Americana Stories—Poetry

Amador County Festival, by Tim Kahl

Dance around the tarantula in the grass during the encore
after all the giant turkey legs have vanished.
Throw back a plastic glass of mead and submit to
the beat the best way anyone could imagine.
One of the vendors has already revealed how to
snatch a concrete dragon from a poured mold, how to
make an axe, how to battle with a grappling hook.
The cannon fires. . .then the duo sings their
sweet harmonies, one guitar with a handkerchief tied
around its neck as night arrives destined from an older place.


Tim Kahl is the author of five books of poems, most recently Omnishambles (Bald Trickster 2019) and California Sijo (Bald Trickster 2022). He is also an editor of Clade Song. He builds flutes, plays them, and plays guitars, ukuleles, charangos, and cavaquinhos as well. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes. Learn more at and

Americana Stories—Poetry

Emily All Round Me, by Mark Saunders

I lay a Place— although—
I know you won’t be near—

I speak out loud in Hope—
in bolts of Pique— in awe—
it could be Dying’s parlor
game— addressed— behind a Door.
It could be your name—”Calling”—
pushed narrowly ajar—
or you— uncomprehending
within— Sunrise paned— afar.
If Time and Continents
could be stitched— sewn tightly—
over sea— I would look up
and Love— ***— New Englandly.

The Dawn window makes Music
Phoebe bright— the Jays wake
from the notelessness of Night—
Doves quote Bliss— for your sake.
Skies Riddle— What’s begun
with Eends E sounds E Why?
Happy letters!— kissed on—
tearstained— nestled utterly.
You unpocket furthest off—
I picture falling auburn—
thread the red glance— the still white
sheet inside— your lock turn.

If I visit— let me be
that shapeless friend— obscure—
before the Daylight flares
from Amherst to your Chamber.
Let me know— not anything—
but Instinct’s silhouette—
monotonously clear— Dear—
let me dwell and not forget.
I trace your posy— poselessness—
the irrealis Mood— 
a symmetry in your pressed lips—
Romanza— not withstood.

Close to— we are Impostors—
under asterisks— and dashed—
star lines travelled— crossed three ways—
anonymousness slashed.
Your hand is slant— skimming
milk— the page— the flowers
italicly arranged—
kept at a distance— held for hours.
If you are all Grief— all Joy—
I just found out— I know—
What is true— Immortal 
friend— What yields?—

When can I go?


Mark Saunders lives on the Isle of Wight in the UK. His writing can be found in Abridged, The Cannon’s Mouth, Confluence, emagazine, Meniscus, The Museum of Americana, Red Ogre, Soft Star, and Spelt. He has appeared at Ventnor Fringe Festival and other venues.

Join the museum at AWP in Seattle!

If you’re headed to AWP, March 8-11, be sure to connect with museum staff during the conference! This year, you’ll find our editors at the bookfair, as well as on a range of panels, at book signings, and at offsite readings.

Here’s all you need to know to connect

Where: The AWP Bookfair will be held in Exhibit Halls 1 & 2, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level. You’ll find the museum at Table T1336 (with Small Harbor Publishing). This year, Small Harbor is generously sharing table space with us, and we’re very grateful.

When: Thursday, March 9 through Saturday, March 11. Bookfair hours are 9am to 5 pm.

Who: Executive Editor Allison Blevins, Reviews/Interviews Editor Ann Beman, Music Editor Cal Freeman, Prose Editorial Assistant Montez Jennings, and Prose Editor Lauren Alwan.

Events where you’ll find museum staff

Executive Editor Allison Blevins has a busy schedule, but there are plenty of opportunities to catch her at readings, book signings, or speaking on panels. In between, you’ll find Allison at the bookfair, Table T1336, where Allison is also Founder/Director of Small Harbor Publishing.

Here’s where you can find Allison during the conference::

You’ll find Reviews/Interview Editor Ann Beman with the Tahoma Literary Review (where Ann is Nonfiction Editor and Publisher), at the bookfair, Booth 313, and at the following offsite event:

Touch base with Music Editor Cal Freeman at our bookfair table—watch this space for day and time—and at the following offsite event:

Prose Editorial Assistant Montéz Jennings will be staffing the museum Bookfair table on Thursday, March 9, from 9 to 10:15.
Stop by and say hello!

