BHR Issue 4 Summer 2015

(Cover photo by Gail Goepfert)

(Cover photo by Gail Goepfert)

Arya F Jenkins * S Wallace * Elizabeth Tornes * Elizabeth J Mitchell * Art Heifetz * James Sanchez * Ronnie Hess * Monika John * Bonnie Durrance * Ronda Broatch * Loukia Borrell * Davita Joie * Kim Hunter Perkins * Karla Van Vliet * Nancy Bevilaqua * Annette L Grunseth * Paula Schulz * Ethel Mortenson Davis * Martin Willitts Jr * David K Wheeler * Susan Martell Huebner * Fred Kreutz * Jeannie E Roberts * Yuan Changming * Scott T Starbuck * Gary Glauber * Mary Jo Balistreri * Liz Rhodebeck * Chris Abbate * James P Roberts * Tom Montag * Peter Piaskoski * Ray Young Bear * Jordan Sanderson * Rachel Dacus * Anne C Kaiser * M J Iuppa * Charlene Langfur * Jamie Lynn Morris * Hannah Marie Nelson * Laurie Kolp

Gail Goepfert * Laurel Best * Jason Iffert * Pd Lietz * Holly Kallie * Dawn Eves

photo by Laurel Best

(photo by Laurel Best)


Ode to Green

All this so green
All around me
Brimming with possibilities
Even as the fall sets in
And the dust of leaves
Begins to form on the ground

I want my eyes to contain
Everything exactly as it is
So green
Green as it is new
Green as it was
When I was a teenager
Living in Connecticut
A child climbing hills
Outside of Bogota
A child in the garden of Talara, Peru

Green cycles through my memory
I retrieve and press it to my heart
Like a page on which
Are the evanescent names
Of all I have loved
The signifiers—
Green bugs
Long blades of grass
The green inkwell of everything—

Everything as it is now
And was.

Arya F Jenkins is a poet and writer whose work has appeared in journals such as Agave Magazine, Blue Heron Review, Brilliant Corners, Cleaver Magazine, and The Feminist Wire. Her poetry recently received a Pushcart nomination, and her poetry and essays have been included in three anthologies. Her poetry chapbook, Jewel Fire, was published by AllBook Books. She writes short stories for Jerry Jazz Musician, which commissioned her to write jazz fiction. Flash fiction is forthcoming in The Feminist Wire; and creative nonfiction, in Provincetown Arts Magazine. Finishing Line Press has also accepted her poetry chapbook, Silence Has a Name, for publication.



She swings from tangent to tangent
A trapeze artist flying high
Between the words
In thrilling aerial displays
Arcing above the high wire
Under the circus tent
With no safety net
Reality disappears for a time
The best of magic acts
And wonder arrives
With a flourish
Amidst the smoke and flames and hoops
The sparkles and the wildly spiraling colors
Awaiting the next act
With bated breath, anticipation, excitement
Illusion a respite from the mundane
For a time
Before the tents are packed
Until the displays end and the crowds go home
Bringing something intangible but profound with them
That sense of possibility
That inkling of what could be
Found between the tangents

S Wallace lives by the sea. When Daylight Ends, a book of poetry, was published in 2005, and can be purchased at online bookstores. Recent publications include, “Magic,” a flash fiction story published in Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine (April 2014), “Feelings,” an SF short story published by Former People Journal in their New Wave SF edition (June 2014), and poetry in Metaphor Magazine (June 2014). S Wallace serves on the board of Space Coast Writers Guild and participates in the Cocoa Beach Writers Workshop.


Paddling the Manitowish

River of owls,
dark green and thick
with desire,
hold me in your
muscular arms.

I give myself
to your currents,
passing fallen trees
to an unknown

caught up
in your eddies,
in thick beds of wild rice.

River of ghosts,
direct my eyes:
show me hidden
mists of memory,

springtime rapids,
a lake’s expanses
widening out
as we round the point;

show me osprey,
blue heron, beaver
and angry kingfisher.

Pull us beyond
the hissing rocks,
to the slow float
where we can lean back

on the gunwales,
pillow our heads
with life jackets
and face the sun.

Fire and Ice

In memory of Meyowaasikiban

Ice is falling in tiny specks, the thermometer reads ten degrees. Ice falling hard from yellow-gray clouds, like salt drizzling from a salt shaker. I can’t think of ice without thinking of fire, its alchemical other. Wood pops and cackles in the wood stove, flames bickering, hot orange coals glowing beneath the logs. Fire that comes from the Creator, that comes from the sun soaking green leaves, twigs, branches and sapwood, the burgeoning energy of long ago summer. As I write this, the sun glows faintly behind the clouds, then burns through the gray blanket, a rolling orb of fire.

Where there is ice, there must be fire. I walk to the wood stove, shove the logs together with the iron poker. Outside the dog leaps at a squirrel who is long gone in the pine’s upper branches. Fire that was brought here from the east coast by the Anishinaabeg, original people, who kept it burning as an ember in a shell, floating in a canoe through the Great Lakes, through churning rapids at Sault Sainte Marie. The sacred fire of the Potawatomi, boodawe ininiwag, the fire makers. I think of Richard, my Potawatomi friend, who never used matches, only made flint fires—two pieces of flint sparked together, and a chunk of dried fungus, which caught the spark. He blew and blew on it, gently, until it became a glowing ember, which he held next to shredded dried cedar bark, the size and softness of a rabbit’s foot. It started to smoke and smolder as he blew harder, and it burst into a palm-sized rose of flames. Shkodens. He held it tenderly in his hands and whispered to it, praying in Potawatomi.

He laid it beneath a pile of kindling that suddenly ignited. And now the sun has burst out from the clouds completely, warming my face, and Richard’s fire is burning brightly in his circle of stones, in that other world, where he is ready for the ceremony.

