in the hollow

they bought it cheap
the fixer-upper in the hollow
with a garden run to seed
and beat-up picket fencing  
all around

tom and maria hauled   
out the junk inside
and burned it in the yard
and then they tried wallpapering
weird thing the paper peeled right off
leaving oozy blotches
like fresh blood 

then something went mighty wrong
the night the banging started in the cellar
doors blew open
a window shattered
it isn't safe here tom complained   
this is pennsylvania maria cried
not transylvania with rotten graves

then what is that awful stink

two nights later
a pale child
rose up at the end of the bed
eyes like clotted blood
her mouth a well of darkness

they fled the house
they never came back
and about a year later
it burned to the ground
and there in the smoking wreck
sheriff bounty found
the bones of a child

that's all I know
but if I were you folks
I wouldn't buy that parcel
in the hollow 


Anna Sykora has been an attorney in NYC and teacher of English in Germany, where she resides with her patient husband and three enormous cats.  To date she has placed 388 poems in the small press and 141 stories.  Writing is her joy.


Ghost Happy Hour

Each night the same. A few scotches in the dusty library, furniture shrouded in white sheets. Ethereal music from upstairs. Then, the malt coursing in your veins, leave the house, go down the brick walk to the old boathouse, place of secrets and one very unfortunate accident. Shadows all around, some ahead as if leading the way, or from behind, following, a nightly migration of ghosts in moonlight. How the accident happened leads back to the embrace, stronger than anticipated,  hard lips against your own, the pressure you felt in your thighs. And though you were dizzy with the attention and the risk of it all, he being such an old and close family friend, you felt something give way. Your legs, all shaky and rubberlike, deserted you. With a gasp you fell into the berth, hit your head on the stern of the sailboat and disappeared, unaware that above you the old friend was stepping back, from the water, from you, and ultimately, from responsibility.


Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Houston and Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His work has appeared in THE SOUTHERN REVIEW, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW, NEW ORLEANS REVIEW, COLUMBIA and GLIMMER TRAIN, among others. His photographs can be seen in his gallery - He is currently compiling a book of photography prompts for writers, FROM VISION TO TEXT.


In Wisconsin, two young girls stabbed
a friend repeatedly
The story made headlines,
beyond the horror,
because the girls claimed to have done it
to appease an urban legend
Slenderman has been around for only
a few years, an internet ghost
He’s a figure appearing in the backgrounds
of photographs, the edges of the scene, a little
too tall and a little too thin, as if his image
has been stretched, pulled like warm taffy
People say that if Slenderman appears
behind someone then the person will die
These kinds of rules have been around
as long as story,
like frames around photos
what you can’t see won’t hurt you
not like girls, leading their friend
into the woods, dark and cold and green
with life, and slamming a knife
into her body, over and over, until
they thought she should be dead
In the papers, of the girls
stare straight ahead into the camera
lens, unafraid
of seeing themselves in pictures


Chloe N. Clark's work appears in Bombay Gin, Booth, Sleet, Wyvern, and more. She writes about magicians, ghosts, and doughnuts in equal proportions. Follow her @PintsNCupcakes


Sal, the girl dwarf, dressed in rags.
All the easier to grope and screw
her, Bear the Baker, grizzly huge,
bragged. I love to keep them
blindfolded for hours in sunlight. 

He discarded her, his first ex-wife,
because of club feet. Bear  sagged
in the hammock touching the ground. 
He altered women I’d bring him,
forced them to waltz. They wore
a different wig every day, ate meals
of pretzels and a vodka drink, Magic Debris.
I delivered him ten beauties who died
of various maladies: breast cancer,
dementia, diabetes. When they tried
to flee, he forced them to eat powdered glass,
hog-tied them to steel beams in his basement.
Nice enough to supply blankets.
Harvest, orange-haired scarecrow, escaped
in a customer’s truck. Two years later, dressed
as Mata Hari, she returned to Bear, who stared
at this magnificence, called her his ski champion.
Powerless, he plunged into depression,
visited shrinks, failed to flourish.
One day Harvest built a sawed-off,
blew off Bear’s head, stuck it on the wall
with his other trophies. She spared me,
the best damned taxidermist in the county.


