BY Brian D. Morrison

Consider the trees’

shade as curtains,
thin shadows 

that light has
pocketed. Consider 

your skin become
aware of itself, 

soft as loam from so
many washings

of so many snappings. 
Consider the cut 

of opposite bodies
inside a body, 

limbs and leaves
in rot and falling. 

Consider a sun content
with a hot, flat sky 

that doesn’t give a damn
about your sweat, 

about what dies, what leaks
to the root. Consider 

the darker water,
the space that wants

to eat you. Space
you’ve given a mouth.

Stranger, Because You Flinch

I’ve tied you to a chair because the chair is, 
at the moment, at rest. 

                    Watch, settle. We’re together if we’re
meant to be, but the ghosts, Stranger, 

          are deeper here. The strings that hang them hold
way down. All I’ve needed is peace 

from your arms, but your arms have shied. No, 
not yet: I cannot allow you 

your fussing; our quiver isn’t finished.
                    Are you warm enough? If fear, then fire—

we know this. And here, all drench
                              is wasted. Not for us. Here, 

there is kindling and matchstick, 
                    sulfur ready to rise. Not one lip of wet

          to taste. Listen closely, these ghosts
have eyes. With me now, 

relax; all we have is our depth—
                    the smoke wet in our mouths, yes? I promise: 

you struggle, I’ll strike. Shiver, will you, 
                              once? The strings I’ve anchored 

will not sever—these ghosts know fire
                                        only by the fuss.


Ghost Ocean


Brian D. Morrison is an Event Coordinator for Slash Pine Press and an Instructor of English at the University of Alabama. His work has recently been published in Margie, Fourteen Hills, and Cider Press Review, among others.

The Lost Lunar Beekeeper

BY Erin Lyndal Martin

I am not like them.
I keep bees on the moon.

At night I dismantle
my favorite machines
making a guidebook.

Their eaves
unzip the trench fever, 
a burial live as wool.

Seas of tranquility, of

what can a body
gain from hives
built above the sun?

Wintry lake, fecundity,
fear, a drop in every
pocked hull of rock.

Little heart, honey-pot,
sateen pin-cushion,
tiny like a footstool.

The moon in summer
witnesses your scorn,
brands you yeoman of something new.

I wish a sleepy flower
would hush me,
the speech of birds.

The moon a map of haunted houses,
carnivalesque. Cicadas in gauze click
like castanets. Stung hands and lily-feet,
I was the bravest of the savages.

I wish there were smoke.
Then I could wake the bees.

How I write you this,
how you don’t write me back.

Fool, the honey is mine.
But so is the dark.   


Erin Lyndal Martin is the associate fiction editor at H_ngm_n. Her poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and music journalism have appeared widely.

How to Get a Biopsy

BY Zana Previti

Option I. 
Go into a small, poorly lit room. Take off your shirt, your brait's cold! And embarrassing, a little. Wish you were skinnier. Lift the skin of your stomach and hold it in your hands. Imagine yourself dead and corpse-like. Hope to be a skinny corpse, at least. Hope that people see your body and think, how tragic, what a beautiful woman. Watch as they swab a brown circle of iodine onto your skin: Watch, too, as a line of it trickles beneath the waistband of your pants. Wince at the growing stain. Endure first the standard needle, then the larger, hollow needle. Remember to inhale. Recline. Exhale. Put your clothes on, go back to an empty house and eat cereal. Honey Nut Cheerios. Four bowls of it. Turn on the home improvement channel, in which very happy men and women take splitting mauls and sledgehammers to their own homes. Turn off/unplug your telephone. Drink beer until passed out on the couch. Wait. 

Option II. 
Google "breast cancer." Investigate homeopathic remedies. In the mornings, combine coconut oil, acai, flaxseed, blueberries, almond butter, wheatgrass, hemp milk, and a banana in a blender. Drink it. Purchase a bracelet with magnets. Purchase two, wear one on each wrist. Visit an acupuncturist. Begin a daily yoga practice. Meditate, twice a day, holding beads you buy at a store called The Chakra Shack. Shave your head. Become religious. Forsake all Gods but one. 

Option III. 
Break the "no-pets" rule. Adopt a rescued Greyhound. Name it "David." Adopt a kitten small enough to sleep in the palms of cupped hands. Name it "Goliath." Allow Goliath to run behind and bite the heels of David; allow David to sleep in the bed; allow yourself to stare, for fifteen minutes a day, at your own naked chest and will it away and out of you. 

Option IV. 
Proclaim your innocence. Throw books against the wall of your living room. Escalate: throw canned goods against the wall of your kitchen. Escalate: throw plates, glasses, and ceramic pitchers. Escalate: throw them at your ex-husband. Escalate: throw them at your daughters. Protest your innocence. Do not speak. Do not speak a word. 

Option V. 
Schedule it. Schedule it as you would a dentist appointment. Schedule it for early on a Saturday afternoon, when you know you will be free, when you will have dropped the girls off at their father's for the weekend. Schedule it as you would your car's required maintenance. Schedule it as you would a visit to the hair salon. As you would a meeting with your daughter's preschool teacher to explain why it is that your daughter bites other children. Why does your daughter bite other children? 

