Lilly Wasserman



He had eyes like sewn seeds
anxious, I thought they might
come unstrung and sprout again
raining from white casks
over clawed hands
beetle-backed and tight
through slits to the moss below.

Flax shoots of hay
pierced his overcoat at each elbow
porcupine fractures of desert bone
wind-whipped and waterless,
forever pointing south.

He was a dizzying character
a flailing hand-packed half-man
tossing his stuffing
in miscalculated blooms
and chuckling curses
as they blew away.

In the dark
I could track his pace
by the hay’s friction, stooping
every mile to retrieve
his fallen innards, mumbling
apologies, shoving and gathering
them back into his rags.

A mess of burlap scrap
salvaged from a yam sack
and missing buttons
he was desperate for cognition
more lofty
than dismembered bales
jousting through holes
in poor needlework.


Lilly Wasserman is a burgeoning poet and creative writing major at Western Washington University. She was born in Boston, grew up in Seattle, and is currently living in Bellingham while she attends school. Lilly is studying for her bachelor’s degree in English and Art History and will graduate in the fall of 2013. “Scarecrow” is part of a larger collection of persona poetry, which adopts the perspective of Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz. This is Lilly’s first published piece!

Linda M. Robertson

Child, You Did Not Have


you did not have much of life:
seven days times ten,
all the while swimming
—a minute amphibian in fetal waters,
xxxxxxthe primeval sea within me.

How you floated, and grew:
formed fists and feet; dark eyes
that would never see beyond the placenta
to which you were moored by the pulsing cord,
as your diminutive heart

Abruptly, you, in your sea began to drift;
as if the anchor
xxxxxxxxxxxxxgave way.
On convulsive waves
you slipped from me.

you did not have much of life:
I never felt you quicken or kick, did not
grow sore from heel or elbow beneath my ribs
—you never gasped for air.

No ashes to cast,
no small grave to visit and tend—
nothing to mark your beginning, your brief becoming,
xxxxxand end.

Child, I loved you.
I was your mother each moment of your life;
xxxxxxmy never-born, my littlest one.


“Child, You Did Not Have” previously appeared in the chapbook, Reply of Leaves (Magic Mountain Publishing, 2002).


Linda M. Robertson has lived outside of Winthrop, WA, up the Chewuch Valley for over 25 years. Her chapbook Reply of Leaves was published in 2002. She is currently a Low-Residency MFA Candidate at Chatham University, Pittsburgh and working on a collection of poems inspired by visual art.

Steven Quig

Going to the Coast


begins with a crush
of drivers not going to the coast,
the crisp, fall evening rushing by your windows,
the warmth from the heater,

darkness of the front seat.
Her hand rests across your thigh.
The damp motel waits quietly for you to arrive
where the manager will greet you

like a favorite nephew, happy
you’re here and press the key to your palm.
“Rm 8” it will say, allowing entrance
to knotty pine and mold,

but you’re not quite there.
You make that turn off the highway
at the red neon—a vacancy for you.
She gently squeezes the back

of your neck, moves her hand
into your hair as the car rolls to a stop,
checks her face in the visor mirror.
You switch off the motor and turn to her,

and the engine ticks as it cools.
Out beyond the beach grass
and the feeble porch lights, the ocean
that you know must be there roars.


Steven Quig’s first experience with writing poetry came as a member of Nelson Bentley’s evening poetry workshop at the University of Washington during the early 1980s.   He now teaches English at North Seattle Community College, and his work has appeared in a number of journals including Poetry Northwest, The Seattle Review, The Climbing Arts, The Memphis State Review, Spitball: The Literary Magazine of Baseball, Pontoon, and others, including Metro’s Poetry on the Buses anthology.

David Whyte


When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize your own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

“Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte is printed with permission from Many Rivers Press, Langley, Washington.


David Whyte is a poet, author, and lecturer who makes his home in Washington.  He is the author of seven books of poetry and three books of prose, holds a degree in Marine Zoology, and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes, the Amazon, and the Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops. An Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many European, American and international companies. In spring of 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Neumann College, Pennsylvania.  He brings a unique and important contribution to our understanding of the nature of individual and organizational change particularly through his unique perspectives on Conversational Leadership.

john defuca


To judge by outer detail is frail n will fail most don’t see souls so I close my eyes n sail through my dreams connecting to different galaxies to me complexities appear simply split personalities make me learn quickly the downside though is the same thing that I love hurts me, the same I love hurts me, what hurts me I love why I question why, look up in the sky see one figure holding my heart n see numerous ones holding the broken side, god is here, god is here but something in me loves these devils inside.. Soon as I get the first opportunity to escape I will ….see my people killin ourselves everyday off the alcohol n pills… I wish I could tell y’all it’s a movie but This ish is real….lemme show you how danger feels don’t get addicted to the thrill….. Sounds entertainin looking into our lives but this pain n sinnin is never endin man I ain’t pretending… Lemme take you to the beginning…. Young bucks down on they luck drinking in smokin before the age of thirteen where in the world did life get so mean we used to be running around playing now pay attention to what I’m sayin……last night there was partying n wildin come home from school flirting with the girls smiling ….enter the room yo mommas eyes black n blue the violence is constant man why she stickin with this fool…swear when I’m bigger imma pay him back frustrated as hell no time to relax… Oh no they on a binge sneak out the window go stay at your bestfriends… Next mornin same thing again all the adults past out see the drugs in the syringe…man I’m starving no food in the cabinet… So you start to steal n that becomes a bad habit…so now your stealing got the feeling it’s easy thinking you made a big score… So you give money to your older homies to get as much from the alcohol store…drink till you poor.. It’s surprising you Not realizing your doing the same thing your tryna hide from…life goes by life goes by damn now you gotta son! Who with… who with? The girl you used to love now you only refer to her as a bitch! Wasnt you just innocent?? Now look at him you don’t care bout buyin diapers you’d rather get high huh? Now watch the cycle begin! I hope he escape though I hope he escape though find someone beautiful n be faithful work hard so the innocent won’t turn fatal..


