Postcards to Voters                                                                                                                              by Doritt Carroll

if the curved part of the D
doesn’t sweep under the stick part
like a scarf blowing in fall wind
 
i tear up the cardboard
and start over i worry
whether to underline
 
“free” before “pre-school”
(will that alienate conservatives?)
(and does that make “free”
 
look like it’s lying on a stretcher?) i break
the line after “an economy that works”
because who wouldn’t want that
 
and i’ve written “justice” with
a closed loop “j” as if it’s screwing
shut its eyes can’t look
 
what i mean, Valued Voter
is that actually i am trying
to imagine your eyes
 
as they trundle up and down
the peaks and valleys of my letters
dragging the red wagon
 
of understanding behind them
and the wagon is full
of apples and really
 
if you count them
there are enough apples
to share




Doritt Carroll is a native of Washington, DC.  She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. Doritt is the winner of Harbor Review’s The Washburn Chapbook Prize. In addition, she was a finalist for the Julia Darling poetry prize. Her poems have appeared in Main Street RagNorth American ReviewCoal City ReviewEunoia Review, and Cherry Tree, among others. Her collection GLTTL STP was published by Brickhouse Books in 2013. Her chapbook Sorry You Are Not An Instant Winner was published in 2017 by Kattywompus. 

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review‘s micro-chap prize is named in her honor.

Salvage                                                                                         by Anne Graue

My knuckles are bloody
scraped from [harsh] [washing]
every twenty minutes
[for] [twenty] [seconds]. My
[toes] are numb and [stab] [me]
[with] [needles] and I think it’s
[a] [rash] on my skin
that [isn’t] [there]. My
[caged] [vertebrae] pull
and [push me] in and out of rooms
[where] [pain] [sits] [grinning]
with that know-it-all
 
look we all know when
we see it. It says, I’m going
nowhere, and I ruin all things,
and Watch me. My
head throbs [for] [lack] [of]
[caffeine] or is it stress? More
than likely, since [withdrawal] would’ve
[happened] [weeks] [ago]. My
breathing is regulated
for [sleep]. My
face [is] marred with [age]. My
face sees its own ruddiness
[and] seeks [relief]. My
[eyes] [stare] [into] distance. My
blood pulses with [each] [moon].

Anne Graue’s work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies both online and in print. The author of Full and Plum-Colored Velvet, (Woodley Press, 2020) and Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), she lives in the lower Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and two daughters.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review‘s micro-chap prize is named in her honor.

Justice after RBG                                                                                                      by Tyler Robert Sheldon

It doesn’t matter whether
you can believe it

Enough cars over a bridge
or a crack in just the right beam
and suddenly the rippling surface
will be rising above you

Tyler Robert Sheldon is the author of five poetry collections including Driving Together (Meadowlark Books, 2018). He edits MockingHeart Review, and his work has appeared in The Los Angeles ReviewPleiadesTinderbox Poetry Journal, and other places. A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Charles E. Walton Essay Award, he earned his MFA at McNeese State University. He lives in Baton Rouge.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review‘s micro-chap prize is named in her honor.

Hitchbot, the Hitchhiking Robot: A Found Poem                                                                                                           by Antonio Vallone

Hitchbot made it 
all the way 
across Canada
& started in Philly
across the U. S. A.,
where Hitchbot was
beaten to death.


Antonio Vallone, associate professor of English at Penn State DuBois, founder of MAMMOTH books,  poetry editor of Pennsylvania English, co-founding editor of The Watershed Journal Literary Group. Published collections: The Blackbird’s Applause, Grass Saxophones, Golden Carp, and Chinese Bats. Forthcoming: American Zen, Blackberry Alleys: Collected Poems and Prose. In progress: The Death of Nostalgia.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review‘s micro-chap prize is named in her honor.

Lisa Scott’s Lemonade Stand: A Found Poem                 by Antonio Vallone

Seven-year-old Lisa Scott set up a lemonade stand
in her mother’s Homewood, Alabama bakery--
not for dolls, baseballs, candy, or gum
 
but to fund the brain surgeries she needs
in Boston to repair three cerebral malfunctions
and stop the seizures caused by them.
 
Lisa charges 25 cents a plastic cup, but
she says, “I’ve got a $20 bill
and a $50 bill and a $10 bill
 
and a $100 bill,” as she counts the proceeds 
from Tuesday morning. Her stand 
earned $12,000 dollars in a few days.
 
