Category: Current Issue

Poem of Pancakes and Junipers by Andrea L. Alterman

A cardinal sat within the junipers. Brilliant vermilion outlined in slate green, he sang while I sliced up strawberries to add to pancake batter. I had promised you pancakes for breakfast. I keep my promises. Butter melted on the griddle. I scooped out batter,…

The Tree of Sorrow by Lavanya Shanbhogue Arvind

I want to take you there, to this house, quiet like the woes of the strong, thirteen trees my grandfather planted, three rose shrubs, gul mohrs that lined the compound wall, curry leaves for grandmother’s kitchen, a henna plant, for her hair It was…

Born-Again Marine by Dennis J Bernstein

On his knees with Christ during a lull in the fighting— kills with the same hands he prays with

Christmas Blessings by Dennis J Bernstein

Father “Joey” gave us a blow-job for christmas: It was his unique gift for all fifteen castraltos in the boy choir at St. John’s. We took turns ducking into his private sanctuary, but not one of the boys Father blessed came out smiling—

The Trauma of Spiritual Flesh by Adam Levon Brown

I spoke to my trauma; It cried for a mother who once sheltered him, now caught in dementia I spoke to my trauma; It reeked of needles jabbed into my waist by disorderly orderlies of a behavioral health unit I spoke to my trauma;…

For as Long as I Live by Lew Caccia

Let me sow love, I state before apathy, the indifferent touch I grasped, blanching forth the bone of its chill, profligate and scant bespeaking warmth, the bravura of style— let me not give up this day without redemption. Here, I persevere as refugee, perchance,…

Why We Wait for Rain by Luanne Castle

We wait for hours watching the dark unfurling toward us, unsure if it will land here at all whether it carries thunderstorm or haboob It smells like rain bittersweet cocktail of sandstone & blossoms still damp and quickening in the air over ten thousand…

Snowing in Spring by yuan changming

In the wild open west, flakes keep falling Like myriad baby angels knocked down from Paradise Blurring the landscape behind the vision Hunting each consonant trying to rise above The ground. The day is brighter, lighter & Softer than the feel. Soon there will…

Sonnet in Infinitives by yuan changming

To be a matter when there’s no question Or not to be a question when nothing really matters To sing with a frog squatting straight On a lotus leaf in the Honghu Lake near Jingzhou To recollect all the pasts, and mix them Together…

Dancing by Ray Greenblatt

After a long time we danced together last night not agile as we once were the main aim was touch, we tried a waltz and chandeliers glimmered, the box step suited us fine the stars whirled by; as we went to bed the flag…

Matrix by John Grey

Spider crawls across the ceiling lit golden by fading sun, alchemy on eight legs. traversing its upside-down world. It ignores my eyes’ silent threat, an abdomen, a cephalothorax, in league with its own survival. For high in the rafters, dangle threads fine enough to…

Birth by Gerry Grubbs

What I remember Is the long night The sound Of horses running On a distant hill The flood And the sudden Return of the dove

Near The Edge by Gerry Grubbs

that this is carried inside a thing contained Carries the uncontainable But slipping this way Into words Can close The carrier To the thing contained Can cause The thought That they are two Things not one A thought that separates The world In its…

Media Butterfly by A. J. Howells

Look, you’ve got something to say, just like the rest of us. There’s got to be someone out there who will hear your call to arms and take note and change his mind. Then you’ll be the victor of the spoils. So draft up…

Boston Common by Michael Keshigian

In order to think, to contemplate and appreciate dilemmas brought on by modern life, he often took to strolling through the public gardens amid the verdant calmness of time honored trees and sprawling greenways that survived the patriotic acts of revolution, just far enough…

Fish Cove by Michael Keshigian

Beneath the dock from which he casts, the water is shallow and clear, the sodden earth that bears the weight of liquid is speckled with shoots that will eventually surface into a stage upon which the basso bull frog will perform his aria. Occasionally,…