Elizabeth Tornes has published two chapbooks, New Moon (2013, Finishing Line Press) and Snowbound (Giiwedin Press, 2011), which won First Prize in the 2012 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Contest. Her poems have been published widely in journals and anthologies, including Antioch Review,, Boulevard, Durak, Field, Gulf Coast, Main Street Rag, Missouri Review, The New American Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Southern Review, Verse Wisconsin, and Western Humanities Review. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Utah. She has also published a collection of Ojibwe oral histories, Memories of Lac du Flambeau Elders (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004). She lives in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin.


photo by Jason Iffert

(photo by Jason Iffert)

Vessels of Light

Our bodies are containers for stars, vessels that capture light.
If you see our forgotten loved ones, remind them
that the light emanating from them is beauty,
that the gap between her teeth is gorgeous,
that his brown skin should be heralded.

Remind them to fill their vessels with hope,
laughter, and second chances.

Our eyes are focused too much on the broken, the jagged
pieces of each life. Our own struggles
take the forefront of our imaginations.
We feel that we wear a cloak full of holes,
that our flaws, our fears, our failings are visible.
We cover up the light within ourselves
to hide our own brokenness,
but we vulnerable beings are bearers of suns.

Our bodies are beautiful to the artist
who draws the lines of life through smudged hands.
His voice cracks as he describes the beauty
in capturing for a moment
the breath of another human being.

Tell the woman swimming through water
that her wide hips are filled with joy.
To the man with a broken smile
that his eyes emanate forgiveness.

Who taught us to be ashamed of all this interior light?
Or to shame and shun these vessels we’ve been given?
Who told us that any life was worth more or less
than any other being?

Cherish the girl with barrettes in her hair
making song with feet and rope and braids.
Cherish the child whose arms become wings,
whizzing with hands off handlebars down the street.

Cherish the breath you’ve been given.
Cherish the life you witness unfold.

Each life, each breath, is sacred.

Elizabeth J Mitchell grew up in Detroit, MI and calls southeast Michigan home. She is most at peace in nature, listening to water and watching water birds. She cares about youth, poetry, and social justice and builds websites for a living. Her poems appear in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, BLACKBERRY: a magazine, and Sediments Literary-Arts Journal (forthcoming).



Half raisin, half grape
holding fast to the vine,
we’ve nursed our petty ailments
like newborn pups
and survived another year.

We raise our cups of wine
and give thanks for
reaching this season,
for living long enough
to pay off the children’s student loans,
to give away the bride,
to bounce the grandkids on our knee,
bask on a beach in Fiji
and from time to time still feel
a surge of fresh desire
race through our swollen veins.

Who but the chronically depressed
has ever tired of waterfalls,
the droplets glistening on the moss,
a fine mist veiling the trees?
Who has grown indifferent to
twilight in the islands,
the sun exploding like a burst orange,
staining the crystalline seas,
warming our winter hearts?

All cause enough to celebrate
that we’re still here.

And when you come to call us home,
shehecheyanu, giver of all life,
you’ll find us crying out
for one more fond caress,
one last glimpse of the seahorse
drifting pensively over the sand.

Art Heifetz teaches ESL in Richmond, Virginia. He has had over 160 poems published in 12 countries. In 2013 he won second place in the Reuben Rose international competition in Israel. See more of his poems at


He giggles…
Through the window a faux pond
He observes a family of ducks
He knows them
He walked past them on the day of their birth
Jagged half shells
Ululating for meaning
My son smiled
Kindred spirits
Seeking an essence…
Much larger now as they swim across the surface of a water hazard
Mom proudly leading her line towards a distant shore
My son giggles louder
Strikes at the hazy windowpane
His little friends
His brothers in creation
They can’t see
He sees all
My boy
Standing before me
Left behind

James Sanchez is a poet and teacher from Hialeah, Florida. He holds a B.A. in English from Florida International University. He teaches English and Creative Writing at Ronald W. Reagan Senior High School in Doral, Florida. He resides in Miami, Florida with his wife and son. His work has been published in The Acentos Review, The Apeiron Review, Mother is a Verb: a Red Paint Hill Anthology, The Circle Review and Desolation Blues: A Beat Anthology.



My sister asks,
is that thunder
breaking the morning silence.
Each of us has been in separate corners
of the house, reading our books.
I hear the rain begin, then quickly become
a torrent, hitting the deck, the windows,
shattering further the stillness. I listen
to the water’s cadence as the lightning strikes.
That’s the real thing.

Last night, after we ate deep chocolate ice cream,
a storyteller spoke to us (in clichés, we thought)
about looking for the land’s whispers and shadows,
the language of the Earth.

The rain is insistent, chatty even, applauding itself,
its wet sense of delight, its ability to dampen
both the inanimate and the living, the wooden boards,
the railing, the parsley and lupine,
the chives and basil speechless in window-boxes
and terra-cotta pots, raising their arms to the skies.

Ronnie Hess is a Midwest-based journalist and poet, the author of culinary travel guide, Eat Smart in France and a chapbook, Whole Cloth: A Poem Cycle (Little Eagle Press). A second chapbook is forthcoming, A Woman in Vegetable (Kattywompus Press). She blogs for MyFrenchLife and writes frequently for local and regional newspapers.


photo by Jason Iffert

(photo by Jason Iffert)

Still Ground

Beyond the hills
the sky a rosy blaze –
the globe turns
towards dawn.

I would
rather linger
in stark silence
devoid of light.

I would return
to deepest slumber –
that still ground

by thought
and dream.

From there
comes wafting
a perfume of bliss
too faint to name.

Monika John, writer, attorney and world traveler, living in Washington State. Her writings have appeared in various magazines in the USA and UK: Buddhist Poetry Review, Light of Consciousness Magazine, Urthona (UK), Penwood Review, Presence International Magazine, Anthology on Tagore (UK), Fungi and Quiet Shorts Magazine, Sathya Sai Newsletter, Scheherazade’s Bequest, The Wayfarer, and Shambala Poetry Space among others. Forthcoming: Light of Consciousness, Lalitamba, Aurorean, Kindred Magazine.


Daily Dance

I come to you head down like a dog.
You hold the door open, letting the dark out.
You, the silent one. You, the mystery.

But not today. Today I want to stay out in the grass.
Roll in the fragrant green I woke up in.
I cover my face so you can’t see me.