David Spicer has had poems accepted by or published in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Curly Mind, Slim Volume, Yellow Chair Review, Jersey Devil Press, and elsewhere. He is the author of one full-length collection and four chapbooks and is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.


Regarding the Serial Killers in Boston

Yah there was lots of screaming.
But there’s always screaming right?
I mean how can you tell you know?
How can you really tell the difference?
Between screaming and laughter?
There were lots of kids in the apartments.
You could hear them coming home.
Waiting in the morning for the bus.
Maybe it was the kids who really knows.
One time I saw a guy in my window.
He was more like a kid but an old kid.
He was hauling some big black bag.
Not dragging it or anything just hauling.
Like it was too big to be neatly carried.
I only saw it because I was doing squats.
I like to stare out the window when I’m squatting.
Just shirtless with gym short-shorts on.
Weird I know but no one can really see.
I mean what was in that bag though?
Why didn’t he let it drag on the ground?
Like what would it have sounded like?



Kalen Rowe lives sixteen stories underground in the undiscovered cave where human life first began. He uses seismic hammers the size of minivans to transmit gnosis vibrations to the surface. Every ten years he preaches the gospel into a telescope, that humans evolved from a special cave snake called the lux and sprouted limbs. After he dies, the Kalen that exists in other universes will continue to exist, and psychic people in this universe will be able to call upon his spirit.

Ghost Hunter

—at the Rutland Prison Camp Ruins

We ask questions of grass, 
darkness, an owl’s screech.
As for the dead, they don’t
comment, forward all inquiries
to the stones that aren’t
there. Graves unmarked,
lives nameless, crimes
forgotten or erased
off the spirit maps
we’ve shoved into back pockets
of skepticism. Someone
wants to know if they’re at last
at peace, if they’ve found
redemption or remorse,  
if the stopped voices
floated up from dried flowers
and coaxed them at last
toward understanding or maybe
just memory, just that.

The bones have nothing to tell us.
Our recorders go on fingerprinting silence, 
its whorls and loops
to be analyzed at a later time.
In the clearing the moon bleaches absence.


Lori Lamothe has published two poetry collections, Happily and Trace Elements, as well as a few chapbooks, most recently Ouija in Suburbia with dancing girl press. She lives in New England with her daughter and a Siberian husky born on Halloween.


i'm the life-sized doll filled with straw

in my white sailor's suit, clutching my stuffed lion.

a family maid who knew my voodoo

gave me to a child, robert “gene” otto.

the child would live by my new law.

the child soon called me by his first name

as if we were inseparable twin brothers.

i went everywhere he did. but his mother interfered--

she overheard two different voices

shouting in gene's bedroom. she found mutilated toys,

overturned furniture when they broke in.

gene screamed robert did it! mom and dad

merely laughed at the toy scapegoat.

most humans don't know how my power grows,

its looming shadows. giddy inhuman laughter

echoed through those rooms. and yes, the doll

glimpsed hurrying upstairs, moving

from window to window--that was me.

older, gene inherited the mansion after his parents died.

as if faithful, I stood by his side,

black button eyes sewn to his paintings

in the turret bedroom. gene married.

his new wife nearly fainted

when she met me. she complained that he and I

had grown too close. she locked me in the attic. how traumatic

when that woman soon went mad and died.

she learned who gene's real friend was.

i survived to sit at his deathbed.

i outlived the whole family in the end.

did I kill them? you'll never know.

there was no trial, but i'm imprisoned

in the fort east martello museum in key west.

i put a curse on those who snap photos

without asking first, those who don't show respect.

later, they write the letters taped to my glass case.

they beg me to lift my hexes. after hours,

when the museum's closed, i never tire of the fun:

i laugh and read aloud repeatedly the pleas

of weeping fools who plead for my forgiveness.


Matt Schumacher's poetry chapbook of fantastical drinking songs, favorite maritime drinking songs of the miraculous alcoholics, was published last year, and his third book of poetry, Ghost Town Odes, will be published in 2016. He helps edit Phantom Drift and lives in Portland, Oregon.

