Canis Major


Two creatures normally in perpetual motion

begin to retrograde, reach absolute zero,

dog with his nose up, daughter with finger


pointing at that Greater Dog who guards

us from his sky post, Sirius lighting

their faces, their expressions seemingly


saying we are not terrestrial; we are stars

evolved who fell to earth, photons, pulsars,

now in proper motion, now back at play

LISA STICE is a poet/mother/military spouse, the author of Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a Pushcart Prize nominee. While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. You can learn more about her and her publications at and at

Interview with Dan Rosenberg

“It is a rare privilege to know Dan both as a poet and as a teacher. Nearly three years ago, I was placed in his poetry workshop at the Iowa Young Writers Studio. Our first assignment was to read Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s surprising poem, “Song.” And I still remember how reading it made me wonder if it had been written for me.  But that was the joy of being in Dan’s workshop. He brought us closer to poetry from all over. He introduced us to poems with a remarkable kindness, love and friendship. And every morning, as we would meditate on language and poetry, Dan made us see how poetry can, in fact, be the greatest love and joy. Dan helped me realize that language can be the light and poetry, its sustenance.”

-Devanshi Khetarpal, Editor-in-Chief

Inklette: How does writing poetry affect your life? Has it made you a better person?

Dan: I fear the long history of poetry doesn’t offer much evidence that writing it makes you a better person. I’ve never thought of it as an external force that can affect my life, really; it’s bred in the bones of my life. What I am. After Auden famously says that “poetry makes nothing happen,” he less famously says it is “A way of happening, a mouth.” That sounds right to me. When I was a child, I wrote for myself, mostly thinly-veiled autobiographical poems. Now that I’m an adult, I write autobiographical poems with veils of various thickness. But everyone does that. I think my poems that are not straightforwardly responding to some aspect of my life remain autobiographical because I have an expansive view of the self – politics are part of my life, faith and the lack thereof, strangers. Which is a way of saying that writing poetry can be a way of articulating empathy.

Inklette: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in the process of poetic composition? How do your other interests converge or diverge with your literary ones?

Dan: The boring answer here is time: Having a small child means that I no longer have the same huge swaths of time I once had to stare at the wall and argue with myself over line-breaks. But this happened to me recently: I had brought my son over to his friend’s house for a playdate, and I was talking with the friend’s dad. We’d apparently exhausted all natural conversation topics, because he asked me what I like to do besides work. And I froze. Do I not have hobbies? I spend my time being a father, a husband, a professor, a poet. I like watching TV and movies, but that’s not a hobby. I read all the time, but that’s technically part of my work. I laughed off my lack of response to him, and worried about it quietly for a week until I was going for a walk with a different friend. I told her I wanted to pick up a hobby because I didn’t have an answer to this guy’s question. She asked me if he was an artist, knowing that the answer was no. She reminded me that artists don’t have hobbies; we live our work, and everything we do is part of our work. I don’t know if that’s true, but it made me feel better. Also, I’m excited to get deep into gardening this spring. (“Verse” comes from Latin for a turn of the plow, a row or line.)

Inkette: Can you pinpoint a moment when you fell in love with poetry and writing? How has career impacted your conception of what you do throughout your life?

Dan: I’ve always been in love with reading and writing, and poetry has always been a part of that. It wasn’t until college, though, when I started studying poetry with Peter Richards, that it became something I considered having as part of my professional, public life, as opposed to just a thing I would always do on my own. He was the first person to read my poems critically, to tear them apart, really, and I thrived in his honesty. I had always been a grade-A nerd, and had never received much besides affirmation from my teachers. So there was something shocking and enlivening to bring five poems to Peter and watch him throw four of them into the recycle bin after a quick glance, and then dive deeply into what was working well in just three lines of the one remaining poem. I don’t think this approach would have been successful with everyone, and I’ve rarely felt comfortable approaching my own students’ work in this way, but it helped me immeasurably. That first class with Peter was a turning point, for me. At the same time, I had the chance to work as a TA in some other classes, to study pedagogy a bit, and those early tastes of teaching helped send me down the path I’m on now.

Inklette: How has your experience co-translating Miklavž Komelj’s Hippodrome changed your relationship to language both as a tool for communication and an artistic medium?

