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Other notable works by Jack Martin and Todd Boss.


Donald Illich-

Secret Stationary

Bugs drop in front of my oversized feet,
moths see another light they must bow to,
black roaches recognize my dirty touch.

A colony rotates around me, ants
pitching in when gold butterflies get sick,
can’t make the flower game at the garden.

When salesmen ring my bell rhino beetles
chase them across the lawn, flying night wings
cover their aluminum siding eyes.

Telemarketers hear killer bees buzz,
ready to ransom the caller’s babies.
Friends who stray from my love and approval

find spiders in secret stationary.
Their deaths are called tropical accidents.
Mom and dad knew long ago not to peek

too closely in my cricketing closet.
What chirps lightly might erupt, blot the air
with the deadly ink of crawling bodies.

My life’s letters are exoskeletons
and blind feelers, twittering handwriting
few beings can decipher but the claw

scratching my busy swarms.  I won’t give you
a veiled hat.  I’ll wait here till you return –
un-stung, honey-dipped in useless knowledge.


Fading Color

Everyone has a fading color they love,
a green slowly evaporating from the earth,

blue tints the sea is trying to get rid of,
orange in leaves that has no chance to fall

now that moths have eaten their trees.
When we dream that we’re swimming

in that southern bay, it’s too dim to bring
back the woman in the yellow bikini

who looked at us like the only sun;
it’s far too blurred to be her lipstick,

which enameled the skin of an apple
we wanted to unpeel with our teeth.


The Picture and the Curator

He carries a tiny her inside him,
more beautiful than the full-sized
one, more hesitant about sharing
her love to him this time, less
sweet than the giant candy stick
he remembered, less giving of
the happy expressions he needed.

If he turns his brain inward toward
this portrait, she dissolves into a
whirl of green eyes and bronze skin
he can dip a gray cup into to taste
their memories:  when she said he
wasn’t that bad in bed, then laughed;
when he lost her on the Washington
Mall and she said walk toward the
big white Penis; when she purred
to him, requesting a massage, “I can
give you a really good one, too.”

In a year or two, the picture will fade
into dull sepia-tones, like the one
in a locket his grandmother wore
to her grave.  He’ll dust it off every
once in awhile, when a beer seems
like too great an idea and the TV
shows lovers in a park, the woman
rubbing the man’s back, “You can’t
leave me.  I’ll always stay inside you.”

He folds the Polaroid, rips it three
times in two.  His invisible tape
repairs it in his spirit, like he’s done
nothing at all.  The curator knows
his museum.  He keeps it perfect,
licks his lips at restorations late
into the night, rubs his hands joyfully
at all the new additions to come.


The Engager

Hand me some new rings,
the old ones have worn out.
Another woman needs a
patently ridiculous proposal
to tell her friends, a funny
moment that’s supposed
to happen only on TV.
When she’s thrown it back,
I place it in a secret pocket,
where my other diamonds
are stored.  I tear another
engagement speech out of
the dispenser, plan my next
site visit for possible love.
In the jewelry store down
the street, I look over carats,
a farmer judging produce,
hoping to pluck a good one
before settled lovers arrive
and take away the best.
Someday I’ll be a Cracker
Jack prize, bring home a
wife who won’t turn her
head from the inexplicable,
or raise eyebrows at chance
found at the box’s bottom –
that’s me, love, put me on.


The River Cracked

We sailed through the open valley,
seeing death’s shadow in a storm
we could’ve predicted if we’d thought
of anything but our desire to travel
and examine the world piece by piece
until towers assembled inside us
that understood the reaches of heaven.

The river cracked, or it was our eyes
that broke up into waves and drops.
They crashed into our boat with pupils
widening over the infinite surf,
falling on our ponchos with streams
of hard and cold dripping light.

We didn’t know which to choose:
blasting through the water’s surface
with a vision of total destruction,
blinding the shore’s houses and trees,
or freezing exposed skin like a stare
from a criminal stranger, who knows
one vicious look is all he needs.


Donald Illich has published poetry in The Iowa Review, LIT, Fourteen Hills, Passages North, Roanoke Review, Pinyon, and Cold Mountain Review.  His work will appear in future issues of The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Backwards City Review, and The Sulphur River Literary Review.



Jack Martin-


Accident is landscape. Look
how rain opens the body.
Lungs’ conifers join
sunlight and wet earth.
Breath is the birdsong of ribs.
Horizon is a bell lip.
Snow drifts over the shoulder
blades and into the aorta.

Why should she forgive me? Listen.
Our bodies ring. Hummingbird
is smaller than buffalo.
Explanation only leads to explanation.
Watch what happens.


Forked Stick

He never walks.
The best way to catch a snake,
he is carried into the fray.
He catches snakes
when he is used to catch snakes.
They wriggle beneath him
like living branches. They curl
and whip. Everything an angry snake
pinned to the ground does, they do.
A few fang marks notch his hip.
Most of the time
He hangs in a hand
or leans in a corner.
His eyes are knot holes.
His mind is dead wood,
not a mind.
Even if he wanted to find the book
that explains the sutra
that explains his usefulness, makes
him a metaphor, he couldn’t do it.
He moves two directions from the trunk.
He has no old friends to regret.
The rest of him, the branch
he was trimmed from,
is a shade tree near a glade
where snakes sun on a flat rock
in grass near a picnic table.
Here is where he knows
he doesn’t know,
and he longs.


Portrait of a Man Drowning in Heidegger

Should I admit this?

