by Donal Mahoney

In the waiting room, I squeeze 
this old rosary a nun gave me 
the day I got back from Iraq.

I was still in a daze on a gurney
and I still had sand in my hair.
Some of it remains, no matter 

how many showers I take. 
Sand from Iraq lingers, I'm told,
until you go bald, and then

you are able to concentrate
on other things.
What might they be, I wonder.

But today, in this waiting room,
I squeeze the rosary tighter  
when I hear, louder than 

the gunshots crackling in my dreams, 
the real screams of that little boy 
right over there, the one who's 

rapped his elbow off the radiator.
Lord, listen to him scream! 
Each week he comes with his mother 

for her follow-up appointment. 
He sounds like the jet 
that takes me back at night

to that little village in Iraq
where the sand puffs up  
in mushroom clouds

above the bullets
as the children scream 
in their hovels louder 

than that little boy  
screaming over there.
Maybe everyone 

in this waiting room
listening to him scream  
can come with me now 

to that village in Iraq.
Sitting here, I know 
that boy's pain so well 

that in my fist 
this rosary no longer
knows my prayers.




by Emily O'Neill

The boy with the broken wrist sits
at the lake's edge trying to curl
his fingers into a fist . The fingers won't
make it past the plaster.  He'd like to know
he could still defend himself.

The girl with the phases of the moon
tattooed on her chest lets the ends of her hair trail
across the tops of her knees and says, "Baby."
Nothing else. Just, "Baby."
The boy stops moving.

He can see an entire month of sky strung
along her collarbone; in the dark
it looks like the crescent press of fingernails into palm,
so he places his palm on the space between her breasts,
reaches fingers for the weeks above them. She stares
at his thumb hooked under the curve of her
like a scythe. The plaster
cast makes her itch.

He reaches for blood.
Her heart murmurs.
He feels the hiccup, calls it
a ripple in the sky. If the boy could break
anything beautiful, it would be this moment.

The moon is not out this night.  The lake
takes its place, a large silvery silence
they can toe the rim of,
fall through, drown in.


The Memory of Light

by Jay Coral

Lucy snapped a self portrait
on the bathroom mirror
some said her irises were too slow
to react to the blinding flash
she was wide-eyed
to the ovoid clock
that melted at 3:00 a.m.
the white walls behind her
were warped like rippling waves
and the shake of the camera
produced an oblique double
some said it looked like her mother.



by Joan McNerney

there is a
witch living
on the corner
where the four
roads meet.
Her eye is
evil, her
nose crooked.

She lays down
the tarot
with wrinkled

Asks "do you wish
tea of wormwood
or henbane?"

She will enchant
your mind now
into fields of
wild roses.




by Joshua Otto


Everywhere she strolls
lifting ancient tides
Seemingly to wait
only to disembark beyond
the least logical terminals
She approximates unlikely
ends with a shelled unwillingness of
method repeated as death claims
To be a matter of shifting papers  
consciousness become infinitely small
Paralyzed by her deafening sleep
a stillness originally meant nothing
Before fire was
the mad text of space
Called her to care and be
sacred for us




by Lisa McCool-Grime


From the phrenologist, I have learned
to know myself as a country
knows its fences and rivers.
See the chart colored
like a map:  the fissures, the swell
of organ tissue underneath
my scalp. These little hills
at the corner of my eyes
hold all the numbers
I have been thus far.
I am thirty and full
(feel the dormant volcano
at the base of my skull)
of wanting for someone to bless me
with touch. When I called
on the doctor, it was all metal
to sternum, plastic
to pulse and me
under the paper sheet
like a fruit fly under plate glass.
What good are his stirrups
for my heels? I should find my head
in the skilled hands
of a geographer, a man
who knows how basins came
to lie among the ridges of my crown.
When I call on the phrenologist,
he stands behind me as I sit,
nestles my occipital bone
to his navel and runs
a ringless ring finger
along my cheek, a sign
of peace across my brow.



Under the Yoke of Inauspicious Stars

by Nancy Flynn

You burn me,
a bundle of duty,
a pietà limp,
acute angle
in your arms.
We blaze
through Orion,
beyond Virgo
one more night
by the strip mine,
our backs a trail
along the strut
of the empty
water tank—
69 painted white
on its towering rust.
That’s what
goes on here.
But not now, not us.
The valley below alit,
a nameless constellation
of lights, daytime’s ugly
gussied up.
We hold hands,
your voice a precious
rumble, pea coal raked
as you speak
of saints and hate
and those who would
shut us off from God.
Our innocence held taut,
flamboyant in itself.
Neither of us brave
enough to climb skyward,
to banshee our longings
loud above the grim
bottomless gash.



