All posts by Fred Wilbur

2023 Poetry Contest Winners by Fred Wilbur

Photo of white flowers with green leaves

It is our pleasure to announce the Winners and Honorable Mentions of the annual Streetlight Magazine Poetry Contest. How did we arrive at our choices? We read a lot of poetry. We are both writers/poets. We have, no doubt, the same aspirations for our work as those submitting to this contest.  We are sensitive to every entrant’s intention and effort. Sharon and I do not use screeners so we separately read every anonymous entry independently. We then present each other with our preferred dozen or so and begin the back-and-forth process of willowing. In this … Continue reading 2023 Poetry Contest Winners by Fred Wilbur

Elegy for a Soldier by Will Hemmer

Red-heavy photo of silhouetted figures

In the pulsing heat, in the black cathedral of war, the amber-tinted silver of infra-red illuminates a man. Nimble in the moment between the squeeze of the trigger and the crack of the rifle, he crouches and fires: stalker and stalked at one in the fluttering night. Quickly, the breath still held, a song arises, unbidden and sweet, and the pulsing heat and the heart conspire to draw from the murmuring air an echo, smiling, of a fond face. Drawn on the rim of this well of resonance in the foul, sweltering dark, other forms … Continue reading Elegy for a Soldier by Will Hemmer

Writers’ Joy by Fred Wilbur

Photo of row of books

Writers or bloggers who write about writing often express the difficulties of practicing the craft in romantic terms of justification. Maybe not the physical pain of carpel-tunnel syndrome, butt-rot, or screen-induced headache, but certainly the mental frustrations, the endless angst of word choice, unruly character quirks or plot twists. And to end this state of anguish, these literary pundits suggest self-help books (disguised as instruction books), literary conferences, newsletter screeds, low-res MFA programs, or some esoteric meditation strategy. Anything for day-job relief. Trouble is, this advice implies a degree of inadequacy in the recipient. For … Continue reading Writers’ Joy by Fred Wilbur

Laundry by Charlie Brice

Photo of woman hanging colorful blankets drier

Fat Auntie Ursal with her coffee-breath, baggy pink house dress, and worried rosary beads would haul a basket of linen to the backyard, pick clothespins out of her mouth, and staple sheets to the line. When it rained, I rushed to watch Auntie panic-waddle into our backyard, eyes wide, rosary flying, as she pulled down the pristine sheets as if lowering the mainsail in a gale. Later, she’d plead with Uncle Pete to buy a dryer, but he couldn’t hear her over the sound he made while sucking food bits out of the crevasses between … Continue reading Laundry by Charlie Brice

God by Mel Kenne


God must be, I dare now to say, like a cat, with His / Her / Its impertinence and delays in ordering our lives, loves and ways of being whoever we think we are, or might be. I’ve learned this from my own clever pet, Kestane, who is happily (I suppose) grooming herself as she lies curled up in the wicker chair across from where I sit in my rocker, having my penultimate drink of the evening and trying again to understand what drives us in our conceptions of divinity. She’s not, or, perhaps, she … Continue reading God by Mel Kenne

grown girl: she thinks of the dead by Liz Femi

Photo of alley between brick buildings with graffiti

it surely is the same wrinkled sky from years ago when i lived in dense forest towns when cold winds chafed Iroko bark like prayers chafe fingers. i smoothed my first grinding stone with rocks rocks picked from streets maddened from stoning thieves. i peered down wells and called to the nameless to find out for myself: guards of the wide road where mothers have gone mad where faint rhymes tuck into palms, love poems in vapors, breastmilk curdles with ghosts, and from mounds poured for the forgotten, i walked, anyhow, anyhow myself Liz Femi … Continue reading grown girl: she thinks of the dead by Liz Femi

Belleville Reformed Church by Josh Humphrey

Photo of church with sun behind it

And if you were that old collection of smudged walls and dusty glass, you would be embarrassed to be caught by                        the morning – stretched out fence to fence, your top half in scaffolds, cross in repair from the super storm, gravestones covered September leaves           in March, unprepared for the sun, bleary-eyed, pulled from that dream of the underground railroad – belly full of tunnels, tunnels full of                   bloody songs. And if you were a stone, you would miss the touch of … Continue reading Belleville Reformed Church by Josh Humphrey

Beech Tattoos by Ned Kraft

Photo looking up into a tree

Father Fagus Grandifolia, silver grey with muscled shoulders fingers traced across the soil like a hawk’s nest suturing the slope. Beech tattoos give proof to Jake and Sue that they were, indeed, in love in 1962. Proof that Peter mattered and that Harlon was, in fact, here. Slow growth in acid earth, with polished nut. Sweet scent a dozen decades old still luring pilgrim children to the woods, knives drawn. Ned Kraft, a librarian by trade, has published satire, poetry, and short stories in such places as Phoebe, Against the Grain, Grimoire, The Pennsylvania Literary … Continue reading Beech Tattoos by Ned Kraft

Air is Wind is Song by Fred Wilbur

Photo of tree blowing with foggy background

As a child, when did you first become aware of air? It was probably as its manifestation in the mysterious force of wind. Indeed, we all have forgotten our first gasp at birth. I thought of this question as I drove through a dead-still morning when clouds brushed the top of my pick-up. The air was thick with moisture; not really raining, but enough water accumulated on the windshield to necessitate turning on the wipers every few miles. I thought it would be nice for the wind to sweep away this dark sniffling day. My … Continue reading Air is Wind is Song by Fred Wilbur

Desire by Molly McKaughan

Photo of blond woman in pink dress

I sit at the bar at Café Un, Deux, Trois on West 43rd and cross my legs and swivel toward the room glass of wine in hand nylons shining skirt above my knee. I cross my legs and the heel of my shoe slides off just a bit as I raise my toe up and down. I catch a man’s eye at one table then another. I have what they desire but will not get. Mother of two, forty-plus married in the burbs. I love making them want it. It sets me up for the … Continue reading Desire by Molly McKaughan