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Hermes descending a staircase



the wo | man__the winged staff__the doorway

what is left of magic sparking in her feet, bones

or self, she cannot decide, basalt under the green

of olivine, descending the long black sweep of stair


and where we (wo | man of varied names) stand,

heads cantilevered above the abyss, necks' mineral

sweep, we are feeling dizzy, the stairs tumultuous

arising, white/black of the far away, & the agate floor


& winged heels | diamonds dropped shatter

under foot | curve of calf muscling apart identity

& snakes come loose | the restraining staff,

the wo | the we | the man, and the message comes


tumbling, it's the snakes uncur|cur|cur|ling

down the remaining steps, the multiplicity

of eyes | one apsis or another; perception's

alchemy & Her | me | s descends


toward | the we |

that stands |

still hold_

_ing on





After a wildly productive life as an alchemist, Carol Shillibeer retired to read tarot, stalk Hierocholoë odorata in the lands west of the Pacific cordillera, and consider the implications of post-human materialism.















Light curls up into a scrawl

of unreadable loops unbundling

on the reedy ground. I start to spin 

top down and break, a punctured egg

without its yolk. The lawns are quiet,

the people passing in their ordinariness.


I'm unconsoled, though walking steady

over concrete slabs, tumbled and flat

like the hapless albacore scooped

by a drift-net miles long and numbed

out of the trammeled sea.


My veins are plugged into the air—

the secret's out, words disconnected

and disconsolate, spilling their grunts

and sibilants in the morning glaze.

I muse this dying absurdity, the ancient 

fluids of the heart, the faces of those

that I've loved now and then.




Askold Skalsky originally from Ukraine,has poems in over 300 magazines and online journals in the USA as well as in Canada, England, Ireland, and mainland Europe. A first book of poems, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011 by Horizon Tracts in New York City.











The Deep End



I shaved my body bald as an eel's

and offered it to hot July.


The sun caught me, told me I was too lovely

and dunked me in a giant fish tank.


When the neighbors found me they called it a pool

and told me to leave.


Look at my fish body, I said.

Look at how beautiful I am.


I wove my slick, bony tail

like a Chinese ribbon

and ducked under for good.


I burrowed into the winter mud that ringed the drain.


It might have been deep, secret sand

that had never seen light.


It might have been the ocean.

Ashley Hutson is an emerging writer living in Sharpsburg, MD.  Her work appears or is forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, DOGZPLOT, The Heavy Contortionists, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Calliope, Pantheon, and elsewhere.  Find her on the Web at


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