Death of a Slinky

by Natalie Angelone

I watch my slinky somersault down the stairs. Reaching the bottom he plummets to the side. I pick him up and wrap him around my body. I pull the perfect plastic ringlets tightly apart. I dance around in a heavenly tango until I hear a snap. The slinky retracts from my hand in a repulsive urgency and spins ten times around my body to release itself before slapping my other hand. Panic flows in my blood as I pick up his lifeless shape. His tangled limbs are locked like a pair of handcuffs. I start forcefully pulling and pushing the rings inside and outside of each other. “Don’t do this to me,” I growl. Four hours later my fingers are swollen and burn from the threading through each labyrinth of his death. I stop. The slinky is limp in my lap. I wish he would yell at me, tell me he’s mad at me so I could beg for his forgiveness. I wish he would hit me; coil into a python’s defense and strike me.  But he does nothing. His silent wraps around me and chokes my muffled guilt. But then I think about how he hurt me. I stare at my hand that he slapped. Instead of seeing his body as a link of golden halos’, I see they are all hoops of fire that he made me jump through. I lean into all his circles of hell and whisper, “You slut.”

Dear Student, because you are dead,

by Nathan Lipps

there is an empty table that no one
will set. The time and place
is up to you. You are the mended
center piece. The 7.95 for a book
in its prime. You were
the words scratched above urinals.
You, dear, are the smell
of candles snuffed, of curtains
torn by huffing winds.
I sin everyday
to your name. I dance
in my towel, almost naked.
Clean water falling from my body
to the bare floor. Every drip,
every heel kick, is a nod
towards your granular scars
and red blooded taste.   


Autumn Cannibalism

(after the painting by Salvador Dalí, 1936)

by Neil Ellman

When there is nothing left to eat
But your own conscience
(A delicacy of a kind)
Etiquette requires
That the women choose first
That the proper utensils be used
Spoon fork and carving knife
A napkin on the lap
To ensure civility.
It is a simple repast:
A stew of half-eaten body parts
A mélange of squabbles and feuds
Centuries old
(Too ancient to remember why)
Coming to this November meal.
“The thigh is best,” says one,
“Especially rare
Full of flavor and revenge.”
It is best in the autumn
When we feast
On the remains of dignity.

Red Within

by Steve Toase

When Red Riding Hood felt the leaves of the wood brush 
against the inside of her ribs 
she was confused and not a little frightened.
She was not the devourer.  Her teeth were neither big or sharp, but small and pearl like.
Yet still from deep within 
she felt the breeze stir the branches of large, ancient pines.

When Red Riding Hood felt the footsteps 
walk deep inside her a chill spread through marrow and nerve alike.
Another was the consumer.  Her appetite was small and human 
flesh not to her taste.
Yet she recognised the shuffling footsteps of one who told dark tales of her own, 
with Red Riding Hood cocooned on her knee.

When Red Riding Hood heard the howl echo inside her 
she felt faint and took to her bed, 
then a smile crossed her face.
Maybe victory was hers, the tearer of flesh torn asunder himself.
Yet she felt needle pointed teeth bite and feast from within.

When Red Riding Hood saw the sparks from the axe sharpened 
against her heart, 
she closed her eyes to the starbursts of iron.
She didn't feel engorged, 
her skin neither strained nor stretched
Yet she could feel the 
as the cuts winnowed her away.

When Red Riding Hood tasted the woodsmoke and scorched fur on her tongue 
she cried tears of pure glass
The words caressed her throat and ate the breath 
until they flowed out of her mouth.
“Once upon a time, there was a little darling damsel, whom everybody loved that looked upon her”

