Forgiveness                                                                             by Pat Daneman

Some things cannot be destroyed—
there is always a bit of ash in the seam 
of a pocket, a long hair on a pillow. A melody 
runs in circles looking for its words. 
In backstreet vapor, some shabby lady
 
or shady traveler can’t stop mumbling. 
Sometimes midnight is crowded—
dead teachers, vengeful cousins and neighbors 
whose parties outlived the night—
lights low, everyone dancing as you watched
 
from your bedroom window.
But the day comes for fresh air, empty hands, 
nowhere to go but for a walk into the woods 
as if back in time. The chatter is far away, 
the stream’s reflection stirred 
 
by rising minnows and falling leaves. 
The trees cannot be asked to stop telling lies, 
the sky not to turn. A winter bird sends its one note 
into the clouds, sound of a hammer striking cold steel, 
saying now, over and over.

Pat Daneman’s recent poetry appears in Atlanta Review, Freshwater, Bryant Literary Review, and Typehouse. Her collection, After All (FutureCycle Press 2018), was first runner-up, 2019 Thorpe-Menn Award and finalist, Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award. She is author of a chapbook, Where the World Begins. For more, visit patdaneman.com

Guest editor, Morgan O.H. McCune, currently works at Pittsburg State University in southeast Kansas. She is a native Kansan, and holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis (1991) and an M.L.S. from Emporia State University (2002). Her poems have been published previously in River Styx and Flint Hills Review. 

Facebook Suggests I Might Know a Man                       by Allison Blevins

After Kardshians season 6, episode 15: “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding”

His hair is long, struggles limply in the small picture, but the name I remember. Hard to forget this first kiss—eleven years old, with tongue—to forget how he pushed me hard against the bricks of his house still covered with raindrops, the grass—unmowed for weeks in fall rains—covered with raindrops. He kissed me hard. His tongue hard. His hand hard as it pressed and pressed hard between my legs. I didn’t feel any of it. He’s in a wheelchair now. You’re wrong—I don’t tell you this because it is just or judgement—it is simply so. I’d rather have held the rain close, close as the drops I’d watched run down the blades as if paused on my brother’s VCR, held how, after, my sweater pilled in the small space where my upper back pressed hard into brick. Seeing him like this should have made me feel. But nothing is as good as it looks on the screen:  hotel room towels, cheeseburgers, politicians. Not even kisses.

Allison Blevins received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women’s Studies Program at Pittsburg State University and the Department of English and Philosophy at Missouri Southern State University. She has been a finalist for the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and the Moon City Poetry Award.  Her work has appeared in such journals as Mid-American Reviewthe minnesota reviewNimrod International JournalSinister Wisdom, and Josephine Quarterly.  Her chapbook A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press), part of the Robin Becker Series, is forthcoming in 2019.  Another chapbook Letters to Joan (Lithic Press) is also forthcoming in 2019. She lives in Missouri with her wife and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series and is Editor-in-Chief of Harbor Review.

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.   

The  Salep  and the Spice                                                       by Clara Rabbani 

A woman  
in a burka  
lifts her veil  
to taste  
the salep  
and the spice.  
   
To savor  
orchids that  
bloomed in winter  
when the veil  
hid her frost-bitten  
cheeks from  
the stinging wind.  
   
In spring,  
she dreamt of  
saffron.  
Blossoms that  
reminded her of bruised  
fingertips.  
   
Palms turned  
upwards in the rain.  
   
She wipes away  
the dew,  
and is met  
by the fragrance  
of roses.  
   
They whisper to her  
from the  
unlikeliest of places.  
   
So she lifts her veil  
once more,  
to taste the salep  
and the spice.  
   
Oh,  
Turkish Dondurma,  
Syrian Booza,  
Woman of the world.  

Clara Rabbani is currently a senior in high school at Pembroke Hill. In the fall, she will be attending the University of Chicago to study Anthropology. Her poetry mainly explores cultural identity, specifically her Iranian and Brazilian heritage, as well as issues related to social and environmental justice.   

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.   

Rabid Skunk                                                                             by Lori Baker Martin 

I smell a skunk  
July noon,  
chain the dog  
to the porch.  
   
In the back lot  
I find the skunk,  
can’t lift its head  
from the hard earth.  
   
Body shudderjuts,  
Hammers,  
I can hear it,  
a lunatic thump.  
   
Red heifer looks on  
from behind the fence,  
chews dry grass,  
herd just beyond.  
   
Skunk’s mouth full  
frothing white,  
can’t lift its head  
from the hard earth.  
   
I get the rifle,  
aim and sight  
at the watering eye  
and the clawing feet.  
   
Stink is bad,  
thick as oil,  
hard to see  
that watering eye.  
   
Shadow beyond,  
cooler under the trees,  
it never sees,  
never knows.  
   
After, dog barking,  
cow careened away,  
rubs her nose  
on a Charolais.  
   
Call people who know,  
they say, Burn it.  
              
I rake its body  
onto a shovel,  
   
so light, like nothing.  
Put it in the metal   
barrel, pour gas on it,  
   
set it on fire,  
watch it burn.  

Lori Baker Martin, assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University has had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly.  

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.   

Whirl                                                                                         by Roy Beckemeyer 

“…the wind blows nothing  
but night”—Don Stinson  
   
Some nights the wind  
seems to move even the stars,  
clouds scudding by them so fast  
   
my point of reference shifts  
and I float, too, the wind moving  
the fine hairs on my arms,  
   
my neck, as if it were me  
streaming, swimming the sea  
of sky, phosphorescent  
   
constellations my wake,  
the stars alternating blue  
or red or white as they churn  
   
and spin with each kick  
of my feet. I reach out  
with my arms fully extended,  
   
seize hands-full of air and light,  
spend the whole night roiling:  
a cyclone of starlight and gusts.  
 

