Is Land

By Paige Taggart


a bridge with a car driving over it
the car driving onto a boat
the boat carries the car across the mainland onto the island
where the little houses live
the little houses you can drive to but only if your car goes
on a ferry across the water
the mainland has more people than the is÷≥land

Lord of your wasteland.
Lord of what you dream
to subjugate—

this way to the mound
where you bury your dead.

Behind these canyons,
your bone yard sullies
the gloom of loam.


By Susan Dickman


There are, naturally, feelings that one cannot render.

And their hearts, through not clinging, were liberated from taints.
Typical ending for the early Buddha stories

Begun as mountains of ice and tundra gathering force
at the top of the range, Sierras move north
and south over eons, pulling glaciers, tarring
everything in their path.

The precious-jeweled twigs of trees
in the rain, forgotten lipstick tube
on the glittering tar and granite curb, moss-covered bark
of tree trunks leading to pools of water
collected at their bases
in the bare-trimmed winter grass, early spring.

Money Poem

By Donald Dunbar


after James Gendron

        Money is an extrovert. Money is social, sociopathic. Money is important in many games, but less so in children’s games,
        and can be used in sex games, as when I paid my girlfriend for sex and she said, acting, “Money gets me wet.” Money gets wet;

        if money floats, it floats only for a minute. Money has been made into shelter, into clothing, cooked into food:
        it tastes like butter, fuzz, or blood. Money for beer? Money is power. Money is quiet. Money electronic.

On a tailgater and challenge by R. S. Gwynn who said, “Is there a Miltonelle in your future? I hope not!”

Of man’s first disobedience and the fruit
Of man’s first disobedience, its fruit:
God’s ways ain’t for this homeboy to dispute.

That angels tumbled from the fluffy clouds,
From inky darkness and from fluffy clouds
And led to disobedience and its fruit;

For Jamie Moore

I have to believe even your death was graceful.
That you lifted yourself into the backseat
effortlessly as your feet in first position raised onto pointe,
toes careful not to disturb the gear set in park.
That you crawled over the empty prescription bottles
to enter the trunk through the rear, folded yourself there,
wrapped your body around the blackness like a partner
who made you weightless in that perfect last ascent
before the stage went dark, before the curtain dropped.

In the eyes of the corpses
bitten by crows.
In the smiles of generals
sending flowers
sending flowers….
on the butcher’s apron,
where the blood makes patterns
like beautiful constellations.


By Thea Goodrich


is what I would ink on my wrist
if I had the nerve for etching
(or more precisely, permanently,
no nerves in me at all).

my left wrist, probably, and askew,
the notch between bowl and stem
of and per se and as the arrowhead
at the delta of a ghost-blue thread.

We were sitting in a cafe, by the window, and you were trying to tell me something, but I was distracted, watching a road construction crew across the street. He has been in intensive care for the past week, you said. The men in their orange vests had taken cables from their truck. They attached it to something in a manhole. I want to visit him soon. I think we both should go. I stirred my coffee idly. The men began to haul an anaconda the size of a tree trunk out of the sewer. Do you think that’s a good idea, you said. Sure, I said, as the men coiled up the anaconda and put it in a second truck that had arrived. You don’t think anyone will wonder what our motives are? The men got the snake in the truck. It seemed to be dead, or possibly tranquilized.

when i want you

the thought of you
washes over me

if i open my mouth
                i will drown—
blue in the face
when i’m pulled up
                like a fish

the tall tall creek/creeps into the backyard.
your very own backyard/and you flood/
a river into the wild


I watched this one three times or more
the first week. Then I checked it out
again for special features: peeks
behind location, casting, score.

I listened to the leads discuss
the steamy sex that would have hurt
their marriages if real-life love
were less amazingly secure.

The next morning, in
the kitchen, we eat

leftovers with tense
chopsticks; I drip

soy sauce (and of course
remember the first time


By Kelly Luce


I don’t need to walk to the ocean.
I can see the ocean from here.
I have walked the path to the ocean before.

I know the dirt’s grip.
I know the bullfrog’s rev.
The ducks are brand new.
Last night paper tubes heaved upward.
We went out, sandals undone.

God is love, easy to memorize.
But how to understand
its trueness, God’s finger and flame,
lightning staining my window, hell’s
dark mouth under my bed.

Here’s how to never burn—
come into my heart, Lord Jesus, the altar call
at summer camp. Accept with grace his lily breath,
his tongue on my tongue, a mistaken click of
teeth, sorry. Better tilt your head opposite mine.