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Calumet Windows, print by Tom Rudd and Margo McCafferty

Jae Dyche


My Begonias



You've emptied your excess Budweiser into the flower bed,

ending the conversation. You haven't any concern

for my begonias or that the mulch reeks of malt liquor

and menthol. It has become apparent our opinions

differ about these sort of things: the variance between

mostly sunny and partly cloudy, how many drinks actually

constitute too many, and the begonia's optimistic yellow

eyes and wild blooms. You couldn't bear their fluorescent

colors and insisted on anchoring your roots with the ferns

settled below the porch steps, pretending to avoid me

or the sun. You've grown through the Earth's core,

to China, and I've tried to shovel you back out. You are

a worthless nocturnal flower, still beautiful to admire,

all muscular limbs and strange petals curled, folded

underneath that quilt you can't seem to sleep without.

I hate each frayed, embroidered flower and vine and how they

remind me of the overwhelming dark of your bedroom

and the nights when you didn't raise your voice, and I wanted

nothing except to bury myself like the garden mole

between the bed and wall or move the lit end of a cigarette

too close to a loose thread and watch the brightness

consume the room. Instead I keep to my side of the bed

unsure if I want you to remove the blankets and undress

or sleep through the whole night because we are perfect

for each other and especially quiet when you stay planted in bed—

I need to go outside, find a hobby; I'll settle on gardening.

I'll buy a green plastic trowel and a how-to book,

suggested in some home and garden magazine. It'll say

to talk to my plants: they'll grow fuller, healthier or, at least, be less lonely.



Jae Dyche is a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing student at The University of Maryland. Off-campus, Jae co-coordinates and co-hosts The Mock Turtle Reading Series. Previous publications include Calliope, West Virginia University’s undergraduate literary journal, and The Backbone Mountain Review. Jae served as production editor for Calliope.

Suzanne Richardson






Boy Dog in the yard, Nollie Gray

in the hen house. Someone’s

wringing a chicken’s neck, or did someone

wring her neck? Someone plucked her feathers

until she was naked on train tracks.

Her fear, like a stone hits

a tin roof and whatever she saw, she saw.

Whatever she says happened,

happened—but, she  only tells

 the stitches in the quilt. She irons over it

like linens and table lace.  Blue it out but I know

something is wrong because she

put my hand on a map and showed me

Arkansas. She put

my hands in the catfish waters of Arkansas.  I think,

two sticks rubbed together and

lit her up like tobacco flowers and ragweed

in Arkansas. Whatever happened,

I’ll bury it for her. Along with the

dead dogs and

smashed pennies. I’ll hopscotch over it,

pick up the jax—

I was told, believe in the church of Arkansas!

Though it baptized her with the snakes.

Believe in the church of Arkansas!

Though it cut the puppy tails.

Believe in the church of Arkansas!

Where a man spat Coca-cola

on the pulpit moving like Elvis.

Where she believed it was God’s hand reaching

 up her skirt, until it happened on a Monday.

I think, like a cow, she grew

 a second stomach to digest what happened. But Lord,

 don’t let her pass down this unknown bag

of bones. Bathe her in the wheelbarrow—

let the water be an apology

let the rag confirm she was dirty.

In the hell of her past I root for her,

 burnt garbage, rusty nails. I glean the rows

of her crops. I lick the smut,

pick the meat, gnaw

that riverbank, to know what she tasted.

I’m trying to show her, I know something

happened. When she feels like screaming I want her to

open my mouth, and pour Arkansas in.




Reversing Candle


Because I feel poison-sad

I light a candle and the black birds come.

They fill the tree with their

dead flesh cries; rotten apple brains, they

count the days of winter in me.

Those I’ve wronged, those

that wronged me wipe

the slate clean. I pray for teeth to bite

a new tongue. I pray the wild cats leave.

Let the candle worry black for me.

Red night to light

send it back.


Make it like a crocus

growing verso towards the bulb,

or a doe at dawn

running backwards

through a graveyard

only its hooves knowing

we must cross the dead to forgive the living.




Suzanne Richardson is currently an MFA student at the University of New Mexico. Her poetry has appeared in Blood Orange Review, and her nonfiction is forthcoming in New Ohio Review. She has been editor-in-chief of Blue Mesa Review since 2010.

Brittany Holt



All I Know I’ve Learned From My Mother and Cards



My mother will say,

“We’re card players around here.”

As if it was a warning.


Systematic dealing and shuffling,

muting thoughts as we

nibble on cheese and sip sweet wine.


We’ll talk about other people’s

dramas. We’ll get up to check

on dinner, children, or husbands.


We’ll reconcile with the cards that are dealt.

We’ll line them up in neat rows as if

arranging our kids for a posed portrait.




Brittany Holt is from Belleville, Michigan, and is currently a senior at Albion College studying English with a creative writing emphasis. In 2011, she self-published a collection of short stories and poetry titled, Vocabulary.


David D. Horowitz



8/31, 8:31


Three gulls escort the dusk to ruby silence

Above the freeway bridge. The gulls seem black

As crows. Venus blazes spark, and contrail track

Extends in bluesmoke peach to cirrus islands.

Black branches paw the breeze. No turning back.




David D. Horowitz founded and manages Rose Alley Press. Through Rose Alley he has published fourteen books, including his own poetry collections Stars Beyond the Battlesmoke; Wildfire, Candleflame; Resin from the Rain; and Streetlamp, Treetop, Star. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Lyric, Candelabrum, and The New Formalist. His essays often appear in the online journal Exterminating Angel. His new poetry collection, Sky Above the Temple, is due out from Rose Alley Press in spring 2012. David gives frequent readings in and around Seattle, where he lives.

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