Monthly Archives: December 2015

Issue 12 Table of Contents

Cover Art

Untitled, Ron Rollins

Special Feature Section: Homefull

About Homefull and Photography from Homefull
Left Behind, Anonymous
Not a Victim Anymore, Michele L. Britton
Dad, Joel Benge
A Place, Anonymous
Story, Roy
Lonely, Melissa YaQueen
Jeanne, Joel Benge


Bridge Over Tranquil Waters, Bradley K Meyer
Lost Pepper, Eric Blanchard
Haunted Oak in Winter, Furaha Henry-Jones
Box, Ron Rollins
Coney Island Whitefish, David Lee Garrison
Haskell: Race War, Ed Davis
Haskell: Truth’s Tender Art, Ed Davis
November Pines, Joan Harris
Word Play, Breanna McGowan
Beekeeper, Maya Smith-Custer
Fifteen Septembers, Christy Lynne Trotter
The Roots of Evil, Eric Blanchard
Guided by Voices, T.J. McGuire
Our Mother, the Internet, Tess Brewer
Ash Trees, Ashley Bunton


Bird of Paradise, Donita S. Thompson
Dawn Reflection, Shulamit K. Adler, Ph.D.


sideshow 1

acrylic on canvas

about the artist
Ron Rollins is a writer, editor, poet, artist, reader, husband, dad, grandpa, general community guy, history lover and dachshund owner who lives in Kettering.

Bird of Paradise

bw bird

digital photography

about the artist
Donita S. Thompson is living out her dream in the same town where she was born, Springfield, Ohio. She earns an income on the front lines in child welfare but the real work is in parenting her five-year-old, who happens to be an amazing story teller. In addition to traveling and writing, she also finds pleasure in being the caregiver of a one-year-old Molly fish and two snails.

Bridge Over Tranquil Waters

Strolling along Antietam creek,
I encountered two women
Civil War re-enactors

one grey, one blue,
both with Sharps muskets;
they fiddled with their muskets,

I did not acknowledge them
as I passed.

I heard one say,
“He didn’t want anything
to do with us! Haha!”

& she was right.

I strolled leisurely over
the Lower Bridge—
back & forth from one
side to the other without effort.

This, the self-same bridge
Burnside’d finally needed
so many lives to take—
& even then,
was not allowed
to keep.

I thought about that
as I strolled back &
forth across the
bridge, listening
to the giggling of women
like the
                        of birds.

about the author
Bradley K Meyer writes from Dayton, Ohio. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in decomP, DASH, Rougarou, Rust + Moth, After the Pause & others. He is the author of a chapbook, Hotel Room (Vostok East Press, 2013). He edits Pouch Magazine, which lives at

Lost Pepper

While clawing at the ground,
I think I uncovered history. As others

were digging up bones,
I discovered a miniature bottle

of Tabasco sauce
and a rusty blade.

My brother, the expert, says it’s a piece of crap,
but it cuts. The tiny bottle

makes his mouth water.
He covets the burn—lost pepper, vinegar,

salt in a wound—
sustained in sediment.

I wonder how long it has aged,
savor the burn.

about the author
Eric Blanchard’s poetry has been published in numerous literary journals and reviews, both online and in print, including Autumn Sky Poetry, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Pudding Magazine, Amarillo Bay, and Poetry Quarterly. He currently lives and writes in Dayton, Ohio.

Haunted Oak in Winter

for John Crawford, III

Pray why are you so bare, so bare,
Oh, bough of the old oak-tree;
And why, when I go through the shade you throw,
Runs a shudder over me?
—Paul Laurence Dunbar

I step on shards of acorn shell and pray
my skin hasn’t broken. Squirrels wonder why
I’m naked and ill-prepared while they are
ready. They don’t know about you
or haunted oaks. So
they nest in the nook of my patio roof. I’m bare-
foot and solemnly aware. My so-
le hurts. No, the skin hasn’t broken; I’m bare-

ly breathing these days. Too often I hold my breath. Oh,
sighs escape, a release valve of sorts. The bough
bends as though it has been stripped of
invisible weight. Nature’s the-
atrics begin. Starlings by the thousands weigh the old
branches down. They swarm the oak-tree

only to light again. Overhead a black cloud waving and-
ante, seems never-ending. Why, why
these cycles? Sunlight is a mockery when
the days are so short and the nights so long. I
stand barefoot hoping the cold go-
ads my body to sense something through
these dim days constantly turning toward night. The
winds name our ancestors, the ones who illuminate shade.
But is the calling too late for you
and maybe me? I throw

a glance at the space left by a squirrel who scrambles
to the very end of the strongest branch
then leaps onto my porch gutter.

A shudder runs over me.

about the author
Furaha Henry-Jones is an associate professor of English at Sinclair Community College, where she also serves as director of the Sinclair Writers’ Workshop. Furaha has spent the past 20 years working in public high schools and prisons, GED programs and college composition courses, charter schools for out-of-school youth, and migrant education programs. Her poetry is intended for both written and oral interpretation, and she has presented as a University of Dayton LitFest Keynote Speaker, Herndon Gallery Featured Artist and Dayton Slam Featured Poet. Her latest work has required her to listen more closely to words left by the ancestors, to consider the legacy we are leaving our children, and to grapple with our responsibilities in movements toward change.

about the poem
This poem was written early last winter in memory of John Crawford, III, and is part two of a three-part musical and poetic collaboration with musician G. Scott Jones entitled Boiling Point. The language and sentiment of the poem was also inspired by ancestor Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose poem “The Haunted Oak” speaks to lynching during his time.


jab swing
hook jab
duck hit
gloves up
hook duck
swing jab
left jab
right hook
swing ring
sweat hook
jab left
coppery taste
leather crunch
stars daze
swirl jab


about the author
Ron Rollins is a writer, editor, poet, artist, reader, husband, dad, grandpa, general community guy, history lover and dachshund owner who lives in Kettering.