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Poetry Winter 2019    fiction    all issues


Cover Florian Klauer

Meli Broderick Eaton
Three Mississippi
& other poems

Andrea Reisenauer
What quiet ache do you wear?
& other poems

Alex Wasalinko
Two Dreams of Vegas
& other poems

AJ Powell
The Grammar Between Us
& other poems

Emma Flattery
Our Shared Jungle, Mr. Conrad
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
The Desert Cometh
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Jaybird by the Fence
& other poems

Brandon Hansen
& other poems

Andy Kerstetter
The Inferno Lessons
& other poems

Michael Fleming
Space Walk
& other poems

Richard Cole
Perfect Corporations
& other poems

Susan Bouchard
Circus Performers
& other poems

Edward Garvey
Nine Songs of Love
& other poems

Mehrnaz Sokhansanj
Sea of Detachment
& other poems

Jeffrey Haskey-Valerius
& other poems

Claudia Skutar
Homage II
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
Knitting Sample
& other poems

Megan Skelly
Puzzle Box Ghazal
& other poems

Tess Cooper
& other poems

Greg Tuleja
& other poems

Catherine R. Cryan
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton

Two Miracles


the first, when you arrive

fallen from stars

into the bare mountains

of your story untold.

wet and slow to awaken,

your wings unfold in deep

and wanderous valleys as you learn

to pick up your shadow, carry it

in the shifting shape of yourself

and roll dust from between your toes

after everlong days of walking,

trailing the sun across the sky

falling and rising, falling and rising

gathering seeds in your skin

and bees in your hair as you speed

flower to limb to peak and finally, there

you pause

long enough to quiet the bees, to feel

the earth’s iron pull against your bones,

hear the wind calling your name

in a language you have forgotten.


when you step down from the top

into the known unknown afternoon

amber glow of failing day etches

a view more precious in descent

as footprint following footprint you diminish,

teaspoon by teaspoon digging your grave.

in mudding light, the sun lands one last time

and you follow lightning bug lanterns

into the darkness, to the other miracle

when you lay yourself down

next to your shadow untethered.

free of your rusted frame you answer

the wind in its language remembered

fly back to your constellation,

to your waiting cocoon in the stars.


because love always ends

that’s just the way it works

I was already broken before

my hand ran down her side

pressing river water from her fur

when the cradle between my thumb

and index finger stopped

against a fleshy mass hidden

under the soft double coat of her hip.

smaller than a golf ball, maybe

like one of those little limes at the store,

at first, I thought it was her bone

popped out of place from jumping

after a rabbit on yesterday’s walk

but I knew it wasn’t so simple.

the fracture that wasn’t captured

when I stood back up last time

sent tendrils skating through my chest

pausing my heart

pulling apart what was left

of my smooth surfaces.

I remember my father’s doctor, his metallic words

each falling like an anvil through my gut

tunneling through the DNA that bound us


as if he were a bus


as though he were a dog


which isn’t where it started

as if it could be trained, would stay in place

once identified.

then the vet, holding my gaze like a warm hand

this isn’t the kind we do anything about

so we waited, not really waiting

but what do you call it

when you see the end that hasn’t happened yet

she will eventually encounter pain

which she didn’t, or

it will outgrow her body’s ability to accommodate

which it did, so

we traced the intricate vascular system

it created for itself through paper skin

we watched as it grew and we knew

she would soon chase the same shadow

that swallowed my father

the soft bodies of my grandmothers

and cat after cat after cat

that thought it was faster than cars

Old Crow

oldcrow settles wingfold glossed

brushdeath suddensit by my side

bitrust voice airscratches harsh

unsettles my quietmind to answer

the don’tdare question

            I don’t dare ask

but oldcrow knows

old soulfetch knows mytime and folkworry

not yet, you, muddletalk crowspeaks

steadies my flutterheart clutchbeats

            but who, then whotime now

thoughtscatter I carefulwatch

the regal shinebeak slowturn

greenglint black feathershimmer

peering eyespy one side

to the other, patientknowing,

            patientknowing he waits

beadblack buttoneye lands

where swiftbrown birdswoop

neatly quickends spidercrawl

ohsoclose my startlefeet

            crowtoes bent watches brownbird fly

legsprawled spider to waitbabies nested

their needcries treed nearby

beakspread he laughcaws

            see? evermore you live until you don’t

unfurls paperdash wings and jumplifts

airstroke into the evelight

            see you soonlong

he whisperscrapes


into the nextwind of thisnight

Three Mississippi

One Mississippi

when I first became lightning

I was driving to pick up my son

the world went impossibly bright

no time to count the seconds

to wonder who would bring my child home

before the heavens came crashing

in that nanosecond of life inside light

deafened and blinded, when I guessed

I was dead, a thousand thoughts crowded

of all the things left undone—

the syrup bottle on the counter

the dog waiting next to his leash

all the words not laid inside

the soft shells of my children’s ears

for hours, the smell and taste of ozone

my trembling hands

reminded me that I had been placed

back into myself by powers far beyond

my own and I was grateful

to put away the syrup

to clip leash to collar

to whisper over the sleeping cocoons of my boys

Two Mississippi

the second time I became lightning

my dog led me beyond the trees

the clouds had grown necrotic and eerie

dropping low as they spiraled upward

I called to Atlas and we hurried

down from the balded ridge

away from what brewed

we hadn’t yet reached the low ground

when everything popped into light

its intensity too much to comprehend

there still wasn’t time to count

before the heavens cracked open

sending Atlas crying to my feet

but this time, in front of x-rayed tree trunks

I saw a miracle

an orb where lightning stabbed

down from the sky and snaked

up from the earth, meeting mid-air

as though summoned by the branches

conjured by the wizarding elements

the electric scent of ozone made me think

the idea of dying this way

not by storm but in a magical flash

a sudden bolt that outruns pain

and outlasts time in its fractional existence

might be the best way to leave

the waning cavern of my body

Three Mississippi

the last time I become lightning

I want it to be like this:

when my sons are strong and weathered

like the stones that form the ridge

when maybe most of all those undone things

have been crossed off and Atlas and all the dogs

that will come after him have gone

to hold up the heavens as they wait

for us to return to them, then

in a brilliant burst, my soul takes flight

out of time, I am released

into a billion particles of light

Meli Broderick Eaton studied with poet Mary Oliver and author John Gregory Brown at Sweet Briar College. Her poems have received recognition in two The Source Weekly/OSU-Cascades MFA poetry contests, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, and the Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, and she won first place in the Oregon Poetry Association New Poets spring 2019 contest. Her work has also appeared in Flying South magazine. She lives with her family on a suburban microfarm in Oregon.

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