Called Chickadee

By Kaisa Ullsvik Miller

It was an ordinary day
We anguished over the future
Ate oatmeal
Learned a new language
Called Chickadee
Called Earthworm
The presence was darkness
We sat under pendant light
To be brave
Drank coffee
Flipped pages
And waited for you to arrive

It was an ordinary day
When we first heard you cry
Drank water
Walked the backyard
Spoke Chickadee
Spoke Lightness
Our bowls were empty
We sat up all night
To be brave
Tossed the seeds out
Turned the earth around
Until we held you, tiny, perfect and alive

You fuzzy head

By Kaisa Ullsvik Miller

They say the world is created by everything you thought of
Long legs with a lightbulb head
I don’t have anything left
The word is not looking around
But your head little bird
They say we have used you for fuel and nest
I believe in a book
Yet droplets of toes
Eager ahhs and ohhs
Then I awake
They say when you relate to everyone You become
You look around
and you are none
When you don’t care about looks
Leftover casserole leftover bed
I don’t throw anything out
You don’t need anything
You are here now so I nuzzle
You are all feelings
by Elephant design
You are fuzzy head

Kaisa Ullsvik Miller lives with her husband and three children near Madison, Wis. Her poetry can be found in journals like textsound, Ploughshares, Fence, HUNGER and decomP as well as in the homes of friends. Her book, Unspoiled Air, won the 2008 Motherwell Prize from Fence Books.

Birth Mother, Post Surrender

By Jennifer H. Dracos-Tice

I don’t feel your taking,
at first, like I didn’t feel
the crack of my little toe’s
break last year, caught and snapped
back on the screen door’s edge,
or like I missed the atomic billow
of blood that bloomed
in the sitz-soak basin, after.

In that space between cut
and cry, where the heat clings
to the body a moment more
in the icy outside, where the infant
sucks air before the scream,
where the pitch precedes the fall,

a crib’s wheels rasp
to my door for first feeding,
shriek on to the woman
next door.
Jennifer H. Dracos-Tice is a writer and teacher who lives in Atlanta with her wife and three kids.  She has published poetry in SOMETHING’S BREWING, an anthology from Kind of a Hurricane Press, as well as in the journal MELANCHOLY HYPERBOLE. She is also the recipient of the 2012 Poetry Prize from the Atlanta Writers Club.

What We Are Taught

By Nadia Colburn

See all the children in the sandbox intent
at their work. It’s a beautiful day. Perfect.
Strange in its clarity: not a cloud in the sky
and a sliver of moon still out, like a mustache of milk.

At the edge, the mothers talk to keep busy:
what fine weather, one says, then repeats it
as the smallest boy puts a rock
in his mouth. Elsewhere.

Elsewhere–which is what? the town
in the desert gone up in smoke?
the body of the rebel soldier
left in the street to rot?

And they are all looking down
into the dirt-colored sand
to the red-faced girl with the shovel,
to the blue coated boy grabbing it from her.

Or the wide savanna where the days go by
to the big footed cats, where the grasses
and the cats exist under sky, the same sky,
perhaps, not a cloud in it,

and the moon winking down
to a party of gazelle?

For night may never leave
entirely the realm of the senses–

“you must learn,” they are repeating,
the good, the diligent mothers, “to share.”
And the blue-coated boy now is red.
And the red faced girl now is crying

because she wants it back,
what was not hers, that she dig deeper
into the box she won’t believe
has an end.
Nadia Colburn holds a PhD in English from Columbia University and a BA from Harvard. She edits Anchor Magazine: where spirituality and social justice meet and has taught at MIT, Lesley and around New England as a writing teacher and workshop leader. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over sixty national publications including The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Literary Imagination, Kenyon Review, Boston Globe Magazine, Yes! Magazine and elsewhere. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband and two children. More about her can be seen at

Always the Morning of Creation

By Sunni Brown Wilkinson

The young man who flies from New York to Salt Lake to fill in for a famous pianist (stomach flu) is also a famous pianist. We are second row at the symphony, and the pianist is skinny in skinny dress pants, and he plays a song like lanterns crashing. Something modern. But first he plays Beethoven. We watch him sway on the piano bench, eyes closed, anchored by his torso and pointed leather shoes, and I wonder about his mother. How many hours of practice did she hear? The Emperor Suite over a screaming pot of tea. Endless staircases of Chopin while she plucked his clean underwear from the basket, folded the waistband in half, tucked under the crotch. And for all the art about Paris or the sea, why not more about laundry? Why not more about children, about asking them to make their beds, teaching them to pee like grown-ups: elbows on their knees, legs swinging while they wait, wait, wait for it to come. Afterward the curved pink mark on their bottoms, a funny frown. Sweet Mary Cassatt, what do I owe you? What can I give you who are both hands and mirror? In The Bath the beautifully plain mother washes the feet of her daughter. The two look down together like suburban saints. Quiet, ceremonial. In the cathedral of night, mothers bow over a bed, kiss eyelids thin as the skin of a peach, faces already flushed with the fever of dreams. We bow to molecular division, embryo, the made becoming the maker. My son on an evening walk at four years old says the moon looks like a floating egg mama I love living on earth.

Sunni Brown Wilkinson holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Her previous work has been published in Rock & Sling, Tar River Poetry, Weber: the Contemporary West and other journals and anthologies and has been nominated for two Pushcarts. She currently teaches composition and creative writing at Weber State University and lives in Ogden, Utah with her husband and three young sons who are experts on dinosaurs.

Lunar Month

By Joyce Hernandez

the moon when
everything is new to her
when light
as yet
skims only one keen edge

looks down on the hills
finds a cleft
she could curl into
and complete

she watches the river
in the wide quiet
where it spreads

and she feels
she could be another scale
on the side
of that great dozing fish

the moon spies
at the window
sees a table set

round white plates
deep white bowl
blood oranges in that bowl
she remembers
the rotund secret
hidden under her dark coat
and returns to the sky
to wait on the light
Joyce Hernandez grew up in the Puget Sound area and graduated from Gonzaga University with a BA in Literature, minors in philosophy and Spanish Literature and a teaching credential. Her nurse’s training was at Olympic College in Bremerton. Joyce worked as an RN in the Yakima Valley, taught in Mexico (the Mixteca Alta, where her first daughter was born) in Toppenish (where her second daughter was born) and in Yakima. Her passion as a teacher has always been Early Childhood Education, although she has taught other grades, including high school. Joyce has been trying to become a poet since age twelve.
In 2005, Joyce retired from teaching to care for her husband (seriously ill with a heart condition) and devote more time to writing. She also studies art at YVCC. Her dream is to become an illustrator and one day illustrate her own book. This inspiration came to her while teaching Bilingual first grade and kindergarten, when a paucity of materials made it necessary to create books for her students. The most difficult and rewarding work she has done is parenting. As a single mom and grandmother, Joyce finds motherhood with all its complexities and heartbreaks, to be her greatest blessing.

Mt. Ellinor

By Megan Snyder-Camp

The children are learning swears.
They want to know

what hell is for. Imagine your anger
was a place where people actually lived.

Everything at the grocery expired.
The kids don’t know what expired means.

Imagine that when this white goat
comes barreling down the mountain

you don’t see it. This mountain
named after a woman like so many others.

Instead you are following him
some ways back gathering the wool he has left

in rocks and branches because one day
you might learn how to knit. That’s what

hell is for, I tell them, but they are beyond listening,
pointing at some blur outside.
Megan Snyder-Camp is the author of The Forest of Sure Things (Tupelo Press, 2010) and Wintering (Tupelo Press, published in summer 2016). She lives in Seattle with her family.