All posts by Fred Wilbur

Escalation by Claire Scott

Photo of woman walking dog

I am so sick of walking past the cute little signs that say please clean up after your dog. really? do we want our ivy, our pachysandra, our Vinca covered in pee and poop? do we want our perfectly manicured lawns used as toilets? no possible way to clean up all the mess with a plastic bag what about Keep Your Canine Off My Grass You Dimwit or No Pooping on my Property Under Penalty of Perjury I yell at my frowsy neighbor, who insists her stupid, practically legless dog prefers my ground cover, won’t … Continue reading Escalation by Claire Scott

A Chisel and a Rock and Losing Control, 2 poems by Annie Breitenbucher

Close up photo of a statue

  A Chisel and a Rock They say He created heaven, earth, and mystery: The jungle lion’s guttural roar The celestial twinkling of stars Tell me Where is your soul? And does it move with you like the moon—quarter, half, full of grief and gratitude? Tell me Who created your Creator? And, does He see the tiny grain of your face? Tell me Did He tell you What purpose you serve? What fever you can cure? Or, did He leave you here with the riddle, a chisel, and a rock? Losing Control It was the … Continue reading A Chisel and a Rock and Losing Control, 2 poems by Annie Breitenbucher

Eden by Marty Carlock

old picture of wolf on cliff

In truth there was never a snake or an apple; and they knew already about lust, had known forever what creature didn’t It was that they lived long saw the wolf and the tiger grow old and die saw the tree fern and gingko wither and fall saw even the snake become food for vultures It wasn’t sex they discovered it wasn’t the knowledge of good and evil they discovered death and, terrified, they invented God After spending almost twenty years chasing facts for The Boston Globe, Marty Carlock decided it was more fun to … Continue reading Eden by Marty Carlock

To an Ovenbird while Sheltering in Place by Amelia Williams

Photo of blue window trim in old siding

White spotted breast, orange and black on your head—I wouldn’t have seen if you were not warm in my hand, but dead. At the thud of a window strike I ran for the deck, hoping for merely stunned, but no chance in the tilt of your neck. I nestled you in woods-edge laurel, fetched the soap for crosshatch bars to mark south-facing windows. This season at last, brought to ask which fatalities are fated, I regret the mobile hung was to no avail. In this rural calm, so far spared the siren’s wail of despair, … Continue reading To an Ovenbird while Sheltering in Place by Amelia Williams

The Better is Yet to Come by Fred Wilbur

Photo of purple flowers on fence

Each year for the past eight or ten, I have been given The Best American Poetry by a member of my family at Christmas time. The adults of our family are assigned, on a rotating basis, their gifts recipient, thus every member of my family has given me a book of this ongoing series. Often our gifts are handmade goodies like quilts, knitted socks, woodcarvings or other recipient-specific presents. Among them, this book is an anomaly though its contents were in a sense handmade with the same patient labor as the others. Most years I … Continue reading The Better is Yet to Come by Fred Wilbur

Dream Vaccination by Allison Geller

photo of dandelion

“The self without sympathetic attachments is either a fiction or a lunatic.” ………………………………………………………………………-Adam Phillips Duskless days of cloud-smoke and heat lightning. Bitter tincture, citrus and ice, the urge to put the moonstone in my mouth. All this equals the moth in the closet that eats its fill of wool coats and yet is never seen. Soft-winged, tawny, phototaxic— that is, drawn to light—though for reasons unknown. Equals all that was accidentally, and intensely, lost. Collecting at the needle’s tip— needless, wanting you. You, who claimed I only found it cinematic. Well, here it is again: … Continue reading Dream Vaccination by Allison Geller

Poetry Contest Winners

Photo of rows of colored thread

  This year’s contest was our first as co-editors and we are pleased to announce our selections.  We want to thank all participants, without whom we could not sponsor this contest. Kudos to each and every one. From our perspective, performing the task of judgement was both arduous and rewarding. We read and re-read and, because the two of us have peripheral preferences, we sifted back and forth to arrive at firm agreements. The compensation was in our exposure to a variety of work from personal love-angst, to political assessments, from poems filled with egocentric … Continue reading Poetry Contest Winners

Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six, 1907 and Picasso’s Woman with Hat, 2 poems by Diana Pinckney


Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six,1907 Cheeks stabbed with dark lines. Tender mouth any woman would want. Hair slashed in broad black strokes. His mother said If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. A Spanish Napoleon,don’t you think? Face a bold triangle. Wide nose and brow. His mother said,If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope. Yes, wouldn’t he have been Leo X with mistresses and power? But his eyes, oh, my dear, you can’t turn from those eyes. Large and oval with black centers that absorb the world. Picasso said, Instead … Continue reading Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six, 1907 and Picasso’s Woman with Hat, 2 poems by Diana Pinckney

Brooklyn Bridge by Esme Devault

Photo of people on the Brooklyn Bridge

It’s a long way down— We start on 5th Avenue: all/that/claustrophobic/glitz. You want a pair of $200 kicks— so hey, okay kid we get ‘em. You carry that box the rest of the way. We walk to Grand Central Terminal, and eat our bag lunch beneath the constellations ceiling bluer, stars brighter, marble Earth down under. On the platform, we randomly choose between the 4, 5, and 6 lines. A large black man says “Oh, no-you don’t want the local.” We take it anyway, since it comes first, and they’re all headed in the same … Continue reading Brooklyn Bridge by Esme Devault

Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Piano in foreground, Large painting of woman in background

ALMOST A Steinway. A red silk dress. The audience still, anticipating the first note of Schubert’s B-Flat Sonata. Anthony Tommasini ten rows back will write the most sensitive Schubert ever in tomorrow’s New York Times. My hands hover over the keys. I begin with lyric phrases followed by the ominous trill. My little brother. Composing contrapuntal music at the age of five, playing flawless Chopin preludes presto con fuoco on his gleaming grand piano. Illustrious teachers line up to listen tweaking their moustaches in disbelief. Downstairs I bang fortissimo chopsticks on the old second hand … Continue reading Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Claire Scott