lucretius understood the ocean
rose to fill clouds with rain. It always rains in Gothic novels.
English ghosts pass through the wainscoting. All the ghosts
are haunting future ghosts. Farm hands who listened to voices
telling them they’d be better off if they bought the farm
are buried in the cemetery with the rest. If you drive at night
you might catch a glimpse. There’s a difference between
windrows and the woods. There’s a vine wrapping the wrought
iron fence. If you appreciate someone’s work, Lucretius said,
it really is a part of them that’s gone to your head.


“Ghosts” previously appeared in Cutbank 77.

John Wesley Horton (aka Johnny Horton) spends many summers teaching creative writing in Rome, Italy for the University of Washington. A New Englander by birth, he grew up in the Midwest and now lives and works in Seattle. He’s recently published poems in CutBank, Poetry Northwest, Borderlands, Notre Dame Review, Alive at the Center, and City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (U. of Iowa).

Brian McGuigan

Blood Brothers


I loved Run-DMC and my fake gold two-finger ring
a dollar sign stretched over white, dry knuckles.
I spun on old cardboard boxes in your basement
until I vomited pork fried rice on your mother’s
chancletas. I broke your brother’s favorite Ice-T record,
“Cop Killer.” I kissed your sister when you were at summer
school, and we had nothing else to do but curse
and throw cockroaches on each other. I stole strawberries
from the Korean market because you weren’t allowed
in after the owner, a little m__erf__er with a mustache,
caught you—that was when you’d first taught me m__erf__er.
I was “Rocky” until I got my front teeth busted.
Your brother was “Scarface” until he was arrested
and sent upstate. You were “Do the Right Thing”
until you didn’t. There was that kid who got hit
by a car each spring. The old lady with her hair
in rollers except on Sundays. That was when we’d play
sponge ball off the cement wall. You spray-painted
the box—our strike zone—while I would electrical tape
around the stick. There was a sick obsession
with “Street Fighter II” and Chung Li’s spinning leg kick.
There was a two-liter of Coke that we shared
like second-hand smoke. There was the time your mother,
drunk, stuck her hands in our shorts to see how we’d grown.
You showed me how to keep my Jordans clean
with hot water and a stiff toothbrush. You told me
girls were cold as booths at McDonalds when one
broke my heart like a bottle rocket that won’t burn.
I remember when you and I slept in the same bed,
when your sheets were G.I. Joe until your mother
turned the light off, and the gunfire ceased.


“Blood Brothers” previously appeared in City Arts Magazine.


Born in Queens, NY, Brian McGuigan currently writes in Seattle, WA. He is the curator of the popular reading series, “Cheap Wine and Poetry” and “Cheap Beer and Prose,” and the Program Director at Richard Hugo House. In 2010, McGuigan was shortlisted for The Stranger’s Genius Award in Literature, and in 2008, he was a fellow in the Jack Straw Writers Program. Spankstra Press published his chapbook of poetry, “More Than I Left Behind,” in 2006. His poetry and writing have appeared in City Arts, Seattle Magazine, Rivet Magazine, Filter Literary Journal, Slipstream and others.