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Spring 2005 Issue

Clearing the Way

End of August, they fish pulling bluegill and bass
out of the willows rimming a pond. They sit
in john-boats hypnotized, little pudgy boys staring
at churning, disturbed tongues of water speaking
in ripples underneath them. They squint
into the sun, their necks crane towards the breeze.
They pee off the side, drink Yoo-Hoo’s and forget
about sunburn and grief. They’ve turned
quickly away from two things always growing
on a farm: death and the sun. In a cleared field
beside them, stumps smolder in orange and white coals.
All this wreckage: mounds of stones, branches scattered
and broken. The pasture like an orchard of bones.
They left the burning to fish and forget, searching
the water, trying to bury their father. Heat sings
and slaps the bank and drains their already drained
mother, half asleep on the shore, tired herself of hearing
his voice rise from the haze. Through her half-open eyelids,
she sees Death and Summer stroll hand and hand,
walking the water. They are laughing out loud,
they are calling for Fall and mouthing her name.

Autumn/Winter 2005 Issue

Divorcing American Beauty

My ex-wife leans against
the truck, her bronze arms
slick with dirt, blood,
and horse hair. Her mane is tied up,
glistening in oil and sweat. She nuzzles
against the broken rear view
mirror. With luck,
all those tresses will glaze
and stick tenuously to my stomach.

Her belly will taste
salty and we’ll neigh and
whinny into each other across
the barn floor once more.
We’ll put away the pitchforks,
and hang up the bridles, inhale
the musky, creamy leather
of her chaps next to us
on the untied hay bails.
We’ll remember to say
each others names.

What lengths I go to-
to undress her in the afternoon,
to see that dreams taste gritty and
grind my teeth on the thought
of her standing up: half clothed, bucking
against the stable door. It’s just
me and her and a summer afternoon
and a trailer with half our life
divided and hitched to a truck
heading due and inescapably south.

Summer 2004 Issue

Winter 2004 Issue

Summer 2003 Issue

Editor's Note


SNR's Writers


Two step

two step,



If he stares

Hard enough,

Turns her


In his mind

away from

his right hand

gives her


and trusts

to chance

his left hand

will catch


when she



he can have,

at least,

the illusion

of a couple once


in a tango

he was twisted

in years ago

when he was

young and willing

and the dance

was undeniably


Wynn Yarbrough is finishing his Ph.D. in Children's Literature at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. His poems, interviews, and book reviews have appeared in the Pedestal Magazine, the Potomac Review, Segue, Black Zinnias, and Branches Quarterly. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2004 and has just finished a manuscript, Forgiving is Easy, where these poems are from. He spends a lot of time with water and birds when he isn't pretending to be a kid and a scholar at the same time.

Copyright 2005, Wynn Yarbrough. This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.