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Poetry Summer 2016    fiction    all issues



Cover Carly Larsson

Sarah Sansolo
Bedtime Stories
& other poems

Miranda Cowley Heller
Things the Tide Has Discarded
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
Escobar's Hacienda Napoles
& other poems

Cynthia Robinson Young
Triple Dare
& other poems

Nicole Lachat
Of Infidelities
& other poems

Amy Nawrocki
Bad Girls
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Winter Climb
& other poems

AJ Powell
God the Baker
& other poems

Gisle Skeie
& other poems

Bruce Taylor
Always Expect a Train
& other poems

Ricky Ray
They Used to Be Things
& other poems

S. E. Ingraham
Storm Angels
& other poems

Laura Gamache
& other poems

Keighan Speer
It Rained Today
& other poems

Emma Atkinson
Grocery Stores Make Me Feel Mentally Ill
& other poems

Erin Lehrmann
& other poems

D. H. Turtel
Margaret, Again
& other poems

Chris Haug
Bovine Paranoia
& other poems

Kimberly M. Russo
Definitive Definition
& other poems

Holly Walrath
A Tourist of Sorts
& other poems

Angel C. Dye
Beauty in Her Marrow
& other poems

Writer's Site

S. E. Ingraham

An Unkindness of Ravens

The sound drawing them

into the rarefied space

is her undoing.

Expecting Ave Maria or

maybe Amazing Grace

to breach the gap

between her,

and the wretch laid out—

novitiate, near-perfect—

in the plainest casket available,

save for the Order’s ideogram,

carved—or is it stamped—on the lid

instead, it’s Albinoni’s Adagio

that clings to her senses,

invades her every pore;

each note a leech, a remora

eclipsing her promise to God,

to herself, to create a calmness

no matter how difficult

it proves to be.

Ah, here come the rest—

such an obsolete group,

she cannot help thinking—

habit-clad figure after

figure flutters

down the aisles looking

like crows or, faces framed

wimple-white, perhaps magpies.

No—ignore the white, she

decides—so stern looking,

ravens surely.

She tries to reel her mind

back to the matter

at hand, as the others

perch on pews.

The music ends,

the priest intones a prayer,

beseeches all to consider

the virtue of the deceased.

She feels light-headed,

wonders at the man’s

audacity then remembers:

it is her time of the month

and ponders anew

God’s cruelty.

Why continue the cycle

yet insist on celibacy?

Did it lessen the suffering

of the deceased?

She crosses herself, says

a quick sincere “Hail Mary.”

Tries to forget the choice

that led to the poor thing

landing in the box.

She cannot, however,

keep from regarding

her Savior on the cross,

finds herself begging

him silently,

“Why this Lord?”

Her child was your

child also, was it not?”

As always, the reply:


Said the Kettle of Hawks

The night you were fading, the doctor said, no,

it was your age, you would be fine by morning,

but there was something so casual in his voice—

I didn’t trust his voice, but I did still trust him.

So, I set off for a walk by the lake, solid ice right then.

As I arrived, a great number of birds—hawks—

startled from the low shore bushes, began to wheel around

in the air. I’d never seen such a thing.

Hawks don’t flock, as far as I know. They pair, but flock? No.

These were at least a dozen or more—and silent—at first.

They dove, then took the sky, then back, coming close to where

I stood—staring at me in that sideways fashion birds have.

I couldn’t move, just stood there watching them even as they began

to shriek at me, and I was sure they were addressing me.

The birds were agitated; if it had been any other time of year,

not winter, I might have thought they were protecting a nest.

Their swirling got faster and the noise louder. Then, as suddenly

as they had started, they swooped straight up and were gone.

I didn’t see where they went; they were just gone. In the aftermath,

I felt gooseflesh on my arms, and knew, I needed to go to you.

I went back home, got in my car, and drove straight to the hospital.

I realized as I drove, I was surrendering to the birds, giving over

all rational thought. I got to you in time to hold your hand,

whisper love and reassurance, be there until you stopped breathing.

Storm Angels

Out of the soup that is refinery row’s gift to the dish called sunrise,

Edmonton’s skyline wavers—a pulsing mirage.

A dressing—equal parts pollution and prairie air—bathes the Tarmac,

as flocks of silver birds grab the sky, one after the other

hoisting the citizenry and visitors alike—too many to count—

miles above the earth, ferrying them to points undisclosed.

There’s a charm to these thunderous angels,

these miracles that defy gravity and spit in God’s eye.

Like homing pigeons or peace doves, they carry messages of hope,

remind souls there’s more to life than storms.

Roadside Fallen Angel

Discovered defrocked and desperate by the side of a little-used road,

she was barely breathing and had she not been trying to spread them—

her tattered, torn wings; those appendages so battered they no longer

appeared to be what they once were, and operated not a bit—

He might not have noticed her at all, might have taken her for rags

thrown like trash to litter the road, but he saw the scrabbling,

awkward motions her scrawny wings were making, they brought him

out of his trance; made him slow down, take a closer look.

“Oh my word,” he breathed. “What have we here?” He got out,

went to stare at the not-quite-human creature, but no heavenly one,

not this poor thing. He squatted beside her, reached to touch her head.

She shrank from him, eyes full of fear, her wing-things trembling.

Mumbling reassurances, he wrapped his coat around her gently,

scooped her, ignored her mewling sounds of pain. He knew what to do.

He would take her to join the others; he had wings back at his place.

He told her everything would be fine; she would be put together again.

He kept his promise. When she awoke, she was fresh and luminous,

her new wings spread so wide she could scarcely believe it.

Her saviour had placed a mirror where she could see all her beauty.

It took her breath away; there was, however, the matter of her body.

Her wings and face were quite remarkable—lovelier than ever in fact.

But her body: she couldn’t see or feel it, and she couldn’t move at all.

Now that she thought—nor her head or her wings, no movement.

Then she noticed the others in the room—birds, butterflies.

The man whistled as he left; she couldn’t find the words to ask him

what she knew instinctively; her wings were exquisite, but clipped.

She was an angel who would fly no more.

She suspected tears were falling down her cheeks, but she felt nothing.

Descent of a Phoenix

Below our tiny basket,

the Nile serpentines, a ribbon

of gold beneath another day birthing

as Ra, round as a pregnant-woman’s

belly, slips slowly into a perfect sky,

as if into a calm sea.

Although we are many

in the basket, we are hushed.

Made dumb no doubt

by such sacred sights:

Luxor’s Valley of the Kings,

tombs as old as time.

The only sound we hear: an occasional

roar when the pilot blasts a jet of propane

to warm the air in the massive balloon

above us. A balloon with a ruby phoenix

stenciled on both sides keeps us

aloft as we take this god’s eye trip.

Too soon we near the end of our journey.

The pilot reminds us: the landing will

likely be a bumpy one but not to worry;

he and the ground-crew know the routine.

All we need to do is hold on.

One of the last things I remember

thinking as we begin our descent:

“This is so perfect, so beautiful,

and I am in awe. If I were to die right

now, I would be utterly happy, content.”

“Glory paid to our ashes comes too late.”
Marcus Valerius Martialius
(In memory of those who perished. Luxor, Egypt—13.02.26)

S. E. Ingraham writes from the lip of the Arctic Circle, the 53rd parallel, where she and the love of her life share space with two Pugly dogs. Among the topics Ingraham feels compelled to write about: quitting mental health consumerism, endorsing peace, and witnessing unspeakable social injustices. She gets published...some...she wins awards...some. She has to write. She does. More of her writing can be found at

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