Roy Beckemeyer’s latest poetry collection is Mouth Brimming Over (Blue Cedar Press). Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books) won the 2019 Nelson Poetry Book Award. Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press) assembled ekphrastic poems inspired by depictions of angels in works of modern art. Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He is on the editorial boards of Konza Journal and River City Poetry. Beckemeyer lives in Wichita, Kansas. His poetry work has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards and was selected for Best Small Fictions 2019. Beckemeyer is a retired engineer and scientific journal editor; he and his wife, Pat, celebrated their 58th-anniversary in 2019. In his spare time, he researches the Paleozoic insect fauna of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama, and the mechanics and evolution of insect flight.

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.   

How to Befriend a Flock of Crows                                       by Julie Ramon

Remove your wind chimes and bells, anything that cries or rings  
when the wind blows. Fix your gate too. It should move without sound  
—strong and quiet like fathers and doors, mothers and windows.  
   
Remove your scarecrow. All these miles across Kansas, and I haven’t seen  
one, but bottle trees are easy—blue, green, brown—they spin.  
Spread shelled peanuts, scrape your pots and beat them with a spoon.  
   
Know shiny things will scare them. Watch from a window and spell out bird  
on a typewriter that’s been moved further and further from where it used to be.  
I spell out a name. Each bend, touch, click, a reminder you’re not here.  
   
There’s different ways to call them. Some use whistles. Others cup their hands  
together and bring them to their mouths and press lips tightly against—  
the same way you first pulled me close—the day we found out who we really were.  

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 Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, sons, and daughter.  

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.  

The Woman Who Watches the Sky                                   by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 

for Joan Foth  
  
The woman who watches the sky knows how light  
never slips but lands with intent, whitening into our view  
what the earth says now when cedars rush east, the red  
and rock pigments into history. No distinct categories  
of the known and unknown but how they turn together  
to bring new birds, a long diagonal of stratus,  
and the mountain sharpened by steel blue clouds.  
Lower down, poplars send up their yellow call,  
shadows of one bend in the earth cover another,  
and the road roots back to the slow green of memory.  
  
It could be just west from Chimayo, or across the Flint Hills  
of Kansas where the green turns red, the sky collapses.  
It could be the weather, always vertical despite how we  
move or age. It could even be night on the cusp of change,  
the mourning doves emptying themselves of song,  
the darkness that clamored for our anxious hearts  
dissolving rain into the valley behind the next hill.  
  
She hears the birds. She sees the bands of blue or wine,  
the tilting flight of what's beyond our stories, and time's old clock  
turning back to ground. When the sky comes, she's ready  
for what any given moment of light and change sings  
in its rusty voice of who she is, who she's always been.  

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely.

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.  

Healing                                                                                     by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 

I’m a newborn giraffe, my slick legs shaking  
to standing for the first time.  
I’m a raw green snake that lost its skin.  
I’m not a happy camper.  
I’m a kitten skidding across the floor  
to the rushing wall.  
I'm fog that can't seem to let itself  
burn into iridescence.  
  
Do you see me in a storefront reflection?  
Do you think of me when you could get up, but won't?  
Do you wonder what “could” even is and how  
you can be so new and broken while the world cries  
in each crevice to fix it instead?  
  
Listen to the exhausted angel, straining to reach you,  
her hand your shoulder, asking the question.  
Hear the answering kestrel riding the jet stream,  
no effort, all effort to surrender to the sun,  
then the moon, each lifting up their reflected  
and reflecting faces, then bowing  
toward the dirt where everything begins.  

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely.

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.  

Pandemic Travel                                                                      by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg 

Mask in my right hand, sanitizer in my left,  
I venture through the Kwik Shop doors  
somewhere in rural Missouri where no one believes  
in pandemics, only conspiracies.  
  
Breath to breath, so many scenarios spark danger  
and damaged lungs, fear too late at a a gas station  
gaslighting me or am I gaslighting it?  
I strap on my cloth mask with sliver moons  
parading across where my lips would be.  
  
In the bathroom awash in antiseptic, one small  
ant near the ceiling vanishes into the vanishing  
point. I count slowly to eighteen as I wash,  
elbow-open the door, and quick-deer it back  
to the safe cosmos of the car’s front seat.  
  
The raindrops change from long scribbles  
to large empty eyes the windshield wipers  
can’t keep up with, just like me, trying to clear  
the weather by angling toward the blank space.  
  
Where have I been traveling all these years,  
my hands on the wheel want to know.  




This poem was previously published in  How Time Moves: New and Selected Poems

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 23 books, including Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes The Divorce Girl, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather with photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely.

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.  

Little Free Library, April 2020                                              by Melissa Fite Johnson

We don’t linger long enough to read spines,   
but we always peek: Skinny red, like   
hymnals I held as a kid, a believer.   
Crumpled cover of a child’s paperback.   
Cotton candy colors: a series in pastels.   
  
Inside the repurposed birdhouse today:   
two jars of peanut butter. We’d been railing—  
President’s tweets, online teaching, the guy   
moments ago who passed us dead center down   
the sidewalk even as we spilled onto grass.   
  
Now we stop. The dogs sniff a moment,   
then tug. They don’t know why   
we’ve been home a month, why I sobbed   
over last night’s soapy broken glass. We nod,   
keep going. We don’t say anything for a while.  

Melissa Fite Johnson’s first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. She is also the author of A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, Sidereal, Stirring, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband and dogs in Lawrence, Kansas.   

Editor-in-Chief 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 asTheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review.  Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.