A Primitive Plant

the rafters of the house unraveled on the equinox
the color of old prison denim, her little house on the—
worm-chewed, worm-spat, tepid coffee from secondhand grounds—
prairie, dogs with mangled throats prowling the edge
digging up the dirt-soaked porch
webs and white chalk underneath
an incarcerated clavicle
some missing posters: ten pints of blood if found return to
hair— mats of it— does hair rot? if so how?
(ask Jane Doe, her vertebrae, her mandible
worm-chewed, worm-spat
an infant raccoon’s rattle)
middle of the earth, middle of the day
flashfloods wash the evidence away
and the rafter breaks
(no infant sparrows survive the fall)
for coyotes, ravens to feast on the remains


Midori Chen is a writer from San Francisco. She likes to bear witness to the little things— a new nest on an old branch, a half-buried uncut key. She likes her poetry to sustain those small moments.


Devil in a Blue Dress

She’s blue
the I that turned into this
you.      This I, an I-
oh, you.
Easier to ad
-dress, to dis/appear
in a dress.
to split the atom
-ized or (even) the atomizer of your/my
choice perfume.
           You, on the other
hand, back
-ward leaning, lured
memories, stick your
tongue out—who has the upper
hand? Hear. 
                    Your eyes
used to be blue. Envied, shift
to green. The crystal gaze would say
impure. The bluest ai
yi yi
,    do stet away—
the Is           the yous
the eyes       the ewes
the poet Ai   the use. 
am speaking to
the you,
the one I ceded my
lost/last voice, 
better entrusted to you?

You with that loveliest
oo & leading, yielding
Y. Of the why versus
I don’t like the way a mouth must
shape, grimace
the I, more ai yi yi
this I
this I used
this I used to want,
crave see,
be seen—the eye beheld,
others who’d cast the
eye you/I, me
But now I’ve turned to
you, historic
you who used to
do/be that,
a cardboard cut,
scissors in a
No more the I, the in & out
a door, that skeleton key,
the glassed-in porch.
Where you sat.
Where I watched.
Where we cleaved to split.
Where we shed, we
left, two
skins. Excused from
chatter, blast/bombast.
The tried & trying,
true. Tired now?
It’s true. 
I have been teaching myself to want.
You have been wondering if it would stick.
The riddle outside her
           blind, my blinds, your bind, the long
           un/winding road.
A self that’s split & I who eyes about
the world, first person claimed but (still) thinking
you. You that’s the eye
seen third and, I
who wisely took the seat in
back, set out to watch
this reconnoitered
you, that you who did it—
Her solo path.
Yours, too. The wringing out of
words do ring, mere
hands    do script & fail
too & erase
The bluest eye
The bluest I
The bluest you who blew
in blustery & blessed,
a blister on the bruise that’s you,
my shins, her high high
The eye/I is an unreliable, an
oracle, the I is a
dunce & a stumble, a
butcher baker candlestick
maker, rapscallion thief. The I is a pole with
hat & shoes. You, oh you, the you is a
woo. The ewe is a wolf in curled-right wool.
Life is a short eye/short     I
For O, she’s
blue the I that’s
turned into this:


*“Devil in a Blue Dress” borrows its title from the novel by Walter Mosley.

Nancy Flynn grew up on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania, spent many years on a downtown creek in Ithaca, New York, and now lives near the mighty Columbia in Portland, Oregon. She attended Oberlin College, Cornell University, and has an M.A. in English from SUNY at Binghamton. Her writing has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship and the James Jones First Novel Fellowship. Her poetry collection, Every Door Recklessly Ajar, was published in 2015; her long poem, “Great Hunger” will appear as an Anchor & Plume pocket book in early 2016. Her website is



a grotesque pest in the dark with
lines running through its head wants to splinter itself
to fucking bits because someone forgot to turn on the light
and now the space is restless, 
if the constant curtain-swish and trapdoor teeth-chatter
is anything to go by.

