Tag Archives: fall 2021

Casting the Current and What’s Forgotten, 2 poems by Ronald Stottlemyer

river, man and boy fishing in evening light

Casting the Current I waited hours on the bank while Dad kept trying for a couple browns. He was far downstream when the first big drops cratered the water. All afternoon, the dark bruise of a storm had been closing in over the hills, but he waded out farther with the rushing current, casting long, slow loops over the ripples, some lifted by breezes, others blown aside like a bird in a gust of wind. Cigarette dangling, he moved carefully, shifting his footing around slippery rocks, past slopes that fell away in darkness below, someone … Continue reading Casting the Current and What’s Forgotten, 2 poems by Ronald Stottlemyer

Sliced by E.H. Jacobs

Photo of scar with staples

Jared lies in bed, propped up by his arms folded behind his head, a two-day stubble peppering his face and neck. One foot dangles off the side of the mattress. Dark, wiry hairs spring out of his leg, exposed by pajama pants hiked up mid-calf, bunched and wrinkled like old parchment because he doesn’t believe in ironing pajamas. You’re just gonna sleep in them and wrinkle them anyway. Besides, no one’s going to see them. No one except Lisa, who’s in the bathroom brushing her teeth with the door open. He half-smiles and says to … Continue reading Sliced by E.H. Jacobs

Listening to Buckthorn and Rainbow Bridge, 2 poems by Daniel Fliegel

Aerial photo of someone underwater

Listening to Buckthorn “Although Wordsworth is [in the opening of The Prelude] describing the activity of composing aloud, of walking and talking, what the poetry reaches into is the activity of listening.”—Seamus Heaney I like the sound of a word in wood, of Wordsworth’s rhythm walking where the poem goes. A trail is there but muddied over. The way around crosses last fall’s soggy oak leaves. (Right sock soaked through.) Spring words shine like sun-baked bronze, and finally some signs of green: early shoots sound their syllables in a few lighted spots. It turns out … Continue reading Listening to Buckthorn and Rainbow Bridge, 2 poems by Daniel Fliegel

Hudy’s Secret Recipe by Betty J. Wilkins

Bowl with blue and white pattern

Timing is key. I was thirteen when I told my dad that I wanted to learn how to make his special potato salad. He grinned and handed me a knife and a five-pound bag of russet potatoes. “Peel these, and then chop ‘em into small pieces.” He filled a large pot with water and set it on the table. “As you chop the taters, put them in the pot. You don’t want them to turn brown.” It seemed like it took forever to peel the potatoes, my hands shriveling from the juice. I wore a … Continue reading Hudy’s Secret Recipe by Betty J. Wilkins

Wings by Lance Lee

long boardwalk stretching into the sea

  ……Gulls feast in freshly furrowed and sown Salinas fields early February, early warmth ……far from the cold Big Sur wind-thrashed waves beyond the Santa Lucias: …………………………………..or startle, confetti ……thrown in the blue sky before they settle again in Carmel River’s dune-protected mouth. ……How do they manage tonight when the wind turns Lear-mad and howls and tears at the eaves? ……I cannot sleep, although sleep smooths the lines of the woman I have grown old beside, beside me. ……All night the storm thrusts inland so morning bares a dust-brown day where gulls ……crouch between the … Continue reading Wings by Lance Lee

Engineer and Sanitation Worker, 2 poems by Christy Prahl

Photo of helmets behind wire cage

The Engineer Boredom ricochets off the hard edge of a freight train carrying ethanol, carrying the wanton thoughts of a man gone too long without intimacy. A secure living is a railroad job, so you don’t upset the schedule for a woman encountered in a bar knowing it comes to nothing but embarrassment and a poor night’s sleep and the shame of breakfast sandwiches served in plastic. Freeze the graffiti in time and it may tell a story. The whistle sounds within a quarter-mile radius of a public grade school crossing. Two long wails, one … Continue reading Engineer and Sanitation Worker, 2 poems by Christy Prahl

Hugging the Tree by Zeina Azzam

Photo looking up at tree

“Social distancing during Covid means no hugs.” —NBC News It was neither part of a protest nor a statement to the world. I simply put my arms around a tall oak and stood in embrace, our bodies juxtaposed. There was no swaying: her trunk, solid and true, felt like an ancestor, a pillar thick with years. Her bark scratched my skin if I moved, so I stayed still. It was a time to be calm and reflect on our presence together. To look up to the sky and fathom the height of my partner. To … Continue reading Hugging the Tree by Zeina Azzam

Like Savion by Bess Wiley

Photo of person on beach

He’s in one of my rooms. I pay attention to it now, because his window is closest to the nurses’ station and faces the automatic doors I push my cleaning cart through. I see him as soon as the doors breathe open and the negative pressure ruffles the gown’s paper against my clothes. Everything’s faster in here, no time to catch up on anything or anyone, other than the dying. I stay out of everybody’s way and clean wherever they aren’t. When I peek in his room, the machines and tubes are still at it, … Continue reading Like Savion by Bess Wiley

Valium Dream by J. Thomas Brown

Photo with bright, squiggly lights

Our house, built in 1738, stood in the middle of twenty acres of corn field. The hand-fitted Pennsylvania blue-gray fieldstone walls were two feet thick. George Washington used it as an infirmary for his troops during the Revolutionary War and their blood stains remain in the wide plank floors today. The walls were not thick enough to keep out the world’s contumely. The airwaves carried in news of the assassination of Dr. King, American war crimes in Vietnam, and the violent 1968 Democratic National Convention protests, and no mention of the Valium (diazepam) epidemic. Yet … Continue reading Valium Dream by J. Thomas Brown

Sunday Drive by Charles Springer

pale green field

Sam tells his wife and kids that when next Sunday rolls around, they’ll take that drive he’s been promising across the scenic Midwest. No feat to be sneezed at since they live in New Jersey. Sam figures Iowa and Nebraska should only take half the morning. The remainder will go by in a flash so be ready with those cameras! Sunday finally rolls around and in between Bird-in-Hand and Paradise, they stop for gas and for Jilly, Sam’s wife, some pork rinds. Jilly points with a greasy finger at a cornfield in the distance not … Continue reading Sunday Drive by Charles Springer