Lisa’s mother set up a Go Fund Me account
hopefully
to bring in even more.
 
She has health insurance,
but out-of-pocket expenses are piling up.
“Just one week in the hospital,”
 
she says, “and the ambulance ride is more
than my monthly salary,
and that’s without the surgery
 
and travel expenses.
I can’t fund that
myself.” “I can’t handle it,”
 
Lisa says, “I hope I make it.
My mom keeps saying I’m going to, but 
I feel like I’m not.”

Antonio Vallone, associate professor of English at Penn State DuBois, founder of MAMMOTH books,  poetry editor of Pennsylvania English, co-founding editor of The Watershed Journal Literary Group. Published collections: The Blackbird’s Applause, Grass Saxophones, Golden Carp, and Chinese Bats. Forthcoming: American Zen, Blackberry Alleys: Collected Poems and Prose. In progress: The Death of Nostalgia.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review‘s micro-chap prize is named in her honor.

Be coming                                                                                 by Heather Bourbeau

I did not know
when I smelled the lavender
that I was empty;
its scent brushing my calves,
filling my lungs.
 
I did not know
when I ate the mango
that I was not whole;
its tart turning
on my grateful tongue.
 
I did not know
when I felt the madrone
that I was less than;
its peeling bark smooth
under my roughening skin.
 
I did not know
when I heard the wren
that I was invisible;
its trills tumbling
to wake my greying crown.
 
I did not know.
I did not know.
And so, I walked
in wonder.

Heather Bourbeau’s work has appeared or will appear in 100 Word Story, Alaska Quarterly ReviewThe Kenyon Review, Meridian, The Stockholm Review of Literatureand SWWIM. She has worked with various UN agencies, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia and UNICEF Somalia. She lives amid the sage and fog.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Ninth LetterThe SunRed Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review‘s micro-chap prize is named in her honor.

Nostalgia                                                                                 by Denise Low

Father drives our Studebaker downtown to the bakery
          for applesauce doughnuts, fresh out of the oven at nine.

We enter the store. Details of this moment sixty years ago
          return: cinnamon and cloves, glazed icing barely set,

yeasty sugary dough warm all the way down to my belly.
          One of the best times with my father. He was sober.

Maybe maples had turned scarlet in this village of brick streets.
          Maybe I remember because trees turn red again.
 
The white sack in his hand crumples over a baker’s dozen.
          Jingles clatter as we open the door to leave.

Without looking up the woman says, “Hurry back.”
          Father shuts the door behind him without a word.
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light: Poems. Other books are Turtle’s Beating Heart, memoir (U. of Nebraska Press) and Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan). She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and other recognition. She teaches in Baker University’s MLA program.
November’s guest editor, Ronda Miller, is a former State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018-2019. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her book, I Love the Child (2019, Kellogg Press) won first place for Children’s Books at the 2020 Kansas Author’s Club State Convention. Miller wanders The Arikaree Breaks every chance she gets.

Turquoise Ring                                                                        by Olive Sullivan

Native Americans use turquoise as a powerful healing tool
connecting heaven and earth. It is associated with personal protection.


This is all about forgetting,
but in my dreams, he is remembering.
In my dream, he says,
I guess I’ll never wear that turquoise ring again.
I don’t even know where it is.
—You gave it to me a few years ago, I say.
Remember?
He doesn’t. Did you ever get it fixed?
—Yes, I used to wear it all the time,
like you.
It’s too big now, or maybe I am too small.

The dream follows me all day.
My dad doesn’t remember who I am.
I search my jewelry stash for the ring.
Late that night, under the waxing crescent moon,
I drive to my parents’ house.
I creep through the front door,
creep down the dark hallway,
creep into their bedroom.
Kneeling by the bed,
I slip the turquoise ring
under Dad’s side of the mattress.
I creep into his dreams.
I whisper, Remember. Please remember.
Olive L. Sullivan loves to walk on the prairie with her dogs. She travels anywhere that requires a passport. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in journals including, A Room of One's Own, The Little Balkans Review, The Midwest Quarterly, two anthologies, and in her full-length poetry collection, Wandering Bone (Meadowlark Books, 2017).
November’s guest editor, Ronda Miller, is a former State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018-2019. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her book, I Love the Child (2019, Kellogg Press) won first place for Children’s Books at the 2020 Kansas Author’s Club State Convention. Miller wanders The Arikaree Breaks every chance she gets.

