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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 116 — Jeff Fearnside, W. Luther Jett, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, Gregg Shapiro, C.E. Skinner

Jeff Fearnside

Discovery of a Wreck Lying Upright on the Seabed

My neighbor and I used to talk

by the fence, his arms slung over,

lager in one hand, cigarette in the other,

speaking of work, sports, our families.

He never told me

he was going on a trip.

I received an email.

It’s just like being there, he wrote,

and for a while we kept in touch that way.

Then it was instant messaging.

Then I subscribed to his tweets

and followed him on social media.

My ship has come in!

he gloated in his last post

with a smiley face emoticon

winking and drinking a beer. A lie.

He was under water.

His house was sold, the fence torn down.

A wall stands there now. The new owner

lives in another state.

I’ve never seen the tenant,

though I’ve heard a lawnmower.

After a while I forgot

I had a neighbor.

An unmanned sub searching for treasure

found his ship in the murky waters

a mile under and a mile from shore,

in depths so cold bodies don’t decompose,

his arms slung over the handrail.

His pale wide-eyed face must have startled

even the remote camera.

His old PC is a shelf on a reef, laptop a clamshell

covered in barnacles, obsolete cell phones

rusted rocks among all the others

scattered across the ocean floor.

If only we could raise that railing

and my neighbor encoiled with it,

plant them both along our old property line

in the right light,

that of the sun or the stars or the moon,

we might be able to

speak to each other again.

Copyright © 2019 by Jeff Fearnside.

Maintaining the Lighthouse

On days like this, sunken frigates emerge from beaches,

antique windows in garrets rattling their gossip

as new faces carve themselves in fog. The Cyclops sweep

of a Fresnel lens breaks up before the horizon,

the collective memory of longitude frosting waves,

fallen stars. Bones no longer know their flesh—how could they,

calved by a northerly the headlands couldn’t swallow?

In the water’s basement, leaky pipes and seabed shake

while dolphins ride the sky, glass bookends in a frozen

moment leaping from one opaque world to another.

You must oil the deep each day, even in ice and sand.

If you forget your boots by the stove, then make certain

to gird your guts in an anchor chain’s length of fire.

Copyright © 2019 by Jeff Fearnside.

About the Author

Jeff Fearnside’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including The Fourth River, Permafrost, Blue Earth Review, Clackamas Literary Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest (University of Washington Press). He is author of the short-story collection Making Love While Levitating Three Feet in the Air (Stephen F. Austin State University Press).

W. Luther Jett

Modern Tourism

We went walking

down the Street of Small Knives,

cellophane clinging to our fingers,

and the men in the shops

called out to us, though we were warned

to look neither right or left.

A sun without mercy

pierced the deepest alleyways,

so there was no way to escape;

the mark of the last century

scrawled across our palms could not

be scrubbed clean.

A woman stood high

in the balcony of the tallest tower,

her arms raised, her red

lips moving, but her words

were so remote they became

entirely inaccessible.

We could see the gates

ahead slowly closing with a great

grinding as the sky turned black;

the men pulled down the shutters

of the shops, the balcony was vacant.

The tower canted sharply.

A world undone.

Copyright © 2019 by W. Luther Jett.

About the Author

W. Luther Jett has been published in numerous journals, including The GW Review, ABRAXAS, Beltway, Innisfree, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review, and Main Street Rag. His work has also appeared in anthologies, including Secrets & Dreams (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and My Cruel Invention (Meerkat Press). His poetry performance piece Flying to America debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. He has read a numerous local venues in the Washington, D.C. area. He has one chapbook Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father (Finishing Line press, 2015).

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka translates poetry by Lidia Kosk

Echo of the Clogs

In the quiet of a lazy Sunday

I suddenly hear the clack of wooden

clogs worn by herded people

it echoes in my ears, head, my whole being

at the threshold of the chamber

the echo dies

the clogs fall silent

Copyright © 2019 by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, translated poem by Lidia Kosk.

A New Day Is Rising

Rays of the freshly awakened sun

split the sickbay window panes

Outside, birds

open the world to a new day

Two seagulls hover above dwellings

stretched along the Baltic shore

in effortless, persistent flight

praising the morning lights

They soar in the realm between

the azure of the heavens and the earth

and the water with its music

unfinished over thousands of centuries

All day long, till the red-golden rites of the setting sun

the free creatures will act out their lives

Before sleep comes, the birds will circle once more

all the daily cares of the town till dusk’s embrace

Copyright © 2019 by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, translated poem by Lidia Kosk.

