BHR Issue 6 Summer 2016


BHR Issue 6 Summer 2016 Cover Final Image

(Cover art by Leilani Carroll)

Annette L Grunseth * Richard King Perkins II * Taylor Graham * Kosei * Christian Stock * Pamela Ahlen * JC Elkin * Marcia J Pradzinski * Elise Hempel * Richard Havenga * Robert Chesney * Hillary Kobernick * Laura Cerenzio * Jane Osypowski * Jeannie E Roberts * Glen Wilson * Greg Gregory * Barbara Ruth * Kai Coggin * Rachel Dacus * Mary Jo Balistreri * Georgia Ressmeyer * Karla Van Vliet * Lyn Lifshin * Ken Allan Dronsfield * Bobbie Lovell * Ying Wu * Mike Orlock * Krikor Der Hohannesian * Paula Schulz * Erin Slaughter * Rita Anderson * June G Paul * Tom Montag * Devi S Laskar * Kathrine Yets * Jean Biegun * Skye Marzo * Sarah Rehfeldt * James P Roberts * Hayden Saunier * Lynne Burnett * Patricia Williams * Marianne Szlyk * Sylvia Cavanaugh * Laurel Devitt * Mary C Rowin * Robin White Turtle Lysne * Judy Wucherer

Leilani Carroll (cover artist) * Jen Herro * Fiona Capuano (featured photographer) * Sharon Auberle * Jeannie E Roberts * Devi Laskar * David Seth Smith * Bobbie Lovell * Sarah Woodworth * Sarah Rehfeldt * Holly Kallie


Eagle Bathing

Talons grip the sand
great wings beat water upon
its royal back,
crystal droplets are
propelled into flight
yet he’s beach-bound,
heavy-wet, vulnerable,
then with labored lift of wings
posts high upon a secure pine
like a god, feathered arms
spread wide to the sun.

Annette L Grunseth, poet, writer, and photographer from Green Bay, WI, recently had three of her poems set to original music compositions for voice, piano, and violin, performed at Acadia University (Wolfville, Nova Scotia). Her poems have appeared in Wisconsin Academy ReviewMidwest Prairie ReviewPeninsula PulseThe Door VoiceFree VerseSOUNDINGS: Door County in PoetryAn Ariel Anthology: transformational poetry & artFox Cry ReviewThe Poetry of Cold, as well as the annual calendars of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (WFOP). She has received honorable mention awards with Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Triad and Muse Prize contests. She has been a member of WFOP since 1988, is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and is retired from a career in Marketing and Public Relations. She kayaks and bicycles her way into poetry, often stopping along the trail to craft a poem on the notepad of her phone.


July’s Bright Claw

A calmness has brought mist and carried dew
to the ground

your smile was the briefest indiscretion
unburdening itself after this cold spring.

The endearment you let slip past—
an afternoon heat that burns lawns
and dulls common filters.

You didn’t know your foot was pressed against mine
beneath the table

but then you did
and let it stay there until it was time to go.

This same shoe, this same foot
that’s walking across my lawn a few minutes after midnight
in the newest day I’ve ever known.

In just a few hours

the small voice of grass
will anticipate sunrise

arriving with the speed of July’s bright claw.

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Writing for six years, his work has appeared in more than a thousand publications including: The Louisiana ReviewBluestemEmrys JournalSierra Nevada ReviewRoanoke ReviewThe Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Hawai’i ReviewSugar House ReviewPlainsongsFree State Review, and Texas Review.


pair with Taylor Graham hawk father

(artist credit: Jen Herro)


A father sends the shuttlecock flying
in graceful arc, rising above an invisible net.
It finds his daughter, at the last
moment she sees it, and bats it back.
They keep count, how many returns before
it hits the ground.
Error alert, start over. His girl – last
chosen for any team at school – sits front row
of the class and can barely read
the teacher’s writing on the board.
Classmates call her “Brain” which means
she’s strange.
Sixty back-and-forth strokes this time,
as many short flights of birdie,
and the girl misses again.
Mother calls from the porch, it’s time
for dinner. Afterwards the girl
will finish up her homework. Then, eyes
up-close to the field guide
in her hands, she counts feathers
fine-etched on the photo of a swallow.
Imagine what it looks like
on its annual migration – Capistrano
all the way to Argentina – so far; a perfect
arc so very high in flight.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. She’s included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library, 2012) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her book, The Downstairs Dance Floor, was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her latest book is, What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), poems about living and working with her canine search partners over the past 40 years.


pair up w poem by Kosei about moon

(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)


Moon peeking halfway through the window’s edge.
The small carpet, a cushion, the shortened candle.
In a few moments, the quiet time.

Counting off the beads in two hands
to say again, and again forgotten words
Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Uppekkha.

And the syllables mix into moonlight
that shines upon all,
recollecting today when you
pointed a bewildered old woman home,
and stilled the tears of a child,
gave applause to a shy student making a first speech
and wished well to a rude curmudgeon with
neither pity nor anger to him.

When the moon reaches the other edge of the window,
will I know peace tonight in these divine abodes?

Will those I touched smile in this very moonlight
that raises four simple words up to the deed well done?

Kosei has written privately for more than fifty years, and in recent times provided public readings of the various observations made through his spectrum of occupations, and responsibilities to family and other affiliations. Despite the churning nature of human experience, this writer’s interest lies with that other place, where the intuitive, ineffable nature of a universal principle is experienced. Rather than provide a bio that would read like a professional resume, he simply states that he is a retired social scientist and a Tendai/Kegon buddhist who strives to see the good in all. Consequently, the dharma name which was once given to him is, Kosei, which means “calm lake,” and thus Kosei is the name he both reads and publishes with. Grow. Be Well.


Heat Lightning on a Summer Night in a Childhood That Feels Like Mine

Heat lightning reminds me of my Dad.
Not because he ever was lightning,
much more comparable to thunder,
but because I remember one night he took me and my brother to the local park
or school
in that smear of years you don’t worry about counting and just focus on existing,
the good life,
childhood they call it.

I was young enough, and he picked me up to shoot a few
as the dark clouds swirled lightning flashed like make-believe sports photographers,
“Just heat lightning, nothing to be scared of.”

I’m starting to think that’s what it all is Dad,
it’s all just heat lightning,
and nothing to be afraid of.

Christian Stock lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He’s been involved in his local writing community for the past five years. He’s slowly organizing his poems and sending them into the world, like baby birds from the nest. His only hope is that they find somewhere to call home.


Wild Ginger

Bloodroot pokes through winter’s debris—
and mine—joining a gathering of upbeat blue
hyacinths bright as keeping myself shuttered
is dark, trillium unwilling to form a tidy red row,
a rebellion I secretly admire,
like defying rules of containment.
Bleeding hearts dangle like baubles from my bracelet:
every note never struck, relics of regrets—
but curatives, too, for new spring
fevering my core.  No coincidence

I was born at the time of wild ginger,
curious brown thimbleful of flower
sized to hold a charm, a drop of rain.
Again I root under green fusion,
searching for its hiding place
cloistered in the fork of two heart-shaped leaves,
ready to unearth its beauty,
expose my own, blow our secret
to forget-me-nots who’ll spring it on the woods—
those hidden away
have something singular to convey.

