New Year’s Eve, 2016 Sinking – by Morgan O.H. McCune

After all this time, each star still marks a question.

Why would a God need so many bright eyes

To witness this? How far is that star

That it should be unreachable?

What shall I use as a measure?


We could have drawn a legend,

Collapsing the abyss into thin ripples over sand,

Where only the tiniest tragedy could occur,

Or expanding the Atlantic into a bowl so immense

That planets drift like plankton,

Calamities muted by sheer space.


We could have steered to port,

Had we kept a better lookout.


To change the future, change a word.

Yes. No. Iceberg.

To change the future, watch.


We are standing on a deck, the tilt of which

Grows extreme. There is not a heartbeat

Between us and the sea.

At the end (perhaps the beginning?),

See how the brain fires all its flares?


We were not made to go down

Without an offering, and who knows

Which flashing string of instinct may be enough.

What pearls will slip through your fingers

Into the hungry sea?


You’ll see them fall or,

From another viewpoint, rise

Through miracles of latitude.

Two billion years to that star,

Two miles to the ocean floor,

Two inches and the shell

Of the nautilus begins

To curve into an





All ahead dead slow;

Set the watch.

~ Morgan O. H. McCune

Morgan O.H. McCune was born and raised in Topeka. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and a Master of Library Science from Emporia State University (2002). She is currently working as a Cataloging Librarian, Associate Professor, at Pittsburg State University.


Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

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