Prose Editor Lauren Alwan will also be staffing the bookfair table, and you’ll find her there Thursday, March 9, from 1:45 to 3, as well as Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11, from 10:30 to 11:50 on both days. You can also catch Lauren at the following panel:

Remember, all AWP events are being held at 900 Pine Street in the Summit Building of the Seattle Convention Center. The Summit Building is an entirely new building of the Seattle Convention Center and is not the same as the Arch Building, where the 2014 AWP Conference & Bookfair was held. For a full conference schedule, bookfair map, and other details, head to

See you in Seattle!


Americana Features—Flash Nonfiction

What I Know About Dismemberment, by Donna Miscolta

My father’s ears

My Filipino father had big ears. His Filipino father had big ears. I have big ears. Once when I was getting my hair cut, the stylist paid me a compliment. I thought she said I had good hair, which I do. Or did. No matter. What she really said was that I have good ears. Long lobes, which signal good luck.

The long lobes offer ample real estate for adornment, which my ancestors in pre-Spanish times used to full advantage, challenging the tensile strength of their distended lobes with heavy gold jewelry, soon confiscated by the colonizers. I, too, favor earrings that dangle. Small, delicate studs are lost in my expansive lobes.

The ears are the only parts of the body that continue to grow as you age. When I’m eighty, my ears will be my most prominent feature, hanging like miniature kites on my head. If I live to be a hundred, maybe my ears will reach my shoulders. I will have to lift them up when I put on a sweater.

If my ears were to be cut off, I would lose my resemblance to my father and his father. If I lost my ears, I would lose my luck.

My mother’s hands

My Filipina Mexican mother had ugly hands. Her Mexican mother had ugly hands. Mendelian genetics insists I continue the pattern. Thick fingers, big knuckles, bumpy with veins and lined with wrinkles, eventually, age spots. But strong.

I watched my mother make tortillas once. They did not comply with her unpracticed hands and they ended up in the sink. But her mother’s hands worked the masa regularly, the way others before her had done since before Columbus. This I think was the source of their strength, which eclipses ugliness.

I never took care to moisturize. Never had a manicure. Never wore fingernail polish. And until I married, never wore rings. Now I wear my mother’s ring, a flashy corsage of stones that say look at me, look at my hands.

If you cut off my hands, you will take my inheritance.

My grandfather’s nose

In 2017 in Plaza Quezon in Las Pinas, Philippines, I stood where my father might have stood in 1970 on his first and last visit since leaving the Philippines in 1947. Plaza Quezon is where I met Lorenzo, lifelong friend of my father’s family. It was the Christmas season, and he was making a parol—from the Spanish farol—nimbly fitting the bamboo sticks together.

At first, Lorenzo seemed aloof, even indifferent to my presence, his whole focus on the star-shaped lantern he was constructing, until it was mentioned that I was a descendant of Rosendo. He stood up right away. He looked at me closely, with tender scrutiny, and I, sensing a moment, did not flinch. He drew back to deliver his pronouncement. That I had the face of Rosendo. My nose was like his. Straight. A relative term concerning Filipino noses. Nonetheless, the comparison sent a shiver of connection down my spine to this place and to my grandfather. My nose is Rosendo’s nose.

My nose is a mestizo nose—indigenous and Spanish. Cut it off, but the fact of colonization remains.


Donna Miscolta’s third book of fiction Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and won an International Latino Book Award Gold Medal. A review of the Living Color and an interview with the author appeared in the museum’s Issue 22. A recording of Donna’s work was recently added to the Library of Congress PALABRA Archive. She blogs monthly at

Americana Stories—Poetry

Rural Hours, by James Gurley

— Susan Fenimore Cooper, naturalist and author of Rural Hours
after the death of her father, James Fenimore Cooper, returns
to their favorite haunt at Lake Ostego, late September, 1851 –

I gather asters, everlastings, golden-rod, carry

them to the shore. I hold a hand up against the sun,

catching this dissolving view, where our carriage

stops by the spring feeds these waters, as you wish,

father, a drink to cleanse the coppery tang coats

your mouth. Relieved, you hand me the cup. I sit

beside you, as I indulge myself, quenching my thirst

in this wilderness you made yield to your works.

My journals of the seasons’ courses, my own

careful, trifling observations upon rustic matters

in Rural Hours, you rule, won’t make a strong book—

feminine, charming, yes, but the world—you caution—

won’t fathom what to do with this volume, or me.

Letting the lake chill divert me, I drop the flowers

into the shallows. They float past, caught by currents.