Pamela Ahlen is currently program coordinator for Bookstock (Woodstock, Vermont), one of three Vermont literary festivals.  She organizes literary readings for Osher (Lifelong Education at Dartmouth).  Pam received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Her poems have most recently appeared in About Place (Black Earth Institute), BohemiaThe Sow’s Ear, and The Comstock Review.  She is the author of the chapbook, Gather Every Little Thing (Finishing Line Press).


Baby Blocked

I had sonogram mental block.
Grandmother? Who, Me?

I should have blocked out a quilt
knit a sweater, crocheted a hat.

Should have called H & R Block,
invested in his future.

Should have thrown a block party,
sung out the glee I should feel.

Then he wrapped his fist round my finger
and love flowed like the Yukon at break-up,
unfrozen, unblocked, unbounded.

Spirituality and feminism are common themes in JC Elkin’s work. An optimist, linguist, singer, and founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop in Annapolis, Maryland, her award-winning poetry, memoir, and fiction appear domestically and abroad in such journals as Kansas City VoicesKestrelDelmarva ReviewAngle, and Steam Ticket. Her chapbook World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom (Apprentice House, 2014) is based on her experiences teaching English to adults from around the world.


pair w Marcia P

(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)

I Find My Son

in the knock-knock of a woodpecker
calling for attention

in a butterfly-quiver on the lip
of my car window

on the stained burgundy sofa
that still sags from his weight

inside the blue Sippy cup
abandoned in a cupboard

in a cardinal’s swift flight
through a forsythia bush

no longer in the urn of ashes
but in the world surrounding

where his red hair and imprint
find me everywhere.

Marcia J Pradzinski is a poet who lives in Skokie, Illinois. Her poetry has won awards in Highland Park’s Poetry Challenge, the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Contest, and in the Journal of Modern Poetry. She has been published in After HoursRHINO 2008AvocetPoetic LicenseJournal of Modern PoetryBlue Hour MagazineExact Change PressMom Egg ReviewThe Poetry StorehouseRHINO 2015, as well as anthologies and online blogs. Her first chapbook of poems, Left Behind, was published by Finishing Line Press (2015).  Ever since childhood, the sounds and images of words have intrigued her.


Night Exposure

We pose the old camera up on the tripod
and open the portal of its eye
as wide as we can, setting the shutter
for one whole minute.

Then freeze ourselves so we don’t leave
those blurs, called ghosts, on the picture, clenching
smiles and locking elbows together,
now holding our breath at the click.

What will happen as we stand
so still in these sixty seconds stretched,
trying not to laugh or blink,
almost forgetting to feel?
Will the print reveal
only a dark blank?

Or will it be as someone said:
we’ll see them scattered in the spaces
they never really left, the dead
there on the deck, a few by that tree,
some smiling behind us, more at our shoulders,
like stars come out.

Elise Hempel’s poems have appeared in many places over the years, including PoetryMeasureThe Midwest QuarterlyValparaiso Poetry Review, and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Her chapbook, Only Child, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014, and she is the 2015 winner of the Able Muse Write Prize for Poetry. Her first full-length collection of poems, Second Rain, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press.


Water Music

I am seeking meaning here,
trying to translate
the notes
swirling over boulders,
tumbling over rocks,
splashing into the small hollows
that curve up into eddies.

Upon further examination …

Music from this mountain stream
creates a constant chorus.
I place my hand into
the liquid vibration
to gather the sensation.

The water music
plays my fingers.

Earth angels
begin to sing.

With the curiosity of a naturalist, the keen eye of a nature photographer, the perceptions of an artist, and the creativity of a writer-poet, Richard Havenga marries experience with awareness, reflection with response. Richard wants his readers to be immersed in a fresh current of expression, caressed by sensory pleasure in nature. He delivers a subtle blend of inquiry and receptivity; illuminating his work with affectionate attention, prayers of praise, and a grateful heart. Find out more about this author and artist at his blog:



Morning mist descends upon Monet’s creek
like a loon touching down
nary breaking the water’s surface.
Splashes of yellow, orange, white, pink,
lavender, salmon, coral, red, green obsidian,
Monet’s palette –
Hoary old man ghosts upon the bank
his brush reaches skyward.

Skirting the bank –
two weathered rowboats frozen in time
abandoned by truant boys in May
who yearned for a lazy summer excursion
while young lovers strolled through the meadow
and Bordeaux aged in tight grain barrels
and the cooper’s hands shriveled –
the beautiful gardens merged
into an impressionist painting.

Robert Chesney is editor of the AHSGR (American Historical Society of Germans from Russia) Southeastern Wisconsin chapter newsletter. He is a member of the Wisconsin Writers’ Association and Moraine Writers’ Guild. In addition, he is a teacher-naturalist at Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg, Wisconsin. He won second place in the AHSGR 2012 storytelling contest. He is married to Deborah Chesney, and they have two daughters and seven grandchildren. He is also an alumni of Marquette University, where he received his Master’s Degree in literature.


pair w Hillary K

(artist credit: Sharon Auberle)


I dream of salmon and wake up
with fistfuls of okra, kudzu
wrapped around my bed frame
tying me to the Georgia clay.

When the wind blows and the
rain falls like a torrent of Bibles
assaulting Third World mission fields,
my skin turns salmon swimming

upstream. I miss the ocean’s saltiness
the scent of a world textured with
tears. My scales fall every day
the kudzu becomes pillow and the

cicadas with their nightly bandstands
become lullaby. I grow Georgia fins
and still—my accent does not disappear.
Just puts on new clothes. I always dream

in saltwater.

Hillary Kobernick writes poetry for both performance and page. She holds a Master of Divinity degree, meaning she has, in fact, mastered the divine. She pastors a small church outside Chicago, where her work is, as Mary Oliver says, loving the world. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines in the U.S. and Canada, and is published or forthcoming in Bellevue Literary ReviewBarely SouthdecomP, and Cider Press Review. She has competed at the National Poetry Slam five times, representing both Atlanta and Chicago. Her work can always be found at


A Gathering of Hawks

Hovering above us silently, wings fanned in an arc
The hawks gather, circling our home

Plumage brilliant in the sun, they climb the clouds
Reaching up and out, touching God’s upturned palm

Airborne roller coasters, they glide, swooping low
Their luminous eyes unblinking, their fixed gaze calling my name

They beckon to me and (since the oaks wink at me, inviting me to come)
I venture out, inhaling early morning musk, amazed as
The trees match their breath to mine

A sudden gust of sparrows takes wing across the garden, my eyes
Following them until I hear the whisper and turn to see him,
The solemn messenger, perched upon the gray fence, shrouded in mist

Listen closely, he murmurs,
The sun continues to light the sky, its torch brighter with each
Spirit that approaches, each one who flies the wind
The wheel of life spins, gathering us to her heart

A native of New York, who relocated to Florida in 1971, Laura Cerenzio is a fledgling poet who has been published in small press publications (Silver QuillIlya’s Honey, and Grandmother Earth II.)  Although Laura is now happily retired, she has taught English at the middle and high school level, as well as having taught Composition at Valencia Community College and the University of Central Florida.  She lives in picturesque Mount Dora, Florida with her husband and two crazy cats.


