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Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Writer's Site

Bryce Emley


—for Erin

Maybe we ask too much of the stars.

They must be tired from the weight of our small lonelinesses,

tired of being cast in our stories

when all they want is to show us the shape of the night.

They must know there’s so much space between them.

They must know how we talk of their dying,

how they’re already gone before they reach us,

and yet all they do is reach with arms so dim

they can’t even press the shadows from our figures,

the way we can’t stop ourselves

from becoming our fathers,

who didn’t know how to keep from hurting us.

It’s good to be loved so much

we can hurt the people we love.

It’s good to be always ending, and so needed, for now.

It’s good to tell someone

Here, and here, and here

as you touch the parts of your face you want to be kissed

and feel warmth from their lips

like light from trillions of miles away on your cheek, your temple,

the curve where your jaw meets your neck.


You don’t feel it. You have it

or you don’t.

No one tells you it’s like that.

They don’t tell you to have it is to feel everything

you’ve always felt 

but in new tongues, new colors, new coats 

in the same bright, busy country.

They don’t tell you feelings don’t matter,

the way you don’t feel

the bones you carry through the world

until you’re too tired to stand,

all that love you kept sleeping

waiting for the ones who would take it,

all your wondrous youth.

You won’t know it as a feeling.

You’ll know it by a lightness: a gift

of one less thing to be afraid of,

an openness already collecting your breaths, 

recurring dream 

losing its shape as you describe it

and even now can’t recall,

but know you had it.

You know you have it.

Asking Father What’s at the End of the Darkness

He says I think too much of falling things,

of what comes next.

Lately buzzards have been flying circles in my head,

I’d like to know to what extent we choose

our nightmares. I’m tired

of how things have to end, how everyone we love

are bonfires night has just begun to swallow.

I think this is why he needs God,

why my heart is always playing jackstraw with my ribs.

I’d like to know it will matter if I pray

for him, I believe in God

the way I believe in Icarus and starlight,

in bones waiting at the bottom of the sea.

I think he needs to think I’ll miss him when he’s gone,

ashes sketching wild shapes on the wind.

If I don’t speak it’s because I keep a prayer

lodged in my throat: Make me someone

worth hurting to see.

Bryce Emley is the author of the chapbook Smoke and Glass (Folded Word, 2018). He works in marketing at the University of New Mexico Press and is Poetry Editor of Raleigh Review. Read more at

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