BAKED brownie
Well-Traveled Brownies
by Brian Evans-Jones

     Adapted from “The Baked Brownie” on
       Recipe Google Translated into Welsh, French, Mongolian and Dutch,        then back to English

The famous brownie pastry—Oprah says
she is one of his favorite activities.
America’s put much stock in the kitchen;
but not everything is almost like the Bible.
But, their favorite brownie I’ve taken very seriously,
which is an excellent cooked reading.
Because they deserve.
And I think I have to hide.

11 ounces of chocolate powder, cocoa butter, sugar 5 eggs:
you do not need me to say that the children of this rich, Black said.
Now, you can not rely as cakey chocolate, but
if you’re rich and mighty good to just bite, but you love chocolate,
you have found Eden.
They have a good bit high,
so they are not thin fondants: they smooshed dark brownies
and (good) sex is not thin.
If you bite into them, they are satisfied with heft.
So thin, chocolate brownie crust crispy: great business card!

Always with me? Good.
Now go to the kitchen and do it—
Cook The New Boundaries!

350 degrees F.
Cream Party and the baking dish or 9×13-inch color glass.
Parchment paper kitchen line.

Medium bowl together the flour, salt, cocoa powder.
Chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally, until suddenly a big bowl of      chocolate!
Pot with boiling water, melt butter and espresso powder and supple.
Until completely combined, then remove the bowl on a platter nail.
Add the egg mixture and beat until combined the chocolate.
If you cakey chocolate, over when he hit the batter—or not.

Sprinkle the flour mixture on chocolate mixture 5: rubber spatula
(no waves) are used. Center of the oven
to bake for 30 minutes; toothpick in the center
with a few moist crumbs. After the pan with parchment paper
and get them!


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Recipes on food blogs may go through many stages of translation: one blogger adapts another blogger’s recipe and reposts it, and then another blogger repeats the process. Some recipes cross countries and languages, changing as they go. And when a blog reader cooks the recipe, another kind of translation happens—one which may or may not reproduce the piece’s original intention. Inspired by that process, I wondered what would happen to an American standard if I took it around the world and back, linguistically at least…


Brian Evans-Jones
recently moved to Maine from the United Kingdom, where he was Poet Laureate of Hampshire, England, and taught creative writing. Poems of his are published or forthcoming in Stoneboat Literary Journal, Word Gumbo, Enigma, and Avocado. He is taking his MFA at the University of New Hampshire and he runs community writing projects in New Hampshire and southern Maine.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: In Pizza Express in Winchester, UK, 2009, trying to decide whether to have dessert.

fannie may box
A Box
by Marilyn Zelke-Windau

Sometimes, when he came in the back door,
after arranging the car in the one-car garage,
maneuvering it in from the alley
at a 90-degree angle,
having dodged other cars, newer cars,
up thousands of numbered blocks in the city,
from downtown to Jefferson Park,
he still smiled.

Giving her a kiss on her left cheek
and a cross-arm hug to we three
at his knees,
he produced from under his topcoat,
the herringbone one
with the two-inch grey buttons,
a box.

One inch thin, five inches wide,
ten inches long, white,
with cursive lettering,
it said, “Fannie May Candies.”
We, the three, whooped with joy.

The box was set on the kitchen counter.
At dinner, we ate every vegetable we saw.
We licked our plates with tongues,
with fingers, readying for the joy.

Ceremonially, the box was presented
first to mother, who claimed
an “M” for a maple cream.
My brother, who was youngest,
was offered it next.
He looked for the calligraphy of “C”
and bit into chocolate chocolate.
My older sister finger-touched
row one and two and then with urging
selected “H” to match her name initial,
bit into hazelnut and smiled.

My turn was difficult,
because I knew what I wanted.
I wanted “V” for vanilla buttercream,
Dad’s favorite.

I looked, stretched my finger,
changed direction and chose “R”
for raspberry.
It was scrumptious.

Once, Dad guided my hand back,
gave me his “V.”
I gave him a brown drool grin
to return the love.

PHOTO: The author at age two in the Jefferson Park area of Chicago, Illinois, waiting for chocolate.

picture MZW

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marilyn Zelke-Windau is a Wisconsin poet and a former elementary school art teacher. She enjoys painting with words. Her poems have appeared in many printed and online venues including Verse Wisconsin, Stoneboat, Fox Cry Review, Your Daily Poem, Midwest Prairie Review, and several anthologies. Her chapbook Adventures in Paradise (Finishing Line Press) and a full-length manuscript, Momentary Ordinary (Pebblebrook Press) were both published in 2014. She adds her maiden name when she writes to honor her father, who was also a writer.

