For the first time, we have ears as well as eyes on the heavens.

The night I said I love
you and then I took it back
I pulled the words from the air between us.
A spool as smooth as ribbon slipped back down my throat
until I wanted to choke them up again–
I swear I heard you laugh
as you took the last sip of whiskey
The moonlight faltered as the words
tangled back around my ribs.
I never meant to leave them there
God, I hope that whiskey felt right against your lips.

Behind the wires that twist and curve in electrocution
sits a young man devoid of substance, water, air,
and all we can see of him is the color of his clothing
his missing patches of hair
the location of his room. He fades
into the cinderblocks around him.
A burial wall bordered by electric caution,
A list of facts printed in the paper
as though he never drew a picture
to hang on his mother’s fridge.

Two black holes circle each other
competing carousels waltzing until
collision, a spread of energy,
Space time distortion.

After ordering a whiskey, neat,
you watch the beams stretch over the golden still,
your fingers spanning to the edges of the glass.
Listen to the night, how it cries tender over the streetlamps.
Somebody smudged each one with his thumb,
there is the hopeful glow of holiness within their blur.

How can I read the syntax of an angel’s wings? Can I swirl
my fingers around their haloes, like the lips
of a rocks glass? I have painted their songs across
my papers and yet I can only write in a minor key.
I clean my feet but my heels remain
dry, black from the Earth beneath them. “This
is my sin,” I hear them whisper.
I was never warned about their voices.

The wave fades to a whisper
but the astronomers continue to listen,
Arms of mirrors turning light to noise.

I dreamt last night that I played my horn next to Gabriel
and when we ended my breath kept circling
As if it were swallowed into his infinity of
music which fell silent to my ears when
all I wanted was to dance along.
But Gabriel, who had left his trumpet behind
continued to tap his foot to the meter.

I will only believe in one fallacy at a time,
Afraid of truth breaking down into disappointment:
My grandfather’s hauntings, or
a muse who falls in love with her painter.
For the short infinity of my past,
I have only found reason to search for faeries,
Holding their soft glow within my eyesight.

A million miles away, the gravity of Earth
and sun cancel each other: a silent meadow
carrying platinum, waiting.

Now when I imagine you
sipping tea behind your covers,
I feel the lemon and ginseng seep
into my own tongue, tightening the ribbon
A double knot around my ribs

And the old black dog
you always cradled
still sleeps outside
the bathroom door even
though we buried him behind
the garage.

We have grown apart
further than the first time the moonlight
faltered against our night.
The world buzzes with electricity, forgotten art,
A collection of myths we have yet to sift through.

A cease in ringings, collapse in space
and two black holes, swallowing each other,
The hushing of an end.

My skin now shines, gut rushing with the light
spilling into the street and I feel the bite
of my second glass. Watch me walk. Follow me home.
I have the confidence of the moon tonight.

*Quote from New York Times article, “Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory” by Dennis Overbye
______________________________________
Lisa Folkmire is a poet from Warren, Michigan. She is currently an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts with an emphasis in poetry. Her work has appeared in See Spot Run and Heron Tree literary arts journals, The Pine River Anthology, as well as Rat’s Ass Review.

There have been others
Each beautiful in their own way
Quick to smile
Quick to laugh.
The tips of their noses red in the cold

There have been others
Quiet girls in gingham and sandals
Who talked over coffee
Of anything and everything
And complimented my eyes

There have been others
Their mouths tasting of red wine
They smelled of vanilla and tea
They had tan lines on the tops of their feet
From the straps on their sandals and sun

There have been others, yes, but
There hasn’t been you
All of these other things
The gingham, the wine, the two-hour coffees
The kind words and the promise of time
It hasn’t been with you, and it is
Your hands holding your coffee I miss,
Your hair piled up high but still wild, I want
The way you hold the wheel when you drive that I think of, and
Your voice with the radio, singing, I need
So there have been others, true
But I have only ever loved you
_________________________________
Steve Passey is from Southern Alberta. On Valentine’s Day he’ll be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the poor and brokenhearted.

  —to my friend who has lost her child

Nurses slam into gurneys.
Pills sprinkle the air. Red Jello Rorschachs stain the walls,
outside, a lady and her dog are tangled in the trees, the leash gone limp,
the chubby cop and the thug with droopy drawers cling to the wire fence
like wilted laundry, and in kitchens everywhere, cooks have lopped off fingers,
the sous chefs swim in a sea of metal, pots and pans chiming their confusion
and in some hotel, a pair of lovers thinks they’ve reached some out of body free-fall,
and they splash, tractor trailers grind and twist on the highway in some slow angle,
cars thrust forward, drivers pump their brakes, splay their hands,
their noses against the glass to see
the whole world floating,
some apocalypse.

Tell me how long to leave them hanging there.
(I know this much: they must relearn their bodies.
How to maneuver. What is up or down.)
And when you’re ready,
just before the atmosphere has burned away,
just before that last desperate gasp for air,
we’ll let the earth start back its turning,
let them all drop in a dusty heap,
thud to their knees in strange backyards,
plunk deep into ocean, sinking with brick feet,
skid down some dotted desert road,
spine on bony spine.

We’ll give instructions:
Stand, bruised.
Brush off the dirt and walk the long way back
to what you were doing.
Youll have time to think of it again.
Carry your broken thermometers,
your bent whisks.
Dont ask why, just walk.
If its hot, strip off your sweater.
Wipe the sweat from your forehead.
Bear the sear of blisters starting at your heels
because your shoes arent right for this.

