“Death like your Father” by Lola Haskins

He drops your eyes into a bowl of water. Like those Japanese packets
you think vaguely, remembering first tendrils then flowers.

He wraps your arms and legs in newspaper and packs them away.

He’s brought a special case for your breasts. It’s lined in velvet,
with a depression for each one.

He sets them in right-side up, so the nipples protrude like little doorbells.

He asks if you have anything to say. Yes, says the chunk of you that’s left.

Like your father, Death is good at looking understanding. So good that
when you’ve done, he thinks to pause before he continues,

your heart’s blood cupped in his hands.

Lola Haskins’ most recent poetry collection is How Small, Confronting Morning (Jacar, 2016). Her prose work includes an advice book and a book about Florida cemeteries. Among her honors are the Iowa Poetry Prize and two Florida Book Awards. She serves as Honorary Chancellor of the Florida State Poet’s Association.

13 More Ways to Sabotage Your Writing Practice

  1. Believing you are of the wrong age, weight, gender, race, nationality, religion or anything else other or not other.
  2. Always attending conferences.
  3. Never attending conferences.
  4. Only reading Facebook and Twitter posts.
  5. Only reading what you like and or that which doesn’t challenge your sensibilities.
  6. Reading only the genre in which you write.
  7. Sacrificing your health, family, values, and quality of writing for the sake of getting published.
  8. Believing you don’t have a story to share.
  9. Not locking your office door (or otherwise protecting your writing time and space) when you write.
  10. Saying no when you should say yes.
  11. Saying yes when you really mean no.
  12. Never doing research.
  13. Doing too much research.

“Girl In The Cornfield” by Natalie Crick

He goes for days without
Seeing a soul.

It’s cold out,
And getting dark.
One of the children is a girl,
Untouched as the field she stands in.

Her skirt lifts mid-calf in the breeze,
One hand holding out for his like
A flower curling out from a stone,
Turned into nothingness.

The purple sky violated by orange
Weeps over the creek,
Shaming the white of her body with
A ghostly stain.

The old farm stands like
A woman unwilling to give in,
Cradled by the hill.
She is alone

On the fading road,
Her exposed neck swan-like.
The dried bone is so pale
It blushes blue.

Natalie Crick, from the UK, has poetry published or forthcoming in a range of magazines including The Chiron Review, Interpreter’s House, Ink in Thirds, Rust and Moth, The Penwood Review. Her work also features or is forthcoming in a number of anthologies, including Lehigh Valley Vanguard Collections 13. This year her poem, ‘Sunday School’ was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook will be released by Bitterzoet Press this year.

“The Artist as Her Own Model” by Andrés Rodríguez

The more these higher orders look like us, the nearer we are to them. —W.S. Di Piero

From each canvass
she inhales heavy oils
breathed as from a fane
of laundry and books.
Each is different
yet with all she offers
this world’s future
or distant past.
For thirty years
imagination put her
on a bank she smoothed
into marbled jade
the waters stilled
under a milky sky
blanket-wrapped women
filing to the dazzle
beside boulders
that morph into rooms.

Today she looks
and sees the colors
of gamma knife
pilgrims draped
in surgical gowns
herself naked as her palette.
The sacred scene
inside her skull
tilts on a laptop screen
as she lies waiting for
the radiant beam
and in the air
hovering above her eyes
sees a long moment
turning green to red
so she can enter
future or past.

Andrés Rodríguez is the author of Night Song (Tia Chucha Press) and Book of the Heart (Lindisfarne Press). In 2007 he won Poets & Writers’ Maureen Egan Award for Poetry. His MA in Creative Writing is from Stanford and his PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“Inches” by Jamie Lynn Heller

Some inches slide
smoothly along a surface,
easy to measure.
Others are deceptive,
deep enough
to drown in calm seas.

She told me,
looking up from where
she intently inched
one finger along the chair fabric,
that meth makes her beautiful.

I walk in the mornings
on a crowded sidewalk
where bumped shoulders
cross canyons between
strangers who are farther
apart than a touch.

While in my own space,
we sleep inches apart,
the sheet between us
grows cold during the night.

Some inches slide
along a surface.
Others are deep enough
to drown.

Jamie Lynn Heller is a Pushcart Prize nominee (Little Balkans Review 2014) and Best of the Net nominee (805 Lit + Art 2016). Domesticated, was published in 2015 (Finishing Line Press). She received honorable mention awards in Whispering Prairie Press Writing Contest 2012and Kansas Voices Contest 2017, 2011. jamielynnheller.blogspot.com

13 Ways to Sabotage Your Writing Practice

  1. Waiting for someone to tell you it’s ok to write.
  2. Put off writing until after the dishes are done, the bills are paid, the lawn is mowed, Game of Thrones is over, you’ve re-watched all nine seasons of Seinfeld.
  3. Use your writing space for grading papers, planning lessons, paying bills, doing taxes, repairing your motorcycle.
  4. Never jotting down your good ideas.
  5. Believing your good ideas are rubbish.
  6. Judging what you write.
  7. Judging what others write.
  8. Comparing your writing with that of others.
  9. Berating yourself for not writing more.
  10. Repeating the familiar instead of exploring the unknown.
  11. Never asking questions.
  12. Assuming you don’t know how to write well.
  13. Assuming you do know how to write well.

“A Glass of Wine Near Birds” by Judith Bader Jones

At twilight, Grackles and Goldfinches drink water,
but I prefer transparent Riesling, a wine to capture
in-between-light when all gets said and undone.

Glass in hand I drink and watch birds clutch
the rim of the feeder. My hand grasps a glassful
of stemmed memories populated with music.

After one sip of time people gather and hang around
for a last drink served up near birds perched next to
my life’s collection of ghosts. No one flies solo.

Judith Bader Jones’ poems appear in The Language of Small Rooms and Moon Flowers on the Fence,chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press. Her book of short fiction, DeltaPearls, published by Sweetgum Press, Warrensburg, MO  received the William Rockhill Nelson Award for Fiction. She has upcoming poems in I-70 Review, Heart, and CHEST, The Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.