Spring 2017

Edited by Barry Kitterman | Andrea Spofford | Amy Wright


​On Seeing a Heronry of Egrets Nesting in a Tree

​Nancy Chen Long

Perched ornamental like an angel
at the apex of a Christmas tree, the bird’s neck is curved,
slender, the elegant sway of a tangent function.
The set of egrets—the score of them, nested as they are
in the treed twilight—they could pass as a scatterplot,
snowy ellipses on a dark Euclidean plane. I want to discover
a pattern, a sine wave to impose, dogmatic
order to instill upon their random arrangement.
                   There is nothing

      more orderly than the number one,
                                          is there? unity and identity,
like Euler’s identity, numbers under the magical clutch
of an equation. When we mix every beautiful
number, it comes down to only one. When solving
for the irrational, there is no intercessory intercept
to invoke, no X in need of saving. On some days,

      my incantation is serial, primary,
                                        a set of numbers I chant
recursively. It is a sacrament to count,
beadless. Beads being derivative, rosary or Buddhist,
beads in my hand are powder down, finely disintegrating

and clustered. To be celebrant in a wake of buzzards.
Is that heresy? To be one
                            red-collared widowbird, mid-molt.
            In a volery of birds, to be identity
when all around us, the sutra of dichotomy, narrowing
            and scalar, some calculus of imputation, starlings
                           seen as only black.



Nancy Chen Long is the author of Light into Bodies, winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry (University of Tampa Press, 2017) and Clouds as Inkblots for the War Prone (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). She is the grateful recipient of a 2017 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry. You’ll find her recent and forthcoming work in Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Briar Cliff Review, and elsewhere. She lives in south-central Indiana and works at Indiana University in the Research Technologies division. www.nancychenlong.com

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Table of Contents


Albert Abonado

Jessica Guzman Alderman

William Bonfiglio

Lisa Charnock

Steven Cramer

Samantha Leigh Futhey

Jennifer Givhan

Alyssa Jewell

Julie Swarstad Johnson

Julia Levine

Nancy Chen Long

Sarah Fawn Montgomery

Rachel Morgan

Jennifer Moss

Ösel Jessica Plante

Mary Ann Samyn

Brandon Thurman


Joe Baumann

Brian J. Fendrick

Yuly Restrepo

Richard Spilman

A.A. Weiss


Karen Babine

Dan Beachy-Quick

James M. Chesbro

Elizabeth Horneber

Mark Irwin

Charlotte Pence

Kari Putterman

Scott Loring Sanders


​Elena Passarello’s Animals Strike Curious Poses, reviewed by B. Douglas Caldwell


​Hollie Chastain