Peter Munro

Hero’s Journey


rictus rictus
tooth and bone
sperm and shell
feather and strike
scale and fang
flower and thorn
skull and socket
antler and butt
talon and egg
horn and hoof
sand and spine

The rattler’s hiss down a red boulder
breaks into my waking
dream of an elder guiding
me along the rim of this canyon.
My true guide shakes to a stop, forked
tongue flickering to taste the breeze.
The path on this brink edges me
toward vertigo in the lingo of doves
and diamond backs.

Sometimes to travel one must become still.
This is the hardest journey.

Sometimes, the necessary travel. One must
This is the hardest.

When I take my blood to the desert
there is a river in the desert.
Dust assembled into current whirling
around bone, carried by bone.
A name, one name.
This petroglyph.


“Hero’s Journey” is excerpted from “DESERT RIVERS” and reprinted from Chelsea 60.


Peter Munro’s first calling is poetry.  Fortunately, he also has a second calling, fisheries science, loved second best but still much beloved plus it provides him a day job.  As a poet, Munro has had poems published in a variety of journals, including Poetry, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Iowa Review, The Atlanta Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Chelsea, The Literary Review (Web), the Seattle Review, The Southern Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, The Crab Creek Review, Rosebud, and Borderlands.  Munro is grateful to be a member of the 2013 cohort of the Jack Straw Writer’s Program.   As a fisheries scientist, he helps conduct trawl surveys of commercially important bottom fish in the Bering Sea, the Aleutian Islands, and the Gulf of Alaska.

Erika Michael



Trying to resurrect the true image of my parents, I sought whole cloth
to fashion patterns larger than shadows cast by figures bearing offerings
of life and words that sheared my heart — but in truth found only remnants
which I stitched into a ghost and scarecrow tied with tooth and gut.

My father was a cutter of piece goods stacked in three-inch layers on
a table — my mother sewed the seams on power machines — this I recall:
his severed fingertip and her nail pierced with stitches, stopping
for ten minutes with a bloody curse and bandages the whine and roar —
the mad attempt to piece together lives destroyed by war.


“Needletrades” is reprinted from Cascade: Journal Of The Northwest Poets Association.


Erika Michael is an art historian, painter and poet, born in Vienna, raised in New York, and living in the Seattle area since 1966. Her poems have appeared in Poetica Magazine, Cascade: Journal Of The Northwest Poets Association, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, and in Mizmor l’David Anthology, Vol. I, The Shoah.  She has a PhD in Art History from the University of Washington and has taught at Trinity University in San Antonio; Oregon State University; and University of Puget Sound. She reads her poetry at various venues around the Northwest.


Jeff Encke

The Water in Which One Drowns Is Always an Ocean


It is the calm and silence that drown us.

Some people can disturb words
with a mere movement of the teeth.

The pouch of the mouth strewn with roses
…………………………..roofed with lost causes.

Pumpkins and habits have a smell
and breath is its beginning.

The womb carries on its shoulders
a beggar wrapped in earth.

……..Absence washes
away love, taking the tint of all colors.

…………………..From the well of envy
the child teaches us to weep.

………….Every sickness has its herb.

Heaven is dark, yet quiet and limpid.
Shovels of earth cannot quench a mountain.

Scum rises to the top of the heart.

………………………..A bubble on the ocean
a taste the teetotaler will never know.

Do not pour on the strength of a mirage.
Do not torture thirst with shallow water.

A merchant in the rain saves only himself.
A shadow that always follows the body.

When your cheeks beg for fever
……………….you are halfway there.

Habit is the shirt we wear for a midday nap.

Gray hairs its blossoms.

Hope a pearl worthless in its shell.

Death answers: I have a lot to say
.………………….but my mouth is full.

Those destined to drown
…………will drown in a spoonful.

The tears of strangers are only water.


“The Water in Which One Drowns Is Always an Ocean” is reprinted from Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days.


