Category Archives: Poetry

Links of Ladder by Frederick Wilbur

chain links

Links of Ladder   Higher than a hired man’s head, a chain bubbles from the tree’s heart and falling thirteen links, dares a boy’s reaching, his pretending— its original purpose unknown. It is not a hanging tree or surveyor’s witness, but a yard-oak to dream under. The chain was left there in a fork by heart attack or by forgotten convenience, has provoked the grain to snarl and restless, has rubbed a triangle, an arrow, in the gray bark. He sees the ladder he must climb to know how chance and choice can be useful. … Continue reading Links of Ladder by Frederick Wilbur

The Paperboy Sees No Wonder in It… by Rodney Torreson


The Paperboy Sees No Wonder in It— the Snow Giving off the Only Light at 6 AM   The boy could have lived forever sliding down a hill, after watching cartoons. Now the only cartoon is himself falling through drifts to the corner, where he’s one bundle binding himself to others by snapping open their plastic straps and sitting among the papers. He rolls them into funnels, slips them into plastic sheaths, while the first house tugs at him, and he gets up, his steps a kind of wandering from house to house, each one … Continue reading The Paperboy Sees No Wonder in It… by Rodney Torreson

losing the word by Sharon Ackerman

Kimberly, Raft Point painting - Wadjina

losing the word   what is prayer but our limbic words offered to an uncertain trajectory, the cave images given language from our dark cities. i remember your prayer outside memphis whispered just beyond my hearing, lips moving beneath that crumbling billboard the veil between us never thin enough to reach a hand through your words, their white dust prophecy dying muffled against my palm   12 steps in california   he is wary though the treatment center is close enough there is a lost coast inside of him, the jagged reach where his brain … Continue reading losing the word by Sharon Ackerman

We Always Called Him Fletcher by Barbara Conrad

global warming

We Always Called Him Fletcher   Never by his first name Albert, or Mr. Fletcher. He was tall as a sugar pine, skin the color of freckled walnuts, walked our whole neighborhood hauling an extension ladder from job to job, his back gospel-straight. I knew nothing beyond his easy manner, and that one summer morning when I rode with my dad to snag him from the Shell Station where out back he managed to unfold from a lean-to, tools in tow. There were easy lies about Fletcher. His thank-you-mam gratitude for a bologna sandwich served … Continue reading We Always Called Him Fletcher by Barbara Conrad

The Sheets Pulled Over by Tanner Pruitt


The Sheets Pulled Over   When one thinks in love about love, he’s doing what he shouldn’t. He will get it wrong. What if everything were revealed? The apples and milk on your mind when we lay down in Washington Park in the busy green city, if those were left on the bus in Flatbush, had tumbled to the gummed up floor since, and were what occupied you as we rushed back to your bedroom, gripped with heat. When we come to love we come expecting to get some part of it exactly right. What … Continue reading The Sheets Pulled Over by Tanner Pruitt

Honey and Six Poems by Sharon Leiter

drop of honey

Street of My Life   Street of my life, I have left you and I have returned,    wandering nights in your renovated future, The deed has passed into my keeping, and the dead,    ever gracious, have agreed,    to pretend they have never left. Short, unexceptional street, lined on both sides    with two-story brick houses, Each with its painted stoop, pouring bruised-legged    children down the stone steps, With its flower pots, its wooden bench and iron-fenced    “garden,” large enough for    a single flowering tree a row of crunchy-leafed bushes, And the last house with its Florsheim … Continue reading Honey and Six Poems by Sharon Leiter

Smoke by Len Krisak

shabby stone house

Smoke —translated from Theophile Gautier’s Emaux et Cemées, 1852-1872   Down there, under sheltering trees: A hunchbacked hovel of the poor— Walls crumbling; roof down on its knees. Moss blots the threshold of the door. The window’s shutter is its mouth. But like a tepid winter breath Exhaled from some living mouth, This hovel shows it’s far from death. It stands there shabby, closed-in, shut. But smoke is spiralling. A corkscrew’s Thin blue thread curls from that hut: Its soul, which carries God the news.   Fumée Original French   Là-bas, sous les arbres s’abrite … Continue reading Smoke by Len Krisak

Flowers in a Crystal Vase by Les Bares


3rd place winner of the Streetlight 2015 Poetry Contest. Flowers in a Crystal Vase – Manet, 1882   At the members only showing of flower paintings, we old folks dress for comfort. Women in flats and boutique slacks, light sweaters, conservative colors, but still striving for a sense of style. We men—not so much. A leather jacket seems to be the best we can do. As if somewhere in the back of our memory, a whisper tells us this makes us debonair, perhaps a little dangerous, walking among still-life flower arrangements. The young guards herd … Continue reading Flowers in a Crystal Vase by Les Bares

Rubble by Pernille Smith Larsen


2nd place winner of the Streetlight 2015 Poetry Contest. Rubble   The water found a home in our wreckage.                  Our city, once a bastion of high times—       colored lights on strings, avenues smiling              all year churches, bars, and streets filled with strutting horns, jerk sauce and hips—                  now choked in trash bags       whistling like reeds on a wade-through,              snaring limbs, dragging us down. Remain                   calm, we say, dragging strangers       from the rubble. Our founders, rebels, saviors              in bronze and silver toppled. Straight-backed stoics                  fighting silent acid tears,       reduced to river-street ruck              floating alongside bright orange … Continue reading Rubble by Pernille Smith Larsen

Hum by Julie Ascarrunz


1st place winner of the Streetlight 2015 Poetry Contest. Hum   Out of the blue, he gave her a recording. She thought there was something wrong with it, but they had only slept together once, she wasn’t even divorced yet: she didn’t know how these things worked. Do you tell someone there is something wrong with what they’ve given you? She didn’t know Glenn Gould how he hummed what was in his head as he played. Maybe the recording wasn’t very good or she was not listening well. She couldn’t really tell much but that … Continue reading Hum by Julie Ascarrunz