Option VI. 
Go shopping. Buy a wool sweater that hangs nearly to your knees, the kind of thing you wore when you were pregnant. Wear the sweater for at least three days in a row. Do not ask yourself why. Do not ask questions that have no answers. Do not ask questions. 

Option VII. 
Wonder, if a tumor grows in the forest and no one is there to biopsy it, does the forest fear death? 




Zana Previti was born and raised in New England. Currently, she is a student at the University of California, Irvine's MFA Program in Fiction, where she is at work on her first novel. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The Coachella Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and The Los Angeles Review. 


BY Brandon Getz

Dogwood pollen clumps with rainwater on the sidewalk, 
and we leave a trail of yellow footprints. You reach
for a low branch, behead a single white
blossom, press the petals to my hand and say, Smell that? 
Like sex in a rainstorm. 

My grandmother grew dogwoods along her driveway. 
In her trailer, nailed to wood paneling above ceramic icons
of the Virgin and pastel plastic Easter eggs, hung a plaque with a myth
about dogwoods, how they once grew like sequoias
along the Jordan River, cut and planed by Roman carpenters
into props for executions, until Crucifixion, when God
damned the trees & shrunk their limbs and bodies. And you 

ask if the last thing Christ took to hell in olfactory memory
was dogwood blossoms, that pregnant scent in the woodgrain, 
pale flowers shed up and down the hill, a final reminder
of everything human. 


Brandon Getz serves coffee at a hipster Pittsburgh cafe after spending 5 months drinking wine and writing in Buenos Aires. He has his MFA from Eastern Washington University, and his fiction has been published in Versal.  

We Are the Flies You See at Night

BY Alexander York

When I sleep the walls move closer.
When I dream the walls turn to blood.
Once I'm covered in blood the house
falls apart like ice disintegrating
in the sun. And when the sun collapses
I burst into a thousand burdened flies,
and all of us hum along together while
we find new houses to dream in.


Alexander York is a Chicago writer and poet as well as a Sagittarius, which currently states there to be a strong desire for friends. While he doesn’t want to sound too needy, he still wants to be your friend and hopes you’ll checkout his forthcoming chapbook The Vanity House, soon to be released by Tree Light Books. Some of his work can be found in Another Chicago Magazine, Word Riot, and The Madison Review. 

your provenance

BY Timothy Snediker

"oh let me remember you as you were before you existed"
                                        Pablo Neruda

I saw you that night on the bluffs
the lantern lit up your legs
your firm tummy your stringy hair

drawing the photons in you were sucking
the light up with each breath
you got so bright
you were gone over the edge

in free fall
dangling in atmosphere

the water caught you
and I heard you
laughing like a china set striking linoleum


Timothy Snediker is made of stars and fingers of whiskey.

In Review

How Tightly We are Wound: a look at By Deer Light



Garth Graeper, By Deer Light. Greying Ghost, 2011. handmade, edition of 120. 

In By Deer Light, Garth Graeper challenges readers to accept a premise of conflicting duality by launching into the natural juxtaposition of tenderness and pain. He uses nature’s violence and human tragedy to pull us into the speaker’s chafed mind where “the heat awakens animals in us / calls them to do / things they think / we don't know about.” Graeper shows us how our rational mind allows the animal within to rise and lead us to the dark places we’d otherwise fear to go.

He pauses and grounds us in an image: brothers, a sinking house, a light-ripped forest, an iceberg, and then he leaps. And leaps again, our gut clenching as we are suddenly surrounded by headless children in “The Tunnel” or a family suffocated by fire in “The Park.”  Extreme leaps connected by the barest threads: colors, animals, or even a single resonant sound, like that “of a tongue / bitten off.” Graeper builds tensions with tight, surreal imagery and an inclusive ‘we’ persona that tugs us along and allows only a moment of impact and reflection before we are thrust forward again:

We become both rash and insecure as the constant violence of motion, painful separations, and reconciliations puts a raw edge on our emotions. In “The Woods,” we meet a wounded fox with siblings living in her chest, and we abort them bare-handed, “twist[ing] / their little necks.” Why? We kill “so she can breathe,” and we live the consequences of this killing only briefly. Because now we are a tree, a mountain, a chest cavity, a searchlight sweeping. 

Soon, we are waking animals in winter. And we are rarely alone. Soon, we are intimately connected to the recurring images and internal conflict of the book. “The Park” describes a moment in which the ‘we’ splits, and the resulting ‘you’ cannot even fit into its own body. That feeling of disconnect, of vulnerability and loss draws us in and holds us in the heart of the poem. That moment of naked loneliness and others like it allow us to join the speaker and delve into our selves.

By the end of Garth Graeper’s By Deer Light, we begin to understand how tightly we are wound. We learn how divided we are, how painfully our halves collide, and how necessary each collision is.

—B.C. Mitchell




B.C. Mitchell is an intern at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His poetry can be read in Issue 6 of Ghost Ocean, among other journals.