Home Again by Michael Keshigian

Abandoned house, are there only spiders and rodents residing amid your rooms? I see my distorted image upon the fogged glass of the old storm door, and feel like a prowler, appraising the value of items upon your walls or tucked in your corners,…

Wildflowers by Michael Keshigian

What is love but the dried up bulbs the gardener insists on planting to everyone’s objections that irrationally burst into magnificent dahlias. The lunacy of uncertainty, a fascination of delight, most often unpredictable. Wild grow the flowers of the heart in the garden of…

Days of Bees and Indigo by John Krumberger

In those days of bees and indigo, those days of blue delphinium, I passed the peonies without a glance to bend to the scent of a row of roses. Lili was a sparrow then, an apprentice mimicking the way I matched the peacock we…

Sugar Sand by Greg Lobas

I’m getting a vacation in my mouth! you quipped on the morning of your oral surgery. A trip to Aruba in a single tooth. Driving to your appointment, we passed mountains gathered like blue muslin fabric in the distance, and mountains beyond mountains, where…

The Down Side by Greg Lobas

The skin of my father is like a crumpled newspaper. I told him today that I loved him, that I was sorry if I ever made him feel unloved. Such things you might say to a ninety-four-year-old man, especially if you have never said…

Hand And Hand by Nancy K. Hauptle MacInnis

Listening to what moves, within this wall of skin while still aware of the goings on, outside in the beyond. Thoughts bend to what nurtures in the balance that stands, poised. Simple yet astounding thought inspires. A need brought to a response, a meeting,…

The International(e) by Jeremy Nathan Marks

‘change will not come from above’ -Billy Bragg Fishers in lamb’s wool caps angle for dirigibles beneath winter ice. The lake is a pastel roe, a killdeer’s pupil caught by muscles with zebra stripes. Erie is an oblong spoon of kale beds, watercress woods,…

In Her Garden by Cecil Morris

Having already opened the earth, having turned dark spadefuls of dirt out, he kneels, his knees on the soft soil, the bag of bulbs she bought beside him: hyacinths—hard pale lumps no bigger than his thumb tip—possibility asleep inside each one, all the green…

The Radiologists by Cecil Morris

The nicest thing anyone said to me this week. I am face down and ass up on the radiation table, my butt uncovered, exposed, ready to be irradiated while I stare down to darkness. The radiologists pull and push, give commands—move up some, move…

Love Poem to My Ex by Linda Neal

It’s late fishing season and the Day of the Dead when everything out there waits for me in the forbidden territory of skin and memory, a bent line of a Sam Shepard play rocking me in the dark, and the telephone pole outside the…

Exposure by Nathanael O’Reilly

A naked man rides his bike across the Congress Avenue bridge past the sunset crowds waiting for flights of bats reveals his true self between daylight and darkness

Honks by Nathanael O’Reilly

A hand-painted sign planted on the lawn between the real estate agent’s office and the main road through town across the railroad tracks proclaims HONKS 4 JESUS + TEACHERS If I honk, how will anyone know whether my honk is for Jesus or teachers…

Reading Performance by Nathanael O’Reilly

Car-waiting in the Dollar General parking lot I read either, Orpheus observe rolls of toilet paper pool toys, cleaning products outside on clearance A Hispanic girl exits the building, grabs a hula hoop from the toy bin practices her moves while gazing upon her…

Pulsing Tide by Scott Thomas Outlar

Three birds triangulate the sky as the sun shines a perfect circle through the center I am made whole in this moment and the next by the warmth of your breath on my neck One sigh annihilates all stress as the moon blinks its…

Something To Find In by Kimberly Prijatel

something to find in the yard and paint chips from the neighbors drift down long dry, lead dead skin. the dog tries to eat them now, though surely i cannot keep up? the day is chipping away at me i am not the kind…

A Million Small Things by Charles Rammelkamp

“I think the world will be saved by millions of small things,” my T-shirt proclaims over an image of Pete Seeger, owl-wise with squinty eyes, grizzled beard and a wide-brimmed hat. What does that even mean? I wish there were some gloss on the…

