by Kathleen Hellen He says he checked the tires. The battery for free. A less complicated being? Unlike me, asking where he dumped the oil, under the gray hydraulic lift. Where he drained the antifreeze. I know the planet’s bubbling hot, sopping up the ice sheet, a million species headed toward extinction like the auk.

The Necessity of Lancing

by Greg Huteson Lance the boil on your calf. If it’s necessary, pinch it as you grit your teeth and gasp while staring at the shuddering wall. Have a cotton kerchief handy to absorb the pus and swab the cinctured wound, the wet that courses down your luckless leg. Have the kerchief ready also for


with M. by Daisy Bassen I was another man’s wife for an hour last night In the hotel lobby. You think I was a whore, Wrong; in flats and a cardigan, pearls close to white, Double strand, like jawless teeth at my throat. A bore Perhaps, the roleplay of the long-married, pretense Limited by our

Rites of Marriage

by Marilee Pritchard I The wife, the Buddhist nun— enveloped in a cloud of saffron dressing gown, fragile as a flake of snow, transparent as a tear, her brown moon eyes pull a resistant tide. A pool of laundry puddling at her feet awash, undone, she chases a sound— one hand clapping while I stoop


by James King When I lived in Japan a palm reader said my lines showed that I would fall many times but marry once. Sometimes my wife gets up in the middle of the night to take an aspirin and sees that my arms and legs are splayed out from under the covers like a

Like and Care

by Richard Levine I think of us, of how, at first, being kind seemed enough. Though we didn’t say it, we thought, if forests grow from red-clover meadows, why not love? But like and care are not strong enough to send down roots deep enough, or carry water far and high enough to make them

Karen and the Birdwatcher

by Angie Dribben Seems especially us white women like to shout, The problem  with this world  is the men running it. Perhaps it is because we slog beneath the horrors we commit in our own privilege. After all, it was our plumed Victorian hats and all the feathers we stuck in them that nearly eradicated

Elegy #21

by Martin Willitts Jr August trails across the sky, rippling shadows. It is finished raining. The quiet cold remains, trees dazed by the sudden changes, ripen with crisp eminence. Juncos quiver on maple branches. Soon, September’s wingspan will darken and lengthen into drizzle-chills. Already, the clutch of winter berry and red holly berries begin their