The lake’s indulgence enough for one day. I walk

through wheat fields cut, fallowed for winter. Aspens

all but leafless, the balm of Gilead poplars too,

once prodigal in magnificence. I come to a hunter’s

camp, abandoned, its wooded aspect, fire ash,

this frontier, father, I call mine, golden-winged flickers

sounding through maples. Deer and fox tracks.

Cottages, trading-houses, taverns, not what they were.

Old rural names echo in this trek. Soon sharp frosts,

grayer, rainy days. Toward evening along a green brook

I meet a solitary thrush. Shy, quiet, as if forgotten.

My appearance on his path begs an unsettled ardor.


James Gurley’s collections include the chapbooks Radiant Measures and Transformations, and the book Human Cartography, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize published by Truman State University Press. His poems have appeared recently in Asimov’s, Measure, Poet Lore, and Redactions. He lives in Seattle, where he works in the aerospace industry.

Americana Stories: Poetry

An America—by Sara Eddy

Give me an America of picnic tables, 
ice cream, jimmies, chocolate dip.
Give me an America of students 
gone home for summer, locals strolling
quietly as evening cools off, the pavement 
still sun-warm, ticking.

Give me an America of migrant farm workers 
picking cucumbers and falling in love, 
chatting at the next table 
about sublets and beer.  Pay them
what they’ve earned for welted hands, 
sunburned necks, faces traced with soil-lines.

Make my America light up like neon 
on Sunday nights in August
when the sound of engines recedes 
and the Miss Flo closes up.

Put in your last order.  Make it a large.  Tip the server for her patience,
for her far-away heart, for her tired, sticky American beauty.


Sara Eddy is author of two chapbooks: Tell the Bees (A3 Press) and Full Mouth (Finishing Line). Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Threepenny Review, Pink Panther, and Raleigh Review. She is Assistant Director of the writing center at Smith College, and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Americana Stories: Nonfiction

Never About the Fish—by Don Noel

In his retirement years, my dad liked nothing more than fly fishing in the battering rapids of the Madison River near Ennis, Montana.

He had grown up in Butte, serving an underground apprenticeship in the mines—it was copper, not gold or silver that made Butte “the richest hill on Earth”—before going east to Columbia University and a pioneering career in powdered metals. So he must have grown up losing hooks and lines in the headwaters of the mighty Missouri.

He stayed East for most of his working life. Although he initiated me as a teenager into the mysteries of rod and reel, it did not appear a consuming passion for him, and never became so for me. Drowning an earthworm in the placid waters of a New Jersey pond, hoping that its writhing death throes would win the attention of a lazing sunfish—all the real action out of sight in turbid waters—held little charm.

On at least one occasion during my teen years, he invested some time and scarce cash in a day’s fishing from a charter boat out of Brielle. He came home with a sunburn and a fish—a yellowfin tuna, I think—bigger than our family of four could consume in one sitting, especially since he himself declined seconds.

That’s when I first realized that for Dad, the chase was more important than the catch. Reeling that fish in, keeping the line taut enough that it could not in its marine calisthenics shrug off or spit out the hook, had clearly been the thrill.

But that had been an expensive sport. He next tried owning an inexpensive second or third-hand sailboat. What he could afford was little more than a rowboat with a mast and boom. Hardly a yacht—it would have taken a typhoon to make it heel over—he enjoyed the pun of naming it the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. We did a little fishing out of that pudgy craft, but it proved no more challenging than the inland ponds, and within a season or two it was gone.

Several years later, while I was in college, the family moved to Long Island. Dad bought a second-hand Star—then and now among the sleekest sailboats on the water—and taught me the art of racing under canvas. He fairly burst with pride when I finally managed to cross the finish line ahead of at least one other captain.

We never finished first—that honor went to an older man who sailed in a tie, jacket, and straw boater. He won because all week long, he took his craft out of the water, even between the Saturday and Sunday races, so that it sailed high and dry, far nimbler than any of us in our waterlogged boats. But Dad and I became competitive, and I began to understand that fishing or sailing was mostly about the challenge of mastering difficult water.

Which made the waters of the Madison among the best of the challenges. It took effort merely to stand up in mid-stream; Dad fitted me out and insisted I try, but I quickly learned to stay in the relative shallows.

Not Dad: Although in his 70s, legs no longer young, he would forge out almost hip-deep into pounding water that threatened to overtop his rubber waders, finally bracing against the river itself.

