Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blonde by Joe Cottonwood

She went out easy.
With previous dogs, there came
a moment of spiritual shudder,
sometimes a visible struggle.
Not here. Under my touch
I feel the chest rise, fall, rise.
And rise no more.
Without a sound the heart rests.
A border crossed,
as if she welcomed the end
of cancer’s grip.

I tuck dog legs against dog body.
They are immediately
different, dead weight
utterly unlike a living limb.
Her eyes remain half open
as she so often slept.
She seems half-alert in death.
Still she is warm and has
that marvelous maple fur,
the only blonde
I’ve ever loved.

Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician day by day for most of his life. Some jobs were pretty; some, shitwork. Nights, he writes. Same split.

Monday, January 30, 2017

With a single stroke by Kenneth Salzmann

The poem this was
going to be
would have been
built noun
by verb by
unexpected noun,
all stacked
one upon the other
like a daring house
of cards. The poem
this was going to be
could have defied
and menace
and the soft
breezes that begin
now to lift
and verbs
and nouns
and verbs
gently out
of reach.

Kenneth Salzmann’s poetry has appeared in such anthologies as Child of My Child, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, Riverine, Earth Blessings, and Stories of Music: Volume 1. He lives in Woodstock, New York, and Ajijic, Mexico, with his wife, editor Sandi Gelles-Cole.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hospitals by Michael Estabrook

Whenever he finds himself in a hospital
he vows to take better care of himself
especially this time after noticing the sign
on the men’s room door: “This restroom
accommodates persons over 500 lbs.”

Right after Dad died in that stark lonely hospital room
the skinny young Asian doctor looked through
his dark glasses at Mom and said, enunciating
his words like he was trying to make them stick
to the wall “I am sorry, but he has expired.”

Sleeping on short stiff benches
beside dusty plastic plants
and torn magazines strewn about on ugly
brown end tables in the ICU waiting room waiting
for her mother to emerge from her coma or not.

Michael Estabrook is retired. No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms, able instead to focus on making better poems when he’s not, of course, endeavoring to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fertility by Nicholas Froumis

Trying one last time
timing one last try.

Nicholas Froumis practices optometry in the Bay Area. His writing has appeared in Gravel, Right Hand Pointing, Dime Show Review, Haiku Journal, and Three Line Poetry. He lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, novelist Stacy Froumis, and their daughter.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sweet Cold by Steve Klepetar

Snow fell all morning.
I could see it piling

on the neighbors’ roof,
on the filigree of oaks.

Its softness quelled
the rage next door.

The whole road
lay quiet in sweet cold.

Steve Klepetar has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems. Family Reunion and A Landscape in Hell are forthcoming in 2017.

Monday, January 2, 2017

you have beautiful hair by Justin Hyde

aunt marcine
runs a liver-spotted hand
through it.

so thick,
aunt karen coos
tousling it out of place.

this happened
at my other family reunion
in june.

aunt deb
said i was sexy

for making me blush.

full grown,
jan said
running her palm
up and down my back
a very long time.

at thirty-eight
i've crossed a rubicon

and manly
to octogenarians.

the twenty year olds
flashing across my radar
like migs

consider me avuncular
if they consider me at all.

so curly,
aunt connie wheezes

leaning way out
over her walker.

Justin Hyde's books and other poems can be found here:

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Purge by Shirley Jones-Luke

There was nothing sentimental about your leaving.

I watched your back as you headed for the cab,
suitcase in hand, it was raining and the streets were slick,
cab's wipers swished back and forth,
driver had a bored expression,
meter was frozen at zero,
airport was ten miles away, it was evening and rush
hour was at its height, I did not stop you, puddles
formed, a circle of tears, as you stood, not sure if you
should enter the taxi or run back to me, arms out,
enveloping me in a warm embrace, holding on tightly,
your face held a mix of emotions - sadness, anger and confusion
all merging at once to make you appear sick, sick from leaving, but
I remained stoic, unyielding, sick of you, who wanted to leave,
so leave, the cab pulls away, your silhouette remains.

Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and writer from Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Luke has an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. She was a 2016 The Watering Hole Poetry Fellow. Her work has been published in ENUF, Raising Mothers and The Voices Project. Ms. Luke is working on a poetry manuscript for 2017.