He taught me to see a vastness
in other being. Before he gave up,

he flailed long. “The default of God
and the divinities is absence.”
His aim was always to arrive

at the immediate. Even after
the water was all I could see,
I kept tossing the rescue rope,
dragging it back, hand-over-hand.


Jack Martin lives in Colorado. Over the last twenty years, his poems have appeared in many journals, including Agni, Diagram, Gulf Coast, Georgia Review, and Ploughshares.



Todd Boss-

A Woman Sat Down at a Broken

and played
no tune,

but laid
both hands

along a board
of soundless
flats and

bones and
up and down

in a fumble
of wooden

the inner

they made
on strings

a worthy

for the louder
of her



Is It Heavy, the Crown

of my regard?
Is it hard
to be loved so epically,
so mythically?
Did you
think you might come
down awhile to dwell
in my poor company?

To dip your hands into
the pool of my foolhardy
love, and cup, and sip?

lest the jewelry slip…


Branch Ice, in Beads,

by degrees is

by a warming
bright teeth un-
by glint

With delicious

expertise in
rules erases
the trees’
with their cases

restoring to
what night
a blinder
more secretive


Todd Boss’s best-selling debut poetry collection, Yellowrocket, was published in 2008 by W. W. Norton & Co—the first debut poetry book ever handled by the legendary Carol Houck Smith. Todd’s Pushcart-nominated poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. In 2008, he won Virginia Quarterly Review’s Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry and two of his poems took three top Missouri Review Audio Prizes. For the past five years, Todd has been the Director of External Affairs at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. He is the poet laureate of Nina’s Café in Saint Paul, and he is the founding editor of Flurry, an online journal of wintry poetry from Minnesota and the Dakotas. He lives in north suburban Saint Paul with his wife and two children. Read (and hear) Todd’s poems at toddbosspoet.




Editor, Lisa Zaran

ISSN: 1095-732x

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2007

January - Roger Humes
February - Jimmy Santiago Baca
March - Graham Burchell
April - Ruth Daigon
May - Anne Fraser
June - Corey Mesler
July - Scott Malby
August - James Keane
September - Maurice Oliver
October - Robert Pinsky
November - Louis Daniel Brodsky
December - Bill Duvall

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2008

January - Kelley White
February - L. Ward Abel
March - Maura Stanton
April - Dr. Charles Frederickson
May - Peter Magliocco
June - Penny Harter
July - Gary Beck
August - Jéanpaul Ferro
September - Fish and Shushan
October - Kenneth Gurney
November - John Gallaher
December - Carmen Alexandra

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2009

January - Karen Rigby
February - A.D. Winans
March - Donald Illich
April - Stephen Ferreira
May - Tracee Coleman
June - Ernest Williamson
July - Sally Van Doren
August - Nanette Rayman Rivera
September - Gianina Opris
October - Judson Mitcham
November - Joel Solonche
December - Peycho Kanev

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2010

January - Louis Gallo
February - Buxton Wells
March - Labi Siffre
April - Regina Green
May - Howard Good
June - Carol Lynn Grellas
July - William Doreski
August - Sari Krosinsky
September - Ben Nardolilli
October - James Piatt
November - Robert Lietz
December - John Grey

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2011

January - Robert Philbin
February - iolanda scripca
March - Tad Richards
April - Katie Kopin
May - Jacob Newberry
June - George Moore
July - Rae Spencer
August - Jim Richards
September - Antonia Clark
October - Tannen Dell
November - Christina Matthews
December - Charles Clifford Brooks III

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2012

January - Anniversary Issue
February - Jim Davis
March - Ivy Page
April - Maurice Oliver
May - Lori Desrosiers
June - Ray Sharp
July - Nathan Prince
August - Robert Klein Engler
September - Jenn Monroe
October - John Grey
November - Andrea Potos
December - Christina M. Rau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2013

January - Maria Luisa Arroyo
February - Journal on haitus

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2014

April - Rebirth
May - Timothy Walsh
June - Brian Fanelli
July - Carol Smallwood
August - Elizabeth P. Glixman
September - Sally Van Doren
October - Sherry O'Keefe
November - Robert McDonald
December - Gerry McFarland

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2015

January - James Keane
February - Liza Hyatt
March - Joseph Reich
April - Charles Thielman
May - Norbert Krapf
June - Lynne Knight
July - Sarah Brown Weitzman
August - Tom Montag
September - Susan Palmer
October - Holly Day
November - A.J. Huffman
December - Tom Pescatore

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2016

January - Richard Perin
February - Linne Ebbrecht
March - Sheri Vandermolen
April - Molly Cappiello
May - Caleb Coy
June - Paul Lubenkov
July - Domenic Scopa
August - Adam Phillips
September - Timothy Gager
October - Bruce Lader
November - Holly Day
December - Al Rocheleau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2017

January - Robert Lietz
February - Jocelyn Heaney
March - David Brinkman
April - Lana Bella
May - Kaitlyn O'Malley
June - Ruth Kessler
July - Chanel Brenner
August - Darren Demaree
September - George Moore
October - Joshua Medsker
November - Ralph Monday
December - Howie Good

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2018

January – Simon Perchik
February – Julia Travers
March-June – Journal on hiatus
July – Simon Perchik
August – Hiram Larew
September – Kevin Casey
October – Ditta Baron Hoeber
November – EG Ted Davis


Image of bird by contemporary artist, Courtney Smith
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