High Voltage

You flew in on the solar wind
drawn by forces at earth’s core.
In the upper atmosphere
we connected, sparked.
You swayed, I swooned,
you shook, I shimmied.
Our tango deepened. We breathed
energy in colors above earth,
danced in descent to music
of aurora borealis’
seductive siren song.

Newly retired and writing from her screen porch in the heart of the Kettle Moraine state forest, Jane Osypowski is a member if WWA, WFOP, Fireside Poets, and co-founder of Moraine Writers’ Guild. She writes a poetry article for the spring issue of Creative Wisconsin and her poems have been published in Free VerseWisconsin Poets’ CalendarCreative WisconsinThe Contributor, local newspapers, and others. She promotes National Poetry Month in her community, has won second place for The Hal Prize in Door County, and her poem, “Blind Words,” will appear in a new book, Dear Cancer…the Anthology.


Lake Rocks Use THIS pair w Jeannie's poem

(artist credit: Jeannie Roberts)

Reflecting upon Upper Eau Claire Lake
(Inspired by a photograph)

Near vision’s periphery, where mirrors
weave cohesiveness, crisscross atop

the cusp of afternoon, slide over the slates,
sands, and russets of rocks, reality shifts

on a canvas of silt and echoes speak to the girl
dipped in liquid light. Sun’s handiwork

sweeps its reflective brush and clarity’s
shimmers dissolve time’s second hand,

when the girl becomes Earth cradling water
and Mother washes dishes, dips her hands

into liquid light, paints reflections, brushes
clarity on Earth’s unmarked canvas, where

crisscrosses caught verity’s periphery just
on the cusp of time.

Jeannie E Roberts lives in an inspiring rural setting near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where she writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. Her fourth book, Romp and Ceremony, a full-length poetry collection, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Jeannie is also the author of Beyond Bulrush, a full-length poetry collection (Lit Fest Press, 2015), Nature of it All, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and the author and illustrator of Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book (2009). Learn more about this poet at


The Stable

The thin rod of metal twisted into a handle
swings loosely in my grip as the lamp’s yellow
makes reachable lines in the dark yard.

The stable door is ajar, her own light like a firefly
gives away her movement; I’m glad to find her.
I lift the latch and secure the door behind me.

Having heard me she has gone and hid, her lamp
extinguished, hung on a nail above two tin buckets,
coaxing and teasing me in its quiet slowing sway.

“Carol, Carol” I call, laughing as my voice echoes,
I hear a pigeon in the rafters flutter and a rat
in the corner scuttle as if they are in on the act.

Only one horse is in here now, an obedient mare
that only stirs as I step past her stall, I scratch behind
her ear, her hair needs to be brushed, Carol usually does this.

I often watch her without her knowing, she smiles
and talks to the horses as she pulls the brush through
tangles making them one flowing mane of hair.

I search the other stalls, knock horseshoes off hooks,
they clatter loudly in my good ear. She isn’t here
perhaps slipping out when I was distracted.

I pass the light over my wrist to check my watch,
see now the wrinkled forearm, liver spotted
with a sparse grey down and look back at the house,

the kitchen lights are off, I remember now
where she has gone.

Glen Wilson lives in Portadown, Co Armagh (Northern Ireland) with his wife Rhonda and children Sian and Cain. He has been widely published, having work in The Honest UlstermanFoliate OakIotaBoyne BerriesA New Ulster, and The Interpreters House, amongst others. In 2014 he won the Poetry Space competition and was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize.  His work also appeared in the Making Memories Anthology and he has work forthcoming in The Stony Thursday Book. He is currently working on his first collection of poetry.


Sand and Waves

Evanescent as light on wave,
evanescent as wave spray,
the wave line comes and goes –
processional, recessional.

Phosphorescent waves at night
spray rocks, cliffs.
Wave sound captures and pulls,
eternal here – day, night, dreams.

Sand pours through your fingers,
dancing on the sand like Zorba,
initials written in the sand
by anonymous fingers.

Waves come in.  Waves erase.
We continue.  Our footprints follow,
evanescent as light on waves,
evanescent as wave spray.

Greg Gregory retired after a 30-year career in educational media.  His first love has always been language and the printed word.  He has been published in the US, Canada, and Great Britain in publications including California QuarterlyWindsor ReviewIbbetson Street PressAvocet, and The Aurorean.  He currently lives and writes in Sacramento, California with his wonderful wife, Rita, and enjoys the seasonal changes in the bird-rich marshes and rice fields near him.



I pulse harmonics
octaves sound within me.
Ah, this mathematical perfection
in the balance
the intervals
the way my belly sounds
the bass.

Barbara Ruth writes at the convergence of magic and grit, Potowatomee and Jewish, fat and yogi, disabled and neurodivergent. She has performed her original work with Mother Tongue and Wry Crips Readers’ Theaters, taught in California Poets In the Schools, co-conspired with DYKETACTICS! and blogged at NeuroQueer. She writes autobiographical fiction, lesbian feminist theory, and memoir, and is a poet laureate of Fabled Asp. She is 69 and lives in San Jose, CA. Sun in Cancer, Moon in Gemini, Taurus Rising. Your typical Buddhist Animist Sufi Jew, with Hindu influences. You know the type.


pair with Kai Coggin poem

(artist credit: Devi Laskar)

Third Person

I was born cut out of the abdomen of a star,
dropped from the Heavens into chaos and form,
sky stitched up with lace to lay me down into this body,
undercurrent of becoming fire,
growing up into beacon,
filling out the empty skin of a torch.

I climb the stacked rungs of my spine,
porcelain teacup tower,
hand over hand ladder to firmament,
footsteps to light, testament to breaking free,
I stand outside my skin,
hover over head, a halo of watching,
a ring of empathy circling around my body
waiting for the human soul to step out of the broken and sing,
to pick off the pieces of tattered promises and turn them into wings.

Do you know the silent science of disrobing,
detaching from what has built you from ground?
The moment you unrecognize mirrors,
it begins,
third person self,
omni-unpresent still, but pulling,
pulling up by golden thread,
lifting up out of body into open eyes,
into the cusp of blooming nebulae,
into stardust and atoms,
into that which doesn’t shatter
in the frequencies of knowing,
the vibrations of breakage and becoming whole,
this glowing eternal self from which you fall
all the way down to earth, to rise.

Kai Coggin is a poet and author living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs, AR. She holds a degree in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Split This RockYellow Chair ReviewLavender ReviewElephant JournalThe Bitchin’ KitschCliteratureITWOW[empath] quarterlyCatching Calliope, and other journals, as well as anthologized in several collections.  Kai is the author of Periscope Heart (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014).  She is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth. Learn more about this poet at:


Cone of Silence

As I started to walk, I became a cone of silence, sentience moving down a path and listening to the trees, each tree a speaking in syllables of rippling leaves and asserting a primal solidity.

As the cone swept its acceptance between arching trees, I saw the pristine life as birds and trees met in one singing organism. Holding silence tall and wide allowed me to join them.

The birds’ bright sounds incised the silence and made me rise to the surface of my senses, but I kept moving forward and gathered new folds of silk around me, smoothing my senses back into deep receptivity, like a shell into which water rushes in and out, endlessly emptying and refilling.

