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The Librarian




After we found a copperhead in the backyard,

the experts said in order to keep the snakes at bay

surround your yard with mothballs. He was going

on and on about snakes and their ways, but I found

 myself thinking about my archaic librarian

from high school, Miss Morris, and my semester

as her aide. The lady reeked of mothballs

so much my eyes watered through fourth period.


At lunch, friends asked me what was wrong

and then remembered where I came from.

I used to cringe when she neared in fear

her breath might be mistaken for a gas leak;

after all, the science lab was right next door.

I’d worry she might die behind the World

encyclopedias and I’d have to drag

her ass to the back right after class.


I’ll never forget her purple hands

with bulbous veins that seemed to burst

through onion skin as if she were molting.

I’d wonder why I selected the library,

the place was so esoteric. Easy elective, yes;

shelving books a mindless task, yet tedious.

She’d make me line them straight across

the edge of shelves, which I thought pointless,


but obliged with a deep sigh as she recoiled

and hid behind the signs that said Keep Quiet.

I’d alphabetize the card catalogue to occupy

my time, study the triple-digit numbers

of the Dewy Decimal System just because.

But I never understood the correlation

between Miss Morris and rank mothballs.

Now I think I do.





Laurie Kolp poems have most recently appeared in Blue Fifth Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Concho River Review and the 2015 Poet’s Market. Her complete collection of poetry, Upon the Blue Couch, was released in 2014 through Winter Goose Publishing. A complete list of Laurie's publications can be found on her website,

















Young Man on a Bad Trip




The stench came first,

the young man remembers.

It was as if someone had

grabbed him by the ankles,

turned him upside down

and dunked him in a latrine.

Not good, he says.


Then all the hissing

and the forked tongues

only he could see,

flickering as if vipers were

slithering around him.

Very bad.


A nurse told him

he was out of it for days,

yelling and cursing

jumping out of bed

running around.

It took three orderlies

to hold him down.

All he remembers is

the stench and hissing.


When he came out of it

he thanked a priest

his parents had called

when doctors said they

could only sedate him.


The priest came back

the next day and asked

if he wanted to pray.

He told the priest

he didn't believe in God

never mind Satan.


The young man said

the problem was a guy

had sold him bad stuff.

Simple as that.

But if it happens again,

he hoped the priest

would come back,

light his candles

and work his magic.

He’d appreciate the help.





Donal Mahoney. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at






















I made a checklist of things to bring:

four pairs of underwear, a box of Ritz crackers,

two ponchos, and the parched remains of a six year old —

my brother still batting flies from his lashes.


Whipped but wide-eyed, I told him

I had brainstormed places for us to sleep:

on moist woodchip beneath splintered playground,

aside the galactic necks of redwood, our bodies curled

into fists like those we knew so well on our mother.


He often asked me why only occasional afternoon dogs

heard our screaming. Every owner’s ears clogged with gravel.

Even they mistook the begging for barking.


The basement is a stage for animals. And their domestic props:

copper clothes-hanger twisted into wire leash,

curtain rod honored as conductor's baton.


We ran far, our fists clenched even in sleep.

Like hers when she found us three days later

in the back of a pick-up truck. Dreaming of ivory.

Rolling wet over studded iron. The shiny sticker

on each scar preparing to be peeled again.





Tiffany Kang is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Creative Writing program and its premier performance poetry collective, The Excelano Project. She has featured at the Philadelphia Poetry Slam, Asian Arts Initiative, and was nominated best female poet at the Wade-Lewis Poetry Slam. Her work has been published in Poppy Road Review, Eunoia Review, and Van Gogh's Ear for Music.


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