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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 96 — William C. Blome, K. Holmes, K. Pobo, Kimberly Ann Priest, John Stephens, Adam Webb

William C. Blome


Wrens (small hands, small fists) jab

between branches of a mulberry tree,

and in the fury of their idle combat, they smash

windows in furniture factories and collapse

empty cardboard cartons. As most of our yesterdays

huddle in the brain as a mob assembling

in distant glades, something suggests I confess to you

the glades are an interlocking thatch

of on-their-way-out trees, and thus the daunting image

in front of the wrens (providing they make the jumbo

effort to bridge the jumbo distance

between their mulberry tree and all those other trees)

is a furiously busy switchboard staffed

by headset-wearing adolescents, and while

additional details will likely refuse to surface,

understand it’s all because of your indolence that

there’s zero confidence wrens can close the distance.

Copyright © 2017 by William C. Blome.

About the Author:

William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.

Katherine Holmes

REM sunshine

Still as shingles

the day is going on

it knocks on the fingernails

and splayed arm

a stump recalling its nerve.

There was a horrible hour

in the night

tiger near a garage again

having to be appeased for those

in the ramshackle mansion rooms

insects behind a closed door

they can’t really get to you

with the wind in your brain.

Are we trees rooted in sleep or

is that tree out there sleeping?

The turned-in eye at night

fastens on another twig

that gropes towards the REM sunshine.

Leaf mosaics sift the breeze

ambrosia until

gusts toss reels of autumn technicolor

under the flannel snow.

The day is going on.

Flared synapses of yesterday

sunk into the trunk

ungnarl the finger

and the searching toes.

A cat sits near the

stalled lump of provision

waiting for the sun that shines

on trees and us.

Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Holmes.

The Miranda flower

Impact tree-bud large

magnified at a crouch

in a city rock garden

the minuscule flower

vase labeled Miranda

holding a blue moment

a museum piece

small as thought in a

calendar of granite.

He passed here too,

force the farce

of love clawing

kissing to clutch.

No witness in

the sightless rocks.

Cacti and Siberian

moss turn stickling

like divorcees.

Rooted to her spot

blue Miranda

proffers her potion.

At first she had pity

and pretty-feeling skin

that blossomed into

bruise and survival

in the rocks

alone as a crocus.

Youth could not

yet know a man.

Soft fern soothes

a hairline fracture

in the scalloped blue

goblet of memory.

Hurry on.

The labeler of growth

between rocks might see

a loitering passerby,

that she was touched.

Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Holmes.


foghorn far-off

how can it be comforting

when it enters the unconscious

like a barge

and sounds like the bored lullaby

of a belcher

or the bedtime story of an industrialist

the hearer

starting to snooze

counts the hornblows as whales

sloshing up and

clearing the height of a hundred waterbeds

foghorn snoring

outside the fathoms

of slumber

a dream decoy alleviating

the tossing whitecaps of isolation

matter-of-fact as

the forlorn divorced man

who warns about the jaggedness

underneath things

conscious of stubborn boundaries

between ship and ecstatic sea and shale

another newly

at his wild worst

forgets his early alarm

blaring to

a building after he’s gone

warnings at best infrequent and far-off

yet consoling

is the sea-clock

for the sightless

in the night mantles

a time of loneliness and transit

with unfamiliar places to pass through

while foghorns

keep what adds up

to a fleet from going down

Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Holmes.

About the Author:

Katherine L. Holmes’ poetry, short stories, and one-act plays have appeared in more than 50 journals, most recently Agave Magazine, Thin Air Magazine, Cider Press Review, Mused Literary Review, Red Booth Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Blood Lotus, and The Adirondack Review. In 2012, her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, was published by Press Americana. More information is at her website:

Kenneth Pobo

From the Porch

He watches fireflies

write small gold

letters in mid-air



a canterbury bell’s


blue lips.

Copyright © 2017 by Kenneth Pobo.

African Violet Steve

He sees beauty in few places,

but when he does, he stops,

or to him, Earth slows its orbit,

the moon releases the tides,

briefly. Beauty breaks down.

He’s now on his twenty-fifth

African Violet, having killed each one:

too little water, too little heat,

not the right light, oh,

it’s terrible to love something

and get it wrong, green pads

blackening. An optimist,

he tries again. His dad grows one

that’s seven years old—

never out of bloom,

a man who prefers NASCAR to gardens.

His friend Sue tries to help—

several thrive in her apartment.

Steve wants the world to stop

turning, even once, time

descending on a bud just opened,

lavender flowers, small and perfect,

and likely not to last.

Copyright © 2017 by Kenneth Pobo.

About the Author:

Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet. His work has appeared in Indiana Review, Mudfish, Atlanta Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, and elsewhere.

Kimberly Ann Priest

My Friend Believes She Wishes a Miscarriage Into Reality

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize

It dropped out of me

bloody. I mean

it was bloody in the bathroom—I stood

in a pool of blood— No,

sat in it— No, laid in my bed. No, cried. No,

—I didn’t.

I was bleeding

not in the bathroom

not in my bed but

in the shop while working earlier that morning,

cutting foam and stems, filling vase after vase with water,

arranging flowers for a wedding, and singing

Dani California— singing—

sweating out pink drops, dropping

a leaf, a petal, a card: congratulations on your special day,

the fetus.

Did I tell you I was singing?

I was.

I didn’t tell you I wanted the child.

