Derek Graf

Poetry, SPRING 2013, WINTER 2013

on invisibilty

Derek Graf was a finalist for the 2013 Peter Meinke Prize for Poetry. His poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Gravel, Blast Furnace Press, and Misfit Magazine. He received his B.A. from the University of South Florida and currently lives in Stillwater, OK, where he is studying for his MFA degree at Oklahoma State University.

Michael Trocchia

Poetry, SPRING 2013


I grip the sudden
memory and fade

against the insane
star. I stuff the shapeless

wind with some raw
idea of it and pause

before the opening
gate. I devise the flat

escape and then axe
the wrists of the witness

in me. My hands break
into birdsong sung under

breath. I yield the eye
and turn the ear inside

out for the whispering
sufficiency of things

near. My face grows
clockwise. It strikes me

each time I look away.


Hand it to yourself,
friend, the dust of this

faraway coinage. Find
yourself in the nth

country, under its ought—
bitten skies, be amused

by the shouts
of its shattering

boys in brass. Instigate
the landscape, its damning

effect. Come away
from it. All of us will

run from the nth
country. So be

good. Roam with us
who roam like geese

through widening streets
where a trumpet erupts

inside the skull,
into a troubling

form of hillside
and hollow.


Michael Trocchia grew up on Long Island. He received an M.A. in philosophy from Temple University.  He currently lives in Virginia, where he teaches philosophy at James Madison University and works in the university’s library. His poetry and prose have appeared in Mid-American Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Open Letters Monthly, Caketrain, elimae, Tar River Poetry, Camera Obscura Journal, The Dirty Napkin, and NOO Journal. Work is forthcoming in Pear Noir!. 

Elizabeth Westmark

NonFiction, SPRING 2013


I learned a secret yesterday. I learned how to throw a KA-BAR knife straight down and get it to stick in the ground.

The secret? You don’t throw it; you release it. The dark steel impels itself smoothly downward. Some ancient heavy metal genetic navigation system guides the two-edged blade into the belly of the deer hoof and turkey foot softened earth.

I stare at it, mesmerized, unaccountably pleased that I have learned this boy trick. I pick it up again and smoothly slit the seam of a fiftypound bag of dry corn. Hard, golden kernels spill noisily into the barrel feeder.

My husband, Buck, hoists another bag from the tailgate of the black pickup truck. He perches it on the edge of the rusting green barrel. The barrel wants to twist on the braided metal cable that holds it suspended just low enough for us to fill. It holds four
bags; 200 pounds of corn.

One time, after cutting a bag open and steadying it on the metal rim of the barrel, I forget the secret I have learned, and throw the KA-BAR toward the ground, putting a little force and spin on it. It bounces off the ground and lies there; flat, exposed. I am disgusted with myself. It takes a certain abdication of ego to just let the knife fall.

When the barrel is full, Buck secures the square sheet metal lid with a frayed bungee cord. He sets the timer and tests it. I take several steps back to stand on the perimeter. The battery fires up and a shower of corn slings from a small propeller attached to a hole in the bottom of the barrel. A penumbra of ochre dust hangs in the air.

I move in close again to take hold of the barrel to keep it from twisting while Buck winches it back to the top of the feeder tripod. Soon, it is too high for me to touch and I move backward quickly to get myself into a zone of safety in case the rusty barrelbreaks open, the winch fails, or the tripod collapses.

I get into the cab of the truck, hang my legs over the side and smack the lug soles of my boots together to shake off any residual dirt, then power down my window and hang my head out like a dog for the short ride back to the house. I turn at the feel of my husband’s hand giving my thigh an “atta-boy” pat.

He gives me a proud thumbs-up. “I’ve never seen a city woman who could throw a knife like that.”


Elizabeth Westmark‘s essays have appeared in Brevity, Prick of the Spindle, Girls with Insurance, The Binnacle Ultra-Short 2009, Camroc Press Review, and Dead Mule, among others. She writes from her home in a Longleaf pine preserve near Pensacola, Florida, where she is working on her first novel. It’s a coming of age story, wrapped in a romance, inside a secret, dipped in danger & deep-fried by a Cat 5 Hurricane.

Billie R. Tadros

Poetry, SPRING 2013



Light or flutes, her cylinders.

What illumines a votive.


Lied, or fluent, as she told

me about half-life, burn time.


Lye tour flumes, we channel

we try we tie we cleanse.


Like airfoils cutting air

there’s fireflight curved.


Like her falls I’ve lost

what is ignition.



Wares for—munitions, store.

Real violence is in preparation.


Worse for a broken shelter,

the ruined well a thrombosis.


Warfarin—after the swallow

I begged him to stop bleeding.


Wherefore I tell you now because

of all the collapsed causeways letting.


Wear four pockets like cardiac

chambers, vacant maps.


We’re foreign now as clotting

factors we learn to close.


L is for LYRE

This is your vibrating gut
strung soundbox.

I hold the plectrum in my right
hand, strike you like plague
and resonate

like pleasure, every measured
echo in your hollow

but your shape sings only
throat, harps turn back,

you bottlenecking liar.




Billie R. Tadros is a doctoral student in English Literature at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a graduate of the MFA program in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Her poem “Reactor” was recently chosen by Sandra Beasley for the 2012 Yellowwood Prize in Poetry. Her work has appeared in Barely South Review, the Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, and Yalobusha Review, and in the anthology Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013).

Emma Bolden

Poetry, SPRING 2013


First there is a once and the time
upon which it stands. Then the place
setting, obvious as a table. A copse
of trees. A copse of starling corpses.

