Little Betrayals and Not Exactly Genesis, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Photo of old man walking with girl
 

Little Betrayals I was six I knew he had a quarter in his pocket I knew it was mine if when he roared who is the greatest grandpapa of all and the silver and Wedgewood china on table shook and the Irish maids ghosted by in starched uniforms and the chauffeur polished the silver Lincoln Continental and my grandmother tended to the terra cotta pots of pink and white orchids in the gazebo and my face flamed and I yelled Grandpapa looking down at my poodle skirt its rhinestone eye staring   Not Exactly Genesis … Continue reading Little Betrayals and Not Exactly Genesis, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

blue and purple light swirl at carnival
 

My brother and I played war in a ditch near the Ferris Wheel while the carnival barker shouted. Our games didn’t take precedence over my wanting to live like a civilized person, but my father couldn’t afford violin lessons for me. Most of my teachers sucked, and we had only cookbooks and a ragged dictionary at home. My father killed so many deer we had plenty to eat, but I still wore a thick jacket in the cold. I can’t say it called me to the world, but I loved snapping the bra strap of … Continue reading Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

Here’s to Us by Mark Simpson

Woodpecker in tree
 

Woodpeckers at it again this morning boring into the cedar clapboard, fascia, cove boards too soft with age, too inviting for the particular family-to-be of the pileated kind, red crest pure blazon and I rise time after time, running outside arms waving yelling Out! Out! and then worse the third or fourth time, my cup of coffee gone cold, page lost in book, and it knows I’ll give it up sooner or later or probably doesn’t care if I wouldn’t but I do, feet dew-soaked from all the running around in the flagrant April green … Continue reading Here’s to Us by Mark Simpson

Escalation by Claire Scott

Photo of woman walking dog
 

I am so sick of walking past the cute little signs that say please clean up after your dog. really? do we want our ivy, our pachysandra, our Vinca covered in pee and poop? do we want our perfectly manicured lawns used as toilets? no possible way to clean up all the mess with a plastic bag what about Keep Your Canine Off My Grass You Dimwit or No Pooping on my Property Under Penalty of Perjury I yell at my frowsy neighbor, who insists her stupid, practically legless dog prefers my ground cover, won’t … Continue reading Escalation by Claire Scott

The Chair by Sue Allison

Abstract photo of chair with part of arm hanging over it
 

My mother had a chair that when she sat in it, she was invisible. At first she put it in a corner where she would be unseen and could not be found and where she would hide from our rambunctiousness and our needs and our growing for hours. But then she put the chair in the middle of the living room or the dining room or the hall; we never knew where it might be. It was her Christmas chair. It was blue. When she was in it, we couldn’t talk to her, and though … Continue reading The Chair by Sue Allison

Bardigues by Pui Ying Wong

BARDIGUES
France

By the river a sign warns
of sudden flooding
because of the nearby
nuclear power plant which looms
over tree farms and poppy fields.

Years back the utility company
built a new road and park,
giving out enticement like soldiers
do with candy bars
in occupied zones.

Now most town folks work there
and pray nothing bad happens.
We are in the next village,
one as pretty
as the guidebook says.

We sleep easily in a house
scented by a lush garden.
We too pray but sometimes
a squadron of black smoke escapes
into our dream and stays.

plume of smoke over tree tops
Smoke by Gary Cycles. CC license.

Pui Ying
Pui Ying Wong is the author of two full-length books of poetry: An Emigrant’s Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010)—along with two chapbooks. She has won a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume, New Letters, Zone 3, among others. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.

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Another Plastic Buddha by James William Gardner

Streams of headlights along highway
 

The truck stop parking lot reverberated with idling big diesel engines. The air smelled like sour urine. Randal Whitley stood by the open door of his cab smoking a cigarette and drinking his morning coffee. A stick of beef jerky and two chocolate donuts was all he’d had for breakfast, but that was usual. He seldom sat down to eat in the mornings. When he awakened he was wired and anxious to hit the road. It was drizzling rain in Tuscaloosa, a cool morning for the time of year. Usually it was already hot in … Continue reading Another Plastic Buddha by James William Gardner

Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Piano in foreground, Large painting of woman in background
 

ALMOST A Steinway. A red silk dress. The audience still, anticipating the first note of Schubert’s B-Flat Sonata. Anthony Tommasini ten rows back will write the most sensitive Schubert ever in tomorrow’s New York Times. My hands hover over the keys. I begin with lyric phrases followed by the ominous trill. My little brother. Composing contrapuntal music at the age of five, playing flawless Chopin preludes presto con fuoco on his gleaming grand piano. Illustrious teachers line up to listen tweaking their moustaches in disbelief. Downstairs I bang fortissimo chopsticks on the old second hand … Continue reading Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Claire Scott

Farmstead by Mark Belair

Photo of old house on hill
 

Alone, timeworn—but still standing, even if its paint-scuffed radiators give no heat and its window frames leak and its doors don’t shut tight, everything foundering since its elder keepers died, the next generation, though paying the property taxes, too dispersed to steward or even sell it, the farmstead’s absent presence like a stark stare from the back end of old age, from a hardened place that sees our younger, ongoing lives— no matter how well built— as false fronts set for collapse; sees our blossoming memories forming, like the farmstead’s (love in the bedroom, children … Continue reading Farmstead by Mark Belair

Burning the Spiral Notebooks by Irene O’Garden

flaming black and white coal
 

In spite of the impending blizzard, my friend and I agree, “Today we have to burn our spiral notebooks.” Those tortured scribbles of our youth haunted our attics like madwomen, voices of the grieving girls we were, maps of the clumsy steps we took. On fire, their beauty took our breath away. Fire turned fear and wound to flaming peonies. Sweat rained. Casting book after book to the fabulous heat, casting off anguish like souls between lives. Fire turning pages in farewell, wavering ash like shirred silk. Suddenly, laughter collapses us, sprung like the spiral … Continue reading Burning the Spiral Notebooks by Irene O’Garden