Friday, July 23, 2021

Summer Days by J.I. Kleinberg

There were always skippers on the ice plant,
a half-inch long, the color of butterscotch

and not very fast. We could pinch their wings
between thumb and index finger and liked

to feel the fluttering against our palms
as we held them in our cupped hands. Later

we smeared their golden dust on our cheeks.
We never thought they might be important:

they were like moths — a lower order of things,
not like real butterflies, or even dragonflies,

which we rarely saw, or fireflies, which
were probably only in books. There were lizards

too, small and brown and fast and when we tried
to catch them, we sometimes ended up

with just a tail between our fingers,
and sometimes saw one missing a tail

and tried to examine that place
that was wounded but not bloodied

and wondered if we could do that too,
leave behind some part that would grow back,

not yet understanding the scraped wings of the heart
or the oozing scars of love.



J.I. Kleinberg’s poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide. An artist, poet, freelance writer, and three-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and on Instagram @jikleinberg.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

One Room School by Kelley White

          --Canterbury Shaker Village, NH

I came here the day we buried Mother.
Silent. My face stiff and white. I took
my seat in the back row beside strangers
and tried to hide behind the taller boys.
I did not answer any teacher’s call.
But Sister Anne stayed after and made me
wash my face and hands, comb my hair,
lifted my chin and looked into my eyes.
You will live, dear. You will be loved.
You will learn. Yes, remember. But look—
there is the future. Your mother wished
for you to grow into the light.



Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent collection is A Field Guide to Northern Tattoos (Main Street Rag Press.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant and is currently Poet in Residence at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Infirmary by Kelley White

          --Canterbury Shaker Village, NH

Somewhere else I might have been
a physician. Here I learn what I learn:
herbs, suturing, a bit of dentistry.
Bandaging. Balms. And care. I might have been
a nurse. Not a midwife. Here. And we are fortunate.
Rarely a plague as we live without
the world. Oh, we grow old.



Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent collection is A Field Guide to Northern Tattoos (Main Street Rag Press.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant and is currently Poet in Residence at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

In the Nature of Things by Howie Good

A robin was pecking for something
under the cotton candy blue hydrangea

by our front steps. I stood looking out
the screen door, trying not to analyze

or philosophize, just simply observe.
The robin pecked one particular spot

with strange insistence – like a dark-
winged angel, I thought, excavating

the site of a future hell. Then the robin,
for its own inscrutable reasons, flew off.

Doesn’t mean they weren’t good reasons.



Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Heat Wave by Steve Klepetar

After heat, heavy rain.
Syrupy mud edges down
hill toward the pond,
as frogs serenade the wind.

The only thing darker
than water is the battered elm.

I am opening to the night
like a suitcase half empty
on a foreign bed.

The only thing I can think
of now is the road,
how it winds away,
flowing through the trees.



Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work appears regularly in Verse-Virtual. He is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including The Li Bo Poems and My Father Teaches Me a Magic Word.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Hiking the Everglades by John Grey

Air any thicker and I’d be a page in a book.
And I only have to look at kudzu to feel it
crawling all over me.
A feral pig carcass pilots a floating island.
A ‘gator sunbakes by an abandoned fish-shack.
An egret is content to be singular.
But there is no one blackbird that wouldn’t rather be two.

The greenery looks so tired in this heat.
And yet it grows as quickly as tadpoles into frogs.
A clammy kind of growth that congeals instead of sprouting.
What sun it cannot use, it passes on to those passing below.
That’s why each step is exhausting.
And I feel more like a hired hand than a hiker.

But there’s a beauty here, a sensuous woman,
fleshy and sweating, her skin flush with tattoos.
Like the bald cypress rooted to her cheeks.
The mangrove mounds of her breasts.
A belly brown and mostly still.
A copperhead coiled inside her navel.



John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Penumbra, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, Leaves on Pages and Memory Outside the Head are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and Held.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Looking for a Fix by Ronald Moran

In the last year it became hard
for me to get through to myself,
as in, I kept saying I must stop
at a liquor store after a haircut,

when I knew I had a basketful
of Jim Beam in a kitchen cabinet,
or why I thought I had to find
a repair shop to fix the electronic

dance on the dashboard of my car,
when, like a miracle, it fixed itself.
Maybe because they said the scan
of my brain one year ago revealed

a void, and no doctor ever told
me what it meant or how to fix it,
so I began trying to fill my void,
whatever it is, howsoever I could.



Ronald Moran has published poems in a number of journals, including Tar River Poetry, The Lake, and The South Carolina Review. His last six books of poetry were published by Clemson University Press. He lives in Simpsonville, SC.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Pin Oak by Ronald Moran

In the year of mole mounds in my
patch of arthritic dirt, effete grass
and assorted twigs leftover from
what storm forecasters said would
render us useless in our aging

neighborhood, which, when it hit,
upset only the rueful forecasters
by its timidity, yet it made a point:
the regal shadows of the pin oak
on my property, on the north side

of my small yard in front, bullied
all efforts of my neighbor to grow
anything––grass, flowers, bushes­­––
in the yard in front of his house,
so I had this tall, majestic pin oak

removed, though my act of insolence
was officially condemned by a select
committee of our HOA vested with
the authority to deny/permit the sad
lot of us to change anything on site.



Ronald Moran has published poems in a number of journals, including Tar River Poetry, The Lake, and The South Carolina Review. His last six books of poetry were published by Clemson University Press. He lives in Simpsonville, SC.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Unfolding by Rose Mary Boehm

You say it’s alright.
I say not yet.

I think of another coffin. See a small shovel,
hear the sound of wet, loamy earth on wood.

I remember the kite he made for me. Balsa
and sandwich paper.
Greaseproof.
He taught me Morse code in the
shelter, held my hand when we were skating
on farmer Bauer’s pond.
Avoided me like the plague
when his friends were coming.

My big brother, before his wings
were tampered with, had flight on his mind.
Once there were blue horses on a far-away meadow
he would never reach.



Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fourth poetry collection, The Rain Girl, was published by Chaffinch Press in 2020. Website: https://www.rose-mary-boehm-poet.com/

Friday, July 2, 2021

In a small town - 1952 by Rose Mary Boehm

From my water-soluble paint kit,
I apply red to my lips, black to my eyebrows,
a burnt-out matchstick for eyeliner.

Sex is not something I know about,
but I feel the need for enhancement.

Mother likes my face just washed,
Father wants to lock me up at the slightest
hint that his little girl is going
to be a woman.

I walk past the corner shop
and under the sycamores
towards the tram. A little boy
points at me and looks up
at his mother. She shakes her head
in profound disapproval.



Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her fourth poetry collection, The Rain Girl, was published by Chaffinch Press in 2020. Website: https://www.rose-mary-boehm-poet.com/

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Newsboy by Joe Cottonwood

Carlos tosses my Mercury News
from the window of one bangedy car
after another with dead-eye aim
to my brick step year after year.

At Christmas I tip him.
Started with a twenty, now it’s a fifty
which come to think of it
follows his age.

I delivered the Washington Star
six decades previous
from a Radio Flyer wagon.
Saved up to buy a hatchet and a knife
with a sheaf I could wear on a belt.

I went to high school, college.
Wrote books, worked construction,
raised a family, lost the knife,
still have the hatchet.

Newspapers dying everywhere
but here comes Carlos with the sunrise.
You can hear that holey muffler
and when he’s gone, here’s what’s new
in the lingering smell
of blue exhaust.



Joe Cottonwood repairs homes for money and writes poems for reasons he can’t explain. He lives under redwood trees in La Honda, California dodging wildfires and playing with grandchildren. His most recent book of poetry is Random Saints.