El Chupacabra

by William Page


It’s never taken alive, though in life they
say it leaves a scent of putrid death. 
The triangular bite it’s said to leave 
on the breast of prey priests say 
blasphemes the Holy Trinity. Without
fur or hair, its skin is smooth and usually gray 
except for white amphibian scales rising 
along its spine. Like ghosts it has no eyelids. 
The eyes it’s written burn with fire, though  
others swear they’re really moving silver mirrors.
At its rear is a thick python’s tail. Its mouth
is fish-shaped but with long fangs and spiked
teeth that tear blood-sucked victims to shreds.   
According to some accounts of those who’ve 
heard of those who claim they’ve seen it,
the monster’s forelegs are thin and shaped 
like a small child’s arms, and at its wrists 
are baby’s hands with claws. From 
its dog-like snout long gray hairs grow, 
and wreaths of smoke ensue say some
from its tiny but flared red nostrils. 
The skin upon its hidden belly is black, but its 
back and sides are gray, almost blue as bruises. 
All who claim to have been so fearless
as to slay the night stalking creature swear
its black tongue is marked with red crosses. 
It’s been reported by Boy Scouts, 
sworn to tell the truth, they’ve heard 
in thick brush its squeals like a butchered pig’s.
Its ears are long and sharply pointed said
a lady whose cat she cried was eviscerated 
while she watched horrified from her kitchen window.
She testified it left a smell of sulfur when it fled.
Even if the Chupacabra’s shot or poisoned 
farmers tell it doesn’t cease twitching its limbs 
until all the blood it’s sucked from goats and sheep, 
and sometimes from deer or calves wandered from 
their mothers lowing in the dark, puddles from its mouth
wide into a small pond. We must keep our children safe
inside and look for fearsome tracks, its rear feet like
a large dog’s, its front a child’s hands with claws.


contributor bios

Donal Mahoney has had poems published in Phantom Kangaroo and other publications in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

As a child, Emily O'Neill spent most of her time telling mistruths; in some sense, she has always been a storyteller. She studied creative writing at Hampshire College, where her thesis work included a novella about a lake town of hungry ghosts and a poetry collection called Quiet is a Brand of Noise. She recently returned to her beloved New England from an East Coast tour where her poems stretched their legs on stages from Portland to Orlando.

Jay Coral thinks he knows where the ducks in the pond go during the winter. Ask him, he dares you to ask him. He blogs occassionally at

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, 63 channels, Spectrum, and three Bright Spring Press Anthologies. Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky, A.P.D., Albany, New York.

Joshua Otto is an itinerant who's interested in the reflections of teams, and new translations of Spanish-American poetry as forms of extreme patriotism.  He currently lives with ducks in North Portland, Oregon.

Khalym Kari Burke-Thomas beats dead sticks with horses. His work appears in New Wave Vomit, DOGZPLOT, and He is majoring in Asian Languages and Cultures at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where he also serves as Assistant to the Director of the Trias Residency for Writers. He "blogs" over at Moon Prism Power.

Lisa McCool-Grime loves Sappho, collaborations and wallflower women. Her publications include Splinter Generation. Her collaborative work with Nancy Flynn can be read at Poemeleon. Tupelo press awarded one of her Sappho-inspired poems first place in their Fragments of Sappho contest.

Megan Kennedy has been forging dark art for over ten years, and hopes one day it will make her an oracle. Her work has been featured in SNAP! and Vicious Magazine, Fantastic Horror Magazine, as the cover art for numerous local and international bands, as well as an upcoming release from Random House Australia. 

Nancy Flynn hails from the coal country of northeastern Pennsylvania. Her writing’s received the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. Her poetry chapbook, The Hours of Us, was published in 2007. In a past life, she’s certain she was an art colony bohemian, an Irish peasant, or—why not?—Cleopatra! A former university administrator, she now writes creatively and edits carefully from her sea-green (according to Crayola) house near lovely Alberta Park in Portland, Oregon. More at

Natalie Angelone is an English major and writing and communication minor at Concordia University St. Paul, MN.

Nathan Lipps spent his childhood in the fields and forests along the coast of Lake Michigan. He is currently an MFA student at Wichita State University, where he also teaches. 

Neil Ellman lives and writes in New Jersey, but his poetry, including five chapbooks of ekphrastic works, appears throughout the world.  For more details, he can be Googled, but please note that he is not the Neil Ellman who is the accountant, professional arm wrestler, or drag queen.  He is the other one.

Steve Toase is a writer and archaeologist who lives in North Yorkshire, England and occasionally Munich, Germany. For the past eighteen months he has been sending out little ghosts disguised as stories to haunt various online magazines such as Cafe Irreal, Street Cake Magazine, nthposition and Byker Books. So far twelve have found new homes in the wider world. When not writing Steve spends his time trying to keep old British motorbikes on the road. Occasionally he succeeds. To read more of Steve's work please visit

William Page’s poems have appeared widely in such print and e journals as THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, SOUTHWEST REVIEW, THE SEWANEE REVIEW, RATTLE, and THE PEDESTAL. He is founding editor of THE PINCH and has published four collections of poems including the award winning BODIES NOT OUR OWN and WILLIAM PAGE GREATEST HITS 1970-2000 from Pudding House Publications in Ohio.