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Issue #6: Poetry

John McKernan

This night has

Too much
Night in it

Too much
Distance in it

Too many
Extinct alphabets and conversations
Scraped from both sides
Of granite slabs

Too much
Silence packed inside the words
Despite random sirens
And occasional screams
Squeaking through the black windows

Who had the courage to invent the word Dawn?


John McKernan -- who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska --is now retired after teaching many years at Marshall University. He lives, mostly, in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is selected poems Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field, and many other magazines.

Patrick Boyle


I hear the rasp of your voice
at night, a peristaltic breath
forced through ripped
cords. Air-flood.
The swollen delta,
a river of gasped words.
The luciferous rattle
of fireflies preying
on fireflies. The starving
luna moth. The god
quivering under pressure.
I expect to meet you
at the end of a quiet field.
I expect you to kiss me
with songs, measuring
the distance of cities
between your fingers,
measuring the Mississippi,
the American vein
pumping varicose across
the shoulders of your music.
New Orleans funeral
march. Every riverboat
is drowning in whitecaps.
Titanic histories collapse
and sink. Every crinkled sheet
colonizing a manuscript
is destined to fail
at straightening itself out.
Remember the world
is mostly empty space
trapped between the atoms
of molecules, mostly water
sloshing against gravity.
The heft of our words
is carried not on our backs
but our dry, air-empty lungs.


Patrick Boyle is a poet. He recieved his MFA through the Bennington Writing Seminars in June 2014. He is also the founder of Lamplighter, a magazine focused on supporting and promoting independent musicians, artists, and writers in New Jersey, where he loves to live despite the traffic.

Michael Lauchlan

Fast Train in 2035

In the pixilated press, I read
that a train will blow past my house
at 110 when I’m 80.
OK, they’ve omitted my age
(considering imponderables --wise).
I’m torn, wanting quick trips
to Chicago and CO2
savings but already missing the low
clanging freights and sax-wail
Amtraks. The future shriek will not
evoke my mother’s roundabout
arrival from Slovenia when her dad
brought his one good arm
to Detroit car plants. Sounds
that carried us and made us,
that woke us and rocked us off,
are slipping from the earth. And we,
linked hand to hand like a chain
of dancers, pass on baldness,
noses, a turn of phrase—
carting off more than we leave.


Michael Lauchlan’s most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press.

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