Micki Blenkush, “Painted Cave”

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Painted Cave

All week I’ve been crawling
the dirt floor of memory,
trying to read flinty shapes

like calligraphy
in flickered light.
Inside-out, I move

through where I lived
before I knew of maps.
All that I think I know

can be traced to pattern.
I was primitive then,
working pigment to skin.

No one sketches
the beasts
they already know.

 


Micki Blenkush lives in St. Cloud, MN, and works as a social worker. She is a 2015 recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant awarded by the Central MN Arts Board, funded by the McKnight Foundation. Her writing has recently appeared in: *82 Review, Naugatuck River Review, Gyroscope Review, and elsewhere.


 

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Adam King, “Like Your Castle”

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Like Your Castle

Not accidentally, the dream
Lets down its drawbridge.
You may enter, though the castle is without
Queen or prince or anyone like that.
A mirror may hang there
To reflect discomfort, complaint,
Or that there is no one fortunate inside,
No one to tell you
You are good.

It is dark unless
The room you’re in is missing a wall.
If you are able to see yourself,
You may wish to speak
To the mirror. In your mind, the bridge
Has been let down or you face
The underside across a moat of cracked earth.
Do not mention the past or future.
Have no notion of what to say beforehand.

No stick
To set fire to inside, no match.
You are altogether without,
And anything can happen to you here
But nothing will.
Will nothing.
When you come to the crumbling
Mosaic at the end of the main hall,
A figure faintly resembling you
Is painted there, who says, you imagine,
“I will keep you warm.”

 


Adam King lives in Albuquerque, NM. He holds an MA in counseling. His poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, St. Elizabeth Street, Seattle Review, and The Tongue. He is currently working on a screenplay based on the life of the poet H.D.


 

Maddie Woda, “The Use of Physics in Bucyrus, Ohio”

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The Use of Physics in Bucyrus, Ohio

Dogtooth violets in tin mugs, well water, lemon pie on the windowsill, I can feel the weight of five generations in my grandparent’s house, a little constellation of Midwestern values and homemade clothing, fertile mice and scabbed Bibles. My grandfather only comments on how thin I’ve gotten over the past couple months. He chatters with the cows about his day but keeps a cigar between his teeth until he mentions to me that making a living off the land is respectable, enviable, and academia is niceties in comparison.

No one starves if you stop working, he says, not even glancing at me as he taps ash in a ceramic dish shaped like an apple. What do you study again?

Physics, grandpa.

Physics. I don’t see any physicists saving the world.

My mother bustles in, torn lace apron, pushing my father onto the scene, he who has milked cows and coaxed corn out of the earth every day since he was old enough to walk to the barn by himself. He who feels soil in his veins and dew under his tongue, who treats calves with more tenderness than his children, who treats acorns with more tenderness than his wife.

Now dad, he says, ruffling his fingers like he’s shuffling playing cards, like he’s lighting a cigarette. Physics does lots of good things.

Oh yeah, my grandfather sneers, the solidity of an entire generation propping up his contempt. Like what?

Well. My father looks at me, eyes like honey even though his hair is grey at the temples. Tell us, son, what good are you doing?

 


Maddie Woda is an undergraduate at Columbia University in New York City, majoring in English and American Studies. She is a member of the Columbia Review and has forthcoming work in ANGLES.


 

Robert Beveridge, “Speaking through Severed Tongues”

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Speaking through Severed Tongues

The town crossroads
has been the traditional frame
for bird poachers, astronauts,
an occasional wallaby. Dinner
party conversation revolves
often around the doings there,
who slept with whom beneath the gibbet,
what really happened to the Challenger.
The town elders look the other way,
consider it less a problem
than what would happen if, say,
the high school became
the focus of attention.

 


Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. He has recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Ignatian, and YuGen, among others.


 

Mindy Watson, “Wedded” (a triolet)

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Wedded

They stood for us, yet bowed by grief’s great weight.
We could have been them, Josh and Kimberly,
Who trod this snaking path and matched our gait.
They stood for us (yet bowed by grief’s great weight),
As proud Best Man and Maid. But when he ate
His shotgun’s slug, and she her pills, we’d see
They stood for us. Yet bowed by grief’s great weight,
We could have been them—Josh and Kimberly.

 


Mindy Watson is a Washington, DC/Northern Virginia-based writer who holds an MA in nonfiction writing from The Johns Hopkins University. Her essays have appeared in Adelaide, Ars Medica, Corvus Review, and Thread. Her poems have appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry, Ekphrastic Review, Literary Hatchet, Midnight Lane Boutique, Palettes & Quills, Quarterday Review, and Snakeskin.