It’s possible to subside all inner noise into this sensitive openness that sees the origin of every being in its unique journey, ending in the moment as a ruffling finch on a branch, a pine’s reaching arms playing with the wind, a skater rolling by with a nod, houses on a hill, the crazy curling valley oaks between. It’s possible to be a cone of loving embrace, in each heartbeat holding all that exists.

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 ReviewBoulevardDrunken BoatPrairie SchoonerThe Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. She has recently completed a novel involving the great Baroque sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini.


Dave Smith PAIR w Jo Balistreri poem

(artist credit: David Seth Smith)

At Dawn

the world awakens
in mottled silver
grape juice glimmer beginning
to streak the horizon
Hundreds of sleeping egrets candle
the mangroves in ivory celebration
The air shifts ever so slightly
branches flutter
White-winged spirits
lift up a new day

Mary Jo Balistreri has two full-length 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 work in Parabola, Grist, The Hurricane Press, Plainsongs, The Avocet, Crab Creek Review, Quill and Parchment, Kentucky Review, Poetry East, The Homestead, and Blue Heron Review. Her poem, “Maybe,” was chosen for Poetry that Moves on North suburban PACE buses in Illinois this past year, and she continues to judge poetry for Arizona Writers. Recipient of many awards, Mary Jo also has nominations for Best of the Net (3) and The Pushcart Prize (6). She is associate editor of Tiger’s Eye Press and a founder of Grace River Poets, an outreach for women’s shelters, churches, and schools. Please visit her at


A Clear Day

Arched, white-cloud eyebrows,
the sun’s one Cyclops eye
gives the sky a look of astonishment
at seeing Earth so clearly after
days of veiled views.

All cataracts have been removed.
We of Earth, scattered across
the landscape, stare upward
with similarly startled expressions,
unused to seeing so much blue.

Mutual admiration fills the air —
fireworks of joy emanating
from the sun and from our faces
at this sudden expansion of

Beauty has found us. Squirrels
celebrate with feats of gymnastics
on rooftops and fences. Birds chirp
from bushes. Hearts leap to see
smiles on the faces of those we love.

How can we make this last? Can
we shellac every shining juniper,
each laugh? No, but we can absorb
them through our eyes, ears, skin.
We can remember them. We can!

A New York native, Georgia Ressmeyer has lived happily in Wisconsin since 1974, first as an attorney and now as a poet. She taught English at a women’s junior college in Japan, served as a staff attorney with legal services programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, worked as an organizer and legal consultant for a coalition of feminist groups in Milwaukee, and for 18 years was a staff and managing attorney with the Milwaukee Mental Health Division of the Wisconsin public defender’s office. Twice a winner of grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board, she has published fiction, numerous poems, and a poetry chapbook, Today I Threw My Watch Away (Finishing Line Press), which received a prize from the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.  Her full-length poetry collection, Waiting to Sail, was published by Black River Press in 2014.


pair w Karla Van Vliet

(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)

My Blessing

I call you my blessing and mean
my body is a prairie fire.

I call you my blessing and mean
you are a river and I am drowning.

I call you my blessing and mean
my body is a fragile bloom of iris petals.

I call you my blessing and mean
you are the rain and wind of the storm in me,

my body is a quivering leaf,

you are the sun shining brightness in my eye,

my body is covered in the graffiti of your passion.

I call you my blessing and mean
you are the fluency of tears cried from me.

I call you my blessing and mean
my body is burning with your love.

Karla Van Vliet holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a poet, artist, and Dreamwork analyst. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, Blue Heron Review, The Tishman Review, and Green Mountain Review, among other journals. Her most recent book, From the Book of Remembrance (Shanti Arts, 2015), is a collection of poems and paintings. She is the co-founder and editor of deLuge, a literary and arts journal and is the administrator of the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf, Middlebury College.


A Raven Flies Through Moonlight

Lately, I dread the sky lightening,
the black nothingness of furniture,
emerging outlines. I want the night
to go on forever, empty as willows
the deer have gone past. Tell me
you don’t have nights any light is
an intrusion, a burglar? Don’t tell
me you haven’t, even in a lover’s
arms, dreaded to leave the stasis
of lying together, listen to the
other’s heartbeat, breath. The old
story: we are alive.

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including 3 from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, Lifshin published her prize-winning book about the short-lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness.  Recent books include: Ballroom; All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead; All True, Especially The Lies; Light at the End: The Jesus Poems; Katrina; Mirrors; Persphone; Lost in the Fog; and Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ books published, A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also just out: For the Roses, poems inspired by Joni Mitchell, and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. Lifshin is also the author of Tangled as the Alphabet — The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet Press. Just released as well, Malala, and the dvd of the documentary film, Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: The Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press, Paintings and Poems from Tangerine Press, The Silk Road from NightBallet Press, and alivelikealoadedgun from Transcendent Zero Press.


pair w Ken Allan Dronsfield

(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)


a sunrise will ignite as
a wispy, darkened corner
of planet Earth awakens,
a warm blanket spreads
as the King of Light rises,
the unseen now revealed.

surging swift waters will
fill inland marshes and
salty tidal creeks as blue
crabs roam; shorebirds
scatter all about the sand
while seeking small meals.

to be chased from the edge
of Alabama’s rushing surf
by greedy pursuing waves
keeping Neptune’s coveted
treasures of the deep safely
stashed from view forever.

I’ll awaken to chirping birds,
flying past my sunlit window.
the teapot will sing a sonnet
announcing this new day of
circumstance; my praise be
but an alluring whisper here.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet, author, and digital artist originally from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. He enjoys writing, hiking, playing guitar, and spending time with his cats, Merlin and Willa. He has been published in numerous magazines, journals, and blogs, both online and in print.


Bobbie L photo for poem

(artist credit: Bobbie Lovell)

Prayer at a Cliff’s Edge

Let me live like this tenacious tree.
Let me rise from the earth
like a skeletal hand from the grave,
reach boldly over the edge

for the sun, the stars,
the tantalizing unknown.
And when I grasp nothing but air,
let that be something. Let that be enough.

Let me flourish in hostile places,
my roots shallow, yet secure,
my surface scorched and scarred,
my soul no worse for the wear.

And if I can’t have peace,
then let me have purpose.

Let the wind whistle and moan
the song of my shape. Let me be refuge
and music. Let my leaves whisper
summer love, then rattle frosty rhythms

until they’re stripped away. Even then,
let me hold my ground, frozen in time
like a Boccioni bronze, resolved to bud
on the breath of spring, again and again.

Wisconsinite Bobbie Lovell studied visual art, and her career is based in graphic design and print production. A Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Verse-Virtual, Star*Line, and elsewhere. Bobbie participates in a workshop group and has given readings in Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh. Her hiking shoes and camera get much use, often simultaneously. Her website is



I had this notion I could change them.
I was three.  Had in mind
something luscious like a peony.
Went outside with paints and crayons.
But nothing sticks to a dandelion.

Made a cloak from a turquoise beach towel.
I was six. There might be castles
in the alley way.

I kept a journal. I’d turned thirteen.
Mostly wrote about little things –
like the sound of rain in the downspout,
or how big an empty notebook feels.

