Squaw Valley Review 2008
This issue of Squaw Valley Review continues the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Poetry Program tradition of publishing a collection of poems begun during the poets' week together in July. Poets submitted three poems--whether completely revised or exactly the same as the day the poem was first imagined--and three volunteer editors (participants of the Poetry Program) selected which poems to include in the Review. Proceeds benefit the Scholarship Fund.



Lauren K. Alleyne
Heather Altfeld
Joe Atkins
Joan Baranow
Judy Bebelaar
Laura June Bernstein
Judy Brackett
Beverley Bie Brahic
Richard Brown
Deborah Buchanan
Ashley Butler
Alex Chambers
Ewa Chrusciel
Scott Conley
Deborah Dallinger
Joshua Davis
Whitney DeVos
Suzanne Edison

Gina Forberg
Catherine Freeling
Richard Gabriel
Leah Naomi Green
Jim Gunshinan
Rebecca Guyon
Ken Haas
Marguerite L. Harrold
Liberty Heise
George Higgins
James Houlihan
Nicelle C. Hughes
Lisa Anne Jones
Lawrence Kaplun
Andrew Kaufman
Ann Keniston
Devi Sen Laskar
Laurie Lessen-Reiche
Jennifer Liou

Kim Lohse
Matt Mauch
Theresa McCourt
Nancy Mohr
Laura Wine Paster
Charlotte Pence
Michelle Raust
Claudia M. Reder
Justin Rigamonti
Deborah Dashow Ruth
Larry Ruth
David Scronce
Lauren Shapiro
Richard Sims
Patrick Smith
Wendy Trevino
Zach Vesper
Jonathan Watson
Dean Young

To purchase The Squaw Valley Review 2008, please email Larry Kaplun at valleyreview2008@gmail.com.


Heather Altfeld

after a line by Mahmoud Darwish

Three aches away from my heart’s drought finding rain,
his family camped with our family at the farthest eastern edge
of Lassen Park. Drunk on elderberry fizz,
we watched the black lake
watch the stars, his wife lullabied my girls
while he poked at the glittering coals.
Rose red is the evening sky, milk white is the snow,
she sang, holding my eldest on her lap,
smoothing fine golden hair from her brow
by lantern light
while I thought about his fine golden hands
smoothing the little embers that crested
the tips of my breasts. He teased me
about poetry, asked if I knew any Rilke,
pushed forward in his camp chair to listen as I read
about terrifying angels. Often a star was waiting
for you to notice it. Later I lay beneath the windowed dome
of our tent waiting for their wedded sounds—I passed up
our sex to listen for the quick shift of their sleeping bags,
a sudden halt in breath. I wanted to be the first to hear a sigh
if a sigh passed from his lips. Once he coughed a small dry cough
late in the night and I stared at the ceiling of stars
for hours, watching the delicate lace of the universe
tangle on the high knotted beams of fir. Two nights of this
rendered me loose and buckled,
and as he and I packed the ice chests and the firewood
and the tents and the hatchet, he said, You’re very strong,
you know, matching his dusty green tarp corners
to my dusty green tarp corners. Can you do any pushups? His wife
wiped clean forks dry, set them in the tin camp box,
my husband scraped ash from the fire ring
into brown bags for the rubbish. The children gathered pet stones
from the willowed edge of the water. Twenty, I said. The boy kind.
Show me, he said, setting the last plastic chair down
in the space their tent had been to pick pine tar from tent stakes.
Four elbows into it and he said you aren’t going down far enough
and I said yes I am and he said you should be touching,
the coffeedrops of his eyes pouring forward
into the crook of my blouse. Watch again, I said.
I could not have pressed harder into that needled ground.
I could not have wanted to more.

Pretty Things

Marguerite L. Harrold

Hiking through the musty racks
Of faded dresses with forgotten
Polka dots, passed down, passed down
My mother found a blue jean jump suit
With tiny roses on the pockets
She wanted me to have pretty things

She ironed and starched
Bringing the red to its natural huge
She folded each garment into squares
And put them into a semi-new suitcase
She'd bought for herself

When I got to Chicago
My father's wife helped me unpack
She threw all of my clothes away
Delighted to take me to K-Mart
She wanted to buy me pretty things

from The Book of Small Rebellions

Alex Chambers

On the Jefferson County Courthouse steps
Indiana Little rose and spoke
and was arrested for criminal vagrancy.

The teacher, backed up by a thousand friends,
demanded an end to the railroading
of each of her thousand friends’ friends.

