Category Archives: Poetry

Laundry by Charlie Brice

Photo of woman hanging colorful blankets drier

Fat Auntie Ursal with her coffee-breath, baggy pink house dress, and worried rosary beads would haul a basket of linen to the backyard, pick clothespins out of her mouth, and staple sheets to the line. When it rained, I rushed to watch Auntie panic-waddle into our backyard, eyes wide, rosary flying, as she pulled down the pristine sheets as if lowering the mainsail in a gale. Later, she’d plead with Uncle Pete to buy a dryer, but he couldn’t hear her over the sound he made while sucking food bits out of the crevasses between … Continue reading Laundry by Charlie Brice

God by Mel Kenne


God must be, I dare now to say, like a cat, with His / Her / Its impertinence and delays in ordering our lives, loves and ways of being whoever we think we are, or might be. I’ve learned this from my own clever pet, Kestane, who is happily (I suppose) grooming herself as she lies curled up in the wicker chair across from where I sit in my rocker, having my penultimate drink of the evening and trying again to understand what drives us in our conceptions of divinity. She’s not, or, perhaps, she … Continue reading God by Mel Kenne

17 Year Cicada by David B. Prather

translucent green wing

  —Magicicada septendecim I never thought I could love you, arguing with leaves under midday sun, your body a prune with polymer wings that look like they might shatter at a touch. When my father told my mother he was in love with another woman, everything breakable flew off shelves, shook loose from frames, fell free from cupboards. I was breathless, my lungs heavy with humidity, a death rattle shaking in my throat, which reminds me of you, your song a pall through afternoon and on into evening. If only I’d known your name was … Continue reading 17 Year Cicada by David B. Prather

In the Nature of Chickens, There is Little Room for Gentleness by Emma Fenton

Two chickens, blue building, overgrown chickenyard, rustic look

On Thursday, there are three chickens in the backyard pecking at each other, plucked feathers scattered on the ground like a gruesome crime scene. You could make a fourth chicken out of this, I think and rescue the yellow one with a bleeding wing. She scrambles in my arms, talons clawing at exposed flesh. I drop her. She returns to pecking, happier in the violence which is more comfortable to her than in my arms: safe but unknown. I do not know how to save them if they do not want to be saved, only … Continue reading In the Nature of Chickens, There is Little Room for Gentleness by Emma Fenton

grown girl: she thinks of the dead by Liz Femi

Photo of alley between brick buildings with graffiti

it surely is the same wrinkled sky from years ago when i lived in dense forest towns when cold winds chafed Iroko bark like prayers chafe fingers. i smoothed my first grinding stone with rocks rocks picked from streets maddened from stoning thieves. i peered down wells and called to the nameless to find out for myself: guards of the wide road where mothers have gone mad where faint rhymes tuck into palms, love poems in vapors, breastmilk curdles with ghosts, and from mounds poured for the forgotten, i walked, anyhow, anyhow myself Liz Femi … Continue reading grown girl: she thinks of the dead by Liz Femi

Belleville Reformed Church by Josh Humphrey

Photo of church with sun behind it

And if you were that old collection of smudged walls and dusty glass, you would be embarrassed to be caught by                        the morning – stretched out fence to fence, your top half in scaffolds, cross in repair from the super storm, gravestones covered September leaves           in March, unprepared for the sun, bleary-eyed, pulled from that dream of the underground railroad – belly full of tunnels, tunnels full of                   bloody songs. And if you were a stone, you would miss the touch of … Continue reading Belleville Reformed Church by Josh Humphrey

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