Poetry – Issue 3.1

The Kill List

by Ann Cefola

He said his friend worked at the ASPCA or something.
He paused. Actually euthanized dogs,
pit bulls mostly…
Unable to listen, I see them
trot up, eager to please—that trait we bred in:

Puppies—clumsy paws, elders’ salted snoot.
Ears floppy, torn or tacked in royal tips.
Irises startling amber, green, citrine.
Coats tuxedo, brindle or tan-white sheen.

Seized by glazed willingness in wide-set eyes
adrenaline quivering not me-not me-not me,
he understood—limp body after body:
They were the ones who were good.


by Gordon Meade 
Illustration by Douglas Robertson

In his minimally decorated cell,
Bear remembers when things were
not so good. Back in the old days,

bear-baiting was not only legal,
it was positively encouraged. Bear
recalls watching some of his

best friends being dragged through
the streets in chains, with iron collars
fastened around their necks, being

barked at, and bitten, by strays

The Dusky Seaside Sparrow

by Daniel C. Bryant

First bird to become extinct since the creation of
The Endangered Species List

At just an ounce
he would have mattered less
had he not been the last,
would not have been remembered by name –
Orange –
like astronauts flown from Canaveral.

Yes, there was something bigger than that death
that day in June, 1987,
bigger than that 8X10 foot cage,
that Florida –
a whole greater than the melody of its parts.

The reeds still bend and rustle in the wind.
The salt marsh fills and empties
in slow systoles
as rockets rise.

Here lies the science of extinction.

Mutual Admiration

by David Lloyd

I salute bats for acrobatics,
their gobbling of mosquitoes,

their faces like my own
in fun-house mirrors.

They, in turn, salute me,
as they do all solids

within their radius, with dives
and silent screams,

sizing me as I trudge along,
grounded in twilight –

with one arm raised.


by Donna D. Vitucci

Riding an elephant is nothing like riding a horse,

nor like riding any earthly animal. When the elephant

bends her mammoth head to drink, or wash or revel

in a pool, she takes the rider with her.

Her rider expects a bath, but this never happens

since the creature’s tenderness ascends like Asia,

runs right through her ears, those tent flap ears,

sheets of years-worn leather which– look!

They unfurl and rise and wrap the woman,

thighs to hips, and hold her to a lumpy spine.

The rider is wrapped as if she is the stuffing in grape leaves,

as if she is part of the menu. She bows with the head,

for what can she do? She is part of the animal, part now

of what honors water’s scarcity and source, genuflecting

in the aftermath of great thirst, of great denial.

Working through the mouth is harder

by Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

“Inspired by ‘Slaughtering and Butchering’, Dynah Geissal, www.backwardshome.com (1993)”

When the temperature falls
and the pasture is no longer adequate,
it’s time to butcher.
Draw lines from eartip
to opposite eye.
Where the lines cross
is where you shoot.

There is a certain
satisfaction in using everything.
Ears can flavour a pot of beans,
stomachs can hold sausage,
lungs are edible. The heart
is a keeper, the head
can be used to make soup
or headcheese.

Raise the beast when it
becomes difficult to
reach your work.
Remove the skin, eyes, ears, nose, take
out anything that looks
strange, un-meatlike.
You may want
to brush the teeth.

I think I’ve tried saving just
about everything.
I think there’s some
value in that. If no-one wants
to eat it, the value is
in knowing.

Poet and Artist Biographies:

Ann Cefola is the author of Face Painting in the Dark (Dos Madres Press, 2014); St. Agnes, Pink-Slipped (Kattywompus Press, 2011), Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press, 2007), and the translation Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007). A Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency recipient, she received the Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery. For more information, see www.anncefola.com and www.annogram.blogspot.com

Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet who is based in the East Neuk of Fife. In the past, he has been the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the University of Dundee. His eighth collection of poems, Les Animots: A Human Bestiary, a collaboration with Doug Robertson, is to be published in Autumn 2015 with Cultured Llama Publishing.

Douglas Robertson was born in Dundee and now lives in Hampshire. An artist and teacher, he has worked on numerous collaboration projects and has exhibited widely throughout the UK. His work is in many public collections, including the Scottish Fisheries Museum, Anstruther, and Comunn Eachdraidh Nis on the Isle of Lewis. His work is included in the BBC’s ‘Your Paintings’. He has had two collaborations with Donald S. Murray published in 2015: SY StorY, by Birlinn in February, and Herring Tales, by Bloomsbury in September. His work can be viewed at www.douglasrobertson.co.uk

Daniel C. Bryant is a physician living in Maine. He has published poetry and short stories in a variety of literary and medical magazines, and has recently published a collection of medically inspired short fiction House Call, as well as a novel about a home-grown jihadist Way We Waken One by One. In 2015 he was a finalist in the short fiction category of the Maine Literary Awards competition.

David Lloyd is the author of nine books, including three poetry collections: Warriors (Salt Publishing, 2012), The Gospel According to Frank (New American Press, 2009), and The Everyday Apocalypse (Three Conditions Press, 2002). His fiction includes a novel, Over the Line (2013) and a fiction collection, Boys: Stories and a Novella (2004), both from Syracuse University Press.  He has edited many books relating to Welsh writing in English, including Imagined Greetings: Poetic Engagements with R. S. Thomas (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch), Other Land: Contemporary Poems on Wales and Welsh-American Experience (Parthian), Writing on the Edge: Interviews with Writers and Editors of Wales (Rodopi), and The Urgency of Identity: Contemporary English-Language Poetry from Wales (Northwestern University Press). In 2000, he received the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Memorial Award. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including Crab Orchard Review, DoubleTake, New Welsh Review, Poetry Wales, and Planet. He directs the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, USA.

Donna D. Vitucci is Development Director of Covington Ladies Home, the only free-standing personal care home exclusively for older adult women in Northern Kentucky. Her stories and poems have appeared in dozens of print and online journals, including PANK, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Front Porch, Watershed Review, Gargoyle, Hinchas de Poesia, Contrary, Corium Magazine, Southern Women’s Review, Change Seven and most recently The Butter. Her novel AT BOBBY TRIVETTE’S GRAVE will be published by Rebel E Press in 2016. Long ago, she started out a poet and her stories even now often trespass into poetry.

Edwin Evans-Thirlwell is a London-based digital arts journalist and PhD student, previously published in Agenda, Antiphon and The Guardian. Current poetry projects include a collection about the opportunities for inter-species mediation represented by NASA’s “Golden Record”.

Header Image by Susan Richardson