A Poem by Jim Bourey

Setting the Price


In high-summer evening-light four barefoot Amish

kids bend, pulling weeds from their garden.

My mother looks at them from the car window, smiles

at the young woman on the porch who holds a baby close.


I lean on my car and talk to the man of the house.

I want him to build our garage. He notices Mother,

walks to her open window. She pulls back in her seat,

afraid. He speaks softly to her, calls his children,


lifts each one; introduces–




and Ruth.

He calls his wife. She comes, and her husband says–


This is Johanna and our new son David


Mother reaches out, strokes the infant’s silken

skin. She hasn’t said a word in months.


Baby. Baby. soft, yet clear.


The father and I set a price.


As we leave, Mother raises her hand and waves.

Soon the family will be inside praying,

turning down kerosene lamps,

quenching candles.




Jim Bourey is an old poet now living on the northern edge of the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. He lived in Delaware for thirty years before this recent move. His chapbook Silence, Interrupted was published in 2015 by the Broadkill River Press, and it was selected as best book of poetry by the Delaware Press Association, and also received third place in the same category from the National Association of Press Women. His work has appeared in Gargoyle, Broadkill Review, Double Dealer and other journals and anthologies. He was first runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2016. Jim is active in promoting poetry at readings and events throughout his home area. In Delaware, he belonged to two poetry groups and was a state adjudicator for the Poetry Out Loud competition for two years. He is currently working on a collection of poems about people and places of the North Country.

A Poem by Kevin J. McDaniel

Oil Change


Cars swarmed archways

of the station where

the receptionist instructed

I pull beside the Nissan,

which I translated to mean

the big silver slug parked

behind the tiny blue,


before handing me

a folded paper

with a number stamped

in the corner,

so I could take my seat

in the congested waiting area



a college kid working a Rubik’s Cube

and a pregnant woman,

in green tank-top

and Daisy Dukes, bending over

to tell her toddler

be patient and wait

while the rest of us pretended

to be engrossed with Olympians jogging laps

on the mounted big screen.


Early that morning,

each driver drafted a shrewd plot

to avoid the rush,

but fate

put us in this purgatory

to learn

from mechanics

whose diagnostics showed

we had more problems than a routine

oil change could fix

on a Friday.





Kevin J. McDaniel lives in Pulaski, Virginia, with his wife, two daughters, and two old chocolate Labs. To date, his work has appeared, or forthcoming, in Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium, Artemis Journal, Broad River Review, Clinch Mountain Review, Common Ground Review, Floyd County Moonshine, Freshwater Literary Journal, GFT Press, Gravel, JuxtaProse, The Cape Rock, The Main Street Rag, and others. His recent chapbook, Family Talks, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.

Rachel Joy Watson

Speaking of Marvels

“But when it comes to being in a relationship, you should never feel more like an apology than a person.”

watson  blue-tarp

Blue Tarp (Finishing Line Press, 2016)

In the interview you did for Paper Mill, you mentioned that you are “eager to put together a second collection” and that it would have more hope. What changes in your life provoked you to hope?

I’ve never stopped hoping. But it’s been a hard couple years. I’ll admit that my hope appears only as a flicker in some of the poems in “Blue Tarp”—and readers will understand those poems in the context of their own experience with loss and grief. That is important. There is a place for that. But this past year has also been full of healing for me—bright spots where I didn’t expect them. Opportunities to write, teach and go back to school. Care packages coming…

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A Poem by Luisa A. Igloria

Notes Toward a History of Coaxial Cable


dates back to the early 1880s, that heady time

of invention when sound and light and other


elements were yoked to service for precise

transmission of our varied signals— So much

that now is easy to take for granted: the trucker


with the ham radio, the soldier clipping a walkie-

talkie to his belt, the technician who slicks warm

gel over my belly then slides a wand to render


the moon-surfaces of my organs via ultrasound—

The inner conductor is surrounded by a tubular

insulating layer, surrounded by a tubular


conducting shield, and both share a geometric

axis: which is to say, the signal looks for the path

that’s clearest or rendered most safe from possible


interruption; which is to say, the distance

between the thing and its intended object becomes

more unbearable with each new iteration of time


and space. Why do you think the inventor

of the telephone sought a way to funnel the absent

one’s voice into his ear? We speak into our


devices, our tapping fingers send the messages

our naked eyes and bodies alone can’t throw

across the ether. Think of how any of such


wonders began: as string on a lover’s telephone

spliced from two diaphragms, two cans of beans

emptied and cleaned, their ends punched to guide


the string or wire. And other amazements!