A doctor’s office, its tedious wallpaper.
Now you have the world and now you have
a woman. Give her short legs and short
arms that mock their sleeves. Give her

hunger. Give her a hand crooked over
the crook of a cane. Be kind. Give her
a bench to sit on. Give her iron well
wrought. Give her a cushion and fill

it with down. Fill her with doubt.
Fill her with the kind of life that fills
the world: ache and anger, thirst and fury.
Give her legs and don’t let them walk. Watch.


Emma Bolden is the author of three chapbooks of poetry: How to Recognize a Lady, (part of Edge by Edge, the third in Toadlily Press’ Quartet Series); The Mariner’s Wife (Finishing Line Press); and The Sad Epistles (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as the Indiana Review, The Journal, The Greensboro Review, Feminist Studies, Prairie Schooner, Redivider, and Verse. She has been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes. She is an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University and blogs at A Century of Nerve.

Christine Tierney

Poetry, SPRING 2013


sits on my dashboard
it has been there for 1 week–

it has become a slouch a pucker a color I don’t know a
demented tangerine an explosion of magenta-rot odorless
and cold a burst of citrus-vein a flabby dimpled ass a cup
of stringy soup

The orange
sits on my dashboard
it has been there for 2 weeks–

it is trying to say something meaningful losing pocks by
the millisecond giving me bad advice about bed skirts
drowning in regret leaving me too old for this kind of
radical change ignoring my puffy eyes moving to a
different state slobbering down the dash no longer sweet
or round or there for me

The orange has packed its things in a mini-valise,
hitchhiked to Ocala, and refuses to forward its new


How much time blinks are seconds eyelash on a thumb waiting
for wind I’m bad with hugs can we draw a picture of one
instead two people with their arms locked mugs squinched it
was on the day I was thick-wet-heat it was on the day I was
mist rising from the pond the day I tussled through the
weeds and morphed into sunflower the day the teal from your
eyes pooled in my ridges and I stared up at a nibbled sky
the day I smelled good like lemon cake

It’s not easy when no one is dying and you are the sole
definition of gone not fading or lackluster or receding not
washing away shriveling or blanching but gone remember the
postcard you sent from the Alps mountains and blue sky the
ink ran through the trees let’s call it even let’s call it
what it is let’s call it anything but asphyxiation I’m
still breathing your still leaving inside this mess there
is a space a skip and an unfelt there is an empty house
full of what we never got the chance to say inside this
mess is a cloud of asbestos moving through the pulp of my
icky green chest


Christine Tierney’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourteen Hills, Poet Lore, The Yalobusha Review, Sugar House Review, Weave Magazine, scissors & spackleMonkeybicycle, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for both a Pushcart Prize, and the Best New Poets anthology. She holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Writing Program, and is employed as an after-school director.

Elliott Niblock

Poetry, SPRING 2013


Over the pondwater, white
blossom boon‘d branches

at the weight of wind,
the mountain’s unmelted
……….snowtorched tip

framed just over treetrop,
as the bare-breath’d breeze
……….touches the water,

surface-tension trembling
in the sun, little lips of wet
……….light. April

and everything Other again,
rain-made and merciless-

among the perpetual pines,
muskrats muck along the

a spider suspended
in water-dropped web,
……….hung among the reeds,

and an unseen chorus calling
mate to mate, maybe a

a nuthatch, or a rock wren
warbling its way out of
……….winter. And

always the day dims, dipping
into dusk, as an inkwell of
……….ambient light, lack,

as all along the shoreline,
the darkening trees


Elliott Niblock is a freelance writer living in Missoula, Montana. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Montana, and holds an MA from Harvard Divinity School.

James Crizer

Poetry, SPRING 2013


I will play the lonely farmer, throw posture out with the bones,
swallow all intent. Recall phonics, the forgotten definition of “hoe”

amid its hosts of three-letter methodology. Reach to clean a potato
as the handwritten letter falls limp and sops the wet counter.

Hold the tact stolen from my face in numb fingers
while some dirty grub spasms the muscles of my forearm.

In this newly stilled life, motivation turns deaf to the euphony
of nature—this spud, its synthesis with the other white meats

of earth. Clutch it and slowly adjust my grip as water muddies
the letter’s ink: love enters place, enters friends, enters…nothing.

Eyes fixate on the one potato in hand. Fingers tighten—
a tactical concerto—squeeze away the meaning of “hug.”


James Crizer studied theatre at Ole Miss and writing at Bowling Green. He lives northwest of Chicago where he works as an associate dean at College of Lake County. His poems appear in a variety of journals, including The Canary, New Orleans Review, Portland Review, The Pinch, and Washington Square. 

Megan Peak

Poetry, SPRING 2013


The neck of me glows hard, glares
long. Wreaths of hot breath shudder
each curve of your signature
down the length of my spine.

For ten months, warning signs
on the tips of your fingers:
black-boned, burnt tree, early blooms.

To speak nothing of the blow
……… to speak only of the view.

Around the ring of my eye,
a swollen lake, a shining fuse.
However it’s told, I was
delicate with all your things,
bought you bags of birdseed,
combed your hair, washed your sheets.

………..Even now, I don’t believe it:

what the door still does to me
when it shuts. How the body
is a corner backed into.

These months, blue-wrecked, but I was
delicate with all your things:
the aged window, spools of twine,
each chrysanthemum picked clean
of burrs. They were more like your
hands than your hands ever were.


Megan Peak currently lives in Columbus, Ohio and is enrolled in The Ohio State University’s MFA program. Her work has appeared in the anthology Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry and the online literary journal, The Bakery.