I studied literature in college.
Ontology was a marvelous word.
I studied literature in grad school.
Semiotic, dialectic.

I fell in love.
She was a banker.
She collected art.
She wore flamingo lipstick
and drove a jaguar.
We both swam laps,
and she’d talk with me
on the way to our cars.
She had soft, plump arms.
I was forty.

Dandelions have a way
of pushing forth.
Some days I’d wait
for her outside
and notice how they blossomed
in this crack across the pavement –
fuzzy gold and full of vim.

Ying Wu is an active member of the literary community in San Diego County.  Her creative work has been featured in Poetry in Motion, Teacup Magazine, and The Poetry Superhighway.  She is a recipient of a fellowship from the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts, and is working on her first book.


pair w Mike Orlock

(artist credit: Devi Laskar)

The Tree

The tree that stands
steady as a sentry
in front of my house
was planted there
long before I took
root in this place.

It is a maple of a kind
common but distinct
that in summer
opens an umbrella
of shade so soothing
passing strangers pause
to linger for a breath
before stepping out
from under the shadow
of its canopy to brave
the broiling sun
beating down
from overhead.

In winter its branches
dip like fingers
into pools of gray sky
or use the sun like ink
to draw intricate lines
of shadow on snow
marking place maps
for the family of squirrels
who traipse its heights
and traverse its widths
in the daily act of doing.

I like to watch this tree
from my porch or yard,
from my window or walk,
watch it all
summer, winter,
spring, fall,
not in the way we watch TV
or a spider climb a wall,
but in quiet ways
of sideways thinking,
when we don’t even know
what we’re watching or why
but it seems like something
suddenly makes sense.

I have traveled the world
in circles and lines
between points on a map,
looking to intersect myself.
I have driven drunk
with time, through space,
just to get here, it seems,
to this one place
on the thumb of Wisconsin,
where this one tree
sticking like a sliver
from the skin of my land
has stood waiting for me
to catch up to it
doing something
I haven’t come close to doing
in my restless quest
to do everything
before nothing
no longer matters.

A simple thing
not so simple
for a simple man to do:
accept what is given,
endure what is done,

Mike Orlock is a retired high school teacher and coach who splits his time between Illinois and Sturgeon Bay. He enjoys travel, reading, writing, films, and spending time with his two children and four grandchildren. From 1989 to 2001, he wrote film reviews for the Reporter-Progress newspapers in suburban Chicago and was a contributing member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. His short fiction has appeared in TriQuarterly, the literary journal of Northwestern University, and Another Chicago Magazine. He has twice been honored with Illinois Arts Council Awards for his short stories. His poetry has appeared online on Your Daily Poem, in the WFOP yearly calendars, Verse Wisconsin, the Los Angeles Times, the Peninsula Pulse, and various other venues. In 2014 he won the Wisconsin Writers Association “Jade Ring” award in the Free Verse category. He is a member of the Unabridged poetry group in Door County. He describes his poetry as “light verse with a twist of irony.”


The View From High Head
(Truro, MA)

A short walk over the rutted path
ivory with crushed shells,
we stand at the edge
of the high dune…late afternoon,
oh moment most serene!

Aeolian zephyrs from the west
promise fair tomorrow, play
evening vespers on lanky cat-o-nine tails
and reedy beach grass, shield
to the precipice at our feet.

Far below, the surf, rhythmic as eternity,
thrums the ripples of the tenuous shoreline
as the Outer Cape stretches a curved fingertip,
beckons us toward land’s end. Come here…
come here! Listen!

A balloon of orange-red, the sun,
falls fast, pierced by cirrus arrows
unable to explode it, able only
to refract the full palette of nature’s hues
in the deepening dusk.

Krikor Der Hohannesian lives in Medford, MA. His poems have been thrice-nominated for a Pushcart prize and have appeared in many literary journals including, The Evansville Review, The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Louisiana Literature, Connecticut Review, Natural Bridge and Comstock Review. He is the author of two chapbooks, Ghosts and Whispers (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Refuge in the Shadows (Cervena Barva Press, 2013).  Ghosts and Whispers was a finalist for the Mass Book awards poetry category in 2011.


Walking Woman
(Giacometti, Bronze, cast 1966, Tate Modern)

Beautiful woman, slender ebony,
thin and graceful in the motion of walking,

a needle of light lives in you. You are
the smooth cool of an unhurried river,

a samba slow progression. You have walked
out of years of hard labor, low wages, loss.

You can bear any burden on your slim

Paula Schulz recently placed in the WFOP and the Bo Carter poetry contests. She has poetry forthcoming in Diane Lockward’s, The Crafty Poet II, will attend a workshop with Max Garland this summer, and lives with her husband, Greg, in Slinger, Wisconsin.


pair w Erin Slaughter

(artist credit: Devi Laskar)

Moonlight Bay, 1915

Hear the bells, kitten heels
on a dusty mustard carpet,
the muffled joy of bare feet
and sangria-stained mouth. Dance
while we are bodies. Dance while we are heat
and holy flesh. Through the open window,
lavender breeze wraps the room in summer honey.
We do not know the very air is falling in love with us.
We do not know we are all falling in love
with each other, with each revolution
of the record. Dance for the radio static
where our souls go after dirt, after wood and worms,
after afterwards. The voices will be there to welcome us,
huddled in harmony, singing ardently
of moonlight.

Erin Slaughter has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. She is currently an MFA student at Western Kentucky University, where she works as the graduate assistant for Steel Toe Books. She is the head editor of Lavender Bluegrass: LGBT Writers on the South, an anthology forthcoming from KY Story in 2016. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction has been published in The North Texas ReviewBoxcar Poetry Review, Off the Coast, GRAVEL, and 101 Words, among others. She dreams of the coast, but currently lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with a cat named Amelia.


Making the Bed

She said, How long have I been sleeping?
and Why do I feel so old?  –Sarah McLachlan

Making the bed was a simple study
in Before and After. Unkempt, the bed
was a symbol for chaos, while fixing its
loose ends with a flat hand lent
a sense of controlling the uncontrollable
(What could be easier?). Downstairs
within the confines of a twenty-inch screen,
dinosaurs again roared for blood in
a cinematic reality that her son could not get
enough of, thanks to the scientist who had
pulled the DNA from amber-encased mosquitos
who had last dined on the giants. But, today, she
needed no reminder that the universe was contained
within infinite microcosms. Even the comforter
spoke of union and decay, gray hairs of her
husband twined into the fabric next to her longer
strands as surely as—if the technology existed—
filaments of their dreams could be extracted
from the pillows, revealing wishes each had
meant to keep private, the divine stamped
into each mortal atom—mere dust of the created,
a portal for the creator.

Taking the stairs, she grips the railing
when an inner reeling sends her back to
the made bed where she lies, undoing her work.
Not that the world would stop spinning
but that her awareness of it might.

