Bone Yard

Melissa Kwasny

There is an earth below the body, white gleam in what is otherwise sage. You are unafraid, even curious at death now. Ravens pick through the catalogs. In their beaks, the red-brown stain. They hang, a glossy black in the greening house. Today, you walk right into the bone yard, recognizing first a shod hoof. The ribcage further on, the long neck spreading. What is strewn like feathers is hair caught in last year’s grass. You can almost make out an ear. A stillborn calf? A deer? But you, you say, have had enough now. You return to the farmer’s field of right and wrong. Widow’s weeds, or the heavy curtains that signal to the neighbors the house is closed: these are grief rules few of us practice any longer. Shall you say he was released? Did he step out of his mind, or was he flung? You have followed the path back to the river, where you cast river pebbles from shore, as if it were up to you to send him on. You watch them sink, which is, of course, thy will be done.


Melissa Kwasny

A cloud passes over you and I forget the sun; it comes back and you revive, a state of wonder. Luminosity and complete collapse, tumbling down onto the path but usually able to get up again. You are like a shadow-being, one from the myth, which has slipped with the worms into their cocoons, sleep spun around you in gossamer but sturdy threads, but here you are, gesturing of flight again. Behaviorism, they say, posits that if we want to believe, we act like we believe and eventually we will. If we act ritualistic, we become ritual. If we act like we have all the time in the world. The creek in spring is gathering its chorus, a lot of by-hand shorthand and hourly touch. You say: we remember people by the feeling we once felt for them. Intermediate creatures, remnants left of wind, much is lost off the edge of our dreams. Like the swallowtail in February you pulled from the snow, still soaked in its supernatural beams. Insect tales: we make them up as we enter them, blue eyespots on the wings, blue continuous all around the outer margins. Lemon yellow and horizontal, and much like birds.

From the Gulliver series: Bob Grumman

Anny Ballardini

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Petri Dish

Maura Stanton

It’s warm and cozy under the glass lid and all kinds of us are pulsing and squiggling around in here, little round cocci, skinny bacilli, and coiling spirilla, all of us trying to see who can multiply the fastest. We’re quick and lively and competitive. We ferment your yogurt and eat your waste products, but remember that we’re in this for the long haul, and some of us are hoping to get into your intestines or blood or onto your eyelashes so we can make our sort of organism immortal. Along the way you may have to die. But what’s the difference between a person and a colony of bacteria? Answer: we could live without you but you couldn’t live without us. So relax. We’re just doing what we have to do. Put us under the microscope and look down the eyepiece. Aren’t we lovely? Watch the bacilli waving like wands, banging into spirilla. Watch the spirilla twisting like miniature acrobats over and under them, knocking against the berry-shaped cocci. Watch the cocci rolling away, and bouncing back.


Richard King Perkins II

Cruelty and fertility live on opposite sides of the world—
but it is a tiny world no more than four feet in circumference.
Uncertain men ripen in the shallows of secret glass
like eolithic stars. They stare at women out walking alone
in a buttercup tangle, who collectively find a pond obscured in
pinwheel moonlight, and dance, killing fish with their fingertips,
while the men return to working crossword puzzles in the dark.

(more at: un-)

Jeanie Tomasko


unalone unaloof unaloft undone

(that day I bought waxed linen at a craft shop I raveled
together a string for you which seems the right word
because un-
ravel is to un-make or un-do
and I tied it on your arm so we wouldn’t)

as in: not without, as in (you)

Our Lady of State Street

Jeanie Tomasko

So I go to this reading down at the bookstore and afterwards meet a friend of a friend. She’s unlocking her bike and I notice a shiny decal on the crossbar half under a long sticker. Holy, I say. It’s the green Virgin of Guadalupe, #4 out of 10. I have Her too, along with #s 2, 5, and 9. She wants more, she says. She got this one in a gumball machine in the Sauk City Mexican grocery. That’s where I’ve been going for my Virgins, but it’s too late, things have changed up a bit. And I tell her about the conversion to Minions and Skulls and Tattoos of Biker Chicks. She prefers Virgins, I can tell, as Our Lady shines, there on her crossbar, sparkling. Our Lady. Our Lady of State Street. Our Lady of Biker Chicks. Our Lady, bless her ride home.


Louis Bourgeois

Blood on the cypress
and the wild dogs
have broken through the gate.

from the Beetles Series

Jessy Randall

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Philip Kobylarz

The rest being simplification, a pruning
of the citronnier branches, crusts
from bread left for pigeons, thread
and needle unattached. Men in the street
smile to each other; coins, sad faces of,
making music in their pockets.