Tag Archives: Winter 2022

Reading the Signs by Patricia Hemminger

bison drawing on rock

  As the East’s Songbird Epidemic Fades, the Cause Remains Unknown ………………….—Audubon Magazine, September, 2021 Fifty thousand starlings swoop above the marshes, wings drum in unison, roar in the crepuscular sky. Black shapes cluster, shift and swerve, entanglement at play, then coalesce, morph into a snake with twitching tail, then giant cells that merge again, give birth to prehistoric forms like dancing aurochs on cave walls. Roman augurs read these signs to interpret gods’ desires: when to fight, when to wait, what the cause, who escape. What sibyls now can tell us why songbirds fell, … Continue reading Reading the Signs by Patricia Hemminger

Shadows and Bird of Youth, 2 poems by Joseph Monaghan

shadowy old camera and photos on table

Shadows His light bulb dims, and it’s dark enough for shadows revealed. A surprise every time. Strangers rush from nothing to a glittering blue pool. Ships resemble chess pieces from the mist of a balcony. Dock leaves on nettle stings. A lie in a fortune cookie. Paperbacks and Polaroids line the shelves of the bookcase, collected like porcelain angels on a Catholic’s mantelpiece. It’s all a Kodak distraction from being born of bone instead of what gods are made of —-shadows and celluloid. His mother’s still alive. With curlers in her hair, she’s framed on … Continue reading Shadows and Bird of Youth, 2 poems by Joseph Monaghan

Salt by Les Brown

Photo of salt mounds

What man would not look back when claiming a celestial voice commanded him to go away from pleasures of wine, games of chance, lust, secular music, dance, art, poetry? The men who deny life’s gifts and joy, who kneel and coerce in the name of one unknown, unseen, beyond reason or proof, men who control by unified power and fear deemed it so that woman should not turn lest she turn to a pillar of salt. The greater choice is to turn, to escape the clutches of piety and power at any cost, becoming salt … Continue reading Salt by Les Brown

Happy Trails (and Other Lies I Tell Myself) by Amy Bee

Two hikers jumping on large rock

I wasn’t going to make it. I’d made a mistake; this whole stupid backpacking thing was a mistake. I trudged a step further. A young guy, about thirteen, with Keanu Reeves hair and an Osprey backpack loosely perched on his shoulders made eye contact with me. He winked, gave me the “we’re in this together” nod, and flashed a peace sign as he loped past. I looked away, crushed. It’s almost funny now, how I gave up not even fifteen minutes into a three-week backpacking trip. I mean, in redemption stories, the part where the … Continue reading Happy Trails (and Other Lies I Tell Myself) by Amy Bee

Lynn Coleman: Honorable Mention in Art Contest

Painting of large fire

Lynn Coleman has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2021 Art Contest   I moved to Southern California in 1962 from central California. The first wildfire I remember was in 1967 and started near the Chatsworth Reservoir. My girlfriend was up there with a boy (we were sixteen) after telling her Mom she was spending the night with me. They barely made it out alive. In 1970 the Chatsworth to the Sea fire burned thirty-two miles from the Santa Susanna Pass to the Pacific ocean in Malibu. Friends lost their homes and art studios. When … Continue reading Lynn Coleman: Honorable Mention in Art Contest

Each Year by Whitney Hudak

Photo of alarm clock and calendar

feels this way. Familiar like the abstract place you grab for when you’re curled in despair on your own kitchen floor begging to go home, not knowing where you mean. No matter whose hair and breath lend the other pillowcase its scent, which farm grew this squash so delicately sliced, whose face you lean toward, lips to their ear, cupping a joke. No matter which gone person you scan the crowd for year after year. Whitney Hudak is a CNM and poet living in Newport, R.I. Her work has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal and … Continue reading Each Year by Whitney Hudak

Therapy Ten Years Later by Claire Scott

Photo of someone sitting, holding an axe

  He looked small, curled up on her couch this handsome boy/man not looking at her picking his fingernails jiggling his foot a whisper of a beard on his face he was silent she waited he cleared his throat, said he had the same nightmare every night dreams of carrying wood up a mountain, walking with his father who he trusted more than God walking with his father who he loved more than God Dreams of an altar a fire, a sacrifice did it really happen? were his hands really bound? a knife at his … Continue reading Therapy Ten Years Later by Claire Scott

A Radio with Guts by Russell Thorburn

old radio with buttons and dials

  Bukowski talked about it, the one he threw through the window each drunken night and it still played, a radio indestructible with songs that couldn’t help but bead against my forehead. I think of Johnny Rivers, honeyed in his tenor and hair, the way he sweetened even “Secret Agent Man.” Edgar Allan Poe sat with Bukowski throughout those drinking sessions. What- ever he poured down his gullet had to burn like being tied to a stake, when the Raven began talking Plutonian shores. As a young man I remember summer nights of cheap vodka, … Continue reading A Radio with Guts by Russell Thorburn

The Ornament by Niles Reddick

Photo of various ornaments

I’d met three of the Partons: Randy and Stella at a festival in Georgia when I was a kid and Dolly at a concert, where I snagged backstage passes from a friend who knew one of the backup singers. I recalled my preteen daughter and I standing in the parking lot next to semis and a butterfly back drop. When Dolly came from behind the semi with two hulking bodyguards and the spotlights came on, her sequined blue jumpsuit and six inch heels lit up, and my daughter tugged at my Polo and asked, “Daddy, … Continue reading The Ornament by Niles Reddick

Reflection by Michael Quattrone

light falling on footbridge over water

  The garden bridge, a subtle arc that gathers to its bend the mossy stones of either bank, and to the water lends a stagnant symmetry: the dark tunnel above, the sky afloat below. A tranquil park made upside down, and I, half over, pause upon the brink to watch the willow send its branches heavenward, to drink the light that never ends. Now speak the truth. No shallow gloss will shelter us from moss or earth. Michael Quattrone is the author of Rhinoceroses (New School Chapbook Award, 2006) and the musical album, One River … Continue reading Reflection by Michael Quattrone