Dan: There is something tremendously liberating about translating, the way writing in a form, under strict constraints, is liberating. But unlike any other kind of constraint, working as a translator drives home the contingency of your language, the sense that your language is just one of many ways of construing and constructing the world.

For example, the very title of the collection posed a translation problem: In Slovene, hipodrom refers to a racetrack—where you could go and bet on the horses today—but also to the historical stadiums built by the Greeks and the Romans, the ruins that dot the modern landscape of the ancient world. There is no division in Slovene between the ancient thing and the modern thing. As an American, this notion of a continuous history is in some sense inconceivable. Trying to articulate the inconceivable: is that a definition of translation, or of poetry?

DanRosenbergDAN ROSENBERG is the author of cadabra (Carnegie Mellon UP, 2015) and The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press, 2012). He has also written two chapbooks, A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010) and Thigh’s Hollow (Omnidawn, 2015), and he co-translated Miklavž Komelj’s Hippodrome (Zephyr Press, 2016).

Rosenberg’s honors include a Presidential Fellowship from the University of Georgia, the 2011 American Poetry Journal Book Prize and the 2014 Omnidawn Chapbook Contest. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in such magazines as Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Boston Review, Poetry International, and Conjunctions. 

Rosenberg is an Assistant Professor of English at Wells College, where he also coordinates the Visiting Writers Series and the annual Chapbook Contest. He also co-edits Transom, an independent online journal of poetry and translation.

How to get over your husband

Begin with an orange.
Give it teeth and a top hat.
Bring it to work and set it on your desk.
Say it’s your uncle
Uncle Orange
who won the California State Lottery,
put your kids through college,
and took you on a cruise to Barcelona.
They will be jealous
and wish they had an Uncle Orange
as colossal as yours.

They will prop apples and pears on their computers
and dress them in petticoats or tuxedos,
calling them Gramma Smith or Marjorie…
maybe Angus,
but it won’t be the same.
They’ll even try pineapples –
dressing the tall, leafy stalks with laurels, palms,
and their finest pearl necklaces.
But it still won’t compare
to your darling Uncle Orange
and the scent his body permeates
throughout the office.
He even smells good after a game of rugby,
unlike your husband.
Yes, they’ll be quite jealous of the smile
you arrive with every morning.

Even after your husband leaves
you will still smile,
clutching a one-way ticket to Barcelona,
feeling citrus-good and drunk
on fuzzy navels.

LISA MARIE BRODSKY is the author of poetry collections, “We Nod Our Dark Heads” (Parallel Press, 2008), and “Motherlung” (Salmon Poetry, 2014), which received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her poetry has been published in The North American Review,  Mom Egg Review, The Peacock Journal, Diode Poetry Journal, Verse Wisconsin, SUSAN/The Journal, Poetry Quarterly, The Drowning Gull, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Poetry South, Willawaw Journal, and has work forthcoming in Barrow Street, Wraith Infirmity Muses, Inklette, among others. As faculty member at All Writers’ Workplace & Workshop, Brodsky teaches classes on emotional healing through creative writing. Her web site can be found at:

1999 and later

I am in a backyard with a childhood friend. We are boys in 1999. We run without pattern until he slips on a patch of wood chips and cuts his hand. Instead of crying, he places his hand near an ant hill, holding it there until I lose attention and walk away, turning the afternoon into days later when he is still at the anthill. When I see him again, I ask what he is doing. He tells me he has engineered an ant to bite the cut until it heals. Engineered what? I ask. He wipes the leftover blood on his gym shorts and I go about my life and he goes about his. But he never leaves the yard, instead teaching the colony to heal his self-inflicted wounds until the ants go to him, enter through his nails and heal his cancer, his wrinkles, his gray hair. He heals others too with the trademarked skill and makes a life by it.

One day, the world has different yards, and there are too many people and not enough pools. I am one hundred years old when children launch themselves from unseen canons above the manufactured bend of cornfields into my neighbor’s pool. Some bodies splash against the sky, causing shadow and dripping blood. But most splash in the pool and emit secret yelps that nonetheless resound in a room’s enclosed space. Other children come from a hole cut in the sky, sand spilling from a steel skeleton holding up the floor above us. Sand still spills as they look around for grumpy pool owners and then drop a rope and slide down. But my neighbor, unseen, is waiting and watching. He realigns the rope to a hole he has cut in the ground. The children fall through into an icy tundra. He does not cover the hole after scaring the other children from his pool, so the glacial winds crust the hole’s outline with its otherworld. No one cares, and no one cared before, if the ice stays or goes. The children in the tundra below us will either die or learn to ski.