Jeff Encke taught writing and criticism at Columbia University for several years, serving as writer-in-residence for the Program in Narrative Medicine while completing his PhD in English in 2002. He now teaches at Richard Hugo House. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Fence, Kenyon Review Online, Salt Hill, and Tarpaulin Sky. In 2004, he published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse, a series of love poems addressed to Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi war criminals printed on a deck of playing cards. For the past six years, Jeff has hosted a biweekly social group of poets, journalists, translators, playwrights, and other writers. The group currently alternates Sundays afternoons between Brouwer’s in Fremont and The Pine Box on Capitol Hill (for more information, or to add yourself to the mailing list, visit the Seattle Poets Gathering blog).

Linda Greenmun

Hillside Above Saratoga Passage


Adrian and Benjamin launch their kites,
Release what is larger
Within, allow it to ride the wind:
One ascends on red dragon-scaled wings.
The other glides as a flat fish—a skate—
Huge rainbow body ruffling on salt air.
We have turned from dimes
Exchanged for uprooted weeds
That the oldest has picked. And from
The youngest collecting gamatoes
The word slowly transformed
By his tongue, clicked against his palate,
Into t-t-tomatoes
Work, then this lifting.


“Hillside Above Saratoga Passage” is reprinted from Manzanita Quarterly.


Linda Greenmun was one of the founding editors for Floating Bridge Press.  Her book of poems, Wheel of Days, received a Fellowship in Literature from The Washington State Arts Commission and Artist Trust.  She lives with her husband, Renny, on Camano Island.  She is working on a second manuscript, “Cloud Dwellers.”


Don Kentop

The Brown Building

We smoked cigarettes at NYU, spoke
of Eisenhower, Khrushchev, Joe McCarthy.
Before the Beats, before Elvis, we puffed
on Camels, flicked our ashes on the floor,
and rode elevators to our classes
in what was known once as the Asch Building.

There were no markers to commemorate,
or to even whisper of the fire
of nineteen-eleven. Today, three are mounted
on the building. Cast from molten bronze,
they tell the story, yet are placed too high
to run your fingers on the frozen names.
In different times, instead of sewing shirts
Molly Gerstein might have sat beside us
during freshman English; Ida Brodsky,
a sleeve setter — or a science major? —
and Jacob Klein might have been a friend.
Kate Leone was too young for college.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewed
the high necked blouses worn by Gibson Girls.
The shop took up the top three floors, the eighth,
the ninth, and tenth, which were consumed by flames
one Saturday in March at quitting time.
The holocaust still radiates today.
One hundred and forty-six, immigrant men
and women, were burned or jumped to death. Some leapt
in twos and threes while holding hands, their skirts
on fire, from the same window spaces
we looked through for spring in Greenwich Village,
impatient for McSorley’s nickel ale.



Don Kentop attended NYU in the mid 1950’s before the fiftieth anniversary of the Triangle fire, at a time when public interest in the fire was at a low. He writes, “There were no markers on the building at the time. The discovery, decades later, of the fact that I attended classes in the very building the fire took place, caused me to write ‘The Brown Building.’ However, there was so much more to say, and I was hooked. The next year was spent writing ‘Frozen In Fire. A Documentary In Verse.'” Don lives now in Seattle.

Sarah Mangold

She has a gilt complex and a poison pen
………………….The night was like a moment added to the day. Signing his

name and forgetting his friends   like years going backwards to

the beginning of ambient textuality.

…………………Endless couplets and in the brilliant sunshine

the unchanging things began again. Non-pressure modalities.

The characters of the story were always tiresome. The administrative and

problematic heavy industry publications.

………………..The ideas   the wonderful quotations   if you looked closely

metadata containers   everybody knew. I’m reading a novel   I’m on an

architectural space. Dear Eve   Shakespeare is a sound.

………………….He was secretly interested in adventurers and adventuresses

the book in durational energy. Paid for does it make dinner

an uncomfortable domestic container. Before she finished the chapter

Miriam knew the position of each piece of furniture.

…………………The information on the surface was romantic and modular.

Every page a discrete unit absorbed in a massive amount of footnotes.


Sarah Mangold live in Edmonds, WA and is the recipient of 2013 NEA Poetry fellowship. Her first book, Household Mechanics (New Issues, 2002) was selected by C. D. Wright for the New Issues Poetry Prize. Her second book, Electrical Theories of Femininity (forthcoming, Pavement Saw Press) was selected for the Transcontinental Poetry Award. Her most recent chapbooks included Cupcake Royale (above/ground press), I Meant To Be Transparent (LRL e-edtions) and An Antenna Called the Body (Little Red Leaves Textile Editions). From 2002-2009 she edited Bird Dog, a print journal of innovative writing and art.


