Thursday, October 28, 2021

Man Emerges from His Slumber by John Grey

The stars anticipate the light,
disappear before dawn.
Warblers also
prepare for what’s to come.
Their first notes
loosen the lake trout
from their shadows.
Trees hold out their branches
like palms of hands,
foreseeing not begging.
A woodchuck stirs.
Deer gather in the grasses
at the edge of the woods,
get close up with their hunger,
underplay their fear.

It takes more than the hint
of a new day
to get me going.
I need a room ablaze,
a shine in my eyes
akin to heaven’s.
I don’t apologize
for being a yawn or two
behind nature.
I am that which all of me depends upon.
And I am willing to wait.

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Death by Jason Fisk

A semitrailer full
of sleeping pigs
drives seventy
down I-90
A hog’s coarse
hair blows
in the truck wind
It has a cowlick
like my son

A scrawny fox
out in the middle
of the day
Mangy fur
ribcage shadows
It chases a bunny
but can’t keep up

A teenage boy
punches a heavy bag
in the garage
Neighbors gossip
about his abusive
Beads of sweat
and revenge
stream down his face

Jason Fisk lives and writes in the suburbs of Chicago. He has worked in a psychiatric unit, labored in a cabinet factory, and mixed cement for a bricklayer. He was born in Ohio, raised in Minnesota, and has spent the last 25 years in the Chicago area.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Junk Drawer by Corey D. Cook

Red Eft Review contributors and readers -

I wanted to share some exciting news with you...

My sixth chapbook, Junk Drawer, will be published by Finishing Line Press on February 18, 2022.

It is available for preorder now through December 24, 2021.

See link below for more information...

Junk Drawer by Corey D. Cook – Finishing Line Press

I hope you will check it out.

Thanks for considering.


Friday, October 22, 2021

Trout Fishing in Lee County, Virginia by Ben Rasnic

Drove five miles
of meandering 2-lane country road
then parked in the mud
as he made his way
down the embankment
to Martins Creek,
applied some powerbait
to his hook
like a skilled ceramicist
and cast his line
into the shimmering water
like Sandy Koufax
lobbing a warmup pitch
to John Roseboro, then
just as smoothly
reeled in the most beautiful
rainbow trout
I had ever laid eyes upon
and later
when someone would ask him
how big was that trout
that he landed at Martins Creek
he would pause, space his arms
and hands apart
and simply say
“Oh about yay big.”

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

Thursday, October 21, 2021

February 3, 1959 by Christopher Pellizzari

A great crash in the cornfield...
then silence again.
Corn, snow, soil, sky
shifting back to quiet,
like an old man returning to his sofa,
which has absorbed his shape,
after changing the radio channel by hand.

Corn stalks like weather vanes,
pointing in all directions,
to the hysteria of snowflakes
swarming the sky like flies,
the sky itself something dead.

The shivering pale sun arrives on scene
to identify what remains of the young men,
like some grieving mother,
a mother for all four mothers,
as men in cars approach cautiously
from a distance.

Buddy Holly’s glasses are in the snow.
They are unaccustomed to snow.
They remember the arid high plains of Lubbock,
the dust bowl sand storms against
the boy’s window,
the whistling of something never heard before
in neon orbits still in the Western sky,
far from this frozen place.

The glasses are picked up by a boy in Liverpool,
who tries them on when he writes his first song,
in his comfortable bedroom on Menlove Avenue,
far from this frozen place.

Christopher Pellizzari was born in Gary, Indiana. He didn’t start publishing his poetry until 2019. He is Lithuanian-American, the son of an immigrant mother.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Rear View Mirror by Heidi Slettedahl

The soft edges of a dream tease
at me while I awaken.
A child in a short cotton dress,
rosy pink with grass stains on the hem,
clasps her hand in another’s
as they cross the street,
a line of children daring traffic.

Her partner lets go.

Her hand slips to the pavement,
dusty sand burrows in her knees.
Sprouts of blood dampen the gravely ground
and the car that’s approaching doesn’t stop.

Doesn’t stop.

The edges of the dream are fading.
The shadow of the car
that brushed my consciousness
has driven away.
The driver permitted one slow last gaze,

my eyes are blurry from slumber
and I cannot recognize the face.

Heidi Slettedahl is an academic and a US-UK dual national who goes by a slightly different name professionally. She is hoping to live up to her potential now that she is over 50. She has been published in a variety of online literary journals (including Red Eft Review).

Monday, October 18, 2021

Venice by Heidi Slettedahl

I rarely talk about my babies,
Eight in all,
The loss too large for casual conversation.

Eight that I am sure of.
Who wants to know of clinics and injections, and odds you’d never bet on
Until you do.

The number might be nine, if I include
The one who left me in Venice
With blood and chills.

At least I think he did, if he was there at all.
So hard to know for sure.

My friends love Venice,
Return to it year after year.

I prefer Verona.
A smaller city, prettier, less crowded.

Fewer memories of loss.

Heidi Slettedahl is an academic and a US-UK dual national who goes by a slightly different name professionally. She is hoping to live up to her potential now that she is over 50. She has been published in a variety of online literary journals (including Red Eft Review).

Thursday, October 14, 2021

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (#14) by Matthew Borczon

In Fort Jackson
the Army trainers 
who got us ready 
for Afghanistan
used to
call us
hello, killers
nice shot, killer 
good work, killers
it was supposed
to make
us feel tough 
and strong 
so we started
using the term 
as well
but we
never managed
to say it
like they could 
we couldn’t roll
the "r"
couldn’t sound tough 
could only sound
like scared
young boys
telling their fathers 
they were men
for the
first time.

