All posts by Roselyn Elliott

Roselyn Elliott is the author of four poetry chapbooks: The Separation of Kin ( Blueline-SUNY Potsdam 2006 ), At the Center (Finishing Line Press 2008), Animals Usher Us to Grace (Finishing Line Press 2011), and Ghost of the Eye (Finishing Line press 2016). A Pushcart nominee, her essays and poems have appeared in New Letters, ABRAXAS, Diode, Streetlight Magazine, The Florida Review, Blueline, diode and other publications. She holds an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University and has taught at VCU, Piedmont Virginia Community College, WriterHouse, and The Visual Art Center of Richmond. Currently she lives in Richmond, VA with husband and poet Les Bares.

Ferment by Lucy Alford

pruned fruit tree
 

Ferment   Orchard in February. Branches, matted as hair, litter the rows after pruning. Soil, strewn with old fruitfall, soaks in last season’s rancid sun seeped from these gnawed globes: Ambrosias, Auroras, Pink Ladies, now rusted and fleshless. Their skins peel back like those of fallen tomatoes in August,                    left to blister and stink. Small black birds sit motionless against blank and separate sky, below which, earth in hibernatory ferment concocts from sweetest Melus this bitter brandy for weathering out. One wavers a bit in its frieze. Even for them,             a little ivresse eases the … Continue reading Ferment by Lucy Alford

Swimming in Akumal by Jo Kennedy

sun rising behind clouds
 

Swimming in Akumal   You could learn to live here without ever measuring time in linear seconds or distance in the miles we journey. Everything here is cyclical and circular like the half moon bay we swim in. Sun and wind are nature’s runes, marking summer solstice, or storms churning in from sea. You could learn to forget here, drifting in emerald water among sea turtles and fish the color of fruit–kiwi, mango, papaya– and all around you, coral reefs rising like sacred temples from the ocean’s floor, their exotic bloom luring you beyond the … Continue reading Swimming in Akumal by Jo Kennedy

Sorrow by Whitney Hill

several scarlet macaws squawikng
 

Sorrow   Sometimes I think I own sorrow like the man who parades his macaw up and down the shopping street, shit on his back, smiling. The bird is sweet and talkative, but his wings are clipped. Sorrow kept too long forgets to leave, forgets it belongs to everyone and no one, in a rainforest smashing Brazil nuts with a hundred other wildly colored beasts. Whitney Roberts Hill has been a blog contributor, columnist, book reviewer, and content editor. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in anthologies and online publications, including The American Book … Continue reading Sorrow by Whitney Hill

A Place for the Genuine by Les Bares

a pile of mail in envelopes
 

You’ve gotten over the idea that writing poetry is only for strange people who carry around moleskin notebooks with ribbon bookmarks. You may have even admitted to people you’ve met in airports, knowing you will never see them again, that you write poetry. Perhaps after supplying an alibi, you’ve even gone to an open mike poetry reading and mustered the courage to read a poem or two of your own. What do you do now with those poems you have labored over, edited and re-edited, let stew and percolate, honed and polished until you think … Continue reading A Place for the Genuine by Les Bares

First Dog: A Love Song by Rachel Willems


 

First Dog: A Love Song   You didn’t even want it. You said it was much too nervous, inappropriate for us who had never owned a dog, and wrong for our cold climate. It would have to wear a sweater, we would become the sort of people who put a sweater on their dog. You said a greyhound was appropriate for racing or for show, not for friendship, not to love. It would try to hunt, I told you, would track small cats and squirrels but obey when we said heel. If we let it … Continue reading First Dog: A Love Song by Rachel Willems

Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

closeup of banjo frets
 

Reno and Smiley in Verona   Walking not far from Juliet’s graffitied house, a window gives its music to the alley below— Appalachian spring tripping on love. I hear I Wouldn’t Change You if I Could.                                   * An unintended plot comes back to me— how fifty years ago we drove south to Stuart’s Draft to hear Reno and Smiley play, a hay wagon above us, haloed by the setting sun, singing their country’s tunes.                        Don’s banjo sowed the seeds of bluegrass with Lee’s March                        and Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die. Have you forgotten the … Continue reading Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

From Ice and Dust by Sharon Ackerman

comet in sky
 

From Ice and Dust   All summer long, a comet streaks, star blown and cold, as I walk, hollow boned thin ribbed, a scarecrow loosed upon the night, trailing cotton. How elastic the hands once, thick with boxwood and petunias, a plump face blankly ignorant of kneecaps and hips, their gray, aching moonscape. In the dark closeted sky, original dust returns, its tiny, solid planet flashes the same blinkered path always, a brightness not consuming itself, a body falling, falling for miles, whole and unbroken. Sharon Ackerman is a poet residing in Albemarle County, Virginia. … Continue reading From Ice and Dust by Sharon Ackerman

Somewhere in Arizona by Marsha Owens

inside of Antelope Canyon sandstone formations
 

Somewhere in Arizona   dusk swallowed the day we spent in gold-red dirt tracing rocks with unsteady feet where each thin-air breath seemed as tentative as tomorrow. So we slowed our pace, you and I, we who brought our wounded selves to each other, paused to feel the earth’s arms around us when down in the clearing like a child’s painting splashed onto a concrete page, the doe took center stage—just a whisper, watery legs sufficient, her elegant head arced downward. She knew I watched. She didn’t care how I envied her vulnerable assurance and … Continue reading Somewhere in Arizona by Marsha Owens

The Workers of Macchu Picchu by Stephen Massimilla

Macchu Pichu covered by clouds
 

The Workers of Macchu Picchu —After Neruda Like corn, the mortals were husked in the bottomless granary of forgotten deeds, miserable events, from one o’clock to seven, to eight, and not one but many deaths came to each: every day a small death—dust, worm, lamp snuffed in the slums of mud—a small thick-winged death entered each laborer like a short lance, and these men were driven by bread and by the knife, by the rancher, son of the seaports, dark captain of the plow, like rodents of overrun streets: all weakened waiting for their death, … Continue reading The Workers of Macchu Picchu by Stephen Massimilla

2 Poems by Darren Demaree

gnarled tree roots
 

[the roots have risen up away from the trunk]   i told my children the roots have risen up away from the trunk and like your brain seeps the tree’s structure seeps as well and searches and keeps searching even in the spring because the nourishment doesn’t come from the good black or the tall blue visiting it comes from growing until you bump your head on the ceiling until you are a giant in your own world and that will be the first part of your lives the second the third the fourth and … Continue reading 2 Poems by Darren Demaree