ISAAC LAURITSEN is a writer and poet based in Chicago, IL, where he works as a content writer. Forthcoming work is scheduled to appear in Adelaide Magazine and Habitat Magazine. He is currently working on a book-length poem and a number of themed chapbooks.

No hunter’s home


Still, the river runs.

Blind to blood—


but if not the river,

you will lick


the furrows

in the earth hollow


because hunger,

because the golden of


your apocryphal

stories, hand-in-hand


our daughters, sons

who’ll never come,


a gun between you

and all I have


banished. Consider—

I will spin you red


under my fingers,

hold down each


godforsaken bullet

you want to use


in the mouth

of the unarmed sky,


firing until

the blues melt crimson


and nothing else

can be shot.


At the end of this

we will starve,


our children’s hands



but gunless.

CLAIRE S. LEE is a student from Southern California. Her writing has been recognized by Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Ringling College, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and can be found or is forthcoming in Alexandria Quarterly, A-Minor Magazine, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Rising Phoenix Review, Blue Marble Review, and *82 Review, among others. She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of COUNTERCLOCK Journal and an editorial intern of The Blueshift Journal.



our backyard held
minotaurs & at night
i would click on
my flashlight
in search of them–
calling in wonder
& fear–
i wanted so badly
to know what kind
of voice
their bodies could hold–
alone & pacing–
ankle-high grass–

when my father is gone
who will mowe
the scraggly
labyrinth &
bring the beasts
glass to feed on–
whose father
doesn’t love
his sons
in a sort of
a monster fed
in the lonesomeness
of midnights–
oh every gay-boy
has been icarus–
a winged-shadow
in the silhouette
of a sky-scraper–
my wings from
there was not
enough wax & tar
for a boy
so late–
so undiscovered
& rare–
i am a rare boy
who first
loved his body
in the eyes of
the minotaurs–
their rigid
jaws & yellow
irises flashing
in the moonlight–
do you drink like your
father did?
snow angel-winged–
my flight is not
like the others–
this silhouette
i hold onto
when i look
out my
back window

& the grass
is hidden
by snow

& there
are no more minotaurs–
i love the way
i melt
in your blaze–
that is of course
the point of falling–
i did not fly
too close to
the sun– i flew
as close as
i wanted to–
my wings an
of deliberate
biology– your
son with the
ovaries &
around the backyard
when he should
have been in bed–
your sleep-walking child

whose nightmares
were wild & never
held still
another queer
making wings in
the basement
so his father won’t
catch him–
oh i know
icarus &
each time
i call home &
knot my tongue
i can tell my
father that i’m a boy
i feel his
wax dripping
down my throat–
the wounds–
oh icarus
i know what it feels
like– to
climb– to want
to find a ceiling
to burst through–
i hang up
the phone–
calling from
the cold
cement floor
of my parent’s base-
wings throbbing
the ocean

ROBIN GOWs poetry has recently been published in Synaesthesia, The Write Launch, FIVE:2:ONE, and Corbel Stone Press. Robin Gow is an undergraduate student at Ursinus College studying English, Creative Writing, and Spanish. He runs two poetry blogs and serves as the production editor of the Lantern literary magazine. He is an out and proud transgender man passionate about LGBT issues.

Watching the Magic Act

You said there really was

something up the magician’s sleeve

despite his protests

to the contrary.

But it was my sleeves

your fingers probed,

searching for the rabbit,

the bouquet,

the endless string

of knotted handkerchiefs.


You felt for his female assistant,

thin and vulnerable,


but for the sparkle of her sequins.


When he sawed her in half,

you shuddered.


When she slipped into the trunk,

you felt each sword

he jammed right through its sides.

And when, with a snap of his fingers,

she vanished into thin air,

you sensed the depth

of her invisibility

even when he brought her back.


Still, you came home with me

that night,

wrapped yourself inside me,

like my chest, my arms,

were a magician’s cloak.

All night,

you promised yourself

you’d never be

just part of a magic act.

Unless, of course,

you were the dove

who that appears suddenly

in the palm of my hand,

flutters her pure white wings

to my thunderous applause,

then flies away,

high and unassailable,

in keeping with your magic.

JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.