my mistake, i brought the soul in my sweaters
a few spirits and he was courteous enough
to free me of my trappings. we discussed the tastelessness of gin
splashing our intangible abdomens,
how there is not much to do in death
and life but howl at the heavens, and the chore
of levitating pianos. he animated my wellingtons for kicks
and we admired my body wrapped in warm sheets.
soon amassed a littered mob of specters, and they haggled
over myself, cursing each other like witches on a pyre,
covetous of my fingerprints. “Don’t,” i pleaded but their wan
figures snaked up my ankles and lashed at my chest
“Are you sure?” said pallid Tantalus, “Hysteria suits you.”

Anastasia Chew is an eighteen year old vagabond who has completed several halves of novels and often forgets to eat. Despite these non-accomplishments, a jazz ensemble serenades her every morning en route to the subway.


Darker Days

80, 90 miles per hour means nothing to me.
Remember tracing my skin with mother’s kitchen cutlery,
seeing how much it’d take to fill up the sink.
Had a gun aimed at my face without the instinct to blink.
I’ve had hands gripped ’round my throat,
and underneath my Sunday school dress.
He took from me and left nothing,
but I have made it through with much less.

Born in Boston, MA and raised in Savannah, GA, Cheri Anne’s speech is divided as well as every other aspect of her outlook. As a trolley tour guide by day and student/writer by night, her super powers tend to be most drained. She’s never really understood “courtesy” or “hospitality” anyway. She lives a double life shrouded by science and mapped pamphlets where she can only think in verse. She has been published by TUCK magazine as the first contributor to be published under both categories within the same issue, and by Pill Hill Press, Wicked East Press, and Danse Macabre du Jour magazine.


Subject: Flying Saucers, Information Concerning

"Circular in shape with raised centers
Approximately 50 feet in diameter"

Like lightning drawn to lightning rod
Errant in their tribal, Platonic descent
"It is believed the radar interferes
With the controlling mechanism [sic]"

A trinity of craft, of corpse, thrice
Found in desert Roswell’s isotopic sand
"Each one was occupied by three bodies
of human shape but only 3 feet tall"

Some ragged virtue flickers on the
torn edge of an antique sci-fi film,
"Dressed in metallic cloth
Of a very fine texture"

Nuclear Alamogordo, Oak Ridge to Los Alamos;
Now Roswell: center of the conspiracy
"That three so-called flying saucers
Had been recovered in New Mexico"

Home of 25,000 Anasazi sites:
Ancient civilization, atomic detonation, and then
"DATE: MARCH 22, 1950

Released, finally, by the FBI—
You want to believe? Well Mulder,
this shit is real.

Adapted from a 1950 memo made public by the FBI last year. It can be found at http://vault.fbi.gov/hottel_guy.

Emory Bell studies Creative Writing and Physics at Emory University. He watches too much scifi and cannot keep a clean desk.

It's hard to have conversations

you take 4 to 6 hits a night
(single-malt scotch,little ice, no water)
I suck on rock salt
tell you I saw Ted Bundy
in the deli section of the grocery store
this morning and he saw me
with those glassy shark eyes
and he stood behind me in the check-out line
reading my name & address off my check so close
I could smell the incense of Old Sparky in his hair —
it is not all that different
from the smell of your cigar




Hillary Lyon is editor for the small press poetry journals The Laughing Dog, and Veil: Journal of Darker Musings. She holds a BS from the University of Texas and an MA in Literature from SMU. Her work has appeared in EOAGH, Shadow Train, Poetry Northwest, From the Depths, and Shot Glass Journal, among others. She lives in Southern Arizona.




Violet’s father shoots grackles in the backyard to keep them from taking over the garden. Violet likes to collect the bodies. She sent for a small colony of flesh-eating beetles to clean the bones. Graveyard beetles, she calls them, and she keeps them in the bottom drawer of a dresser in the basement. When the bird skeletons are lily-white she mounts them on folded cardboard. She’s memorized the names of all the bones in a bird’s body. Summer afternoons she likes to draw in the coloring book of North American Birds she won at the Science Fair. There’s a key at the side of each page with recommended colors for realistic-looking birds. But she likes to fill in the blank spaces with bone structure or organs. The bones are neatly labeled and the organs are colored the way she saw them when she watched the beetles cleaning. If she feels like coloring, she has some blood saved in small bottles. It turns into a perfect color that she can use for the reddish-brown parts, like the rufous throat and chin of the cliff swallow, or the rusty breast of the marsh wren. In a small gold box that was her mother’s, she saves all of the eyes.

