Skip to main content


Flying Island Journal 6.28

Dear Flying Island Readers: Welcome to the 6.28 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! In this edition we publish poems by Zoe Boyer , Doris Lynch , and Joshua Kulseth . Inspired to send us your fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction? For more info on how to submit, see the tab above. Thank you for reading, Flying Island Editors and Readers
Recent posts

Heatwave, a poem by Zoe Boyer

Heatwave Fever breaks, sun slipping behind the peak,  earth’s brow sweating off a last bead of light.  Cool air is a spell compelling me from the  bed’s burning sheets to the balcony door where the silhouettes of cafe chairs sit angled in  quiet communion and the dome of stars is  planetarium-bright; I can almost hear a voiceover intoning,  to the naked eye, Venus appears… The neighbors have made a nightclub of  their garage, the yawning door letting loose their  raucous whoops, a drunken belt of  Piano Man .  This is all we can ask of a heatwave, housebound  until moonrise, then these few hours respite folded  between the tight seam of blaze and black, the moon  a spotlight on the driveway’s stage as neighbors  emerge from the wings, mountains hulking  darkly now the houselights have dimmed, and from the cheap seats, all the pine trees are waving.  Zoe Boyer was raised in Evanston, Illinois on the shore of Lake Michigan, and completed her MA in creative writing among the ponderosa pi

Ballet with Kimono and Underthings, a poem by Doris Lynch

Ballet with Kimono and Underthings After a Photo by Dorothea Lange: “Wash-Day 40 Hours Before Evacuation of Persons of  Japanese Ancestry from the Farming Community" They gave us only two days to pack and store or give away our valuables, to notify bosses  and bill collectors, to drape our furniture  into animal shapes, to lock our houses  and apartments. They urged us to wash laundry  first, warning us of dusty conditions at Manzanar.   Deep in the armoire’s darkness, I shrouded  our Sunday best.  Next, I washed the everyday things— stirring with a pole in the sixteen-gallon wooden pail,  scrubbing stains with a bristle brush, the remnant bar of Ivory.   Through tears, I hung on the line my husband’s shirts  and pants, my oldest kimono, two skirts, a half-slip, a few underthings. Though there was much to do--scrub floors,  give away perishables, feed and release the cats,  I found myself twirling by the irrigation ditch  watching my blue and gladiola-flowered kimono,  and my hus

Nisus and Euryalus, a poem by Joshua Kulseth

Nisus and Euryalus In winter shut behind doors we’d shoot  contests from the foul line: a game           of who could make most in a row. Beginning again and again until our arms ached, when dinner was called           we walked back to the common room as slow as we liked, practically touching we were so close, jostling one another,           gravel sliding underfoot. I watched you in a game of pickup, moving between defenders,  cutting to the basket; it was like they were           fumbling in the dark— you made it look that easy, and I loved you. On the court  unstoppable; we swatted the ball,           fluid in our moving together. You caught me up into yourself cracking  jokes when I wanted to cry, taking me on walks            or to the courts to beat me again; you beat me at everything. It broke me  to lose you in the dark, in the brambles where I tried           retracing my steps, you in the enemy’s camp, captured or defected I couldn’t tell. I wept over leaving you alone to

Flying Island Journal 5.31

Dear Flying Island Readers: Welcome to the 5.31 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! In this edition we publish poems by Janet E. Irvin , Zachary Danker t, Susan Mason Scott , and Nancy Botkin . Inspired to send us your fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction? For more info on how to submit, see the tab above. Thank you for reading, Flying Island Editors and Readers

Somewhere between morning and now, a poem by Janet E. Irvin

Somewhere between morning and now Somewhere between morning and now as I harvest beans, deadhead marigolds, and cradle the plump, sun-warmed flesh of a Cherokee purple, I remember you and me lying on the hill above Athens, Ohio not Greece, in the grass we called curly  for the way the blades embraced our naked  sunbaked bodies as we made love. Somewhere between that dawn and this noon our skins abandoned  their tight fit, sagged, sloughed free like the blanched peel of a tomato stewed in its own juice, its seeds, like ours, passed on to future gardens. Chores done, I step into the dim present,  to watch you napping, still as an effigy on a royal tomb, hands cupping the place  where I once laid my head to savor the beating pulse of love after lust. My heart stutters over the desire to lie once more where we once lay somewhere between morning and now. Janet E. Irvin is a career educator, author, and poet. Writing as J.E. Irvin, she is the author of seven mystery/thriller novels. Her poe

Wild Sweet William, a poem by Zachary Dankert

Wild Sweet William  I am trying to caution you  to the change in the weather, but  you are preoccupied pressing black-eyed susans so tightly into a book  there is no air left for the future You are always doing this, I remember  last June, bergamot in my  coffee pot in the waist  of your pants Flicking through page after  page of specimen  I asked, “what is the  desired outcome?” and you  stepped outside, returned fists full of New England aster Instead of writing I  daydream geraniums, your fingertips pressing them through my eye sockets It was not so hard before,  when I gathered  refuge under your thumb which  pressed sunday mornings closed   with melancholy  made reluctant before you noticed the  first bulbs beyond the fence In my half  of the study, and sit down to write, but  I can’t resist calling “there are only  so many flowers  a man can press”  Next year when bundles of compass plant  are stored in the pantry, I remark caustically how odd it is to live in a temple  preservin

Perennial, a poem by Susan Mason Scott

Perennial Carry one half cup of death, shards of bone, bits of skin, a scorched vessel. Carry pink and red camellias shedding organs, barely alive, dust-colored at the edges. Carry the downy feathered bird who fell from the nest then Carry the empty home of woven yarns, bed with feathers sifting gravity to dress the hollow bowl. Carry fire, burned hands that sieve through burdened hands leaving the bone soup. Carry the bitter sulfurous root. Carry half an antidote to atone for father below the etched stone, scatter here the solemn cup like pollen sneezing the solitary season. Carry drops of dew to baste union of two. Carry soon mother’s last spasm as maxim: don’t live(die) among old people. Carry a rose, snug bud longing for youth to fruit. Carry the spade of soil and compost, knead sun for onions and lettuces, cut in fat for hungry worms. Carry spring rain, aroma of scallions, mud, and filtered sun to stir into stew. Carry another half cup, an offering softer for her, to season

Waiting, a poem by Nancy Botkin

Waiting We all do it. In the airport. In line at the grocery store. We wait for the swelling to subside, the guest to leave, the antibiotics to kick in. Endless waiting in doctors’ offices. The outer one, but also the inner one where you sit in a flimsy flowered gown. Not to mention the nervous wait for the biopsy report. I once rolled out cookie dough, set the over timer, and then moved out of range so I couldn’t hear it. When I finally came back in, the buzzer became an alarm. Kids used to pull the fire alarm in high school, and we knew the drill: file outside and wait in the cold for the all clear. You often hear someone say those five minutes were an eternity! How much time is wasted waiting for Christmas or summer vacation, only to be let down. Forget about prince charming meeting you by the pool, the one who also kept you waiting by the phone. Daisy Buchanan waited for the longest day of the year and then missed it. Who hasn’t waited for the chance to say, “Why don’t you take a f