In Our Dreams We Are Always Younger

they are coughing in the high rises of New York

in the bayous of Louisiana

in the mountains of Colorado


they are coughing up wind

while God orders the trees to bend

with our breath

and our hope cracks

and stretches like rain

because to see death

is to scrape down a home

with nothing to build in its place

on the moody March grass

on the spine of a god

who won’t stand up for us today


they’re in a small room with white walls

fever dances in their eyes

a woman lays her face in her hands

the children are drawing houses

with trees on the lawn

lines of walls through the trunks

no erasers

there is always some line in the way

branch and wall intersecting

viruses crossing borders

world as global as the tides

as hungry as the days

counting coins for flour

while in our dreams

we walk on water

or light candles in a church

we can’t visit anymore

and in our dreams

we are always younger


they’re catching spiders

and throwing them outside

they’re wrapping themselves

in the sea-sweat

they’re watering the cactus


the cactus never bends to the wind

the cactus is fatter than God

spinier than his tongue

the cactus knows love

better than roses

because to know a desert

is to love the rivers


and I do not want to cross one today

I have a boat with no oars

and a God with no words

and children who climb trees

and a rose petal

pressed in a book

about a sea so red

it mocked our blood

a sea so parted

the fish drowned in air

so the ghosts swam west

where the sun gave up


and I’m on the shore

my river-boat

now a ship at sea

on a wave so big

I can’t see the horizon


Kika Dorsey

Kika Dorsey is a poet and fiction writer in Boulder, Colorado, and lives with her two children, husband, and pets. Her books include Beside Herself (Flutter Press, 2010) and three full-length collections, Rust, Coming Up for Air (Word Tech Editions, 2016, 2018), and the forthcoming Occupied: Vienna is a Broken Man and Daughter of Hunger (Pinyon Publishing, 2020). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. Currently, she is an instructor of English at Front Range Community College and tutors. When not writing or teaching, she swims miles in pools and runs and hikes in the open space of Colorado’s mountains and plains.


Night, ossuary dank.


Watchfires flare

in the hills.


Out there in the miasma

of creation,


a virus thrives

in its first host.


Here, our streets reek

of festering offal.


Unlike the lamb,


we know where

we’re being led:


here, we sing

out of fear.


Brett Harrington

Brett Harrington’s (he/him/his) previous publications include Ligeia, Two Hawks Quarterly, The Shore, Third Coast, The Inflectionist Review and Bluestem, and he was a finalist for the 2012 Best of the Net award. He lives in the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.

Max Heinegg

Digging in the Wrong Place


Compromised, they call the card. My 16 digits mined

by algorithm or bunker genius fiddling,

for $1633 at Best Buy; the robbers have

all my numbers save the back code to complete

the inspired transaction, the Take back one kadam 

& so they are. Far enough away from the Nazis for now,


Boston thinks it’s annexed the assholes today

in a gazebo. Nazis in a gazebo?! Only Indy could flip

his revolver & trusty whip into a suitcase, beeline

a passenger plane & catch ‘em sneering in their insignias,

gathered like poison in standing water. In the film,

the strong backs open empty sand while our hero squints down


upon the twisting floor, asking Why did it have to be

snakes? Don’t waste breath waiting for a revelation

of perfectly directed sun. The diorama is none,

& we can’t count on the wrath of God to gather

His phantom forces to melt their brainwashed

faces one at a time, down to the skulls.



Miners in Taijuan

—from photographs by Stan Grossfeld


Perhaps brothers, these two pitchy

instruments savor warm water

in a metal bath. Beers at arms’

reach, a coal accord for labor.


In the outsider’s monochrome

any untarnished aspect of

the image is silvered. Sympathy

is less than the universal,


but still the color of deserved

rest, arms that rip the underground

asunder, later burn chunks to

boil rainwater from the sky’s well


while factories feed, the country

busy raising a colossus.

If Providence doubts its welcome,

these two tender invitation.

Max Heinegg

Max Heinegg’s poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, The Pushcart Prize, and been a finalist for the poetry prizes of Crab Creek Review, December Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Cutthroat, Rougarou, Asheville Poetry Review, the Nazim Hikmet prize, and the Joe Bolton award. Recent work appears in Thrush, Nimrod, The Cortland Review, and Love’s Executive Order. Additionally, he is a singer-songwriter and recording artist whose records can be heard at

This is not a rock-bottom poem but it was on the well-lit downward spiral

I remember I tripped

and skinned my knee on the curb,

beneath the neon signglow

and as my last bottle shattered

on the pavement beside me

and I looked at the hole

in my slacks and the wet bloodsmudge there

I said, interiorly, you clumsy fuck,

and exteriorly, just plain fuck.

