Grandma Cloris by Grace Ocasio

I This morning wrapped around my ankles the way sunlight bleached your shins in that 1935 photo.   In a white and black polka dot dress that flows below your knees, you lean against a Chevrolet Standard, your left shoe glued to the car’s running board, right leg stilt straight.   The sun’s light defines … Read more

The Katydids by Brett Peruzzi

The insect chorus is always loudest in August. It’s the katydids. The males join the cicadas and crickets late at night near the end of summer. They sing in quick bursts of three notes a song that gives them their name: kay-tee-did. They are like gossips whispering about what poor Katie did. They are rappers … Read more

Casting for Bass in Maine by Brett Peruzzi

The water is bottle green, clear as the Caribbean. We can see the boulder-strewn bottom fifteen feet down. I paddle the canoe into position offshore in front of a red maple that hangs into the water a cool shadow for the bass to lurk in. An old fallen tree is splayed across the lake bottom … Read more

Cyclone by Will Cordeiro

The sermon done, I straggled past the barn, sun hawking blood through haze. Burnt noonlight scorched dead yellow grass and seeded clover — storm fast, gray brains above me soldered. My thoughts forking, I stalked past thickets to a freckled culvert that older children liked to laze and wander in. But fleeing water, they’d sought … Read more

The Dance by Adelina Sarkisyan

The road to my village is like a snake – it will eat you alive if you let it. These are the dead, the dying, the not yet buried. These are the fig trees and the unmarried women and the beehives. These are the women who weave trees into their hair and pluck seeds from … Read more

Milk and Honey by Adelina Sarkisyan

At birth, they fed me milk and honey and washed away the blood. Is it any wonder every month I try to forget? I desire red: sun, pomegranate, scarab, poppy. A blooming of the mouth, the lips, the eyelids. I see the green turn orange, the body of autumn where even color is one with … Read more

The Hillside Graveyard by Ace Boggess

stones rise in a celestial planchette pointing to no & yes there is no marble lady to gaze with tenderness over the city the auto shop the warehouse the parole office where ex-cons wait smoking long cigarettes in the cold I am happy to be here now not there in the absence & omnipresence I … Read more

I Kept Everything by Erin McIntosh

The high school graduation invitation from my neighbor, a film canister of teeth I lost, ready to be retrieved by the tooth fairy, plastic dollhouse furniture, theater programs, every letter ever sent or given me by my childhood friends Anne and Traci. We were prolific letter writers. I don’t know the last name of the … Read more

Nude Male with Echo #307 by Darren C. Demaree

I laugh on this side. I laugh on the other side. I’m not sure where I am & I am laughing at that. That was a decision I made to take on the immensity, the sheer swallowing of the world inhabited by so many small pieces & so much weight with my own small laugh. … Read more

Beer Bottle Bird by Ed Tato

The beer bottle bird – she’d said when the monsoons hit – is made for the rains but each dry season eats sand to survive. The female leaves. It sleeps alone in a soffit or the galvanized pipe of a chain link fence. The male waits at the edge of a peach tree limb. He … Read more

On the Cold Side of Things by Grey Held

The five months post-October – when warmth goes prodigal and cold wind sews the seams of my overcoat and cold wind finds places to sigh and whine through my bedroom windows’ seams — I didn’t used to mind them. In fact I used to love the rain-freeze that makes cities glisten, and the perfect white … Read more

On the Final Day by Grey Held

On the final day of the Quit Smoking Class, I brought the 12-ounce jam jar the teacher said to get, to empty out and clean. It was to become the receptacle to put the butts of our cigarettes in – The good morning cigarette. The ten o’clock cigarette. The lunchtime cigarette. The mid-afternoon pick-me-up cigarette. … Read more

Ghost Auction by Elisabeth McKetta

The auctioneer holds in his hands all the years we yearn for. Not that far from high school we already see the hardness of our wishes, how we would’ve shed our allowances to go to an auction where adult years were sold cheap. Where for a single night we could be eighteen or have sex … Read more

More Demons by Bruce McRae

The demons under the house and eating clay. The demons in the ashtray or teasing the dog. That steer burning airliners into an ocean. Demons in the underbrush and sucking on stones. Demons beneath the skin and writing curses, writing sermons with broken soda bottles, writing poems with the blood of your mama. Legions of … Read more

Quite to the Contrary by Bruce McRae

Mad Mary isn’t truly mad, especially when compared to many others on the list of tyrants and despots and those that murder indiscriminately. Mad Mary, who’d be burnt as a witch or stoned as a martyr. Who’d be beatified in medieval circumstance. Saint Mary, they’d call to her, lighting a candle in her name, a … Read more

Three for the End of the World by J.G. McClure

1. PARABLE OF THE SEXBOT Since we’re all dead, there’s no one to tell the last chatbot to stop looking for you tonight, so burning its backup generators, it asks again and (as programmed) again, Are you there are you there hello sexy don’t be shy. Decades pass. We are still dead. 2. PARABLE OF … Read more

Pesto by J.G. McClure

She says pine nuts. He says walnuts are fine. She says pine nuts are better. He says why. She says they’re just better and why does it need an explanation. He grabs another handful of walnuts from the bag; they have no food processor so he has to hold each in place, watch his fingers … Read more

The Chair by Cameron Morse

There is a chair beneath the cherry tree. Velvet red upholstery peeling off the yellow foam. There are no cherries left, and no one in the chair. Two emptinesses, therefore, commune in the late cicada silence. I would sit but, look, the seat is wet with August rain.

To Be Again by Cameron Morse

An early dark, instant of rain, then the birds again quicken, and seedpods pirouette all spring long. The world’s awash in whirligigs, the mindless and innumerable attempts to be again, even if only for a moment or terminally, a tree, even the last tree, standing at the edge of galaxies, twisted roots rearing out into … Read more

Peeling Asparagus by Florence Murry

I peel the asparagus’ flattened stems one by one. The grill is hot, sweet potatoes done. Randy says he has to phone Jim and ask about Sharon. It is dusk, but from where I stand I don’t see the orange sky. I usually peel my asparagus with a potato peeler. I slide the sharp edge … Read more

Sweet Corn by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

To stop in the garden, to wrench an ear of corn from its stalk, to eat it raw and sweet beneath an August sky: always worthwhile to do this. You could also sell the ear of corn for fifty cents. If you sold a thousand ears of corn, you’d earn enough to buy yourself a … Read more

Never by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Heraclitus got it wrong; time’s no river, but swells in waves, a dark sea or the passing wind upon a field of rye. Abreast the mounting wave – and with a rush, outstripping your breath, it lifts your carcass, punches your gut – you’re left gasping there on the packed earth, shaking salt-crystals from your … Read more

Caterpillar Summer by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

The worms have set their tents in the locust trees: it’s another caterpillar summer, a season for gnawing and changing. The silvered chrysalis pendant from the milkweed leaf is lovely, but the tents in the trees make one uneasy, these dirty silk bags with their shadow-play of a hundred creeping larval bodies, faceless and half … Read more