The right to vote versus sitting inside talking
how much to charge for hammer & hoe. We generate
and must consider for whom and what.

History suggests when people come together
they can do more than listen to concerts—
they can stop the march of rubber in its tracks

she said. I keep demands to myself. It’s summer
in Birmingham. My Hoosier wife and I think we’ll
turn the TV off and work on getting pregnant.

We’ll call the child our little Indiana,
she of the stoic cry for milk, she who
will unhinge our doubt that each small act–

the quiet beer we share,
the protest’s vaguely naked feel–
is trivial, imagined, loosely screwed.

On the page, Indiana Little sounds heroic.
In person, she was arrested. We believe
she made small-talk with the local cops.

Lesser Gods

Matt Mauch

We see geese in the air. We posit takeoff,
posit landing. We see geese on the ground, in grass.
We posit a second home in water.

We would have missed the geese in the air if
not for the shadows of flying geese.
The geese we saw in grass
were wary of a dog off its leash. A bark alerted us.
We saw sentry geese eyeing the dog.

We posited nesting.
We discussed. We posited
the self as feather. We continue to posit the we
for whom the spokesperson
is me. We
speak of life as a long, long climb. Doesn’t
really matter that there isn’t a we here
aside from right here
where I say it. Doesn’t matter that
me, I’ve been bleeding to death
for years, leaving myself on chairs
and dollar bills,
on shoestrings, in palms.

We posit getting there. We posit
a there that is nothing
like here. We

breathe heavy after an uphill stretch, hands on hips,
hands clasped and cupping the head. We posit
that the shadows of angels are identical
to the shadows of geese.
We run out of notes. We whisper
as if we were at the edge
of a universe, the edge of edges
where the soft sounds
we make, and the meanings of the words
are just-opened sacks of wind
echoing and swirling through the mountains
and valleys
of each other’s ears.


Justin Rigamonti

Few things are as beautiful as a bowl of fruit loops.
I think the way my father loves me is.
Every year, for the past nine or ten,
I’ve written a poem on mother’s day.
A few weeks later,
Dad gets a bottle of liquor.
I know what he wants
by the way he shifts his shoulders when he objects.
It’s true, we hardly ever could afford
those sugar cereals, but when we did
light fell freely through the glass door
on the south side of our house
and we’d sit there in the falling,
our spoons would glint.
He’d tell us little hints, about how best
not to bother him. We tried hard.
He never hit, and I remember in the mornings
when he used to sing with tenderness to us.

Arriving by Airmail

Theresa McCourt

in a blue envelope
folded in wordless paper,

my mother's wedding ring.
I had remembered it this way:

a central stone, black,
boxed in
by claw-pronged settings,
meant for a couple
of shallow-cut diamonds.

Long before I grew up,
I believed them lost,
their sockets empty.

Today the ring lies in my palm:

At the center, a ruby
I keep turning &
turning against
the window's light.

As for the diamonds—
they were always there,
no empty holes,

just meager:

What did my mother intend?
A gift to trade, hoping worth?
Or memory she wished were beloved?

No matter.

I still see her hands
in sinks and buckets of scalding water,

him leaving her to it.

Liberty Heise has a BS in Mathematics from The Evergreen State College and an MA in English/Creative Writing from Temple University. She was raised where the Walla Walla Sweet Onion is the state vegetable. She lives in Austin where she teaches at the Girls School. Her latest work is forthcoming in Fourth River.

Lisa Anne Jones earned a doctorate in Sociology, taught for awhile at UC Davis, then chucked it all for poetry. She’s since become an active member in the Sacramento Poetry scene and is the Interview Editor for Sacramento’s Poetry Now (see sacramentopoetrycenter.org). Her poetry has garnered an honorable mention (Poetry Now), a first prize award (Berkeley Poets Contest) and has appeared in Tea Party and the anthology, Journaling the Appocalypse. Find her work on-line at: qarrtsiluni.com, Poetry Now, and at her website alchemyofbirds.blogspot.com. She writes, sculpts and enjoys her family in Stockton, CA.

Lawrence Kaplun was raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in San Francisco, where he works for the California Academy of Sciences. His poems have appeared online in Limp Wrist Magazine.

To purchase The Squaw Valley Review 2008, please email Larry Kaplun at valleyreview2008@gmail.com or send your $10 check with your mailing address to

Larry Kaplun,
1511 Golden Gate Ave.
#2 San Francisco, CA 94115