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Poetry II
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Poetry II

Metal Sculpture by Kathy Kreager

Mercedes Lawry


Accidental Blue


The storm’s appetite appeased,

fractures navigate the clouds.

Slim rivers traverse clotted gray,

indent of mild wind.

How change breaches sky. This is

weather, ever fluid with its ham-fist

or fey-fingered flick, we may think –

arbitrary – the speed of suffused light

marked and measured

now emerging blue, streak to pool

to full on brilliance, backdrop

for wings and bare trees.





Emblematic Wasteland


Well, who would not want to visit

if the muse needed prodding?

If the shadows had begun to fuzz at the edges?

Oh, skeletal trees against a big sky

and the endless metaphors you provoke.

Oh, clouds in clumps or strung out like a rosary.

Oh, the absence of water and its promise.


Exasperate the visual, the painterly demons

rebuke with gusto as secrets stay secret.

The weight of place pulls at your bones.

In a huddle of rock, a sour hum,

scant shade, skitter of insect.

A blood sun stares unblinking

as the fever takes hold.





Gestures of War


are impossible. Pierce

and slice, flesh stretched

in a blood ballet.

Pain spikes in needle glint

and glut. These are bodies

now measured as partial.

Hands up, to protect.

Hands in lament.


The children may be running

into the dust and the dust

is swallowed, just as the walls

fly. This is a surprise

and a horror and a cliché

and the end of things.

The walls have flown

with an alphabet of limbs,

and when they fall, they make

words in no language,

only brave nonsense.



Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Rhino, Nimrod, Poetry East, Seattle Review, and others. She’s also published fiction and humor as well as stories and poems for children. Among the honors she’s received are awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, Hugo House, and Artist Trust. She’s been a Jack Straw Writer, held a residency at Hedgebrook and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her chapbook, “There are Crows in My Blood,” was published by Pudding House Press in 2007 and another chapbook, “Happy Darkness,” was released by Finishing Line Press in 2011. Mercedes lives in Seattle.

Sierra Golden

The Captain’s Son
Little Ben on the bow was practically born there.
He waves his bony boy hands in kitchen gloves
because the Atlas brand doesn’t come small enough.
He’s got a good arm, though,
and the line he throws comes right to me.
I lace it through the chock, around the cleat at my feet.
When the crew starts to sort, Ben stands
on a slat wood box to see into the bin,
informs us he made caviar last summer,
but didn’t like the salt-brined eggs.
Before anyone else, he grabs the first money fish:
one slim sockeye mixed into the wave
of fifty dirty pink salmon zooming down the chute
like cadavers on a water slide.
He nabs the second and third too,
cold fish slime on his face, the occasional jelly sting,
the bite of sleep in his eyes when we deliver at midnight.
He isn’t even paid for this.
All night his red head bobs left and right,
beating the whiskey-sipping fishermen to the punch,
reminding me it’s really simple fun to study a thing.
To recognize a fish just by the width of its tail
as it swings from my hand. To see scales
blue-green and green-blue, the black mouths of kings.
To imagine I can name each one in the dark:
Silver. Chum. Pink. Pink. Pink.


Meditation on Sitkoh Creek
Kelp pops under my boots
as I wander upstream
watching slow salmon spawn,
remembering the deckhands’
joke about salmon living to fuck
then die. After they have dodged
sea lice and sea lions, hooks and nets,
claws and snouts, drought, eagles,
and each other, they die anyway,
rotting between watery breaths,
with skin flagging, bones softening.
Post-coital fish corpses punctuate
the bank with exclamations of stench,
but I bend to touch the bodies anyway,
as if I’d hear ghost whispers

telling me how to come back

again and again, how to glimmer,

flash like ember-red roe in the eddies. 


Sierra Golden received her MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. Winner of the program's 2012 Academy of American Poets Prize, Golden's work appears widely in literary journals such as Fourth River, Cirque, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, as well as place-based anthologies about the Pacific Northwest. Though she calls Washington state home, Golden has spent time in Spain, Mexico, and Argentina and spends summers in Alaska, working as a commercial fisherman.


Erica Bodwell


escape velocity


oh jon my umbra here's the problem. the problem you want to solve. the me you want to enter through mouth ear soul. the me you want to fill to my edges. the edges you want to blur forehead touching forehead not one lumen escaping.  jon here's the thing i’m picking him. he who’s untethered doesn’t need phone calls every hour sits a little farther away on the couch. oh jon you magnet me you’re a planet you’re gravity you're married you talk about books like you mean it you press me hard against your office wall.  oh jon i’ve reached disambiguation you’re a speck i’m a rocket i illume i illume i illume.




Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney living in Concord, NH.  She has poems appearing or forthcoming in Red River Review, Crack the Spine, Emerge Literary Journal, The Orange Room Review and FictionWeek.


David D. Horowitz


Shooter Served in Army; Lost Job, Had Debt

Page C17: Bombings Kill Ninety-Eight in Baghdad:
Worst Day in Seven Months, Truce in Doubt

David D. Horowitz founded and manages Rose Alley Press. His most recent poetry collections, published by Rose Alley, are Sky Above the Temple and Stars Beyond the Battlesmoke. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including The Lyric, Candelabrum, The New Formalist, and Exterminating Angel. David has edited and published two Northwest poetry anthologies: Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the Range and Many Trails to the Summit. He frequently organizes poetry readings in the Puget Sound region and in 2005 received the PoetsWest Award for his contributions to Northwest literature.


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