Rita Anderson has an MFA Poetry and was poetry editor of the literary journal at University of New Orleans. Her debut chapbook, The Entropy of Rocketman, is published with Finishing Line Press (2016). Rita won the Houston Poetry Festival, the Gerreighty Prize, the Robert F. Gibbons Poetry Award, the Cheyney Award, and an award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have been published in Spoon River Poetry Review, EVENT Magazine (British Columbia), Ellipsis, The Longleaf Pine (Midwood Press), DLC Literary Journal, Cahoodaloodaling, The Blueshift Journal, Blotterature, Words Work, Transcendence, PHIction, Persona (50th Anniversary Edition), The Artful Mind, Di-Verse-City: An Austin Poetry Anthology, Inflight Magazine (Paper Plane Pilots Publishing), The Stardust Gazette, METAPHOR magazine, and Explorations (University of Alaska Press). Contact Rita through her website at


Spring Rain

Thunder Claps
Lightening Cracks
Sky Opens
Rain Drops
Trees Bend
Leaves Sing
Wind Whistles
God Whispers
Nothing to fear!
I’m near,
just washing the sky
that’s all.

June G Paul has lived in Wisconsin her entire life.  She’s a small town girl with a big heart.  She and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren.  June has recovered from a stroke.  During that time June joined two local writing groups and found that writing contributed to her healing in a huge way.  June found writing helped her to focus on things outside of herself, she regained memories and found strength in her faith and family and by observing closely the natural world around the small town where she lives. She is the author of two books: Praying Our Way Through Stress: Drawing Wisdom from the Lord’s Life and Prayer and A Stable Birth: A Story About the Birth of Jesus Christ.  She is currently working on several writing projects. June holds an MA Religious Studies.


Where You Come From

Where you come from,
the farm.

Where the work makes you
and makes you again.

Where the dark wraps you
on a fall evening

and the roar of the corn dryer
reaches the stars.

Where the flecks of fire lift
like a wolf’s eyes

and your heart goes to God.

Tom Montag is most recently the author of, In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. He is a contributing writer at Verse-Virtual. In 2015 he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August) and at year’s end received Pushcart Prize nominations from Provo Canyon Review and Blue Heron Review. Other poems will be found at Hamilton Stone Review, The Homestead Review, Little Patuxent Review, Mud Season Review, Poetry Quarterly, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere.


Nimbus: Day 14,039

The shape of seraphs, but ash-colored,
reclining on their rounded bellies,
arms outstretched, trumpets at their lips,
their music silent, low to the ground,

chubby toes skimming the spires of pines,
billowing shadows like umbrellas,
a gaggle riding the April breeze,
blocking the puny sun with their fat heads,

none of the other pedestrians
take notice of the heavens, how
the curls unravel now at the ears,
tendrils at the temples sheared,
spiraling into shards, their bodies
blossoming into a simple rain.

Devi S Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, N.C. She holds a B.A. in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; an M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University in New York. Ms. Laskar is a photographer and poet – and a former crime and government newspaper reporter. Her poems have been published in such periodicals as Blue Heron Review, The Squaw Valley Review, The Tule Review, and The North American Review, where her poems were finalists for the James Hearst Prize in 2011 and 2009. She served as a poet for the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in December 2015. She now lives in California.


Small Prayer

And then there was a hummingbird,
aqua breast and grey wings,
without a sky to fly in.

But there was a rose tightly closed,
which teased its tongue; its beak,
creased from years of use,
unable to bend just right.

And I prayed for this bird.
Prayed the rose would open
just a few days sooner,
expose its nectar
like a woman
separating her lips just right—
one could only wish to kiss
even before she speaks.

Kathrine Yets lives in West Allis, WI and works as a night shift librarian, who hides behind her desk reading and writing poetry. Kathrine’s work has appeared in various literary journals, including River & South Review, Straylight, and The Windy Hill Review.


Dragonfly pair w Jean Biegun

(artist credit: Sarah Woodworth)


always at the mountain
how love happens
when love happens

I push the sky
toward higher graces
trade silent silky inroads
for constellations of new sound

My husband sits
like a mountain
solid centered

Fluttering and often formless
as the wispy asteroid
often as this
I sputter around

Him and he clean surface
styles me down
to our brave earth
grounds my salt swirl
my straying crash
into glory space

Holds me
calls me back
so safely I
may rise again to dream
the needed tomorrows

Jean Biegun has had poems in After Hours: A Journal of Chicago Writing and Art, Mobius: The Poetry Magazine, Fox Cry Review, Goose River Anthology, Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, Verse Wisconsin, Mused: Bella Online Literary Review, Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, and other places.  She is the author of the chapbook, Waking up at Woodland Dunes, compiled poems she had written for Woodland Dunes Nature Center in Two Rivers, where she volunteered as a teacher-naturalist for several years.  She is retired in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.



One long window, two
cells of sky,
a film reel paused

on static blue
and tree top tips —
black tail feathers quiver.

It is the only movement
in this
anxious, waiting room

Watching the
framed universe,

it appears more still-life
than moving picture.

The voice-over
reminds me:

“When you feel
like you’ve done it all but can’t
move forward
it is because
the whole universe
is moving around you
to make things ready.”

Skye Marzo grew up in Tucson, Arizona and now resides in Los Angeles where she studies Creative Writing.  Skye is a professional wedding cake decorator who enjoys cooking with rose water and making her own vanilla extract.  She hopes to capture the sweetness of life through the mediums of words and sugar.  Her writing has appeared in Enchanted ConversationOnCourse, and Faerie Magick Zine.


Sun Grass_Rehfeldt pair with hillsong poem

(artist credit: Sarah Rehfeldt)


the distance,
lending softness to the night –
it spreads even,
catching green and darkness –
bright burning in the fields beneath us

stem – scatter – spark – sky –

everywhere the light
gold shook from branches,
everywhere the grasses
coming up with fire

Sarah Rehfeldt lives with her family in western Washington, where she is a writer, artist, and photographer.  Her poems have appeared in Appalachia, Weber – The Contemporary West, Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, and Kaleidoscope.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry.  Sarah is the author of, Somewhere South of Pegasus, a collection of image poems.  It can be purchased through her photography web pages at:


Lifting a Sunbeam

When you have spent all your life
in darkness
the thickness of a sunbeam
slowly creeping across the floor
can be as heavy
as Atlas shouldering the world
or as light as the pages
of a book of dreams.

James P Roberts has been a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets since time began (or so it seems).  He writes poetry, fantasy and science fiction, literary biography, baseball history, and about the natural world.  Living in Madison (Wisconsin), James is a familiar face at area literary events. He also performs on a variety of exotic musical instruments at local open mics, where he is known as “The Captain.”  His current passion is women’s flat-track roller derby.


Sunflowers After a Storm

Heads bowed in mourning, the big faces
can’t countenance what’s been flung down
hard and relentless from sky.

Hair neglected, garments muddied,
torn, they stand among the litter,
lacking only black shawls to keen.

But goldfinches hide
in the ripped wide-hearted leaves.
Yellow-black, yellow-black

birds chatter and rise
to the seed-heavy heads.

The coronas crack open and fly.

