person Danielle Hanson, three poems

Danielle Hanson is the author of Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press Poetry Prize, 2018) and Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in over 70 journals, won the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub, was Finalist for 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award and was nominated for several Pushcarts and Best of the Nets. She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books, and is on the staff of the Atlanta Review. Her poetry has been the basis for visual art included in the exhibit EVERLASTING BLOOM at the Hambidge Center Art Gallery, and Haunting the Wrong House, a puppet show at the Center for Puppetry Arts. More about her at

Valentine Poem

Darkness lays down
across the room
like a dog, curling.

The dimming sounds of
the house circle
the air with the fan.

Sleep creeps in
to steal the feeling
of lying next to you.


The ground has taken a running start, an attempt
to storm heaven. It has been struck down by gods—
frozen motion. This happened before history and now
only bell-strung cattle still remember the story.
They tell it to clouds gathering to listen.


I’m going outside
to capture some
sky in this
bottle, take it
inside and pour
it down the drain
until the house
floats. A ship
around a bottle.

{ Hard Damage – poems – Aria Aber }

Hard Damage
poems, Aria Aber
University of Nebraska Press, 2019


“…every aunt has a son
who fell, or a daughter who hid in rubble
for two years…” – from Funeral In Paris

Of hermetic departure and homeless echo, Aria Aber’s Hard Damage is a work of deep citizenry in which words begin to sound like the words they were made for. Or from. I’m not sure. One moment I’m packing snowglobes in ash and the next I’m losing my footing while listening to a eulogy that distance has written for want. What landmark nostalgia. What shocked intimacy. Aber knows speech hides in the saying. Knows headline is a melancholy click twice removed from identity sorrow. There is no undoing in the doing. Revelation, here, is baked into the bone. If Aber’s imagery renders hypnosis a given, then this language has it go without. Be taken, reader. So covertly enspelled.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:


person Lee Patterson, two poems

Lee Patterson‘s poetry has recently appeared in Hobart, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Entropy, The Airgonaut, and Unbroken, among others. His chapbook, I get sad, will be published by Ethel Zine in late 2019.


an essay about scientology

sometimes jaden smith’s dad doesn’t know
the difference between an alien or a robot.
he’s killed both, obviously, though never
at the same time. are there alien robots?
this is something jaden smith’s dad thinks
about on a weekly or sometimes daily basis.
would it even matter?
jaden smith’s dad supposes not.
these days his heart hurts from not laughing enough.
he hates that he’s never been offered the role
of the voice of god or won an oscar or tasted milk
so fresh his bones grew twice as strong.
jaden smith’s dad wants to be better in real
life—after the cut!, after his makeup is removed
& the publicity tour is over.
these days the only thing jaden smith’s dad is able
to take solace in is the fact that one day,
as his spirit keeps living, his body
will take a new shape. jaden smith’s dad will
always experience tomorrow.


an essay about process

a ladder falls from the sky. something should come
after that, like a ladder falls from the sky
& I climb it, as 1 tends to do when standing
in front of a ladder, & when I climb
the ladder there sits god, all 3 parts
of him, playing nba 2k19 on his ps4, mumbling
about kawhi going hollywood & the seeding
dilemma between conferences, & should the league
forego the 1-&-done rule, & really,
what constitutes goat status—rings? stats?
era played?—& will charles barkley make a cameo
in space jam 2? & this is where god pauses
the game, sets down his controller & says,
it was hinkie who died for your sins.
I nod as god swallows the entire preseason,
kyrie’s flat earth, christian laettner’s gold
medal, the entire los angeles skyline.


person Jack B. Bedell, three poems

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.


Rolled Over into Waves

—White River, 1915

It had to be something the farmer did,
        they thought, when all the catfish
                      disappeared and the water
on the river went choppy with crests
        every evening about sundown.

But then there were the bellows
        like a hurt mule when nobody
                      for miles could have bought
or fed an animal like that, and to what end
        up against the water like they were.

