Getting Lost

God says I am a man
Man says I am a ghost
Though I am neither but a spirit
Trying to locate a human shape
Where I can settle down
Like a baby crow flapping
Its young wings against dusk
Hoping to find a spring twig
To perch for the cold night


Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in rural China and published several monographs before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently teaches in Vancouver and has had poetry appearing in nearly 550 literary publications worldwide, including Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Kanto, SAND and Taj Mahal Review.

This Poem Is Not About You: A Post-Break-Up Spell

Say your beloved’s name backwards three times.

Box up every love note, every gift. Seal the box with a double knot.

Smudge every room with wormwood, mugwort, and sage, and sprinkle coarse salt over all the windowsills and doorways.

Stay out all night dancing.

Take a new lover.

Post pictures of the two of you, smiling, all over Facebook.

When someone asks about your ex, look puzzled and say, who?


Cynthia Linville teaches in the English Department at California State University, Sacramento and is active in the local poetry scene. She is Managing Editor of Convergence: an online journal of poetry and art. Her book of collected poems, The Lost Thing (2012), is available from Cold River Press.

burned alive

It was just as you might expect:
I blistered; I howled; I leaked
insufficient moisture to extinguish myself.
As the first of my ashes caught the wind,
the arsonist approached the charred ground
and apologized.
As if I were not cinders now.
As if “I’m sorry” could jumpstart a resurrection.

Next time, I will choose not to be born
in a body that breathes, that wants, that needs.
I will cast myself in iron,
melt and mold myself
into swiftest steel,
severing limbs and razing hearts
easy as lying.

Next time, I will not fear the inferno
that rises like a whirling gypsy,
inviting me to her burnished arms:

next time, I will love her,
and she will love me back.


Emily Rose Cole is an emerging poet, folksinger, and MFA-hopeful currently residing in Indianapolis. Her debut solo album, “I Wanna Know,” was released in May of 2012. She has forthcoming work in The Eunoia Review, Emerge Literary Journal, and The Rusty Nail.

Reading with Miranda

We first met at the Fiction Desk. We were checking out the same book. When I first saw Miranda she was loitering by the Soap Center. I bought some bleach and told her this was the first page.

Thus began our days of gladiolas and lacksadasies. I fell in love with her radiator teeth and jalapeno tongue. They made my dragons sing. I caressed her and the roses breathed. Her palm tree hips rode my wind drum horse. The pages were turning cartwheels of ecstasy, cartwheels of joy.

Miranda had brick windows and x-ray eyes. "A salmon trout leapt out of the venetian blinds into a picture frame pool," she told me. Or was it into the frying pan? I should have takes notes on everything inside of Miranda quotes.

That summer Miranda kept a bat in the refrigerator. One night in July, she had a dream as deep as hibernation. However, when she opened her eyes the next morning, the bat flew into our bedroom. The refrigerator was missing and she couldn't remember the dream. That was a strange paragraph in our lives.

The next chapter brought several dramatic changes. Sure we had to eat a lot of canned goods and fast food burgers, but the worst part was Miranda seemed constantly elsewhere. I couldn't believe what I was reading. She would often be out of town for long periods to attend UFO conventions across the globe. Even when Miranda was at home, she was somewhere else: constantly pouring over maps of the Milky Way, painting nebulae pastels, or watching the George Lucas commentary track for "Star Wars."

I thought we were checking out a romance novel together. What went wrong? Then one day, I read the back of her copy. It turns out she was reading the Science Fiction version. Not only was she reading different content than I but this also meant she was at least one chapter ahead of me. No wonder the wind drum horse had been put out to pasture.

I returned my copy to the Fiction Desk that very night. I had to pay a late fee but it was worth it to end the plot of this sad romance. When I left the library, I saw threatening lights in the heavens. Suddenly, my refrigerator fell out of the sky like a giant exclamation mark onto my head, killing me instantly.



Eric Roalson lives in Iowa City, Iowa. While his day job keeps food on the table, his real passions are poetry, movies, music, and spiritual philosophy. Phantom kangaroos do exist in his personal universe.

The Park

at night
the whistling of the wind
through the leaves of the old maple tree
at the heart of the park
sounds just like a baby
sighing in his sleep

if I was
even slightly superstitious
you might even say the sighing
of the wind through the park at night
sounds just
like the last
dying gasps of

the baby they found abandoned
under the tree
last summer
stroller filled so high
with autumn leaves

Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school district. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai'i Pacific Review, The Oxford American, and Slipstream. Her book publications include The Book Of, A Bright Patch of Sunlight, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese.

Flightless Bird

Every pair of plastic breasts and 2-D thighs in the world
couldn't make me feel any less alone tonight
as I look out over the city and think maybe falling isn't
so bad, as I do every bone-cold evening here
in L.A.'s central nervous system with head
in hands and teeth crumbling in mouth—you know,
they say when you hit ground zero in dreams
you rise awake and I've killed myself enough times
to know tower-diving has been linked to
post-mortem depression and heartbeats pumping
four-letter-words in Morse code, like "love" and
"care," and "fuck," so pull a couple punches,
go ahead and take in a lungful before
I scrape you out of my throat with all the other
almost-lovers whose tongues fought my teeth and lost.


Jackson Burgess is a writer, painter, and student at the University of Southern California. His work has been published in various American and Australian magazines, including The Storyteller, Stepping Stones Magazine: ALMIA, and SpeedPoets Zine. You can find him longboarding barefoot, watching clouds, or crying himself to sleep around South Central LA. To see his full publishing history or to make sure he's still alive, check out his personal blog:

Very cold day

The doctors do not know what ails him.
All is sunshine in the west. Keep him in bed.
Five years ago we had a very windy day.

I’m glad they’ve left us a few boats. A walk
To the docks will do us the world of good.
Him in his pram, getting pretty close to it.

I haven’t got long before the monoplanes.
I bought a straw hat but it doesn’t suit me
so I gave it to the donkey, got a great laugh.

The child’s coffin is measured by teeth.
One for each day of the week. I fell over
again, just at the spot where it happened.



Jude Cowan is a writer, artist and composer who lives in London. She works as an archivist for Reuters Television. Her first collection of poetry, For the Messengers was published by Donut Press in 2011. Her second, The Groodoyals of Terre Rouge will be published by Dark Windows Press in 2012. She makes musical improvisations on Reuters stories and these are available on the Parisian based netlabel Three Legs Duck.

There Are Folds in this Television

Fertile isn't the right word, but it grows
an arm, or a tooth, leftovers from the night
before. An engagement of knives and forks
sawing through marrow and bone.

What's left once you've picked off the meat?

Fragile is the right word, coursing through the vein
like a pin-prick, puncturing a pulsing crevice,
a shadowy stench of tomorrow's morning,
the aftertaste a memory on your throat.

Can night grow from an infant seed?

You can dismiss the rattling of empty
pipes, a letter-box painted hollow
by routine checks, green from a summer
that's long passed, inches in the grass.

Those inches wrap around the skull.

The summer moths come home, tucked
like sprouts in crumbled soil, swung around
the frame, a canopy of parts.
The tendon, the wing, the spoon.

Laura Grodin is a recent graduate of Adelphi University's Creative Writing MFA program. Laura is a recipient of the Donn Axinn Award in short fiction, and her work can be seen in Postcard Shorts and Milk Sugar Literature. Laura is a California native who now resides in Brooklyn, New York.

How to Manipulate People: A Legal Slave

          Beloved be warned.
          Find someone that doesn't’ have any friends, a good family, and few belongings. Watch them from afar. Wait for him to go through a crisis. The very young and the very old are great candidates.
You have found someone you can control. This person won't leave you—you will make sure of that! This person will be yours. Hide fear. Approach him. Be confident, authoritative, but kind. Make him run to you. Have him believe he needs you. Guide him; always be with him. Explain everything by your wise standard. Wait for him to make a mistake.
           He broke one of your rules of life. He defiled your authority. Do not be scared. This is only the first time. Explain why he was so bad. Tell him how you told him not to stray from your teaching. Make him feel absolutely terrible, but do not punish yet. Right now you are establishing your wisdom.
           Watch him, watch him closer. He knows he broke the trust. Give him more instructions, more rules. Award his behavior. Show how beautiful life is when you are obeyed, but bring up his mistake often. Do not let him forget.
           He messed up again. Now you are in danger of him rebelling. Now he must be punished. Show the consequence. It is your decision in how you punish: mental or physical. Make him deeply sorry. Pretend you may throw him out even though he needs you. Watch him beg, plea, cry. Forgive him now. Exaggerate the mercy you have for the dirty little rule breaker. He knows only you could love him. Watch him make promises. Make him grateful for your forgiveness.
           Be kind again, but punish for now on. Make up again. He won't ever leave.


