Note from Walter Bargen
GAPE (Guest Assistant Poetry Editor)

As he stood beside the bed, he hid his hands behind his back. There was something of the mummy in her as she lay swaddled in sweaty sheets. Her eyes were two unbearably bright stones he’d spent a lifetime searching for, hoping to add to his collection, and now could not place in his pocket and walk away.


When he’d stepped into the room, he could feel Bedouin robes swish across the tops of his grave-robber sneakers. Lost twice chasing after mirages, he’d just crossed the driest desert on earth before entering through the sliding glass doors and taking the elevator to the ninth floor. Sand was banked up the wall just below the nurse’s call button. Hearing the slow susurrous shifting quartz, he knew he was standing inside an hour glass.


"Act naturally" is what he’d been told, but between acting and naturally was the chasm he couldn’t bridge. Wordless they stared at each other. He pulled his empty hands out from behind his back with the flare of a magician. He wrote on the air, "Words flower of nothing."



I believe that these poems "act naturally" and bridge those chasms between emotion and artifice, between the reader and the wizard behind the curtain, and I want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to read their work.

Without Jim Zola I could not have accomplished the task of guest editing that he so kindly invited me in to do.