Kallisto Gaia Press nominated 5 works from The Ocotillo Review Summer 2017 for the Pushcart prize. These represent the editorial epitome of our vision. The editors want to thank these literary artists, as well as all who submitted to our journal, for trusting us with their creations. We will feature one artist per week each Monday through January 1st. Today we feature Sara Backer for her poem,

It Is What It Is.

In a Honolulu souvenir shop,

I consider if I could wear

this phrase on my chest.


A starving cat at Ala Moana beach

sunning herself on a piling rock:

how to be kind to her?


How to be kind to the janitor

cleaning the public toilet?

Or the brat who cuts ahead in line?


Heat congeals into storm.

Pink lightning flashes

before roar-and-pour.


A CD of ukulele songs plays

against the thrum of chilling AC:

a medley of money and mahalo.


It is what it is.

How to be kind to the lightning?


Sara Backer is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Bicycle Lotus, which won the 2015 Turtle Island Poetry Award (Left Fork Press), and Scavenger Hunt, forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. Recent poems appear in Gargoyle, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Silver Blade, Crannóg, Abyss & Apex, and many more. She’s currently pursuing an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Link to her work at www.sarabacker.com/publications



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Tony Burnett is an award winning poet and songwriter. His short fiction and poetry have appeared in over 40 national literary journals and anthologies including, most recently, Tidal Basin Review, Fringe, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014, Red Dirt Review, The Vein, Toucan Magazine and Connotation Press. He currently serves as board president for the Writers' League of Texas, a 1200 member non-profit supporting Texas writers in all stages of their careers. He lives in rural central Texas with his trophy wife, Robin.

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