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.

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

Impostor by Caleb Coy

tractor tracks crisscrossed in mud
 

Impostor   I am in the dirt and the dirt is in me I am the flow of me recently From the valley insignia clay came I From the mountain foot crust came I Am I the son of two righteous souls? Am I not the path my feet were put on? A path of mirrors, of arrows lined Who told me to set foot here? Who formed my face just so? I feel my heart say this and that I see my tracks run about and I do not know mine from mine I … Continue reading Impostor by Caleb Coy

Still Life and Equinox, 2 Poems by Jo Kennedy

finger pointing to white wall with stark shadow
 

Still Life   In the painting Ram’s Head with Hollyhock there is a melding of bones and sky and desert, no beginning or end, just the eye sockets of a skull transfixed on the faraway and in the foreground, red hills and cedar. I imagine O’Keefe walking in the desert at night, catching a glint at her feet—a shell, a stone— and stooping to gather it up, discovering the bleached bones of a skull, vast and empty and beautiful, like her desert. She must have rotated it in her hands that night under the moon … Continue reading Still Life and Equinox, 2 Poems by Jo Kennedy

Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer

man smoking cigarette silhouetted against sunset
 

Smoke   When it’s almost too dark to see, my uncle sits out on the back porch, rolling a cigarette, holding it up to his mouth for the lick. He’s trying to remember a boy from the next farm lowered beneath the sod in a slow rain fallen more than fifty years ago. Striking the sunset of a match, his worn face flares up an instant. The green wicker chair creaks when he settles back, head at rest against the siding, white smoke clouded around him, coffin lining. Taking another drag, he picks tobacco from … Continue reading Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer