Category Archives: Poetry

Beech Tattoos by Ned Kraft

Photo looking up into a tree

Father Fagus Grandifolia, silver grey with muscled shoulders fingers traced across the soil like a hawk’s nest suturing the slope. Beech tattoos give proof to Jake and Sue that they were, indeed, in love in 1962. Proof that Peter mattered and that Harlon was, in fact, here. Slow growth in acid earth, with polished nut. Sweet scent a dozen decades old still luring pilgrim children to the woods, knives drawn. Ned Kraft, a librarian by trade, has published satire, poetry, and short stories in such places as Phoebe, Against the Grain, Grimoire, The Pennsylvania Literary … Continue reading Beech Tattoos by Ned Kraft

Five economic terms you should know and The ring of Gyges, 2 poems by Casey Killingsworth

coppery coin with numeral one on it against black background

Five economic terms you should know Scarcity. The bar where I am drinking–because I have money–has more beer than it could give away but it won’t, even to the homeless guy who is standing by me, because how could you make money that way, so I myself give him a twenty for the five dollar cover and tell him to buy a beer with the rest. Supply and demand. This bar has 64 taps because they figure that’s how many taps can make them the most money. Statistically, the homeless don’t count. Opportunity cost. Maximizing … Continue reading Five economic terms you should know and The ring of Gyges, 2 poems by Casey Killingsworth

Desire by Molly McKaughan

Photo of blond woman in pink dress

I sit at the bar at Café Un, Deux, Trois on West 43rd and cross my legs and swivel toward the room glass of wine in hand nylons shining skirt above my knee. I cross my legs and the heel of my shoe slides off just a bit as I raise my toe up and down. I catch a man’s eye at one table then another. I have what they desire but will not get. Mother of two, forty-plus married in the burbs. I love making them want it. It sets me up for the … Continue reading Desire by Molly McKaughan

Richmond, Monday Morning by Debbie Collins

red blue and yellow face masks

The Saint Francis Center is hopping this morning, people lined up all jive and jest the addicts and drunks and misfits file in and out, raw around the edges after a weekend of bingeing the guy in the wheelchair out front seems to be singing an opera tune, the high notes run away from him on little feet, dancing down the block the geraniums in their pots flanking the doors wilt from abuse, their dirt used for more and more and more cigarette butts, an urban ashtray above the city din, the air ringing with … Continue reading Richmond, Monday Morning by Debbie Collins

The Open Shed by Mark Belair

ramshackle cottage in old cemetery

With its double doors swung wide and its mower rolled out and parked beside bags of spring grass seed, the open cemetery shed makes each grave seem yet more sealed, more weighted down by the hard ground, the gardener’s ministrations to the earth’s mere surface exposed, those deep below tended only by the natural force— cleansing as wind on the headstones— of handed-down remembrances until the dead are swept of all particulars except their role with regard to the living, so become blank and beautiful, icons of generational endurance, each clan—when gathered for a new, … Continue reading The Open Shed by Mark Belair

Primitive Reflexes by Thomas Mampalam

Icarus in steely colors holding ice sword

In the space of one hour: coma then a blown pupil, extensor posturing. Hemicraniectomy to relieve swelling from a large cerebral infarction. The dura mater could not be closed. On morning rounds, your pupils react to light but you still hold your arms and legs straight. When I press your brow, your feet point down. You stare straight when I turn your head. You still gag when I jiggle the breathing tube. Your wife holds your rigid hand and I say everything possible has been done. She lets go of your hand and whispers you … Continue reading Primitive Reflexes by Thomas Mampalam

Dismantling Bethlehem by Sam Barbee

Photo of downed tree next to house

After-Xmas industry. In neighborhoods, crisp cedars and spruce pines hyphenate curbs. A pasture fronts the orphanage, tempers grid of brick dorms where crews toil with life-size figurines of an ornamental nativity. An ensemble donated by Sears & Roebuck in the 70’s like gold tensile or corporate myrrh – fully amortized / no retail benefit at the mall. Bedded horizontal on a trailer, the plaster statues murmur in route to out-of-season storage: a devalued host of sojourners relegated to an outbuilding. Not a stable, not a fable, but dry font until next November’s advent – reverent … Continue reading Dismantling Bethlehem by Sam Barbee

Rembrandt Etchings by Frederick Pollack

Color photo of leaves

    From however far away, detail. The lovers, almost fully clothed, amid bushes, her round blonde face delighted, hopeful. The returned Prodigal, kneeling, embraced, exhausted – such precision of apology and joy – but seen by whom in the middle distance, that fascinating distance you don’t notice? A bystander, a passerby who stops to take the scene in wholly. As in Christ Presented to the People so they may choose between the thief and him: steps, platform, doorway, every window full, spear-carriers, hangers-on, all known; and Christ, thorned head down, looking tired, as one … Continue reading Rembrandt Etchings by Frederick Pollack

Monosyllabic by J. R. Solonche

Photo of many sized rocks

The best ones are the small ones, those you need to hold in your hand two or three at a time, those you need to feel for size, and shape, and heft, the blunt, the sharp, the smooth, the rough, the square, the round, the firm, the soft, the ones like rocks, like bricks or stones in streams, the ones like clods of soil or clumps of clay, the ones you pile to build the whole world with, and then the ones you hurl to bring it down. Nominated for the National Book Award and … Continue reading Monosyllabic by J. R. Solonche

Punding by Eric Forsbergh

Photo of stone animals

It’s working all of us, and all the time. Not just as obvious obsessions with diagnostic names, the car-horn ones you notice corralling someone else as you avert your eyes. Don’t be coy. Punding hums to you and me. Collect. Arrange. My mother took up figurines, blaming the Depression for her want. Myself, I go by color, size, or function for my stuff. The superego interrupts: “In this implicit way, are you not sorting people with a glance?” Eric Forsbergh’s poetry has appeared in Streetlight, Artemis, JAMA, The Northern Virginia Review, The Journal of Neurology, … Continue reading Punding by Eric Forsbergh