Note from the Editors







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When I was small, my brother told me 
aliens observed us on moonlit nights,
drawn by the red lights of cigarettes. 
I started smoking when I was ten.

Tonight I breathe my Camel Light. 
The silo against my back is cold,
the field before me snug beneath a blanket 
of misshapen pumpkins rotting on the vine. 
Their perfect siblings are in the city now,
smiles carved in full moon faces, 
candles lighting up their empty shells.

I love the killing frost.
The days are not as long anymore.

The last time my brother came home,
he brought a girl.
She had a cat named Alexander
that had no tail and won prizes.
The only cat I ever named was Stump,
who dove for a meal after the plow
scattered a nest of meadow larks.

Alexander rubbed my leg and purred;
farm cats keep their distance.
Some of the kittens purr at night,
curled between cows to keep warm,
but the cows roll on them
and they usually die.

A barn cat just trotted in from the field,
limp rodent dangling from its mouth,
eyes red reflection of surprise.
Cats look that way when they see me,
like startled children who fear fathers
have learned everything about them.

My father is asleep;
he doesn't even know I smoke.

Joan Wiese Johannes’ mother wrote poetry, although she was never part of the WI Fellowship of Poets.  However, since Joan was born nine months after the organizational meeting of that organization, she knows why her mother was not there!  Anyway, having inherited or learned her love of poetry from her mother, Joan is a regional vice president of WFOP, and a member of the on-line critique group, The Entendres', and an area writers' group, Riverwood Round Table.  She has been publishing poetry for over 25 years and composing music for the Native American Flute for twelve. Joan's poetry has won prizes and been published in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, including WI Academy Review, Moving Out, Rhino, Rattle, English Journal, WI Poets' Calendars, Peninsula Pulse, Jam Today, and others.   She has also published two chapbooks, Mother Less Child and Myopic Nerve, recorded the CD, Heyoalinda with Wayne McCleskey, and published sheet music for Native American flute.  She presents workshops, gives lessons, and performs poetry and Native American flute music, and particularly enjoys doing readings with her husband, Jeffrey, also a poet.  She used to have a real job so is grateful to be a housewife in Port Edwards, WI and have time for her creative endeavors.

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