Issue 109 — 

HC Hsu (ArLiJo#109)
Karen Poppy (ArLiJo#109)

HC Hsu
Erik Felthauser

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 109


Copyright © 2018 by HC Hsu.


my home
is the canyon wall
my hopes
echo the wind
my roots yearn for ears
my leaves wish to sprout lips
you fall past and
my skin wants to grow hands to hold you
today i grow only thorns
i prick because i am a monster
the birds get up early to censure me
they ask if i’ll have petals this year
and guess they—d be bitter as my leaves
i wake up early
and try to hear all they have to say

Copyright © 2018 by Erik Felthauser.

About the Authors
HC Hsu is author of the short story collection Love Is Sweeter (Lethe) and essay collection Middle of the Night (Deerbrook), which was nominated for the APALA Literature Award. He has written for Pif, Big Bridge, Iodine, nthposition, 100 Word Story, China Daily News, Epoch Times, Words Without Borders, and many others. His translation of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo’s biography Steel Gate to Freedom was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2015.

Erik Felthauser is a zoologist who has spent time in the mountains and deserts of Arizona studying parthenogenesis. His creative writing focuses primarily on shortish poetry. He is also an avid photographer.



Karen Poppy

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 109

New Moon

    For Cecily, 16 years on.

You died in the limbo
Of a new moon.
A blank sky, a blank slate.
Only 25.
There are those who believe
Had you lived,
You never would have tried
Again, but you
Stabbed yourself out of this life,
Like stars seer holes
Into our sky,
Like you gone seers holes
Into our lives
So that we move through
With reckless caution,
Upheaval and grief that we organize.
That we place
Item by item, memory by memory.
That we smooth
Into the earth with your straight,
Long limbs,
Perfect and young.
I think of you.
How you touched the blood
With your finger,
A last question in a night
So dark.

Copyright © 2018 by Karen Poppy.

The Pot

Orange blossoms, too many for one tiny tree,
Ornamental in its pot. Each flower
A symmetry of stars and chaos of stamen,
Unfurling with pollen, golden curls coiling
Toward the sun. Under the blossoms, rich
With spring, and shaded by thick leaves,
That beautiful turquoise pot we chose
Together in the nursery, and cradled
Between towels all the way home,
A perfect baby. Now, that one cracked spot
In the glaze, secret and hidden under the tree.
Right at the rim, black, sinister facsimile
Of a star-shaped blossom. They call
All those minute fissures “crazed.”
Those that capillary out from center,
As if the glaze has gone mad.

That night, you did not craze,
Did not go mad. No one did.
It just happened. Your head hit the pot.
Then the ground. Head wounds bleed
So much. You lay in that dark lake
A long time before anyone found you.
I found you. No one knows what happened
Or why. Today bursts open
With sun-soaked orange blossoms
Whose scent makes the air go mad.
Yes, crazed, and surging deep blue.
The pot harbors such a paradise
Of flowers, and in summer, fruit.

Copyright © 2018 by Karen Poppy.

About the Author
Karen Poppy has work published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Chaleur Magazine, Wallace Stevens Journal, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and Voices de la Luna, among others. She has recently written her first novel, is at work on her second novel, and is an attorney licensed in California and Texas. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her list of publications can be found online at