January 2012 Poetry

Anthony Cappo

(On the Duna, Haraszti, Hungary)

My forked boatman, on obolus for your
troubles. You steer us steady from heavenly
vistas to terminal gate—a straight journey
to our straitened circumstance. Town
mute, trees indifferent, we have leapt
their element. Pulsing sky has places
to go. Darker things we soon will know.


Yes, we will huddle as the mottled sky
falls. As the factories sink into the river,
as another winter jabs its stiff fingers
into the land. Your head on my shoulder,
our bodies a seamless no against
approaching dark. Cold wind
breaches our coats. Our blood
rushes to meet it.


Vibrating, flashing red
or green, beeping,
sing-songing.  We glance,
we stare, we bend our ears
to your wavelength.  Wireless,
wireless, deliver us.  Deliver
us from isolation, from the daily
now. We leap
at your arrivals, we dance
to your strings.
Bring us
word from out there, of pulse
reaching to meet us.  Hangdog
we wait to be soothed, for news
from the place where somebody
loves us all.

Author’s note:  “On the Duna, Haraszti, Hungary” and “Elizabeth and I at Sunset”
are inspired by the photograph of Andre Kertesz. 

Anthony Cappo has been, at various times, a waiter, house painter, lawyer and jazz singer. He lives in New York City.

January 2012 Poetry

Freesia Mckee


voice wet with shame, you birthed yourself
through your throat in a closet of lemons

sixteen thin muscles stretched close: see
girls gulping peach air laden with lemons

in a clean-clothed drowning from wrong-
thirsted rejection, we drink the sugared juice of lemons

even underwater, the eyelid stays focused, counting
each of its own like a child with lemons

thank you again for second times
steadily; i’m peeling softly the stories of lemons


Freesia Mckee is a feminist from the Midwest who has worked as a gardener, a writing tutor, and a teacher. She will soon graduate from Warren Wilson College.

December 2011 Poetry

Sophia G. Starmack


He’d barred all the windows. The doors were locked,
the old books put away, yet every night:
the knocking. He turned and turned in his sleep.
Tenderly, someone was setting the table.
Covering his head with the quilt, he heard them
speaking in maddening verse, spilling the wine;
their stubborn, old-fashioned lamps describing
spells of light on the floor. In the morning
he never found the unleavened breadcrumbs,
no dark crush of oil on the cloth. Only
the intractable rhythm of an old prayer,
the fierce vibration, the bell not rung.


Not because they remembered to dress nice but not too nice for the party.
Not because they kept their make-up natural,
or because not one of them outshone the bride.
Not because of the fork-and-knife lessons,
or the nightgowned waltzes late in the dining room.
They were somewhat bruised from studying.
At least one had gone all the way.
Not because their flasks were so chastely filled, their wicks respectably trimmed,
not even because they slept so slightly the whitest sigh would wake them.
It was because they kept their oil to themselves.

They’d given so much already, the gesture hollow like a lamp.


Sophia G Starmack lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she keeps busy as a homeschool tutor and writing teacher. She is currently translating a novel from the French.

December 2011 Poetry

Jessica Ankeny


It must be boiled. The alternative
is burying outside or in a terrarium
with beetles but the possibility
of damage is higher therefore
boiling is recommended. Regardless,
don’t merely clean or the marrow
may rot and cause
an unpleasant odor. Pieces
of flesh and nasal cavity
will rise to the surface while
boiling, this is normal. After two
hours remove from water and use
needle-nose pliers to pull extra
muscle and brain out.
Soak in Hydrogen Peroxide.
After the bleaching is complete
mount to wood and hang on wall.


She’s pulling off her skin again
and hanging the strips
on the clothes line. She starts

at the armpit and tears
past the hip protruding
like a stone. Years ago I asked

why, she said I‘m opening
the doors to smell and find it.

What? I said. He told me

something was rotting in here.
I caught her re-smelling
the thigh pieces; they were cut

into little stars.
I don’t invite her over anymore.
The muscles push one another

and drip blood on the carpet
like racing stripes. You’d think
that tissue on her legs would dry

out; it’s been exposed so long.
It takes forever to clean.
I don’t have the time.