_________________________

Elizabeth Cranford Garcia isn’t sure what’s worse: the sound of her children whining, or suspicious silence. Her first chapbook, Stunt Double, is forthcoming (any day now!) from Finishing Line Press.

this is what heaven handed us
the blood that trickled
down your knee after you
fell down the stairs or the dark star-shaped
scar that remained afterwards,
a memento of morbidity’s
magic, the ash after
the candle burns and melts
to a resinous emptiness,
or perhaps heritage
is only a bitter memory-
a hanging man
who will not surrender himself
to fate’s slippery fingers
but wrestles with the noose
for a series of muffled moments
until his neck snaps
and his life severs
like a dropped call; he sways
from side to side, dangling
like a cat’s toy… silence,
the heritage we will hand
our children, along with the tattered
carcass of a planet
we allowed to languish
in neglect. maybe
heritage is the echo
of a whale’s wail
when a harpoon pierces its side
or the sauce we
never forgot… hunger
a hunger for a language
that lives without words.
we must realize in a way
only the blind can visualize
that before the veil of lies
there is a bed, and on it,
a lady named truth,
an ugly woman who bought,
tied, and shackled life
with the arrogant audacity
of the first weed to sprout
from an otherwise pristine lawn.
watch. she rises,
an ocean of her own design.
the bed creaks. she walks
and her dry bones speak.
traveler, kiss her cankered lips
and the veil will rip.
_________________________
Kenneth West is a writer from Monroe, Louisiana. He is a student at Louisiana Tech University, and his work has appeared in The Quatrain.

they said
the old
man was
not a
recluse
though he
never bathed
said dirt
enhanced
his power
he wore
overalls and
a cap
had a
long beard
like Moses
and always
spoke about
electromagnetic
energy and
power fields
as he
collected
old saw
blades and
Christmas lights
tin foil
bones and
copper wire
old paint
by number
kits and
model parts
and anything
shiny it
was a
hobby that
over time
became an
obsession
and years
later when
he was
very old
he showed
his friends
a large
room off
his tool
shed full
of what
he called
a healing
machine

the result
of years
of assembling
and painting
and sculpting
all his
discarded
treasures into
a room
that captured
light and
created sound
with wind
and small
motors that
he claimed
could harness
the earths
energy and
could heal
cancer could
heal anything
a local
news reporter
once
asked him
how it
worked and
he said
I don’t
know but
it does

I watched
this story
tonight on
TV after
another dead
soldier amputated
baby war
dream
I was
still sweating
and the
show distracted
my tears
well enough
and I
have no
idea if
it could
work but
I made
coffee early
and looked
at road
maps and
flight schedules
as I
imagined
what it
might be
like to
walk barefoot
into that
room.
_________________
Matthew Borczon is a writer, nurse, and Navy Sailor from Erie, Pa. He has 4 children 3 cats and a dog all of whom he loves completely.

Patient Zero by Nathan Tompkins

Posted: January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

Editor’s Note, Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Patient Zero

Sometimes, I wake sweating,
still hearing the pants
convulsing behind me,
the ghost breaths touch
the hair on the back of my neck,

(lie naked, face down)

I fear that I will spread this disease,
to fuck a life, like he fucked mine,

to make another child cry at night
like I did, to make another child hide
like I did, to make another child rage,
like I did, to murder a childhood,

like he did.

(his weight pressed in me)

When the nieces and nephews want to sit
back on my knee as we sit in the easy chair,
watch Disney cartoons dancing on the tv, I’d love to,

but the paranoia of others’ perceptions

yeah, sure, but not too long.

(hot grunts on my skin)

Or my reluctance in changing my daughter’s nappy,
just take it off, wipe the tissue once or twice,
don’t touch her skin with mine, not even by accident,
put a fresh one on, quick now, quick now,

don’t look!

I know I could never do what he did to me,

but I still wake up sweating, hearing you,
petrified that I am infected with his paedo disease,

(dirty, filthy, pervert)

the patient zero.
____________________________
Nathan Tompkins is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, though his heart will always be in North Idaho. His work has been published in many publications including Poeming Pigeons, NonBinary Review, and Crab Fat Magazine. He is the author of four chapbooks, the most recent of which are A Song of Chaos and Lullabies to a Whiskey Bottle.

Half an hour after our phone call,
I feel like an unattractive middle-aged woman
who was talking to an unattractive middle-aged man
whose disfigured middle aged body is drawn towards youthful
vaginal openings and who thinks every other man feels the same.

Never mind the brains of individuals. Never mind unstandardized
people who don’t identify themselves by standard gender roles.
Never mind minds that focus on more than tight pussy holes.

It all boils down to young females lifting up their shirts in public
to show him their taught stomachs. Him jerking off
at home in front of porn stars who look like sexy teenagers
young enough to be his daughter or his granddaughter.

Women close to his own age might as well be grandmotherly
porcelain bisque doll torsos with broken down heads
or no head at all. All he really does is look at their outer shapes,
while pretending to listen to the poems there mouths are reading,
while his head rates the lines of their bodies instead.

He visualizes their bodies insides. Replays their lines
to sound like little girl voices chanting C is for cookie,
then moaning P is for pussy. He breaks them open.
Listens to them drip with wet frosting.
_______________________________
Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications.