Sunday, September 20, 2020

I {Heart} My Wife by Shoshauna Shy

My husband loves me, too,
but what kind of man plasters
a sticker like that onto the bumper
of his pick-up?
Perhaps it’s an in-law’s inside joke
or his wife slapped it on
after a week-long rage when
the truce included that he
broadcast his passion, let it serve
as fair warning to any woman
at bartime – Oh, that silver
in his sideburns, the diamond glint
in dark eyes, even his thickened
torso courtesy of apple pies
in matrimony’s kitchen!
Although he could have rubbed
that sticker on himself knowing
ladies try harder, sigh deeper,
treat him more tenderly when
propelled by jealous surges,
are compelled to try a shoplift
of a man wussed by wedlock
while the unmarried get wistful,
the long-married depressed.



Author of 5 collections of poetry, Shoshauna Shy's poems and flash fiction have appeared in a variety of anthologies, journals and magazines, and even on the hind quarters of Madison Metro buses. She usually gets ideas for new poems and stories while stuck doing something else.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Man Found Dead in City Park Restroom by David B. Prather

Thistle and primrose blur
along the street, those untended patches
in the breeze of passing cars.

Long-suffering purple
flowers shake their foolhardy heads,
even this close

to bike paths and tennis courts.
Yellow blossoms promise renewal
as they shiver through

chain link fence. Sunlight
leaves tracks up and down the arms
of oak trees here, where

every other road ends
in shadow shift and curb despair.
It gets so a body can’t leave

the house without stumbling
over addiction. Knotweed leans
against block walls, closes its weary eyes.

Some of us never mean to leave
this world. We mean to rush away
with daylight, ready to rise

anew after the mortal hours
of night. How telling, the flowers,
goldenrod, yarrow.



David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds (Main Street Rag Publishing). His work has appeared in many journals, including Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, and Poet Lore. He studied acting at The National Shakespeare Conservatory, and he studied writing at Warren Wilson College. He lives in Parkersburg, WV.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I Always Wanted Galway Kinnell’s Hair, by David B. Prather

that loamy color of soil deep in a forest, that shadow
beneath pine trees, that musk of wild things hidden,
watching every move,
                                        that touch of wind,
that finger-combed look where locks fall over
the forehead, that hint of carelessness
looking devil-may-care, looking sexual
or roguish or midsummer-night-dreamish.
I always wanted
                                        that casual look
like I just rolled out of bed after making love,
that sense of getting away with something
even though the whole world knows
                                        what I’ve been up to,
that feeling of spending another night
in the ruins with rocks and branches,
sky and fog and stars above.
                                       Someone waits
for just this moment, knowing all I want,
to walk into the house after flower herding,
hair in my eyes, that kind of blindness
when someone, a lover, brushes their fingers
across my face to sweep those strands away.



David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds (Main Street Rag Publishing). His work has appeared in many journals, including Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, and Poet Lore. He studied acting at The National Shakespeare Conservatory, and he studied writing at Warren Wilson College. He lives in Parkersburg, WV.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

susceptible by J.J. Campbell

the soft curves
of your brown
skin

feel as right as
any bottle, glass
or joint has ever
felt in my hands

i get lost in your
eyes every time
i take the chance
to just shut up
and listen

if i’m going to
be susceptible
to addiction

it might as well
be you



J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is stuck in the suburbs, plotting his escape. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Synchronized Chaos, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Beatnik Cowboy, otoliths and Cajun Mutt Press. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (
https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The First Parts by Sarah Dickenson Snyder

A seed into a trunk
and arms for climbing.

A tulip bulb rises
& opens a palm of plush petals.

All galaxies form from dust
and children from touch.

That first night
I made you dinner,

starting with chopped garlic,
fresh ginger, and sliced shallots—

the humble foundation
of almost everything

I love to eat—
I asked you to kiss me,

saying, If this kiss doesn’t work,
nothing else will.