The Forest Calmed

tinted by the sleepy sun

scattered yellow pine needles

on half-extinguished summer’s green

my feet wade into soft stillness

marked only by somnolent

autumnal light

stretching among tree trunks

birds fall into silence

human voice softens

Copyright © 2019 by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, translated poem by Lidia Kosk.

About the Authors

Lidia Kosk is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose, and two anthologies. Her collaboration with the poet and translator, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, resulted in two bilingual volumes: Niedosyt/Reshapings and Słodka woda, słona woda/Sweet Water, Salt Water. The Japanese edition of the second book appeared in 2016. Kosk’s most recent book is Szklana góra/Glass Mountain, edited by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, rendering Lidia’s poem in 22 languages. Translations of her poems have been published in many journals and anthologies, including in the USA, Russia, and Japan. Translated into choral compositions, her poems have been performed in several countries. Lidia resides in Warsaw, Poland, where she leads poetry workshops and the Poets’ Theater.

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka is the author of Oblige the Light (CityLit Press, 2015), winner of the fifth Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize, and Face Half-Illuminated (Apprentice House, 2015), a book of poems and translations. She is the translator for two books by Lidia Kosk, nominated for translation prizes, and editor of two books. Most recently her work has appeared in Notre Dame Review, Spillway, Subtropics, and Tupelo Press. Her translations of poems by three Maryland Poets Laureate: Lucille Clifton, Josephine Jacobsen, and Linda Pastan have been published in Poland. She is the Poetry Translations editor at Loch Raven Review.

Gregg Shapiro

Falling Five Stories

Behind the bending wall, arms-length

pipes burp and bark like a pack of wild

dogs. The permanent smell of fresh paint

stabs my nose and wets my eyes. Furniture

rearranged in still-life poses. Somersaults

stopped in mid-air. Spinning and twisting

above the traffic, I fill my cheeks with air

and blow myself up. Down below, women

sit on folding chairs in the car-less parking lot,

waiting for the neighbor to bring home a stranger.

Copyright © 2019 by Gregg Shapiro.

Diamonds & Dust

If I hold my breath, I’ll turn sapphire

blue. Dazzling to behold, hold me

up to the light. I catch it, mirror it

back, simplified. Slip me over

your knuckle for everyone to admire.

Polished, sparkling. I am precious

to you. Almost a perfect counterpart

to the diamonds in your eyes.

You don’t recognize the flaws, but

I know you could cut me down

to size, leave me dull and splintered

in my own dust. We’ve only begun

to scratch the surface.

Copyright © 2019 by Gregg Shapiro.

About the Author

Gregg Shapiro’s chapbooks, More Poems About Buildings and Food (Souvenir Spoon Press) and Sunshine State (NightBallet Press) will be published in early and mid-2019, respectively. He is the author of Fifty Degrees (Seven Kitchens, 2016), selected by Ching-In Chen as co-winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Prize. Other books by Shapiro include the short story collections How to Whistle (Lethe Press, 2016) and Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebels Press, 2014), the chapbook GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 (Souvenir Spoon Press, 2012), and the poetry collection Protection (Gival Press, 2008). He also has work forthcoming in Gargoyle, The Duck Lake Journal, Acta Victoriana, Mojave River Review and the anthology Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman (Handtype Press). His poetry was recently featured in South Florida Poetry Journal, the Gay and Lesbian Review, Chelsea Station Magazine, Minnie’s Diary and the Anhinga Press anthology Reading Queer. An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

Catherine Eaton Skinner


Copyright © 2019 by Catherine Eaton Skinner.

About the Artist

Catherine Eaton Skinner has lived in the Northwest most of her life and on a farm for twenty years on San Juan Island, with a return to Seattle for the last twenty-seven years. She and her sister were encouraged early to be artists, given crayons and blank paper, and both continue to share art with each other. She received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Stanford University and studied art with Nathan Oliveira and Frank Lobdell. Venturing to Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station for a scholastic quarter, her early biological illustration became focused on Pacific coast marine life, and for twenty years worked on books, articles and installations. Marrying early out of the university and having three children, she and her first husband lived on San Juan Island for twenty years. Fairly self-sufficient and on little income, they spent little time in the city and constructed their own home. Her love for the garden continues; she rides her horse, but the flock of fifty sheep had to move on.

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