Since 1996 Volume XXI


                                    Jan Steckel



Jan Steckel’s poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. Her poetry has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Canary, New Verse News, Assaracus and elsewhere.


Too Hot for Band Camp

They wanted their daughter to go to Stanford,

where they had met, but she loved fire.

She started one in the canyon behind the house

when she was five. The next fire was on the lawn.

The one after that lit the curtains.

They took the girl to a child psychiatrist,

quenching her flames for a while.


When she was a teenager, she invented

a trombone that was also a flamethrower.

It was playable, too. The pitch of each note

varied the color of the flame.

When she put a mute in the trombone’s bell,

it got covered with rainbow soot.


They had to ban her from the marching band,

because the other players, staring at her,

would mess up their formations.

Still she burned with flammable melody.


She came to the game, threw flame from bleachers

onto the field while playing that Charles Ives piece

that sounds like two bands marching in a circle.


She radiated tuneful fire.

Got into the Berklee College of Music

with an illuminating performance.

Now she’s a red-hot composer. Her future

looks bright, and slightly smoky.



First appeared in Skin to Skin, Vol. 6, October 2014


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Mary Barnet


Grace Cavalieri

Joan Gelfand

Janet Brennan