Early Riser, Delivery Man

Waking early and hungry, he leaves the warmth and comfort of his suburban bi-level house on Sunday mornings. My father drives, not to the closest bakery, but to one he deems the best in the art of bagel boiling and baking, and carefully chooses a variety of the classics- plain, onion, sesame, poppy, rye and pumpernickel. Several dozens, along with packages of cream cheese, are placed into multiple bags and deposited  semi- anonymously on friends and neighbors doorsteps. As the sun continues to rise, and he is confident that others will be awake, he begins to receive something in return for his gift, a cup of coffee, glass of juice or a morning schmooze. The phone at our home where my sister, mother and I are still asleep starts ringing providing an audible trail of his visits.

Claire Weiner

Uncle Santa

“Do Jesus and Santa Claus come from the same place?” our sons ask us. It is confusing because our family displays these icons together at this time of year: jovial, fat man in red pajamas beside nearly naked infant cradled in ceramic hay. “If Joseph isn’t Jesus’ dad, then maybe Santa is,” the boys say.

Our family doesn’t have a train set to put up at the holidays; instead we place the manger beside the tree and our sons play with the figures as though they are G.I. Joes. It may be sacrilegious—the way our sons engage the three wise men in wrestling matches or turn Mary into a C.I.A. agent sent to free the sheep and livestock from the overlord shepherd-boy; but they are only children. And we have decided that we are not a religious family.

“I think that God is Jesus’ father,” my husband points out.

“Then, maybe Santa is Jesus’ uncle,” our sons suggest.

And now it all makes sense: twelve disciples transported by twelve reindeer, water freezing so that everyone can walk across it, my husband suggesting, “Rather than milk and cookies, Santa might like crackers and a nice glass of wine.”


Dana Kroos

Dana Kroos received a MFA in fiction writing from New Mexico State University in 2008. Her short stories and poems have appeared in “Glimmer Train,” “The Florida Review,” “The Superstition Review,” “Minnesota Monthly” and others. She also holds a MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a MA from Purdue University. Currently she is working towards a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature at the University of Houston.


Dan Jacoby, Featured Author

backstage failure


so hung over

on blinding sunny day

messy suite of boutique hotel

prada shades, rolex, silver cross earrings

head foggy pounding

like a flux capacitor

in those lonely painful hours

just stepped out of a guy richie movie

moment gripped by the balls

gang piles into suv

took two uppers

makes it hurt more

being a complete unknown

back entrance cowboy

trying to kick into gear

need a punch in the face

not a good one-night last stand

people don’t give a shit

like in a sixth grade martian musical

have to inhale the atmosphere

not let it flush to waste

souring one in turn

like a dickhead

in sub minimum wage job

barback, washing glasses

cleaning up vomit

heckled by life’s audience

you’re driven mental

drinking strawberry infused water coolers

supping on mystic mad granola bars

makes heartbreak, pain somehow worth it

not to over think panic

power lies in imperfection

just kiss loads of people

become broken all over again

good to be you

should be enough



boomer logic


called out on twitter

furious millennial lecture

i had gotten mine

wanted what was his

this everyone get a trophy generation


reminded me getting beat

by red squad in sixty-eight

in grant park

marching for civil rights

in st. louis

being drafted in sixty-nine

scared out my mind

in tay ninh city


being broke in tucson

with two kids in diapers

taking collection calls

leaving heavily mortgaged house

with three bucks to eat on

for four days


of being shot at twice

on the job in chicago

wrestling a 357

from angry student’s hands

surviving molotav cocktail

thrown through office window


school children being shot

by sniper with high powered air rifle

riding in ambulance escorting

children hit by drunk

while playing at recess


listening to the pleas

of a distraught mother

child having been kidnapped

taken to california

by a known molester


yeah i got mine

hope you get yours





wind settles itself

mist forms like stained glass

on the thermo pane surface

frost soon to etch

zig zags like

firing white synapses

blurring tufted heads

at feeders and suet

old squirrel’s last winter

cold brings on rendition

alarming, or unnoticed

like mile markers and cemetery stones

slowly slipping from memory

once held so sacred

as never abandoned

but toil and journeying

create so many whispers

covered by blanketing snow and rain

over berry brown leaves

stiff maudlin grey limbs, twigs

in cold hungry earthy grip

of what will have been

everyone’s reality



spider woman


wind picked up

rain turned

into popcorn snow

beginning of the season

when thunder goes away

wind speaks

in many voices

strikes like death

robbing the living of value

creating living ghosts

like names in the graveyard, unspoken

so as not bother the dead

no word for religion here

only by listening

does one learn

silence brings knowledge

startles with its simplicity

like using hotdogs for bait

squirrels cutting on walnuts

high in an oak

no witchcraft here

just greeting the day

with a silent chant

a pinch of corn pollen


Dan Jacoby



Dan Jacoby is a graduate of St. Louis University, Chicago State University, and Governors State University. He lives both in Beecher and Hagaman, Illinois. He has published poetry in Anchor and Plume(Kindred), Arkansas Review, Belle Rev Review, Bombay Gin, Burningword Literary Journal, Canary, Cowboy Poetry Press-Unbridled 2015, Chicago Literati, Indiana Voice Journal, Deep South Magazine, Lines and Stars, Wilderness House Literary Review, Steel Toe Review, The Opiate, and Red Fez to name a few. He is a former principal, teacher, coach, and former counterintelligence agent. He is a member of the American Academy of Poets and the Carlinville Writers Guild . Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He is currently looking for a publisher for a collection of poetry.