Jeanie Tomasko is the author of two books of poetry, Sharp as Want (Little Eagle Press) and Tricks of Light (Parallel Press.) She lives in Wisconsin where all kinds of creepy things happen.


The Voodoo of Reverse

I rake my fingers through my hair,
pull out long strands with the tangles,
let them sail out on the wind,
my left hand splayed out the driver’s side window.

Despite comparisons
to gold
and cornsilk
the hairs drop and blend, camouflaged,
into cobwebs
and dry leaves.

On the block
where you live
I let fly a fist-
ful.  Not voodoo,
willing you to come
to me.

More like the reverse.

Like handing you the
secret key to
my control.

Control my key secret.
Me to come to you willing.
Dry leaves and cobwebs into cornsilk and gold.
Put back the tangles and roll up the window.
The voodoo of reverse.

Kara Synhorst is a lifelong Sacramentan who has never lived more than seven miles from her childhood home. She got her B.A., teaching credential, and M.F.A. from CSU Sacramento and now teaches English at Luther Burbank High. She lives with her husband Reza and daughter Azadeh and two ornery cats. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Now, Convergence, The Found Poetry Review, unFold, and Susurrus.



I have begun to hear something screaming at night. I don't know if others are listening or can hear it even, but I'm not going to say a word. It started a week ago, hours after he left, and it sounded like some girl child. She had probably gotten lost. Probably been mauled when I remember the hoarse yelling. The screams came in regular intervals. The beats were predictable. The terror was portioned out in chilling and orderly servings. My eyes remained closed, and I stayed inside, in my bed, quite certain that it was just an animal I heard. A possum perhaps, but certainly something wretched and nocturnal. Something motherless. Ugly. White-furred.

In the morning, the man asks me if I want some coffee. Would I care for some milk. At night the screams wake me once more. As they do the night next, and the next.

Kyla Cheung is a student at Columbia University. She works in languages, prose, and code, and aspires to be the text big thing.

On discovering your father’s new wife is an evil stepmother

It makes sense now: your mother died. Your mother died, and your father, he couldn’t be alone. He feared for you, too — the motherless child. Secretly, he dreamt of her arms, legendary and silk white. He hid these fantasies, buried them beneath sweet talk for the new woman. He was blinded by grief. You knew. You knew she was evil. His love, the white of your arms, she was jealous instantaneously: she invested in charms to soften the skin, to lighten age spots, to delude herself into thinking he loved her-- that it was her name he called in the night. Days dragged, skin wrinkled, and she grew bitter. There are numerous plots. You are sent into the woods with your brother on false pretenses. You escape the witch’s house, pockets weighed down with sweets and revenge. You are sent into the woods again, and she bewitches every brook. You leave a queen, your brother transformed from boy to deer to boy (and no, he will never be quite the same again, the way he gazes at the moon,) Once again, the woods. A failed murder. This time, she hides herself in a witch’s costume — you snicker that it isn’t far off her natural look-- she angers, feeds you something with apples — your allergy is legendary — you wake up to the kiss of a machine in the core of an ambulance, you wake up to the sounds of sirens and grief —

Lisa M. Litrenta is a 22-year-old New Englander who tries to live her life compassionately. Follow her on twitter.com/lisamlitrenta.



From a distance it resembled a rather large man in a fur coat,
leaning tenderly over the grave of a loved one.*

A bear follows the smell
of bitter meat, breaks open
the casket and eats, uses teeth
to separate fat from bone.  Then
it teaches another bear how
to find the softest dirt, fresh-turned
and sweet.  Together, they slip
their claws into wood seams
and wrench satin lining free.
Under each headstone, new tastes:
powder and bleach, a stiff ankle,
stitches, and ethanol to help
the flesh keep.  The bears feast.

*From opening line of “Russian bears treat graveyards
as 'giant refrigerators'.”  The Guardian, October 26, 2010.

