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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 109 — HC Hsu, Erik Felthauser, Karen Poppy

HC Hsu


Copyright © 2018 by HC Hsu.

About the Author

HC Hsu is author of the short story collection Love Is Sweeter (Lethe) and essay collection Middle of the Night (Deerbrook), which was nominated for the APALA Literature Award. He has written for Pif, Big Bridge, Iodine, nthposition, 100 Word Story, China Daily News, Epoch Times, Words Without Borders, and many others. His translation of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo’s biography Steel Gate to Freedom was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2015.

Erik Felthauser


my home

is the canyon wall

my hopes

echo the wind

my roots yearn for ears

my leaves wish to sprout lips

you fall past and

my skin wants to grow hands to hold you

today i grow only thorns

i prick because i am a monster

the birds get up early to censure me

they ask if i’ll have petals this year

and guess they—d be bitter as my leaves

i wake up early

and try to hear all they have to say

Copyright © 2018 by Erik Felthauser.

About the Author

Erik Felthauser is a zoologist who has spent time in the mountains and deserts of Arizona studying parthenogenesis. His creative writing focuses primarily on shortish poetry. He is also an avid photographer.

Karen Poppy

New Moon

For Cecily, 16 years on.

You died in the limbo

Of a new moon.

A blank sky, a blank slate.

Only 25.

There are those who believe

Had you lived,

You never would have tried

Again, but you

Stabbed yourself out of this life,

Like stars seer holes

Into our sky,

Like you gone seers holes

Into our lives

So that we move through

With reckless caution,

Upheaval and grief that we organize.

That we place

Item by item, memory by memory.

That we smooth

Into the earth with your straight,

Long limbs,

Perfect and young.

I think of you.

How you touched the blood

With your finger,

A last question in a night

So dark.

Copyright © 2018 by Karen Poppy.

The Pot

Orange blossoms, too many for one tiny tree,

Ornamental in its pot. Each flower

A symmetry of stars and chaos of stamen,

Unfurling with pollen, golden curls coiling

Toward the sun. Under the blossoms, rich

With spring, and shaded by thick leaves,

That beautiful turquoise pot we chose

Together in the nursery, and cradled

Between towels all the way home,

A perfect baby. Now, that one cracked spot

In the glaze, secret and hidden under the tree.

Right at the rim, black, sinister facsimile

Of a star-shaped blossom. They call

All those minute fissures “crazed.”

Those that capillary out from center,

As if the glaze has gone mad.

That night, you did not craze,

Did not go mad. No one did.

It just happened. Your head hit the pot.

Then the ground. Head wounds bleed

So much. You lay in that dark lake

A long time before anyone found you.

I found you. No one knows what happened

Or why. Today bursts open

With sun-soaked orange blossoms

Whose scent makes the air go mad.

Yes, crazed, and surging deep blue.

The pot harbors such a paradise

Of flowers, and in summer, fruit.

Copyright © 2018 by Karen Poppy.

About the Author

Karen Poppy has work published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Chaleur Magazine, Wallace Stevens Journal, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and Voices de la Luna, among others. She has recently written her first novel, is at work on her second novel, and is an attorney licensed in California and Texas. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her list of publications can be found online at

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