Saturday, July 16, 2016

Baby Birds on Beach by Howie Good

The doctor called the results
of the blood test “concerning.”
You tell me this over the phone

with long pauses between words.
I stop walking while I struggle
to absorb what you’re saying.

You’re saying if Gavin has what
the doctor thinks he might have
he won’t live past the age of 10.

Evening has turned everything
a sludgy gray. Warning, the sign
says, Baby Birds on Beach.

Their eyes are dark in color,
just like when they were alive.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Cuttings by Gareth Culshaw

The saw chewed along the pencil line
with my thumb as a guide
‘Long and slow’ he said
as I tried to create a groove

All the names got me
Coping, Hack, Tenon, Bow
The names always sounded evil
‘Nice and slow’ he ordered

Sawdust built up and I blew it away
with the same speed as blowing birthday
candles. Creamy flakes snowed the bench
My thumb shitting itself as the triangular blades

cut, sawed, bit, jumped
He stood there casting a shadow
that still hasn’t left

Gareth lives in Wales. He is an aspiring writer who hopes one day to achieve something with the pen. He has been published in Magma, Limestone, London Grip and others.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Tenacity by Ed Ruzicka

After my father retired at 84, before he
finally started joining mom at St. Irene’s,
dad would lay out in the garden for hours
picking weeds in overalls. Oafishly
rotund, a mass, a mound, he seemed

more at home with himself than he had
been since childhood. Though he never
talked about childhood except to say how
his dad would park his butt on a curb,
bid him sit still. Behave, while ole grand
dad went in to have a few with the boys then
stumble back out to his son, dusk and home.

It would be summer. Dad would tune the
transistor to W. G. N. for the Cubs’ games.
First he braced on a fence post or hoe to
tenderly ease his bulk down to one knee,
right hand descended, then the other knee.

Finally, legs-kicked-out, dad would prop on
his elbow, side-wise. Reach out, tug, claw,
pull, roll, crawl around the garden for hours.
It was a process, a procedure in which his
hands worked with a dogged determination

I have come to appreciate as I gnaw through
a branch with a wide-toothed saw or as
I build a chain of exercises, of activities
that lead one of my stroke-stricken patients
back to lifting his arm, dressing himself alone
in a room inlaid with complex geometries
by dawn’s relentless march into shadow.

Ed Ruzicka has published one full length volume, “Engines of Belief.” His poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Xavier Review, Plainsongs, Red Eft Review, Big River Poetry Review as well as other literary journals and anthologies. Ed lives in Baton Rogue, LA and is an occupational therapist. More works can be found on his website,

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Jane by Ronald Moran

It is your time of diminishments:
loss of hair, the spine and pelvis
gone soft and cracking. White
blood cells savage and deplete

you like schoolyard bullies, like
cannibals of blood. Last night
while I was stroking your head,
you woke up just long enough

to say you heard your mother
calling out your name, twice.

“Jane” is reprinted from Saying These Things (Clemson University Press, 2004).

Ronald Moran lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina. His poems have been published in Commonweal, Connecticut Poetry Review, Louisiana Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Negative Capability, North American Review, Northwest Review, South Carolina Review, Southern Review, Tar River Poetry, The Wallace Stevens Journal, and in thirteen books/chapbooks of poetry. Clemson University Press published his latest book Eye of the World in 2016. He has won a number of awards and his work is archived in Special Collections at Furman University.