editor's note

The Poem as a Puzzle by Joseph Murphy
I often think of a poem as a puzzle that tests a reader’s intuition, because the pieces don’t often fit together in a logical way.


The One That Kicks It Off by E. Kristin Anderson
I was songs. A notably blue illusion.
   He gave me summer, passed,
      a mere afterthought, lights low.
Get-Out Clause by E. Kristin Anderson
Remind them to go charging ahead –
oil will surface, expected to experience, feel safe.
Innocent Girl Shrug and Smile by E. Kristin Anderson
We lie down on childhood, a serene state park
in full-on superhero regalia.
Regeneration Engineer by Fain Rutherford
Silently gathering distance
from the man who gave hubcaps as gifts,
from the mother who fluttered
near the nest, but never on it.
Butcher by Alexander Sawyer-Irish
Butcher's bloody cleaver hangs high on a varnished peg;
here am I: primitive; pierce and sever, decimate, debauch
carve and subjugate.


Mailbox by Scott Archer Jones
The breakup hadn't happened here, not at this house – the meltdown had ripped through his place and shredded its way out his door. His life stopped when she had slammed that door.
Treehouse by Sarah Wilkinson
I climb the rickety rope ladder, the soft skin on my hands scratching against the frayed rope. I pull my body onto the small platform and sit down between the plywood walls, listening to the wind rustle through the spaces between the boards. I pull the stems of dandelions apart, rubbing the sticky wet parts under my nose so I can smell like the forest.
The Tune Had a Dying Fall by Ken Teutsch
Dale crossed and uncrossed his eyes, trying to get the phone into focus. It didn’t help that Bobby couldn’t hold it steady. His hands jittered because it was almost freezing, the wind was blowing, and Bobby wore no coat. Bobby owned no coat. He wore ratty jeans and a black t-shirt with a red Chinese character on it which he claimed meant, “Defiance.” Dale asked a Taiwanese exchange student about it once, and he said that it didn’t mean anything as far as he could tell, though it did sort of resemble “Busy Intersection.”