Me Too Too by Charles Rammelkamp

I remember my first off-campus apartment, buying my own groceries, preparing my own meals. I shopped at a Kroger’s conveniently across the street, the next closest supermarket an IGA across town, and of course I didn’t own a car. One night, having smoked a…

Poem for Anne, Who Made a Sacrifice by Martin A. Ramos

Jesus, the God-man, the Savior, Hanging there. His legs are Twisted trees, His feet are locks Whose keys have been Irrepably lost. Though meek, how His arms must ache To hold me. The torso white, gleaming, Scourged like the scars on Pilate’s Silvery moon….

Collage by Keely Record

Jet-black-bottled, short hair not the brown I’d seen in youthful pictures. Bulbous nose. Between her nearly hairless eyebrow and eyelid with a fold like a roman shade, a hanging mole. I feared its snagged removal from her cupped fingers as she dug in her…

At the End of Things by John Timothy Robinson

Mrs. Butterworth is standing on her head. Not about being last, a sigh could be at either one. No one expects the ninth batter to get a hit. When a body heals, what do you think happens? A mind is already on the way….

The Rest of Your Life by Stephanie Smith

A late winter snow and summer dreams seem fleeting You fell asleep between cold cotton sheets You left home humming Pachelbel It could have been a Saturday afternoon way back in childhood or a Sunday morning with the newspaper spread out on the living…

Hospice by Joris Soeding

you in bed and I pray for another song a hand raised fur or something pricey adorning your neck at church we celebrate the Magnificat sing of Maria, “gentle woman” your strength is different outright, reckoning, spiritual, yes yet glass doors will swing quickly…

Tea Time by K. R. Swathi

I was alone in the 6*6 apartment The sunlight bouncing across the room made it look like an Eastman color movie Reeking of solitude and gloom. Work piled up as I struggled To find an inspiration. The article’s deadline is tomorrow… Adding to the…

Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, GA by John Valentine

for Nathan Angel Traces only, not even memories. This silent moon the shimmering witness. Confederate rows, six hundred asked too soon to be men. Markings all but gone on the small reminders, rubbed by the years. Faded précis. Kentucky regiment on yours, nothing more….

At Home by Diane Webster

Old woman sits on rocking chair like a queen on her throne gathering robes around her in royal pose with a shaft of sunlight entering window in godly favor. White hair as silver-lined clouds drifts around her face while she rocks back and forth…

Beyond Crowds by Diane Webster

Gray-whiskered man lies on the ground; his arm pillows his head like mother’s hand when she held his babyhood. Eyes closed in sleep memory; a smile softens his face as he listens to his radio – music of static blankets his soul beyond crowds.

Of Himself by Diane Webster

Old man stands ankle-deep in pasture grass dry in August. He contemplates the ground as if looking for something lost – Pocket knife? Metal car? Toy gun? Like an escaped prisoner a cricket scurries through brittle stems uncaring of silence just fleeing. Old man…

At 50 by Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

my gums are receding, but on the good side – I’ve finally gotten a superpower, invisibility. Well, at least to young attractive women, I’m invisible. They stare past me as if I were transparent and sometimes they even walk right through me. Really. I…

Just a Slice (June 1976) by Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

5 hours in a sun so blistered trying to hitch a ride out of Alamogordo – pasty-faced seniors in Winnebagos for some odd reason not trusting my long-haired bearded self – I gave up. Called my old man to wire me bus fare. In…

Right to Sight by John Zedolik

Even the long-incarcerated need adequate vision care, so don’t bat an eye when a stern sort in uniform escorts an elderly gentleman in orange to his shoes, wrists and ankles shackled, chains tinkling across the carpet and its office quiet to a room unseen…

Slow Softening by John Zedolik

I’m standing in a pumpkin patch on Friday morning, watching some rot even though I can’t perceive the progress to the blackening, to the bottomless depression, and the crawling scavengers enjoying the pulp while I ponder the significance of being here at 10:30 a.m….