On a still lake, the trick is to make the lure float down gossamer-light, a butterfly, not letting the leader line slap the water first. On a roiling river, though, aim is paramount. With a few false casts and back-casts of his lithe rod, Dad would drop his fly into the turbulence around a large boulder, where a rainbow trout might take it for an edible insect caught in a downdraft.

He would put that fish in his creel, tie on a new leader and fly, and cast again, all while leaning into the current. Finally, with several trout to brag about, he would crab unsteadily back to shallow water and at last to dry land—to Mom’s unspoken relief. While he stripped off the waders and indulged in an Easterner’s gin martini, she would dress and fry the fish and serve up dinner.

If taste were all that mattered, Dad would just as soon have had beefsteak. But as a token of a man’s mastery of nature, nothing was better than fresh-caught trout.


Don Noel is retired from four decades’ prizewinning print and broadcast journalism in Hartford CT. He took his MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in 2013 and has since published more than five dozen short stories and reminiscences, all of which can be read at his website, His work has previously appeared in the museum’s Issues 20 and 26.

Americana Stories: Poetry

Animals—by Diane Pohl

Conversation with my sister

I spoke with dad today and he said he might go swimming this afternoon also. 

He said he wants to see the animals underwater.

He said he was swimming the other day also, which is kind of true 
because I take his swim trunks with me to the beach in my swim bag. 

I told him H has been doing a lot of diving lately and he said for H to be careful to not hit his head. 
I told him dad it’s not that kind of diving but H said it’s actually a risk so he was not far-off.

Yesterday we found another one of the guitars- this one’s called a Penco—it’s oversized- 
dreadnought style 1970’s—still so deep and resonant-sounding even though a little bit damaged 
from that heat in the attic.

H said he would take it to a luthier.

I got sad because the case has a small hole in it, which dad had repaired with a bespoke spot 
of duct tape.


Diane Pohl’s recent poems have appeared in The Lake, Slipstream, Nixes Mate Review, The Bookends Review, Ovunque Siamo, and are forthcoming in The Main Street Rag, I-70 Review, and other places. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where there are books along the sidewalks and always people to talk to. Her poem, “When you were 9,” won an Allen Ginsberg Award.

Americana Stories: Poetry


HAIR TO MY WAIST—by Nancy L. Meyer

On Apple Valley’s long dirt road,
our geodesic dome, painted electric-blue.
We bought a beat-up hearse for a camper,
then bedded it with straw for our goose
after the fox killed his mate. Thought we hid
the pot plants between our corn stalks;
their spiky green canopied two feet taller.
Homemade root beer exploded in the pantry;
pink and blue fungus tentacled out of the root cellar.
I went to India for 6 weeks, leaving Mel
to wrestle our 4-year-old into his snowsuit
down the hill to the school bus, yellow beacon
in waist high snow. Long-haired friend, back
from Nepal, lived with us that winter, barefoot.
We built a teepee for a peyote meeting,
fed the fire, drummed and sang through the night—
first time I believed in god. Under a full moon
we rode the motorcycle, headlights off.
Startled the heifers by lying in their meadow
to look at the stars. They circled close,
black nostrils snuffing and blowing. Our heads
buzzed in the clover.


Nancy L. Meyer

Nancy L. Meyer, she/her, is a 2020 Pushcart nominee, avid cyclist, and grandmother of five from San Francisco. The journals where her poetry has appeared are Black Moon Poetry, New Note, Outcast, Gyroscope, BeZine, Book of Matches, Laurel Review, Colorado Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and Sugar House Review, among others. Her work was also included in eight anthologies, including by Tupelo Press, Ageless Authors, and Wising Up Press. She has work forthcoming in International Human Rights Arts Festival, DeColonial Passage, Kind of a Hurricane Press, and Frost Meadow.

Americana Stories: Poetry

Biblical Erotica—by Daniel Edward Moore

Mountain men are clear about

bearded Gods and bullies, how

introductions can break like stone

covered in commandments.

I, for one, prefer the edge of razors,

as the wilderness ends

in every mirror framed

with spiders blushing.

He said, the bed, burned like salt

in the wounds of sleep

where dreaming is the prophet’s way

of drooling like a river.

I washed his face the way a mother

fills a mouth with milk.

Silver clouds crossed our eyes,

blue with contemplation.


Daniel Edward Moore lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His work is forthcoming in I-70 Review, Tar River Poetry Journal, Ponder Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Texas Review Press, South Florida Poetry Journal, and Bryant Literary Review. His book Waxing the Dents is from Brick Road Poetry Press.