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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

Karen Kraco



For the months you’ve carried this

you’ve had the wild look of a man

who’s been ordered to drive a cab

in a city he doesn’t know.

You keep turning: right, right again

but then wrong, wrong, wrong

forgetting to remember that if only you’d ask

I’d show you the map: you might find your way home.


A mountain fills the room

and neither of us understands the why

of moving it. Wall-to-wall silence

windows black       doors jammed

cut off from the cities

that twinkle in its valleys.


I weep for the speck of the egg

that might have become feathers and cluck

but still can relish the omelet. You, you

crack the shell, see bright red, and swear

off eating eggs for months.

Steaming meals now cold

company no longer invited

silence seated

in the place

of grace.

Postcard Poems: Animal Attitude


You stick your finger in a can of tuna

then insist the orange cat likes you

for who you are—as flimsy as the red silk cape

you flash in front of your black lab

so proud of your posture

as you call in the picadors!

You knew I was watching

as you dressed down your duck—

webbed footprints up and down

the stairs, across the kitchen floor.

   Prairie Dog

Your first line of defense—

go underground. You burrow deep

digging a tangle of tunnels

so that at each choice of paths

I wonder where you’ve gone.

Once, I did catch up, and instead

of turning to face me, you sat back

on your haunches, blocking the passage,

your arguments lost to me

in the hollowness ahead.

You’ll pop up again, I know,

but you won’t find me

waiting at your hole.


How much farther

can you stretch your stress?

Take your taut chicken-neck pulse

then chill. Yesterday, you looked

over your shoulder, ran

without choosing to run

and when you stopped short

no one, not even you, knew.


What remains unseen

haunts us more

than that flash of black fin

as the water parts.

You surface only

to slip out of my hands

when you sink so deep

that it’s too risky to follow.

Watch that bobber drown,

then spring up, wobbling wildly

when it loses the life

to which it’s tethered.


You photoshop an effigy of yourself

onto places you’d like to visit

send postcards from everywhere

except where you’ve been

use some other number

to call the people you love.

When I finally trace you

a total stranger answers, asks

How’s he been?

Rough Dreams

Just when you thought it was safe, the cat

in the corner bats rattlesnakes across the room,

and your parakeet, free, sings off-key.

The man for whom you’ve secretly longed

moves closer, strokes your cheek, and nyuk, nyuk, nyuks

like one of the Three Stooges. Get up.

What’s that banging at the door?

A neighbor, with an invitation for your goat.

Main course, his mother-in-law’s windshield wiper blades.

While you negotiate who will be responsible

for the hoofprints on the hood—you, him, or the goat—

the phone rings.

It’s your brother, dead two years today,

wondering what you’re going to do

with the clothes still hanging

in the closet: a brown tweed jacket,

his two favorite shirts.

Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill

The last remaining Shaker at Pleasant Hill,

Sister Mary Settles, died in 1923.

One baritone sows overtones

of every register.

Brothers here.

                           Sisters there.

                                                    Simple Gifts

              word for word

                                        note for note

a’s and o’s shaped true

            to the way they sang them.

He stamps their beat back

              into the original floorboards.

Steps toward us with open arms,

              broadcasting the smile of every Shaker

                                        who ever danced in this hall.

Nods greetings to each guest on each bench

              as he walks down the aisle, singing verses

in rhythm that works on us, row by row.

              One by one we offer shy, tight smiles.

A woman in front moans along, monotone.

The couple beside me sways from side to side.

Costume. His rough woven vest is costume, I say,

but I watch two Shakers take his outstretched hands,

then two more, theirs, until the hundreds who we’re told

circled and whirled in this empty room grab hands, winding

their way around until we either find ourselves against the wall

or choose to join in.

                                                 My foot begins to tap,

longing to belong to this larger thunder.

Three miles away, a farmer lifts his head.

Karen Kraco lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches high-school chemistry. Over the years she has alternated teaching gigs with stints as an editor and freelance writer. Her profiles, feature articles, and poems have appeared in local and regional publications, and she was co-editor and publisher of the poetry journal ArtWord Quarterly.

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