Hayden Saunier is the author of, Tips for Domestic Travel, Say Luck, which won the 2013 Gell Poetry Prize, and Field Trip to the Underworld, winner of the Keystone Chapbook Award. Her poetry has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, and the Robert Fraser Award.  She has been published in a wide variety of journals including, 5 a.m., Bellevue Literary Review, Drunken Boat, Smartish Pace, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tar River Review, and Verse Daily, among others. She holds an M.F.A. from the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


Clear Night Over Treadwell Bay

A couple of hundred miles up the coast
two weeks into a summer of cruising
we end our day of fishing with a movie.
But the shouting and shooting carve sharp
initials into the tree-deep silence here,
so I step outside, right onto the glittering
dance floor of an olive-black sky
on a clear, good night. My mind whirls,

words falling far away, then my fears,
then even the best of the best in me, all
dwarfed by this lavish sprinkling of stars:
confetti of the gods, tossed long ago upon
a lifted veil—marrying me now to the
faintest glimmer of worlds beyond ours.
I gaze, it seems forever, a moth burning
to remember a dream wings can’t forget.

Lynne Burnett lives in West Vancouver, B.C. with her husband. Publications include North Shore Magazine, CV2, Geist, The Pedestal Magazine, Malahat Review, Calyx, Modern Haiku, Pandora’s Collective, New Millennium Writings, and Tamsen. Poems are forthcoming in Taos Journal of Poetry, IthacaLit, and a Tupelo Press chapbook anthology. In 2011 she was shortlisted for both Arc’s Poem of the Year and the Bridport Prize; in 2012 for both the New Letters Poem of the Year and the Bridport Prize, and also placed in several contests. She has self-published one chapbook, Stealing Eternity.


pair w Patricia Williams

(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)

Warm Weather Ramble

Gaunt-faced trees,
old stalwarts cloaked in new glitter,
survive time and icy weather.
A swelling seedpod,
scented jewel box protecting creamy pearls,
emancipates its treasure.

Traveling water
bubbles over mossy rocks, velvet emeralds,
murmurs a warm melody.
Passion-filled butterflies, frenzied
by plum-scent, befuddled by brilliance,
cartwheel in the breeze.

I stagger along, abandon care,
intoxicated by splendor.
It will not last forever.

Patricia Williams, professor emerita, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, retired after teaching art and design for 35 years, and began writing poetry. Art, design and poetry, she feels, are natural partners, their work being the creative examination of life and living. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in online and print journals and anthologies in the U.S. and U.K. including Blue Heron, Plum Tree Tavern, Silver Blade, Your Daily Poem, Poetry Quarterly, Stoneboat, Fox Cry, Red Booth, Third Wednesday, Negative Capability Anthology, Midwest Prairie Review, among others, and was nominated for a 2014 Best of the Net Award. She belongs to the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.


One Summer at Seneca Creek

Out of the bindweed,
the fox pup emerges
to grab my Frisbee.

This field is the graveyard
of discs: not just lime green
but also red, white, and orange.

No thought-fox, the pup
appears in mid-afternoon,
hours before the park closes.

He is too young to hide from
or fear humans, but
then his mother arrives

to escort him back
into the bindweed,
the edge of the forest

where trios and quartets
of deer browse and
no one sees humans.

Marianne Szlyk is a professor at Montgomery College and the editor of The Song Is…  Recently, she published her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, with Flutter Press.  Her first (Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven) is available for free here:   Her poems have appeared in Long Exposure, Poppy Road Review, Of/with, bird’s thumb, Cacti Fur, Five2One Magazine’s #thesideshow, Contemporary American Voices, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocaine, Silver Birch Press, and other online and print venues including, Kind of a Hurricane Press’ anthologies.  She hopes that you will stop by The Song Is… at


There Was This Original Me

The original me
on a September morning
pushed my feet
into red rain boots
each with a single red button.
I opened my new umbrella
for the long walk to school,
alone and complete in the cold
pelt of raindrops.
Gray rivers gushed along gutters
I navigated.

A thin silver stem
rose from the hooked handle
to unfold into a complicated
metal frame, delicate
and elegant as an Eiffel Tower
I could hold in one hand.
A silken dome
stretched wide as the sky overhead.
Its opulent color
drenched down and around me,
backlit by gossamer sun

I had chosen the design
at a store
with my mother.
We opened it once
in sacred ceremony
on a glaring August day.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Sylvia Cavanaugh has an M.S. in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin.  She currently teaches high school African and Asian cultural studies and advises break dancers and poets. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in An Ariel Anthology: transformational poetry & art, Gyroscope Review, The Journal of Creative Geography, Midwest Prairie Review, Stoneboat Literary Journal, Verse-Wisconsin, and elsewhere.  She is a contributing editor for Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry. Her chapbook, Staring Through My Eyes, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016.


pair w Laurel Devitt

(artist credit: Holly Kallie)

Huck Finn Apprentice

Most days, grounded by duty and a weighty bookbag,
the polite red-headed boy smiles and passes.
But it’s Saturday and today he’s the floating
red-headed boy levitating ten inches above the sidewalk.
He’s buoyed by the sunlight, the lightweight fishing rod
bobbing on his shoulder and the wild river down the street
smelling of fish and bubbling through his head like a song.

Laurel Devitt lives and writes in God’s Country, La Crosse, WI, where there is much inspiration lying between the bluffs and the three rivers. She won prizes for poems in the Lorine Niedecker contest (sponsored by UW-La Crosse and the public library) and the Mark My Words…Again contest (sponsored by The Pump House).  Most recently her poems appear in WFOP’s Museletter and 2016 and 2017 calendars.


Not My Mother’s Daughter

I am, say, ten when they open the Northside pool.
I smell chlorine, hear the clink of keys and rattle
of baskets handed out with towels, the slap of feet
on slippery concrete before the rush of a warm shower.

Then the pool, a vast flat water-bed hiding depths
as bodies became buoyant.  Jump in at once or go slow?
Slide in the shallow end or sit on the rough steps and go
down, down, one at a time, until water reaches chin?

I can still hear shouts and splashes, the quiet whoosh
when a slim swimmer knifed into the water,
the diving board bounce-bounce-bouncing behind her.

Did I ever get beyond beginning swim?  Doubtful.
Too nearsighted to see what I was supposed to do,
I flailed, water in my nose and ears.

I can still feel my underwater fear – or was it Mother’s
fear of drowning, so strong she could not tolerate
water from a shower on her face.

I am ten.  It is a sunny summer day.  As I get close
to the pool, the sounds and smells excite me.
I climb up the ladder, walk to the end of the board
spring up on my toes.  Once.  Twice.  Then I jump up
fold over, stretch fingers towards a rippling future
toes following wherever I want to go.

Mary C Rowin’s poems have been published by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry, StoneboatSolitary PloverMariposaZo Magazine, Blue Heron Review, Postcard Poems and Prose, and by the Science Fiction Poetry Association.  Mary’s work has appeared in several anthologies, including An Ariel Anthology: transformational poetry & art.  Mary lives in Middleton, WI and blogs at


(East Cliff Drive – Santa Cruz)

Overlooking The Hook,
I look towards
the split rail fence
the cliff falls away to
cerulean blue ocean,

a clear sky day, as surfers
ride out their dreams.
Sitting on a bench above,
I rest back on a plate
bearing a name,
wonder who she was.

Dedicated to a woman surfer,
a young one from the dates
of her span, I read,
See you on the flip side,
ride out in peace.

