Sheila Squillante and Paul Bilger




Unreasonable Wind

wind’s all limbic
and belligerent 

like spectral, relentless children

ganging on the playground
surrounding you

but stupidly

that was years ago
and farther still

bright filaments

blue spark and trail
diffuse under summer dark

the scorch and swell




Rests His Head against a Wall


rearranging in space, slow-turning
toward you
parade float, 
festive reveler suspended, 

the frame to fit his perception, expectation 

you don’t know why or why
you need it

once more then

and, after, your whim sliding into
this glistening goldenrod headache
thuddish, frank and frontal

you’re completely exhausting, you know


Unmoored Road


inside the swollen mirror
milk act
ductile struggle
of both directions

outside untidy daylight overlaps
the slack grass
a paroxysm of antipathy
or waving apology

just leave it there leave it

inside a void offsets and mends

a void recovers
a void hastens toward your
bright taken rage

you include the road
its unbearable
relentless appeal

your empty body a contradiction
a pulsing pneumatic fog




They Waited, But Poorly


for the voice whispering fricatives, a line

or the small bones
of the inner ear--
ecstatic rupture of the drum and you 

bleed all over the sheets. relief,

a saving vortex, droning yellow
that draws you down. encaustic, 

enlarged. look

this feels like a painting,
like hands cupping clay, pulling

like insect light, furtive and elliptic




Paling Secrets


summer dark
diffuse, diaphanous

you reach through it
think of a field in flight

birds, insects
lifting faintly
from the waving grass

the world glows, is lit from within
some things, you learn,

make their own light


"These are not digital paintings.  The images are all negatives of digital photographs with long exposure times.  This makes the traces of light similar to a kind of dark ink, and the dark areas become light spaces.  I would then apply global color adjustments to match the mood which I felt was at work in the images.  Beyond cropping, I would constrain myself from any other editing technique.  I would use specific optical situations, usually in natural settings, and move the camera to create the requisite streaking effects. 

The images came first, and the poems were written in response, using the titles as a narrative entrance and grounding for the work."


Sheila Squillante is the author of the poetry collection, Beautiful Nerve (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015), and three chapbooks. Recent work has appeared or will appear in Indiana Review, Waxwing, Nomadic Press, Menacing Hedge and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, where she edits The Fourth River, Chatham’s journal of nature and place-based writing. From her dining room table, she edits the blog for Barrelhouse.

Paul Bilger is an experimental photographer. His work has been featured in literary journals, Brevity, SmokeLong Quarterly, quarrtsiluni, Hot Metal Bridge, and Blue Mesa Review; and as cover art for the musical collectives Dead Voices on Air, Autistici and Brian. In 2012, he was a featured artist for Kompresja, a Polish journal of Art & Science. He teaches Philosophy for Penn State University and Chatham University. He lives in Pittsburgh.