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"Skipping Stones"
  Neil Ayres
  E. Sedia
"Death's Little Sister"
  Mariev Finnegan
"Dirt Roads and Ka"
  Berrien C. Henderson
"Lady Glory and the Knave of Spades"
  Nicole Kornher-Stace
"Hard Little Shadows in the Early Morning Sunlight"
  James Owens
"Keep Calm and Carillon"
  Genevieve Valentine
"Problems of the Solid State"
  Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

"Off the Map"
  Ann Walters
"Homage to Al"
  F. J. Bergmann
"Performance"
  F. J. Bergmann
"How To Not Be Here When The Universe Dies"
  Marion Boyer


Performance

by F. J. Bergmann

Homer walks into a bar. Yeah,

he's blind, but he can tell where

he is—all bars smell the same:

a dark sea of sour wine, sweat,

and dissatisfaction. He locates

a bartender by listening for

the rush of beer into frosted

mugs, the gloop of a popping

cork. He offers to perform for

free drinks. The bartender's not

having any of that: number one,

this is a sports bar; and number

two, their license doesn't cover

live music. Homer says he's

not a musician; he's a poet.

What about that lyre, then? says

the bartender. Oh, that's just

for rhythm, to enhance the voice,

Homer says. Business is slow,

so the bartender draws him

a tap beer, mutes the tv, says

Go ahead. When Homer invokes

the gods, the bartender shifts

from foot to foot uneasily. As

his voice swells with power,

lyre thrumming, and the gods

enter the battle, in the corner

a maimed veteran clenches his

remaining fist until it bleeds.


F. J. Bergmann frequents Wisconsin and fibitz.com, and claims to have an MFA from the School of the Americas. Previous occupations include used-book seller, rural postal carrier, illustrator of a manual of interesting diseases, steeplechaser, and failed visual artist. Further attainments include the 2008 Rhysling Award and a third chapbook, Constellation of the Dragonfly (Plan B Press 2008). Both the hairstyle and demeanor are deceptive.