Emily Bedard



Remember the time you announced
that you were no longer going to clean
your ear wax out, that you were, at last,
going to trust your ears to do their job
the way the Good Lord had intended,
which would have been easier to commit to
had you actually believed in God,
though sometimes grand gestures require
grand sacrifices, in this case your atheism,
which you sort of just wiped off yourself
with a mental swab and tossed out
the window of our conversation? At first
nothing was different. You were the same guy
with the same ears, a little mashed maybe,
but well formed, and the same hearing,
fond of the black-capped chickadees outside
our window in the early morning and the children
doing their Uncle Murray voices as they ran
through the sprinkler and the obscure radio shows
you found on the dial late at night by yourself.

………………….But gradually, by spring maybe,
the accumulation had begun to take hold
and you missed little snippets of conversation
around you, you looked in wonder at the patterns
of intricate feathers on the tiny gray wings,
undistracted by song. You had a look of half
amazement and half despair as the burbling,
clicking, rustling world fell away behind the wall
of silent wax in your head. We spoke to your face,
we raised our voices, but you just stared
at our mouths opening and shutting like fishes
gulping the wrong kind of air. And when
the muffling was complete, when your two ears
like tender contoured shells on the sides of your head
had fully erected a fortress of quiet, you just swam
alone in there in circles, listening to
the whispers of a God you had never believed in.


Emily Bedard writes poetry, fiction, and collaborative screenplays with her sister, Bridget Bedard. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Montana and lives in Seattle, where she teaches for Richard Hugo House, Seattle Arts & Lectures, and the Henry Art Gallery. Currently, Bedard is working on a new collection of poems, a novel, and a group of memoir-ish essays, all at the same time.

Sean Bentley


The cathedral was swathed in scrims
and scaffolding; sandblasters scoured
off the grime of the century.
We’d found the door like the loose
end of a bandage to begin the unraveling.

Now from the observation deck halfway up St. Paul’s,
from which London flowed
lava-like in all directions, sun-shot
and hazy, we spiraled down hardwood steps,
537, like maple seedlings toward terra firma,
past grafittoed names knifed into stucco
two, three hundred years ago,
stairs buffed, darkened, eroded
by generations of feet, the pious or curious.

Through occasional windows like arrow slits
the city revealed itself but we were encased
in the entrails of history. We continued
to the crypt, cool and oddly
bright to help us see the residents
beneath, behind, stone slabs incised
with names and dates like the walls,
with lore, with epitaphs. Henry Moore,
his plaque as angled and unMoore-like
as the rest, Samuel Johnson, Bulwer-
Lytton, the great Turner at our feet
and back, and back, to Blake,
bust black, globe-pated and pugnacious.

Until well warmed, parched, awed,
we gravitated to the crypt café
where across from the tea dispenser
a great placard served as tombstone
for those who’d lain here before the first
cathedral fell in the Great Fire.
Including–holy crow!–King Ethelred,
died 1016. It sank in
as we chewed our sandwiches, absorbing
the ancient holy space transmogrified

to museum. We bought our postcards
and replicas of Roman coins and exited
into the blast of summer London, the stink
of tourist buses. The priest intoned
as the door shut
about this week’s Iraqi deaths, the Sudanese,
the war, wars, never far despite the lessons
we should have learned since Ethelred ruled.

We wished for peace, change
as incremental, imperceptible as the bending
of all those sturdy stairs to the persistent
will of foot after foot after patient foot.


Sean Bentley is currently focusing on photography, as well as nonfiction. But it’s probably just a phase. He is the son of Nelson and Beth Bentley, and born in Seattle.  He was coeditor of Fine Madness magazine from 1984 to 2006, and is president 1998-2000 of Friends of Nelson Bentley. Visit the web site for a list of Sean Bentley’s publications, sample poetry and fiction, etc. He lives in Bellevue and works as a technical writer for Tyler Technology. Sean Bentley’s poetry collections include: Grace & Desolation: New Poems (Cune Press, 1996),  Instances: Poems (Confluence Press, 1979), and Into the Bright Oasis (Jawbone Press, 1976).

