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Poetry Winter 2021    fiction    all issues


Andrej Lišakov

Laura Apol
I Take a Realtor through the House
& other poems

Rebekah Wolman
How I Want my Body Taken
& other poems

Devon Bohm
The Word
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Right Kind of Woman
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Gravestone Flowers
& other poems

Laura Turnbull
& other poems

Andre F. Peltier
A Fistful of Ennui
& other poems

Peter Kent
Reflections on the Late Nuclear Attack on Boston
& other poems

Carol Barrett
Canal Poem #8: Hides
& other poems

Alix Lowenthal
Abortion Clinic Waiting Room
& other poems

Latrise P. Johnson
From My Women
& other poems

Brenna Robinson
& other poems

may panaguiton
& other poems

Elizabeth Farwell
The Life That Scattered
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Two Stairways
& other poems

Richard Baldo
A Note to Prepare You
& other poems

Blake Foster
Aubade from the Coast
& other poems

Bernard Horn
& other poems

Harald Edwin Pfeffer
Still stiff with morning cold
& other poems

Nia Feren
Neon Orange Tree Trunks
& other poems

Everett Roberts
A Mourning Performance
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
The Way I Wander
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
the iron maiden and other adornments
& other poems

Andre F. Peltier

The Ebullient Signpost

When Deputy Don rode

into the sunset

with a song and a smile,

we wore ten-gallon hats

& sat side-saddle

on the arms of our father’s

Lay-Z-Boy recliners.

When we clanged pots & pans

with neighborhood dogs

as the boys of summer

won another pennant,

when the young willow

twisted and tangled

the septic pipes

into new & disgusting


we dug deep in the field

& covered the hole

with grass to trap bears,

tigers, marauders,

the old woman

from down the street.

She fell into our trap

& twisted her ankle.

We laughed as she

limped away.

Fair warning:

“Walk our trails—

face the consequences.”

Like Robin Hood or Zorro

or Grizzly Adams,

we hid beneath

the Queen Ann’s Lace,

beneath the monarch


& laughed as

she limped.

We tromped through

the woods

with stolen Marlboro Reds,

white Zebra Cakes,

& warm Labatt’s Blue,

we climbed the tallest tree

& peeled the bark

to reveal the true grain

of the giant beast.

From our perch,

we could see the rainbow

sails of rainbow ships

upon the rainbow bay.

Sunlight glistened, reflected,

blinded us,

but we never averted our eyes.

When the fireworks of three towns

filled the sky,

we never averted our eyes.

When the shaving cream

& water-filled condom balloons

splashed our faces,

we never averted

our eyes.

With popcorn, cold pizza,

warm Faygo Rock n Rye

for midnight snacks,

we played five-card draw.

The French-Canadian

poker chips

had been tucked into

Great-Grandmother’s dresser,

behind her knitting,

her teeth, her hairbrush

& her forgotten

ninety-three years

of horse-drawn dreams.

They emerged to settle

our scores.

We watched Joe Bob Briggs

& Count Zappula.

Imported Italian erotica,

black and white horror trash:

signifiers of adolescent


the ebullient signposts

of the freedom

of youth.

Words from Clay

We carve words from clay.

We breathe life into the lungs

of the sentence,

and we wash away the filth.

For forty day and forty nights,

I carry my poems

in the bosom of my ark.

Two by two,

they wait.

Two by two they rise

to see the rainbow.

When the dove returns

with the olive branch

and the vessel rests atop

the Mount Ararat,

the words lift their hearts

to the sun and sing the songs

of a brand-new day.

The poem follows

the brightest star

in the heavens

and gives birth in all

the mangers

of all the worlds.

Surrounded by lambs, goats, llamas,

sewer rats, tarantulas,

and the common garter snake,

I send the sentences out

to wash away the filth.

With flames in their hair,

the words speak in strange

mad tongues;

they call out to distant shores

and remember the war of

Cain and Abel.

They remember the pillars of salt

and the burning bush.

The bush, too, spoke in tongues.

It said, “You are latent

with unseen existences.”1

When the Red Sea split open,

I split it with song.

And the burning bush said,

“I think heroic deeds were

all conceiv’d

in the open air.”2

The poems themselves

were conceiv’d

in the open air as well.

The clay rose forth from deep

within the soul of the planet.

The soul of the planet sighed

and all seemed beautiful.

The soul of the planet

is rude, incomprehensible,

but never silent.

When the soul rises,

when the rainbow compact

allows for rebirth and rejoice,

it allows only as I wish.

Only as I carve words

from clay.

1Whitman, Walt. “Song of the Open Road.” Leaves of Grass. W. W. Norton and Company, 2005.


I Never Heard the Ocean Sing

Beautiful, bleached shell

hooked to the fluke

but sat by our


for decades.

Gently, while home from

school with fevers,

stomach aches,


I would hold it to my ear.

Air currents


the coils

were supposed to sound

like the crashing

waves of


and Longboat, The

Azores and The


but there

was only


Cast Me Skipping

You spend your days

staring at the stones

beneath your sandals.

The water, a mirror

to your soul,

still with perfection.

You find me between

the boulders and the beech.

Your long, delicate fingers

wrap around my curves.

Like Satchel Paige

or Dizzy Dean,

you reach back and let fly.

I skim across the surface,

sliding on the silver glass.

“Five, Six, Seven,” you count

before I sink below the seas.

After winter storms,

I will wash once more

upon the shore

to fly again.

A Fistful of Ennui

As the Sergio Leone score

floats through

the Mall of America

and we collectively

price ourselves out of

a new pair of Jordans,

we bow our heads

and tuck our thumbs

into our “Keep on Truckin’”

belt buckles.

Few can recall how

far she fell

down, down, down

before she lodged

in a West Texas well-casing.

Baby Jessica sang her songs.

Baby Jessica sang

“Winnie the Pooh,

Winnie the Pooh,

chubby little cubby

all stuffed with fluff,”

and the world sang with her,

but she wasn’t

all stuffed with fluff.

She lost a toe to gangrene

and we lost our innocence

to the covers of People Magazine,

Time, Redbook.

And to the stories in The Daily News,

The Washington Post,

and The Petoskey News Review.

As “The Love Theme from

Switchblade Sisters

floated through the halls

of the Satellite of Love,

we wore our Nikes

and waited for redemption

behind Hale-Bop.

When the UFO arrived,

we boarded with

our utter anxiety

and our silly dreams.

If Nike only manufactured

clown shoes,

we would have been

the perfect emblem of


The sign relationship as a whole,

flying around the sun

and back to the icy darkness

of the solar system.

While Hale-Bop glowed

in the northwest sky,

we knew salvation

was at hand.

As “We Built this City”

floated through

the bowling alleys,

pool halls, video arcades

of our junior high blues,

we had them ol’ junior high

blues again, mama,

and we filled our void

with quarters for Galaga,

Pole Position, Q*Bert,

the chill of Northern Michigan


we pulled our faux fur collars

close around our necks.

Thank God it’s Thinsulate.

Our ears, red with frostbite,

listened intently for distant

signs of agency.

While Q*Bert forever fell

from his pyramid,

we fell too.

We toppled towards

The Bear River rush

and towards the frozen

water wonderland.

Andre F. Peltier (he/him) is a Pushcart Nominee and a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with his wife and children. His poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Provenance Journal, Lavender and Lime Review, About Place, Novus Review, Fiery Scribe, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently in. Muleskinner Journal. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books.

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