Welcome to Issue No. 7 of Prime Number: 

A Journal of Distinctive Poetry & Prose

Letter from the Editors (or jump to the Table of Contents)


Dear Readers,

First, congratulations to our Poetry Editor, Valerie Nieman, on the publication of her first novel, Blood Clay (Press 53). Way to go, Val!

And now: we’re very excited to present Issue No. 7 of Prime Number Magazine. (In case you’re new to the magazine, this is our fourth issue, since we number in primes: 2, 3, 5, 7 . . .)  We thought the last issue was packed with great writing—and it was—but this time we’ve got even more. There are eight short stories ranging from Daniel Meltzer’s very funny “Les Is Mor” to Paul Hetzler’s moving story, “The Matador.” You’ll also find new work by Jessica Hollander, Robert Dart, Dan Moreau, Linda Stewart-Oaten, and Juleigh Howard-Hobson, as well as an excerpt from a novel by Robert Boucheron.

On the poetry front, we’ve got a delightful mix: haiku by Bill Wolak (who also interviews Naoshi Koriyama in this issue), senryu by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé, and poems by Naomi Benaron, Ruth E. Foley, Emilie Lindemann, and Victor David Sandiego, as well as several poems by Naoshi Koriyama.

Speaking of interviews, we’ve outdone ourselves. Besides Bill Wolak’s interview with Naoshi Koriyama, we have two firsts for the magazine. Novelist and short story writer Chris Gavaler and his wife, the poet Lesley Wheeler, interview each other while they spend the academic year in New Zealand. Also, we have an audio interview of biographer Charles Shields, conducted by Dean King during the James River Writers’ Conference in October 2010. Charles discusses both his best-selling biography of Harper Lee and also his forthcoming biography of Kurt Vonnegut. Listen to the whole thing—both Dean and Charles have great insights on what it means to be a writer.

But wait! There’s more!

In this issue we have fine essays by Stephen J. West and Eric Day as well as three book reviews. To top it all off, we’ve got a fascinating cover photograph by Stephen Millner.

As we said last quarter, it has become increasingly difficult to turn down the wonderful work we are offered. If we have had to decline your work, please try us again! Now that we have four issues for you to look at, you should be getting a better sense of what we like.

A number of readers have asked how they might comment on the work they read in the magazine. We’ll look into adding that feature in the future. In the meantime if you are moved to comment I would encourage you to send us an email ( and we’ll pass your thoughts along to the contributors. Similarly, if you are a publisher and would like to send us ARCs for us to consider for reviews, please contact us at the above email address. We’re especially interested in reviewing new, recent, or overlooked books from small presses.

Finally, we’ve begun reading submissions for Issue 11, scheduled to launch in July. We’d love to include your work, so please submit! We need short stories, flash fiction and non-fiction, poetry, reviews, interviews, short drama, and cover art. To learn more, visit our submissions page.

One more thing: Prime Number Magazine is published by Press 53, a terrific small press helping to keep literature alive.

The Editors

Table of Contents, Prime Number Magazine

Issue 7, April-June 2011



Naomi Benaron


Studying for the Massage Licensing Exam

Ruth E. Foley

Things She Wouldn't Tell Me


Love Poem for a Celery Stick

Emilie Lindemann

We Heart Our Customers


Victor David Sandiego

Looking for Muwadi


To climb the neck of Muwadi

Naoshi Koriyama

An Artist's Apology to his Daughter

Under the Evening Sky of Rome

A Poem Just for You

A Morning Song

when my children and i

Bill Wolak

Nine Haiku

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

bonism in the finite field of senryu

as with the clear sky of senryu

as with atomism a pearlescent senryu



Jessica Hollander

Slow Summer

Robert Dart

Something Life-Affirming

Paul Hetzler

The Matador

Dan Moreau

A Father's Mask

Daniel Meltzer

Les Is Mor

Robert Boucheron


Linda Stewart-Oaten


Juleigh Howard-Hobson




Eric Day

Sister, Sister, Full of Light

Stephen J. West

Of Jumping the Shark



Interview with Naoshi Koriyama, poet and translator

Interview with Chris Gavaler and Lesley Wheeler, authors of School for Tricksters and Heterotopia

Interview with Charles Shieldsauthor of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee  and And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life 

Sharon Harrigan

Review of The Wilding, by Benjamin Percy

Sharon Harrigan

Review of Sudden Flash Youth: 65 Short-Short Stories, edited by Christine Perkins-Hazuka, Tom Hazuka, and Mark Budman

Caleb Powell

Review of Anti-Twitter: 150 50-Word Stories, by Harold Jaffe



Stephen Millner

Seven Axles


Prime Number Decimals

Prime Decimals 7.2

Prime Decimals 7.3

Prime Decimals 7.5

Prime Decimals 7.7