Matthew Borczon is a poet, a nurse and Navy Sailor from Erie, PA. He has published 17 books of poetry and publishes widely in the small press.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (#13) by Matthew Borczon

I took
care of
so many
people who
had lost
arms and
legs and
both that
one day
I would
meet one
of these
Marines 11
years later
and not
him at all.

Matthew Borczon is a poet, nurse and Navy Sailor from Erie, PA. He has published 17 books of poetry and publishes widely in the small press.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Chips of Glass by Cameron Spencer

Chips of glass like ice
          lie along the sideboard:
slivers of an argument
          waiting to be swept away
          and forgotten until the next time.
A bruise fades
          but leaves a sore spot—
          tender to the touch where tenderness failed
Just as an open cut retreats
          under new skin
          but remains a scar:
          a reminder.

Cameron Spencer lives in Savannah, Georgia. Her work has appeared online (including Red Eft Review) and in Savannah Authors Anthology. She is a long-time member of Rosemary Daniell's Zona Rosa writers group.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Silence Is Golden by Sharon Waller Knutson

Use your words,
our daughter-in-law
tells our toddler grandson.
Lips zippered into a smile,
his bird hands flutter
please and thank you
as his blue moon eyes
sparkle like the bubbles
he blows before dancing
like a dust devil. Doesn’t
talk because he’s deaf,

she says. I holler his name,
he whirls and I wave.
He races into my arms
and plants a sloppy kiss
on my cheek and I know
this kid is right as rain.

Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in Arizona. She has published several poetry books including My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields by Flutter Press and What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say and Trials & Tribulations of Sports Bob now available from Kelsay Books. Her work has also appeared in One Art, Mad Swirl, The Drabble, Gleam, Spillwords, Muddy River Poetry Review, Verse-Virtual, Your Daily Poem, Red Eft Review and The Song Is…

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Camp School Suite by Robert Demaree

Next to our cottage is a tutoring camp;
My father taught there summers ago.
I walk along the lane behind the tents
They use for classrooms
And listen to the commingled voices
Of young teachers and their kids.
Much of it is new and strange, of course,
But some I recognize:
Third person plural, active voice…
What Gatsby really means…

And I am carried back to
Forty years in schools:
A mug of coffee
To put my hand around on cool mornings,
A smile for the 14-year-old,
Embarrassed at his mistake,
Wanting to try again.

I came upon my father’s grade book today,
On the cottage shelf
Where we left it when he died,
Twenty years ago now.
I wish that he’d retired
While his memories were all good ones.
I see him in his classroom on the pond,
Leaning forward, wanting to tell a boy or two,
Sullen, not unkind, needing credits,
About the Generation of ’98,
But struggling with the preterite, I think.
Then the meaning comes to me:
A tutor is someone who keeps you safe.

There’s this to be said for adolescents,
They are able to form communities quickly.
The kids at the camp school
Arrive in June, a hundred of them,
All strangers to each other.
In five weeks they have bonded,
So that, gathered as a group,
They are able to call out,
In noisy recognition and friendship,
Yeah, Stacy-y-y-y,

This afternoon they read their poems,
Itself an act of courage,
And they invite me to take part.
After the reading a girl of 16 or so
Wants to ask about the
Craft and discipline of poetry.
She has read with confidence and feeling.
What is required, she asks,
What must one do?
Listen, I tell her,
Listen and watch.

The tents by the Teaching Grove are empty,
Will be coming down soon.
I walk along the lane
And hear echoes of the summer,
Of the voices of teachers and students,
Waiting to be scattered.
What has been gained here,
What will be remembered
Of these five weeks?
Friends they may not see again,
The confidence to start afresh
At new schools in different places,
The teachers who persuaded them
That they could write,
Or draw, or succeed.
The teachers will file their reports,
Take their own kids
For a last look at the pond,
Lash kayaks
To the tops of their cars.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals, including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The History of Forever by Howie Good

Some 2,000 years ago, when Julius Caesar sentenced
a gang of pirates to be crucified, a slow, agonizing form
of death, geese migrated in a V-formation and autumn
painted the leaves startling colors, just as now, but before
the crosses on which the pirates were nailed were hoisted,
Caesar, in a rare show of mercy, personally cut their throats.

Howie Good is the author most recently of the poetry collections Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing) and Famous Long Ago (Laughing Ronin Press).

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Ripe by Penelope Moffet

Gravenstein apple
from a tree,
so tart-sweet
I ignore the tunnels
left by worms
who also love
this taste,
breathe deep
where bees
conduct business
among daisies
near a green
clawfoot tub
that will call me later
to steep under stars
near bats and frogs.
No one is luckier
than I am,
to have lived this long,
to have wandered
among sand dunes,
seagulls, ravens, crabs
and barnacles
their black feet
as waves caress
and leave them.
Afternoon light
licks maple leaves,
a cool wind
stirs the ferns.
How strange
yet how ordinary
so late in my life
this flowering,
this fruit,
every bite

Penelope Moffet is the author of two chapbooks, most recently It Isn’t That They Mean to Kill You (Arroyo Seco Press, 2018). Her poems have been published in Gleam, One, Natural Bridge, Permafrost, Pearl, The Rise Up Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Verse-Virtual, The Missouri Review and other literary journals.