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Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton

When We Were Mud

Our nothingness was everything

when we were mud, still,

stirred, we stood

to be counted and forgot

our filth, the dirt beneath

the crescents of our fingernails. Maybe

we departed before the mud dried, maybe

we arrived before we were formed,

maybe we didn’t remember

we were dirty.

We rose and forgot

that standing is just the start

of the need to lie down, to tie our eyes

with sutures of sleep eventually,


a furrow begins in the first petal

the perfect cup of a tulip collapses

the wheel of each flower spins into dust

every leaf trades green for fire every stone

softens for the river every beat

of your heart is a pump closer to falling

back into the earth.

When my mud dries, open the heavens

to let the rain fall into pearls

on this skin I wear

wash the dust back to my feet

let my petals curl

out of the way, for the next

blossom might mean more, the next

leaf will rust into glorious tatters, the last

beat hammers into stillness

and we remember everything,

everything is borrowed.


Blackbird bobs on his branch

at first, I think his dance is the wind

but then I see it is his own weight

too great for the slender stem

clutched in the circle of his toes.

Through fleeing light he peers

with intense button eye—just one

as though he has found what he came to visit.

Behind his bright shouts beneath

his dark mutterings I hear

the things he doesn’t say, the things

he can’t wrap with sound.

I don’t know the words either

but in the crimson thrust of his epaulets

as he bristles his throat I sense the urgency I hear

the boulder of his thoughts the fear

night will come with some pearl unsaid

some idea too big for his song some sigh

that can’t be heaved because its weight

would break us would make us

fall from our tree.

With one flap he fades into the spilling night.

This darkness, known, is a kindness


the other is, too.

The Afterlives of Leaves

(Komorebi: tree leaking through sun
the miracle of light, leaves)

Cellulose bones strung

like ribs parched in the sun

woody webs spread over their own decaying

roadmaps pointing to their end.

Do they remember seizing the light

as it fell, driving cupped hands upward

in worship?

When you get there

will you know if you are broken

into fractals of yourself or

just broke down with your back to the light?

Will you remember the last time

laughter fell from your lips as you sipped

time from the silty swirl

at the bottom of your cup?

Look up at the heavens where

it all starts over, where

we strung our words on the spokes

of the stars for later, always later.

They flutter and rustle where we sift for order

where we cling to each other hoping

to hold the light before it passes.



tiny spider mariners

set sail into the unknown dusk

their entire lives

strung between trunks

that must seem like planets stationary

unmoving as the wind sways them

from one galaxy to the next

and they never know.


our feet seethes

the coronary flow of this earth

the whole reason

we stand in the first place

but the rock we cling to, sink our anchors

seeking warmth is forever reforming

pushing us away from its churn

and we never know.


in our hearts

sits a seed placed there

before we came

out of the darkness

sliding into the arms of our family trees

the fertile carbon fingers that start

the heart seed’s tendrils drawing

our map back home.


Is there wonder is there light

when time has fled when

the heart trembles its last when

your hand is not there inside your hand

             this was always meant to happen

Do you stand balanced between mountains

or are you wrapped inside a cloud or

do you drink the river whole as

you swim like a salmon to completion

             this is the natural order

What sky do you feather with raindrop wing

can you still see the shiver of a lily stem can you

feel the last paint of sunset brush your skin do you

hear the hawk scree as it streams toward the earth

             you need to get over this

Will you remember a black so black

it reflects green a song so sweet

you can’t possibly think when some tiny miracle

makes you catch your breath

are you still


Meli Broderick Eaton developed a reverence for nature through a life in the outdoors of Oregon. At Sweet Briar College, she studied in workshops and independent studies with poet Mary Oliver and author John Gregory Brown. She took a long break from poetry after graduation and returned to it as a method of evolving through loss. She lives with her family on a suburban microfarm in Oregon.

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