Molly Hamilton is a writer who is inspired by myths and legends. She enjoys writing stories that allow readers to discover new creatures and new explanations. Her goal, as a writer, is to entertain all who are bored and cheer all who are lonely with her writing. When Molly is not hanging out with her story characters, she is usually with her family or attending college.

Thought 453

I watched as her sweater slowly devoured her.
From the moment she discovered the benign-looking thing,
it started insidiously gnawing at her wrists
until it sucked up her thumbs
and finally ingested each finger with a slurp
leaving only the gaping maws of hanging python sleeves
with the telltale lumps of her bony fists
awaiting more complete digestion just inside the cuffs
from which her hands used to hang.

The sweater sucked the fat from her neck and face,
her hood subtly chewing off the ends of her hair-
gnawing her head to total alopecia
before licking out the light from her eyes
like whipped cream off a sundae.

The sweater spread to her bones and her spirit
consuming her femurs until she could no longer stand it
and her cold feet folded easily into the sweater's inviting mouth
her own mouth fading into the draw-string pursed lips of the knitted abyss.

She breathed her last few rattling breaths
before the sweater swallowed those too.


Mora Torres' work has been published in The Pony Express, Cul-de-sac, Fortunates, Emerge and many, many bathroom stalls. She lives in Los Angeles, drinks lattes and scowls at the passersby. This sustains her.

Finally, having stopped at a diner, I am able to think.

After great pain, a formal feeling comes — Emily Dickinson

I am eager to empty these coffee cups.
I am a car, broken down, near the bluffs of L.A.
I am a god, walking in the nakedness of a mechanic.
I am the breasts that fill the bra of this tired waitress.
I am the scars that flag my back, like dried up riverbeds in a darkened desert.
I am the desert.
And we are sitting here. Tapping our spoons on empty plates. Pinching sugar
packets between fingers, the grains lost in our calloused palms. Looking for a fiery
accelerant to bang us, rocket-like towards newer celestial neighborhoods. We, the foreigners
plopping down next door. They don’t want us, they won’t have us.

I am the crucifix hanging from the mirror, clashing against the faux pine paneled dashboard.
I am the tender sway of silence, flipping men on their heads, asses to the sky.
I am that bracing moment when all beliefs break away. And I am eager.


Nathan Lipps lives and works at the bottom of the sea. He is waiting for someone to find him.

The Bone Man

Bodies buried in a time of ritual
Settled deep underfoot is
Dug over by the archaeologist
Scraping away the past digging up
They said the odd was hounded to death
People liked to say such things if terror was
The archaeologist rarely listened to rumour
He was interested in the bones
Skeletons of those that travelled
This dug up
Rain lashes the rim
The hole collapses and clouds
Gathered in resplendent
Pay homage to the archaeologist lost digging his
Lost in the
Mud when the walls
Becoming one with the ancient



Neil Weston is from the UK. He has micro fiction, flash fiction published and due to be published at Cuento Magazine, Infective Ink, The Eschatology Journal, Diamond Point Press-twenty20journal and Folded Word: PIC FIC.


They have been here all along,
not Andromedans or even Mexicans.
They conduct experiments on their spouses,
abduct their children,
drive the whole family
to Disneyworld on vacation.
They build slab houses and gated estates,
five-star restaurants and liquor stores
with drive-thru windows,
not pyramids or sidereal stelai
or interstellar bridges.
If they were telepathic they’d know
we don’t need mind readers, that each
of us is the other, they’d know
their own shadowy thoughts



Stephen Bunch received the 2008 Langston Hughes Award for Poetry from the Lawrence (Kansas) Arts Center. He also is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee. From 1978 to 1988, he edited and published Tellus, a magazine featuring work by Edward Dorn, Jane Hirshfield, Donald Levering, and others. His chapbook, Preparing to Leave, was published in April 2011. His long poem, “Second Life,” recently appeared in Mudlark.