Some pronounce it poim.
Like it has an oy inside it.
The way an oyster
has an oy inside it.
– from “Poem” by Paul Hostovsky


When Branko heard the trucks rumble past the apartment building, he was stealing the transistor radio his elderly mother kept by her bed. He stuck the small radio in his pocket, then stumbled through the hallway to the living room. From the second-floor window he could see the old women climbing down from the flatbeds. The women sat on little wooden stools and guarded the soiled sofas and mattresses and broken refrigerators set out on the sidewalk. Their hands clutched net bags stuffed with loaves of bread and hard fruit. Branko despised Zagreb’s annual collection day and the Gypsies it brought.
– from “Whole Body Warm” by Christopher Linforth


My night vision is pixelating—
myriad luminous motes
escape heaven, delicately drift

whitening these flat fields,
this stopped pond—round like
a communion wafer you could skate on.
– from “ICEBLINK” by Susanna Brougham


Far out in the middle of the Lake, maybe halfway to Canada, to Thessalon, the wind blows the waves even higher than it does out over the open sea. Their tops of froth bend into whitened crystal in the frozen air, then crash like glass, thousands of broken windows falling into the unrisen water.
– from “Ophelia” by Richard Wirick


Everyone knows the boulder,
the torture of eternal, pointless pushing,
then the inevitable downhill roll.
Few remember the reason – Death
tricked, fifty extra years to savor
olive bread beneath the Tuscan sun,
fifty cakes whose flames
were his to snuff.
– from “Sisyphus” by Alison Stone


She thinks of saying “Don’t get the frozen pizza,” but that would reveal that she’d had the frozen pizza once or twice or more, that desperate choice of lonely people. “Oh,” she stalls for time, “they have some fresh arugula here, for a change.” She immediately regrets saying that, but oh well, too late. What if he’s an arugula-freak and wants to discuss that strange stuff she’s never tasted? So much for trying to sound sophisticated.
– from “Super Deal” by Terence Kuch


descant 2017 Table of Contents


Poem by Paul Hostovsky
• Poem


Poems by Kelly Nelson
• Origin
• Upkeep
• Return
• Anniversary


Fiction by Jane Renaud
• Hollywood Nails


Poems by Dexter L. Booth
• After the last flower is trampled
• Conversation Starters or Things I’d Never Say to You in Public
• Enoch


Poem by Laura McCarty
• Vicuña


Poem by Eva Skrande
• Monologue of the Abandoned Building


Fiction by Christopher Linforth
• Whole Body Warm


Fiction by Terence Kuch
• Super Deal


Poems by Susanna Brougham
• Summer Camp
• Iceblink


Poem by George Eklund
• An Orchestra


Poem by Robin Scofield
• Maria Better Than Nothing


Fiction by Jeannette Brown
• It’s Not Even Past


Poem by Ian Randall Wilson
• The Isolation


Poems by Charles Harper Webb
• Situs Invertus
• Plushophilia


Poem by Garret Keizer
• For a Friend About to Give Notice


Featured Artist, Sherry Abbasi
• Biography
• Artist’s Statement


Fiction by Richard Wirick
• Ophelia


Poems by Karen Faris
• The Mannequin Poems: She Who Is Plastic Is Sealed
• The Mannequin Poems: It’s Been a Perfectly Pleasant Arrangement


Poem by Peter Marcus
• Biopsy


Fiction by Ana Menéndez
• How to Raise a Child


Fiction by Toni Jensen
• Ever After


Poems by Inez Tan
• Toil
• Throw Yourself Down from Here
• The Source of the Darkness Was Unconfirmed


Poem by Paul Sohar
• Drowsy Road


Poems by Cody Todd
• The Invisible Man Smoking a Cigarette
• The Shaving
• Hamlet as Rhinestone Cowboy
• Frontier


Fiction by Claire Day
• Fractured Memory


Poems by Alison Stone
• Denial
• Sisyphus
• Endymion


Poems by Bruce Bond
• Purchase
• Bomb


Fiction by Brad Eddy
• The Aquarium


Poems by Alexis Trevino
• For You (when you find my hair on your floor):
• For You (Genetics Part 1):
• For You (when distance is more than geography):
• For You (Genetics Part 2):
• For You (when you can’t find enough words):


Poems by Adam Clay
• Between the Heron and the Wren
• Devotion to Eternity in a Temporary World
• The Art that We Are


Contributor Notes


2017 Award Winners