john defuca writes, “My name is John Robert Pritchard III, however I am one of those guys with a million nicknames. I am grateful to be labeled a Makah, I love my culture deeply. Anywhere I go in the world, I know only I will know my language, songs, and dances. My dream is to see the world and witness others perform theirs. I fight for what I believe in, whether I’m right or I am wrong; it’s going to be righteous in my spirit so may the lord forgive me. Don’t place myself above or below anybody, ultimately I believe in equality. That’s impossible to most but scientists could tell you stars are just dead rocks however they are still beautiful to me. Muhammid Ali hands down is my influence on performing slam poetry. Too many words to explain why, I am always amazed of how strong he speaks and stands alone because a lot of people are scared to speak their truth. I am not, I had a rough childhood. I never play the victim role, it made me who I am. Only thing I despise are cowards, God bless.”

Molly Mac



“home, Please.” previously featured on Paperbag’s blog, and was presented as a video installation at TaRLA in Seattle and The Schoolhouse in Brooklyn, NY.


Molly Mac was born in Portland, grew up in Georgia and then came home to Seattle.  She is a multimedia poet and installation artist with an MFA in combined media from Hunter College, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at The Center for Digital Art and Experimental Media at the University of Washington.  She performs her work in multimedia poetry readings and her multimedia installations have been shown across the US and UK.

Cindy Claplanhoo

My House-My Place

February 5th: I walk into my place. The one that I trust has been lying
to me. Dinner is burning away in the oven. He is lounging on his sofa
enjoying a bowl of Goodness knows what.

Friday: My Friends and I clean everything. Cobwebs thick with grease
and dust–even the poor spider is mummified in a cocktail of wood
smoke and greasy meals.

Eight truckloads of junk later…

The roof and tarps fall in and blow playfully towards the ocean; free as
a ship loose from its moorings.

The ceilings in the bedrooms crumble. I am upset. I just mopped those
floors. Now it holds a memory of the ceiling.

The wiring begins to pop. The breakers groan. The furnace comes to
life at 2:00 in the silly morning. I watch the sparks fly; as shooting
stars in the grey morning light.

By now my Friends are running for cover. Smiles replaced with
concerned frowns.

The shed door falls off. Someone forgot to prop it up with the stump.

The fridge holds a promise of neglected leftovers. “Sniff it! If it
smells good, eat it.”

No fresh yummy cookies.

No Roast Beast on Sunday.

Chewy Pizza.

Oven won’t work now.

Seven people worked on the hot water tank. It worked for three days.
Monday the main pipes cracked in the cold. It was like a sauna.

“I am so cold! Do you think more blankets around the doors and
windows might help?”

(I am asking my Brother)

“No! Get some leftover Tribal Campaign signs-plywood. Nail ‘em up.
Then you can use your Rez curtains on your bed.” So he laughs….

“What about the ceilings? It’s all messy on the floor.”

(I am asking again)

“Sweep it up! Throw it in the woodstove. You said you were cold.” And
he laughs harder.

And…”Do you think I should try to stay here?”

“Why? Waiting for the other door to fall?”

(Where’s Jack?)

Everyone laughs now.

My Place…

Where’s my motel key?


Cindy Lee Claplanhoo is part of an Indian writing group in Port Angeles called “Blood Quantum.” She is from the Makah Reservation, located at the beginning of the United States–Neah Bay. Her given name is Tia–from her Aunt Tan’te. It is Spanish and yes–she is Aunty to fifty-six nieces and nephews and has four beautiful grandbabies too. Cindy works at Makah Forestry and volunteers at MCRC–“The Museum.”  Her project preserving Coastal Native news articles from 1899 to the Present Day inspires her poetry and artwork.  “Wait for me, Grandpa. I am following in your Footsteps.”


John Whalen


The moon was closest as reflected
in the kitchen window where the August
sunset peeled itself from blue to a gray
flashed with embarrassments of pink

that begged the betterment of my mood.
After jotting letters sent next-day air
to Massachusetts, I back-stroked another
hundred laps in the apartment’s small pool.

Summer, that falling glass, that drunk-
and-driving-too-fast friend, was mostly
a suspicion of summer slipping away.
The picnic table held complicated plans in place

while I swam. Missing you— that punked-out
miscreant. That fear of water.



John Whalen’s books include Caliban (Lost Horse Press) and In Honor of the Spigot (Gribble Press), a chapbook. His poems have appeared most recently in Epoch, Ascent, and CutBank. He lives in Spokane.