BY Natasha Kessler


I have conceived a name for morning,
gathered babies from cribs
and placed them on window sills.

Wrapped in blankets, 
little dark stones.


Because our eyes are eggs, 
every time you blink
you give birth—

beautiful new birds.
When mine die falling,
they die falling.

:: :

The cat keeps
a repository of feathers
near the door.

It wipes feathers
from its mouth
before dipping its hands into me.

:: :: 

a quiet room
a quiet bed

a woman sinks
her children in the river. 


Ghost Ocean


Natasha Kessler is a graduate student in the University of Nebraska’s MFA program and she co-edits the online poetry journal Strange Machine. Her work has appeared in Sugar House Review, RealPoetik, Sixth Finch, and is forthcoming in Blue Mesa Review and Puerto del Sol. 

Buried Things

BY Theodosia Henney

I. Seeds

The gardener was comfortable with seeds, complacent bits that remained in the furrows, embryonic. Plants, with opulent displays and demanding personalities, struck the gardener as obnoxious. His wife had loved the brightness of petals; she stripped all the flowers in the garden the night she went, stuffing the pockets of her nightgown with satin tongues. They spilled as she walked, and in the morning the gardener had followed the trail, where he found others moored like small boats at the bank of the river. 

Each year the gardener's neighbors found their doorsteps heaped with hastily cut stems just beginning to bloom, color hot and urgent beneath clasped green. They wondered if perhaps the gardener's meek children, always dressed in somber clothes, were the ones who cut them so early, casting them out before they flowered.

II. Petals

The gardener's children adored the flowers, hated the tool shed, and would never say why. They crept, silent as vines, into the garden each night after the lamps had been blown out, to bury their fingers into the earth at the roots of the stalks. One night, the gardener woke with a start and charged outside. The children were kneeling in the dirt, gray flannel nightclothes drawn up to their thighs. Gathering them in a herd, the gardener could not meet his children’s eyes as he locked them inside the tool shed. He slept at the river that night, head in his hands and knees drawn to his chest—small and still as a buried thing, set deep into the cold clay of the bank.

When morning came the children were gone. The padlock, heavy and thick as a heart, hung untouched on the door; there were no new holes in the shed, no missing planks. All the flowers in the garden had bloomed overnight.


Theodosia Henney is a queer lady from a conservative state, most recently employed as an art model and flying trapeze instructor. When not practicing handstands, she can usually be found reading in a hammock. She has work forthcoming in the Allegheny Review and the Vestal Review

Take Me out Drowning

BY Sara Lier

I’ll put on a wavy old record
and walk in with my hips swaying.
This city isn’t big enough
for all the things I want,

but the ocean—that can swallow me
like the last of a drink, coax in
its Billie Holiday voice to let it
do all the breathing.

When you take me out drowning
I will wear a red dress.
My hair will lift and swirl underwater
like sugar dissolving in tea.

The ocean will serenade us
about heartache, bad men, Manhattan,
its own vast moonlit blues.
It’ll roll us in its mouth.

And when I’ve had too much brine
and become sentimental,
you and it will both say
shh to me.


I am the last place left.
I am harder than when you tasted me,
and I have spent more time with the sea.
I am brine-laced and bitter, burn going down.

I am harder than when you tasted me;
that is to be expected.
I am brine-laced and bitter burn. Going down
into my ratty underground, remember

that. Is it to be expected—
the erosion, tides like pantylines?
In my ratty underground, remember
not all of me but what you loved best:

the erosion, tides like pantylines.
I am not metrical, an easy sell. Sweet talk
not all of me but what you loved best.
I will earthquake off the rest.

I am not metrical. An easy sell: sweet talk
my moles and hair growth, how the palmlines have changed.
I will earthquake off the rest.
I will burn down this pasteboard body. Still, you will come back.

My moles and hair grow, how the palmlines have changed
as I have spent more time with the sea.
I will burn down. This pasteboard body still. You will come back.
I am the last place left.


Sara Lier is a student currently living in New Jersey. Her poetry has recently appeared in Inkwell Journal, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Conte, So to Speak, and Cloudbank. 

The Poem Ends

BY B.C. Mitchell

A chestnut stallion canters by
your window, flanks scrunching,
sweat-flecked, hooves
wet from field-flung mud. The grass
is coarse beneath him, scrub-bunched
with sawtooth strawflowers, and before
his musky hay-scent greets
your nose, in half a twitch, he’s
past. The poem ends.

But does the horse? Crane your neck a little, squeeze
your cheek against the glass and really look.

Perhaps he met a farmer, leather-grizzled
but smiling all five teeth, all white teeth, no
teeth. Wearing clean overalls or faded overhauls.

Or a sandy-haired boy, waving laughter full
of carrots, or cruelty, a hidden stick rough-knobbed
but worn finger-smooth at the grip.

Or a slow-sidled mare, nickering, lip-nipping
up his crest, or a foal, a filly, a frightened cow, nudging
none or each, pulsing warmth in heartbeats.

A life of or. A giggling girl in braids, or loose
haired, loose-bodied, sliding rawhide boots halfway up
her calf. A red barn, green barn, green
tractor, John Deere’s horse flying
past your window, past pine trees, ash,
a mill, well, Chevy pickup, a 1972 Mustang
wheel-well rusted black and peeling
white. Look closer.

