In Continuing by Karl Miller


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


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


stand again
by the



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


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.

#Immigration: 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
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
of using everything we had
just to be able
to run away.
No shame in that.
We won’t argue with
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.


Mending by Hazel Hall

Here are old things:
Fraying edges,
Ravelling threads;
And here are scraps of new goods,
Needles and thread,
An expectant thimble,
A pair of silver-toothed scissors.
Thimble on a finger,
New thread through an eye;
Needle, do not linger,
Hurry as you ply.
If you ever would be through
Hurry, scurry, fly!
Here are patches,
Felled edges,
Darned threads,
Strengthening old utility,
Pending the coming of the new.
Yes, I have been mending …
But also,
I have been enacting
A little travesty on life.



Hazel Hall, 1886-1924. 


Photograph “Make Do and Mend” in Britain during the Second World War
Remnants and oddments of material being sold by the pound at Kennard’s store, Croydon, London. Ministry of Information Second World War Press Agency Print Collection.

In the Fall of the Summer of Love by Trish Saunders


The year I turn 18, I meet the man who will love me
and stop loving me. This is also the summer I turn bronze.
Each morning, I drop a coin into a bowl near the bed.
Let it not be today.
If he stirs, I press my fingers over his mouth
until he falls back asleep.

One morning I begin swallowing the coins,
a penny at a time. When I try to speak, my tongue clangs
against my teeth. My hair unspools in copper coils.
Of course, this becomes too much for him.
Late September he leaves, knocking books off their shelves
with his umbrella in his rush to the door.

I race to the bathroom mirror. I’m still breathing.
When I turn on the faucet, my late mother’s voice gushes out,
Now you can buy anything you want.
Love is yours.
Adjusting the folds of my robe:
Thank you, Mother, I am ready now.



Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.


Photograph by Foundry, via Pixabay, CC0, Creative Commons.

Soundless by Martin Willitts, Jr.

There has to be a word for the unexplained —
a word for the sound of a nightingale
changing to whatever that bird heard last.

We have better words to describe a chasm
eating all sound dropping in
or a trellis of roses wrapping upwards.
When unobscured light reaches its destination,
it does not make a noise. I never heard
a spider tiptoe on its web as it gives or sways,
nor when dawn congeals into greying darkness.

We can hear despair, the accumulation of sparrows,
the blinds opening their clatter, the blink of traffic lights,
the hizz of florescent bulbs.
But not once, did I hear a sound
the minute after people died, separating out
of their body, into a final silence, not even an Ah.



Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY.  He is a poetry editor for Comstock Review, and a judge for the New York State Fair Poetry Contest. He won the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award and Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June, 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed (FutureCycle Press, 2017), Three Ages of Women (Deerbrook Editions, 2017).

Sixth Mass Extinction Event by Theric Jepson


I haven’t seen a bee in over a month.
I don’t know how many other local pollinators
I would even recognize but

I was born in 1976 when models suggested
global cooling as the next big threat
existential in nature by which we meant us
and not Javan tigers or 24-rayed sunstars
or golden toads or dusky seaside sparrows
or Saint Croix racers or Levuana moths
or Pyrenean ibex or baiji dolphins
or Japanese river otters or Scioto madtoms
or the Bermuda saw-whet owl.

The ongoing resurrection of the coelacanth
serves only to mock our own newness and fragility.
Sure we’ve peopled every clime, but
but but but but but intestines threaded through
a steering wheel—a steering wheel that will
last 10thousand years—10 million—long enough for
the next intelligent race to dig up as they
theorize re the Plasticene Era and drop
cigarette butts in their fresh dirt—


The deer and turkey are less shy these days,
crowding our suburban streets like retired biker gangs.
Or no, the turkeys, yes, but the deer are just
worried about what ole Tom will do if the cops show up,
so they look the other way and pretend not to—

This morning, up early, waiting for my ride,
I pulled dandelions from the lawn. Just buds
and flowers. I enjoy our little race as the plants try to bloom
and go to seed before I can toss them to the sidewalk.
I appreciate how, the better I do, the lower grow
the flowers, hidden under their canopy of grass.

This species only grows in lawns—
as reliant on us as soybeans or cannabis
for world domination.

The entire plant is edible. Every bit of it.
Scientists are now, today, running tires made
of dandelion rubber on the road, to see
if our weeds can drive us further down down down

I look at the heads scattered across cement.
& the bees are dying.



Theric Jepson’s poetry has appeared in a number of publications, most of which have never claimed regret for their decision. His chapbook After Chadwick was released in 2015. If you wish to visit him online, alas, is currently crippled by corrupted code, but googling thmazing and seeing what comes up is probably more fun anyway.

Work by Laura S. Marshall


She brings me home
a brand-new vacuum cleaner,
and it clatters hard

on the wide plank floors.
The back-and-forth pass (and pass
and push) plasters pink

and sweat on my skin,
under my shirt. My back hurts,
but there’s just one room

left to bluster through.
I do this every week, and
every week it’s new.

Every week I ask
the space behind my eyes, “Why?”
And it says, “For her.”



Laura S. Marshall is a writer and editor who lives in New England. She studied linguistics as an undergraduate at Queen’s University in Canada and as a grad student at the University of British Columbia. She has studied writing at the Ashbery Home School, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at UMass Amherst, and the College of Our Lady of the Elms. Her work appears or is forthcoming in literary publications including Epigraph Magazine, Lavender Review, Junoesq, and the Queen’s Feminist Review, as well as newspapers and trade magazines.


Mother’s Day Poems, Clutch Two

Regarding The Unreliability Of Buses in The Desert In Late July by Alexis Rhone Fancher

The Girl
She wouldn’t last the afternoon.

