The Hot Water Heater

It was a Robert Frost kind of day:
snowy, dark with deep thinking.
I was hiking up a shallow creek
glazed with ice, a Cabela's-Gore-Tex-booted-foot
occasionally sinking through.
Above me in the flocked tree branches
was a red bird shaking more than snow
upon me. To get to know each other
a little better I wanted to fling stones
at it but they were imbedded in solid ice.
The best I could do
was flip the bird the bird.
The creek twisted up a slight grade
and I crunched along, noting
all winter trees look alike, bare,
even though clothed in diaphanous snow.
There, upon its side, if a cylindrical thing
can have a side, forming a dam,
was a hot water heater, four feet
by two feet, Sears Kenmore, electric,
one-third blue, two-thirds white, lichen-crusted,
a saddle of rust for its cap.
Because I was standing befuddled
in the woods, two miles away from
the nearest logging road, I pondered
the origin of its ownership. Perhaps
it had been jettisoned from a UFO,
or slid from a gaping maw of a cargo plane.
Most likely, it was a hot water heater,
stolen, stashed in the northern Appalachian woods
its would-be owner sitting in a dark
and deep cell, awaiting parole.
A shame, I mused, that this hot water tank
was not standing inside a cozy home
warming someone's dishwater
instead of lying before me
in the cascading ice, the only heat
emanating was that
from the very slow
process of

by Robert E. Petras

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Robert E. Petras often hangs poems and essays on a nail in a tree along the road in front of his house. He is a frequent victim of prank phone calls.


In Palo Alto (The Yiddish Circle)

As the sun shines
On a warm and bright Palo Alto morning
A rich little Jewish child is born
In the ghetto

And his mama sighs

'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another large Montessori bill
In the ghetto

Gentiles, don't you understand
The Jewish child needs a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an average young man someday

Take a look at you and me
Are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way

Well the world turns
And a pudgy little boy with a zitty nose
Surfs the Internet as a cool breeze blows
In Palo Alto

And his ambition burns

So he starts to roam Starbucks at night
And he learns 'bout the Web
And he learns SimFlight
In the ghetto

Then one day past graduation
A young man breaks away
He hires someone to write software
And drives a Benz with the wind in his hair
In Palo Alto

And his mama shops

As a crowd gathers 'round a wealthy young man
In a suit in the street, cell-phone in his hand
In the ghetto

As the young man thrives

On a warm and bright Palo Alto morning
Another little Jewish child is born
In Palo Alto

And his mama sighs.

by Lance Nizami

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Lance Nizami is an independent research scholar (science) living in Palo Alto, California, the home of Facebook. For reasons of common decency he does not use Facebook. He likes visiting zoos and does in fact love hippos, especially pygmy hippos, especially baby pygmy hippos, which are goofy. He has no MFA, and wonders what they are for. In his one year of submitting poetry for review, he has had 55 poems accepted for print publication.



Cows' tails sway
So flies stay out;

Wives' tales sway
So lies stay in.

by James B. Nicola

The Clam

The clam has such peculiar ways
It lives between two joined ashtrays.

by David L. O'Neal

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James B. Nicola has had over 200 poems appear in sundry journals, winning one poetry award (the Dana) and one nomination (Rhysling) without "paying to play." In 2010 he was Featured Poet at The New Formalist. Also a stage director, playwright, composer and lyricist, his book Playing the Audience (Applause) won a Choice Award. His children's musical, Chimes: A Christmas Vaudeville, premiered in Fairbanks, Santa Claus attending opening night. Upcoming: first poetry chapbook, Still (Stasia Press).

David L. O'Neal attended Princeton University, served three years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, and then established his own business as an antiquarian bookseller dealing in rare books and manuscripts. He retired in 2002 and is now enjoying a second career as a writer and poet. Apart from finding publication in several journals, he has self-published several books including one about his parrot, and Babbling Birds, an Anthology of Poems About Parrots from Antiquity to the Present, the only book of its kind.



Fairy beneath a budding
willow tree, understands.
The wind always whistles
like this. Wailing
fame of the protocol.
Juxtaposing fiction and reality
as if demonstrating reconciliation.

image of the known
light halos
drifting in atmosphere.
Although the dune
rises to the folly
as dogs, transgressing.

The crystals imbue themselves
with radiance.
But are beholden
not by men
seeking. Shards glowed
with enchanted light.
Through earthly veils
and wept.

by Kevin Meeks

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Kevin Meeks is a graduate of Providence Christian College with a degree in English writing. When he's not out saving the world from copious amounts of second-hand furniture, he is editing his first fantasy novel. He had had poetry appear in Gone Lawn. He will take another swig of coffee and keep on writing.



He turns the page of Sandman
in his small, hardened hands.
It's eight o'clock on a Saturday night
and he's flipping through the pages of a comic
as if it were a work of art.

Left hand fingers up the spine
while the right hand fingers flip,
lick the tips, slide,
and flip.
He smiles to himself between the
lick, slide, flip.

My husband must have grown tired of waiting
on our wet-dog worn couch
as I put on my makeup.
Restless, as I yelled from the bathroom,
"I'll be ready in a second," but minutes later
still not there.

No one, especially me, believes emphatically in
the flawless and perfect partner.
But I can see what intrigues me so—
the way his stomach spills over his jeans
as he scratches his crotch with one hand,
his other busy cradling the precious printed pages;
the slender, stroking fingers,
with the gnarled finger nails.

by N. Joy Lutton

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N. Joy Lutton is a beer-brewing, vegan runner who lives in Tacoma, WA. She served as Managing Editor of Arroyo Literary Review, Vol II. Her fiction has appeared in The Short Humour Site, 50 to 1, Girls with Insurance, and Kerouac's Dog.