—those early days when ice did not even pour

out of spouts on refrigerator doors or trays


from the freezer, but travelled whole like scaled-

down glaciers on pallets of straw for months

in the dark holds of ships, across the world— to arrive


in a tropical country so the cook could put good butter

and milk and eggs into a cake, and write with sugar

a message on top: To love, To fortune, To the future!





Luisa A. Igloria is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of the chapbooks Haori (Tea & Tattered Pages Press, 2017), Check & Balance (Moria Press/Locofo Chaps, 2017), and Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015); plus the full length works Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (selected by Mark Doty for the 2014 May Swenson Prize, Utah State University Press), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She teaches on the faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University, which she directed from 2009-2015.

Author photo: Lisa Zader

Kevin Dublin

Speaking of Marvels

“I don’t ever want to write anything that I feel anyone else could’ve written.”

dublin.jpgHow to Fall in Love in San Diego (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

Could you tell us a bit about your growing up and your path to becoming a writer?

I was lucky enough to have great teachers, instructors, professors, and mentors most of my life. In third grade, Ms. Angela Dotson was one of those. She encouraged my interest in writing and computers, and she published my first book. And by “book,” I mean, a one-page story I had written, which I had split over about seven pages and illustrated. And by “published,” I mean typed up, laminated, and bound in plastic comb binding! Education and educators play a huge role in determining who we will become. I’ve been a writer ever since.

Could you share with us a poem (or excerpt) from your…

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Leah Tieger

Speaking of Marvels

“Whenever I let my ambition get in the way of gratitude, I remember my earlier self and let her revel in the win.”Tieger Interview Pic

We and She, You and Then, You Again (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

What motivated you to split your work into these specific sections: “We,” “She,” “You,” “Then,” “You Again”? What do each of these sections refer to?

I found myself writing a lot in the second person, either plural or singular, and at the same time I found myself writing in the third person about a mysterious She. The book’s progression (from a plural togetherness to a mysterious other; from the self to an effacement of self; to a final arrival at the self again) traces the overall complications of self and other, how we constantly come together and grow apart, and how we are changed in the process.

“Cedar” is my favorite of the…

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A Poem by Drew Pisarra

Shoe Convention


There’s a crowd of me under my bed. By which I mean to say

that all my shoes have lined up  as if called for some secret

meeting about yours truly. I see them! Oh yes, they stand

in pairs — how else? — mostly brown, neatly placed, so far

back I cannot see where my ankles should be.  I can’t see

me. Some shoes point at each other. One stands

unattached, unmatched yet assuredly so.  All of them:

Size 9. They have gathered to talk or retread (haha)

the many places  I’ve faltered and failed.


I can break up this pedal congress though. I can reach

down and blindly pull out a boot my father bought me

at DSW in 2012. There’s something Russian about it,

this boot with its pre-weathered leather stitched

together in workmanlike rows. Alone, separated

from the group, this boot looks defiantly casual —

its laces loose, unconcerned. Its tongue curled back,

reluctant  to speak… I put the boot back . I turn back

to other things. Like words. Like words that shine.


Tomorrow I’m throwing that shoe and its match out.

They don’t know it but nothing is safe here, nothing.

Nothing will walk away from this defeat or despair,

last of all that damn pair. Not on my watch, they won’t.





Drew Pisarra worked in the digital sphere on behalf of “Mad Men,” “Rectify” and “Breaking Bad” but now writes plays, fiction, and poetry. His work has been produced off-off-Broadway and appeared in Poydras Review, Thin Air, and St. Petersburg Review among other publications. His collection of short stories, Publick Spanking, was published by Future Tense.