Some pretty folks in day-glo evening dresses

looked on, judging a bit.


And as I sat there, failed son, spinning,

mad at my fingers for not being needles,

mad at my saliva for not being bleach,

mad at my feet for not being steady

(but how could they, really), mad at

my beer for not staying, miraculously,

in the bottle, I looked up at the

signs in all their bright rainbow,

and I remember tripping, dissociating,

thinking, interiorly- “I wonder what

the noble gasses make of it, being

caught in those tubes, hocking

beer for a living?” and,

exteriorly, just plain fuck.


And this led, inexorably,

to a little more negative self-talk

outside the bar, mad at my

creatively dressed audience,

for moving on, judgment complete,

and at myself again,

for not even knowing then

that there were blessings

that could be counted,

even while coagulating,

by whatever sordid light

there was to count them–


argon, like from the argonauts,

neon, sounds like Creon in a way,

xenon and on and on and on…

krypton, like from that Superman

stuff (wonder how he felt about

good’ol Jor-El!), radon, all the

nobles, Jay-San, no that’s not one,

all first-born sons probably,

debased into illuminating a

standard issue failing-to-please-

daddy-issue drunk thinking,

interiorly, how the nobles

have fallen so low, and finally,

exteriorly, a howl at the moon-

where is that spark

that will light me

up one night?


Michael J. Galko

Michael J. Galko is a scientist and poet who lives and works in Houston, TX. He has been a juried poet of the Houston Poetry Fest three of the last four years and is a 2019 Pushcart Award nominee. In the past year he has had poems published or accepted for publication at descant, San Pedro River Review, Gargoyle, Gulf Coast, Defunkt Magazine, Riddled with Arrows, Poetry WTF!?, and Sonic Boom, among other journals.

Power Wash

This season is  a

power wash for my arteries,

I am washed clean

and hung to dry on the clothesline.


Father doesn’t work, he sits

on the veranda,  smoking a bidi,

his friends bring him bottles of

home-brewed wine.


Arrack: they brew it with petrol

and ash, they slice some fruits,

add lizards to the pot

boil them to a sozzle-blitz.

I watch my neighbours stir it

with blood-shot eyes.


Amma kills my pet chickens every day,

Mary, Martha, Kunju have all been

cooked with spices ground at home.

Men look at amma’s blouse

as she bends down to serve them.

on a plantain leaf. They smack their

lips savouring spices, looking

at her melons and at times, at me.


Amma has purple patches all over her face,

she snores into her dreamless land.

I feel two hands pull me up by my feet,

peel off my petticoat.

No one hears me in the night

when pain washes my heart clean.


I soar up with the wind

watch  my friends smile

in their sleep dreaming

of angels like me.


I dry out day and night

on the clothesline

washed clean from

pain and shame.


Babitha Marina Justin

Babitha Marina Justin is from Kerala, South India and a Pushcart prize nominee, 2018. Her poems have appeared in Eclectica , Esthetic Apostle, Fulcrum, The Scriblerus, Chaleur Magazine, Into the Void, Trampset, Inlandia , The Paragon Press, Adolphus Press, The Punch Magazine, Rise Up Review, Constellations, Cathexis NW Press, Silver Needle Press, About Place Journal, The Write Launch, Trampset, The Four Quarters Magazine, So to Speak journal, Kritya and Journal of Post-Colonial Literature. Her first collection of poetry, Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills, was published by the Writers Workshop in 2015. She is also waiting to debut as a novelist with ‘Maria’s Swamp’

My Veteran of Iraq

His heart gave out two nights ago

at 29, four years out of Iraq.


In war, with mangled vehicles,

mechanics strip the intact parts.

Fuel pump, clutch, perhaps an axle,

roof hatch, carburetor, clutch,

random gauges, a machine gun mount.

Whatever works.


Back home in Pinson

Tennessee, he heard cicadas

saw his head

around the clock.

A jobless drift of smashed chairs.

A son meandering the fence

around my sister’s yard,

tremors in his vision as he

spat accusations in the grass.


Meth: a gnashing chatter.

Heroin: molasses in a moan.

His Purple Heart

lying with its recovered bullet

in a satin-lined box.


A year of VA rehab lockdown,

with a Johnson City keyhole view:

him, his eyes lost in the mountains,

from a bench out on the lawn.


Two nights ago, his heart gave out

at 29. He’s on life support

until they harvest organs.


Eric Forsbergh

Eric Forsbergh’s poetry has appeared in The Journal of The American Medical Association, Zeotrope, Artemis, The Cafe Review, and other venues. In 2016, he was awarded a Pushcart nomination by The Northern Virginia Review. He is a Vietnam veteran.