Patrick Dixon

Boat Puller
…..for Jim

We were alone on the boat –
a green deckhand and a middle-aged Norwegian
riding emerald rollers sprinkled with drops of gold
in the late afternoon sun.
And though you were teaching me
how to get a salmon out of the bag
without popping the mesh,
…..I was somewhere else:

… the stern I saw myself
neck deep in Indiana, floundering in all those years
of not knowing who I was. or how to escape
who I had become; drowning in aching nights
spent hoping for the moment I might know
a way to set my feet upon a path of my own.

While I was picking fish with you,
stunned at the sight of the sea so near
and the mountains filling the western sky,
I thought of dry midwestern cornfields,
and of lost, empty days filled with a wish to leave
…..but nowhere to go.

You bent over a red to show me how to use a fish pick,
never realizing what was happening to me,
how you were stripping away the web of my past life,
pulling me through to solid ground.


“Boat Puller” originally appeared in Oberon Poetry Magazine.


A retired educator, Patrick Dixon moved to Alaska in 1975 where he
taught for 23 years. He commercial fished for salmon on Cook Inlet
from 1977-1997. His writings and photography have been published by
The Smithsonian, Oregon Coast, Cirque Literary Journal, The Oberon
Poetry Magazine, The Waterman’s Gazette, The Alaska Fisherman’s
Journal and Pacific Fishing Magazine, among others. Now living in
Olympia, Washington, he reads his work and shows his photographs
throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Darby Ringer

O Thou Small Opening, O

For Macy, at seven days


Your small mouth,
a circle of light reaching for milk,
opens, perfect as the well-formed
O of a chorister singing,
or the complete roundness of the moon.

We cry an O of adoration,
and trace the shape of your ear.
We skate on winters of deepening ice,
forgetting our own firemaking wonder.
We take the blurred path, a slender line,
an O we share between us,
and like the geese flying north,
follow the snow of our beginning.


Title taken from the poem “O Thou Opening, O” by Theodore Roethke
King County Poetry and Art on Buses 2001


Darby Ringer’s poems have appeared in Pontoon #1, Floating Bridge
Review #5,, Poetry and Art on the Buses, 2001,
among others. She has received bachelor’s degrees from the University of
Washington in French and Landscape Architecture. She is a landscape
designer and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Gloria Piper Roberson

Clifton’s Cafeteria, LA, CA 1940’s


We ate there every evening
after our late night Vaudeville performance
at the Hippodrome Theatre on Main Street.

We chose from an uncountable variety of foods–
peas, peas and carrots, string beans, lima beans,
pickled beets or plain, creamed corn, and spinach.

Mashed potatoes with gravy pools or if you preferred
a pat of butter. Sliced and diced or whole peaches, pears,
and apricots, stewed purple plums with cinnamon.

Hot baked or fried chicken, crisp hash, and pork chops
wearing their green feathered parsley. There was Jell-O plain,
fruited, and marshmellowed. Pies for every tastebud

that bloomed. Two-layer carrot cake that oozed cream cheese
frosting and chocolate cake freckled with walnuts
and always the menacing, unforgiving, staring fish-eyes

of tapioca pudding. You could wear scruffy overalls, empty pockets,
mink coats, or Crowns and fill a tray with any plate that huddled
and waited—five or 10 cents each. Then pick the Rain Room

with its tin roof, Jungle Room with chattering, screeching monkeys
and an occasional roar that ducked your head in fear or
the Waterfall Room with its misty, tumbling water that collided

with lily pads, the Polynesian Room where leis and hula skirts
swayed on the walls as if at a luau—then sat and became part
of the cacophony of glee. Father fended for himself at home

those nights with a pot of beans, and his own cornbread,
and a quart of beer from Ward’s Grocery Store around the corner
on Hadley street. If he wished, he could wipe his lips clean

with one of the initialed Clifton’s napkins
Mother always inserted covertly
into her purse beside several swabbed, white dishes.



