In Continuing by Karl Miller

Saint_Francis_statue_in_garden

storm-driven debris
decapitated some
of the saints in the garden

but

repairs went so well
that now only a few discreet lines
show in the concrete figures

that

stand again
by the
chamomile

 

 

Karl Miller’s fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous periodicals, including Galley Sail Review, Mudfish, RE:AL, Subtle Tea and others. His play, A Night in Ruins, was produced Off Off Broadway. A Best of the Net nominee, Miller lives in Coral Springs, FL.

 

Photograph attributed to Thunk-commonswiki.

Gravel Parking Lot by David M. Taylor

Confederate_Flag by Faze039423

I sit at a table pressed against
the outer brick wall of the diner,
where my children color placemats
and play tic-tac-toe.

I count the number of exits in this place,
how many seconds it would take
for me to break free
from the overweight man wearing overalls
and the tall man in stained jeans and hat.

They drove up with a confederate flag
erect on their truck bed
before walking in to join three friends.

They claim the space for themselves
as their heads motion towards me
while I shade in a yellow flower
my daughter drew on her napkin.

I count how many fists it would take
before I’d finally fall to the floor
from the weight of their oppression.

When I was younger, I could manage
to get to my car with only a few bruises,
but now I’m not so sure.

And I’d still have to get my kids to the van,
make sure they were buckled in car seats,
and their favorite Disney song was playing.

But first we would need to make it
past the two men and their friends,
to the gravel parking lot
where the streetlight flickers.

And as I count the number of times
I’ve met men like these,
I wonder whether my children
will end up doing the same.

David M. Taylor teaches at a community college in St. Louis, Missouri. His work has appeared in various magazines such as Albany Poets, Misfit Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Indigent Press,and Trailer Park Quarterly. He was a finalist for the 2017 Annie Menebroker Poetry Award and has three poetry chapbooks—M&Ms and Other Insignificant Poems, Two Cobras in a Ritual Dance, and Life’s Ramblings.

 

Photograph by Faze039423.

The Swan by F. S. Flint

407px-Tsarevna-Lebed_by_Mikhail_Vrubel_(brightened)

Under the lily shadow
and the gold
and the blue and mauve
that the whin and the lilac
pour down on the water,
the fishes quiver.
Over the green cold leaves
and the rippled silver
and the tarnished copper
of its neck and beak,
toward the deep black water
beneath the arches,
the swan floats slowly.
Into the dark of the arch the swan floats
and into the black depth of my sorrow
it bears a white rose of flame.

 

 

F. S. Flint, 1885 – 1960.

Painting: The Swan Princess by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel, based on the The Tale of Tsar Saltan opera of Rimsky-Korsakov (which was based on the fairytale of the same name by Pushkin). Vrubel designed the decor and costumes for this opera. The part of the Swan Princess was performed by his wife, N. Zabela-Vrubel.

If a Wild Mare Is Lame, She Will Slowly Move Towards the Succulent by Elizabeth York Dickinson

Standing barefoot in the sand, a golden sky
stung my skin,
and azure heavens tempered.
A desert breath blew
dust from long, onyx hair.
An illusion had swept me.
A twister.
The mirage that aridity
could service want.
My face was buried, lungs constricted, searching
for a sip of worth.
Broken elements swayed around the embers
of a Lucky Strike.

One drop, one grain, one sigh, one
strand of smoke.
A brief quickstep and hoofs began
swinging like a pendulum,
enough timing to rise.
Light blown spirits gifted
a wind-spout, fanning the tail that
welled a lift of my chin.
I ran.
Years of ancestry tracked my veins,
and guttural madness erupted forth,
“I am the weightless dunes!”

desert horse author anagoria

 

Elizabeth York Dickinson received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She was a staff writer for The Costa Rica News and currently resides in Evanston, Illinois.

 

Photographs: Desert woman, Jessica Polar. Desert horse, Anagoria.

Oracle of Witch Hunts by J. P. Dancing Bear

Certainly flashlights were burning
into the darkness.
There were whispers,
rumors and lies told—worse, believed!

And the sound of doors
cracking off their frames.

A hive waking—
misdirected, angry, attacking
the shadowed

under the claxons,
under the sirens.
Through the slits of curtains
we saw
people herded into vans,
people cuffed and led away,
people penned,
people executed by revoked asylum.

We saw people treated
as the supernatural beings
rising up from hell.

We saw red light bleed
out over panicked eyes.

The boss of uniforms
said it was him
who was being hunted

but he was doing what all
predators do,
camouflaged and preying

on the hidden helpless
praying
in the shadows.

 

 

J. P. Dancing Bear (Featured Poet, October, 2017) is co-editor for the Verse Daily and Dream Horse Press. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently, Cephalopodic (Glass Lyre Press, 2015), and Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014). His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, the DIAGRAM and elsewhere.

 

Photograph by U.S. Department of Immigration Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security).

#MeToo: On Michigan Avenue in November by Janette Schafer

It is only three miles from
where I am and where I need to be.
Man in a black Chrysler
pulls up to my bus stop, parks
in front of me, shaded window
hums as it opens in a puff
of smoke, forced air meeting
frozen wind–a breath.
He reminds me of my grandfather
until he flashes a wad of cash
puts it in the empty passenger seat
tells me to get in.

It is only three miles from
where I am and where I need to be,
from the fancy car and wrinkled bills,
so I walk fast, legs pumping like
the pistons pounded out in the factories
here in the heart of the Mitten. My heart
is only nineteen years old and it has never
pounded so hard. The lake effect winds
cling to my coat like candles in darkness.
Here I meet the Thin Man.

It is only two miles from
where I am to where I need to be,
a weathered jacket hung on his bones
as chiffon on a wire hanger, his eyes
meet mine and we nod in that way
strangers do. He walks past me, quickly turns,
his body so close I feel his heat on the back
of my neck, a drooped ceiling threatening
to break the floor beneath it.

It is twenty-five years from
where I was to where I need to be.
In my dreams, sometimes I am caught
by the Thin Man in this body, thick with
middle age and indiscretion. But on
that night, I was young still, Turner’s
The Angel Standing in the Sun whispers to me
in the moonlight, Run girl. Run.

It is one mile from
where I am to where I need to be,
tights split as I run, his footsteps
grow faint, my ragged breath
forms clouds of exertion and fear.
This is the night where the cold
has made me different, where the season has
transitioned a child who knows that
everything will be alright to a woman
who knows otherwise.

 

 

Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, nature photographer, former opera singer, and full-time banker living in Pittsburgh PA. She was a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship through Chatham University. Her poems and photographs have recently been included in the following: Unlikely Stories V, Event Horizons, Dear America, Reflections on Race, Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology, and Anti Heroin Chic.

 

Installation Agora, Grant Park,Michigan Avenue, Chicago, artist Magdalena Abakanowicz.

 

#MeToo: Quarry by Mary McCarthy

I thought it was me.
Something about me
obvious as Red Riding Hood
moving through the dark
wood bright as a flame
just asking
to be snuffed.

Now I know none of us
can walk anywhere
and call it freedom.
We all have more than one
story
of using everything we had
just to be able
to run away.
No shame in that.
We won’t argue with
survival-
sometimes the only prize
left to win.

 

 

Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work published in many on line and print journals, including Third Wednesday, Gnarled Oak, The Ekhprastic Review, and Earth’s Daughters. She has been a Pushcart nominee, and has an e-chapbook available as a free download from Praxis magazine.

 

Art by Krakin.