Among the living things I’ve killed I count
the one I flushed, the one I hit
with the head of a broom in the furnace room
at midnight, but I couldn’t bear
to watch summer’s last bumblebee
beat itself to death inside the Mason jar,
and I memorialized the brown garden snake.
Mom and I dropped the vole in the dumpster,
not a pot of boiling water. Nevertheless,
oak leaves and spider webs collect in the chimney
corner of the back yard, gathering
behind the cement rabbit with one broken ear
the evidence of autumn and argue
their case against me.
Cameron Morse taught and studied in China. Diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014, he is currently a third-year MFA candidate at UMKC and lives with his wife, Lili, in Blue Springs, Missouri. His poems have been or will be published in over 50 different magazines, including New Letters, pamplemousse, Fourth & Sycamore and TYPO. His first collection, Fall Risk, is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press.
words for places where there are no words
like inside you with the swimming spines
where ancestors sing and a boat
bumps up against the shore
oh steaming freedom governmentless
no boundaries for the flesh
to suck the side-curl of your mouth
and dust your breast with my callus
we make our paintings with smell
we tan our bells it has been so long
it has been eons that we have been almost bursting
through the back of this cave.
Mr. Meyer is a later-day Hoosier with a Texas twist and a Denver tan, mildly educated and socially detoxed by ghost missionaries. He is living in the weeds awaiting the Apoplex. Some credits: Que Huong, Nobodaddies, and spring ’17 Blue Collar Review.
Summer plains wave in iridescent glory,
from wheat fields of Nebraska
to the sand hills undulating westward
toward the Colorado slopes.
Gangly windmills dot the landscape—
sole companions of solitary trees
that brave the elements,
test the trials of time.
Clouds arrive in resplendent rows,
spreading shadows like quicksilver
across the thirsty land—
a patchwork and parqueted
blending of nature’s hand
and human will.
Faith casts doubt on saintly saviors—
self-appointed heralds of the Second Coming,
who blend into the camo fabric and
staged reality of televangelism,
complete with stars and holy hosts
who entertain their way
into the pockets of the poor,
promising miracles with every show.
Camera three, with the close shot,
captures the moment of healing—
a body writhing and moaning,
shaking the devil from his limbs.
Then up from the floor he arises—
just like Lazarus—
and right on cue.
Dixon Hearne writes in the American South. His work has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His latest book is Plainspeak: New and Selected Poems. His work has been anthologized in Texas Review Press’s Southern Poetry Anthology: Louisiana, and Down to the Dark River, from Louisiana Literature Press. Other poetry appears in New Plains Review (2012), Poetry South, Tulane Review, Big Muddy(ed. note: see also 1, 2, 3) and elsewhere. He is currently at work on new poetry and short story collections.
Alexa Jane Wolff
What if this is where it begins—
this twinge of electricity
this skin to vein, back to bark
&cottonwood snow in your hair
like god can’t catch her breath
of us all.
You told me: this is where to find the heart.
Beneath this bone and on this side, we pray,
no flesh to interfere. You said:
this organ is electric. I said: tell me
how it works again,
that it’s this blood,
¬ my skin that let you down.
The shift from season to season passes quietly.
The air is hardly different. Socks only slightly thicker.
Until the dirt of a dying out road ignites
with leaves gasping, their oranges a dull rot ache
like they’re on the cusp of a completely different planet, like
all the other worlds we’ve been so far, or could be.
My prehistoric arms around your neck—the way
one rope can look like holding on or choking
in bright light, or waltzes in a shadow.
The way my every atom is a galaxy
waiting to grow sentience
AJ Wolff is a midwest poet, feminist, and strange creature with poetry forthcoming in Rust + Moth. She is a fan of great loves, great talks, and great lakes.
[flash of egg white sparking]
- behind the eyes
- just enough dizziness to drop
- the knees to the floor
- you were ruby
- you were furnace
- your eyes starspines
- in a dim lit room
- they told me you expired
- and I saw you there
- in the sharp white linens,
- your mouth shedding rosepetals like a lover
- your body thinning out
- into scars
Erik Fuhrer is a PhD and MFA candidate in English and poetry. His work has been published, or is forthcoming, in After the Pause, Figroot Press, Unbroken, Otoliths, Third Wednesday, Riggwelter, BlazeVox, and various other online venues.