Monthly Archives: July 2016

How does the rooster know when to crow by Rae Marie Taylor

and the fly to start buzzing
right now
How do they and
all the birdsongs know to stop
and wait

while the sun
climbs up the other side of
Kitchen Mesa sending rose glints
into the sky
but not yet, not quite touching
the soft red earth
where I stand
two ravens know to swoon
past with a soft, throaty greeting
quickening trills and twitters
there in the gulch

the sun’s glowing
right now
the purest white
down the Dakota Sandstone
purple mudstone
where fossils still lie.

Rae Marie Taylor performs on Spoken Word stages in Quebec and the American Southwest. Author of the poetry CD Black Grace, Rae’s The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope also won the 2014 Colorado Independent Publishers’ Merit Award and was Finalist in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards (environment).

Sleeping with the Squirrels by Tracy Mishkin

he-wuvs-me-squirrel-1385571-639x518Leaf-fall reveals their fat nests
cluttering branches, silhouetted
against the pale sky like hornet hives.
Still, I am a guest. I climb.

Thirty feet up, where two limbs meet,
the fox squirrel sits in the shadow
of her tail, invites me into the hollow
sphere perched on a platform of twigs,
lined with grass and moss.

She sets acorns before me, this solitary
forager, bustling and clucking until
I take one. We talk of kits and children
until we can scarcely see each other.
Her eyes brighten when I accept
her invitation to spend the night.

Sleeping with a squirrel is like curling
up in a hammock. I am warmed
by the embrace of her luxurious tail
under a blanket of leaves.

Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and an MFA student in Creative Writing at Butler University. Her chapbook, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014.

“Walking an Old Dog” by Lisa Chavez

we rest more
often. His eyes clouded
with cataracts,
hearing dulled
so he startles
sometimes.  His hips sway
with ache, but he
whiffles his way
through a scent rich world.

Walks are shorter, slower
and even I see
more–the caterpillar’s
circuitous journeys,
the pinon cones
opening like fists
dropping their treasure.
We pause
to look or sniff.
Then head home,
the sun behind us
like the span of his years
and our shadows
thinning to fade,

toward the end
of the day.

Lisa D. Chavez has published two books of poetry, Destruction Bay and In An Angry Season. Her essays have appeared in Arts and Letters, The Fourth Genre and other magazines, and in anthologies including The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity, and An Angle of Vision:  Women Writers on their Poor and Working Class Roots.  She grew up in Alaska and currently lives in New Mexico, and has a keen interest in Japanese dogs and in perfume. Find her online at

A Wild Hair by K.L. Frank

A few errant fibers bristle
from the fallow field
below my chin, waving goodbye
to more subtle golden fuzz,
that once hummed in spring’s
soft hormonal breezes.
In blatant disregard
of harsh depilatories,
bleaching creams, and tweezers,
these outlaw strands fly free,
battle banners
raised above years ripened
past their summer prime.
For now is the autumn
of more brutish shoots –
stiff dark hairs that defy
any downward drag
and thrust outward, splayed fingers
reaching toward dreams
muscles fatigued in the fight
against gravity can no longer grasp.
These hairs mark my last attempt
to step up to the edge of etiquette
and shout a challenge,
my final foray into impudence.

Karin L. Frank is an award-winning author from the Kansas City area. Her poems, including haiku, and prose have been published in both literary journals and genre magazines in the U.S. and abroad.