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Evolution Shoes by Tom Rudd

Mary Noon


A Cow in the Road and Other Obstacles



Of course I had seen cows before, growing up in Texas,

black and white pockmarks on a long green face


or a snuffly pink nose peeking

between two sturdy boards of wood at the county fair.


But out West, seconds after being jolted

awake by the tenor growl of a cattle guard, I am face


to face with one standing in the middle of the road.

It is dirt-red, monochromatic, lop-


sided and staring at the SUV two times its size, unafraid,

with black unblinking eyes.


For a moment I forget she is a cow and not

some old soul protecting her land.


But we are losing daylight, so we honk and cajole until

incidentally or not


she moseys off the road. Around the bend

our twenty-mile-an-hour triumph is cut short


by an entire herd of cows, all the colors of the sandstone

mountains we had come to see,


forcing us to sit and soak in the sun like rattlers

and listen to their lowing lament


and watch the slow scuttling of a tarantula

through yellow grass, kicking up tiny clouds of dust, like smoke signals.



After teaching composition, creative writing and literature for four years, Mary Noon created Dancing Trees Media Co., a multimedia freelance corporation. She now works as a freelance writer, editor, illustrator and graphic designer in Fort Worth, Texas. She has a B.A. in English from Centenary College of Louisiana, an M.A. in English from Texas Christian University, and a graduate certificate in women's studies.

Rhonda Lott



Cherry Stories




I found the goldfinches’ legs

hard and skyward

in the cherry tree’s shade

because my mother

and I could not pick

every fresh or fallen

drupe for preserves

before the birds’ gizzards

ground cyanide

from the stones.




Even if Washington could not tell a lie,

the man who sold his cherry story did.




Ax to throat, I would confess,

the mother under the cherry tree was not my own

but another dust-blond divorcee

I fear no one would care to hear about.




The birds that died among those red globes

could have been any birds.

I only know that pits are sometimes poison,

that finches sometimes eat them,

that gold glows holy next to molding crimson,

that finches are not as bathetic as bluebirds,

as common as robins,

nor as oblique as evening grosbeaks,

which are also known to eat cherry stones.




What’s the weight of a cherry stone?

I could tell you another story about swallowing

a stray pit, but it takes at least six

to make people sick.




And maybe you hate birds

because they shriek

next to the dumpster

before dawn.


Maybe you hate cherry trees

because they litter your yard

and attract tourists.


Maybe you hate George Washington

because you love entangling alliances.


Maybe you hate mothers.




I want to tell of cherry blossoms,

but haiku tell them better.


I want to walk through orchards,

but Chekhov walked them better.


I want to sing of virgins,

but all I have are stones.




Ask yourself how you prefer the lie.

Either the birds or the tree had to die.




Rhonda Lott received her master's degree in creative writing from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi and is currently a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University.  Her previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, The Los Angeles Review, Cream City Review, The Southern Humanities Review, and more.  She also serves as an associate editor and artist-in-residence for Stirring: A Literary Collection.

Demeter's Kitchen, painting by Margo McCafferty

Danny Earl Simmons



 A big round belly stretched nine-months tight


with a smudgy brown

longitudinal line

running up the globe of it,

shiny thin spider webs

pulled over and around

its snare drum circumference,

the occasional anaconda slither

just beneath the surface,

the every-now-and-then cartoon sock

from the inside bulging out,

and that odd little button

popping out in  the very middle -


this is beauty.




Danny Earl Simmons is an Oregonian and a proud graduate of Corvallis High School. He has loved living in the Mid-Willamette Valley for more than 30 years. He is a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club and is an active member of Albany Civic Theater. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in various journals such as Avatar Review, Summerset Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Gold Man Review, Burning Word, Toe Good Poetry, and Pirene’s Fountain.






the paradox of bodies

is she should rise

when i am ready to

get down on my knees

in a retrograde motion

of stars flipping over


it’s not so much that i don't know

what i'm doing as its that she doesn't

know that i don't know what i'm doing


oranges between my legs are telling

time as if it is a truly juicy story

about how ball lightning can thrust

through solid masses without effect


experimentation is best left to the women

able to pencil their eyebrows back in place

after playing with each other's chemistry sets




an important aspect of scientific validity is repeatability




we should do this again sometime




KJ does poetry. Find KJ's poems forthcoming in Zygote in My Coffee, Blackbox Manifold, THIS Literary Magazine, and My Favorite Bullet.


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