Thursday, 14 March 2019

A Poem by Victoria Nordlund


Johan Ruud confirmed that the Antarctic icefishes are the only vertebrates that lack both red blood cells and hemoglobin--- Scientific American

As I look past the slender white quills
through the diaphanous fin
at a colorless center,                                         [at my last text with no response] 

I wonder why this had to happen---
Marvel that anything could exist
without red blood cells to ferry its oxygen.

A scaleless, pale creature
with no vessels to hemorrhage
after you’ve cut it

and thrown it on to ice.
This is so much cleaner, you’d say,
if you still spoke to me.

Slitting a cod’s gills would have left
stains on your hands---
dark as wine.

Victoria Nordlund is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her chapbook Binge Watching Winter on Mute will be published in Spring 2019 by Main Street Rag. She is a 2018 Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Misfit Magazine, Gone Lawn, Ghost Proposal, and other journals. You can read more of her work at

Monday, 11 March 2019

A poem by Annie Stenzel

Dictionary II

Now more often found
in a dusty library than
a living-room
outsized volumes
slump in silence

each tome
a fully-furnished palace:
room upon room filled
with words
rarely spoken aloud

languages in casual
or deliberate contact;
brushing one another
here  delicately
there bluntly.

Now silverfish slide
between the pages
where words
are stacked in silent columns:
clambake to clarity

roulade to Rousseau
wharf to wheel.

Annie Stenzel was born in Illinois, but has lived on both coasts of the U.S. and on other continents at various times in her life.  Her book-length collection is The First Home Air After Absence, Big Table Publishing, released in 2017.  Her poems appear or are forthcoming in print and online journals in the U.S. and the U.K., from Ambit to Willawaw Journal with stops at Allegro Poetry, Catamaran, Eclectica, Gargoyle, Kestrel, The Lake, Verse Daily, and Whale Road, among others. She lives within sight of the San Francisco Bay.  For more, visit

Thursday, 7 March 2019

A Poem by Lee Tucker

Looking the Other Way 

Doug, it was me who stole
the white pocketknife
from your desk in second grade.
I pushed it deep into my own desk,
buried it in broken crayons and
the violet blur of crumpled worksheets. 
I know you never suspected me, a girl.
It was such a nice knife.  

Your crewcut grew shaggy, darkened,
Your softness grew large, your voice stayed quiet.
We hardly noticed you.

The pearly knife, hidden in the woods, lost —
I’d almost forgotten it by the time we reached 13, 
By the day the truck killed you
on Route 4.  You were on your bike,
delivering papers.

Oh, Doug.
You were looking the other way.

Lee Tucker lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she defends indigent persons accused of federal crimes. She studied poetry and fiction writing as an undergraduate, then became a human rights attorney and later a public defender. She writes in her backyard, surrounded by wild mustard, prickly pear cactus, weed-happy rabbits, and bees. 

Monday, 4 March 2019

A Poem by Alex Josephy

Call of the Void

The famous view; I rest my bike 
against the rail, take a moment to gaze, 

catch a breath of beyond, a kick
of vertigo. From here, hills are flattened, 

tiny vehicles trickle down the valleys 
that stretch to oblivion. Nothing seems 

quite real, and I fancy myself as Icarus, 
too high to take advice. Or I’ll be Thelma 

with the flying curls. Imagine going over 
on a laugh, hand-in-hand with Louise. 

Or how might it be to plummet 
solo through deep air, pass the kestrel, 

the low-gliding sisterhood of doves? 
It’s not just me. They’ve installed 

a row of benches facing the drop, each 
named for someone no longer here. 

Alex lives in London and  Italy. Her pamphlet Other Blackbirds was published by Cinnamon Press, 2016 and her collection White Roads by Paekakariki Press, 2018. Her poems have appeared quite widely in magazines and anthologies in the UK and Italy, and have won awards including the McLellan prize 2014 and the Battered Moons prize 2013.