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Pottery by Ed Gray

Richard Z. Santos


Stubborn Pride Submits to Light and Fire



My mother’s bone marrow was stolen in the night.

Round-faced Tejanas crept into her room and bombarded her with light and fire

until her skin dried into a chili pod—

brittle, wrinkled,

yet still fragrant with spice.


Her brother’s marrow takes over, and her blood, which was partly mine, disappears.


There’s a chance her body will fight the intruding marrow.

A chance she’ll say,

I’ll keep what’s mine, even if it’s sick, even if it kills me.


And her body, deviant marrow and untrustworthy blood, will again be her own.



Richard Z. Santos currently lives in San Marcos, Texas. Richard used to live in Washington, DC, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he worked in politics. Now that he’s come to his senses, he doesn’t do much more than write and teach. Richard's fiction has been published in Nimrod, Kill Author, Bartleby Snopes, Snake Oil Cure and other fine places.



Gemma Manuel Ybarra





Let the colors

of the evening

surround each

ineffectual sigh.

The day is over

and only the stars

can speak of renewal.

Everything left undone

will have to wait

until the night passes.


Let the breeze soften

into an unalloyed blue.

In this lovely darkness

serenity is wide

like the angle of sleep.




Originally from the Philippines, Gemma Manuel Ybarra grew up largely in West Africa. The greatest boon of having to travel at an early age was the lack of time for television; there were far too many places to explore, too many books to read, many languages and cultures to learn. She got into the habit of writing as a means of collecting details and marking time.

Shannon Connor Winward




One night she took a marker to your door

and wrote, This is my son,

a child of the Lord.


It was uncomfortable, scrawled

letters saturated with drink

and low to the ground.


She must have fallen to her knees

to raise you up in defiance.

I wondered if it made you feel tall.


I think your sins

were her assurance of heaven;

not a liquid suicide at all


but a skyward dance,

a mother martyred

nightly for her child.


Once, while pouring her gin

down the sink

-- a bid for attention


a libation -- I figured out that the

trick to resurrection

is to survive.


But I never moved her enough

to write about it on my door

so I became a poet


I write it for myself, but, really

all I meant to say was

I am her child, too.



Shannon Connor Winward’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in many print and online venues including Pedestal Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, Strange Horizons, This Modern Writer [Pank Magazine], NewMyths.Com, Ideomancer, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Shot Glass Journal and the anthologies, Jack-o’-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy (Raven Electrik Ink) and Twisted Fairy Tales: Volume Two (Wicked East Press).

Lisa Zimmerman



One day, in a field of glinting blue days, I forgot that my mother was gone. She died months before that fall morning flared open with its circus of leaves. The children had left for school and the dog was lying on a scarf of September sun in the yard and there might have been sparrows and black-capped chickadees crowding the bird feeder. The kitchen window balanced the lake in its frame when I opened the cabinet and reached for a cup. As my hand circled the cool porcelain I suddenly remembered and I said it out loud, “My mother is dead.” And that effortless, unwavering truth did not change the light or air or emptiness of anything.


Lisa Zimmerman received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Her poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Cave Wall, River Styx, Colorado Review, Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, and Paper Street, among other journals. Her first poetry collection, How the Garden Looks from Here, won the 2004 Violet Reed Haas Poetry Award. Her most recent collection is The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press, 2008). Lisa lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, and is an assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado.

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