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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Sarah Louise



Hippie farm near

Thunder Bay

sauna made of barn

board harvested from

neighboring abandoned fields

inside two kerosene lamps a

bottle of red wine some home

grown Mary Jane six

steam cleaned friends and lovers

starlight visible through knot


deep winter

snow ready to seal their


Twenty years later

state of the art Finnish

sauna in town

Christmas snow falling on

reunited friends as

they enter


ladle water onto hot

river rocks

sit on rich redwood benches that

feel like silk on slick


The air between them steams

open like oyster

shells hands reach for each

other wrap thick warm white

towels around torsos

bring ceramic sake

bowls to moist


contented unraveling



A loud bang, not like a backfire or car crash or battery of rifles at a military funeral. Black and white checkered linoleum floor under old clawfoot bath tub begins to vibrate. Surface of water in the tub pops gently as if peppered by many tiny pebbles. Bather brings her knees to her chin, hugs her legs, holds her breath. It’s 8:30 on the morning of May 18, 1980, her 30th birthday which she will celebrate that evening. She doesn’t know Mount St. Helen’s has just exploded. When the shaking stops she takes her turquoise terry cloth robe from the peg on the wall and slips into it, amused for a moment by the iffy introduction to her third decade.

Water swirls down the drain faster and faster, as magma and melted ice will soon cascade down the mountain pulverizing trees and cabins, disappearing animals and humans. The birthday girl goes to the south window of her kitchen, sees what might be mistaken for a mushroom cloud by someone less upbeat. She tunes into local radio, hears the news. Friends who haven’t called for months make contact, talk in tones that imply the world is about to end. She begins to wonder if ash will reach Vancouver, if the sky will darken.

After dinner at her favorite curry house she lets burning candles on the cake drip wax onto the cheerful lemon icing as though crying for all the life taken unawares that day. When she finally blows them out, everyone at the table feels a little older. They raise glasses to more subdued toasts, close ranks around fragility, go home at a reasonable hour.


Teenage girl genuflects before

her mother’s early morning anger

needs bus fare to get

to school

Middle age mother takes

change from nightstand throws

it at the uniformed girl leans

back on her pillows

Girl collects coins from

deep pile of the carpet runs

out to the bus

stop late for her first period class again

Mother back in bed by

three when girl comes

home with a note from the


From behind her back

girl takes a clear glass

vase of burnt orange

gladiolas picked from the neighbor’s yard

Mother watches girl place

flowers on the cherrywood dresser

careful not to spill any water

I thought they might cheer you up

the girl says slipping the

note under the vase

Mother doesn’t ask where she got

them doesn’t speak at all

won’t see the note until the gladiolas



Professor Arlene’s head shakes

yes then no then yes as she

does the double helix dance with

her nursing students to

teach them about DNA

Her voice is unsteady too

when she conducts the class

in a rhythmic

recitation of human

bones and their


Sparks from nerve

endings jolt food from

her hands make lunch a solitary

task in a space

cleared on her office


It’s called essential

tremor Arlene tells a

new friend and colleague

one weekend

I’m not supposed to smoke or

drink but

They take a chance

split a beer

feel fine split another

Arlene lights a cigarette they

move to the front


Show me the dance

the new friend

says keeping time by

tapping her Hopi pinky

ring on her


It takes two

Arlene says

coaxing her friend to

her feet with

words temporarily less


Head and hands on

leave from jumpy muscle and



Anxiety Reaches Epidemic Proportions, says the headline of a local newspaper. People in doorways, coffee shops, offices, cars. On street corners, TV reality shows, smartphones. Kids at school, parks, friends’ homes. Pets under tables, chairs, beds. One teenage girl sums it up while her mom buys two six packs of Heineken at a convenience store on a Friday night. I’m dying here, she says. No you’re not, mom says. Yeah I am, mom. The world is going to hell. Mom.

The cashier gives them a complimentary lottery ticket with the receipt for the beer. He wishes them luck, trying hard to delete the skepticism from his face, voice, hesitant hand.

Sarah Louise lives in rural northern Mexico with two dogs and two cats. She writes fiction, poetry, and essays, and teaches writing online. Her work has been published in various journals and magazines, including Contemporary Verse II, Prism international, The Fiddlehead, The Cimarron Review, and the Canadian Forum. Her academic work includes an MFA and a law degree.

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