Gaze into the pane until it creaks,
until it hurts, bone grating skin, teeth digging
blood-dimples in your cheeks. Taste
that life beyond the borders, through the eggshell
walls, and write it down. Or step outside.


B.C. Mitchell starts his MFA at Georgia College and State University in fall 2011 and will soon live in Milledgeville. His poetry and/or flash prose appears or will appear in The MacGuffin, the Avery Anthology, OVS Magazine, and others. He likes iambic on the sly and tends to watch the rain.

And Into the Poem

BY Michael Bagwell


the storm put its lips to the hollowed-out
section of my chest and pulled in its lungs
to produce a long, clear note.

I have filed there, images of organs—
pen-scrawls of dense weed on cardboard—
in rows arranged like a harmonica
so that the wind can play the blues.


a stillness, wet like the skeletons of drowned men,
seeps through these open petals
and deposits itself in cold drops
like whole histories of mankind
at the tattered edges of cardboard
just below my skin.


there is awe.




together we trained a mirror and drank more
than the dark unveiled. the small objects,
the tangled blades of grass, the unknowable stalks,
slipped like outstretched sinews from our tongues.


Michael Bagwell lives and writes in West Chester, Pennsylvania. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Dark Sky Magazine, Breadcrumb Scabs, Short, Fast and Deadly, and Collective Fallout, among others. 

[ the first fox /// reburned ]

BY J.A. Tyler

The first fox makes me remember the first house, which was the house I built when I arrived, when the sky opened or it was my eyes and there were these woods. I was in them. There were mountains and the following of a river, the first fox walking alongside me, a pretend-brother. 

In these woods what I remember most was the feeling of being alive, even though I don’t believe in these death-dreams. I believe in the bark on trees. I believe in the stillness of air. I believe in birds calling above me or down, even when I cannot understand their message. 

These woods are a difficult place. These woods are a haunting. In these lost woods, I am remote.

The first house was made of trees. I used an axe. I used a saw. This first house was the forest felled and I made walls. I made walls and a floor and a ceiling to hold above my head. I made a chimney for the first snow and gutters for the rain. I gave the first house a first porch so that I could stand upon it, look out from it, see the ring of lost woods surrounding me and gesture at its fox-lined interior. 

In these woods, in this first house.

When I call, the word comes out Disbelief.

My brother was deer-hooves, my brother was antlers. My brother was possessed with a message and the message was that I was dying, though I still do not believe him. When I was a deer and we were a herd, we chased the river through these woods, knowing every branch and lichened-rock. This was us as deer-children, ears cocked to a breakdown of light. This was our deer-ancestry, our deer-childhood. My brother, his dear face.

In these woods, my brother has not returned. He left his message and was gone. When I looked from the note to his face, his face had turned the color of sky. He had disappeared and I was left to weep deer-tears from the side of unbrothering.

In these woods, there are no directions.

I stood on the porch of my first house, before it had burned down, and the first fox crept into my head. He was quick, this fox, and though he wanted to be a brother and pretended as best he could, he was a fox, and a fox is never a deer-brother. A fox can only want to be and fail. This is how the world starts on fire. This is how foxes burn.

That fox inside of my head was the first fix, an instant of death-dreams unwound. I invited him in to play catch with honey on our tongues, and we held deer-hoof in fox-paw, we felt the fires rise up around us. This first house, these lost woods, the first fox and my gone-lost deer-brother. We burned down in a lack of knowing.

In these woods, sometimes there are only weeping flames. 

Dear Brother: When was the last time you remember us playing through this river? It was yesterday, a lifetime long, and inside of the river were reflections, and I was unafraid. Do you remember what that was like, to be running, to be deer-brothers? 


J. A. Tyler’s most recent book A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed is now available from Fugue State Press. His forthcoming titles include The Zoo, A Going (Dzanc Books) and, with John Dermot Woods, the image / text novel No One Told Me I Would Disappear (Jaded Ibis Press). He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious Press. For more, visit:

from The Point

BY Tyler Flynn Dorholt

The point of liking is the point. In particular, anticipation is invisible if I say hey before kissing you or ask you if you’ll join me outside. Liken it—the drive—to being speechless. Liken the fortification of my inflection to slowly removing the scarf in a pace from which your nape shivers then smoothes back into the blood. Specific enough, this non-conversation, though mega too, the bones uneven and again this skin as water these bones as rocks the absence as sky. It’s simple, or it develops like denial in the throat to cover us outside of surplus. And I like you; I unpack my restless references to start a word out in the refinery of lips.

* * *

The point of sameness is the point. In particular, you look too local for the vacation to mean anything. I actually want you with all of your clothes on and the cluster of an outline I will spend all night training myself to replicate with acrylics. Reference is the thing upon which knowledge surfaces, the thing speaking reciprocates. That dress looks miles away from its fabric’s source. Laughing ourselves into consumption, valuing landscapes by taking the outside table to talk to ourselves, we song here too. I will handwrite distance for you. Our lakes line up our river will be consulted from the moment in which I say I, meaning us. Cities, at closeness, know how many breathers they hold indoors. It’s just that they lose them when they must choose themselves.


Tyler Flynn Dorholt is the author of the chapbooks Dog the Man a Star (Scantily Clad Press, 2009) and the forthcoming What I Cannot Recall (Greying Ghost). He is the co-founder and editor of the print journal Tammy. More work can be traced at He lives in Manhattan.