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Poetry Winter 2015    fiction    all issues


Cover Peter Rawlings

J. H Yun
& other poems

Colby Hansen
Killing Jar #37
& other poems

Melissa Bond
Freud's Asparagus
& other poems

Jane Schulman
When Krupa Played Those Drums
& other poems

Susan F. Glassmeyer
First Moon of a Blue Moon Month
& other poems

Melissa Tyndall
& other poems

Micah Chatterton
& other poems

Emily Graf
& other poems

Kate Magill
LV Winter, 2015
& other poems

Michael Fleming
Meeting Mrs. Ping
& other poems

Richard Parisio
Brown Creeper
& other poems

Jennifer Leigh Stevenson
Circe in Business
& other poems

Laurel Eshelman
& other poems

Barry W. North
Molotov Cocktail of the Deep South
& other poems

Charles C. Childers
& other poems

Ricky Ray
A Way to Work
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Linda Sonia Miller
Full Circle
& other poems

J. Lee Strickland
Anna's Plague
& other poems

Erin Dorso
In the Kitchen
& other poems

Holly Lyn Walrath
Behind the Glass
& other poems

Jeff Lewis
Charles Ives, A Connecticut Yankee
& other poems

Karen Kraco
Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill
& other poems

Rafael Miguel Montes
& other poems

Emily Graf


I’ve had broken teeth dreams

and woke tasting my gums for blood.

A girl said she needed my incisors for art,

pliers shining in her hand.

She was beautiful in the way of people who know

they look good while concentrating.

Fingers stained burnt sienna

and black, she drugged me with whiffs of turpentine.

Surrender slipped gauzy under my tongue.

Of such dreams, Freud says, anxiety about sexual experience.

Jung says, renewal. Not violence,

but yes,


In the dark afterwards, my teeth

were whole. I looked at the blue sliver

of floodlight along the curtain

and knew my life.

Photograph of Two Girls Outside Crazy Horse, South Dakota (2007)

I remember saying, bury me,

South Dakota Badlands,

crumbling crowns of black stone and basalt

in the empty ocean of the Midwest.

Under my hand a grasshopper scythed

its butcher paper wings.

We pointed our camera at a motorcycle gang, behind them

a heaving forever of sunflowers,

a harmonica,

the yellow sound of mosquitos.

Or maybe you pointed the camera, and I

held up the unfinished nose of the Indian head.

Bury me, or cut me open.

I was too young to love a landscape so greenless,

too young to think my bookishness was anything but

a free pass to hop from coast to coast

and skip the breadbasket in between.

Years later, bowing

against Chicago’s lusty sleet,

I think of you with an imaginary scalpel in your hand,

back of your dad’s RV, working on what you believed to be

an improvement of my body,

stunning revision,

while the sun thundered against the plastic curtain

of our small window.

2AM Instagram of Lunar Eclipse

Green sunslant across the dresser should be,

is not quite, an antidote for this hangover. Urgent, the phone

opens its single rectangular eyelid. A few sentences

from you, and I’m drunk again. In the night you scrolled through

the pixelated good times and lit on

my white blouse, my rose moon. How well these images

unscrew your silence. Etched in blue,

you ask for more sweet, you ask if I remember

that we have decided to forget certain unerasable errors.

Taking your words outside, a breeze lifts rosemary to my lips, I breathe it

toward you loose

in my two hands, and because I am so glad

to have your attention (this sparkler

burning down to its metal stem)

what is there to say next?

Concession: my love’s a shaky bubble drooping

from a plastic wand, all swollen gleam and neon rainbows,

resigned to death in the frail grass.

Striking Matches


You are dealing cards on a picnic table, the wood

bruise-hued, seams crusted chalky-white.

Someone jokes “cocaine” because we’re high, I say

“it’s probably bird shit.” We’re playing cards

and I’m talking to make sure you hear me. In the game,

you and I are partners. I forget the rules.

Not Hearts. It’s not Hearts but we might be losing—

the rain ceased hours ago but the light that burnishes

your hands is still wet.


You are in your apartment learning Spanish from Cuarón films.

Your shirt smells cold,

of struck matches and want. You’re using something sharp to tune gears that turn

your hands black. In your hands I am

a melting icicle. I’m not going anywhere but I might be



You have an impulse to gather

all the cards to you while they’re still dry, still make that busy click when shuffled,

but also

to drink the whiskey that’s been passed to you. It tastes

like marigolds might.

Hot crowns, dry flares.

I wonder if I’ve spoken in the last hour. I wonder if instead I’ve been dancing

in the bloom of light tossed from a window,

revolving to rhythm you shuffle— red-

heart black-heart—song of opposites.


You are leaning against the wall of the Rijksmuseum and it is leaning back on you

while you watch the black crowns of trees

swell with birds, then deflate. Icy feet, I just broke a toenail,

black linoleum

jeweled with blood. You just lit a cigarette and the rush has you

in a headlock.


In my sleep I open my mouth and a spider drops in.

I swallow. Transparent threads

suspend me from the ceiling and I kick my legs like a Rockette,

kick my legs like a doe leaping from a freeway,

kick the blankets free.

You hold still on your side of the bed,

your body curled around a vacancy.


Once I carried my memories lightly

as you carry another person in water

where what looks like work

is actually


Emily Graf currently resides in Austin, Texas, where she enjoys coffee and oranges in a sunny chair. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2015 with a degree in English & Poetry Writing. Her work has been previously published in Maudlin House, Right Hand Pointing, and elsewhere, online and in print.

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