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Laughing in the leaves because he’s running in the leaves, he runs and jumps, even if it’s a little bit scary not knowing how he’s going to land.




familiar imperfections


you sleep in your baby boxer pose

fists furled against your chest

i snip old man bristles

from your brows

trim your jaundiced toenails


my pinky nail traces the furrows of sun in your cheeks

i drink the crook of your neck

burrow in your black nest

tasting the salty tendrils


the arches of your feet

wrap perfectly around my face

i kiss the soles

lick them bite them

wipe them with my lips


through your nipples i see your rent soul

i plunge through your pelvis

wriggle into your ribcage

pump your lungs with my hands

i am protected

the womb of a wet night


my fingers spread through your shoulders

palpating biceps triceps quadriceps quinticeps

but i cannot fill your inner chasm

your abyss of pain


rising through your throat

i cry in your mouth

before i exit

a sponge of your blood


i want you to sway me

to the crashes of the midnight surf

swiveling one stooped shoulder then the other

to rinse your back under the spray


but you wake

clutching my thigh with your oversize hands

and i wince




Christina Hoag is a reporter with The Associated Press in Los Angeles. A former staff writer for the Miami Herald, she was a correspondent in Latin America writing for Time, Business Week, The New York Times, Financial Times and Houston Chronicle, and has won prizes for enterprise reporting and interpretive writing. Her fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry have been published in The Oddville Press, StraitJackets, Liquid Silver eBooks, Clever, Hackwriters, Bent Pin, ExPatLit, and Sex and Murder.




The Bamboo Flowers


Like wisdom in age,

the bamboo flowers late in

its life before death:

fragile straw hued lace against

the green of hundredth summer.



Heather Ann Schmidt is an adjunct professor at Oakland Community College and teaches creative writing at the Pontiac Creative Art Center. She edits tinfoildresses. Her poems can be found in various online and print journals. Her books are Channeling Isadora Duncan ( Gold Wake Press, 2009), The Bat's Lovesong: American Haiku (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2009), The Owl & the Muse: Collected Tanka ( recycled karma press, 2009),  and a full collection of poems forthcoming from Village Green Press. She received her MFA from National University and is pursuing a PhD from Union Institute.




The Loveless Thesaurus


Roget appears to be pissy tonight,

his book moves from loutish to lovelorn,

skipping over the words we need to speak.

No “loveable,” no “lovely,”

certainly no “lovemaking.”

Maybe he’s hoarding words,

plucking the more valuable

to stack in a vault, leaving us

to flip pages, after midnight,

by ourselves on those sofa-things,

the ones that seat two–it seems

there’s a word for it, but–

not finding what we need, we mumble

“boorish, oafish, cloddish, dense,

churlish, clumsy, stupid, rough,” on

to “bereft, rejected, jilted, forsaken,”

the ashes in our fireplaces grey

as ash.



Matt Mason has won two Nebraska Book Awards and been sent to Belarus on a U.S. State Department program to encourage young poets.  Matt lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his two daughters, an awesome wife, and has been published here and there. He can be found at




To being friends


To say that I don’t know

a single beautiful woman

is a lie I suppose,

but if I say it enough times

it becomes an ethos

a sure way to live or an act

of self-preservation

in the face of all those men and

women it doesn’t matter

if you love—those people we call

acquaintances who at

a bar or in a diner or

queued for coffee or cash

do most of the talking for you.



Daniel Casey earned his MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2003. Currently, Casey is the editor of Gently Read Literature, a web journal devoted to criticism of contemporary poetry and literary fiction. In 2008, Gold Wake Press published his first electronic poetry chapbook, Well Enough. Daniel currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut.




AIDS Walk 1996


It takes me fifteen minutes

to recite the names of this year’s

dead, surrender them into

the crisp chill of late September.

Cacophonous chatter as high school

girls crowd past before I complete my ritual,

wedge me against the rusty railing

of the wooden plank bridge where I stand

with long-stemmed carnations cradled

like a ballerina following a successful recital.


Vikings sent their dead

off to sea in a blazing boat,

all I have are pink flowers

to release one at a time into

the lazy river’s shallow water. Pungent

spice lingers as they drift downstream,

glide around a sharp bend,

disappear forever.






Playing Bass for Jesus


            To boogie or not to boogie,

            That is the Christian

                                                John Lennon


The algorithm for scheduling band practice

is family + job = not available. Trying

to coordinate seven musicians

is as complicated as arranging the Paris

peace talks. An important (translate paying)

gig looms. Practice is Saturday afternoon,

guaranteed to equally inconvenience

band members and infuriate partners.

The bluesy vocalist has a work

emergency, the bass player

puts forth the proposition

that you can petition the Lord

with prayer, and leaves early

to play for a church service.


You escape to the relative tranquility

of your car, torn between the bottle

of Tanqueray Rangpur in the trunk

and the 60’s station on XM radio.

The radio wins, but it’s close.



Nina Bennett is the author of Forgotten Tears A Grandmother’s Journey Through Grief.  In 2006, she was chosen by the poet laureate of Delaware to participate in a writers’ retreat sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Philadelphia Stories, Pirene’s Fountain, the anthology Mourning Sickness, The Broadkill Review, Slow Trains Literary Journal, Grief Digest, the News Journal, Different Kind of Parenting, Angels, and Living Well Journal.



"He found a good stick while walking to explore the forest. The stick fell from a tree. It didn’t need it any more. Now it’s a magic wand, a baseball bat, a till to rile flat fallen leaves into motion, a boat that slices through the water until his shoes got wet."

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