Contributor Spotlight: Katharyn Howd Machan


In January of 2011, my husband Eric shared with me an article he’d found about a hunter in Belarus who injured a fox and approached it with the butt end of the rifle to finish it off; the fox resisted, somehow got its paw on the trigger, and shot the hunter (not fatally, of course, which is why we know the story) before running off. It somehow got me writing poems about Fox, a shape-shifter who can be fully human or fully animal or a mix, always her choice. Continue Reading

Time Enough at Last

At first, she’d been glad the cats had survived,
setting out what little milk she could find
to draw them close. Now, their glowing eyes
in the dark unnerve her more than the lights

that flicker on & off inside the charred,
abandoned houses or the ragged sounds
of buzzards squabbling in blackened backyards. Continue Reading

He Worked as an Electrician. He Enjoyed Television. (His Obituary Was Plain.)

After my husband’s grandfather dies, I buy our three-year-old daughter “Frida Kahlo’s Frocks & Smocks,” a magnetic dress-up paper doll with clothing and accessories: monkeys and parrots, a paintbrush along with skeleton shirt and pants, onerous scarves and bracelets. Our daughter drapes these accessories in the wrong places: a bracelet on Frida’s head, her monkey gripping the paintbrush and standing by Frida’s easel, which also sports the disembodied head of Diego Rivera. Continue Reading


Green as Ohio’s Tea Hills, named for sassafras, a root boiled and steeped for tea; green as panes of window glass on end, green as deep basins of river water that slow but do not stop, green as shamrocks and great good fortune, green as fiddleheads, fields and falls, green, like the fuse that burns beneath the dun watercolor stain of winter. Continue Reading

Look Out, Look Over, Look Past

When I hear marriage mentioned, the muscle around or the muscle that is my heart stiffens. I meet couples engaged to marry, newly wed or newly coupled, and think how slender the chance for their success. I am inflexible toward remarriage, cannot think why I would ever marry again. Once upon a time I was married, then winter arrived and I moved across town, back to base level in a downstairs apartment alone, looking for the nearest grocery store, watching the weather, hoping to be surprised by how the story unfolded. Continue Reading

Shadows and Smoke

I’ve finished my shopping at the farmers’ market. My bags are filled with carrots and cucumbers, eggs and tortillas. At my last stop, the boy handed me my change for the olives and hummus, then presented me with a gift, a napkin heavy with baklava. “A sweet for the sweet,” he said, assuming his uncle’s broad stance. The baklava was my excuse to find a bench, but I’ve already eaten the whole piece and scraped its syrup from my napkin. I’m still here, sitting and savoring the market. It’s Friday evening, and this is the most beautiful spot in Los Angeles. Continue Reading

Perspective for Artists

We were the art girls. We had charcoal under our fingernails, flecks of dried clay on our jeans, acrylic paint in our hair. The artsy seniors always lived on the second floor of McAllister Hall; it was tradition. Although our boarding school, Florence Summer Academy for Girls, was beautiful—the dorms looked like magnificent stone castles—McAllister Hall was so run-down inside that they let whoever lived on the second floor paint the walls of their rooms. Continue Reading

Pansy That!

andrea gibson poet IMG_7991

Although again printed by Write Bloody Publishing, and classic, powerhouse Gibson in nature, this newest collection includes an unexpected dose of heavy race-class social justice commentary—leaving readers floundering amidst layers of inspiring activism, sadness, and hope. Continue Reading