Sarah Dickenson Snyder has three poetry collections, The Human Contract, Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). Recent work has appeared in Rattle, Artemis, The Sewanee Review, and RHINO.
sarahdickensonsnyder.com

Monday, September 14, 2020

Home Haircut by James Crews

I run the clippers over his scalp
watching tufts of grown-out hair
gather at the blades of the guard
then fall away to the towel wrapped
around his shoulders, to the slats
of the deck, before being carried off
by a breeze to the far reaches of the yard.
Because no other hands can touch him
on this first warm day of spring,
I'm cutting my husband's hair, at last
snapping off the black plastic guard
and shaving a line at his neck as I imagine
robins, sparrows, and goldfinches
the next morning squabbling over
those softer, cast-off pieces of him now
scattered on the wind, now clamped
in their beaks, and lining the middle
of tucked-away nests as they dream
of hatchlings soon to be swaddled
in a bed of his blond curls.



James Crews is the author of three collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, and Bluebird. He is also the editor of Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Hygge by James Crews

The Danish word, hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), refers to anything that offers a quality of coziness, comfort, and well-being.

Steam rises from broth on the stove
and fogs the windows as we move across
cold floors in wool socks and flannel,
chopping carrots, onions, and potatoes
for the chicken soup that's slowly coming.
Outside, the red coal of a cardinal burns
a hole in the otherwise white day while
inside, when it's time to eat, we fill
our bowls to brimming with this medicine
we have made together out of all the earth
gave when it was awake, and all it will
give again—that guarantee stored like
the sun in every warm bite, in every sip
that goes down as golden as summer light.



James Crews is the author of three collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, and Bluebird. He is also the editor of Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Stubborn Praise by James Crews

          for Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Bless the unkind, the mean, the petty—
for they remind us how not to move
through our lives. True, we can allow
the anger of others to turn us bitter,
fool us into thinking the whole world
is made of nettles ready to sting us
wherever we touch. But let's instead
go around stubbornly praising those
whose hearts stay closed, though we
can't yet see the line of light shining
beneath the locked door, though we
can't quite trust that kindness stirs
in each of us like the child we were,
wanting only to run through a field
with friends at dusk, holding hands
and chasing the sun.



James Crews is the author of three collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, and Bluebird. He is also the editor of Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He lives with his husband in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Friday, September 11, 2020

My Carving Life by Frederick Wilbur

Behind Albinoni’s oboe concerto on NPR,
a woodpecker chisels to his own measure

the rake board of my shop roof looking for
carpenter bee grubs in their round wombs.

I brush walnut chips from the carving bench
that is cross-hatched by implacable mistakes—

the earnestness of apprentice labor.
Bee dung on white clapboard points to

the corruption of trim that I’ll have to replace
on the first cool afternoon of autumn,

so the bird’s splinters and ragged excavations
are of no matter to me except we

work wood together. We know the progress
of seasons toward deadlines, the same payment

for survival. Someday my children will
understand our serious art and how

we found it in the livelihood we pursue;
my signature in blood as indelible

as the bird’s red disappearing
into the vicissitudes of forest nearby.



Frederick Wilbur’s poetry has appeared in many print and online journals. His collections of poetry are As Pus Floats the Splinter Out and The Conjugation of Perhaps forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Escazu by Kenneth Salzmann

Two roads run down the shoulder
of the mountain into Escazu:
one is a brief indulgence
snuggled behind iron bars
screeching sirens
and sunbaked certitude;
the other is a jazz funeral
sounded loud
by dusty third-world dogs
scratching at tin shacks
that pour music into
rising strands of night
driving lusting melodies
deep into dirt road darkness
when the peasant moon
rumbles like a new drum.



Kenneth Salzmann lives in the mountains of central Mexico. He is the author of The Last Jazz Fan and Other Poems and co-editor of the anthologies What Remains: The Many Ways We Say Goodbye and the forthcoming What But the Music.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Growing Up Appalachian (June Bugs) by Ben Rasnic

As kids we would tie a white string
to the hind leg
of June bugs we captured,   

the emerald backs
of those curious creatures
shimmering in the sun, circling
against a backdrop
of clear azure sky.