I didn’t tell anyone

or buy a plastic stick to know if it was even there.

The sloppy mass was on the bathroom floor.

I mopped it up, dried myself, slept

the whole next day.

Copyright © 2017 by Kimberly Ann Priest.

Sunday Morning

A girl in the third row counts the seconds it would take

for a man twice her age to undress her. There are many ways to find

God, says the preacher: from inside a belly, from inside a cave,

from inside the spirit of a man.

Her mother sits on a long hard pew underlining verses, deep creases

in her forehead and the corners of her eyes.

The young man looks tranquil next to the preacher’s wife;

he turns to see the girl again with his dark brown eyes.

The preacher holds his Bible open like a plate over-filled at a picnic;

a slight shift and the food will spill off.

The girl learns the hungry are filled if they are seeking—the girl

learns to keep her gaze straight ahead.

The pastor’s wife smiles at the man in the front row and he smiles back.

Her mother is marking each minute with Amen. There is only

one way to know God, says the preacher: from outside

the brothels, from outside the bars, from outside, the Spirit will come.

Copyright © 2017 by Kimberly Ann Priest.

About the Author:

Kimberly Ann Priest received her MA in Creative Writing at Central Michigan University and is currently completing an MFA in Poetry at New England College while volunteering with AmeriCorp in Fort Worth, Texas and teaching English composition courses online. She has published in several literary journals since she began writing poetry a few years ago including Ruminate Magazine, Storm Cellar, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Critical Pass, and forthcoming in 3288 Review.

John Stephens

Boy on the Beach

Out of blood there grew the flower called hyacinthos not the petals of which were marked with the mournful exclamation AI, AI (“Alas”).


A boy stands by the September sea with his dog.

He looks at the unbroken ocean, the dog barks off gulls,

bites waves, runs their breaking white crests.

The boy turns to eye the sea, wonders how

it ends. His sisters’ faces lean into the wind.

The water darkens the sand, the girls tug their skirts,

the tallest takes the hand of the little one,

and the four wade in the waters they cannot know.

Their mother snaps a photograph.

The dog is gone to dust now, and so is the boy.

His sisters watch the night sky, ask, where are

the flowers of Hyacinthus, which one of us is next?

Copyright © 2017 by John Stephens.

A Butcher in Any Town

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig . . . cow after cow . . . village after village . . . army after army . . .

—Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now

Rain ran after monsoon in that jungle haze,

drowning reflection of the wife back home,

and desire lay sleeping in queer being.

Kurtz had gone mad in a stench of ivory tusks

thinking the trade would be worth something.

His heart was the drum beat in the dark blue

spectral as thousands of necrotic eyes followed

the horned head that swayed in smoke to sounds

of no human language. He commanded his tribe

to bow like rioting vegetation under king trees,

to butcher and poach tusks for god beads and tobacco.

When he is done with his litany, they pick him up,

carry him to a hut, amid flies buzzing over the raw

heads on pikes. Live long enough in the jungle

and the mania will speak to you, lust will grow,

and soon everything will seem to belong to you,

even the very face of the stars.

That’s when the jungle wants you dead.

Copyright © 2017 by John Stephens.

About the Author:

John Stephens is the author of Return to the Water, (C & R Press June 2013); other published work include poems in Stone River Sky, An Anthology of Georgia Poems (2015), Iodine Poetry Journal (2016), Amarillo Bay (2016), Stream Ticket (2016), Boston Accent (2016) and Head and Hand Press (2016). He lives in Milton, Ga. and his gifts have helped to establish the Adam Stephens Night Out for Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Poetry @TECH series.

Adam Webb


—Baudelaire: La Beauté

I am a dream of stone.

My breast wounds poets

inspiring a love


and silent as matter.

Residing in the heavens


I unite a heart of snow

with the whiteness of swans,

while hating all movement

which displaces lines.

Never to laugh; never to weep.

My poses, borrowed

from proud monuments,

consume poet’s days.

I fascinate these docile lovers

with radiant eyes.

Pure mirrors

make all more beautiful.

Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.

Looking in a Mirror after Reading Neruda

Like a shadow on the wall,

I’ve been sentenced to stalk myself.

Disturbed roots lift the sidewalk;

Dead flowers

Wait to be replaced come spring.

In desperation, supported

By dreams

My faces appear.

Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.

After Looking to my Left

Gallery faces

lean toward The Tempest

like a Caravaggio.

Chiaroscuro shines

one face through the shadows.

I love you;


you’ll never know.


here’s all I have to give;


I wrote on the back of a playbill.

Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.

Wahalla Beach, Whiting July 17th, 2013

I am drunk on the sound of waves

in the sun seared sand.

Smells of trout and bass

whistle through the saw grass hazy with gnats.

Waves hit the rocks

leaving dead alewife and lakeweed as they retreat.

I must be crazy

to love a place

where I don’t wanna be.

Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.

Looking at a Box in Florence

No one wants their name

in the tamburo.

The Medici’s

have Da Vinci’s

fingerprints on file,

in Uffizi.

They’re on Verrocchio’s

The Baptism of Christ.

Leo painted the second angel,

the one keeping an eye

on the carpenter.

Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.

About the Author:

Adam Webb is a poet and translator originally from blue-collar town in Northwest Indiana. Adam graduated Summa Cum Laude from Calumet College of St. Joseph. Currently, he teaches English in Singburi, Thailand and travels the world in his free time.

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