Human Origami

By Kirah Lynn Brouillette


Two minutes in the morning—
before consciousness shapes
your dream-softened face—
I bend my knees, 
tip my chin up,
(we are cheek to cheek)
and fold myself
around you.

I want to surround you.

I want the first pass
of nose and lips
against your hot, sleep-cleansed skin.
I want to tug your bed-tousled hair
and lick a snail's wet path
from collarbone to ear;
to that dark nestling place
where earlobe meets your strong, curved jaw.
I want to trace finger-loops
over your breathing belly,
until instinctively you swing your hips
squaring them to mine;
bearing them to mine.
I want to loop my arms around you
and press my hands
against the taut plane
of your chest,
lifting your knees
up and in,
tucking my face
into the crook of your neck (the sweetest place)
you in me

Human origami.


By Krista Graham

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If I don’t say it out loud it’s not real
So I won’t speak it
Just fold it like a quilt and hide it
In a chest
My chest
I close the lid

Be Still

I open and let in the light
Retrieve the quilt
Unfold it tenderly lay it on my shoulders and
Feel its weight
My weight
I sit under it awhile


I let the warmth of it melt what is frozen
And in the thawing I feel
More than nothing then something then everything
And there are tears
My tears
I let myself rain

Krista Graham is a graduate of The Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. Visit her website at www.peninmyhand.com.



By Shawna-Lee I. Perrin

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The summer sun inches toward high,
and I, schoolless, thumb through cassettes
recorded off top 40 radio shows;
fully synthed, effeminate British men
weeping words for lost, exotic loves.

Lurking in my sister's closet,
I push aside school clothes
and crane my neck to the back...
There I find my day in Sage green;
the spinny skirt without which no day
on the hill is complete.
Each tier, wider than the last, cinched
to my eleven year old, hipless body.

Out on the steep hill behind our house,
spinning relentlessly on baby-fat legs.
Guess which tree I'll see when I open my eyes, still.
Blind, deaf and dumb to cars whizzing by just past
two maples - one short, fat, one tall, slender.


'Til the sun drops.
'Til roast beef and rice.
'Til my feet are a deep, dirty green.

Shawna-Lee I. Perrin is a graduate of The Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction. 


By Michael Farinola



They run, through the silent night.  Not a sound in the void there is heard. 

They follow black and silent wings of two large and vigilant birds.

It's hard to know where the raven's fly, their path seems long ago set. 

Their beaks do not smile, their eyes do not laugh, their minds do not yield or repent.

The wolves vary a great deal in appearance, one is large and reasonably intent. 

Too large for a dog, too wild for a cage, his head remains playful but unbent.

The other is gaunt and starved, with bare muscle and exposed flesh does he run. 

His claws scar the earth, his breath draws the sky; his hunger would consume even the sun. 

Where go the ravens?  Why follow the wolves?  Why no sound as they silently run? 

What are they doing?  Who are they here for? 

Why, oh why, do they run?

Michael Farinola is a current degree candidate at The Mountainview Low Residency MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction.

The Zen Curmudgeon

by Zak Podmore

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All day he walks ahead of me, his body lithe and his feet sure as he skirts the canyon’s edge. At times juniper branches grab onto my pack, but they never seem to touch his. After five decades in the desert, his bag is as much a part of him as the top of his head or the width of his shoulders.

Anywhere that can be hiked in a day is merely training, he tells me; anywhere that can be reached by a trail is for the tourists. The goal is to find a place where you can ask this question: How many centuries have passed since someone else stood here?

This landscape is alive with ancient traces--pictographs, cliff dwellings, arrowheads. He points to a crack running down a boulder like a lightning bolt and says, there’s a painted pot in there.

I believe him. He is seventy-one. Together we’ve lived exactly one hundred years.

The first day we hike for nine hours straight and in that time he never stops talking. Wild, ranging conversations and soliloquies and rants. He speaks of his past, local politics, the battles for Utah wilderness. He reads the fortune of our doomed town and our doomed state and our doomed planet, and explains that nothing is ever truly doomed. Tales flow from the years he has spent camping and hiking alone. Snooping, he calls it.

Again and again he takes a stand--controversial, untenable--and holds it against all my objections until I relent and he is free to walk out the line of his own reasoning. He then lets his argument guide him in a great arcing loop until everything he’d first claimed is knocked on its side. When he finally returns to where he started, he is holding some new view with as much conviction as the first. In the morning I pointed this out, but I soon realized to talk oneself in circles was exercise. Koans stretched across miles of slickrock. The point of a walk is to return to your door transformed, not hardened in your habits.

In nine hours, we pause only to down a fistful of peanuts and to refill our water jugs in a hidden spring.

He was once a poet and he recites lines to the moment. Upon crossing an ATV track and seeing the melted hunks of bottles and cans in an old campfire it is Richard Shelton:

This is the desert

It is all we have left to destroy

Years ago, he walked away from career after career to come here and walk. And eventually he left a marriage in the city to live closer to the canyons. The daughters he helped raise will hardly talk to him anymore. Now it’s feet to the ground every day.

What can the old hope for? he asks, quoting a question once posed to an Australian aboriginal elder. Strong legs, the man had answered.

Then he recites a few lines he wrote thirty years before:

I am learning to be an old man

It is slow work

I am taking my time

Every winter, he goes south to spend months among the saguaros, and he hikes both sides of the border fence. Once he came across two bales of marijuana laying in the American cactus--packed into tight green blocks and dropped on the run. He buried them for later.

This year he found a skull, a human skull, clean and white as paper in the moonlight. Two dark caverns of eye sockets guarded a little shade where a man’s memories once rode. Teeth lined the jaw. There were no ribs or femurs or vertebrae, just the skull. The ranger he notified told him this was not the thirst-driven death of a migrant; this was a message, a marking of territory. Like a dog pissing on a telephone pole. He shows me a picture on his phone.

In nine hours, his pace never slows, but as the winter light sinks into the afternoon rock, I notice how his boots began to scrape across ledges as we move uphill. It is as if he has to pause for them to catch up as one might pause for an old hound scrambling up a steep slope behind.

We walk through the sunset while he searches for the perfect campsite. He wants it to face east toward the rising sun. He insists it have a sandstone wall so he can wake up in his sleeping bag and lean against the wall while he drinks coffee in the first warm light. We never find the right spot. He worries we’ll run out of water tomorrow.

There are more days like this, but a week later, I’m in the canyons alone. I return and find the painted pot tucked in its hiding place. It is a seed jar, orange with red paint, and it’s at least eight hundred years old. I think of the thousands of artifacts that have already disappeared from this mesa. I sense the destruction creeping across the land even as I crouch in the quiet sunlight before the patient pot.

Leaving the jar where it belongs, I sit with a notebook. Koans, desert, doomed. Pen touches page and twenty words pour out for my friend with the strong legs:

Still walking ahead

The zen curmudgeon

Offers slickrock syllogisms

To the fading light--

We're fucked, he says,

Isn't it beautiful?