Low Tide at Squalicum


Dayna Patterson

Ripe blackberries on thorny bushes skirt
the path we take to Squalicum Harbor.
My daughter gathers purple shells
as if she were a hungry seagull ...

The Weight of Wings


Bailey Cunningham

The wings appeared on New Year’s Day. You were in the kitchen, bare feet dancing across icy tile floors, when you felt something fall from your shoulder. You saw a tiny, papery object flutter to the ground through intermittent layers of gravity and air pockets. It was a butterfly forewing, blue-grey with veiny lines traversing its delicate surface, marking a map to something unknown. You licked your fingertip and stuck the wing to the wetness, then blew it out the kitchen window as if making a wish....

About Nudity


Matthew Leist

beneath the sheets
I slept naked as a child
often clothed with nothing but a smile
maybe some dirt the grass stains...



Sofia Smith

As I unpack a storage bin labeled “CHILDHOOD,” one artifact at a time, I construct a fortress around myself on my bedroom floor. I sort my life story into categories: stuffed animals, elementary school projects, drawings, photographs, cassette tapes, pairs of glasses, baby clothes, cards and letters. I pull a three-ring binder onto my lap. Its plastic sleeve pages archive my father’s letters from Finland. Ever since I immigrated to the United States with my mother and stepfather in 1989, a distance of 4,667 miles has separated me from my father. On approximately 4,667 separate occasions, I have wondered about the troublesome matter of who my father really is....



Dayna Patterson

Late April, and its lovebug season.
Their small bodies rain softly

on my windshield, the smaller male
and the larger female, joined
at the genitals for up to three days

of coital bliss. Human

copulation is quick in comparison.
I imagine making excuses for a couple

whose mating session is in progress.
The Robinsons are indisposed. They

won't be at the beach house after all.
Or maybe we, like the lovebugs, ...

The History of Words


Alexander Freeman

His father could cuss,
lips curled into a fold.
His words spilling out
beneath his beard to
shimmer in the air
like moon beams.
When the boy was

alone under the pear
tree his young hands
would slip into the
grass and he would
whisper those words...



Danika Miller

When Katherine dumped me, it felt like my world was ending. On a related note, the world is ending.
That should have been enough for Kathy to stick around. Procreation is a duty in such desperate times. What if we end up being the last two people on Earth? She said if I really believed that, I would come with her...

I Want to Believe


Dee Dee Chapman

this is just like that x-files episode
you know,
the one where Mulder has faith
the one where Scully is skeptical?

You know, the one where he asks her to do the autopsy,
and she asks, "And what are you gonna do...



Upstairs in my bedroom after school I practice card tricks with Rusty. The house is pre-dinner quiet, and I like this austere mood for my magic act so I close the shades to dim the room, give it atmosphere. The trick is a new one I’m learning called Acey Deucy. The magic tricks are out of a book I got for my birthday, which I asked for special. The book’s real title is Unmasking Magic, but I call it my Magic Tome because it’s so huge. It’s encyclopedic, an opus, a font of cool stuff like card tricks and coin tricks and scarf tricks and that one with the ball under the cups. Astonish your friends, it promises on the back cover. Your family will be bamboozled.

First, I show Rusty that it’s a regular deck of cards, and then I tell her I’m going to cut the deck until she says to stop. I split and stack the cards, split and stack. Rusty is one hundred percent pedigreed Walker hound and has a tail like a thumb that she thumps....

Even in that place-------------


Theresa Williams



You Know This House


Sierra Spink

Lead me through these rooms. What was it like here before? The frames are empty now, but they had something in them. Little kids in their school uniforms, I’d imagine. The glass in the door is a nice touch, lets the light in so much more easily. Too bad there isn’t an entryway closet. I don’t know what we would do if there wasn’t a mud room. The kitchen is acceptable, but not ideal. I prefer granite countertops, but I can look past it for the wood finish of the cabinets. I would definitely knock down that wall to the living room. That way I can see everything.

Ah the bedrooms are a good size for kids...

A State of Cupcake Hermitry


Courtney Telloian

It never would have happened to me if I wasn't such a perfectionist control junkie with a childlike affinity for brightly colored edibles. I don't follow trends for their own sake. And I'm certainly not going to eat all of those cupcakes by myself.

It was for these supposed reasons that I found myself happily awake before five o'clock AM, humming along with the hot water that gurgled down the drain and lathering up the last measuring cup, the pesky no-good third cup measure that you only need once and still have to clean. I looked over my shoulder mid hum- the little golden cakes were rising perfectly. They'd be ready to frost by nine, and then I'd have maybe seven or eight hours until the picnic

My latest passion was baking. And not baking just anything indiscriminately as if all baked goods were equal. Meringues might be bland and tarts might be for tarts, but cupcakes were small, delicious, and versatile...

The Dirt King


Harvey Schwartz

“It’s a lot easier to use chemicals,” a friend says. I know he’s right, as I rip through weeds with my ice ax, whose pick is a whirling dervish in my organic garden.

With regal clang, a dirge to weeds, he is immune to the avalanching armies of dullness that darken the sky, poised like sharp arrows with feathery tails, aimed at me...

Grown Woman


Leah Hill

she is lithe, voiced and dreamy. intention is mirrored in motion is mirrored in muscles is mirrored in mantras, and so on, and so she moves. she admires...

Picking Sides////Berries


Daniel Dalton

She whispered this through dry, cracked lips. The room was dark and quiet, but I could feel something growing just below the surface: the silent black pressing in around me. Twilight spilled in through my window, barely illuminating the toys and books scattered across the floor. Outside, the trilling lullabies of a lark sparrow trailed off. The heralds of evening would soon retire, but there would be no sleep for me. Not for this night, nor for those to come...

compost, recursion


Leah Hill

in the fall we ‘barrow all the bitter orbs we couldn’t eat
from treeshade to crowned king, wide-mouthed woman,
our hand-me-down compost heap: an old fridgadaire on its side,
resplendent haven of pill bugs, fruit flies and prophetic worms.

a sharp ear might discern the busy gurgle behind the pestbuzz,
but to plumb the dirt’s depths is to interrupt the hot heat
churning the uncounted pounds of speckled ground apples,
the hot heat that melts them to a fertile puddle we will depend upon...

RIP Current


Matthew Leist

Suffer aquatic ache, can’t fly here
amongst dirt dwellers, it’s too dry here.
Self obsession smogs the horizon,
so there may as well be no sky here.

Faces to numbers, numbers to slots;
plastic only, flesh need not apply here.
Fish mouth empty words in massive schools,
consensus says yes we can die here.

The question is the ending ...

Adam's Song


Kori Rosset

All the dead people I ever knew got it ended in car accidents, or lived long enough to snatch cancer, except for Adam Palomino who killed himself. But you ...



Rosa Tobin

Growing up,
pinwheel Wheat Fields spun
and light pollution danced
naked, golden-
my home...

Last Stop on the Line


Hillary Thalmann

You watch the sun rise from the driver’s seat of the train.

The giraffes stretch their necks skyward as the first pale fingers of light transform them from silhouette into glowing color, nose-tip to neck, neck to dusty sand. They stand completely still until the light reaches the tips of their hooves, and then they swish their tails and nod their heads in rhythm to the zebras’ morning exuberance. From their pen on the other side of the tracks, the lions begin to roar, one lioness first, and then the other three join in, their rough song the first raw rush of noise in the day.

You watch all this from the seat of the train, back bent over the controls, revving the engine with the train kept in park. The air pressure growls to life in the engine and then flits from car to car. You wake with your train, feeling the energy of the coming day...