3 Poems by John Bennett

November 25, 2013

… Ask the creamer / about our ancestor’s first gathering, a time when / things were far from dishwasher safe.

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Matching Sheets by Kristen Gentry

November 22, 2013

Mama said she’s tired, but I know she’s not.

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Stop It: by Kimi Traube

November 18, 2013

Even when love goes rancid, it’s hard as hell to throw it out.

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Journal # 51: Table of Contents

Issue #51

May 2013

A Sense of Things by Tiphanie Yanique

(excerpt from a novel)


Jacob McKenzie hadn’t just disappeared and left Anette unwed and with child. He’d gone to medical school in Virginia. If he was going to be a pediatrician he would have to get through medical school and the years of specialization with focus. No women. No movie theatres. No hanging at the speakeasies. Only…

Two Horses by Mark Irwin

There were two horses, something I’ll never forget.

I stood between them both and the soft doors of the earth.

It was early morning, their breaths steaming above frost.

It was late evening and their teeth cropped the tall grass…

Spring by Mark Irwin

I’d been traveling a long time away from cities into the mountains. Pausing, he said,

“Finally you must give everything away,” then he pushed a green square into my

hand. It was the model of a house, something you would find on a cheap game

board. I walked until evening then dug a small hole and buried it. In the morning…

Ritual by Mark Irwin

I like saying the alphabet in a graveyard,

feeling each letter rise from stone, watching

the eyes of birds touching air and the acorns

drop from the sky. Now I can almost see stars…

Hide And Seek: Envelope 1, 8/21 by Ander Monson

Found inside: an envelope, or a photo of one, or a sort of photorealistic drawing of one, white on a black card, covered by a gritty dust, and hard not to think a specter evanescing from the book, a sort of joke, one thinks, investigations of the occult tough to take seriously except that statistics show most…

The Mountain Lion by Robyn Schiff

In combination
of undulation
              and the gait of a worm,
              the “soft robot,” comprised of pneumatic valves,
                            gasps to ripple itself below the two-
                            centimeter-high limbo

Possession by Robyn Schiff

Be careful backing up,

black truck.

This cul-de-sac

is wrapped around…

The Laughing Girl by Jason Shults

Operation Halts Girl’s Laughing
NEW YORK (N. Y.) March 7, 1938 (AP) —
Ten days of spasmodic laughing ended today for Mary T___. The 16-year-old brunet rested comfortably after an abdominal operation to relieve a…

Reception in an All-Glass Room First Poetry by Ben Purkert

sword toothpicks in Swiss
cubes & the holes are
what we don’t say
to each other but still…

Birds & Then Cages are Set Free by Ben Purkert

& eggs white from being inside a mind

& a mind’s hatched too

& roundness is

only half the story spun as…

Letter to a Past Lover by Ander Monson

You, too, must love the past if you are here. In the days of the digital, our fingers both touched this page. Oils on skin commingle here, in this spread, my head, this empty stage. My fingers were here, verso, and yours, recto, as we turned this leaf together, and in another world our hands…

Of Stroke by Katy Lederer

You took objection many years ago.
You called me you. I called you you.
My hand was half your hand,
and so we touched them, God to Adam…

Atonement Strategy by Katy Lederer

Show a toy or a doll to a toddler. Explain to the toddler the toy or the

doll has been special to you. Hand it over.

Be very careful with the doll. The doll will break spectacularly the

moment it is in your arms.

In the mountains, I was stalking prey. The mountain now a shaving

of the sentiment she’ll feel once she has opened up her gift.

In the moment, now, a monument. The girl is unwrapping sheep.

“If it were conceivable that in obeying God, one should bring

Up in Paradise by Teddy Macker

Sitting on a slick rock beside a waterfall’s dinny boom.
       Fern, palm, then Caribbean Pine.
       A few minutes ago we stood hard under the water, stood hard in falls coming down in huge silver piles, and had we not held onto a branch we would’ve fallen…

Manifesto: On Persuasion by Laura Carter

The drift through the city
as a critical act—he adumbrates his body
and is taken for a lover
before the numerals have time to settle…

Interview with Daniel Handler by Laura Thomas

Daniel Handler’s literary prowess has infiltrated almost every corner of the bookstore. He is the author of the wildly popular, internationally bestselling, thirteen-volume opus A Series of Unfortunate Events, the novel The Basic Eight, and the short story collection Adverbs. His recent novel Why We Broke Up…

Austin by Eric Fair

Austin deletes his friends every year. I know this because I am a transitional friend. I met Austin a week before an annual deletion so he allowed me to transition over to the next year’s list. Austin says this is rare.
       Austin’s funeral is attended by…

Balsam Fur by Bianca Stone

This brown industrial front of apartment buildings
untreatable across the street. The winter’s stopped breath.
A continuous waiting area, like great Russian modernists,
the balsam furs line up along Union Ave to be taken.

