Taylor Graham, Kristen Sund, Greg Braquet, Lana Hechtman Ayers, Aaron Engle

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Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and also helps her husband (a retired wildlife biologist) with his field projects. Her poems have appeared in Free Lunch, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry International, and elsewhere. Her latest book, The Downstairs Dance Floor (Texas Review Press, 2006), is winner of the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize.


If The Ring Cycle requires so much concentration, shall we just stay home and listen to the dishwasher? All that tragedy in leitmotiv, the baked-on crust, a son of incest with his broken sword, you’ll never manage to get it sparkling, no matter how the orchestra builds to a tiding great crescendo. And when it’s done, the whole cycle starts all over with tomorrow’s breakfast dishes. Just listen how the Kenmore hums in Normal Wash mode. At the end what have we rinsed clean and drained and left to dry?

Kristen Sund an English major at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, has been published in Excelsior, Teen Ink, and The Reader. She is the poetry editor for Hampshire College’s literary magazine. She works as a graphic designer.


    I like to picture you forgetting to wash behind your knees, your two-hundred-and-fifty- pound football player’s body all cramped up soapy in the shower and forgetting just that little bit of skin.
    I imagine you washing behind your ears and in between your toes and I wonderwhy you forget only that spot.
    I like that you call my pumice stone a scrubbing brick, to make it sound manlier. And I like how you use it on your whole body and not just under your
feet. You come out and say, look how smooth I am honey.
    My towel barley fits around your waist. A year later you are still shy about getting changed in front of me, so you squiggle around, trying to hold the towel while you pull on your green and white boxers that remind me of Ireland each time.


Greg Braquet exists in New Orleans, but like most poets lives in a world of his own schmoosing.  His poetry has appeared in The New Laurel Review, THEMA, Red River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, The Exquisite Corpse, Mannequin Envy, Zygote In My Coffee and The Melic Review. He recently placed second in the 2006 Rock River Times Poetry Contest and also placed third in the 2005 Eugene Walter Writers Festival.  He and was a recipient of the Delirium Journal’s 2003 Choice Award.



Formaldehyde’s aromatherapy, the phosphorescence of decay, a maggot’smassage rich in oozing undulation, the snarled upper lip: last of the last chanceskin giving the Spartan skull some desperately needed personality…

A spouse in its third year of marriage to the mud can sell you on all the above and leave you rooting (Rotting?) for the idea of better halves, the atrophy of better days gone by.  Listen to the spiel, and you will find yourself on a first name bases with the coffin’s satin innards, gliding your hands through the underwear drawer.

I know these things well, like sleep walking in the shadow waltz of three wedding cake candles: Suffered. Died. And Was Buried.  I want to blow them out, but my parted lips now wed to bone tend to loose their breath, like vows on a headstone.

Lana Hechtman Ayers, originally from Queens, New York, now resides in Kirkland, WA where she is a manuscript consultant, publishes the Concrete Wolf Poetry Chapbook Series, and runs writing workshops.  A Pushcart nominee, she has been awarded honors in the "Discovery" / The Nation Prize and the Rita Dove Poetry Competition.  Her poems appear in literary presses such as The Bitter Oleander, Feminist Studies Quarterly, Cider Press Review Rhino, and Natural Bridge.  She holds an MFA in Poetry from New England College.  Her first chapbook, Love is a Weed, was published by Finishing Line Press, and her first book, Dance From Inside My Bones, won the 2006 Violet Reed Haas Award, and both are available from her website, http://LanaAyers.com and Amazon.

Mom's eyes were red from Comet fumes, a cigarette growing from the corner of her mouth, Dad's armpit-stained tee-shirt wadded up in a puddle on the floor by her bare feet. The portable radio was playing, Bing Crosby canarying about love, and she was crouched down, scrubbing the inside of the refrigerator, its former contents overflowing the trash can.  I asked her what she was doing, "Taking advantage of the blackout," she said, cigarette bobbing, ash dropping to the yellow linoleum.  I noticed an ice cream carton leaking a pool of mint chip and asked for it.  She nodded and I sat cross-legged, scooping it out with my index and middle fingers, licking my sticky hands, licking the card board container.  We were quiet.  Life felt good right at that moment, like any bad thing could be turned into a feast or an opportunity to make things shine again.
I didn't ask my mother back then how she did all that housework, what went on in her thoughts, as perspiration poured off her brow, her back bent into the rhythmic washing, the radio singing on and on about idyllic love, and her not even humming along.

Aaron Engle from South Vienna, Ohio. An undergrad student at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. His work was featured in the 2006-2007 literary journal Flights

A Prose Poem Stopped By Last Night
            As I was preparing for bed a prose poem came knocking on my door. I was hesitant to answer, but I was feeling personable, so I answered. I had met the prose poem through another poet and liked it well. After about an hour of conversation, I attempted to excuse myself, I had to go bed so I could get up for work tomorrow. He wouldn’t listen, he went right on talking. He kept asking me for cigarettes then, he asked me if I had any food, I told him all had was a frozen TV dinner and he helped himself to it. When he was finished he asked me for a drink. I cracked open a bottle of Dom Perignon I received as a wedding present. I was saving it for a special occasion, but I was already divorced.
            Finally I became angered by his insolence, so much so that I couldn’t sleep. I fell asleep and woke up late for work and I was fired. All I have to show is this lousy prose poem.