Morgan Adams grew up in a small used bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky. To this day, she cannot pass by a disorderly bookshelf without attempting to straighten it. Her work has been published in Carillon: A Journal of Writing and Art and featured on The Poet's Weave podcast



See how the crow hops across the spired field
dragging its shadow,
how the skulls blanch,
that the sun does not return the dead.
See how they rest, mounted upon pikes—
all the trophies.
Listen to the bald wind,
how it swoops across the field,
moaning through hollow eyes,
wailing the dirge of a vanquished race.
See the gray dust fleeing like ghosts.
Regard the withered tree,
how the vultures roost, bloated,
patient sentries awaiting another carrion feast.
Your sun turns red.
Tomorrow more trophies shall grace the field.
Tomorrow your skull shall join them.

Robert E. Petras is a graduate of West Liberty University and a resident of Toronto, Ohio.  His fiction and poetry have appeared in Phantom Kangaroo Issue 13, Haunted Waters Press, Camel Saloon, Death Head Grin and Speech Bubble Magazine.


My Dream That We Are Spirits

I had decided to pray. I had been eating buffalo for months
and asking others to do the same. I asked my dead uncle,
in the ground for thirty years by then, whose Olan Mills
portrait in a frame graced the top of a chest-of-drawers,
to intercede in a matter of some importance. He heard
a prayer delivered in the way Catholics pray to saints—
I spoke to that framed image of him I’d kept nearby for
all those years—and the prayer was answered. I forgot
to thank him, thank Whomever, until I was watching
a program on Native Americans. Heard how the buffalo
came up, out of the earth, to feed the people of the Plains.
The beast was named “Majestic One”—with a Sioux word
the pronounciation of which I’d be unworthy to attempt.
Josh Brolin was knocking around, in a History Channel
movie with its wide river panoramas, fighting bears and
having to get someone to stitch his scalp back on, and
I remembered the prayer. And toasted the spirit of Billy
Potter with a good Kentucky bourbon because I knew
the water in the whisky came from where he was born,
where every morning light touches the people as if for
the last time, in Letcher County, a place without buffalo
where words like majestic aren’t voiced much. Before
he got God, he’d have estimated Existence as: We fight,
we fuck, we die. Something like that. A thing men say.
Then he joined a sect of Protestantism that calls itself
Holiness. His mother had been Old Regular Baptist.
These sing hymns where lines of song are given out
before being sung without accompaniment or with
the barest of instrumentation. It no longer matters
whether he was right about God being this thing
we carry with us. I have his voice, holy or human,
in wind that practices the art of call-and-answer.

Roy Bentley’s poems have appeared in the Southern Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, American Literary Review, Pleiades and elsewhere. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs individual artist fellowship, and six Ohio Arts Council individual artist fellowships. His latest book of poems, The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana, won the White Pine Press poetry award in 2006. A chapbook entitled Captain America Gets Arlington Burial (Pudding House Publications: Columbus, Ohio) is due out in 2012. Lately, he makes his home in an area of Iowa often referred to as Sundown Mountain.

Doppelganger of a Dead Boy

I almost drop to my knees on the linoleum
of the airport and cry.
I almost reach out
to touch his face.

I imagine his look of surprise and say
“it’s just…
you remind me of someone I knew.”

But then the boy in yellow
with the coffee skin and curly hair
is gone, and I still stand in the check-in line,
my breath caught like a barbed fish
in my throat, kicking.

Theodosia Henney has just returned from several months of travel, and is intensely grateful to be back at her laptop, deleting piles of spam for porn, bamboo flooring, and LDS singles. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including Ghost Ocean Magazine, Blossombones, Grey Sparrow Press, and Fifth Wednesday Journal.



Dog Thoughts:

A dog barks, “Wood shed. Wood shed.”
The weather has tattoos and my couch
is ragged, whistling, fucked. A chain-link
bench, cold-cutted from the bass drum pig’s
upright parade, passes our skunk-game
of murder-in-the-park. The swing sets country
western-cow licks, stifled by God’s bear hug.
Sunshine, broken open on a sidewalk,
is not fat but a miracle of buoyancy.
I overcame my can-do attitude.
Burroughs is buried in a dorm room.
My friend kicks cop-shins  shouting "Fascist!”
I am nervous. I am trying not to laugh.
Fin wildly like the claw found your jugular.
I bought a prank can of nuts at a yard-sale.
Peel away the lid: God pops out.
The springs are sharp enough to be dangerous.
I am birthday candles.
I am wax-on frosting.
I am ipecac. I am charcoal.
I am clam-baked in the trove
where everyone’s virginity is stored.

Tyler Burdwood plays music in a band called bellwire and likes to write poetry. He attends Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.