Noooo Nonfiction by Brian Doyle

A dear friend of mine is dying and his wife tells me about their days and nights. It’s like he’s melting, basically, she says. Every day there’s a little less of him than the day before, and as you remember he was a majorly big guy. Now he is not a big guy. Now he’s like a tall pencil. But there’s not much pain. So that’s good. First he lost weight, and then hair, and then eyebrows…

The Collected Poems by Brett Fletcher Lauer

I’m sure you’re just dying to look
  at another poem, in which the head
of the narrator requires clearing
  in five hour intervals—the clicking
wrist a rest, the eyes from caffeine…

From A Thorn of Sonnets by Brett Fletcher Lauer

The hum has died down, it does sometimes
in town, somewhere in the glimmering world.
However theatrical it sounds we must start
whether a voice calls petitioning our ease or not
green things will continue living in winter…

Institutional Memory by Brett Fletcher Lauer

It took forever to arrive at conclusion
though it hovered before us where you
placed your eyes it wasn’t. It goes without
saying the moon is full with minor noises
and will break gently as night breaks as…

The Fun of It by Robin Underdahl

The little girl regretted choosing the window seat. She was crushed between the side of the bus and the parts of Evelyn that pushed past the armrest. She didn’t want to talk, but Evelyn did.
       “I saw you got straight A’s.”
       That didn’t need to be answered.

In 2003 i participated in a 10-day-breathing-workshop by Christine Herzer

In 2003 i participated in a 10-day-breathing-workshop, the workshop-leader made me
select a mother, i had to face the mother i selected, the workshop-leader said: Open
your palm, Look inside of your palm, i opened my palm, i looked inside of my palm,
my palm contained a bruise; on day 4 of the workshop i had hit the floor real hard,
with my right hand, i had hurt the floor many times, i had made a bruise, the
workshop-leader said: Give it back to her now, Tell her, I give you back your pain, i…

Aux Marquises by Jeff Nagy

That waking was the dream of our departure.
Too much concerned with recording the things
Of this world, an arc that emerged only after
Like a star, we must be elsewhere as affixed

In a travel diary, the ink not yet dry before it is…

Cell Phone Novel by Justin Wolfe


I was out at a bar with some friends the other night when I got a text from my girlfriend.

are u alone?

       I told her that I wasn’t alone, that I was out at a bar with some friends and I had been drinking a lot. She was at a conference in another state with some other friends of ours and I hadn’t seen…

The Sun Exceeds Consequence by Kent Shaw

When the city I loved was taken away from me,
the row houses and tenements burst into mourning.
The forsythia wouldn’t bloom. It refused.
Citizens marched down the street asking the sunrise to rise over them.
Oh, it was darkness. It was darker than darkness.

The Lesson by Bruce Bond

The girl knee-deep in the flash of rain
clutches her violin with both hands

as if it were her life in there, her child,
and since she is a child, and violins

what we make them, this one is a doll…

I Am My Favorite Person by Seth Fried

For starters, I am physically good looking. Though not too good looking. That’s important. Overly handsome men tend to seem affected and frail. When I speak of my own handsomeness, I do not mean some pleasant symmetry. My features are even a little severe. They do not produce pleasure in the viewer, but astonishment, which, as Edmund Burke once wrote, “is that state of the soul, in which all its…

that i wanted her here was not enough by Hafizah Geter

sometimes you learn that people you love are dying
or that in the throat of a wolf are large diamonds,

things you should have done. sometimes you find
that something inside of you hurts without location.

you go to specialists. see oncologists, chiropractors…

Dear Paula, Yes by Hafizah Geter

My hands are two lonely captains.
I’m prone to keeping a star
in my good eye. I open my mouth
& there’s a tripwire (an eroticism I find).
I’m writing to say it’s possible
to be happy &…

Your Real Self Sings The Song by Issac Butler

Oh Come Ye Childhood Heroes

Let me start, if I may, with a confession: When I was fourteen, I thought that Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick was the greatest album ever recorded. This confession is so embarrassing that I was tempted to insert some kind of equivocation — “one of the,” perhaps — into it. But no, no apologizing will…

Empire by Dean Gorman

The start was the end, of course,
a dream of perfection. And finally
the procession of average ghosts.
But before all that I was young enough
to change the players I was the center of.

Fiction Winner

The Sound Is a Comfort by Phillip T. Carter

It’s morning, already eight o’clock, but the day’s not made up its mind what to do. Washing the dinner and breakfast dishes, Edith has on her fleece-lined yellow calfskin slippers and that old, inelegant blue flannel housecoat of hers with the maroon cuffs and collar. Not a wonderful match; she does know that but tells herself she won’t be parading around outside that way…

Poetry Winner

Far Means a Place Not Here by Amanda Jane McConnon

Somewhere in the awful planetarium,
with its hoarded galaxies and false light,
a bulb that means Venus dies with a snap.

Far means a place not here.
Imagine you are an acrobat…

Nonfiction Winner

On the Ward by Keeley Lewis

When the medical forms ask why I was hospitalized several years ago, I answer, Just a misunderstanding. It was only a misunderstanding, like when Mom says to meet her in the Sparkle grocery store and I walk to Kroger instead. I’m sure most people in my situation say the same. Situation. That’s another nice, neat word — useful for begging out of explanations no one needs to hear anyway. I…

Fiction Contest Runner Up

All Through the Dark Night of Your Human Life by Lisa K. Buchanan

Dear Ms. Mermaid:

Thank you for your letter. Your membership with Deep Water Insurance is important to us. We understand the following about your current situation: (1) The tail-into-legs procedure you seek would make you the loveliest girl in the human kingdom, and prevent you from returning–-ever—to your undersea home. (2) It is not merely the fair-haired prince you desire, but the promise of an immortal soul if he marries you. (3) If the prince marries someone else, you will dissolve into sea foam the next morning. (4) Your present age is 15.25 with a life expectancy of 300 years…

Poetry Contest Runner Up

Activity by Paul Beilstein

Author Bios

Up Next in Issue #52