Fishing for Dark

by Todd Dillard


I tell my daughter I fish for dark
in the backyard after she falls asleep.
I heave a rock aside,
opening a hole to the center of the earth,
drop a fishing line into it
and pull up snarls of shadows,
quilts of black, rags of mist. I say
they swim around my head
in the foam of the moon’s spilled beer
before swirling back into the earth.
I tell her she’s my best girl
and she tells me I’m her best dad
and at the push of a button I summon
the monsoon on her sound machine
and leave her on dreaming’s infinite porch.
The next day she comes home weeping.
Her friend called her stupid, ugly.
She wants to see the secret rock,
the hole from where I pull the dark.
Nothing else will,
she says, console her.
But my love, I say, there is no rock.
And her face stills.
There’s no hole to the center of the earth, I say.
And she opens her mouth.
There’s no darkness
that ripples overhead
through the current of the night.
From my daughter’s throat a shadow unfurls.
Long and thin at first, black eel,
but it grows
limbs, it stands.
It watches us–
not in an unkind way
–almost soft, the dim
around a pulsing night light.
As twilight sweeps over us
and it turns to vanish
into the dark, I wonder
should I call to it,
ask it to stay.


Todd Dillard’s work has appeared in Poet Lore, Waxwing, The Adroit Journal, Fairy Tale Review, and Guernica. His debut collection Ways We Vanish (Okay Donkey Press) was a finalist for the 2021 Balcones Poetry Award. He is a Poetry Editor at The Boiler Journal. Todd can be found on Twitter @toddedillard.

2023-02-26T17:04:58-05:00February 19, 2023|

Moon Raking

by Jen Feroze


My daughter asks for the moon
for her birthday.

In the stark October dusk
she holds her hands to the sky

says it must be lonely up there,
wonders if the stars are friendly.

Owl noon finds me on the edge of the pond,
swings gossiping rust behind me.

The long pole is quickly slippery with weed
and failure but then she bites,

cradled like a soft-boiled egg
on this horseshoe spoon. I tie the ribbon

gently and will myself not to think
of the word ‘noose’. Together we walk home,

this awesome balloon and I, interfering
with the dreams of each house we pass.

I leave her bobbing softly on the ceiling,
glowing like a grieving mother.


Jen Feroze (she/her) is a UK poet living by the sea with her husband and young children. Her work has been widely published, and has recently appeared in Poetry Wales, The Chestnut Review, Spelt, Hyacinth Review and The Orchards Poetry Journal, among others. She loves cold water swimming, turquoise things and chunky knitwear. Find her on twitter @jenlareine and on instagram @the_colourofhope.

2023-02-26T17:05:31-05:00February 18, 2023|

Via Dolorosa

by Jared Povanda


Christmas Eve has come again, and I kneel
under stained glass, under Simon of Cyrene bearing
Jesus’ cross on his thin back, and I wonder if anyone has ever
licked him there—
between Simon’s shoulders, up his spine, tongue a pine bough,
a path of salt and piety longer than the road to Calvary.
I wonder if Simon had ever kissed Jesus on the mouth before
abiding the weight of agony across his shoulders,
loss upending the secret tenderness he
carried inside himself like a second heart, and
I wonder if God has made me wrong
in my wondering of these things, but it’s snowing outside,
flakes as light and small as pennyroyal,
the world suddenly perfect
filigree on the cover of some browning book
covered by feet of silent snow;
stillness bestowed by a nimble God.
Look: a line of footsteps on the outside walk. Look:
whole forests of ice outside the church window,
fishers and nightingales, the final crack
of fragrant branches weighed by leaden white.


Jared Povanda is a writer, poet, and freelance editor from upstate New York. He also edits for the literary journal Bulb Culture Collective. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and multiple times for both Best of the Net and Best Microfiction, and he has been published in numerous literary journals including Wigleaf, The Citron Review, and Fractured Literary. You can find him online @JaredPovanda,, and in the Poets & Writers Directory.

2023-02-26T17:05:49-05:00February 11, 2023|

Moving Poem

by Grace Kwan


The quartered orange’s
soft body, sipped
from its rind
into a mouth
capable of saying
such permanent things as:
“They dug up a dog
that was buried
32,000 years ago
with a mammoth bone in
his mouth.”
Shells outlast the mollusc
by thousands of years.
Form growth lines
where the soft animal inside
didn’t have enough to eat.
Wolves came searching
for scraps but renounced scrutability.
I don’t know what I’ll do
without Vancouver’s beauty—
it’ll slip off my body
like water and disappear
into hard soil
into the open mouth of a mountain
named for a dog.


Grace Kwan is a writer and graduate student researching the creative, intellectual, and artistic labour of Asian immigrants in Vancouver, BC. Alongside a debut poetry chapbook published with Bottlecap Press (2021), their prose and poetry have appeared in The Capilano Review, Plainsongs, and Canthius, among others. Find them @sleepyfacegrace on Instagram and Twitter or at

2023-02-26T17:06:10-05:00February 10, 2023|
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