Jeremy Voigt


After Looking at Paul Klee’s Ad Marginem


The owl was eating something I could not see.
I had come out early and it was time to go back.
I wanted one more turn where the trees opened
in their damp, green glaze to the flat tongue
of field. My feet on the gravel path felt good
and the day, to be sure, would be difficult.
I made it within five feet of the bird before it looked
at me and I thought it would lift, but it remained
faithful to its indifference.
………………………………….Out of an old chaos
through the trees and sun his mate arrived
and landed ten feet above. They did not care
if I moved, or breathed. I was lost trying to keep
my eyes. He finished the meal and I left
to return later that week, searching beyond the edges
of trails in the leaves and mud for the orb
of what was eaten—the impossible to digest.
I want to cut it open as I once did in a classroom,
to see the inside of what was on the inside.
I find nothing. When I look up I cannot see the sky,
just boughs moving from green to green to black.





Jeremy Voigt has published poems in Willow Springs, Beloit Poetry Journal, and recently in Post Road, as well as in the chapbook Neither Rising nor Falling. He is the editor of Cab Literary Magazine, a philanthropic literary journal, and lives with his wife and three kids in Bellingham, WA.


Donald Mitchell

(for my brothers)

We can smell them
long before we see
the fallen cottonwood
on the other bank,
or the pale bones
of chewed stumps.
It’s a blend
of resin and musk,
stronger than any church incense.
More like a song
it drifts against the wind
following the steelhead
upstream. Such places
obey different laws
than we obey. Our father
taught us
to be taught
by signs like this.


Donald Mitchell live in Deming, WA on his family’s 130 year-old homestead. He is a self-published poet and his works include the collections Signs of Faith, The Shark Skin Man: A Story and Poems, and Hello Eternity. Raised by a preacher who was also a woodsman and fur trapper, he found an early draw to the soul of the woods and streams of the Nooksack River watershed. This attraction led him to interests in biology, anthropology, comparative culture and religion and the perilous art of making poems.

Anita K. Boyle

When I Went Past My Prime Last Wednesday


Oh, sweet dove, the morning is mine
today. You’re cooing in the wrong window.

Every day, you look more like the swollen hands
of one who’s pared the peels off a hundred

and sixty-three potatoes forty-five minutes
before dinner. Take a seat.

“These days” you say, “are dangling tomatoes, ripe
yet frozen on the vine.”

I’m standing alone on the alpine heights,
echoes engraving the stones.

You can ride my blind horse
far as she’ll go, but then get off,

let her come home.
Just leave my dark mules alone.

Anita K. Boyle is a poet, artist and graphic designer, and the author of What the Alder Told Me (MoonPath Press, 2011) and Bamboo Equals Loon (Egress Studio Press, 2001. Her poems have appeared in Conversations Across Borders, StringTown, The Raven Chronicles, Crab Creek Review, Clover, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She is lucky enough to live near an inspiring pond outside Bellingham, Washington with her husband, the poet James Bertolino. This fall, they will spend a little time in Italy, where they will see the small Alpine town where Jim’s grandparents came from (Locana), and which will be her first adventure outside of North America.

Carlos Martinez

In the imagined forests of El Yunque
…..The tropical forest of Puerto Rico


Where I’ve never been. Where I will never go,
except in dreams on hot nights, windows

cranked as open as they will go, where ghost frogs,
the famed coqui, will make its little sound, like

sparks being struck from stone by teeth. There,
where it is humid, every leaf unidentifiable,

dripping with metronome regularity, is where
I go, when I fall asleep, old head, gray head,

nestled into old pillows that have come
through all of these years with me, alarm clock

set for early, I wouldn’t want to miss anything
in what time remains. I wake on the other side,

native, young, before the time
of the great wooden ships that appeared suddenly,

not today, but a yesterday, long ago when steel helms
almost rusted through cut through jungle foliage,

swords in air weaving back and forth, the sound
of feet running into jungle, deeper, into darkness

and history. I am there, genetic memory, made so
by the high Indian cheekbones of my mother,

now dead, who drifted across open water
to bear me, one night, in a New York as gone

as the jungles in which, when asleep, I run.


