Seth Jani: “Transmigration Blues”

Transmigration Blues

Don’t forget me
Because the moon
Is the radium
Of a split orange
And I too, am one
Unraveled light.
Coming out of love,
Or going in,
We fall asleep
In the fragments
Of fireflies.
Their wings drift
Over us like snow
From the Carpathians,
From ranges that don’t exist,
Dream tectonics.
And whoever you are,
I feel the ribbon
Of many lives holding us
Against the wheel.
As stars are born,
Collapse, and transform
Into ghosts,
I think many indescribable days
Have passed between us.
So many that even the soul
Loses count in its index
Of obsessions.


Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA, and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( His own work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron ReviewEl PortalThe Hamilton Stone ReviewHawai`i Pacific ReviewVAYAVYAGingerbread HouseGravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. More about him and his work can be found at

Aden Thomas: “Hunchback”


Teased for silence inside of silences,
he never raised his hand.
He slumped when walking under moonlight.
He noticed details others lost.

Roots grew under sidewalks and lifted the concrete.
Ants appeared
then disappeared in the cracks between the spaces.
It happened–the smallest of things.

While others talked and pointed,
he saw the intricacies
of interactions of the tiny,
more than roots and insects,

but those of people,
who carried with them a gravity
the beginning of a crack

smaller than sound,
unheard at midnight,
growing by the hour,
something only a bell-ringer hears.

It was the narrow beating of their hearts,
a spider’s sorrow
crawling through their veins,
weaving a single tiny thread.


Aden Thomas grew up on the high plains of central Wyoming. His work has appeared in The Blue Mountain Review and The Inflectionist Review. More of his work can be found at:

Michael Chin: “Spread”


When the Knicks lost to the Bulls, but only by two, my old man clapped his hands. Vinnie and I looked at him, wondering if this were one of those times he was being antagonistic for the sport of it, or if he’d misread the score.

But he tipped his tallboy back, leaning back in his La-Z-Boy, and explained the spread—that when you bet, it wasn’t about wins and losses so much. No one would bet on the Knicks to beat the Bulls, but to come within six points? That was the point spread they needed to cover.

Vinnie said he’d bet on the Knicks.

Just the same, Vinnie’d bring up the point spread logic, talking Cara Joyner and the homecoming dance sophomore year.

I invoked the easy sports metaphor first. “You’re not in her league.”

He argued no two people were equally attractive—equally good looking or funny or smart. “There’s a spread.”

But Vinnie didn’t beat the spread for Cara. Wouldn’t beat it with Valerie or Jenny either. Had to rethink the whole thing.

My mom and pop split up about that time. Because he was betting too much. Because of a lot of things. Mom said the gambling was representative of all the reasons she had to go, of the way my father thought. I watched them split their things. Mom got the practical pieces. The cookware, the couch, the Encyclopedia Britannicas. The house. Dad, he got the baseball cards, the big TV from the living room.

I’d stay with Mom most of the time, but got split between the two of them, spending time with Dad across weekends, and certain weeknights. Spread thin.

And Vinnie changed around his theory. That my old man covered the spread for a time, but the margin of difference grew larger and larger until he couldn’t anymore. Until he lost his bet.

I lived in that margin.


Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York, and is an alum of Oregon State’s MFA Program. He won the Bayou Magazine’s Jim Knudsen Editor’s Prize for fiction and has published work in journals including The Normal School and Bellevue Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter @miketchin.


Kersten Christianson: “40 Winks of Certain”

40 Winks of Certain

All indigo in this candle-
light vigil of carnival knowledge.

Be my darling particle,
orbiting sister, my diamond sky.

We’ll key the ignition to Mars, to red
thunder serendipity, raspberry perfect

rocket logic traveling south, south,
south along Sunnyside Street to Shangri-La.


Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon Territory, she resides in Sitka, Alaska. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) through the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016. 


Catherine Zickgraf: “The Barrens”

The Barrens

Under lights strung taut across unthawed lots,
we brought our tragedies, ribboned in red.
It’s the happiest season, they said.
So we flooded the lines among aisles of pine.

But as funds dried up, we paid with our quilts.
Then lowering heads down fog-full streets,
we dragged home firs, trailing boughs at our feet.

Seeking heat we cooked trunks in barrels of rust
which turned ruby the throats of the lonely among us,
cheeks bursting blood in a fiery flush.

If our flesh were scalded raw,
if blood dripped thin along our fists,
who would ash our decay once our souls flew away?


Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan, and three dozen other cities, but now her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Her new chapbook, Soul Full of Eye, is published through Aldrich Press and is available on Watch and read more of her poetry at

Ann Howells: “Interpreting an Illuminated Manuscript”

Interpreting an Illuminated Manuscript

This is the garden, about the business of growth and greening, blossoming and bearing fruit. Lush. Fecund.

This, then, is Adam, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, reigning over the garden and all within, subservient only to God. Man is born.

Here lies the serpent, lithesome and long, a black velvet daydream. These are the leathery wide wings of angels and demons that enfold us.

Lilith left.

This, of course, is Eve, cobbled of a curved rib, fist of clay – afterthought, room tacked behind the house to accommodate an unwanted relative. Eve, coaxed and cajoled, plucks forbidden fruit. Sweetness is born. Knowledge is born. Eve covers herself with leaves. Shame is born. Sin is born.

Here are Cain and Abel. Cain raises his hand, slays Abel. Killing is born, and murder, and war.

This is the garden, and the garden is earth. And earth fills with leaf and shoot, tendril and root, leaf and blossom, and all manner of creatures that creep, swim and fly. This, then, man puts asunder.


Ann Howells has edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years, recently going: Publications: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag), Under a Lone Star (Village Books), and Letters for My Daughter (Flutter). Her chapbook, Softly Beating Wings, recently won the William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest. She has four Pushcart nominations.