All posts by Sharon Ackerman

Regulars by Colin Webb

bright yellow goldfinch perched on an iron post

which birds are out? you can count on your favorite ones, usually some finches here—-they arrive all-colored by the thicket from other people’s timbered properties & short-lived playgrounds, when it will smell like honeysuckle, you can count on that Colin Webb is a native of Baltimore, Md. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in White Wall Review, Apeiron Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, The Northern Virginia Review, and elsewhere, and he has been a finalist for The Arch Street Prize. Follow us!

New Garbage Disposal by Barbara Conrad

stainless steel sink with soggy green weed lying in it

I don’t know why this simple apparatus makes me smile. After months of scooping out lemon rinds and soggy granola with bare hands, there’s something sweet about the soft buzz of a motor mushing up the day’s drudgeries. It’s a mind, body, spirit kind of thing, don’t you think? I mean, when another active shooter splatters our headlines red and migrants get stored in cages while the planet sizzles and viruses roam the earth a garbage disposal seems to have an odd way of leveling the playing field. Barbara Conrad is author of three poetry … Continue reading New Garbage Disposal by Barbara Conrad

Blunt Force by Lisa Low

hazy, summer field

  From a distance I saw a frog, standing like a soldier in a field of summer grass. Up close, the creature looked alive. My curious dog sniffed its warty behind. I, too, touched its stiff and tailless end with the blunt unfeeling tip of my white summer sneaker. Later, we found another: the stretched-out skin of its helmeted head, arched above its shoulders round; its fore and hind legs spread, poised like a soldier for action. Closer inspection showed death: a flat black disc of missing eye and fat, red tongue in locked jaw … Continue reading Blunt Force by Lisa Low

Doña Chuy and How I Remember “Inti” is the Kichwa Word for Sun, 2 poems by Eric Odynocki

old abandoned church steeple with bells

Doña Chuy For my grandmother, after her favorite song, Solamente una Vez. You were never one for sitting down. And long after it did not work out, you showed who could wear the pants better and built a house. Your hairdresser’s eye arranged an enclosed patio with a lemon tree as its centerpiece. Is this the huerto in which your hope glittered so many years later? A clock of citrus suns by which to measure his ill-timed return. And when the church bells sing in the plaza, you will them to be as faint as … Continue reading Doña Chuy and How I Remember “Inti” is the Kichwa Word for Sun, 2 poems by Eric Odynocki

Locusts and Island, 2 poems by Linda Laino

white feather on sand with small water droplets

Locusts One day I’ll hear you are dead. It will come from some benevolent phone tree or on the wings of locusts, an army of ill will. They will deafen my ears so I never hear my name from your crooked mouth again. Only the endless circling and whirr of wings wailing like a heart beating itself to death Island Leafing through the journal I found a forgotten flamingo feather scavenged from an island filled with sienna skin skin like yours, skin I still smell in sleep. Considerable light is absorbed In the soft dark … Continue reading Locusts and Island, 2 poems by Linda Laino

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Linda Verdery

tiny red boat in blue water with dark cloud and full moon

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Linda Verdery Linda Verdery, a Bremo Bluff, Va. resident, is a career educator with graduate degrees in English and Humanities. As an undergraduate she studied Art History and Painting. Both painter and writer, she is affiliated with the Annie Gould gallery in Gordonsville and a poetry study group in Charlottesville. Say a few words about your connection with poetry and art. Writing poems and making paintings are complementary. I frequently dream in both images and words. I see landscapes as portraits and portraits as landscape. And a still life … Continue reading Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Linda Verdery

All the Things We Do Not See by Megan Atthowe

empty beach, a dog, a few people

  I wondered what it could mean that on my first view of the ocean a dog lay dead in the surf. Bloated and caught on the sand, its black body swelled gently in the come here of waves, its hair an aura around it. No one stirred. Sipping drinks, laughing as though it wasn’t right here, catching the breakers, walking the beach. Why don’t they drag it away? Does nobody see it but me? The tall lap swimmer proclaims at dinner: I saw the dead dog float out to sea. Relieved for us all, … Continue reading All the Things We Do Not See by Megan Atthowe

Burning the Spiral Notebooks by Irene O’Garden

flaming black and white coal

In spite of the impending blizzard, my friend and I agree, “Today we have to burn our spiral notebooks.” Those tortured scribbles of our youth haunted our attics like madwomen, voices of the grieving girls we were, maps of the clumsy steps we took. On fire, their beauty took our breath away. Fire turned fear and wound to flaming peonies. Sweat rained. Casting book after book to the fabulous heat, casting off anguish like souls between lives. Fire turning pages in farewell, wavering ash like shirred silk. Suddenly, laughter collapses us, sprung like the spiral … Continue reading Burning the Spiral Notebooks by Irene O’Garden

Figs at Christmas by Irene O’Garden

Photo of purple figs

                 for my brother Jim On the rattan tray from California every Christmas Gramma’s boring gift arrived. We dug into the pink- and-green-foiled dates first—moist, at least—then gnawed the rawhide apricots, the gritty Newtonless figs, their dry deathly sweetness bitter even to our young tongues. Her present satisfied us only once: last week. We’d both flown to salve another sibling— her twisted brain, your rheumatoid insomnia became my grief, shared later on my husband’s shoulder, which he may transfuse in a play that critics abuse, and the pain … Continue reading Figs at Christmas by Irene O’Garden

Sparrows by Bill Glose

gray and white sparrow perched in reeds

When baby sparrows tumbled from our eaves onto soft clover, my sisters and I rescued the brown dollops fragile as fluff we blew from dandelions to make a wish. ………………….Pale downy plumage of the black-throated sparrow ………………….reflects harsh light of the desert sun while ………………….grassland sparrows—sharp-tailed and seaside— ………………….skulk through marshland thickets, choosing ………………….to hide from prying eyes. Sparrows adapt ………………….to any environment, some living entire lives inside ………………….warehouses or in coal mines half-a-mile underground. Eyes closed, heartbeats visible through velvet skin, hungry beaks gaping for milk-soaked bread. We eye-droppered food and swaddled a shoebox … Continue reading Sparrows by Bill Glose