Hot coffee, cold news, I’m cruising the surface
For something to ground me as I float away empty
And round, a small red balloon.

Oh you, and that damnable door standing open.
You who never send me to bed without dinner
Even though I want to push you aside.

Come save me from the beckoning stranger who thunders
With a chariot racing and pulled by black horses
To ride, death defying, into the darkening day.

Bonnie Durrance is a writer, photographer, and poet in the early morning hours. Originally from Washington DC, she has lived and worked on the Coast of Maine, in New York City, Bolinas, California, and, now, in the Napa Valley, where she lives with a husband, two cats, three chickens and assorted foxes, bobcats and “coy-wolves.” She has an MA in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, which has helped to cultivate her work on supporting, in every way, the “anima mundi.”


Untitled, with Valentine

A bowl of figs, honey
comb of a pomegranate we
didn’t eat with brie and wine
I still wear the heart
you gave me, dried flowers

cobwebbed in the vase
Gospel of Thomas
on the chair’s brown arm.
How much time between days
the track of a decade

gone, the arrival of another
milestone within our grasp.
There is a house beyond
a pasture, two horses, grass
grown over. There is a house

I’ve been to and never seen.
A view of the mountains, a loft
a spring. These trees hide it
all so well. I know
you must be home.

Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins, (Finishing Line Press, 2008) and Some Other Eden, (2005). Publications include: RHINO, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Mid-American Review, and Fire On Her Tongue: An Anthology of Contemporary Women’s Poetry (Two Sylvias Press). Nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Ronda is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and a May Swenson Poetry Award finalist. MoonPath Press recently published her latest collection, Lake of Fallen Constellations (May, 2015). A Seattle native, Ronda is a graduate of the University of Washington. Currently, she edits the literary journal, Crab Creek Review. In her spare time, she photographs poets and birds in their natural habitats.


Tribute to a Marriage

We planted you after we married
Because you were different and
We thought we were different, too
And perhaps you would grow to offer us shade
Where we could rest as we reached a certain age

You were knee high at first
When we put you in the ground
After we said our vows in a gazebo
On a farm in the middle of summer
As beads of sweat popped up across our foreheads
And we swore before a woman we didn’t know
That we were in love and always would be

You grew and as you became taller
The neighbors would stop by on their walks
Or stop us in Kroger and marvel at your
Sword-like leaves, deep green and pointing skyward
Yellow flowers that came every spring
In clusters, bursting plumes that swayed in the wind

We wrapped your hairy trunk in a blue tarp
During the harshest winters and kept lights on you
To keep you warm when we were most afraid that you would die
And year after year, you came back to us
When the grass burst green and the dogwoods were heavy with white flowers
You were taller than all of them and we were married, still

Loukia Borrell is the author of two books, Raping Aphrodite, a historical fiction novel set against the 1974 invasion and division of Cyprus, and Delicate Secrets, the prequel to her first book. She is a native of Toledo, Ohio, and graduated from Elon University with a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism. Prior to writing books, Loukia was a journalist for 20 years. She worked for newspapers in Florida and Virginia, including the St. Petersburg Times, which is now the Tampa Bay Times. Her personal essays have appeared in and The Washington Post. She is married, has three children and lives in Virginia with her family.


photo by Jason Iffert

(photo by Jason Iffert)

The Storied Pine

Bearded blue fish swims
Silver glint beneath sun-kissed water
Swooshing tail betrays
Deep contemplation
A World beyond
Where possibility lies
Beneath a storied pine
Breathing freely
Sunburn, the prize

A Charm Against the Mean-Hearted

Maraschino cherries
Pinch, then dash, then
Swig of apricot brandy
Tears collected in porcelain urns
Handful of the most fragrant ferns
Clip of hair from puppy’s tail
Peacock feather, random snail
Protect me
Let all cruelty

Davita Joie is an essayist and poet currently living in Boston. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and her work has appeared in the Freerange Nonfiction Reading Series, Dark Phrases, The Poetry Marathon Anthology, and the Blue Heron Review. She is also the former Entertainment Editor and contributing writer for CityFlight Newsmagazine and Lover’s Latte columnist for


Lightning Rod

Not flying—

Straddling this beam
a hundred yards up.

With no strings.

This is arrogance,
a thousand ways to
die broken, in heaps.

Or is it merely grace?

This swing of hammer.
This body confident.

This fearless moment

defy the sky.

Kim Hunter Perkins’ poetry has appeared in Sow’s Ear, Off the Rocks, HLFQ, and others. Currently, she is the editor of The Prompt literary magazine.



Blue lifts first to the east:
the sky untethered.

I know the terror of seeing:
I am on my knees.

My need tastes like ground:
crossed palm reaching.

Bare wrist like an offering:
I give unto you.

My tongue like a river:
the mercy of rain.

Words unfurl like a new leaf:
my prayer rooted in this soil.

The body’s ripe sorrow:
a heron lifting from the marshes.

Crows shifting on the hillside:
I plead to you, this fear.

I have been unstitched by god.

Karla Van Vliet is a painter, poet, and student of the dream. She has long been fascinated with creating meaning and opening places of feeling by generating marks on the page, be it letter or character, dendritic form or simple line and shape. Karla’s work originates from the practice of listening inwardly for what wants to arise and be expressed. She studied painting and sculpture at Bennington College, received her BA from Goddard College and received her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Karla is an Archetypal Dreamwork analyst and creator/facilitator of Art and the Practice of Presence and the author of a book of poems entitled, The River From My Mouth (North of Eden Press, 2010). Her poems have also appeared in Poet Lore, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Dry Creek Review, and Many Mountains Moving, among other journals.


Home (Dream Poem #10)

Last rooms of vacant cities,
vacant mansions where lost fawns
stumble in the corridors.
Balconies unrailed. Words on walls.
Echoes when the orphan creatures
fall to other floors. I am to play their flute
and find their roots. Memories of stares.
This familiar loneliness,
sense of silence in my song. Still,
nothing doesn’t understand my speech
in here. It won’t be long; I have resurrected
strong this time. I’ve been asking where you are
but don’t I always know? You are to my left,
always pushing there. The atmosphere is laden
with its glow. How long
until this essence becomes home?

Nancy Bevilaqua’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Tupelo Quarterly, Juked, Hubbub, MadHat Lit, Menacing Hedge, Construction, Atticus Review, here/there, Kentucky Review, and other journals. She recently published a collection of poems entitled, Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter; the poems envision the relationship between Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and those around them from a historical/gnostic perspective. She is also the author of Holding Breath: A Memoir of AIDS’ Wildfire Days. She currently lives in Florida with her 16-year-old son.


The Cup

I hold my hands
one inside the other
listen to steady rain
roll off the porch roof
smoothing my anxious edges.
Hands cupped I sip
on songs of house finches
sleek music of cardinals
amid afternoon shower.
I listen for guidance within,
take shelter, weather-out feelings,
lean a while,
let peace reside
in the cup of my hand,
soaking up The Spirit,
who is steady
like the rain.

Annette L Grunseth is a freelance writer and poet who has been published in Midwest Prairie Review, Wisconsin Academy Review, Door County’s Peninsula Pulse, The Door Voice, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ annual calendars; The Ariel Anthology, Free Verse, Fox Cry Review, and The Poetry of Cold. She often combines her photography and poetry in greeting cards for family and friends and is working on a chapbook combining both artistic talents. Her career focused on healthcare marketing, advertising, and public relations spanning the past four decades. She currently entertains her creative muse with travel, photography, and poetry; when not on the move, she resides in Green Bay with her husband John.


photo by Jason Iffert

(photo by Jason Iffert)

Beads of Dew

For days each leaf of grass has sent its body’s
slant capsule into air – a joyous green leap
that still stays home. And this morning: dew.

Drops clustered and singular
are shining song, points of light
in a field of light.

I stand here in the middle
of my lawn, in the middle of my life,
feeling the altar call to praise. In my

mind an expansive field of saints, network
of souls glistering. All around me, this latticework:
touch points where worlds fit together, how we hold,
how we hold hands with the living and the dead.
I stand with all I love, all I have loved.
We are beads of light in the endless reach.

Paula Schulz spends her mornings with three-year-olds, her evenings with her husband, Greg, and as much time in between, writing.



I will take the key
that unlocks you
and peer inside
to see yards and yards
of colorful fabric
on assorted bolts,
some material so thin
air and light comes through,
some so soft and thick
it feels like gray wool
from long-haired mountain sheep.

There I will find a memory
in a northern forest
from when snow filled up the floor,
and wind blew so strong
we looked for shelter,
a circle of white cedar
whose branches hung down like loving arms.

Inside the circle
snowflakes were suspended in mid-air
as if in a crystalline hourglass.

And then there was the memory
of the sweetest summer night
in the high desert
when cool breezes played with us
to the tune of dancing hummingbirds
chatting to each other
as the fullest moon came up over the hills:

Two braided ribbons I’ll place around my neck
and wear forever.

Ethel Mortenson Davis is an artist and poet who currently lives in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, two and a half hours from where she was raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm. She has had two books published, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico, and White Ermine Across Her Shoulders. Her poetry has appeared in a number of small journals, magazines, and anthologies. Primarily a pastel artist at the current time, she studied art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison under Milton Resnick and other masters of the late 20th century. Her work has appeared in galleries in New Mexico and Wisconsin. She and her husband publish a blog of poetry, art, and photographs at


The Force That Stirs Stillness

The force that stirs stillness
in water
is not a voice
nor silence opening
flowers in morning
as light

absence pushes awe
like a birth
into the forever

Martin Willitts Jr has been nominated for 6 Pushcart and 6 Best of the Net Awards, and he has 5 full-length and 20 chapbooks of poetry, including national award winning, Searching For What Is Not There (Hiraeth Press, 2013). His forthcoming poetry books include: Waiting For The Day To Open Its Wings (UNBOUND Content), Art Is the Impression of What an Artist Sees (Edgar and Lenore’s Publishing House), City Of Tents (Crisis Chronicles Press), Swimming In the Ladle of Stars (Kattywompus Press), A Is For Aorta (Kind of Hurricane Press), Martin Willitts Jr., Greatest Hits (Kattywompus Press), The Way Things Used To Be (Writing Knights Press), and Irises, the Lightning Conductor For Van Gogh’s Illness (Aldrich Press). Martin recently won the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award.


Rainier in August

The mountain is taken by
the sky as arms emerge
among the horizon spires
and wrap around the earth

whose sky has arms emerging
like woolen wreaths that lean
and wrap around the earth
all soft with warmth and ease.

The woolen wreaths each lean
between summit, peak, and foot
till soft with warmth and ease
down to tree and stone and root.

Between summit, peak, and foot
there is mist and hosanna sighs;
down trees, sand, stones, and roots
inhale to see the embracing sky.

There is miffed and so slanted sighs
among the horizon obelisks
inhaling to see the embracing sky
the mountain is taken with.

David K Wheeler’s debut poetry collection, Contingency Plans, was published by TS Poetry Press, and he has written for The Morning News, The Gay & Lesbian Review, Glitterwolf, Blue Fifth Review, Codex Journal, and others. He earned his BA in Creative Writing from Western Washington University and now lives in Seattle.


photo by Jason Iffert

(photo by Jason Iffert)

Poet’s Ulysses Pact with the World

Hold me against the beauty of ordinary things
a steaming cup of coffee in the cool early morning
the whap of wind through damp sheets on the clothesline
one brilliant crow at the speckled granite birdbath
a wide-winged black arrow against the blue palette of sky

Hold me so I can bear the beauty of ordinary things
a heaven tall fir dancing with cone castanets
the white grace of birch filigreed with pink necklace buds
an unleafed April heat striking wet warmed earth
the rejoicing in ditches of wood frogs and spring peepers

Hold me against the beauty of ordinary things
so the flame of the Japanese maple cannot consume me
the color calliope of fall leaves on the sidewalk strike me blind
a child’s trusting hand in mine not drop me to my knees
make me weep with gratitude

Hold me fast against the extraordinary beauty of this ordinary world
so I may rest within its generous heart

Susan Martell Huebner lives in Mukwonago, WI. A tall white birch outside her office window and a chubby cat at her feet keep her company as she writes. She is a member of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and Wisconsin Writers Association.


