All posts by Sharon Ackerman

Sharon Ackerman holds an M.Ed from the University of Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Southern Humanities Review, Appalachian Places, Still: The Journal, Meridian, Cumberland River Review and various others. She is the winner of the Hippocrates Poetry in Medicine international poetry contest, London 2019. She has one poetry collection Revised Light and a second one in the works.

Canticle for the Hand and Mouth by Karl Sherlock

hand reaching up, another reaching down, blue sky background
 

The way one’s mouth shadows the hand because hands spoke the first language. The way the lurid tongue-tip drapes the sill of one’s lip, mobilizing when hands are elsewise picking knots from shoelaces or rubbing together the neurons of a nuanced thought. How the rushed cadence of fingerspelling paces a deaf friend’s lips. How Moses, heavy of mouth and stammering tongue, lifted the sea with a lightness of hands thrust forward. How a forefinger, pinched against the lips, muzzles a neighbor’s fracas, or the well- meaning, ill-mannered way the hand of a relative stranger cups … Continue reading Canticle for the Hand and Mouth by Karl Sherlock

Some Stories by Claire Scott

a furled brown leaf against a pale gray background
 

Some stories last long past their appointed hour, like light from expired stars. Like leftover houseguests or five day fish. We walk toward remnants of the past like refugees, pulled by the gravity of guilt, the pulse of regret. Is it too late to unspool the alphabet of cruelty, the bludgeon, the blindness, the heated blade of anger? Words cutting like winter-raw wind. Some stories stick like late fall leaves, wrinkled and ready, but clinging to the apple tree like a drowning man to a raft. the drumbeat of regret stranded in the long syllables … Continue reading Some Stories by Claire Scott

Old News by Joseph Kleponis

Elder man in fedora and pink tie crossing a brick street
 

It was late afternoon in fall or spring Because we were not wearing heavy coats. The pale sun was just starting to squinch down. As we left the library for home We lingered on the steps saying good-byes. A man in a brown suit with matching brown shoes, Wearing a shabby sort of fedora, With a full paper grocery bag Crooked in his left arm, a folded newspaper In his right hand stood at the curb, Looking left then right before stepping Into the street. I could not see his face, So I do not … Continue reading Old News by Joseph Kleponis

Autumn Landscape by Elizabeth Mercurio

woman in white leotard mid-air beneath autumn tree
 

How do you bear the middle-aged body, all its longing— ……    a body grown round. It doesn’t curve with the same sweetness it did on days when they snapped your bra in the hallway or nights when they whispered, You’re perfect, though you never believed it. The body gives up its wounds too, all the times you said no without words. It’s yours now. You stretch out your arms, turn in scarlet-yellow leaves your heart still hungry in its cage. —In the lowering autumn dark you are here, astonishingly, here. Elizabeth Mercurio is the … Continue reading Autumn Landscape by Elizabeth Mercurio

Advent by Sharon Ackerman

a single bright star in night sky
 

The Christmas story is full of haves and have-nots, those who are empty and those who are full, those who have shelter and those who lack. As with other biblical stories, it invites us to think about our inner poverties and riches, and how they lead us. Earlier, in the book of Genesis, humans choose their own individual will over sacred order and suffer the consequence of being forever separated from the garden. Exile and suffering mark the course of humanity until the gospels cast a star in the sky that hovers over a scene … Continue reading Advent by Sharon Ackerman

Bloodroot in March by Gary Grossman

white bloodroot flower
 

1. Regardless of the year, it’s the first flower seen on my daily hikes, pushing through every November’s abandoned duvet of tan and umber—a patchwork of ash, oak, maple, and hickory. I pause, eyelids unspooled, like a tired window blind, and inhale the forest’s green anticipation. 2. Willingly, this could be my last breath— absorbing the effortless geometry of these eight ivory petals, rising from leaves mimicking round Japanese fans from the 1840s. 3. How is it that small perfections can both both break, and reassemble us— as if we were Adam or Eve on … Continue reading Bloodroot in March by Gary Grossman

a cricket’s delight by IIma Quereshi

blurred branches with half moon blue light
 

one tree- with its small hands and another with its star-laced fingers brush against the sky the sky that looks like a sea drained of water offering its long tresses to the milky moon and the coal-black darkness clothes the sky this, however, does not prevent crickets, from shivering with joy i sit here, thinking of the faint line between life and death while their party thickens and blooms crickets do not carry the burden of making sense of life they lick life here, letting out their song here, letting out their cries IIma Quereshi … Continue reading a cricket’s delight by IIma Quereshi

Cockatiel not you by Sean Lause

tree in black and white beyond a wire window
 

Cockatiel, not you, a yellow and orange assertion. Bright with her own meanings, clatters round the outside of her cage, without fear, flourishing her freedom. Her eyes, seeds of darkness, see all that is not you, see you too, see dual worlds, one on each side, her head a ball turret, tail a trailing spear. feather in her cap. She whistles “Whataru?” won’t wait for an answer, explores the floor, foraging as she goes, mounts the top of an armchair renowned for its emptiness, spreads her wings and sings her triumph, not yours. Outside the … Continue reading Cockatiel not you by Sean Lause

17 Year Cicada by David B. Prather

translucent green wing
 

  —Magicicada septendecim I never thought I could love you, arguing with leaves under midday sun, your body a prune with polymer wings that look like they might shatter at a touch. When my father told my mother he was in love with another woman, everything breakable flew off shelves, shook loose from frames, fell free from cupboards. I was breathless, my lungs heavy with humidity, a death rattle shaking in my throat, which reminds me of you, your song a pall through afternoon and on into evening. If only I’d known your name was … Continue reading 17 Year Cicada by David B. Prather

In the Nature of Chickens, There is Little Room for Gentleness by Emma Fenton

Two chickens, blue building, overgrown chickenyard, rustic look
 

On Thursday, there are three chickens in the backyard pecking at each other, plucked feathers scattered on the ground like a gruesome crime scene. You could make a fourth chicken out of this, I think and rescue the yellow one with a bleeding wing. She scrambles in my arms, talons clawing at exposed flesh. I drop her. She returns to pecking, happier in the violence which is more comfortable to her than in my arms: safe but unknown. I do not know how to save them if they do not want to be saved, only … Continue reading In the Nature of Chickens, There is Little Room for Gentleness by Emma Fenton