Playing War with my Daughter by Charlotte Matthews

photo of a card-8 of hearts on sidewalk
 

Playing War with My Daughter   I stare at my half of the deck thinking how this game is pure luck, then of how luck is more than itself, how it grows exponentially. At this moment much is on the line. She puts down a jack. I put down a jack. We both flip over three cards, place them face down until the moment of truth: who’s lost what to the other. This morning we carved our initials in the newly poured sidewalk, made the letters so small they’d go unnoticed to a passerby. Some … Continue reading Playing War with my Daughter by Charlotte Matthews

Room For Grace by Daniel Kenner

person standing in middle of water
 

You Held My Hand And Walked Me Out Of The Water     Sometimes I look at the photos of my parents before they were sick to try and find clues of the diseases to come. There’s one of them courtside at a Providence Friars basketball game, three days after Valentine’s Day. It’s a Thursday, a school night, timestamped 9:25 p.m. Mom must have skipped Survivor. It’s almost a year to the day before Dad’s official diagnosis. They look bold and bright. They belong together, they’re soulmates. And I cry. Mom chose “Grace” as her … Continue reading Room For Grace by Daniel Kenner

Turkeys by R.H. Emmers

Leaves and branches in water
 

I was sitting at the bar in the My-Oh-My drinking what was left of my disability check after buying oxy from the retarded janitor at the hospital. The idea of killing someone hadn’t come up yet. I kept staring at the dancer in the cage in the corner. She was short and pale and had the resigned expression of someone floating in darkness just waiting for the next tragedy, exactly the kind of girl I’m always attracted to. I thought if I stared hard enough, she’d look at me, but she never did, which is … Continue reading Turkeys by R.H. Emmers

Quetico by Larry Glass

Fog over water and trees
 

At some point—I’m not sure when—I came to accept that there are quite a few things that I can’t control. It was not a conscious decision, no epiphany, no wrestling with big ideas. It’s not really ceding control—it’s accepting what has become increasingly obvious, in truth probably somewhere between realizing and accepting. The stock market, terrorism, famine, middle of the night trips to the bathroom, gray hair, the clutter that my wife and kids leave on the kitchen counter where I’m trying to cook, the hair that our dogs shed on the furniture, the weather. … Continue reading Quetico by Larry Glass

Beauty in the Grey by Benjamin Chirlin

close-up of cracks in concrete
 

Beauty in the Grey   I was born without a shadow. Deftly estranged, The way moisture collects In the soot sky. Relief is temporary But the stark song of the crow Shows beauty in the grey. I saw your reflection In the concrete. Cracks as deep As ocean trenches, Catacombs as intricate As arteries. I heard your voice Within every pulse. You are the mercury rain, A monotone melody On a tin roof. I am the rust Seeping through the pores. You are the alchemist Creating gold armor. I am the rind Enriching the earth. … Continue reading Beauty in the Grey by Benjamin Chirlin

A Circular Argument by Miles Fowler

Older computer monitor and keyboard
 

I am a compulsive researcher. If it were not such a useful compulsion, I would need a twelve-step program to break the habit. I can get hooked on almost any research project, although I tend to obsessively research things that interest me like history, motion pictures and the supernatural, which, like religion, has long been a topic of interest to me without my necessarily believing in the suspension of the laws of nature. I am especially motivated to spend hours poring over records if I feel an emotional connection with a subject, for example, a … Continue reading A Circular Argument by Miles Fowler

Computing the Elusive Spirit of Place by Inderjeet Mani

Statue in front of blue and pink sky
 

We have our entanglements and love affairs with places. “And the end of all our exploring,” T. S. Eliot promises, “will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Such knowledge may be never-ending. We don’t know what the sense of place felt like to our hunter-gatherer forebears, but judging from their sophisticated tracking and navigational skills, they were able to notice things in their environment that most of us have long forgotten. Luckily, along with other mammals, we still have our built-in sense of place, with maps of … Continue reading Computing the Elusive Spirit of Place by Inderjeet Mani

Diluted by Jaime Balboa

Lemons in white sink
 

I hate the scent of imitation lemon in dish soap. It’s too concentrated to be authentic. But the scent will lose potency once I dilute it in water. That’s always the trick. Dilute what’s unpleasant. Dilute what hurts you, what keeps you up at night and, even though it’s still there, you can bear it, even accept it. The pyramid of dishes starts with a foundation from yesterday and leads, like an archeological excavation of dried food bits, through memories of breakfast and lunch to the dinner we just ate. Dirty mugs and glasses clutter … Continue reading Diluted by Jaime Balboa

Why Do I Have Happy Memories

two puppies playing in grass
 

One summer evening, long after dusk, I was relaxing on a porch in a comfy chair next to a novelist I’d just met when she softly announced, “The stars in the sky look like an ocean. But I’m high, so maybe that’s just a stoner-thought.” I flicked my eyes up and verified that the cloudless, night sky did indeed resemble a boundless ocean, then I assured her, “No, no. It does look like an ocean.” I understood her concern because stoner-thoughts—while they may appear initially as profound, inspired ideas—often collapse under scrutiny. That said, I … Continue reading Why Do I Have Happy Memories

A Tribute to Sharon Leiter, poems from her unpublished chapbook

Magnetic words
 

One of Sharon Leiter’s myriad of roles and activities while living and working in the Charlottesville, VA community of scholars, teachers and writers was to serve as Poetry Editor of Streetlight Magazine from 2004 until her death in 2016. In this capacity, Sharon made the day of many an emerging and hopeful poet writing from Virginia and beyond, always with the intent of offering encouragement and celebrating poets striving toward their best work . During this period of her life, Sharon, a Slavic Languages and Literature professor at the University of Virginia, and then adjunct … Continue reading A Tribute to Sharon Leiter, poems from her unpublished chapbook

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