Shore Portrait

By the sea
my love and I,
two on the sorting sands of eternity

“You are late and not in your wedding dress,”
words I spoke to her
“I came when I loved you, from the field,
and from the threshing floor, and from my knees,
I came.”

And as our tear of sympathy fell into
a wandering wisp of heart
we shouted the doors of heaven off their
rusty hinges and whispered past the
dirty edges of the moon.

Fred Kreutz is a semi-retired teacher and school administrator. His poems have shown up in Farquar Poetry Journal, Little Brown Press, One Vision, and some of the WFOP calendars. Fred also dabbles in photography with recent shows in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Minoqua, and Mukwonago.


Revisiting the Poem, “If―”

―With Tribute to Poet Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

Beyond karma and kindness, Kipling
penned best gentle instruction for life’s
daily tests; from father to son, each

stanza and verse gives guidance for
journey upon planet Earth. “If―”
contains wisdom, where wise counsel

flows, offers example on how to let
go―and how to hold on when all seems
awry, when life becomes dark, turns

inward, and sighs. “If―” speaks of
triumph, being watchful of pride,
plying humility where ego may rise.

“If―” observes patience, persisting
alone, moving through setbacks
with strength and backbone. “If―”

presents character, balance, and grace,
keeping one’s essence well-grounded
and paced, staying calm through the

hard times, and calm through the rest,
living life’s moments with humor and
zest; from mother to son, each stanza

and verse was written for you and
“Yours is the Earth” when you lead
with your courage, lead with your worth!

Jeannie E Roberts writes for both adults and children. Her work focuses on humor, the natural world, and the human condition. She is the author of, Nature of It All, a poetry collection (Finishing Line Press, 2013). A lifelong visual artist, Jeannie is also the author and illustrator of, Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book. Her poems have appeared in Blue Heron Review, Festival of Language’s Festival Writer, Misty Mountain Review, Off the Coast, Quill and Parchment, Verse Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Your Daily Poem, Zingara Poet and elsewhere. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jeannie lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where she runs her own freelance creative company. For more, visit


The Meditation Master Takes a Nap

As he began to cross his legs on each other, his mind
Was wandering nowhere between here and there; he
Withdrew his vision from the skyline of the city
To the cool fire burning in his belly; listening
To the whistling and whishing of traffic, he heard only
His own pulse. With the breeze came the odour of garlic
But he held his breath, while leaving all his inner doors
And windows ajar, letting his sensations travel freely
He believed in Qi, which was circulating with his blood
And his feeling and his thought. The light dimmed
A baby crow was flapping by. He found himself totally
Lost in a temple among puti trees within his yellowish
Skin. That was all the harmony of yin and yang he knows.

Yuan Changming, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of 4 chapbooks (including Mindscaping [2014]), is the world’s most widely published poetry author who speaks Mandarin but writes English. Growing up in a remote village, Yuan began to learn English at 19 and published several monographs before leaving China. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently tutors and co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. His poetry appears in 979 literary publications across 31 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review and Threepenny Review.



I dreamed a Costco full of poetry books
with thousands of faceless bodies shouting
“Look at my book!” “Please, over here!”
and only two or three at cash registers.

Eventually, I left.
Wrote on sand at low tide.
Beach walkers or their Frisbee-catching labs
walked through my words and smiled.

Once, awake, I saw a Tibetan monk
destroy his 6-foot sand mandala in a library.
Colors crashed and faded. “Did it hurt?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, “but that is how the universe is.”

Scott T Starbuck, an English professor at San Diego Mesa College, wrote this poem based on a sand mandala made and destroyed by Tibetan monks in his college library ( This video ( shows “construction and destruction of a sand Mandala by the Dalai Lama, from the Werner Herzog documentary, Wheel of Time.” The sand mandala in the poem was “taken to the South Mission Beach Jetty and ceremoniously scattered in the ocean.”


(photo by Jason Iffert)

(photo by Jason Iffert)

Rivulets and Tributaries

The unnamed waterways of bygone youth:
that winding iced-over stream of secret winter sledding
dangerous and fast, cold and delicious,
the snaking rill behind the brook park where bullfrogs croaked,
even the small wooded creek, once mysterious and imposing,
now all fade to rusty memory, whole neighborhoods,
landmarks reduced to hearsay and rumination.
Immeasurable gallons traversed these anonymous circuits,
and now streams of consciousness flow back
throwing sounds and smells upon themselves.
The tiny animals, local rocks and flora, merge
with names and community waterholes:
Joe’s luncheonette, Herb’s candy store,
the bakery on a weekend morning,
where natures of other types were delved and explored.
Somewhere in the world scientists dig,
hoping to unearth artifacts, shed light on darkness,
analyze and synthesize to best explain the past.
I do the same, wandering this pine forest,
extracting torrents of memory from
rivers one generation nearly explored,
soon lost to the rolling delta of time.

Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, and teacher. His works have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, as well as “Best of the Net.” Recent poems are published or forthcoming in Foliate Oak Literary Review, JMWW, Stone Voices, Blue Lotus Review, The Citron Review, 3 Elements Review, Fine Flu Journal, The Blue Hour, Stoneboat Journal, Stone Path Review, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Brickplight, The Bicycle Review, Silver Birch Press, Poetry Quarterly, The Holiday Café, and Think Journal. He is a champion of the underdog who often composes to an obscure power pop soundtrack. His first collection, Small Consolations, was recently published by Aldrich Press (2015).