Gloria Piper Roberson is a wife of 62 years, a mother of four, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of twin boys and their younger sister.  She has taken 12 quarters of Creative Writing at Wenatchee Valley College since 2002, eight with Derek Sheffield.  Her work has appeared in Mirror Northwest (2006-2007) as well as Whitman Community College’s The Noisy Water Review (2006-2007) and she authored the book Winning Hearts…Winning Wings, The Story of the First Nonstop Transpacific Flight (Wenatchee Valley Museum Cultural Center, 2003) which has been translated into Japanese. She lives in Wenatchee.

Suzanne Bottelli

xxxxxxxxxxxxxcento for Thomas Merton


our weakness should not terrify
xxxxxxxxit is the source of our strength
and if I stand back and considerxxxxxxxxmyself and You
xxxxxxxxas if something had passed between us
is that contemplation?xxxxxxxxxxI will inevitably see
xxxxxxxxthe gap between usxxxxxxxxxxmy mind
making a noise like a bankxxxxxxthere is only one vocation
xxxxxxxxdistance from all thingsxxxxxx a lament
as rough and clean as stonexxxxxI wish it were over –
xxxxxxxxI wish it were begun



Suzanne Bottelli grew up in New Jersey and lives in Seattle, where she is a Humanities teacher and an Environment program coordinator at The Northwest School.  Her poems have appeared in Fine Madness, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and West Branch, among others.  She has received GAP awards from Artist Trust, as well as a Seattle Arts Commission Literary Artist award.  Her collection A Visual Glossary of the Physical World has not been published but was a semi-finalist for Eastern Washington University Press’ Blue Lynx Prize and a finalist for Black Lawrence Press’ St. Lawrence Book Award.  Bottelli is currently working on a book-length poem that is located in the Watchung Mountains of New Jersey.  This work investigates the geologic, environmental, and social layers of the region roughtly between the Passaic and Raritan Rivers, including the “deserted village” of Feltville.

Hans Ostrom

Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven


They call each other `E.’  Elvis picks
wildflowers near the river and brings
them to Emily. She explains half-rhymes to him.

In heaven Emily wears her hair long, sports
Levis and western blouses with rhinestones.
Elvis is lean again, wears baggy trousers

and T-shirts, a letterman’s jacket from Tupelo High.
They take long walks and often hold hands.
She prefers they remain just friends. Forever.

Emily’s poems now contain naugahyde, Cadillacs,
Electricity, jets, TV, Little Richard and Richard
Nixon. The rock-a-billy rhythm makes her smile.

Elvis likes himself with style. This afternoon
he will play guitar and sing “I Taste A Liquor
Never Brewed” to the tune of “Love Me Tender.”

Emily will clap and harmonize.  Alone
in their cabins later, they’ll listen to the river
and nap. They will not think of Amherst

or Las Vegas. They know why God made them
roommates. It’s because America
was their hometown. It’s because

God is a thing without
feathers. It’s because
God wears blue suede shoes.


“Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven” is reprinted from The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006 (Indianapolis: Dog Ear Press, 2006).

Hans Ostrom is Professor of African American Studies and English at the University of Puget Sound, where he won the President’s Award for Teaching.  Ostrom grew up in a small town in California’s Sierra Nevada.  Later he attended the University of California, Davis, where he studied poetry-writing with Karl Shapiro.  Ostrom went on to earn a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in English from UCD. He has taught since 1983 at Puget Sound. His publications in poetry include the books The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006  and Clear a Place for Good: Poems 2006-2012. Hans’s poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Ploughshares, the Washington Post, and a variety of other magazines.With Kate Haake and Wendy Bishop, he wrote Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively (Longman), a textbook about writing fiction, poetry, and drama. Ostrom has also published books about the work of Langston Hughes, and he is co-editor with David Macey of The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature (5 vols.) He is a novelist and a screenwriter.   His YouTube channel, Langstonify, features over 800 videos of poems.



Poet Spencer Reece will be reading from his forthcoming collection of poems,  The Road to Emmaus, at Richard Hugo House on Monday, March 25.  The title poem recently appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, edited by Mark Doty.

The evening  will include a screening of James Franco’s short film based on Reece’s poem, “The Clerk’s Tale.”  Spencer Reece will also discuss his work at Our Little Roses orphanage for girls in Honduras, where he is currently spending a Fulbright Year. James Franco is producing a documentary about Reece’s work with the girls writing and illustrating poetry.

