The Secret of My Parent’s Marriage

by Yvonne Higgins Leach

I learned late in life that my parents
stopped mapping each other’s bodies,
gave up on the luxury of making heat,
forgot how to anoint the other in breath.

I learned that after careers,
mortgages, six children and worry
they prayed to save their marriage
from collapse. And they did somehow.

Call it a replanting. A resurrection.
Call it putting the past
on the other side of a dim-lit tunnel.
Call it a secret only they knew.

They carried water together
to the end and when the music
of their hourglass lives stopped
the heavens opened and reset for them.

 

 

 

Yvonne Higgins Leach is the author of Another Autumn (WordTech Editions, 2014). Her poems have appeared in South Dakota Review, South Carolina Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, and Wisconsin Review, among others. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Washington University in 1986. She has spent decades balancing a career in communications and public relations, raising a family, and pursuing her love of writing poetry. She splits her time living in Snohomish and Spokane, Washington. For more information, visit www.yvonnehigginsleach.com

Dew Claws for Everybody

by Carol Hamilton

The Fremont tribe differed
in footwear from the nearby,
more successful Anazasi.
This short-span people
formed moccasins
with the hides of larger game,
kept the dew claw
from the animal’s foot,
fitted it into the sole
to gain better purchase
for climbing the canyons
of their abrupt landscape.
In one petroglyph,
a man-like creature
holds a staff,
and the space-defying
bighorn sheep cartwheel
in a circle around him.
I used a walking stick
all over those paths
and cliffs, and even here,
on flatland, my home,
I could use a dew claw
to keep me steady.
There may be treacherous edges
to any spot on this earth.

 

 

 

Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in Paper Street Jourrnal, Cold Mountain Review, Common Ground, Gingerbread House, Main Street Rag. Sacred Cow. U.S.1 Worksheet, Pontiac Review, Louisiana Literature, Abbey, 805, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Poem, Third Wednesday, One Trick Pony, Plainsongs, and others. She has published 17 books, most recently, SUCH DEATHS from the Visual Arts Cooperative Press in Chicago. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize.

Corbin’s Birthday

by Carol Hamilton

It is a few days yet,
and he still says he’s three.
But he holds himself taller,
and his blue eyes show
the serious importance
of being the center of attention
without crying. His older brother
is the unnoticed one this day.
Corbin shared his cake
with his great-uncle, 46 to his 4
but without that many candles.
Together they extinguished fire
and forgot to make wishes.
Corbin left here a more serious person.
He got to eat only the strawberries
off the cake, to drink Dr. Pepper
from a can, caffeine forgiven
for once. Each year I forgive
myself more and more,
and by now I am practically pure.
I pass the baton of guilt gladly,
celebrate by baking his cake.

 

 

 

Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in Paper Street Jourrnal, Cold Mountain Review, Common Ground, Gingerbread House, Main Street Rag. Sacred Cow. U.S.1 Worksheet, Pontiac Review, Louisiana Literature, Abbey, 805, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Poem, Third Wednesday, One Trick Pony, Plainsongs, and others. She has published 17 books, most recently, SUCH DEATHS from the Visual Arts Cooperative Press in Chicago. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize.

Procession on Cochran Road

by Gaby Bedetti

60 days after Easter, Christ the King Cathedral
celebrated a nearly 800-year-old tradition–
the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
A half-mile procession wound around the church grounds,
a public witness of veneration of the Blessed Eucharist
displayed in a monstrance carried by the bishop.

No little girls cast flowers, no passerby genuflected
as the procession passed, though a few police cars
did block the intersections. Roofers working
along Cochran continued hammering
while pockets of people sang “Sing, My Tongue, the Savior’s Glory.”
The procession moved at a slow and not always reverent pace.
Some checked iPhones, others chatted. A deacon peeled off
and skipped the return to the cathedral,
the bishop’s benediction.

In the 13th century, when the faith of the world was growing cold,
a 16-year-old Belgian nun, Juliana, had visions of the moon
crossed by a dark stripe. She came to understand
that the moon symbolized the Church on earth,
the opaque line represented the absence of a feast in honor of Christ.
After Juliana shared her vision, her bishop
established the feast in 1246
and Pope Urban extended it to the entire Church in 1264.

And so we still move together following the monstrance,
most of us not singing, but all of us walking, sweating
a bit in our good clothes, the procession ancient and sunlit.

 

 

 

 

Gaby Bedetti likes to hike, take photos, plant trees, and sing. Born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, she received her PhD in comparative literature from the University of Iowa. A long-time professor at Eastern Kentucky University, she co-teaches Page-to-Stage: Imagining the Military Experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. To her readers, she would like to sing, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then. . . .” Her poem “Singing in the Pool” is forthcoming in The Voices Project.

Dinner Time

by M. Anthony C.

Like the glaciers that slug
rock slow down steep
mountain slopes, digging the trenches
like veins as they go, I am going through
an extended mental breakdown
remarkably well.
My broken-plate memory’s
a mosaic. I scoot up to it.
I don’t mind eating off the floor.