Rehoboth Beach in Fog

I stand at the window
midway between form and void
no different than the haze
on the land before me

I hear smack of slapping waves
crow’s cry eddying the air
my breath the whispered vibration
that gives the world flesh

What will the universe pour
into me today
What will wash up
Will I remember the edge

Mary Jo Balistreri has two full books of poetry, Joy in the Morning and gathering the harvest, published by Bellowing Ark Press, and a chapbook, Best Brothers, published by Tiger’s Eye Press. She has recent or forthcoming work in Parabola, Grist, The Hurricane Press, Plainsongs, The Tiger’s Eye, Avocet, Crab Creek Review, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, and One Hundred Gourds. She has four Pushcart nominations, and two Best of the Net. She was a poetry judge for Arizona Writers Association for two years and just recently a judge for Wilda’s Mary Jo is one of the founders of Grace River Poets, an outreach for women’s shelters, churches, and schools. Please visit her at


Finding Strength

The gentle lapping
of the water on
a sunny September day;
six ducks float by
a breeze caresses my
weary face and troubled thoughts
calmed by this vista
of lake and sky.

What answers can be found
in the respite of beauty
I don’t know –
only that the tiny
gull footprints still my eye
with their delicate line,
the open expanse of water
swallows my anxieties
in its depth –
this is what I’ve come for,
why I sit just looking,
a handful of pebbles
in my palm.

Liz Rhodebeck is a freelance writer and poet from Menomonee Falls, WI. Her poetry has appeared in Your Daily Poem (online), VerseWisconsin, Creative Wisconsin, Red Cedar, Echoes, The Penwood Review, Stone Boat Journal, Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, Verse and Vision, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar and others. She is the author of three chapbooks, Here the Water is Deep, What I Learned in Kansas and Benthos, and was the 2014 winner of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Muse Prize. She also performs inspirational programs with Grace River Poets and is active in her church. See her website


Sisters Praying

If they knew the Sun
was a fleck of sand on the beach,
or that they were two blue
raindrops in the ocean,
one sister wouldn’t be kneeling
by the bed of the older sister
on an August afternoon,
helping her breathe
through a Hail Mary
she cradles in her hands.
If they knew the Earth
was just a speck of dust,
that what they prayed for
was wider than these walls,
they wouldn’t have carried
each other these seventy years,
they wouldn’t have a name for God
like dough rising in the kitchen.
If they knew they had always lived
in the center of the circle,
that there was nothing to ask for,
the older sister wouldn’t be
whispering into her bed sheets,
telling the younger one a secret
about disappearing,
about the light she would soon become,
that she too is a fleck of sand.

Chris Abbate’s poetry and short fiction has appeared in various journals including Main Street Rag, Common Ground Review, and Comstock Review. His more recent awards include honorable mentions at the 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival and the 2012 Flyleaf Poetry Contest. He is a member of Living Poetry, an active group of poets in the Raleigh area. Chris resides in Holly Springs, NC where he works as a database programmer.


Art Thou Woman?

Sometimes I see you
find a space
behind the Botticelli.

Reaching out
a divine hand, bony
and spare of thought.

You walk in colors
unknown to this world,
leaving wet footprints.

No one can frame you.
Dressed in gold gilt,
you laugh at fools.

Like the wind,
you breeze through
the dry roads of time.

Like the stars,
you are often distant
from everything.

James P Roberts has had four poetry collections published. His collection, Dancing With Poltergeists, published by Popcorn Press, was a finalist for the Posner Award (now known as the Edna Meudt Award for Book-Length Poetry) in 2009. He continues to serve as the South-Central Region Vice-President for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and will host the Spring 2016 Conference in Madison, Wisconsin where he lives and where one can find him in odd places, including poetry events.


Tom Montag pairing

(photo by Jason Iffert)

At Day’s End

At day’s end, the lowing light.
What rings the evening in is
wind. Yes, wind in the trees, wind

at the corners of the house,
wind where wind goes to silence,
where wind enters the poet’s

loneliness, pushing him to
sadness. I am the black dog’s
friend. It can’t be otherwise.

You must make peace with sadness
or you won’t find peace at all.
At day’s end, in lowing light,

you say, Here I am, take me, and
something takes you in the night.

Tom Montag is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, as well as Middle Ground, Curlew: Home, Kissing Poetry’s Sister, The Idea of the Local, and The Big Book of Ben Zen. Recent poems will be found in Hummingbird, Stoneboat, Split Rock, On the Rusk, The Broken City, Riding Light Review, The Chaffin Journal, Foliate Oak, Hamilton Stone Review, and Digital Papercut. He blogs as The Middlewesterner and serves as the Managing Editor of the Lorine Niedecker Monograph Series, What Region?


Flute Maker

Like the peaceful
rise and fall of melody
from a Pueblo flute,
hands slide along
fragrant wood
sanding with the grain
shaping the finish
working patiently
like wind through cedar
like measured breath
blown across hollow wood
shaping shadows of sound
that give musical voice
to the invisible air.

Peter Piaskoski taught English at Shorewood High School, Shorewood, Wisconsin where he has lived with his wife Kathleen for the past 46 years. He currently supervises student teachers for Cardinal Stritch University and facilitates a writing workshop at the Hart Park Senior Center in Wauwatosa Wisconsin. Peter holds that poetry is the soul of language and the language of the soul.


A Life-shaping Spoon

The clear, plastic spoon, which Ke ti ko na,
Eagle Feather, keeps in a school backpack
is a tangible indicator of change. In this case,
it’s the all-important name of a newlywed
kindergarten teacher. With a summer-
reddened face, Amy arrives and soon
becomes a Mrs., making the spoon
a keepsake. Since it came from
a draped table of a glorious party
where a giant cake was served,
it’s arguably a life-shaping utensil,
the kind you can see through
and examine under safety. And
it’s insignificant if he wasn’t there
or whether the spoon was used
for a mid-morning snack. What
matters is what it means to Amy–
and ostensibly for him. So we clean
it in the kitchen sink with diligence
and add it to his basket of sunlit

Ray Young Bear, who resides with his family on the Meskwaki Settlement, is the author of five books of poems and prose. Some of Young Bear’s latest poems and word-song translations were featured in Yellow Medicine Review, Iowa Review, New Letters, and Prairie Schooner. These new poems are part of Manifestation Wolverine, his sixth book, which will be published by Open Road Media in October 2015. The digital publisher and multimedia content company also intends to reprint Black Eagle Child, a 1992 novel, as an e-book. Young Bear was invited to the Princeton Poetry Festival in Princeton, New Jersey on March 13-14, 2015. The biennial event had a line up of internationally acclaimed poets who read from their work and took part in a panel discussion entitled, “The Place of Poetry.”


