Poetry

The usual despair has gone missing by Mercedes Lawry

I feel for the edge with my toes. You are behind me, though I cannot hear your breath. I know something about your silence. The afternoon clouds are gloves of old cotton, the kind we wore to church. I am unsure of belief but I miss the dead, a host of them, a damn choir…

After Zero, One by Mercedes Lawry

Shown to be a slice of particular measure framed as construct, named as hour or minute. In the hands of the man at roof’s edge, maybe paper with mundane word, or gospel or small white field. Do birds take notice or mimic curiosity? The man might have forgotten the weight of bread crusts. Never fed…

Signs from Chernobyl by John Travelstead

Pripyat: Signs Oksana says the smallest creatures change most by what passes through them, to watch for signs. Hirundo rustica– the brown barn swallow’s feathers blanch albino like a dove, counterfeiting hope. Hairs along the purple spiderwort’s stamen blush pink with invisible current.

Labor Pains by Nicky Yurcaba

Two-and-a-half decades too late for 1977’s glorious outbursts; do you remember how the opening guitar riffs of the Clash’s “I Fought the Law” sent audio-orgasms into our ear canals? We were black leather-clad, bandolier-adorned, plaid skirt-wearing, combat boot-fitted seventeen-year-old misfits huddled over a set of tinny Sony headphones in a backwoods high school’s cramped girls’…

Belief by Carol V. Davis

They were arguing when the pear and lemon rolled off the porcelain plate with the windmill and stone bridge bumped on a planter then slid to the floor. If he had not seen it, he would have accused her of making it up.  

Swamp Maples by Carol V. Davis

Predictions have been honed to a science: not just the date, but the hour and minute color will explode on the swamp maples of New England. Do results match anticipation?   The way a man rotates a peach and between one bite and the next the nectar turns sickly sweet, small bursts of ethylene gas…

Let Us Find by Carol V. Davis

Let there be a shelter for letters from lovers jilted or left to float in uncertainty. A mutual severing does not need sanctity or a trail of correspondence,   but for those reluctant to let go let there be a place of refuge. Memories of hair brushed gently from the eyes, an elbow gently cupped…

Reading Denise Levertov to Know You by Carol V. Davis

Under autumn clouds, under white wideness of winter skies you went walking– Denise Levertov for Efim Levertov Tell me what gets inherited? Is it more than a gene for curly hair or the height of a man? You – compact, hands not many generations from the plow, fingers strong to snap the stalk, rub the…

Touch by Michelle Askin

9 Miles South of DC, what Best Places Reports “Modern Suburbs” left out: compound public houses lining Bailys Crossroads. The El Salvadorian teenagers put on their fast food aprons and mutter rosaries for their deported cousins and pregnant disabled sister. And a bald man walks in, his pink head to match the oversized Koosh ball…

Remain by Michelle Askin

The night before last night I tried to kill myself. I opened the freezer and looked for ice cubes. I was thirsty afterwards. There was no one to call except an Indian man on a hotline from Austin, Texas, who told me to go on a brisk walk to see if I could separate the…

Making Wages by Barry Yeoman

Give credit to those who ruin everything they touch, that we might know the beauty of ruin. It’s where we are going. The largest pile of rubble is our friend. Hung-over, the birds go cockamamie in the morning, chit and chatter their way into the channels and sleepy hollows of the skull. Soon I’ll be…

Isolated Memories by Barry Yeoman

Crazy ruminations in the night. Neurotic perfectionist insomnia. Something I said to a girl in the eighth grade that came out wrong. The guilt of a Halloween egging of a favorite teacher’s house. Calling Karen “Carol” at the mall a year after graduation. Trivial things stuck in my memory as if I lack a filter…

The Accident by Jeremy Voigt

A boy was born. A mother felt betrayed. On the road of her body the arterial turned. The roads had lines. A ditch, as any road might, for rainwater. He came from that chrysalis-darkness. A mother’s obsidian eyes, mostly shut. He was parked in a box to help him breathe. Pinned in hibernation, a needle…

Absent Moon by Nadya Rousseau

This was a night sheathed in a beckoning darkness: a starless sky and summer breeze, designed to envelop a traveling ingénue. Clothes packed and unpacked again in tattered suitcases— with an absent moon there could be no solace; although silhouettes had been tucked away between all lost stars— her lover’s touch was still felt along…

Mine by Raia Small

All our poems are buried within us and all we can do is dig. – Jonathan Galassi   Remember when we dug up the rusted carburetor in the garden? The torn rubber tire tread, the dirt-encrusted gears? Planting squash and basil, we ate the lead-steeped tomatoes stubbornly all summer. That’s what this kind of excavation…

I Was Out by Raia Small

On the west side near the bus terminal on the overpass overlooking a sea of retired train cars, tucked in rail to rail. They were captives at the station, a soft spray of Hudson River water slowly rusting their bodies. It’s an imperceptible shift, from motion to stillness, but the turnover will wreck your brakes.…

To People from the Other Side by John Grey

I play music that I think the dead would like to hear, something to spark their listening from the other side. Mozart is a perennial favorite, as one immortal to another so to speak. “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles too, that last long seemingly endless chord like a taut serene musical illustration…

All the Birds Aren’t Perfect in Paradise by Rosemarie DiMatteo

Struggling back to life at this age— but for all the bleary-eyed hours and bone-jarring bus rides for all those cheap-shoe blisters and fending off the smiling fiends the telltale eye bags you can’t mask with The World’s Best Cover Stick the legs that won’t shape up and that fifth metatarsal that aches where it…

Orpheus by Jim Bartruff

The first time he opened the wad of tinfoil he wondered what it was all about, but he took one with the cross- hatching on it and half an hour later felt like God, Jesus and The Holy Ghost. He believed Bob Norton when he said he had played with Spirit last time they were…

Two Rides by Jim Bartruff

1. Who put “Lola” on the jukebox I will never know, midnight, Dove Creek, Utah, first snow on the ground, counter seats and Indians, square in their black hats. In the pickup’s bed, three mule deer bound in tarps, the road home from the canyon yet a thousand miles, a thousand miles across flat scrub…