 

 

 

M. Anthony C. is an alumni of Salt Lake Community College and is majoring in English with a minor in creative writing at BYU. He has had several pieces (poems and essays) published in Folio (SLCC’s literary magazine), Haiku Universe, paintedcave.net, Sucarnochee Review and more.

Quodam

by Sarah Farrar

Back in my day,
the sun ran backwards,
west to east, searching the Orient
at night for the secret to life.

Time didn’t splatter, covering all
in should-haves and going-tos.
It flowed, ice through a valley
It was different then,

one could look in the mirror
and see nothing but pure darkness.

 

 

 

After two years of studying Engineering, Sarah Farrar saw the light and switched to English, with a minor in creative writing. In her spare time, she writes and reads and occasionally binge watches shows like SVU and Parks and Rec. She lives with her husband, Kraig Farrar, who happens to be an excellent writing companion, and her dog, Toby, who is a fantastic writing distraction. She was published in the Fall 2016 edition of Inscape.

Mill River in the Evening and a Funeral

by Tamara Thomson

I met a friend from twenty years ago
we stood and sang a hymn for the departed—
what secrets we shared paled in the light
of secrets we hid. We could not forget

our year together, ill youth, wards of
the state, when I had done my best
to bleed out and she had hoped to starve.
We sang for the dead and longed to remember:

thatch reeds and a solitary otter,
dumplings the texture of river mist,
Palestrina motets and a song to
sage salmon. But what we remembered:

the gauzy scent of saliva, the sooty
stare of eyes with no color, the boy who
strangled on bed sheets knotted to a fire
sprinkler. The funeral left me wanting.

I want to rent the redbrick Brassworks:
green wooden windows and locked green doors
on the bank of Mill River—
I will walk through bare rooms in dusty light

fluent in prayer to the god of paneled space
eating olives from clear glass bowls
my green eyes like an echo in green windows
(the river will pause in a pool of orchid gold)

and chilled by a rising mist I will wait
for a disturbance, any disturbance,
for the plunge of a silk otter
or the splash of an Hesperides’ heel.

 

 

 

Tamara Pace Thomson is an MFA candidate in creative writing. She and her husband have three kids, two dogs, and a hedgehog (thanks to Shamae Budd for the inspiration).

Fallacy

by Tamara Thomson

She did not ask if I was alcoholic
or if I wore a white headscarf while
playing Frisbee with a husband in shorts.
She did not ask if I was map
or tattered territory.

She asked, instead, “Are you Mennonite?”
“No.” I said.
She paused.
“Are you Jewish?” She asked.
“No.” I said.

But what I wanted to say was:
I held a silver Star of David, once,
to the flame of a Bic lighter—
when it burned red I pressed it
to the back of my hand,
above the wrist, to brand myself
like a cow; as a Jew.
Only it bubbled black and left
a lump of pink with blurred edges
not six intersecting lines.

“Where did you find your handbag?” I asked.
“Nordstrom or thrift?”

But, what I wanted to say was:
Are there black spots on your cornea
From staring at the sun?
Have you ever noticed how a copper beech ignites
green to purple from the inside out?
Are you aware that the sexually ravenous
get bug-eyed in the exact same way
whether they read Baudrillard
or “How to Read Tarot Cards?”

“Nordstrom,” she said.

I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear:
I am territory. Yes. Territory.

 

 

 

Tamara Pace Thomson is an MFA candidate in creative writing. She and her husband have three kids, two dogs, and a hedgehog (thanks to Shamae Budd for the inspiration).

Letter to Stevie Smith

by Lainey Wardlow

On a day like today, Stevie,
I would have loved to sit with you
At your tiny breakfast table,
Sip tea, and look out on a thick,
October sky.

Is your soul as turbulent
And confused as mine?
The question would pour from my cup,
And you, with your sweet, paper face
Would sip it in and not be sick.

On a day like today, sweet Stevie,
I would have loved to run my brush
Through your little strands of hair
And hear you recite your mind into the air.
I would sip it in, and not be sick.

 

 

 

Lainey Wardlow wrote this poem on a day when she was feeling particularly alone and depressed. She had just finished reading Stevie Smith’s, “Not Waving But Drowning,” and felt connected to her poetry more than the people in her own life. To shed her inertia, she wrote a poem addressing Stevie Smith and explaining her feelings to her.

Heliocentric

by Hayley Rawle

The sun arrived on a chariot
and cruised past the remnants of Saturday
which had fallen in piles
on the lawn in the nighttime
and heaped like clothes
next to the unmade bed
of Nicolaus Copernicus,

who woke up late to the gilded light
of mid-morning thickening
in his bedroom, his longish black hair
puffy and his eyelids still weighted
with sleep.

The bronze noise of church
bells rung dense in his ears
as he plodded to the window
and peered out at the obtrusive sun,

which seemed to be caught in orbit,
circling just around his room.

 

 

 

Hayley Rawle is a Provo, Utah native. She was raised on reading and writing, and naturally landed in the English major at Brigham Young University. Along with English things, she enjoys hiking, eating Mexican food, and watching good films. Her husband Bentley, of course, is her #1 fan.