at the turn of the light what’s supposed to happen is
a dissolution of leftover selves, 
a melee of souls fleeing the seep
of white slivers between blissful curtain-dark,
a silent purge of last evening’s sobfest,
the same story every single goddamn night.

the vital light fends off the ghosts
of papery skin-dust and vapor, who
rattle and shudder and smolder this drafty house.
the creature in the wings loathsome shivers,
its edges flaking off to the swift burn of its skin, while
the stage peels splinter by filthy splinter.
the fear and heat of the creature, the feat
of its blind crawl up the catwalk,
the steely grip of its toes, the drip
of inky oil-blood through crowded air. 
the menace weeps into its teeth. its breaths grow brief.
onstage, a little caged light ignites. 


Paula Chew is a writer living in New York. She wheedles her time away writing poetry,  criticism, and personal essays about ghosts (and sometimes other topics). You can read her work here and keep up with her inane thoughts here.

In My Time

This is
the time of dying,
graves dug
scarce before
they’re occupied,
earth that crumbles
in my hands
that fill and fill
remind me
“Soon, soon”
I’ll join this
with the grubs
and worms,
and oh so many
on my arrival.


Rose Aiello Morales is a poet currently living in Marietta, Georgia, USA. She has been writing extensively since she discovered, 10 years ago, that she was bored and had a typewriter. Since then she has appeared in various magazines and published several novels and collections of short stories and poetry. She lives with her husband Alex and an extremely spoiled cat named Moby.

The Bone

Where did you find it?
In a field near my father’s house.
Did the flesh still cling to it?
It was picked clean, bleached, dry.
Were you afraid?
I picked it up.
What did you feel?
Revulsion and pride.
What will you do with it?
I’ll braid my hair with it
or hold it when I sleep.
May I touch it?
Never, you may
never touch it.


Stephen Bunch lives and writes in Lawrence, Kansas, where he received the 2008 Langston Hughes Award for Poetry from the Lawrence Arts Center and Raven Books. His poems can be found in Autumn Sky Poetry, The Externalist, The Literary Bohemian, Phantom Kangaroo, Fickle Muses, IthacaLit, and Umbrella. From 1978 to 1988, he edited and published Tellus, a little magazine that featured work by Victor Contoski, Edward Dorn, Jane Hirshfield, Donald Levering, Denise Low, Paul Metcalf, Edward Sanders, and many others. After a fifteen-year hibernation, he awoke in 2005 and resumed writing. Preparing to Leave, his first gathering of poems, was published in 2011. His collection DisquiEtudes recently appeared in Mudlark. Bunch can be found on the Map of Kansas Literature near L. Frank Baum and Gwendolyn Brooks. [He reports that property values tanked when he moved into the neighborhood.

The Barricade Tape on 111th Street

POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS        the glass and steel tower
where I live since it razed a donut shop and bodega gone with the
of a century that is   REFORZADO     REINFORCED    yellow plastic remnants
made by Empire not to fray into                    bangs I heard last night       three or
CAUTION     CUIDADO      CAUTION pops at two in the morning the dreaming
hour no concern of mine until I got the  LINE  from my super that a 17-year-old
DO NOT CROSS   was shot in the head   D.O.A.   another white outline  settled  
in the dust of so many            fallen to the ground     what if the chalked specters rose to
up the    POLICE    what if we could see how many        DO NOT ENTER          history
died in that one spot   how would this crime scene look with all the    CAUTION   used
up for
tape  my block a yellow web
the dead too thick to CROSS


Sarah Key has had poems published in Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, InPatient Press, Solares Hill, Poetry Nook Magazine, Truck, Enizagam, Kaleidoscope, and the anthology My Cruel Invention.  She has studied at Cave Canem with Eduardo Corral and in master workshops with Sharon Dolin and Jeanne Marie Beaumont. She has authored eight cookbooks, including a series called the Hollywood Hotplates, Serendipity Sundaes, and Serendipity Parties. Currently, she has eight essays on The Huffington Post. ( and edited the 2014 encyclopedic cookbook Gusto: The Very Best of Italian Food and Cuisine. She is privileged to work as a writing tutor at a community college in the Bronx where she learns  from her students.