Carlos Martinez is the author of the chapbooks Meanwhile, Back in Kansas (Finishing Line Press, 2007), The Cold Music of the Ocean (Finishing Line Press, 2004), and The Raw Silk of the Dark (Finishing Line Press, 2008). He was born in New York City and worked for many years in King County government before leaving to teach poetry and literature at Western Washington University. He lives in Ferndale, Washington.

Kelly Davio



I have considered the following tattoos:
A skull with a little flesh left on, dagger
coming through the eye socket: back of the thigh.
A crown of leaves circling shoulders instead
of my head. A carrot sprouting from my sternum.
Blue flowers uncurling from stems
like old memory. A skull without any flesh
left, dry bone cracking: palm
of the hand. A scatter of fennel: left wrist.
Sparrows carrying blue forget-me-nots.
Rope of vines at the belly. A blue
banner with the text: forget. Scissors
poking a hole through the sternum. A skull
broken to pieces, eye sockets gone: side
of the throat. Blueberries with puckered necks
ragged as old memory, a skull
with a dagger coming through the eye socket.


“Sorrow” is reprinted from Burn This House (Red Hen Press, 2013)



Kelly Davio is the author of the poetry collection Burn This House (Red Hen Press, 2013) and the novel-in-poems Jacob Wrestling (Pink Fish Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and others. She is the former Managing Editor of The Los Angeles Review and a current Associate Poetry Editor of Fifth Wednesday Journal. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and she teaches English as a second language in the greater Seattle area.



Ronda Broatch



Call yourself crazy, but these swallows in the eaves speak
of arriving, of settling in like flames.
…………………………It is midnight when you steal

with your daughter into the garden, blessing
a nursing bra, holey pair of panties. How you stare, amazed
as people grow from the ground, shimmery

in prom fronds, tuxedos to praise the raging body
of what moments ago you called your home, gaping
windows keeping nothing sacred. Morning you return,

…………………………………………………………………..your house a post-
holocaust sanctuary, plastic hair brush grafted to the altar
of your vanity. Fascinated, you see in the sodden marriage

of your photos a glue no prying will undo: wife to husband,
the mouth of your child an O against the ear of a relative
whose name escapes you. ….All the next year

you dream of flight, of burning and birth. ….You find
a looseness in this, and you sleep more and longer.
….wandering often
…………………… amongst the ashes where you haunt
the ghosts of your belongings: knitting needle stuck
to the baby’s doll, the hearts of sweaters eaten away by mice.

You admire charred trees for their audacity
to reach beyond earth, think of planting beans, of attaining heaven
by climbing. You pine for simpler things,

whole days outside. Blood, as a method of expression, not a map
of your years. In the soil you find another piece of glass
and your eyes burn –

pollen, or the low morning sun – you’ve no time to question it now,
what with these seeds to tamp down, one more year rushing by
………………………………………………………………like a house on fire.


“Anatomy of a Natural Disaster” is reprinted from Linebreak.

Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and Some Other Eden (2005). Nominated seven times for the Pushcart, recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Book Award, Ronda is currently Poetry Editor for the literary journal, Crab Creek Review. She is also a photographer, and samples of her work can be seen on her photo blog, Ronda Broatch Photos.


Pat Hurshell

Vienna Charm, Vienna Smiles
And the Gargoyles


In Vienna all the other Americans (not the Brits, not even
……..the Canadians) were and are light-
hearted, delighted by Viennese charm. They love the operettas,
……..the funny dialect songs, the operas
that make the audience always cry while they cheer and they
……..love the wine, of course.

