Category Archives: Writing, Revising, Blogging

Postcards from the Knife-Thrower’s Wife by Alex Stolis

August 2 – Woodstock, N.B. Canada

I’m a girl on a dragon-fly on the back of a horse heading
straight into the wind under an unbreakable sky. You are
not here. You are made-up words in an invented language
spoken in whispers. I remember every detail of the world
we created from scratch. I remember that day the moon
eclipsed the sun and for a moment the earth turned cold.
The sky turned deep green no stars in sight. You wrote me
of a dream you had; lost, afraid and miles away from home.
You heard the low beat of wings. You felt the steady pound
of hooves and I readied myself for flight.

Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis; he has had poems published in numerous journals. Recent chapbooks include Justice for all, published by Conversation Paperpress (UK) based on the last words of Texas Death Row inmates. Also, Without Dorothy, There is No Going Home from ELJ Publications. Other releases include an e-chapbook, From an iPod found in Canal Park; Duluth, MN, from Right Hand Pointing and Left of the Dial from corrupt press. The full length collection, Postcards from the Knife Thrower was runner up for the Moon City Poetry Prize in 2017. His chapbook, Perspectives on a Crime Scene was recently released by Grey Border books and a full length collection Pop. 1280, is forthcoming from Grey Border books in 2019. 

http://greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/alex-stolhttp://greybordersbooks.jigsy.com/alex-stolisis

“Houston Snow” by Deborah Phelps

Before dawn, snow tips the loden
Magnolias, the pin oaks, the dying palms.
Frost lies pristine in the ribs
Of the pines.

At daybreak the whiteness recedes
With children out of school
Scraping it off the car hoods
Into dirty snowmen.

This half-inch is the first ever
Seen by these children, and even
Some of their parents, who try
To take as many photos as possible

For future, warmer generations.
Afternoon, the coastal Gulf Stream
Bumps the temperature
Until snow is only barely
Visible on hedge-tops

A lace tablecloth kept for best.


Deborah Phelps teaches at Sam Houston State University. She has published a chapbook, Deep East, and in journals such as Gulf Coast, Comstock Review, and Red Coyote. She lives in Huntsville, Texas.

‘Tis the Season by Karen Wolf

Blue eyes dripping sadness stare through dark
rimmed glasses and Daddy’s Mopar
truck windshield. My
running pace allowing glimpses of his
disproportionate pear-shaped scowl. Flashes
of his life imagined
schoolmate cruelties leveled for his
countenance, name calling,
social shunning, tripping, punches. A passing freight
train halts my progress enabling a hello
with Dad as he emerges from the post office, Christmas
cookie in hand. His boyhood
sadness crumbles away.

Karen Wolf has been published in Smokey Blue Literary and Art Magazine, The Wagon Magazine, Oasis Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Bookends Review, The Drunken Llama, Blynkt, Raw Dog Press, Street Light Press, Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal, Ripcord Magazine and many others. Her chapbook, “That’s Just the Way it Is”, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018.

She says that poetry soothes the savage beast and opens her eyes to the beauty that abounds within the world.

“Predictable Patterns” by Laurinda Lind

I can’t stay centered on the winter solstice
even in its most ancient aspect and certainly
not its spendthrift one but when I was young,
boxes of attic bulbs determined December

along with trees that don’t belong inside
and won’t stay up, but mean it isn’t always
going to be this dark and cold, we’ll see
ground again without snow. After years

of take-apart trees and malevolent demented
light strings I have failed in the Christmas
category, either neglecting the tree till
it shredded to the touch in April and could

be scattered in the yard over leaves I never
raked in the fall, or not putting one up at all
so my daughter would come home from
college and sigh and put it up herself, and

once opened all my CDs. Stuck them on
the branches where they shone silver like
a Jetsons tree, assuming they would still
have trees in that century, that the seasons

will mean something after this terrible time
where we are now, this dark we are not
sure will take us through to spring, no
matter how much tinsel we throw to it.

Laurinda Lind’s poems are in Another Chicago Magazine, Blue Earth Review, Blueline, Comstock Review, Constellations, Main Street Rag, and Paterson Literary Review; also anthologies Visiting Bob [Dylan] (New Rivers) and AFTERMATH (Radix). In 2018, she won the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State Fair poetry competition.

“Market Day” by Erinn Batykefer

I must believe not to move is to be more easily found.

At the vintage junk-trader’s stall, I pulled
a ribbed Fire King bowl from the bowl it nested in

and the ringing did not stop.
The market turned a maze of buzzing edges,
the flower stall’s nasturtiums jerking on their stems,
the bowl’s opalescent sheen in the air, seizure-white.
I must kneel at the door with hairpins and toothpicks, dig
the ghost fennel from the keyhole.
I carried the ringing bowl through the stalls—
husk cherries and small split plums; raw sugar and salvia,
summer squash, but never again nasturtiums—
its empty mouth a strobe-drone, leaping like halogen.
I must inscribe a circle in the dirt: market, river hills;
I must sweep the St. John’s wort from the linens.
Years I lived with a shadow stepping into my footprints—
going home took a long time, every alleyway echoing

come haunt me again.

Erinn Batykefer earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press) and The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (Coffee House Press). Her work has appeared recently in Blackbird, Lockjaw Magazine, Cincinnati Review, and FIELD, among others. She works as a librarian in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“A Flower Rests” by Jerry Wemple

Daisy rose later in the morning each
day until she barely rose at all. Ark
was left to get his own breakfast: peanut
butter smeared on doughy bread; a pale
apple in a paper bag to take for school
lunch. He would shuffle down the slate sidewalks
parallel to the river street doing his
best to slow time and the inevitable.
After school, the return trip home and sometimes
there deposited on the couch in front of
a blurred television his mother
like a monument to a forgotten
whatever. Sometimes she would cook supper and
sometimes not. And sometimes the old neighbor
woman would stop by and say mind if I
borrow you boy for a while and then sit
him at her kitchen table and stuff him full
on greasy hamburger and potatoes
and sometimes apple pie that was not too bad.

Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here (winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award), The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. His poems and essays have been published in numerous journal and anthologies. He teaches in the creative writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.