2019 Summer Exclusive

Featuring stories by Barbara Ganley, Kate Wisel, Laura Jok, and Alan Sincic: an essay by Kay Gram; poems by Francesca Bell, Dan Clark, Janice N. Harrington, Matt Prater, James McKee, Kathryn Jordan, Adam Tavel, Jacqueline Balderrama, Katie Pynotek, Maria Nazos, and Kerry James Evans. With art by Madara Mason and others.

Flight Lessons


by Barbara Ganley

Featured Art: “Holy Holy Holy” by Yan Sun


Because it’s Thursday, nearing five o’clock, Lucie is well into a doozie of a headache. Every week at this time little Jenny Baker hands her one as they sit side by side in the dining room and Jenny busily tortures the piano. She’s a narrow slip of a thing with a distracting, gum-baring smile made stranger today by a drift of tiny metallic stars sweeping across her cheeks like cosmic freckles.

Her orange high tops smack the stool’s taloned feet bapbap as she bludgeons the keys in an apparent heavy-metal version of “Long Long Ago.”

The piano, old and patient, takes it. Lucie, who is neither of those things, says, “A bit slower and softer now. See if you can find the melancholy.”

Read More

Just Like All the Girls

Read by the author.

by Francesca Bell

Featured Art: “The Sea of Memory and Forgetfulness” by Madara Mason

I always knew

a man waited for me somewhere
with hands that fit the particular curves
of my treacherous body.

Whether I watched for him or not.
Whether I believed.

Sometimes, in dreams, he entered me from above,
like a coffin lowered slowly into a grave.

Sometimes he held me hard from behind.

Read More

Elegy with Two Portraits

Read by the author.


by Dan Clark

Featured Art: “Basa de Maya” by Madara Mason


The priest swings a thurible. Incense,

swirling and nebulous, encircles the cremation urn.

A few feet away, a husband weeps.


He’s not thinking how Oregon came to fill the ocean

of itself, how island arcs docked like icebergs

against the Idaho shore, where Mesohippus,

diminutive proto-horse, grazed beneath the juniper.


He’s not considering how Oregon drifted through

several versions of itself—savanna, jungle, desert—

then settled for a time as a placid, inland lake.

Read More


Read by the author


by Janice N. Harrington

Featured Art: “Squall” by Madara Mason


My skin, my confessor, my cubicle,

scrivener, touch screen, touch-collector.

Frame and shawl and portmanteau. Wait,

wait, don’t go. The sun’s too high,

too hot. You’ll burn for sure.

Read More

Wind & Sand & Stars

Read by the author.


by Matt Prater

Featured Art: “Bull and Bird” by Madara Mason


There was a roaming troubadour in the years of maille & sword

who lunched on wild strawberries,

communing with the Lord.

But his creed was not dogmatic, & he didn’t bow the knee;

so found himself impaled by a roaming soldier, eventually,

when he would not sing the praises

of the ravenous Crusades. He held G-d

was the father of Muhammad & the Moors,

so went to Heaven softly, whispering amor.

Read More

Morning Commute with Revenant

Read by the author.


by James McKee

Featured Art by Courtney Bennett


You know how it is: going in to work,

Who looks at anything? You’re late, it’s cold,

hot, raining, no buses again, whatever.

You’re long past fighting this fast-forward blur,

pure A-to-B time, better numbed than bored.

Read More

Holding On Is [ ]

by Kay Gram

Featured Art: “Cradle of Kleptocracy” by Madara Mason


[arms & legs]


Be my arms and legs. You’re strong. You can do it! Mom would say. Mom’s body was small, fragile, needed time to move, moved differently than other bodies. I always thought she was beautiful. She was—blonde, blue eyed, narrow nose, all symmetrical. Mom had a determined presence that demanded respect and she had mastered the performance of a Eurocentric female beauty. Outfits were planned, makeup was worn, perfume was sprayed. We were late to everything. Sometimes she fell down. Read More

Northern Flicker

Read by the author.


by Kathryn Jordan

Featured Art: “Bird Notes” by Madara Mason


It hits the window like a woman being thrown

against a wall. “Must have been an owl,”

I say to my grown girl emerging Read More

Subject Matter Experts


by Laura Jok

Featured Art: “Untitled” by Elizabeth Boch


You are twenty-six. Donald Trump is running for president. The company that you consider your current employer sees you as more of a friend. The insurance plan that you bought for yourself is hilarious. There is a hole in your back molar about which you are not thinking, which is growing, about which you are not thinking, and you are in love with a stranger who can always be replaced, should he turn out to be a disappointment. You teach other people how to do their jobs like you are some kind of expert. Read More

Construction Paper Flags Tacked to a Primary School Bulletin Board

Read by the author.


by Adam Tavel

Featured Art: “Noise in the System” by Madara Mason


for my sons

This one has concentric frames
that on close inspection are
pink strips of floss. This one
swims inside itself, three shades
of blue. This one’s stripes
are dead calligraphy: R.I.P. Abuela,
R.I.P. Cousin Juan. This one grows
bored and morphs into a sketch
of a cartoon baseball twirling
its handlebar mustache.
This one begs God Bless. This one
has sticker pistols saying BANG.
This one’s wrists wear broken chains.
This one is lost inside the glitz
of caked-on glitter gold. This one
is impasto red on red that bled
on everything it touched. This one
has forty macaroni stars
and this one has the husk
of a dragonfly where stars
should be, its glue-gobbed wings
unstitching from the corpse.

Read More

Now in Color

Read by the author.


by Jacqueline Balderrama

Featured Art by Courtney Bennett


the migratory patterns of sheartail and warbler continue back and forth

       and on foot—the grey wolf,

                                                       the armadillo,

                                                                              the coyote.


Now paper, now papel—we learn to listen in different ways,

             at night, hear the floor vents empty their chamber of words,


and again, they ask for the source of me

                                                                    as if water could stop

                                                                    or would.

Read More

An Unordered List of the Not-Beautiful

Read by the author.


by Katie Pyontek

Featured Art by Courtney Bennett


Beauty depends on magnitude and order.
Hence a very small life cannot be beautiful,
for the view of it is confused.

 — Aristotle

Not the green bellies of hummingbirds, not

one set of wired bones shown behind glass.

Not the plump folds of tardigrades, not quarks,

not marbles on carpet, not pinhole stars.

Not the improbable orderliness

of ants, not feverfew or curls of hair,

not quick love notes left out on the counter.

Not a dozen kumquats, not an average

of six minutes. Not the intricate coils

of a snail’s shell, inching down the sidewalk.

Read More

After Hours


by Maria Nazos

Featured Art: “Illusion of My Studio” by Yan Sun


When I exited the stall, she was standing at the sink.

I knew her best from one night at the bar, when she’d said

my ex was handsome. Then asked whether I’d mind if she

called him later that night. I’d pressed my lips together

and said, go ahead, certain she held an unspoken malice

which young women carry into small towns. I’d moved

to the Cape to escape from my talent for tearing through

love, only to follow a trail of broken glass into every bar. Read More