LIKE A RIVER FLOWS by Laura Eppinger

So many things I couldn’t help, couldn’t

stop, I was far away. But now baby

sister is moving out, first time, 25. I

visit her hotel room, relocation paid

and we hunt for places. My boyfriend

drives. (Her boyfriend stays

away.) We catch a song nothing but grains—

static of radio waves. She recognizes

it quick, I don’t, I’m far away. Our parents’

wedding song. We fill in the gaps when weary

signal fades, we three a bridge in this

moment no king could shake. And I

wonder, What does love make? It made

us, in the 30 years since this song

once played. Though it can’t stop you growing

petty or afraid. Can’t keep you from wandering far

one day. Still I’ll pray: If I never stop running

or learn to brake, If I never can hear what wise men

say, if God help me I remain a fool

rushing, rushing to the sea, let me know

what love made, sister lover me.


Laura Eppinger graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA in 2008 with a degree in Journalism, and she’s been writing creatively ever since. She’s a staff blogger at Newfound Journal and podcaster with GameNight Media.


UNTITLED by Simon Perchik

What chance does this moon have

the way for a few hours every day

not one drop makes it back, held down


as the thirst that never lets go

and you swallow hillside into hillside

–a few hours! that’s all and the moon


still trying, takes from your jawbone

some ancient sea half marrow, half

no longer flowing through as moonlight


heavier and heavier with the entire Earth

backing you up when the moon is lifted whole

from inside your mouth, to be returned


then gather you in for the fire

that is nothing without the night sky

still claiming you with headwinds and rain


even when there is no rain

–there is no fire left though the moon

never dries, clings to your lips


the way this dirt drinks as much as it can

and everything it touches is want

–you don’t have to empty all these flowers.


Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at


BLUE DIGGER BEE by James Croal Jackson

do blue digger bees buzz like honey bees do

or like jazz from tinny speakers      

the city night starves for jazz        

just a little touch finger on palm   

yes I am over your plaid cheeks     

like physically my eyes are exhausted

the out-of-order escalator will move no further

yes we waded in pastel watercolors     

soft peal of wetting paint   

temperance of modern rain    

kestrels singing in forever air       

tints of cerulean debasing the feather coat    

deftness of a painter’s hands      

what loneliness in the canvas will glimmer in a gallery of twenty-first century still life    

that is real     

the mixture of white and black paint stain so entwined in the fingers gripped by brush    

the challenge of how do you make this Vietnamese-man-sitting-alone-at-a-table as compelling

as a bucket of salt dipping from the sky

I think of a plodding pizzicato on a yellow glass harp

children in red shoes lining up for a king-sized carousel       

our teeth are the strings on the replacement years from now      

somehow the present is pregnant with the future      

somehow my mouth is fanged to nearly ask         

fingers hold music that has not been heard         

arpeggio flower petals drifting in the wind       

umbrage in the gutters      

fingernails recycle them into leaves    

the digger emerges from sand   

and creeps back into its widowed sepulcher


Paradise is worse than this. I’ve pissed

in the golden streets of Beverly Hills.

The stars depart their private cabs,

shoes on the ground. I’ve pissed in beach sand

with the waterbirds, the full balloon

at sunrise, wind swaying. The neighborhood

has my back. I spit fish fluoride

into grass. Splotches of next-day death

in circles brown and black. Windows fog. Yeah

I’m an airplane in a cloud. Should’ve wrapped that scarf

around my neck until my head fell off. The night is

a broken refrigerator, top shelf. Tell that to the rotting

trunk sushi. Still, some spiders creep through cracks and

keep the feet and urine smells out. Bent to a backseat

sockball and time is an envelope I hand to a stranger.

How his home stinks of sweat and mildew

and old Havarti. Fiona has crank windows

and that new car smell and floating dust.

I can’t spit enough. Blame it on the vermouth.

In the morning, I floss my coal moon fingernails

with flamenco strings. Neighbors run

past but who needs pants.

Say hello to the father and his

baby in the stroller. Say hello

to the fleshy whites. Say

hello to everlasting days

of luxury where the days

don’t end, the nights never

end, again and again

the fishing rod window

cranks, the invited crows–

the feasts of mud– say

hello and wave and caw.


James Croal Jackson lives for art and adventure. He grew up near Akron, Ohio and spent a few years living in Los Angeles. He moved to Columbus, Ohio after living in his 2012 Ford Fiesta over a period that spanned eight months and thirty-seven states. Find more of his work at