Crepuscular Anatomy

Hollow as a rattlesnake fang,
The sky coils. The body’s
Tributaries fork and flood.
A light burns out in a sign.
The road turns to bone.
All along the water, yellow
Flowers bloom above frogs.

Jordan Sanderson is originally from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and earned a PhD from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Jordan’s work has appeared in several journals, including The Meadow, Oklahoma Review, Red Earth Review, and Gigantic Sequins, and is the author of two chapbooks, Abattoir (Slash Pine Press, 2014) and The Formulas (ELJ Publications, 2014). Jordan currently lives near the Gulf of Mexico and teaches composition and literature at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.


(photo by Jason Iffert)

(photo by Jason Iffert)

The Penthouse

What can I write?
No matter how much
my body grips pain, or my heart does,
I live inside a jewel of vast geometry.

From an old chair in a field
I look up at clouds drifting
in layers of self-opposition
and see my crowding thoughts
are people rushing,
against each other, knowing
they’re too late.

Petals float like birds, birds
like petals. I open the door

of my losses to the glint
of the gem’s facets.
My chest opens.
The lens focuses
on a roiling choreography of leaves.
The past falls away
like a sparrow across the sky.

I live in the penthouse of paradise.

Rachel Dacus is the author of Gods of Water and Air, a collection of poetry, prose, and drama. Her poetry collections are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau, and the spoken word CD, A God You Can Dance. Her writing has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Boulevard, Drunken Boat, Prairie Schooner, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, and many other journals and anthologies. She’s currently at work on a time travel novel involving the great Baroque sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. She lives in Walnut Creek, California and raises funds for nonprofit organizations.



Brushstrokes of life
painted singly or in groups
catch sunlight like bent grass
scatter and reunite beneath water’s living velvet.
My shadow rises and falls on waves,
glows copper,
is traced by the liquid stitchery of water bugs;
minnows decorate my head, living ideas
spotting a phantom crown
haloed by undulating sun stripes.
Above, sky the color of Delft china
sings blue as infinity
painted by a strong west wind.

Anne C Kaiser is a fine artist and writer residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Writing has been a central part of her life since she began journaling and writing stories at age eight. She continues to enjoy journaling and writing memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, and picture book stories for young children. She holds a BA in studio art and anthropology and an MA in English/Writing Concentration.

Anne enjoys crafting lyrical narratives and playing with the rhythm and cadence of language. Much of her writing is interwoven with an appreciation of color, detail, imagination and dreams, and the profound influence of nature and the natural world on daily life.

Anne also enjoys painting, drawing, taking nature photographs and spending time with her family. To learn more about Anne’s artwork, visit:


Just This
Does the earth sing like a cricket
in the music of the heavens?
~ Pablo Neruda

By night’s jeweled light, I am struck:
the wind’s exhale—its slow breath rinses
over me as I stop midstep on the stair-
way leading up to the hill.

I close my eyes that have spent the day
working overtime & listen to the light
rustle of autumn leaves accompanying
the lone cricket’s lament.

It feels good to let my mind’s sudden
poverty find this swell of sound that
revels in a harmony that I have ignored
for so long —

So long, I should say,
knowing what happens next. My past
appears on the moonlit street, leading
me back to a time as distant & inviting
as heaven . . . or, is it just this, life?

M J Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Between Worlds is her most recent chapbook, featuring lyric essays, flash fiction, and prose poems (Foothills Publishing, 2013). Recent poems, flash fictions, and essays in When Women Waken, Poppy Road Review, Wild: A Quarterly, Eunoia Review, Andrea Reads America, Canto, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Avocet, Right Hand Pointing, Tiny-lights, The Lake (U.K.), The Kentucky Review, and more. She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on writing and creative sustainability on Red Rooster Farm on


(photo by Jason Iffert)

(photo by Jason Iffert)


Saving it matters. That I know for sure.

Places where the sun takes to everything in sight.
Apple trees bent low and giant dandelions,

wild onions, berries come back on their own.

What is fertile, what returns, the pellucid

and the plain, this is what I know best today
and take to it, the dimming and the shining,

the softening, the luminous, what bends away from the dark,
the long of the day, flowers opening up

petal by petal, exactly how we are light.

Charlene Langfur is an organic gardener, a southern Californian, and a Syracuse University Graduate Writing Fellow whose work has appeared in The Stone Canoe, The Hampden Sydney Poetry Review, and The Adirondack Review, most currently in Blueline, Cold Mountain Review, and Stone Voices. Forthcoming, Charlene has poems in Poetry East, The Spoon River Anthology, Pamplemousse, and The Buddhist Poetry Review.


Lullabies of Love

When the stars have gone
and the moon has lost its wonder
and the cry of the wolf is no more.
When the poets have forgotten
the magic of the night
and the songs of love fall silent.
It is then my friend,
you will weep for one more verse,
one more dream, one more weaver of words
to kiss your waning heart goodnight.

Jamie Lynn Morris is a 2014 graduate of UW-La Crosse. She has self-published four books of poetry at In addition, Jamie worked on the Volume 17, spring 2014 edition of the Steam Ticket literary journal. Furthermore, several of her quotes have been accepted by The Quote Garden online.


(artwork by Pd Lietz)

(photo by Pd Lietz)

Modern Waters

My woman made of indigo winds and waves
that rouse up resin sea spray
and wash up her wrinkled heel folds
as she rises to relevé.

Her domed feet frame
her hazy shadow’s roots
against wooden waters.

Her pointed toes,
shivering castaways atop the current,
warmed by ballet slippers
and warm up stretches.

Shipwrecked in the deep,
Dipping in and out of the horizon and curtains and costumes,
huffing out gales and whitecaps that rouse a crowded shore
but blithely stranded on stage.
Pointed toes unstable on shilly-shally sand,
but warmed by the grains that sunbathe in the stage light suns.

