In the Catacombs and Lost, 2 poems by Susan Muse

Black and white photo through an alley
 

In the Catacombs Ice hangs from the glass lantern, its dive caught midstream. It is patience itself, suspended in immense loneliness. Inside the fire flickers like a sunset descending behind the cedars out back. Only the crackle in the ashes disturbs the silence of the house. And I read leaning into the words that are tangled and brazen flaring the pending darkness like unknown corridors winding their way into the catacombs. Lost I was asleep when a lone rabbit ran through the night, his tracks spiraling the snow-burdened yard like he was lost, bearing the … Continue reading In the Catacombs and Lost, 2 poems by Susan Muse

What to Do in the Days of Corona Virus? by Elizabeth Meade Howard

Photo of orchard with pink buds
 

    March 19. It was the first day of spring. Cardinals trilled at dawn. Trees were starting to smudge pink, white and green. I smelled mulch, and fresh, overturned earth. Beauty and hope were in the air. And there too was the invisible dread, the dark underside, the quietly, stealthily spreading Covid-19. I wondered if it was safe to have contact with friends across the street, across town, those recently returned from other states and foreign ports? President Trump had recently declared a national emergency. My husband, John, and I qualify as “elders,” however … Continue reading What to Do in the Days of Corona Virus? by Elizabeth Meade Howard

Full Circle by A.R. Bender

Photo of Tacoma
 

Not long ago, I walked along a rustic road that wound its way through a thickly forested area, taking in the sounds and sights of nature. Eventually the growth of trees thinned out and I came upon a somewhat ramshackle building situated behind a gravel parking lot. There I stopped, as if waking from a trance. Just a short time before, I’d been strolling in a neighborhood of stately, craftsman homes that were built during the time when Tacoma was first being settled in the late 1800s. From there, however, I must‘ve followed a road … Continue reading Full Circle by A.R. Bender

We Have Winners, We Do

Close up photo of sparklers
 

Just as we were hunkering down in the midst of this global emergency, we received the last dozen or so entries for the 2020 Streetlight Essay/Memoir contest. That was a happy distraction! And this is too. None of the many, many wonderful essays we’ve been reading for the past three months has been about the virus and I’m kind of glad about that. It’s good to acknowledge there is a world outside this present catastrophe. I’m happy to be able to invite you to look at these examples of strong writing, acute vision, and a … Continue reading We Have Winners, We Do

Midnight by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Escalators and building leading to a red tunnel
 

It was raining hard and Eunice’s husband, Oliver, insisted on getting the car from the lot and bringing it around to the front of Brucie’s, where they were regulars. You could get supper for two, dessert included, for twenty-eight bucks plus tip. Marriages had rituals. After he left, the sky, at 7:00 p.m., darkened like midnight, and the rain splashed down like a carwash. She waited inside, peering out the window, watching for their cosmic blue metallic Honda that her husband would keep for five more years, at least, no matter what new safety features … Continue reading Midnight by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Sparrows by Bill Glose

gray and white sparrow perched in reeds
 

When baby sparrows tumbled from our eaves onto soft clover, my sisters and I rescued the brown dollops fragile as fluff we blew from dandelions to make a wish. ………………….Pale downy plumage of the black-throated sparrow ………………….reflects harsh light of the desert sun while ………………….grassland sparrows—sharp-tailed and seaside— ………………….skulk through marshland thickets, choosing ………………….to hide from prying eyes. Sparrows adapt ………………….to any environment, some living entire lives inside ………………….warehouses or in coal mines half-a-mile underground. Eyes closed, heartbeats visible through velvet skin, hungry beaks gaping for milk-soaked bread. We eye-droppered food and swaddled a shoebox … Continue reading Sparrows by Bill Glose

Writing Kid Characters by Erika Raskin

Photo of group of kids from chest height down
 

One time I was on a literary panel and the interviewer asked why I chose to have three kid characters in Best Intentions. I sat there thinking (all eyes on me), ‘Eek, is he saying that was too many? Should I have practiced authorial birth control?’ But I pulled myself together and admitted I didn’t really understand the question. The moderator said that in his experience writers find children so difficult to craft and differentiate they generally stick to two juveniles per adult tome. I was surprised by this, because a. I’d never noticed and … Continue reading Writing Kid Characters by Erika Raskin

Standard Oil by Gary Duehr

Old Standard Oil service station with two men standing out front
 

There’s nothing here to see. Relax. Beside a Coke machine, a guy who acts As if he’s in a movie Puffs on a Marlboro Light. It’s moody; Nothing’s happening except For blue sky, gas pumps, asphalt. Here’s the precept: “Nothing comes from nothing” (Lear) If there’s no plot, no drama here, Then what is there to witness Other than the act of witnessing? Unless: Like Ruscha’s oil of LA’s County Museum on fire, His Standard Station goes up as well, higher And higher the orangish flames, the pall of smoke— A kind of art world … Continue reading Standard Oil by Gary Duehr

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue

Poet mary McCue
 

Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue Ivy resident poet Mary McCue is originally from Norfolk, Virginia. For many years she focused on her beloved violin and played in chamber ensembles. When hand surgery took her ability to play professionally, she moved to Charlottesville and studied poetry through coursework by teachers such as Charles Wright and Gregory Orr. Q: Tell us how you began writing poetry. Mary:  I wrote poems in the beginning to describe pleasure or gratitude. I remember writing one to my dentist as thanks for never hurting me. My family loved … Continue reading Meet Your Local Poets: Spotlight on Mary McCue

Side Effects by Philip Lawton

Photo of spines of books on shelf
 

The day before I turned 40, a Sunday toward the end of the merry month, we went for a drive from our home in West Hartford to the town of Litchfield, Connecticut. I was at the wheel, my wife navigating, our children, a thirteen-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl, on the back seat of a dark red minivan. I had a lot on my mind, my job was exceedingly demanding, my father, gravely ill, but it was a glorious afternoon for an unhurried Memorial Day weekend trip to that scenic part of the state. We … Continue reading Side Effects by Philip Lawton

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