A Poem by Hayley McCullough

There was a poem I wrote once
But its name escapes me.
My words that danced
In plaid skirts and linen trousers
Are nothing
But dark smears across my vision,
Blocking what I have already seen from view.
They make the world quite unpleasant to look at.

I have tried to rewrite
The tone, the meaning, the cadence,
The sheer malice
Back into the world of the known
Back into an existence of paper and ink
But with each stroke of my pen
My fingers crack and bleed.
And the pages rot into petals,
Cluttering the ground with distraction.
I fear I will drown in their quantity.

And now I have another poem
That will eventually fade from my memory…
But there was a poem I wrote once…
Its name escapes me.

With each passing day, Hayley McCullough becomes more convinced they are actually a brain in a jar. 

3 Poems by Katrina Kaye

In Your Car at 4am on a Thursday night

The awkwardness of the steering
wheel presses against thighs
as if to balance the round world
between my legs. You were shy smiles
and lowered eyes and I, in the brave
cover of darkness, looked at you longer
when you were looking away.

We were riding crashing waves,
horses stomping though shoreline,
sand left upturned,
and it was no secret
I liked your hand on my knee.

Windows slowly mist with
the heat of conversation,
tongues slip fast over sermons.
At some point we forgot how to breathe.
We were already removed from the pack,
paired off, claimed.

There was no future
on that downtown street,
Only moment, only want,
and the knowledge of your
middle name meant
everything to me.

I want to feel that again
the surge of emotion,
a force of transcendence,
strength, freedom.

I grew past parked cars in empty lots.
Arms no longer tempt, only secure,
hold down, hold back.
I may have stopped curling my toes for you
but there is still a rip torn into lifeline.

A memory healed over,
but a scar remains.

To be child again,
to bleed abandon and
release quickening howl,
in your car, enraptured
all over you.

Bone Collector

She pieces together
a puzzle at a time.

A shard, humerus,
stretch of femur,

attempting to construct
fierce outline.

She collects broken dolls
with missing parts,

recreating what was
left to decay.

Eyes may fit better
in different sockets,

the porcelain doesn’t
always shine until

it’s cracked. She
takes her time.

Once the bones align,
the flesh can grow,

roped veins,
threaded muscles,

covering the white
of bone,

creating life,
a strength, a purpose.

With the patience
of glass, she draws

fine lips and outlines
the lashes of eyes.

Collector of dead things,
you hold the foresight

to see what could be,
once our construction

is complete.


Old friends,
twice lovers,
now just two people
who cameo each other’s lives.
Little in common between
the two of us these days.

You are still the artist,
ever drawing the pictures
from the webbing in your mind.
You teach now and sell work on line,
occasionally making a charitable donation
to those victimized by mother nature’s glance.

I am still a writer
and I still scrawl poetry
on bath walls and alley ways.
People have never paid for my verse,
but that never stopped me.
I make my living listening to sad stories
behind the desk of a doctor’s office.
I am simple,
I am satisfied.

You didn’t mention her once
in the sixteen hours we spent together,
and I didn’t ask. That is not why we met
at that hotel room, halfway between my
New Mexican sky and your New Orleans night.

We fumbled, despite familiarity
and found ourselves in bed eager for
the intimacy we shared one summer four years ago,
eager for the comfort of a friend.
I awoke not to your terrible dreams,
but to you sitting up in bed,
sketching my still form.

Upon my movements,
you kissed me still and we made love again,
eager in the hours of the morning.
You awoke not to my impatient concern
but to the sound of me writing
and kissed my shoulder blades until I slipped back
to your side.

Our time was small,
secure and entirely necessary.

Katrina Kaye is a writer and educator living in Albuquerque, NM. She is seeking an audience for her ever-growing surplus of poetic meanderings. Find her hoard of previously published writing on her website: ironandsulfur.com. She is grateful to anyone who reads her work and in awe of those willing to share it.

Digital Paintings by Edward Michael Supranowicz

Edward Michael Supranowicz is the grandson of Irish and Russian/Ukrainian immigrants. He grew up on a small farm in Appalachia. He has a grad background in painting and printmaking. Some of his artwork has recently or will soon appear in Fish Food, Streetlight, Another Chicago Magazine, The Door Is a Jar, The Phoenix, and other journals. Edward is also a published poet.

Jack, Years After the Beanstalk Episode by Linda Lowe

Thanks to the goose that lay golden eggs, Jack was a rich man, but bored with running a restaurant. There was no adventure in linen tablecloths and napkins folded just so. He was annoyed with young knights who bragged and a wife who nagged, and children who were probably his, but what a pain. Jack imagined that the giant was still out there, ready to come for him. Each night he stormed around his mansion, slamming doors and opening windows. “I’m an old man now,” he shouted. “Sorry I stole your goose!” And the night said, “Fee, fi, foe, fum.”

Linda Lowe’s stories and poems have appeared in The New Verse News, Tiny Molecules, A Story in 100 Words, Star 82 Review, and others.

Just a Dog by Tim Frank

The dog was named Potato and she resented being a pet. She was well aware of her intellectual superiority to her owner, Pank, an overweight twelve-year-old schoolboy who played Top Trumps for dead spiders, liked mint Crispy Cremes and enjoyed stamping on puddles.

Potato was drawn to her fair share of mundane interests too: chasing raccoons through the brambles at the far end of the garden, and playing fetch with her sticky neon ball, which she found endlessly fascinating – though the repetition often reminded her of the Myth of Sisyphus.

Her life was comfortable but she wanted more – to be an intellectual decoding French symbolist poetry or studying propaganda in modern day Russia. So, in order to elevate her mind, Potato would drag Pank’s science homework into the musty boiler room and leaf through it with her moist nose, page by page. After her studies she would treat herself to a kebab using the takeout app on Pank’s phone.

One morning, while Potato was meditating on the nature of absolute zero, she was interrupted by Pank who scolded her for drinking out of the toilet bowl once again. Potato was pretty down on herself about her conduct and wondered what compelled her to act in such an uncouth manner. Wasn’t she above such antics? Wasn’t she too cerebral for this type of behaviour? She tried to explain herself to Pank and in the process hoped to find answers for herself.

“Master,” she began, “we’ve known each other for some time now and I want to apologise for my behaviour. And yet I can’t help but feel I’m not the only one to blame. Both you and I know you’ve been holding me back – you know I need more mental stimulation than is currently offered. So, I think we’re at a crossroads. I have demands: more freedom and more education. Also, it may be wise for you to throw in a trainer to help me overcome my baser instincts.”

Pank ruffled the hair under Potato’s neck. Before she knew it, she was lying on her back begging for her belly to be rubbed.

“You really are a good dog,” said Pank.

“You’re not listening to me as usual,” said Potato, suddenly feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

“I have a gift for you,” said Pank, and he unwrapped a glitter-speckled frisbee. Potato sighed, feeling misunderstood. But when Pank flung the toy along the hall Potato quickly scampered after it, nails scraping against the tiled floor, barking mischievously. In that moment nothing else in her life seemed to matter. She was a dog pure and simple.

Tim Frank’s short stories have been published in Bourbon Penn, Menacing Hedge, Eunoia Review, Maudlin House and elsewhere. He is the associate fiction editor for Able Muse Literary Journal.