IN THIS ISSUE:



Rachel Adams >>

Roshelle Amundson >>

Kenny Bellew >>

Cat Campbell >>

Alicia Catt >>

Raymond Cott-Meissel >>

Ben Findlay >>

Gail Gates >>

Brent Giesen >>

Kristine Hayes >>

Blaine Huberty >>

Peter Laine >>

Amy Mattila >>

Suzanne Nielsen >>

Dawn Nissen >>

Norah O'Shaughnessy >>

Rebekah Pahr >>

Sally Reynolds >>

Donna Ronning >>

Kah Shepard >>

Kelly Taylor >>

Jonah Volheim >>

William Wells >>

Jake Wendlandt >>

S. A. Victory >>

Kate Young >>

Alice Lundy Blum >>

Natallia Meleshkevich >>

Suzanne Nielsen



Carmen at Happy Hour


Right before the clock struck five Carmen roared like a lion,
ran her head back and forth against the barbed wire fence,
then lowered her body to the ground, face first,
breathing deep the darkness of the dirt.
“Wild from birth,” the neighbors whispered,
“and she’ll be tough to confine,”
they continued.
Carmen kissed the ground, then pulled herself to attention. 
She inhaled and exhaled while the neighbors looked on,
arms folded across their chests.
“Keep her away from the crows,” Warren Stoltz
said as he looked up toward heaven,
“and keep begging for a blessing the fence stands firm.”



Catching Minnows

Down a day from two months dry
she mentioned to her sponsor that sobriety
was rough going, that she’d cut her hair
in the dark the night before then
lit a candle for all the saints who witnessed. 
The shadow on the floor indicated to her
the cut was a jumbled
jagged mess, and back on
the road again come Tuesday is her goal. 
Setting the record straight
is part of her religious obligation as well as her provocation.
Someday soon she’ll swim under a red sky
catch minnows in her teeth
and take life a day at a time.


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Suzanne Nielsen teaches writing at Metropolitan State University.