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Lukewarm Coffee at a Blue Desk in Michigan

Lukewarm Coffee at a Blue Desk in Michigan - A Poem by Kristin Brace

Words curdle. Words evaporate. Words reconstitute in the scent of strong coffee,         in the kicked-up odor of wet, decaying leaves     present even in summer outside these city walls. Our words were never     our         words. The hand     can... Read More

A Handful of Water

A Handful of Water - Essay by Alissa Herbaly Coons

Home I It begins with language—the sounds, the words, the songs I heard in my parents’ voices before I could imagine any place beyond my mother’s body, back when I was as untraveled as my own baby is now—before books, before maps, before any of the abstractions that have carried me to where I now sit, nursing my second born in Bar Beach, Australia. The euphoria and fatigue... Read More

Somewhere in Newfoundland

Somewhere in Newfoundland - Poem by Kristin Brace

swims a body of water marked Disappointment Lake. It could be that it’s unimpressive, but I’d like to think it was named for holding lost hopes, for welcoming wanderers who carry broken dreams like stones in their hands. It’s a lovely lake, really, with mist slinking in like a prodigal cat each morning, creeping over the surface and resting its head on the pine-soft shore. It’s... Read More

A Path and a Purpose

A Path and a Purpose - Essay by Ann Fitzmaurice

The national park ranger referred to the elk’s mating call as a bugle. I thought of a small boy with a toy and then also of a soldier blowing a horn to wake the troops. A bugle requires an instrument. The elk provides his own instrument. Cree Indians call elk wapiti, which translates to white rump. The white rumps’ mating season in Yellowstone takes place over a six-week period... Read More


Juice, A Poem by Joel Kurz

Her words take me from what I’m reading to find out what I’d like to drink. Apple juice, I answer, then take the can and look to see that’s all it is. The label informs me that the contents of this twelve-ounce can come from the U.S.A., Argentina, Austria, Chile, China, Germany, and Turkey. What I would like to drink, I think, is the juice of apples from the same orchard— to... Read More

Climbing Buttes

Climbing Buttes - Poem

I climb buttes. I press my feet into bentonite clay, scrape my sandals against scoria, pull sage from the side of the tombstones of the Rockies. I carry bourbon in my backpack, add a single droplet of muddied river water to my drink— a bourbon and branch, my trophy when I ascend this prairie mountain. I drive dusty rock roads, sweeping through carpeted clover. I dive into the... Read More



O Wheat and Barley, if we did not cut the prairie each year, your roots would be deeper than Alaska snow and wider than our throats. Why can’t we plant and not uproot. In every leafy stalk, in every sugar grain, let the words be etched, how I still love. The wind feathers through the plains and even lays some stalks to their sides, but still there is no chaff expelled, the roots... Read More

Until an End Is Made

For BHF   We had only one more residency at Whidbey Island, in Washington State, until we graduated from our mostly long-distance writing program, so the four of us boys had decided to commemorate the occasion with a photo shoot. We’d chosen the perfect outfits—a combination of hipster, English prof, and frat boy—and we intended the pictures, taken by our friend Lindsey,... Read More



The past spring, my fourteen-year-old cousin died huffing keyboard duster. Her sister found her in bed, nostrils taped shut. I picture it, the rooms of her house nightsodden. Her young legs gathered like cream. Note-to-self marked on one arm. Cream growing slack. My cousin was not a substance abuser. Clear away what you first imagined: she did not sneak out of her bedroom window... Read More

Origin Stories


He built a greenhouse: clear walls, cathedral ceiling. He smoked pipes and talked peppers, red peppers. He looked at my mother in yellow polyester shorts, her pink skin hot and long below them, covered in aloe. One day, some kids stole the pampas grass. My mother chased them down the street. Pregnant, out of breath, she saw the Scott & White, the hospital on the far hill. She... Read More