—for Nicole Marie She asked me to stand by her side, But I wanted to see it all Because I knew that I’d forget— Even as hard as I’d want to remember— The brunt and the bitter Forcing my son into the world. My curiosity was stronger than her contractions, Looking at my son’s soft skull— Draped in silty, mousy-brown hairs— Swirling inside of her As an eyeball blinking her lips Open and shut and open again For the first time Not quite ready to see Who was waiting for him This side of his … Continue reading Ferning by Jose Oseguera
Once the Thunder Stops and it’s safe to venture out, we walk to the end of the drive, out to the road, through the mire & torn branches. The smell of our wood fire mingles with eucalyptus. We have only the moon and our plastic flashlights. I can’t remember the last time it was this dark; how slowly the eyes adjust. A crisp silence creaks and then echoes. I reach for your arm, step over what trees have shaken loose. The makeshift brace we rigged held the fence again. The dogs chase & bark and … Continue reading Once the Thunder Stops and Marco Polo, 2 poems by Barb Reynolds
Mountain spruce on upward slopes: their pale under-blue unwraps the clouds in their slow round of visiting. We taste tracery of strange soaps on our skins. You turn towards me, awake again. The unruly sun and her thirsty birds teach us their manner of rejoicing. James Miller is a native of Houston, though he has spent time in the American Midwest, Europe, China, South America and India. Recent publications include Cold Mountain Review, The Maine Review, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Main Street Rag, and Juked. Follow us!
A national obsession, a billion dollar industry and here I am participating no pushups or planks, no pills or prayers have helped, though Lord knows I have tried haven’t I, O Lord Not losing weight to bypass diabetes or cancer certainly not be more seductive at Stone’s Throw Tavern sipping Margaritas in skin tight pants or stuffed into size zero to impress my friends or, let’s face it, my barely there anorectic sister At seventy-five who cares, crepe paper skin drooping derriere, boobs flop at my waist, feet fatter and flatter, growing shorter by the … Continue reading WEIGHT FOR ME by Claire Scott
Twin sisters Fuchsia & Diamond, twins in the sense they matured in the same kiln, not expelled from one womb, dance to punk band A Testament Of Youth, Tuesday night, Dugan’s Deli, Iowa State University, in a burst of non-conformity, an innocent standard, unfurled. Rainbow hair, safety pin couture, collision of dreams supplants arctic stares, turns heads in obvious defiance to humanity’s stoic ennui. Nature extends herself with sweet meat cloaking her bitter seeds, but the sisters can’t spiral unscathed through the muted spoils of eons. They’d escaped the racks, iron maidens, pyres meant to … Continue reading Bitter Seeds by Robin Ray
Men croon playful puns about you. Men legislate, fix your tan tunic and wide bulb with geography. Men say your sweetness comes from the soil, comes from a depression-era accident from a patch of sandy land. Brimstone trapped underneath . . . in Georgia clay. Michele Reese is a Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter and the author of the poetry collection Following Phia. Her poems have also been published in several journals including Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, The Oklahoma Review, Poetry Midwest, and The Paris Review. Follow us!
Walking in Queens, I stop, make a snow angel in a quiet lawn, flakes coiling like crystal— Above my head trembles a black bough I start: from the house, an eruption of singing two girls, a mother, a father with a cognac this yard, I see, belongs to a family I’m outside in the dark, concocting a family, in the window two girls dressed up like angels school pageant costumes, mother pouring cognac, a lush amber river, in a snifter of crystal she smiles at the girls in their reverie of singing overhead a snarling … Continue reading SESTINA: SNOW ANGEL by Saramanda Swigart
Corsets of snow belly-bust traffic in Chicago, mercifully blurring the blocky derangements of Mies van der Rohe’s window arrangements. You look from Floor 23 down at Michigan Avenue, wax maudlin for a platter of deep-fried kudzu. We are not meant for such a graceless place, its buildings faceless, its rapacious bland spaces, its huge inhabitants, its malignant tenements, its grim aborted experiments with Southside facelifts. We were invented for the Redneck Riviera, the eternal Virginia Reel with Miz Scarlett O’Hara ravishing her radish from the ruined ramparts of Tara. The fantasy of Atticus Finch has … Continue reading A Rebel Yell on Michigan Avenue by Pamela Sumners
“The world is charged with the guilt of god & country,” that from the hanging judge is a quote that skulks into mind with startling regularity. In a moment freed of time, in that moment, how dark must the sky be, how subdued the distant buildings, or real the wall? Oil on a ninety-eight-plus-square-foot canvas stretched over two centuries —carbon dating of the leftmost still bleeding corpse confirms this— At sixty-eight Goya paints the belated evening news: “Last night in response to local insurrection the soldiers of the Emperor Napoleon in … Continue reading GOYA, THE EXECUTION OF THE THIRD OF MAY by Michael O’Mara
Teachers said I’d be okay, if I follow the rules. No turnstile jumping. No jaywalking. Perfect change for bus fares. No hoodies. No song. No fights for my name, nor my girl’s. Walk straight. Down the corridor. No crossed lines. Life. A color by number book, with no directions. My life. In scribbles. Teachers said I’d be okay, if I stay in line. Use their sharpened #2’s, Ballpoint BICs, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Crayola. My box. Full of chips of cracked colored wax. Unfamiliar hues. Burnt orange. Brick red. Deadwood brown. No rules. No straight … Continue reading Color by Number by Jennifer Schneider