—for Nicole Marie She asked me to stand by her side, But I wanted to see it all Because I knew that I’d forget— Even as hard as I’d want to remember— The brunt and the bitter Forcing my son into the world. My curiosity was stronger than her contractions, Looking at my son’s soft skull— Draped in silty, mousy-brown hairs— Swirling inside of her As an eyeball blinking her lips Open and shut and open again For the first time Not quite ready to see Who was waiting for him This side of his … Continue reading Ferning by Jose Oseguera
A national obsession, a billion dollar industry and here I am participating no pushups or planks, no pills or prayers have helped, though Lord knows I have tried haven’t I, O Lord Not losing weight to bypass diabetes or cancer certainly not be more seductive at Stone’s Throw Tavern sipping Margaritas in skin tight pants or stuffed into size zero to impress my friends or, let’s face it, my barely there anorectic sister At seventy-five who cares, crepe paper skin drooping derriere, boobs flop at my waist, feet fatter and flatter, growing shorter by the … Continue reading WEIGHT FOR ME by Claire Scott
I have no idea where the images in my poems lived before they made it to the page. I’ve received ample chiding during poetry critiques on my tendency to “raid the unconscious.” Sometimes an image is found just by walking out into the world and finding an object with an emotional or psychological correlate. Other times, the image surfaces through a bedrock of shared human experience. Hard to trace. Around the turn of the twentieth century there was an interesting shift in poetry that involved imagery. The Imagist movement originated as a turn away from … Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Imagery by Sharon Ackerman
Men croon playful puns about you. Men legislate, fix your tan tunic and wide bulb with geography. Men say your sweetness comes from the soil, comes from a depression-era accident from a patch of sandy land. Brimstone trapped underneath . . . in Georgia clay. Michele Reese is a Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter and the author of the poetry collection Following Phia. Her poems have also been published in several journals including Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, The Oklahoma Review, Poetry Midwest, and The Paris Review. Follow us!
Walking in Queens, I stop, make a snow angel in a quiet lawn, flakes coiling like crystal— Above my head trembles a black bough I start: from the house, an eruption of singing two girls, a mother, a father with a cognac this yard, I see, belongs to a family I’m outside in the dark, concocting a family, in the window two girls dressed up like angels school pageant costumes, mother pouring cognac, a lush amber river, in a snifter of crystal she smiles at the girls in their reverie of singing overhead a snarling … Continue reading SESTINA: SNOW ANGEL by Saramanda Swigart
Corsets of snow belly-bust traffic in Chicago, mercifully blurring the blocky derangements of Mies van der Rohe’s window arrangements. You look from Floor 23 down at Michigan Avenue, wax maudlin for a platter of deep-fried kudzu. We are not meant for such a graceless place, its buildings faceless, its rapacious bland spaces, its huge inhabitants, its malignant tenements, its grim aborted experiments with Southside facelifts. We were invented for the Redneck Riviera, the eternal Virginia Reel with Miz Scarlett O’Hara ravishing her radish from the ruined ramparts of Tara. The fantasy of Atticus Finch has … Continue reading A Rebel Yell on Michigan Avenue by Pamela Sumners
“The world is charged with the guilt of god & country,” that from the hanging judge is a quote that skulks into mind with startling regularity. In a moment freed of time, in that moment, how dark must the sky be, how subdued the distant buildings, or real the wall? Oil on a ninety-eight-plus-square-foot canvas stretched over two centuries —carbon dating of the leftmost still bleeding corpse confirms this— At sixty-eight Goya paints the belated evening news: “Last night in response to local insurrection the soldiers of the Emperor Napoleon in … Continue reading GOYA, THE EXECUTION OF THE THIRD OF MAY by Michael O’Mara
Teachers said I’d be okay, if I follow the rules. No turnstile jumping. No jaywalking. Perfect change for bus fares. No hoodies. No song. No fights for my name, nor my girl’s. Walk straight. Down the corridor. No crossed lines. Life. A color by number book, with no directions. My life. In scribbles. Teachers said I’d be okay, if I stay in line. Use their sharpened #2’s, Ballpoint BICs, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green Crayola. My box. Full of chips of cracked colored wax. Unfamiliar hues. Burnt orange. Brick red. Deadwood brown. No rules. No straight … Continue reading Color by Number by Jennifer Schneider
The struggle with what they call the mind opens new fronts. Migration, which should drop new birds into my garden, has not yet started, and the residents have made themselves scarce this year. I’m close to giving up my resistance to deity, and to the admission that solitude in age is not the greatest refuge after all. Hanging the hummingbird feeder is a variant of my nightly trek to the corner for the comfort of a sundowner. Barry Roth is a writer, editor, and biologist living in San Francisco, California; his biology practice focuses on … Continue reading Nightcap by Barry Roth
For the seventh time I have pierced My heart, bleeding and beating Autonomous of my rib cage. Yet despite the pain, My tears are gilded on a face Lily white And no matter how I am pierced I still think the thoughts that make Reaching for the swords an option. Ivana Vukovic Soraya lives in Australia, specifically in Melbourne, Victoria. From a young age, she’s been writing stories, poems, and a number of other things. In her free time, she pursues a number of artistic hobbies including sewing, painting, drawing, and playing music. Follow us!