The Hallway Of Burst Safeguards

The Pacific receives the river. Here the plume slips into bluer water. It splinters the sand. A feather floats, a child’s spoon washes in. Upstream where sagebrush edges riverbanks cradling Hanford’s gray halls, birds forage through grass broken as straw. Nancy Dickeman‘s poems and essays are forthcoming or have appeared in Post Road 32, Poetry…

Rambo’s Bohemia

And so I left, my fists tearing new pockets in a coat made of bullet holes. The sweaty blue sky ordered me to dream and I asked how high! Appleseed, John J. In ripped fatigues I scattered handfuls of blood no matter where I tried to go. Homeless most nights, I watched my stars slide…

Wild Flowers

I saw my body anew, bursting in flame. I smoldered becoming a meadow, Reborn as wildflowers. The lupine is blooming; please stop your war. Zach Pike-Urlacher currently splits his time between Mount Shasta, California, and Shaw Island, Washington. He does stream and river restoration work in California but is currently living on Shaw, building a…

Spring Equinox

for Judith Kitchen I’ve washed a winter’s worth of collard greens, torn the leaf from stems and veins, steamed the greens in broth, adding red pepper flakes, cayenne, too, then ate the fans I’d frayed and mixed with rice and beans. I triple washed the beets, separating greens from bulbous roots. Steamed and boiled, they…

After the Party Pantoum

Working that walk so hard it hurts, it hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels. You were who you were before you came here— a small animal, wandering, a drink in your hand. It hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels so leave them by the road, a small monument to failure, leave…

Nurselog Sprig

No one would call you shallow, your roots pincers in the bitter-scratch earth of your making— burrow-tip grips like rock-climbers ascending the face of their ancestors’ decomposed past. Who else but a parent would give up his hold on mortal ground to lie prostrate, yielding in slow disintegration? Wood rust and tang of uptake, your…

Gymnosperm

Evergreen upsides from naked seed. Even you, my little sapling, formed from a kernel that swarmed to find home in a wet and unprotected womb. Split seed, sweetlip hoist and tremble. Every tree fumbling in the shadow of parent stretches to claim its stake of the light. Jill McCabe Johnson is the author of two…

Insomnia’s Lunatic

A full moon on patio stones, and illness flourishes. Three a.m. Sleeplessness peaks, and illness flourishes. In not dreaming a kind of wonder, in the sore throat, the lack of tonsils, to hack all day, all night—an illness flourishes. Who is not rapt, who uneasy, captive on a mattress. Trolling spindles while in her head…

Twinned

This morning, this evening—all twilight— the pinks, grays, amorphous twilights merged by hers and hers, both bright and newly minted, clouds of twilight hovering in rooms after days of heat. If it hums—the fridge, the fan—still twilight falls earlier in increments. Here the height of summer becomes a gauge. Age comes sleight of hand, preoccupied…

Nightmare Ghazal

Is this the morning, then, when you wake full of nightmare to a song you don’t understand? Has there been another war, the tide coming in full of cars and bodies, man-made, mere fodder for the dollar mill, that needs its share of nightmare? What brought these organs in its teeth? How many split hairs…

Lost Twin

A block from the hospital, I see him on the street: the other twin. No mistaking. Once you see a young man die, the shape of that blood stains you. I knew he had a brother although this other half was absent near the end. Guilty desire to thrive. Who would not choose his own…

The Nine of Cups

She called it The Wish Card, my psychic grandmother hoping over and over for love although she worried most about money. She took potions for sleep, a mind that would not settle. Ghosts plagued her daily, hiding the coveted card with its brimming chalices. Symbol of more than plenty. She told in alleys and back…