Wind came and never left that summer,
        and all the kids started singing songs
                      about a water elephant
rolling around under the river’s surface
        big as two tractors and hungry

as dirt with no seed, thirsty as August
        without a drop of rain.
                      Folks still fished,
though faith was a piss-poor bait
        and an even sorrier supper.



Always a fever,
        the wild kicking of legs
and tears to tend.

Her soft prayers
        fill the room to overflowing.

No gift required to buy her willow bark,
fig sap,
                        le sureau to calm all chills,

she only needs an invitation, a dark room

and faith.

                        Copper pots of water,
rosary beads, elderberry tea—

it all gives way to her song,
          the hope that all things
pass                 except the caring,

and all trials are doorways

                        to grace.


Marsh Horses

On the way to drop bags of oyster shells
        into the water near Montegut
                      to seed a new barrier

against the water’s need, you’ll see
        small peninsulas held together
                      by marsh grass rising

out of the lake, ghosts
        of a full coastline reaching
                      out into the open pass.

Here and there, herds
        of marsh horses toe
                      along the waterline,

heads down, nosing new grass
        growing at the land’s edges.
                      They’ve learned to swim

from mass to mass for fresh growth,
        step gingerly on soft ground
                      to stay upright.

Nothing about these animals
        belongs on so little land,
                      but here they’ll be, alive.


{ not human enough for the census – poems – Erik Fuhrer }

not human enough for the census
poems, Erik Fuhrer
images, Kimberly Androlowicz
Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019


A controlled burning of disparate abandon, Erik Fuhrer’s not human enough for the census deadpans, verbatim, the deepened instant. While the wordplay here is surprising, scary, and clinical, it is never created simply in service of becoming, but is instead sung back to both mouth and bullet hole as an unadorned canticle of detached vesselhood. The spacing of the poems coupled with the permissively decaying imagery makes for an unfamiliarity that describes things that are not the things described and breeds recognition on a land owned by embodiment. This is giddily annihilative stuff. Here is the math I did, during: when three of anything exist, it’s always the first and last that worry over how the middle processes apocalypse. The math I didn’t: whether white noise or fog, your machine better be working lest another’s art leave you numberless.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here:

{ Something Akin To – poems – Kaleigh Maeby }

Something Akin To
poems, Kaleigh Maeby
Dink Press, 2019


If, beneath those who argue the font of absence, there is one under the table who, while dreamily reporting on the feast, renders a remix unmothered might it usher the original into being, then this one may be one of many reading or writing poet Kaleigh Maeby’s deceptively freeing collection Something Akin To. Odd, local, and sovereign, the work is a fragmentary gathering of thrice-lost things, to include the repetitive body, the faceless child, the knee of the ant. These entries as written are either memo or epitaph, and Maeby understands each as the separated twin of the love letter and adjusts accordingly the abrupt lullaby of the duo’s teased sleep. I believe in clear and close and sparse art such as this, as it leaves to the imagination the downfall of those children of Goliath who here and there struggle to straighten their gasmasks, and speaks its small stone.


reflection by Barton Smock


publication info/announcement is here:

{ Hijito – poems – Carlos Andrés Gómez }

poems, Carlos Andrés Gómez
Platypus Press, 2019


Somewhere between the ‘sly mirror‘ and ‘taut mirage’ of Hijito, poet Carlos Andrés Gómez sees ourselves in ourselves and then goes about the tender flesh-work of putting us there. Though I’m not sure we can keep death from acting like a child, or that we can trace the living back to life, the humane spacing claimed in this verse allows room for all to believe that to make dust of our chalk supply we must age death with our knowledge of where its bodies are. No matter how intricately dead we find ourselves while fixing the hair of the young and ruminating on how suddenly another thing exists to put a crib toy in its mouth, Gómez plays the long game in deconstructing the alibis oft given by brevity and, in doing so, reveals precision to be just another disguise that weaponry wears. If sorrow is a wannabe shadowmaker, Gómez is careful to cry over the correct form. Oh startled thunder, these are not noiseless meditations. Hijito is specific.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here: