Fall Quarterly 2018

Obit by Victoria Chang


Caretakers —- died  in   2009,   2010

2011,    2012,     2013,    2014,     2015

2016, 2017, one after  another.  One

didn’t     show   up     because     her

husband was in prison. Most others

watched the clock. Time breaks  for

the living  eventually  and they  can

walk out of doors.   The  handle  of

time’s  door  is hot   for  the   dying.

What use is a door if you can’t exit?

A  door   that   can’t   be   opened  is

called a  wall.  My  father  is  on  the

other side of the wall. Tomatoes are

ripening on the other side. I can see

them through the window  that also

can’t   be opened.   A    window  that

can’t   be  opened   is   just     a   see-

through wall.   Sometimes we’re on

the inside like a plane.   Most of the

time,   we’re  on   the   outside   like

doggie day care.  I don’t know if the

tomatoes are the   new  form  of his

language  or  if   they’re   simply for

eating.    I can’t   ask   him   because

on the   other side,    there   are   no

words.   All I can  do is  stare  at the

nameless,   bursting   tomatoes  and

know they have to be enough.


First appeared in Poetry (July/August 2018) Used with permission of the author.

Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. The Boss (McSweeney’s) won a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Her other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle.  She also edited an anthology, Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. Her poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, POETRY, Believer, New England Review, VQR, The Nation, New Republic, TinhouseBest American Poetry, and elsewhere.  She received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship in 2017, along with a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award in 2018 for her manuscript-in-progress, OBIT.  She also received a Pushcart Prize for a poem published in Barbie Chang.  She is a contributing editor of the literary journal, Copper Nickel and a poetry editor at Tupelo Quarterly.

Her children’s picture book Is Mommy? (Simon & Schuster), was illustrated by Caldecott winner, Marla Frazee and was named a NYTNotable Book. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and her weiner dogs, Mustard and Ketchup and teaches within Antioch University’s MFA Program.  She also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board.

Dust to Dust by Quintin Collins


I am a million years expired,
and scientists chisel me from the earth.
What do they find? As they dust
these molars, do they know agony
looks like a head bound to split? That song
lived in my mouth. A hymn,
they call it. Phalanges clutched over my chest,
they name it a prayer, think I’d found some peace
in dying. They sweep dirt to discover
more dirt, more dirt, and then more dirt.

Quintin Collins is a poet, managing editor, and Solstice MFA program graduate from the Chicago area who currently lives in Boston. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Threshold, Glass Mountain, Eclectica, Transition, and elsewhere. If he were to have one extravagance, it would be a personal sommelier to give him wine pairings for books.
On why poetry matters: “Per Jericho Brown, poetry will tell on you. The world needs those truths.”

Definition of Future by Rebecca Connors


1 a :  time that is to come. Grimacing hips. Graying.
Bone dwindling to sticks. My weaknesses dawning
on my daughter. Tomorrow, like today, until it’s gone.
The ground knows it will hold me. Hold those I love.
b :  what is going to happen. Every cold-gripped fear
in my head. Fate. A country
of dying water, sickness in the sky.
All the ways our world will spiral. Behind the backs
of bad men, I tell my daughter: blossoms,
births, seasons. See also: Hope.
2 :  an expectation of advancement or
progressive development. Light at the end,
a new sense of self. Sometimes you get a win.
3 a :  the future tense of a language. I will
always be your star even after the sun explodes.
I will always be your star. I will always be.

Rebecca Connors’ poems can be found in DIALOGIST, Menacing Hedge, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Currently an MFA candidate at the Solstice MFA Program, she lives with her family in Boston. Her first chapbook will be published Fall 2018. Follow her on Twitter @aprilist or visit her site at aprilist.com.
On why poetry matters: “Poetry allows me to process, reclaim, shout, mourn, recover. It is how I connect with the world.”

Fire in the Ice by Suzanne Edison


I train my muscles to the trail, cache fear
under Lodgepole pine and cedar trees, strain
my eyes toward meadows, long views of Mt. Rainier,
its tonic of heft, no need to explain
these edgy worries: disappearing snow, spears
of lightning burning my western terrain,
sage, grass, grouse and house unspared, and cancer
spreading like a glacier in my sister’s
bones. Down the scoured valley, I sling laments
and howls, swallowed by the river’s pockets
of booming bass tones and surging boulders
that urge my lips toward the sweat-sweet intent
of kissing each blistered pain, each unlocked
moment, letting them go without refrain.

Originally published online in Persimmon Tree (Summer 2018)

Suzanne Edison, MA, MFA, is the author of The Moth Eaten World, published by Finishing Line Press. Poems can be found in: Persimmon Tree: About Place Journal: Rewilding issue; Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine; JAMA; SWWIM; What Rough Beast; Bombay Gin; The Naugatuck River Review; The Ekphrastic Review; and in the anthologies: Face to Face: Women Writers on Faith, Mysticism and Awakening, ed. Joy Harjo & Brenda Peterson; &The Healing Art of Writing, Volume One.

October by Konner Jebb


Auburn heat blushes. Breezes

burst summer swiftness into

slow chilled fall wind. It’s slow,


steady enough that I reflect

on all the synonyms of me.

Do I still don knit sweaters


like skin, let my feet crawl

under sidewalked leaves, breathe

and celebrate every inhale.


Every crunch. Am I still

a lover of Autumn?  Deity of harvest,

next cycles, resets. Rebirth,


when optimism falls from my grasp the way

leaves reject branches of their trees –

dying before winter gifts


the next second chance.
What am I nostalgic for?

Konner Jebb is a graduate of the Solstice MFA program. He most recently had work published in Strange Horizons and Trans Café.
On why poetry matters: “Poetry is a way of expressing one’s true self without fear. It turns fear into beauty.”

In memoriam by Lynne Knight

white apples and the taste of stone

Donald Hall, “White Apples”

The old master is dead,

his gravestone already marked

with lines from a poem

by his wife, whose peonies

blossomed and toppled outside

while he lay in hospice.

Soon his granddaughter will live

in the ancestral house looking out

at blue Mount Kearsarge.

Those curved ribs of old horses

buried in the field will again yield

their crop of goldenrod.

Dark clouds over Eagle Pond

turn white as the taste of stone,

white as white apples.


Originally published online in Rattle (Poets Respond)


Lynne Knight is the author of six full-length poetry collections, three of them prize winners, and of five chapbooks, three of them also prize winners. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Kenyon Review, Poetry and Southern Review. Her other awards and honors include publication in Best American Poetry, the Prix de l’Alliance Française 2006, a PSA Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, a RATTLE Poetry Prize, and an NEA grant. I Know (Je sais), her translation with the author Ito Naga of his Je sais, appeared in 2013. In March of 2018, she became a permanent resident of Canada, where she lives on Vancouver Island.

Monster by Michael Mercurio


When I met your mother she was a fox
in a field.  Your father smoked.
I don’t know where I go
when you cover your eyes.

Our sun sits in a watery sky but doesn’t sizzle or go out
when clouds cover it. Kid, you’ve got to keep asking.
What I don’t know may kill us both. Zoos and circuses
hold animals, not solutions. In this light

I am an island
of shadow across your kitchen floor
between you and the fridge.

You won’t cross over the dark
exaggeration of my shape;
I won’t move from the window.

No idea why falling stars drop or if they’re sharp. Listen
to me: don’t listen to me. By the time my wisdom makes
a dent your world has changed.

Just you looking at me makes me different.


First appeared in Crab Creek Review (Spring, 2018)

Michael Mercurio is a graduate of Lesley University’s low-residency MFA program. His work has appeared in the Indianapolis Review, Crab Creek Review, and poems2go. He lives in the Pioneer Valley with his wife and two Miniature Schnauzers. He can also be found online at poetmercurio.com.

Figure, ground by Melissa Stein


Catapult through hills
locking on air. So much of it
the lungs won’t take it in.

Then all’s a pinwheel, I’m
the pin. The girl
on her back

having a tantrum
on the drugstore floor
until her mother stands up and leaves.

The ladybug’s gunmetal
legs pedaling machinely
until they still

and fold. The body
is an envelope.
The air black

diamonds and helium
I’m far too far
to grieve.


Copyright©2018 Melissa Stein. Used with permission of the author.

Melissa Stein is the author of  the poetry collections Terrible blooms (Copper Canyon Press, 2018) and Rough Honey, winner of the 2010 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, selected by Mark Doty. Her poems have appeared inPloughshares, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, New England Review, Best New Poets, Beloit Poetry Review, Harvard Review, North American Review,and many other journals and anthologies. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and her work has won awards from The Pushcart Prize, Spoon River Poetry Review, Literal Latte, Redivider, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, among others. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of California at Davis, and is a freelance editor and writer in San Francisco.

Elegy as Recursion: Into Another by Jan Verberkmoes


Have you seen a horse bite a man   the skin splits
wide and clean   where the horse’s broad teeth
hit his skull   and for that the man sends a bullet
through the white star of her forehead

when the bullet pops through the star
the horse collapses   head first
through one field   into another

daylight guns the horizon into a pink blaze
and I fall through the horse’s blown star
back into the field where you stood   facing east
calling me over   like you’d found something

daylight guns the horizon   and its vanishing point
collapses into the grass at our feet
you say couldn’t we do this without the horse
without the horizon   without any bodies in a field

but have you seen a horse bury herself
she falls through the vanishing point in her body
and into a field       she digs with her teeth

haven’t I          seen this morning before
all pink edges and no stars         and this horse
who was built for running but won’t     and this man
trying to lift the light of her head


First appeared in 32 poems


Elegy as Insistence: Bulls in a Field by Jan Verberkmoes


There is only morning   it shimmers
and shifts into bodies   into beasts
into the man sleeping   now waking   in the damp grass
a jar of ashes at his side   and the bulls still running loose  though tired
inside his skull   they ram here and there against its walls
as last night’s star-smeared sky   spreads clean now   and flat over him
jar in hand  he walks toward the spring creek
its water draws a cold thrill through the meadow
and the bulls groan dark   from their anvil heads
as he wades knee-deep into the current
he remembers the ashes back into his sister   when she told him
loss   is no more one thing than the sky is one thing
the pasture behind her eyes  lay wide and empty
and looked like a place he could sleep
he tips the jar and lets the ash fall into the stream   and the cold
rolls over in its bed  over  over
until she’s neither ash   nor water
the stars the stars the bulls low behind his eyes
he forgets about the stream   and the meadow
and nothing could be so empty     as the jar in his hands


First appeared in 32 poems


Jan Verberkmoes is a poet and editor from Oregon. She’s currently a Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University and has poems forthcoming in The Paris ReviewBennington Review, and The Indiana Review, among others.