The kids
whose parents
were more affluent
flew paper kites

or remote control
airplanes, inevitably tangling
in the neighboring evergreens
or crashing to the ground.

I always felt
we were the lucky ones,

despite the protestations
of 3-legged June Bugs.



Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. Author of four published collections (three available from
amazon.com), Ben's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

On the Way by Laura Foley

A soft spring morning,
tender rain after a violent night,
of house-shaking winds,
loud belts of thunder.
I stride to my car,
with backpack,
yoga mat, snacks,
my wife calls to me
from our bedroom’s
second floor window—
she must have removed the screen—
she leans out,
calling in love and friendliness,
and it occurs to me
I finally have what I wanted
all my life, as I smile back,
on the way to my day.



Laura Foley is the author of seven poetry collections. Why I Never Finished My Dissertation received a starred Kirkus Review and was among their top poetry books of 2019. Her collection It's This is forthcoming from Salmon Press. Laura lives with her wife among the hills of Vermont.
www.laurafoley.net

Monday, September 7, 2020

Keep Trying by Laura Foley

After snowshoeing up the steep hill
in deep swathes of snow, we stop,
beneath a glittering globe of sky
the space of silence opens over us—

standing as if we were the base,
channeling current to a bulb too hot
to touch. We remove gloves, hats,
jackets, in surprising winter heat—

in this quiet spot on the top,
in a forest of would-be lamps, sensing
the thaw that will spark their green,
our lips find each other’s.

Gazing upward, stretched out
together on snow, yet apart,
we keep trying, as Mary Oliver instructs,
to make of ourselves a light,

one bright enough to guide us
to kindness, toward ourselves,
toward each other,
toward every living thing—

hoping to carry that shine
back down the hill,
into our separate lives.



Laura Foley is the author of seven poetry collections. Why I Never Finished My Dissertation received a starred Kirkus Review and was among their top poetry books of 2019. Her collection It's This is forthcoming from Salmon Press. Laura lives with her wife among the hills of Vermont. www.laurafoley.net

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Aesthetics by Sandi Leibowitz

The birthday party
on the beach:
a mockingbird posing
on the restaurant’s weather vane,
silhouette sharp as if cut from black paper;
sailboats on the blue curve of bay;
three green-umbrellaed tables
spread on the sand;
sunlight caught in the ice
of beaded water pitchers
glinting like the Met’s chandeliers—
beautiful.

But most beautiful of all,
my friend’s father,
paterfamilias, our host,
strolling blissfully through the surf
with his tiny, swim-suited grand-daughters
in his long-sleeved white shirt,
black pants, and laced black shoes.



Sandi Leibowitz, author of Ghost Light, The Bone-Collector, and Eurydice Sings, lives in New York City. Her poetry has garnered second- and third-place Dwarf Stars, as well as nominations for the Elgin, Rhysling, Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net awards. Please visit her at
www.sandileibowitz.com.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Praying Mantis: In Memory of Louella by Julene Tripp Weaver

My Great Grandmother, Louella,
on my mother’s side, lived long
and strong till nearly 98.
In my teens she had a stroke,
lived on our closed-in porch
in Queens. She became my advocate.
What they did was wrong—
forced her to move to the city
from her country farmhouse—
after they found that frozen
praying mantis on her screen door
early spring. An omen they said.

Each summer we drove upstate
to Great Grandmas. Mother and Uncle
grumbled, she's too old to spend winters alone.
Then, that praying mantis—
a sign of paralysis—so they moved her
like they moved me—to a concrete
bound world, the city.
She stood up for me, said
it was fine I go on a first date.
She became our neighborhood
window watcher, knew everyone,
every secret on our block.

She told stories, at Kitty Hawk
the first airplane flew like a bird,
stories from the Civil War, how the men
in our family fought, her husband on
the North side, the right side.
We lost so many memories
when we lost Louella.



