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Poetry Summer 2014    fiction    all issues


Anne Rankin-Kotchek
Letter to the World
from a Dying Woman
& other poems

Sara Graybeal
Ghetto City
& other poems

Tee Iseminger
& other poems

Lisa Beth Fulgham
After They Sold the Cows...
& other poems

Mary Mills
The Practical Knowledge
of Women
& other poems

Monika Cassel
Waldschatten, Muttersprache
& other poems

Michael Fleming
To a Fighter
& other poems

Daniel Stewart
& other poems

John Glowney
& other poems

Hannah Callahan
The Ptarmigan Suite
& other poems

Lee Kisling
How the Music Came
to My Father
& other poems

Jose A. Alcantara
Finding the God Particle
& other poems

David A. Bart
Veteran’s Park
& other poems

Greg Grummer
War Reportage
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

J. K. Kitchen
Anger Kills Himself
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
The Man Who Wished
He Was Lego
& other poems

Jessica M. Lockhart
Scylla of the Alabama
& other poems

James P. Leveque
Three Films of Jean Painlevé
& other poems

Kelsey Charles
& other poems

Therese L. Broderick
& other poems

Lane Falcon
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Bird
& other poems

Phoebe Reeves
Every Petal
& other poems

David Livingstone Fore
Eternity is a very long time...
& other poems

Tim Hawkins
Northern Idyll
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
On the Pillow Where You Lie
& other poems

Joey DeSantis
Baby Names
& other poems

Cameron Price
Every Morning
& other poems

David Walker
Sestina for Housesitting
& other poems

Helen R. Peterson
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin

The Man Who Wished He Was Lego

His hands would be yellow

and forever curved

into a semi-square “C.”

Designed only for quick

and easy snapping

of pieces meant

to fit. His shoes

would be the same color

as his pants with no zips

or buttons, no pockets

for slipping in notes

that could be shredded

in the wash. He would need

not worry about the shape

of his head, or haircuts

and thoughts for that matter.

And best of all, his chest

would be stiff and hollow,

far too small

for a heart.

Do Millipedes Bleed?

The bathroom sink reflects

a clinical glare

from the white light bulb.

Close to my toothbrush,

a dark shape

thicker than a string,

curved upward at one end.

My hand quickly tries

to reach for something,

a comb, a slipper,

anything to flick it away,

perhaps crush it.

Then up close I see

it is hunched over

a drop of water,

drinking. Tiny feelers

waving back and forth

in a gentle rhythm,

minute legs, thin

as the hair between

my knuckles,


The Photograph

Stripped of leaves from the planet’s change

of angle (scientific calculations can predict

the end of such a cycle), the limbs of this tree

appear no more than frail, black streaks

against the grey sky. But for the birds.

With folded wings they have chosen to adorn

the branches. It is not the first tree

to be so starkly dressed. A friend on the other side

of the world shared a photograph that looked

nearly the same as what is now before

my window. Echoes of the same rhythm,

only composition and lighting differ.

The image remains longer in the retina, a memory

reinforced, perhaps more intensely remembered?

Would any photograph chanced upon,

then lingered over, become just as embedded

in the mind? That it, too, burns? Here, with the click

of a mouse, I browse: a photograph of two soldiers.

One on the ground, the other holding a rifle.

Afghanistan’s range of mountains never looked

so violated. The grass that clings to the jagged

surface appears dry, dead. The colour of the soldiers’

clothes, like soil before rain. Both of them wear green

vests, for bullets and provisions. The one with a knee

close to the ground where the other lies

is smiling. The lifeless one has thicker beard

and no helmet, his shadow touches the sling

of the other’s rifle. I first saw them on my old laptop

screen three years ago. I see them again

on another machine, just as frozen.

Science Fiction 1

“Yes, please,” her last words. Ears

waiting for the flick of the switch.

The thick glass plate between her

and the man she trusts won’t allow more

than a dim red glow. Chamber of recycled

truck container. Crusts of rust on the stretcher

stolen from an abandoned clinic. Energy

saving lightbulbs with darkened tubes

like fingers burnt in a power outlet.

In a split second she will no longer remember

a loved one’s last embrace. That is her hope.

Throb on her temple, beating

of a moth. What comes next

is always a surprise even for the man

who has done this too many times.

Recycled Chandelier Tales

“Trust me, I’m telling you a story.”
Jeanette Winterson, The Passion


Held up by spiderwebs

more than an iron ring clasped

to the ceiling, I burn

with the last lightbulb

that may bring an end to this.

All past existences

down to ash and rubble.


I was a trinket in a box

for the emperor’s twenty-seventh

concubine. I had three eyes

of rubies and a diamond.

I felt the grip

once of love, then no more

than lust. Until the people came

to set me free, so many voices,

so many feet soiling the chamber floor.


Dreams always end in darkness

from where they came.

My skin was not always white

or tinged with rust. I was red

with the blood of infidels.

Then of believers. Then of my master’s.

I used to cut the wind,

sing as it gasped in pain.

I remember petals coming down,

and thorns. Always something sharp

along with the touch of velvet.


I am electric. An abomination.

Spiders weave more stories

than I can remember. They taunt me

with their clumsy legs, their non-geometric

traps that catch nothing

but dust. They obscure

my view of a painting that was hung

for me to illuminate. Someone

spare me this existence. Crush

the last lightbulb and stab

a candle in its place.

I was meant for grandeur.

Not for this. Not this.

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry in Filipino and English. He grew up in the Philippines and now lives in Cape Town with his Canadian-born wife and their twin daughters. His recent poetry books, Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran and Sound Before Water, were simultaneously published in 2013 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila. Due for release by USTPH is his new poetry collection, A Thousand Eyes.

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