This event is free and is supported by Poets & Writers, Humanities WA, and ArtsWA.






Deborah Woodard


I can play each part, be Hamlet, hands in pockets, and then the bikers disappearing over
the lip of the grave. Plus, the dog’s four legs. There’s a cold gold light, everything shaking
and Ophelia newly dead. My initial schlep toward Hamlet and the tannic depths of the glass      cap
cast glitter, the plaid shorts stayed snug over the leggings. Let inspiration toss more               confetti:
sky turn apricot, mind crack down the visor. Raise the visor. See both sides of the dunce.
I found a little more strength. Summon the dream. Be quick! (Difficult in sun.)
There was the most serene sky with peaks, blue sitting up there awhile with white.
Was there another place? The teabag withers inside my cup, its little paper flag
bumping gently in the air. My long jacket—well, that’s the kind of ease that comes
with green and brown suspenders. The tipsy birds were insects in the distance.
It was déjà vu to clear my throat, begin. My son, dig yourself out. Move. Displace.
The burgundy hedges stayed unruffled, despite Hamlet shambling in and out of them.
I’d like two pairs of legs, please. My son is not very bright. He’s fully leafed, well, almost.
The holly never drowses. Let it scratch out notes on the sky’s paper.
How is hell going to be? Well, hell. What’s the difference between a violin and a viola?
A viola burns more slowly. (There’s more of it. Heh, heh.) Uncover the berries.
The little bits of scarlet make us feel safe, like the grey of bare branches, truisms.
Ah, and now there’s my son Hamlet again. Ophelia guides him with her ungloved hand.


“Phantom” first appeared in Chelsea.


Deborah Woodard was born in New York City and raised in Vermont, and currently lives in Seattle. She holds an MFA from the University of California at Irvine and a PhD from the University of Washington. Her first full-length poetry collection is Plato’s Bad Horse (Bear Star Press, 2006). Her second collection, Borrowed Tales, was released from Stockport Flats in December, 2012. She is the author of three chapbooks, most recently Hunter Mnemonics (hemel press, 2008), which was illustrated by artist Heide Hinrichs. Her translation the Italian of Amelia Rosselli, The Dragonfly: A Selection of Poems 1953-1981, was published by Chelsea Editions (2009). She teaches hybrid creative writing and literature classes at the Richard Hugo House.



Jason Whitmarsh

History of MacGyver


MacGyver, aged 17, escapes a locked car using a toothpick and a can of aerosol. MacGyver, aged 8, plunges twelve stories into a dump truck. He emerges unscathed, carrying a nearly translucent umbrella. MacGyver, aged fourteen months, establishes contact with a friendly behind enemy lines using a pacifier, an English muffin, and a Glock. MacGyver, in utero, counts his possessions: ten soft fingernails, a fine, potentially braidable hair covering everything, any number of already vestigial parts: the muscles of the ear, gills, the tail bone, the tiny appendix.


“History of MacGyver” is reprinted from Poetry Northwest.

Jason Whitmarsh earned his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington. His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Yale ReviewHarvard ReviewPloughshares,and Fence. His book, Tomorrow’s Living Room, won the 2009 May Swenson Poetry Award. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children.

Michael Bonacci

–Gerard Manly Hopkins

My mother’s on the mountain,
a seventy-five year journey

joined to deadfalls and blowdowns –
the Romance of fallen trees.

The stuff of her, golden dust
in the candy jar that always held lemon drops,

flung to the breeze, lighting on
licorice ferns, salal and salmonberry,

frenetic fronds of fireweed.
Father followed a year later,

asked for the river, the alluvial fan
at the edge of the flats

around the islands and out to sea.
Flipping through field guides

and fingering topographical maps
I try to conjure them,

buds of the earth’s bounty
briefly grasped, and from a distance.


Michael Bonacci‘s collection of poems, The Former St. Christopher, won the 2004 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award.  Michael.writes poetry, adapts historical documents for the stage, and is still shopping around that first novel hoping to find an agent who will bite.  Artisan bread baking is another way to keep his hands busy, and now that his Japanese style landscape is maturing, he’s learning how to edit with pruning shears. He and his fiancé David Bricka, and their amazing wonder dog Buddy, live in Mount Vernon, WA.