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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 74 — John J. Brugaletta, Heidi Hermanson, Changming Yuan

John J. Brugaletta


It’s after they die

that relatives send around their pictures,

the dead once more beautiful and smiling,

not depressed, not argumentative,

not rotting in a hole.

They probably have good motives, or used to—

the wish that we'll remember them

at their best,

but all it does is add to our discomfort

at losing such impossibly perfect people.

Maybe that’s why

we keep them in a drawer

for the rest of our lives.

Copyright © 2015 by John J. Brugaletta.

Opposing Hands

See how like a breath she brushes off

the skull of soil and sand. Look, it’s born

again now at these expert hands that love

this shell of life—enough to bear the heat

or knifing cold, the insects and the thugs.

See there the dome is missing a large part.

No trepanning, this. It gapes too wide.

The hand that opened this released a life

and not the aching that possessed his head—

a life of data now, imagined life.

Copyright © 2015 by John J. Brugaletta.


John J. Brugaletta has published two book-length collections of poetry, The Tongue Angles, and With My Head Rising Out of the Water. His poems have appeared in ZYZZYVA, Image, Blue Unicorn, Relief, The Random House Treasury of Light Verse and other publications. He previously edited and published South Coast Poetry Journal through California State University, Fullerton's English Department. Retired from CSUF, he now lives on the far northern coast of California.

Heidi Hermanson

The Carrying Over

This is a ferry to another life,

beams stuck on high, gaze

unwavering towards the future.

What seems like a dilapidated wreck

of rotten planks is bejeweled inside,

encrusted with glory,

an open letter to the ocean.

There are no personal

trainers here, no leather-clad

slave drivers brandishing whips,

just softly-rounded women

who resemble your dear, blue-

haired grandmother long gone.

They wear fragrant white face powder

and clunky jewelry. They cluck

softly, smile knowingly,

and nod approvingly

at the inanest of your remarks.

It is not a matter of boarding

or not boarding. The pull is strong,

the rope the sail rides on, rippling.

The launch is now.

See how the ocean clears

a path before you! The lime and lapis

sea-foam dream sparkles as you ride

out the storm. You are safe


There is no fear for time,

for the clocks have long since

been thrown overboard,

along with your checkbook,

spare glasses, and mortgage.

Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Hermanson.

Days Lost

In spite of the allergies

I tested negative for,

the heat, the humidity,

the mosquitos,

in spite of the lost ones,

the lost jewelery,

the lost poetry,

the children that were

in my arms one day and walking out the next—

In spite of muddy shoes

on my heart's just waxed-floor

(my garbage can heart, you walked away

like a grinning trash man with a pit-bull smile)

In spite of heart aches, body aches

that feel like jays screaming...

In spit of cold stares, my darling,

your face betrays the reluctant wonderment

of the world as you sashay

through August heat

with the ease of water-skiing—perfect,

a day with no obligations,

a gazelle in someone else's tomato patch,

a shummering white veil,

a white mosquito veil

over your small heart.

Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Hermanson.

First they walk on your feet—then they walk on your heart

my mother-in-law intones, but this one only makes my

heart softer and more tender—maybe in preparation

for her to walk on it.

Her ice blue eyes fix themselves intently on me

as if to memorize each wrinkle, each one a road map.

Her smile transcends all time.

The future is not promised,

but she is a seal and a testament to it,

a mile marker that flicks out

quick as a lit cigarette burning down to the very end

I hold my niece, think of her future,

She’s as tart as an unripe pear.

Her skin is as soft as the inside of my heart.

Her specialty: softening hearts.

Time races on. Each move, our hands, our eyes,

describes a burden,

the baggage we carry.

We drag it through the snow,

leaving makes on the ground, scars.

Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Hermanson.


Heidi Hermanson has been published in Midwest Quarterly and Hiram Poetry Review. She organized the first Poets’ Chautauqua at the State Fair and there released her first chapbook, Midwest Hotel. Heidi has organized and directed four ekphrastic shows which she describes as a marriage between visual art and poetry. In 2010 she won the Omaha Public Library’s annual poetry contest and performed her winning work accompanied by Silver Roots, a New York-based violin and flute duo. She has read at the John R Milton Conference in Vermillion, SD, at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, at Tunes in the Town Square (which features poetry at the band’s break) in Ralston, Nebraska, on the Kerry Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri, and at the Roebuck Pub in England. In her spare time she hopes to open a library of maps to towns that do not exist and learn the dialects of the seven-year cicada. She holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Changming Yuan


supposing Darwin was right

it did take as long as one million years

before apes became what we are, gradually

and passively, with the help of our environment

however, with our own intelligence

and technology, we are going

to evolve into iHooyeaus suddenly and

actively, in a matter of just one generation

or two, a new species that will consume

lunar energy instead of sun-based foods

each living in a unique virtual

reality, where multiplication is achieved

sexlessly via logic rather than through

love, where each individual lifetime is

expended within a tiny chip

so, are you happy to be the last humans

or the earliest iHooyeaus?

Copyright © 2015 by Changming Yuan.


Instead of reaching deep

Into the ground, you hung all your roots

On your twigs in the wild open, trying

To absorb both air and light directly

As well as darkness and cold

Ready to connect to soil and water

Growing from a single tree into a huge forest

That’s your most deeply-rooted secret

The secret about growth

Copyright © 2015 by Changming Yuan.


Yuan Changming, an 8-time Pushcart nominee, is probably the world's most widely published poetry author who speaks Mandarin but writes in English. Tutoring and co-editing Poetry Pacific (with Allen Qing Yuan) in Vancouver, Canada, Yuan has poetry appearing in 989 literary publications in 31 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review and Threepenny Review.

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