I shall never see                                                                         by Cei Loofe

I was there, watching him, 
And everything that day was comfortable.
Except that day.
She was alive when the week started, 
But it is Saturday now and I am standing knee deep in plastic flowers and tombstones,
Watching him feel the air tug and push with each heavy,
Family-tree-splintering 
Breath he takes. 
I am an unwelcome guest, 
Watching him shed apple-blossom tears as she whispers into the wind.
I stand there anyway, his graft-borne, hybrid fruit.
I am a mango tree in an apple wood forest. 
I am not my father’s son.
But I am his child. 
I know this today. 

The letters written back to home spoke about the weather, 
If Vietnam would end any time soon,
How many words the kid could say, 
And that he skipped crawling altogether and just started walking. 
He gets into everything now. 
It was three years before he could write my name in one of those letters.
Seven before he could tell me he loved me. 
Almost 40 before I believed him. 

I am his offspring. He is not my kin. 
But like Christmas eve hold outs, trying to catch Santa in the act, I spied on his grief,
And I heard conversations spoken by dead relatives laid to rest, 
Too restless to get any sleep..
And I began to weep as his mother scolded him for not visiting more. 
She knew he wasn’t busy, but she understood. 
Grandpa rolled over in his grave, raised his spirited eyebrows and coughed,
And when his wife paused, distracted, said, “I am sorry, son.”

In a world where apples don’t fall far from their trees, 
What when the apple tree bears mangos? What then? 
Tropical fruit bruises easy, 
But so does fruit ripened on home soil.
It took me a long time to learn that. 
I am not his boy. 
But he is my father.
And now he is the top of his tree, 
All the upper branches have broken and blown off into folklore and myth. 
And I stood there.
Watching him learn to feel the loneliness that having no more relatives brings.
I have known that feeling for a long time.
He is not my father.
But I am here, standing knee deep in plastic flowers and tombstones, learning to
Be his son, not by bloodline, but by tree line.
See, I was never a gleam in his eye.
Never someone he planned for, 
But when mother wanted to take my life from me, 
father gave it back to me.
A young man with less than half the years I have now.
He is my father, I am his child.
And I stood there.
And he stood there, 
Grief ridged and empty and my arms reached out to him,
Mango tree branches entangling in an apple wood forest.
And everything that day wasn’t comfortable.
But it’s getting there.

Cei Loofe is more of an artist than a writer since his adventure with a catastrophic disease and injury early last year. He is slowly putting #2 lead back to paper. Loofe lives in Seward, NE with his dog, Shelly, and dislikes Okra intensely. Contact him at cei.loofe@gmail.com

November’s guest editor Ronda Miller is a former State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018-2019. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her book, I Love the Child (2019, Kellogg Press) won first place for Children’s Books at the 2020 Kansas Author’s Club State Convention. Miller wanders The Arikaree Breaks every chance she gets.

Winter Walk                                                                               by Cheryl Heide

I follow
His lanky frame
Leap from one
Deep snow print
To another

My little girl self
Darting under twisted fingers
Of leafless branches 
Along frozen obscurity
Of ice water

A winter hike
Along the Solomon
River of my father’s boyhood
Pathway of adventure
Exploration and danger

My breath catches
Holds watching 
His ax strike down
Cracking ice into
Prism veins

Winds blow snow clear
Reveal isinglass windows
To the river’s world below
Among emerald vines fish swim
Tree limbs sway in currents

He beckons 
Says all is safe
Urges me to come see
The wondrous 
River’s world 

Cautious steps
Sharp cracks
Echo down the valley
The river protests
Intrusion

In blind faith
I follow
In trust I deny fear
Love for him
So great

I am safe, warm
This bitter winter day
Know he is Protector Guardian
My father
And yet...

Years later in deep night’s sleep
I see my face
Flowing with the river
Under clear ice
Amid red and golden leaves

Cheryl Heide’s writings feature her life and a love of people, nature, and animals. Their lyrical quality reflects her musical interests. Retired from work in strategic planning and organization, she lives on a farm near Baldwin City. Her writings have appeared in anthologies, national magazines, travel guides, and Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

November’s guest editor Ronda Miller is a former State President of Kansas Authors Club, 2018-2019. Miller has four books of poetry: Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain, WaterSigns and Winds of Time. Her book, I Love the Child (2019, Kellogg Press) won first place for Children’s Books at the 2020 Kansas Author’s Club State Convention. Miller wanders The Arikaree Breaks every chance she gets.