Category Archives: Poetry

Mental Health Status Exam: Incomplete Sentences by Stuart Gunter

Color photo of berries rotting on a vine
 

Stuart Gunter is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   Finish these sentences to express your true feelings: I always wanted to be intelligent, maybe a college professor, or a poet. Some kind of scientist. I can’t believe I have ended up here: mediocrity. If my father would only rise from the dead. People think of me as intimidating and selfish. Maybe they don’t even think of me. Or they think of me as some kind of rotten fruit in the bottom of the fruit drawer, with a hint of mold and sweet … Continue reading Mental Health Status Exam: Incomplete Sentences by Stuart Gunter

Visiting My Father for the First Time in Five Years by Natalia Prusinska

Jar of dark jam with a knife set against black background
 

Natalia Prusinska is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   I took the jar of jam sealed with heat and wrapped it in old towels. I placed it carefully in my suitcase among the new clothes and carried it home. I walked into an empty apartment and immediately unpacked the jar and placed it on the counter. I tried to open it, but couldn’t. I turned the jar on the counter, every quarter-turn hitting the metal rim with the blade of a knife. I tapped the edge of the jar against the floor, … Continue reading Visiting My Father for the First Time in Five Years by Natalia Prusinska

Mothers’ Day, 2016 by Joanna Lee

color photo of fallen bird's nest on asphalt
 

Joanna Lee is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   We found two dead babies on the back granite slab that serves as a stoop, the same we salvaged from up home years ago, decaying in dad’s back yard. Birds. Their legs curled yellow and twisted, contracture of unbecoming; their angry mother with her shiny eye tearing the nails from the roof to get back to the nest we had so carefully sealed. Beside the bodies, the debris of a home: gaping …….hole in the gutters; pale fluffs of matted insulation; a casket-less … Continue reading Mothers’ Day, 2016 by Joanna Lee

The Moon We Landed On by Marco Patitucci

Black and white photo of moon craters
 

Marco Patitucci is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   We measured small steps as giant leaps and never felt sameness, nameless lunar imposters dancing over the craters singing— but the sound didn’t travel. How tenuous is the tether to gravity in our story? Here lies his and hers— nostalgia in different sizes. On Earth, we searched for our traversing selves and the moon we landed on, chasing reflections of streetlight and headlight, and porch light. How did you steal that anti-gravity and put it in my pocket? You pushed me with such … Continue reading The Moon We Landed On by Marco Patitucci

Fear Has No Hospice by Alina Stefanescu

color photo of hospital corridor
 

Alina Stefanescu is a finalist of Streetlight Magazine’s 2019 Poetry Contest.   In my terror-hemmed flesh. The wince against their raised voices of desperate sirens, careful guarding of pulse from impatient ambulance. Fears keep folding and holding me while cars wait for normal patterns to resume. Panic is the metaphysics of knowing anything may be normal en route to normalization. An unworded dream: discovering you, the man I love, in the lobby of frightened husbands who learn the lingo of cancer to buy time for their wives’ lives. The worst would be watching you lose … Continue reading Fear Has No Hospice by Alina Stefanescu

And You, Do You Love Too? and Not Really a Game, Not Really, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Photo of child crossing sign ahead and narrow sidewalk
 

AND YOU, DO YOU LOVE TOO? I said I think I said I must have said don’t cross did I know should I have known did I email, call, text stay on the sidewalk he was far away was he ever far from me did I do nothing when I knew I must have known the driver sunblind was it today or Tuesday or last week I called out did I I must have after all he is my son   NOT REALLY A GAME, NOT REALLY DUCK DUCK DUCK DUCK chants Kathy running around … Continue reading And You, Do You Love Too? and Not Really a Game, Not Really, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Big Jazz by Julie Wenglinski

Color photo of a jazz band
 

Brass soldiers line up and pitch to his tune. Piano man rules the room. Hot, not sweet, the band chases the beat. Strings of guitars slice the air into bars and a velvety sax swings for a splash while drums punch a groove, cymbals ride crash. Bones blare the blues as these Vikings of swing, in tux suits of noir, embellish and round the sound that winds down, then swells, slams to the ground. Julie is from St. Louis and moved to Titusville, Florida in 1964 because her father worked on the space program. She … Continue reading Big Jazz by Julie Wenglinski

Return To My Old Neighborhood by Yvonne Leach

color photo of empty street of old neighborhood and brick storefront
 

As I pass the willow-lined pond, the wheels on my bike click over new cement cracks from the toll of winter’s thaw. How is it that not much has changed? The arms of the same cedars droop over the same sidewalks. Patches of drenched lawn sprout through snow, and the two-story houses still sit clotted in time. The early spring sun braids through the pine-dotted park. I turn the familiar corner toward my elementary school; the now-faint rain paints a black scrawl across the playground. The old oak we climbed, stark gray trunk blotched and … Continue reading Return To My Old Neighborhood by Yvonne Leach

In My Dream by Stuart Gunter

Purple sky with lightning bolt
 

For Steve Gray, in Sarasota The pine tops burn orange, loud and strange: a train screaming on burning tracks into the full moon. The moon flutes sunlight to my upturned eyes: I am as unable as the stars to look away. The cinder block wall crumbles over the table of smoked meats, fire in the brazier casting tiny orange stars that drift toward the white moonlit clouds. The cows low. And I am crying. I am holding my life together with bubble gum and paper clips. I cannot hear the music coming from the basement. … Continue reading In My Dream by Stuart Gunter

Cold Beds by Michael Sandler

Photo of man gardening in muddy bed
 

Lobster mitts might cushion the ache, my hands numbed by these cold, rain-wet stalks. The stakes tenacious, anchored in beds slimed here and there with rot. Cut twine and a vine collapses, limp as kelp. Tug upward and a tired length slips from its dimple of earth dangling a matted root. I weeded, watered, pruned and came to believe I had claim to a red firmness slicing so cleanly it would flake onto my sandwich—I tried to persevere…But the fruit was blighted. The stems now lie in a composting reef—bed of bladder-wrack more fecund than … Continue reading Cold Beds by Michael Sandler