Jessica Ankeny is drawn to the insides of things, like liver and puppet joints. She lives with her cat, Joni Mitchell, in Brooklyn.

December 2011 Poetry

Adam G Chambers


I was commanded in the dream to construct a face out of lips.
I could use lips from famous actors only

so that Johnny Depp’s with their taut lines became the cheekbones
and Michelle Pfeiffer’s with their fullness

served as the fatty parts of cheeks.
Eyes were formed by the firm, proud lips of Anthony Hopkins

and the nose with Denzel Washington’s.
The forehead was made up of the flattened,

hard-working lips of John Turturro, which bent
to the task as oxen to the plow. And the mouth—

the mouth itself was a singular construction.
Where the face was made of lips,

the mouth was made of an entire face,
and the face was that of my childhood

molester. A gaping hole formed a small sea
in the middle of that face

and next to the sea was an object,
either penis or pistol,

lying heartbroken upon its shore.


Adam G. Chambers received the Thomas Lux Prize for Poetry in 2010. His work has appeared in The Dirty Napkin, The Cortland Review, Bluestem, Eclectica, 2River View, Foliate Oak, Alba, The Fiddleback and The Antigonish Review, and was the recipient of an International Merit Award from The Atlanta Review in 2010. Adam was also nominated for the anthology Best New Poets in both 2010 and 2011. He lives with his family in Connecticut.

December 2011 Poetry

Kevin Pilkington


I bought an old piano from the guy
in the apartment above mine
after I got him to throw the black keys
in for free. Too bad the dog lying
underneath it like a cashew wasn’t
for sale. I tried playing it by ear
but kept hurting the side of my head.
I’m thinking of taking lessons.

There’s a playground with a skating
rink on Seventh. It reminded me
when I was a kid in first grade
how I fell on the one near my home
and the way Francine Peron skated
around me giggling as I crawled off.
My face was red as the skirt around
her waist that flared out like an umbrella.
After that there was no way I could
ask her to marry me the next day
in recess like I planned. Years later
another girl laughed at me but I made sure
I wasn’t on all fours or anywhere near
thin ice.

Ever since I heard a friend of mine
jumped from a bridge near Spokane
so he wouldn’t have to show up for work
on Monday, I won’t fly west and only
take part –time jobs. Except for all
the noise: clouds rubbing against sky,
cats walking, the war taking place inside
the novel on my desk, cold beers losing
their heads in the bar on the corner,
I like it here. And I don’t let things
get to me the way they once did.
When my ex wrote to say the weeping
willow in back of the place we shared
stopped crying as soon as I left
and has never looked better, I admit
it bothered me for a few minutes.
Only a few.


Kevin Pilkington is the author of six collections: his collection Spare Change was the La Jolla Poets Press National Book Award winner and his chapbook won the Ledge Poetry Prize. His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines including: Poetry, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Boston Review, Yankee, Hayden’s Ferry, Columbia, Greensboro Review, North American Review, Gulf Coast, and Valparaiso Review. His latest collection The Unemployed Man Who Became a Tree is available from Black Lawrence Press.

December 2011 Poetry

G. Taylor Davis


Brother plucked soil beneath his nails before the cauliflower was loaded. The pale-moon vegetable clunked into the bed of his pickup truck.

Mother prepared cucumber sandwiches: they were inexpensive and when served on bone china, made her feel like her mother was younger.

Father was big and red, with tar-shingle hair—he was the barn in which I slept on hay.

I wore sister’s old overalls in first grade; she was a tomboy who fell madly for the girl who sold thyme at the farmers market. Sister and I hunted crawdads in a nearby creek.

By the time the hair on my earlobes twitched, their love had been barbecued—my mother holding a book with one match missing.

Crawdads are elusive and quick when they fear being eaten. Like tiny Viking ships, they scurry toward the cloudiest mire when rocks are lifted from their succulent, red bodies.

When sister left abruptly for the city, she took nothing but burnt clothes and a suitcase full of cucumber on toast.

G. Taylor Davis is from the milky way.