When it grew too heavy to carry,
it filled the bottle trees in Kansas.
Then, it roamed across a burning field
in plumes of smoke with tired feet.
Like coals, it kept burning and hummed
a glow through the night. This was the quickest
and easiest way to lose. In the morning,
the smoke clung to your bandages and hair
as you walked alone outside, black stubble
at your feet. Like a bell, it called out for you
through the dark valley and echoed in your
ears—a sound that never stops, but fades.
Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband, son, and daughter.
Guest Editor 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 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.