Julene Tripp Weaver, a native New Yorker, is a psychotherapist and writer in Seattle. Her book, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and won the Bisexual Book Award. Check out more of her work at
www.julenetrippweaver.com.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Artifacts of Love by Meg Pokrass

Bodies are artifacts
of time spent in search of love.
The mirror reflects greyish hair
A neck of sweet creases.
Skin that has tanned,
Been made up,
lingered long in smoky rooms.
The maps around my eyes remember
a country of vague approval,
the best one was always:
‘You’re different’,
an endless procession of mornings
waking up different.



Meg Pokrass is the author of five flash fiction collections and a book of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas, for which she received the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has been widely and internationally anthologized, most recently in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015) and The Best Small Fictions 2018, 2019. She serves as Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

House Near the Long Beach Airport by Meg Pokrass

Your not-boyfriend is cooking a chicken
in his mother’s kitchen.
The house is upside down.
His sister holds a blow dryer,
her hair like knotted black rope
so beautiful it hurts.
The soup is almost ready to taste.
Tomatoes from their garden
near the Long Beach airport.
Sour, like the rumble of planes
which means he’ll leave again soon.
The house will become right side up.
His brother with the worried eyes
will return from work, muscled arms like a fork,
will ask if you would like to be his supper.



Meg Pokrass is the author of five flash fiction collections and a book of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas, for which she received the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has been widely and internationally anthologized, most recently in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015) and The Best Small Fictions 2018, 2019. She serves as Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

No Luck at All by Meg Pokrass

It's as if luck were a finicky houseguest
who left quietly
dripping parmesan cheese in her wake.
The smell of luck is in here
somewhere, but only the animals
can sense it. The dog sits waiting
for a treat, the cat stares outside
at moving bird shadows.
The lizard sits profoundly silent,
waiting for the luck of dead crickets.



Meg Pokrass is the author of five flash fiction collections and a book of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas, for which she received the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has been widely and internationally anthologized, most recently in New Micro (W.W. Norton & Co., 2018), Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton & Co., 2015) and The Best Small Fictions 2018, 2019. She serves as Founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Lifesaving by Larry Oakner

When you are floundering
in despair and wrath,
your voice raised with irritation,
I don’t know how to pull you out of it,
unlike the time you nearly drowned
in the bay off St. Croix
when your snorkel filled with seawater
and you just managed to cough out
“I need a little assistance here,”
not wanting to bother anyone by crying for help.
So I towed you by your vest back to the boat
where you thanked me in your coy, wet embarrassment.
But that was many lifetimes ago
and we were different people then.



Larry Oakner is the author of three books of poems: Sex Love Religion, The 614th Commandment, and Sitting Still (chapbook). His work has appeared recently in WINK, The Oddville Press, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine. A graduate of UCLA, he lives on Long Island, NY.

Monday, August 31, 2020

An Afternoon for Tea by Penny Harter

This is an afternoon for tea—
rich red of strawberry hibiscus
deepening in a brown ceramic cup.

I delight in dunking my teabag
up and down, lowering my face
into the rising steam’s sweet scent.

On today’s escape from shelter I ride
through a graveyard, some stones so
old their dates are half-eroded.

A light rain begins to fall, darkening
the pebbled road, nurturing the newly
springing grass between the plots.

Years ago at my mother’s memorial
gathering, my toddler granddaughter
perched on someone’s marker, singing.

I hadn’t thought of that for years, but
some roads take us back, even when
they wind through greening trees.

Home again, an afternoon for tea, hands
clasped around the cup’s kind warmth—
blessed comfort sheltered from the rain.



Penny Harter writes from the South Jersey shore area. Her recent books include A Prayer the Body Makes (2020); The Resonance Around Us (2013), and Recycling Starlight (2010). A featured reader at the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival, she has won fellowships from the NJSCA; the Mary Carolyn Davies Award from the PSA; and residencies from VCCA. Please visit
pennyharterpoet.com.