Hannah Marie Nelson is currently a high school senior residing in Neenah, Wisconsin planning to major in English after graduation. She enjoys writing novels, short stories, and poetry. Her poems can be found in publications such as Dream Quest One and the Belleville Park Pages, and her aspirations include becoming a published author, fully supporting herself financially as a writer, and gaining a bigger audience for her works.


(photo by Holly Kallie)

(photo by Holly Kallie)

The Mirage

Softened by the lulling loll of waves
twilight’s yawning hour arouses hues,
splashes color on the horizon—
violet, red, yellow, tangerine.

Late afternoon sunbathers
unfurl sand-dappled towels
and collect their things
some hurried, it seems,
rinsing off sunscreen-splashed bodies
in the gulf’s rolling tongue
before dusk subdues the sky.

Except for one, as far away as a mirage,
the one who remains entranced
knees, a rest for chin, pulled to chest
arms hugging shins like a ball
about to roll in glassy sea
like you—
Pilates class: the two of us
determined to remain flexible
through our golden years.

Laurie Kolp, author of Upon the Blue Couch (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014) and Hello, It’s Your Mother (Finishing Line Press, upcoming) serves as president of Texas Gulf Coast Writers and belongs to the Poetry Society of Texas. Laurie’s poems have appeared in more than four dozen publications including the 2015 Poet’s Market, The Crafty Poet, Scissors & Spackle, Blue Fifth Review, and Pirene’s Fountain. An avid runner and lover of nature, Laurie lives in Southeast Texas with her husband, three children and two dogs.

(photo by Dawn Eves)

(photo by Dawn Eves)


GAIL GOEPFERT (Cover artist for BHR Summer 2015) ~ Gail Goepfert is a Midwest teacher, poet, and nature photographer. Currently, she serves as an associate editor for Chicago-based RHINO. Her publications appear in anthologies and print and online journals including Ardor, Avocet, After Hours, Blue Heron Review, Caesura, Florida English, Examined Life Journal, Ardor, and Bolts of Silk among others. She was a Poet of the Month for, two of her poems rode a PACE bus in a Highland Park, Illinois, annual Poetry That Moves contest, and she’s been a runner-up for Journal of Modern Poetry and Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest. She received a 2013 Pushcart Nomination. Many of her poems are inspired by place. She loves to travel, and she is refreshed by desert, woods, mountains, and always the sea. Find out more about this author/artist:

LAUREL BEST (One of our BHR anniversary photo contest winners) ~ Laurel Best has a love for wildlife which has grown through visits to Point Pelee, camping and visits to her grandparent’s cottage as a child. She loves to capture wildlife in photographs in order to paint them. Her Dad is a professional photographer and her grandmother, an oil painter, taught her a love of art. Laurel’s photographs have been seen in 53 countries and purchased by buyers in Canada and the United States through Laurel teaches art to students from her home in Oakville for more details, check out her website:

JASON IFFERT (One of our regular, featured contributors) ~ Jason Iffert moved from the Twin Cities to Lake Country, WI about six years ago. He graduated from Minnesota School of Business with a short degree in graphic design and marketing. Jason also studied art history at the University of Minnesota. He started using his first camera in 2007. After moving, Jason started a little business called ID (Iffert Design). He currently works as a freelance graphic artist and photographer.

PD LIETZ ~ Pd Lietz is a widely published artist from Canada. Her writing, art and illustrations have appeared in and as covers of many publications: Naugatuck River Review Summer 2011 & Winter 2013, MaINtENaNT: Journal of Contemporary DADA Writing and Art #4, 5, & 6, Visions, Voices and Verses, Sunrise From Blue Thunder, DoveTales “Occupied” an International Journal of the Arts, Uncoil A Night, Beautiful Women an anthology, Origami Poetry Project, Songs of Sandy, When Women Waken, to name a few. She is also artist-in-residence for Writers for Peace. Links:;;;;

HOLLY KALLIE ~ Holly Kallie has been drawing and painting the human figure since she was a child. It has always been an intense source of interest and satisfaction for her to capture the feeling and light of figures in natural settings, often water. Holly’s media is oil or acrylic on canvas, and she employs many layers of paint to achieve the final effect. As part of that process, she has always taken many photographs for reference material. In the last several years, she has enjoyed photography as an art form in itself. Holly is fascinated by the sound, feel, and movement of water and the relationship we share with it. She finds painting and photographing water is challenging and mysterious. Holly strives to bring the viewer a sense of that part of themselves that is at the center…flowing, peaceful and connected to “all that is.”  Learn more about this artist at her website:

DAWN EVES (One of our BHR anniversary photo contest winners) ~ Dawn Eves lives in Boston Heights, Ohio. She has been a photographer for more than twenty years and her photography has been featured in several galleries and publications including the cover of Oncology Today.

Copyright © 2015 Blue Heron Review ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
(Blue Heron Review holds first publication rights of poems. All original rights go back to individual authors/artists.)

12 thoughts on “BHR Issue 4 Summer 2015

  1. Pingback: Blue Heron Review Issue 4 Summer/2015 is Now Available to Read Online! | Blue Heron Review

  2. Wonderful inspiring poetry that I will return to read and read again. Beautiful photos, a wonderful issue, as they all are, but this one really shines -:) !!

  3. Pingback: Call for Submissions! Blue Heron Review is Now Reading Submissions for Our Winter 2016 Issue! Deadline: October 10th, 2015 | Blue Heron Review

  4. Pingback: Triangle Writers Fall 2015 News | Write Naked

  5. Pingback: Orison Books Anthology Nominations from Blue Heron Review for 2015 Announced! | Blue Heron Review

  6. Pingback: Blue Heron Review Pushcart Prize Nominations | Blue Heron Review

  7. Pingback: Tom Montag – four poems – Clear Poetry

  8. Pingback: 2016 Best of the Net Nominations for Blue Heron Review: Special Mini Issue | Blue Heron Review

  9. Pingback: Meet Our 2017 Pushcart Nominees

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