One young woman
inscribes the waves.
Go, girl, I whisper as she
cuts back again and again.

Shifting my focus, gray letters
on the split-rail emerge
from gray-brown wood.
Someone tagged,
I’m proud of you.

No street name,
no stylized letters, just
a generous wish to anyone
who needs a lift.

I want to etch back,
…this is how
we get through.

instead I whisper, “Wow, thanks!
me too … you, whoever
you are.” As
another surfer carves
their legacy.

Robin White Turtle Lysne, M.A., M.F.A., Ph.D is the author of five books, an artist and energy healer. Recent books are Heart Path Handbook: An Energy Medicine Guide for Therapists and Healers (Blue Bone Books, 2014), and Poems for the Lost Deer, (Blue Bone Books, 2015). Her poems and reviews have been published in: Rattle, Phren-z Online Magazine, Samizdat, Awakening Consciousness Magazine, The Weekly Avocet, North American Review, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, Tree Stories, Beneath the Sleeping Maiden, Korone (Volumes VIII, IX, X), and Wounded Healers (Wounded Healers Press, Bolinas, Ca., Rachel Remen, M.D., editor.) A member of Emerald Street Poets in Santa Cruz, she has an M.F.A.-Poetry, Mills College (2012), and Ph.D.- Energy Medicine, University of Natural Medicine, Santa Fe, (2013). Other published book titles are: Sacred Living (Conari Press), and Dancing Up The Moon (Conari Press). She is also a professional medium and energy healer with 25 years of experience around the San Francisco Bay Area, and across the country by phone. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA.


pair with Judy Wucherer

(artist credit: Fiona Capuano)

shaken and stirred
summer sensations ignite
blame it on the moon

Judy Wucherer’s work has appeared in Blue Heron Review, Verse Wisconsin, Echoes Poetry Journal, The Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry (online and print), the Pewaukee Area Arts Council project, One Vision: A Fusion of Art and Poetry, and WI Fellowship of Poets’ Museletters and Calendars. She is a life-long resident of Wisconsin, though her muse is often elsewhere.

Dave Smith END PHOTO

(artist credit: David Seth Smith)


LEILANI CARROLL (Cover artist for BHR Summer 2016) has had an appreciation for all things “nature” for as long as she can remember, but birds of all species are her passion. Leilani is a retired RN who has adapted her photography around the limitations of living many years with young onset Parkinson’s Disease, which is now very advanced. Despite her disability, she thinks “outside the box” to find ways to capture many of her images. Always using the opportunity to give credit to our Creator for the beauty that can be found in everyday life.  Leilani lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Gary, with the good fortune to have a small lake in back and a neighborhood that adjoins a 10,000-acre State Park. She is delighted when any of her photos can spotlight “Alabama the beautiful” and the treasures it holds for those who look, listen, and linger.

JEN HERRO is a watercolor artist who lives in the Lake Country area near North Lake, WI. She has been painting professionally for more than 15 years, contracting to paint pet and house portraits from photographs. Experiences as an avid perennial gardener and lover of nature add depth and beauty to the paintings of her garden, butterflies, and songbird feathers. She has loved watching birds from a very young age. As a watercolorist, she enjoys capturing the likeness of feathers discovered, as she wanders her property and beyond. You can see Jen Herro’s work at: This Great Coffee Place in Hartland, WI and Lake Country Oral Surgery in Pewaukee,WI.

FIONA CAPUANO (Featured photographer for BHR Summer 2016) was born in Istanbul and raised in New York City. Fiona has an MFA in Fiction Writing from The New School and a BA in Clinical Psychology, Art History, and Creative Writing from NYU. She loves photographing birds that fly to her windows. She has a genuine spiritual connection with Nature. Her Nature photos are on display in permanent collections in Village Hall and Ridgewood High School, and have been awarded by the Ridgewood Arts Council (2016). Fiona’s New York City architecture photographs are in print (It Happened in Manhattan, Penguin Putnam, 2001). She shares her latest photos on Facebook and Instagram. Fiona is also a surrealist painter. She sells paintings in New York art shows. Her paintings appeared as the set for a play about the effect of bipolar disorder on a family, Next to Normal (Porchlight Productions, June 2014). She teaches kids through art and poetry workshops. Fiona is a poet and gives poetry readings in New York. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, and a dog. Find her art and poetry at:

SHARON AUBERLE is a photo artist who enhances her pieces through various digital and/or physical applications – hand tinting, watercolor, colored pencil and beeswax, among others. Her work has been featured in solo exhibits in Door County and Madison, Wisconsin; and juried exhibits in Wisconsin and Arizona, as well as in on-line magazines. She is the winner of the 2015 Bonnie Hartman Award for Outstanding Creativity in the Miller’s Art Museum’s 40th Juried Annual Exhibition. Auberle’s photo-art may be found in two of her books which feature poetry and photos combined: Crow Ink and EVErywoman; as well as Wind Where Music Was with poet Ralph Murre. She has also partnered with poet Jeanie Tomasko in a book titled, Sharp As Want, as well as a collection, with Tomasko, of art postcards. A sampling of her work may be found on her website, Mimi’s Golightly Cafe at:

JEANNIE E ROBERTS lives in an inspiring rural setting near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, where she writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. Her fourth book, Romp and Ceremony, a full-length poetry collection, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Jeannie is also the author of Beyond Bulrush, a full-length poetry collection (Lit Fest Press, 2015), Nature of it All, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and the author and illustrator of Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book (2009). Learn more about this poet at

DEVI LASKAR is a native of Chapel Hill, N.C. She holds a B.A. in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; an M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University in New York. Ms. Laskar is a photographer and poet – and a former crime and government newspaper reporter. Her poems have been published in such periodicals as The Blue Heron Review, The Squaw Valley Review, The Tule Review, and The North American Review, where her poems were finalists for the James Hearst Prize in 2011 and 2009. She served as a poet for the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in December 2015. She now lives in California.

DAVID SETH SMITH is co-editor and resident poet/artist at and is currently active as a photographer/artist in the Anderson, South Carolina area.

Wisconsinite BOBBIE LOVELL studied visual art, and her career is based in graphic design and print production. A Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Verse-Virtual, Star*Line and elsewhere. Bobbie participates in a workshop group and has given readings in Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh. Her hiking shoes and camera get much use, often simultaneously. Her website is

SARAH WOODWORTH is an incoming senior at Albright College where she studies environmental studies, psychology, and photography. She attributes her passion for photography to her mother’s (wonderful) picture taking obsession. She has been fortunate to have traveled extensively on multiple cross-country family trips. The striking wilderness that remains in this country, along with the forested magnificence of her tiny hometown of Hope, NJ, provide much of the inspiration for her photographic work. She is unsure of what type of occupation she would like to pursue after graduation but knows that regardless of where the diversity of her studies coupled with the unknowns of life take her, photography will always remain an important part of her life.

SARAH REHFELDT lives with her family in western Washington, where she is a writer, artist, and photographer.  Her poems have appeared in Appalachia, Weber – The Contemporary West, Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, and Kaleidoscope.  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart prize in poetry.  Sarah is the author of, Somewhere South of Pegasus, a collection of image poems.  It can be purchased through her photography web pages at:

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:

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