Jeffrey Morgan

The Rental


The stairs to the basement sound like an animal in another language.
I smell mold, but think about God and try to understand

His attention like a particle that might not exist.
Realtors have a way of speaking that means nothing

to me: proximity to transportation; square footage and usable space.
I step into the closet to be polite. I think it would be funny

to moan like a ghost, but don’t. I like the wastefulness of long hallways
on every floor, the new refrigerator’s virginal magnetism.

I feel obligated to flush each toilet.
She asks me what I do. She asks me if I have children.

I listen to water moving in the pipes and condense my face
in a way I hope conveys approval. She wonders what I’m holding together,

and I want to explain all the invisible forces.



“The Rental” is reprinted from Third Coast.


Jeffrey Morgan is the author of Crying Shame (Blazevox, 2011). Newer poems appear, or will soon, in Barrow Street, Bellevue Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pleiades, Diode, Third Coast, and West Branch, among others. He lives in Bellingham, WA and blogs very occasionally at

Polly Buckingham

The Crone

I wake in a city.
Bodies cover the snowy streets.
The left-over

halves of people bend
their heads against dead chests.

An infection rages in my eyes.
I rest in complete dark.

My dead sister
sits at my bedside pushing

my hair from my face,
wiping my forehead with a dead

I am a tree. I am a crone.
I stare into the flaring fire.

I stand in a basement
filled with brown water.

I meet my sister at a carnival.
We hold hands and run into the crowd.

I’m standing in a glass ball
filled with fog.

I turn and turn and turn.


“The Crone” is reprinted from Chattahoochee Review.


Polly Buckingham’s poems and stories appear in The New Orleans Review, The North American Review, The Tampa Review, (Pushcart nomination), Exquisite Corpse, The Literary Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Potomac Review, HubbubThe Moth and elsewhere.  She recently won the Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award and as a result has a fiction chapbook forthcoming from Hoopsnakes Press.  She was a finalist for Flannery O’Connor Award in 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Polly is founding editor of StringTown Press and teaches creative writing and literature at Eastern Washington University.

Thom Caraway

The Leper Attends the Idaho State Roadkill Fur Auction


Like mine, their removal
is detachment from
the body, ruined
but not too ruined.

I think about the men
who hustle the long roadwork
of Idaho, who have learned
the language of blood,
smeared down fifty yards
of highway—the parallel skid tracks
of the locked-up vehicle,
a body inside, a body outside—
those men whose job it is
to quantify the dead.

Love is not
the coexistence
of two alonenesses.

Like the roadkilled raccoons,
porcupines, deer, skunk,
the occasional bear, the coyote,
house cat, lost dog—
like all the other beloveds
lost on the back roads
of this terrible wilderness,
and like the men who
collect, strip, and scrape
the pelts, I would also
remove my skin if it meant
my permutation into the world.


“The Leper Attends the Idaho State Roadkill Fur Auction” is reprinted from Ruminate.


There was a time in his life when Thom Caraway wanted to be a truck driver. He still occasionally regrets his decision not to pursue that path, a regret that was inadvertently reinforced by his son, Sam, who recently said, “Bus drivers have the coolest jobs. Why aren’t you a bus driver?” Thom lives in Spokane, and does a variety of things that, to a six-year-old, are not as cool as driving a bus. (Though one might be: Thom has just been named Spokane’s inaugural Poet Laureate.)



Submissions are due November 8, 2013

My appointment as Washington State Poet Laureate will conclude in February 2014. They’ve been the most gratifying two years of my working life.  My most wonderful sponsoring organizations, Humanities Washington and Arts WA, have just announced they are accepting applications for 2014 – 2016 Poet Laureate.

Please help me get the world out to interested and qualified poets in our state?  And quickly, as the deadline for submission is November 8! We have only just started to explore the possibilities of this role in our state’s poetry community. With each successive laureate we can stretch and redefine the position and expand public interest. Do you have a vision and meet the qualifications? Please consider applying! I am happy to answer any questions you have about the position: feel free to drop me a line at  Kathleen Flenniken