Glassy eye stares
hooded in its
from icy wind
the so cold howl
from rotors above
the surge of
paws, clawed, springing
each bound nearer
tracks in virgin white
every hot breath
over lolling tongue
as the caribou
fades it’s pace, stumbles
a knell that
no one hears but the wind
a not so virtual
side by side
with each stride
until they lean
snap jaws, pierce
tear soul from
that bays it’s
a call of the
a bloody slaughter
dash of life,
across snow to
replete they click
buttons to ‘Psalms
for their brush
Pugh lives in Northern Ontario with a logical wife and an insane menagerie. He likes to believe that he fills the gap in the
middle. Bleeding words onto a page help with his delusion. When he’s not writing, he’s probably painting or out
riding his bike. And thinking about writing more.
Knitting my fears into a dishcloth which I will not keep
Count them. There are five rows
of beans that I haven’t picked.
Weeds will drown them. I have nightmares
with towers of Carolina Hearties that multiply
and cannot stop until I find a canning jar
and paraffin wax. The cellar is empty.
I fake domesticity and I’m afraid someone will notice
that I dropped a stitch in this square.
In my beginner’s book,
they said I can undo mistakes.
I cannot remember how it went.
I don’t make swatches of knitted yarn
and press them, like I’m told. All my dishcloths
come out uneven. Lumpy bean threads
keep my spoons half dirty because I never had an iron
will. The tension in the wool is palatable
because I’m using mixed greens that create texture.
In each loop a bit of dry skin, an eyelash, a tear.
Brenna Dugan recently finished
her master’s degree in literature after spending four years in China where she was a teacher and editor. She lives in
Michigan with her husband and son. Her poems have been published in literary magazines such as Dash, American Poets Abroad, Italics and Flatlands.
Woman Who Lived on
the Smell of Flowers
Her moods are like
settle and lift.
Like scents they suffuse
She had felt nothing.
use are feelings?
Her thoughts had been
all her life.
Can’t tell them
He’d stayed out
crack with whores.
Thinking about him
When he’s missing
if she’s not there.
Waiting to be well
thinks: I will live
when this is over.
then something else.
Goes to work bruises
We rather be slaves
face the unknown.
When he sees she is
he is he will stop.
means he loves her.
Bus Ride to Columbus
at juncture of earth
The seams are smokestacks.
A gas storage tank
in the shape of a baseball,
the red seams painted
Frost has crusted the
The trucks, even the
are bigger than the
In the distance a dust
rises. Cloud of locust,
a drizzle falling up.
A sunbeam breaks through
and scales down the
sky. All else
is now minuscule.
Alex Cigale’s poems recently appeared in The
Cafe, Colorado, Global City, Green Mountains, and North American Review, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, McSweeney’s, Zoland Poetry, and are forthcoming in Eleven Eleven, Gargoyle, Redactions, Tar River Poetry and 32 Poems. His translations from the Russian can be found in Crossing Centuries: the New Generation in Russian Poetry and in The Manhattan
Ann’s reviews. He was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine and lives in New York City.
Thin ice over concrete crackles underfoot like toasted skin.
You hold out your arms as if this were a tightrope,
and maybe it is. Don’t recall the coworker whose brother fell
taking out the trash on ice like this and died in a coma three days later.
Never mattered after all that he was a chain smoker who
never said no to a beer. Never mattered the red meat gut. It was slick
innocence in the end, something as simple as water taking shape
and it’s strange wonder, us being made up mostly of the stuff
that we can no more conquer it than our fear of it. Out here in subzero
your fingers sting, flesh biting back into bone. You can’t sit down and
send up flares. You’d freeze. Who’d come? Who could carry you
better than you? Keep your arms aloft, eyes downward, this isn’t
anything you don’t understand.
The lake outside
stinks of rotting fish and an overgrowth of algae,
but in here
floats the salty tang of Insta-Ocean. No slap
of the wave
to the bank, only pumped circulation and the churn
of the muscular
body turning. The Beluga glides stony white,
as if tumors hunker under the skin.
It skims the
surface, drawing air through its gasping hole,
then sinks again
to savor the oxygen below, where
the sounds of
the crowding children are misshapen. They
jabber and jostle
against the tank, hands braced on the bar,
as if to leap into the amnion.
The whale surfaces
for some of that sticky oxygen,
into the air, and the children scream
the sweet anguish
of the overwhelmed. Their shouts sink
the water. I imagine the bar giving way,
in, their arms flailing, sneakers glancing
off fat whale
heads. A nudge from my companion
as their shouts
crescendo. We move downstairs
where in the
glass eye the whales hang spectral,
seeming smoothed by the water.
I put my finger
to the glass and imagine
that if I trace
the outline of that Beluga as it moves,
I would leave
a long smudge of clay. My reflection slopes
and swells in
the glass. The children above waver,
a mirage. The
water is silent until it collides.
Kristen Muir is a graduate
of the MFA program in Creative Writing at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was awarded the David and Jean Milofsky Prize
in Creative Writing in 2009. Kristen resides in Madison with a pet fish, snow boots, and a deep reverence for tobacco.
MICHAEL LEE RATTIGAN
So we both saw Michael Caine then, Marco:
you, sometime back in '85 or thereabouts,
in a Mexico city bar;
that time joined by his “hindu”wife,
who also didn't have a word of your language.
They both got into the vibe though: songs to guitar,
all the flow of the“onda mexicana",
and listened with keen interest
to your cousin's excited translations.
My sighting, more at a distance-
a sharp London wind some fifteen years on
(the post a friend and I perched on for view
near numbed our backsides),
outside the Odeon in Leicester Square.
Michael, looking older than I could've imagined,
something grandfatherly in his air.
Pale as ever, his arm wrapped around a now
well-known, then up-and-coming actor;
both riding the crowd's ruffled cheer.
Between those sightings our friendship, a shared sky-
walks stretched out along a coastline
whose beauty would often stop us in our tracks;
life talked and lived out in your mother tongue.
The surprise of these few words in mine.
Lee Rattigan, and my work has appeared online, in magazines (most recently in OtherPoetry) and in book form. Rufus
books of Canada published the first complete translation of Fernando Pessoa's Caeiro poems by Michael, along with a chapbook
called "Nature Notes."
"The seeds we planted
grew into vines and then there were flowers and then they were pumpkins. We cut them and they made long shadows in the afternoon.
And we ate them."