The Wait Is Now

We’re sitting in the Jimmy Johns

waiting for our foot-longs.


My father’s brand-new cane

a twisted length of black branch

that crack-cracks

every time he leans too heavy on it.


Outside a crowd gathers

around a Ford Mustang

with a kitten stuck

inside the wheel well, motor still

hot as black sand.


We ordered and paid

twenty minutes ago.


Two of the four teenagers

who run the place

stand outside wearing oven gloves

and one holds a box

to nest the kitten once she’s free.


My father peers

between window signage.

That’s a job for the fire department.

Someone call 911!


This music’s too loud,

my newly-diagnosed

mother says.

Can we go someplace else?


Each time the door opens,

I fingernail pinch

the delicate skin under my arm

—to stave away

the slice of kitten’s

reverberant meow-meows

from deep the metal gut.



Katy E. Ellis

Katy E. Ellis grew up under fir trees and high-voltage power lines in Renton, Washington and is the author of three chapbooks: Night Watch—winner of the 2017 Floating Bridge Press chapbook competition—Urban Animal Expeditions and Gravity (a single poem), which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry appears in a number of literary journals including Pithead Chapel, MAYDAY Magazine, Calyx, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and the Canadian journals PRISM International, Grain and Fiddlehead. Her fiction has appeared in Burnside Review and won Third Place in the Glimmer Train super-short fiction contest. She has been awarded grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust/Centrum. Katy co-curates WordsWest Literary series, a monthly literary event in West Seattle.

Recipe For Concrete

I. Water


Each time I meet my grandfather in a dream

he speaks only German—reminds me to speak

only when he’s a ghost. He hums between

the chimes of the Black Forest cuckoo,

takes the pick out of his teeth

when he looks my way:

Kennst du mich nicht? ::

Weißt du nicht wer du bist? ::

I want to bring him back to Chicago, but

we’re lost in fields, midwestern soybeans.

And when he fades I cry out:

Wo bist du? Wo bist du?



II. Aggregate


When my grandfather dies

his body deepens into the soybeans.

I try to excavate him,


but all that is left of his bones:

empty gin bottles that perfume his tongue,

model train tracks set in a circle.


I look for a way to bear him back—but I find

myself wandering to his old house,

burrowing inside the fireplace,


pulling logs he had chopped around me

like blankets. When his ghost comes to light the fire

—the only way he knows how to heat


the house—I let myself burn with it.



III. Cement


The Embalmer haunts my grandfather back to the South Side of Chicago,

where he beat me for building with my left hand instead of my right.


I extract each cluster of edelweiss, de-construct each petal a tomb.

Clay: quarry and kiln—let it sharpen like an eyetooth.


Brick: measure weight in hand—consider its flight

through the window :: a way out.


Rough-hewn stone: walls built up in Chicago,

then hidden between fields of soybeans.


Nested in each hard, scarred pod is one of his bones.

The Architect shoos the Embalmer away


—lets me sleep—gives me the time to turn back

to stone dust or the silky powder of soot.



Erin Kae

Born and raised outside of Rochester, NY, Erin Kae is a proud graduate of SUNY Geneseo. Her poetry has been featured in Vinyl, Sonora Review, Crab Fat Magazine, and Fugue among others. She was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Aster(ix) Journal, and was selected as a finalist for the 2017 Locked Horn Press Publication Prize for their issue Read Water: An Anthology, 2019. Her first poetry chapbook, Grasp This Salt, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2019. She currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts.


Normally, we celebrate the holidays,

exchanging gifts, delighting each other

with the latest gadgets.  Normally,

we believe in how life always improves,


gets more convenient, easier to live.

Normally, we don’t’ hunker down.

Normally, we don’t have occasion

to use that phrase—hunker down.


Normally, we  replace the windows,

rebuild that demolished interior wall.

Normally, we have work to do, relatives

haven’t vanished, and friends haven’t fled.


Normally, the toilet tank refills.

Normally, we change our clothes.



William Aarnes

William Aarnes has published two collections with Ninety-Six PressLearning to Dance (1991) and Predicaments (2001)—and a third collection, Do in Dour, from Aldrich Press (2016). His work has appeared in such magazines as Poetry, FIELD, and Red Savina Review.

Psychologists Say That When Someone Calls You by the Wrong Name, It’s Because They Love You

The latest research calls it misnaming, says

I likely look

nothing like her. Insists

it has nothing to do with aging, assures me

that the fact that both our names

start with K

is unimportant. In a half-

second, I learned this Scorpio dragon

shares the same semantic network

inside one man’s brain

and something else

located in an organ I won’t try to name

since I might say heart

when I mean penis, both

smoking, catching fire, and I guess

this happens

to everyone at some point:

you get excited, you get

confused, cup your hands to drink

from the same big bucket of love.



Kasandra S. Larsen

Kasandra Larsen’s work has appeared in Best New Poets 2012, Burningword Literary Journal, Under a Warm Green Linden and Into the Void, and is upcoming in The Halcyone Magazine’s/Black Mountain Press’ 64 Best Poets of 2018, among others. Her full-length poetry manuscript has been a finalist for the 2016 Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry, and a semifinalist for the 2017 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her chapbook STELLAR TELEGRAM won the 2009 Sheltering Pines Press Chapbook Award. She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a poetry reader for the journal Bare Fiction (UK).

Palpable and Mute

On a good morning

I am the shaman

on a great morning

I am all thirteen of them


a conclave of fire and feathers

atop the Sayan Mountains.


I practice divinations

while sipping coffee

and braiding my syllabic chants

into crows’ shouts

I call the words gather

they descend the World Tree

I lead ancestral heroes

to the island of my page.


This morning

I am a correspondent

fumbling with my camera

to document this Siberian ritual

or worse an ill-fated Yakutian bull

bellowing centuries

as I surrender to the blade

palpable and mute.


On a good morning

I am both the knife

and the warm bowl of cow’s blood –

on a great morning

I am a poet.



Candice Kelsey

Candice Kelsey’s poems have appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and Burningword — recently her nonfiction was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. An educator of 20 years’ standing with her master’s degree in literature from LMU, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.


a plastic water bottle

see-through debris

of an unplanned day-trip


its hollow clunk-clunk-clunk

into the recently emptied

recycling bin echoing through


the shallow chambers

of my heart—blood pulsing

into unwashed fingertips


the cheek-kiss of a too-warm

spring breeze—forewarning of

the oncoming storm


this knowing there is no right here

there can be no rights

out of all these wrong turns


what are we anyway

only ghosts living in

some future past


drifting blindly by

as Earth simmers

but persists



Anne Casey

Author of ‘where the lost things go’ (Salmon Poetry 2017), Anne Casey has worked for 25+ years as a journalist, magazine editor, media communications director and legal author. Her poetry has won/shortlisted for awards in Ireland, USA, UK, Canada and Australia; she ranks in The Irish Times Most-Read. Anne is Senior Poetry Editor of two literary journals for Swinburne University, Melbourne. Her poems feature in The Irish Times, Entropy, apt, Murmur House, Quiddity, Cordite, The Incubator, Verity La, Plumwood Mountain, The Honest Ulsterman, The Stony Thursday Book, Into The Void, Autonomy anthology and Burning House Press among others. Her second collection is forthcoming in 2019.