Also the schnitzel. Viennese street-smiles are never shy,
……..greetings forever nice welcomes-filled
charm–beams so you know Vienna means Good Will, Jolly Folks,
……..Friendly Facts (except on the buses —
never on the buses – where Viennese faces stay blank, defenses
……..high the way they’ve been taught in
the old carefulnesses, cautious as raccoons crouched bland
……..against strangers, those others riding
too who might know some secret the rider should maybe hide).

In the wine-houses – their name Heureigers – or This Year’s – lets
……..you know these wines are brand new,
freshly pressed for now-imbibing – no bad memories hang around
……..with the grapes for those who don’t
like much to remember what went on before. It’s not as hard

for survivor Jews who came back home to live as you might think.
……..They know what they know, just
like the stony heads of the high-up gargoyles still staring down or
……..out over passersby in the silence

that hovers over all the visitors who marvel at this still-ancient baroque
……..in always-present modernity where
I myself lived once. How odd to think about South Africa and Germany
……..neatly adjusting to their own pasts.
My mother never forgot how she went once to some women’s club
……..In Seattle where Eleanor Roosevelt
explained to the women (I think this was around 1942) that Jewish
……..refugee children wouldn’t really feel
at home in the States so really it was better for them to stay over there
……..with their own families. My family
didn’t take a child either. I was sitting in a Viennese synagogue when
……..I remembered that.


Pat Hurshell, U.W. Ph.D. in English, has received Ford and Woodrow Wilson grants for her research on Jewish women and the Shoah;  When Silence Speaks, When Women Sorrow: Rue & Difference in the Lamentations for the Six Million won the U.W. Engl. Department’s Robert Heilman Distinguished Dissertation Award. She taught for the U.W. English and Women Studies Departments from 1978-1997 and is the founder and coordinator of the U.W. Jewish Women’s Lives Project [1986- ]. Seattle-born, in her first life she sang for 26 years in European opera houses  (Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, plus those in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Seattle). Her poems have been heard on Oregon radio’s Literary Café, & published in a variety of journals, including Best American Poetry, 2009. She is currently translating the German Shoah poems of Gertrude Kolmar, Hilde Domain and Rose Auslander as well as preparing a book of her own poems.

Betsy Aoki

Speaking Language

I am not speaking English now.
The lightest word will alter our trajectory.
The slightest touch, and another marvel
of translation blows itself to feathers,
to pieces of paper fluttering in a cracked wall.
I am trying to tell you. Listen to the faucet.
Hear what I look like. Imagine

the dark-haired phrase you fell in love with
during a sixth grade picnic. Now give her
eloquent eyes, a slender body, a new name.
Her syllables roll over your tongue,
skate over breaking ice. Words do that well.
White grains, small grains,
long grains scattering on linoleum. What
language looks like: a woman unafraid to eat.

The lake is breaking. Underwater
swims a long black fish, a sleek diver.
She is not speaking English now.
She sends meanings to the surface
in white bubbles, in pearls. They roll
up the sides of your face, in laughter.
They break against the glass.

You say she is that kind of woman. You slur
the night with her. She leaves behind
no letter, no predictions. You have not heard
the diction of her face for weeks. She has
given voice to me. And I am not speaking
English. Listen harder. Tell me
what I look like, once you’ve looked away.



Elizabeth (Betsy) Aoki completed her MFA from the University of Washington and has received fellowships from the City of Seattle, Jack Straw Writers Program, and Artist Trust Foundation. In addition to various academic literary journals, her poetry has been anthologized in Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves: A Contemporary Anthology of Asian American Women’s Poetry and in Fire On Her Tongue: an eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry. Her chapbook, Every Vanish Leaves Its Trace was published in 2009 by Finishing Line Press.