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Photo by Don Rothman
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Lisa Ortiz

The Ventriloquist Divines

Fortune spasms his stomach; telling
cramps his obliques, gastric juices
and lymph.  He throws voices
through the hall of his throat.  Here
is the news from the dead:
the puppet lives in a box,
mute heart, rag ribs, glass eyes.
The ventriloquist  clicks open the latch.
He touches cold teeth with warm tongue. 
He won’t say a word.  He can’t tell the crowd.
He smoothes his lapels with his hand
and walks out under the lights.
Everybody sees what he has. Kids! Meet my friend!
He acts surprised to see his own hand.


The buzz and hum
of rising, throttle,
instruments, and look:
our house, our town,
the lighthouse perched,
slender scratches
of meadow, the blur
of the city and north,
the ridges and ridges,
the aerial hum of propellers, and I remember
what happened. See that.  Even the Devil
looks small from the sky: his red hat,
his tiny dark boat,  sliver of stick
pushing down a delicate floss of river.


After sunset their lanterns blinked
skimming  the place
where the sea left a mirror
so the clammers, their lanterns
cast reverse
clammers and lanterns
in the pulled away scrim of the sea. 
Myself, I’m accustomed to forest,
my house, my neighbors
all tucked in dry trees.
Here the moon swung above
(an elysian lantern)
so my heart closed its shell
with a snap.

Lisa Ortiz

Poems by Lisa Ortiz have appeared in the Comstock Review, The Literary Review, Zyzzyva and Crab Creek Review where her poem “The Tortoise Survives the Fire” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her poems have been featured on Verse Daily and Broadsided, and a chapbook Turns Out was published by Main Street Rag in 2011. A new  book is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in July 2013.

Winter 2013

Peggy Townsend
Jill Wolfson

Arthur Streshly

Barbara Bloom
Lisa Ortiz
David Sullivan

Tribute to Don Rothman
read by Julie Minnis

FloodLight Feature
Stephen Kessler

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