chocolate milk Sweet Dreams
by Jennifer Hernandez

After a hard day of playing paper dolls, Grandma helped me into my p.j’s and boosted me onto the counter (where I’d never get to sit at home). I watched her pour my bedtime snack, a preschooler’s nightcap, chocolate milk. First, the milk sloshed into a tall glass. Next came the can of Hershey’s syrup from the door of the fridge, yellow lid peeled back to reveal two triangular “eyes.” Grandma tilted the can and liquid chocolate streamed from the “eyes,” swirling into the glass of milk. The clink of the spoon stirred those ribbons, transformed 2% into a treat. Alchemy. She handed me the tall glass. Careful now. Don’t spill. But I never could hold it with both hands. Because drinking chocolate milk was a ritual that required a free hand to twirl a strand of my shoulder-length hair round and round a chubby finger. As I drank the cool richness, my mind was already halfway snuggled into those pink polka dotted sheets in the bed upstairs, a chocolate milk guarantee of sweet dreams on the way.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My Grandma Stella was an excellent baker, and I remember many of her sweet treats fondly. She had a huge freezer in her basement packed full of homemade goodies. Sometimes I baked with her, and she was very proud when I won a blue ribbon at the fair for chocolate chip cookies made with her special recipe (oatmeal and rice krispies were key ingredients). I don’t know why the simple bedtime ritual of chocolate milk is the one that surfaced most strongly when I sat down to write, but it did.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken when I was two years old. Obviously, I have always been a fan of chocolate in all its forms. My Grandma Edith brought homemade chocolate cakes for each of my birthdays. This looks like it might have been a day-after-the-birthday shot. I feel very fortunate to have been nourished with so much chocolate and love from both sides of my family tree.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Hernandez lives in the Minneapolis area, where she teaches middle school, wrangles three sons, and writes for her sanity. Her work has appeared in Talking Stick, Red Weather, Verse Virtual and elsewhere. She has recently read her work in the Cracked Walnut Literary Festival and as honorable mention in the Elephant Rock Flash Prose contest.


The Lexington General Store
by Melanie Dunbar

With each step the floor creaks, pine-varnished music from the past. The brass cash register echoes the bells strung along the top of the walnut and glass door. The smell of sugar, sealing wax, and barrels that held apples pulls you to the penny candy, where the ghost owner bends toward you from the other side of the counter. If you listen, you can hear the deep ache of Gram’s knees; her reminder to pick up some horehound.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During the summer, my grandma would take my brother, cousins and I to the General Store in Lexington, Michigan. Every week we had a dime for penny candy, or maybe an ice cream cone. Then we would go to the waterfront and watch the boats or walk out on the breakwater. In this picture, I was at the age when the General Store was a magical place.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Dunbar is a Master Gardener who lives in Southwest Michigan with her family and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful. Her poetry and flash fiction can be found at Your Impossible Voice, Silver Birch Press, Cheappoplit, and  is forthcoming in Gargoyle and Sweet: A Literary Confection.

mary leonard

For many of us, some of our most vivid memories involve sweets and treats — especially recollections surrounding Halloween, Trick or Treating, and our candy treasures. We want to hear all about your Halloween memories in a poem, prose poem, or flash fiction. Please send a photo of yourself at any age in Halloween attire.

PROMPT: Tell us your Halloween recollections in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose poem/flash fiction piece (200 words or less).

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or flash fiction. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems/flash fiction in the Silver Birch Press MY SWEET WORD Series Halloween Edition during the week leading up to Halloween (actual dates to be determined, based on number of submissions).

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem or prose poem/flash fiction to as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write”Halloween” in subject line of email. Please send a photo of yourself — at any age — in Halloween attire to accompany the poem, and provide a caption for the photo (when, where).


To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person (e.g., Mary Anderson has been writing since age eight…”).

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/flash fiction or creative process (this is optional).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. Send a photo of yourself at any age in Halloween attire as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg).

7. Email to — and put HALLOWEEN in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Friday, October 16, 2015

PHOTO: Mary Leonard and friends (Halloween, 1953).

kn_kay_and_gerda The Wrong Prince
by Jennifer Finstrom

               “The inside of the coach was lined with sugared pretzels, and                in the seat were fruits and gingersnaps.”
                                   —The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen

I baked gingersnaps with my ex-husband the November after we got divorced. I brought over the recipe from my apartment down the street and used the spices that had been in the cupboard when I lived there. Later, I walked home with half of the cookies, unaware that when he returned from his holiday travels, we would stop speaking for a second time.

In the fourth tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, Gerda befriends a crow in the forest. The crow tells of a prince who sounds like Kay, the missing neighbor boy who is her friend, but when the crow sneaks her into the castle, she sees that he isn’t Kay at all, just a boy who has managed to marry the princess by being clever and speaking well.

But the prince and princess are kind to Gerda, and if her story stopped there, she could ride away in the golden coach they provided, the crow keeping pace in the air alongside. I see her leaning back on cushions and gazing out the window, surrounded by the smell of nutmeg and allspice, a sky full of black feathers, the constant awareness that so many endings are possible.

IMAGE: “Kay and Gerda” from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, illustrated by Kay Nielsen (1886-1957).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love writing about fairy tales and have recently been rereading The Snow Queen. I’m always fascinated by descriptions of food in fairy tales, and reading what the golden coach was filled with—the fruits and gingersnaps and sugared pretzels—made me want to write this prose poem.


Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates writing groups at DePaul University. She is the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine, and recent publications include Escape Into Life, Extract(s), NEAT, and YEW Journal. For Silver Birch Press, she also has work appearing in the  The Great Gatsby Anthology and forthcoming in the Alice in Wonderland Anthology and Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks. 

ice cream cones
Lessons of Ice Cream
by Steve Luria Ablon

I was too reticent, unflavored,
shy with girls to ask them to go out

for ice cream, plain vanilla in simple
grade school life. Little did I know

of the vanilla orchid, or its pollinator,
the Melipona bee. By high school,

on dates I believed in chocolate
with sprinkles, a banana split

with a cherry, whipped cream
by senior year. In college it was

sherbet, all sophistry, and maybe
I would only date girls who liked mango.

By medical school the scoop of strawberry
spread in a metal dish, a vast bruise before me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Luria Ablon has published four books of poems: Tornado Weather (Mellen Press, 1993) Flying Over Tasmania (Fithian Press, 1997), Blue Damsels (Peter Randall Press, 2005), and Night Call (Plain View Press, 2011). His work has appeared in many magazines, including Ginosko, Third Wednesday, Off The Coast, Dos Passos Review, and Ploughshares.  Steve is an adult and child psychoanalyst and an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cream Soda
by Wade Martin

Fizzy-lifting drink
my father called it, handing
it to me across
the driver’s seat. I smiled,
inhaled a scent as sweet
as dandelion, began
to tilt the bubbling frost
and whizz up towards me, wild
to let the liquid sink
into my own dreamland
where happiness is tossed
into a pool or pile
full of thoughts we think
when dad, our bestest friend,
hands us what can’t be lost:
the small joy of a child.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This began as an exercise in using trimeter lines to explore a scent-specific memory. I tried doing something clever with the rhyme scheme, but abandoned that conceit at some point. The important thing is that the effect of the original devices is still present, even if the tools used to put them there are not.


Wade Martin
is co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar, a 2014 Pushcart nominee, and Type-1 diabetic. He is also a Teaching Artist with Badgerdog and archivist at Austin Community College, with recent publications in Perfume River Poetry Review, Freshwater, and Bird’s Thumb.

Censured at Seattle’s Best
by Ellaraine Lockie

A book bumps my
Swiss chocolate bar off the tiny table
to the freshly wiped wooden floor
Where the carefully rationed quota
of daily decadence
winks cocoa bean brown eyes
in clandestine persuasion

I’d pick it up
and plop it in my mouth
The life expectancy of most germs
being less than sixty seconds
If it weren’t for the three-year old boy
watching like a dog-in-waiting
to see what my next move might be

Role model mindful
And with maybe meagerly concern
for castigation from customers
old enough to consume coffee
I proceed with the picking up part
and place the chocolate by my thesaurus

The implied trip
to the trash can in the corner
is obscured behind a need to write longer
than a three-year old’s attention span
and a clientele’s turnover
When I can carefreely complete
my consummation of the culinary act

SOURCE: First published in The Centrifugal Eye and later in Coffee House Confessions (Silver Birch Press, 2013).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every morning I write in a coffee shop while sipping espresso and consuming an ounce or two of dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa. There is a ritual to this that I highly recommend: after each sip of coffee, place a tiny bit of chocolate on your tongue and let it melt. Never chew. This allows the 600-plus flavor components of chocolate to penetrate your taste buds like a fine wine does. The process can take fifteen minutes, and when you’re finished, you’ll feel like you had a most sumptuous and satisfying dessert . . . and also like you’d never really tasted chocolate before. Try it! P. S. And I almost never eat it off the floor.


Ellaraine Lockie
is a widely published and awarded author of poetry, nonfiction books and essays. Her eleventh chapbook, Where the Meadowlark Sings, won the 2014 Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. She is currently judging the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers.


Sunday Sustenance
by Theo Greenblatt

At Camp Bendito we wore uniforms on Sundays: gray Bermuda shorts and short-sleeved blouses with a red Camp Bendito crest on the pocket. My uniform was tight all over, budding breasts causing an unsightly buckle in my crest, though I was not yet nine.

We attended chapel, pointless to me, in a sunlit clearing in the woods. Other girls knelt devoutly on the prickly grass. I knotted bracelets from weeds and wild clover while the sermon droned on.

At home on a Sunday morning I would be cross-legged on the living room floor balancing a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, the smell of last night’s popcorn heavy in the air, the cartoons on whisper before anyone else was up. A shaft of sunlight exposing a galaxy of glistening dust motes between the tv and me.

At Camp Bendito, after chapel and the somber breakfast at long wooden tables, we were allowed to visit the PX to buy candy. Hershey’s, Nestle’s Crunch, Almond Joy. While my bunkmates played Tag and Mother May I, I sat cross-legged on my neatly made cot and devoured all my spoils at once, wishing I was the kind of girl who could make them last instead.

IMAGE: Camp Bendito postcard available at


Theo Greenblatt
teaches writing at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. Her work, both fiction and nonfiction, has appeared or is forthcoming in The Worcester Review, Harvard Review, Clarion, Pembroke Magazine, The Examined Life, and other venues. Her nonfiction piece “True but Incomplete,” in The Flexible Persona, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Readers are invited to visit her web page at

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Another Sunday, Newport, Rhode Island (September 20, 2015).


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