Chalk white. Redheaded determination against
the soul-crushing Mohave.

What kind of life was it anyway,
when the closest thing to civilization was a mall
twenty miles away?

The pretty ones, her mama said,
rarely had far to walk.

The Mother
Nothing ages a woman like a dead kid.
Except, maybe, the desert.
Skin turned to parchment.
Age spots on her hands. A penance.

She stuffed them in her pockets.

The Man
The girl climbed into his dusty pick up.
Those tiny shorts, metal zipper flashing back
the sun, playing off the skin of her inner thigh.

It was like a dream, he told the police.

The Mall
glistened. Macy’s. Target. The Body Shop. Mrs. Field’s. The Sharper Image.
Victoria’s Secret. Wetzel’s Pretzels.

Every Kiss Begins With Kay.

The Mother
She sat at the table in the small trailer and
watched the sun flatline behind the highway.
Then she raised her glass of hard lemonade.

Here’s to the dead kid. She saluted
the faded snapshot, tacked up above the sink.

The blue-eyed girl in the photo
looked right through her.

Outside, the highway trembled as the bus
whizzed by, asphalt searing the tires,
their high whine a love song, a murmur.

My girl. The one with big ambition.
We all figured she’d be the one to get away.


for Chelsea Kashergen

First published in Loch Raven Review.


That Mother by Roberta Beary

My daughter is watching Frozen with friend.
I am cleaning out the linen closet.
Here is my stash of perfume samples from Bloomingdales.
I put them in a little basket.

I want to be another kind of mother.
Who comes home and climbs into bed.
Wearing nothing but sample perfume from Bloomingdales.
I want to be that mother in the Long Bar at Raffles.
Sipping the perfect Singapore Sling.

Frozen is almost over.
I take my Singapore Sling and sit near my daughter and her friend.
They open all the packets of perfume.
My daughter gets to keep the little basket.


Lost in the Lines of Laundry by Jeff Burt

Three laundry lines in the backyard,
poles tilted toward each other
like an old couple, towels like windows,

sheets like doors, fresh opportunities
to happy worlds of hide-and-seek
where one boy is never found,

lost in the lines, sheets ruffled,
clothes pins scattered, basket hollow,
mother screaming, sisters crying.

Decades later the same discomfort
she said, a continent away.
Today at the dryer she shook
a sheet hoping I would fall out.


Diary Excerpt from a Year When I Hated Mother’s Day by Wilda Morris

It is hard hearing yourself called
a saint for adopting five children
when you know you are in
over your head, when the shawl
across your shoulders is guilt,
when the temper you never knew you had
is the warp, you sharp tongue
the woof of a tapestry of failure,
of flaws, of fault. Your hyper child
pulls his siblings into the vortex
and the whirlpool spins you
out of control. You take a bad
book’s parenting advice,
exit the back door and let loose
with a primal scream.
All it accomplishes is a sore throat,
a neighbor’s strange look.


Detangling by Maya Wahrman

I’m washing my hands,
the water scalds
then is comfortably hot.
Soap, lather, it hits
me, the smell of sarkál,
the Israeli conditioner my mom
once rubbed into our scalps, certain
soaps in this life smell
like this, that time
I had lice, the long salty
day at the beach. Last night
I was held asleep by
broad shoulders, the kind
into which you melt
protected. My unruly
hair tickling his chest.
But this strong smell,
chemical secrets and
security, a softness
that can only belong
in the past. My ima
sitting with me by
the tub, carefully combing,
my small frame
in her smooth thighs,
her free thumb circling
against my shoulder
to keep me calm.


Mirror by Catherine Zickgraf

She finds her firstborn son.
He appears in her Myspace search
the day he completes his childhood.

They share a cigarette on her front step
(and quit together soon thereafter).
They discuss his NA meetings, what it’s like
to be an eighteen-year-old high school junior.
She explains her hospitalization last summer—
how it surprised her to regress at thirty two.

He leans in to wrap arms around her shoulders,
sun icing over behind tree fringe,
smoke sky sliding into horizon. They wear knit hats
and both always sensed it, this bond beyond first sight.


Fissure by Timothy Pond

You have effected a masterful
disturbance upon the
landscape of my face.
It’s your m.o., it keeps
you dealer, driver, maestro,
Holder of the stick at the end of
the carrot,
the one and only well of
maternal approval.

Dry, dry–I drop my divining rod
in favor of an oil drill.
But in the dust bowl roulette,
neighboring farms can gush
and gush
and my one and only well
can stay dry.
And I can drill until
I crack a fissure monument
in the landscape
as the family business

First published in The Bees Are Dead.


My Mother by Lynn Green

You were a crisp white shirt and a dry martini,
a bounding Labrador and Jackie O,
were center court at Wimbledon, essence of life itself.


Ripening by Megan Denese Mealor

mother was our madness
and our curves

even her silhouettes were silver

mother could grow marigolds
in november

she was our snake charmer

our static cling


Previously published in BROAD!


Nighthawks by Roberta Beary

tonight her breathing’s more shallow. i try to find her favorite songs. search quickly on my iPad. mack the knife by Bobby; replays of Vera’s, we’ll meet again. but mostly i just talk and she listens. eyes glued shut in coma-land. well past morning i kiss her rice-paper face. stroke her white hair. a voice is crying, calling mama, mama. a word back from dead. executed in the land of assimilation. just after noon mama curls in fetal position. i keep watch: rise and fall of out-of-breath beats. too soon it comes. ebb tide.

autumn coolness
enters a hand
long held in mine

First published in Tinywords.
hospice hands by Mercurywoodrose

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume, Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. She’s the author of 4 poetry collections, including State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter Here, (2017), and Junkie Wife, (2018). Her photos are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Witness, Heyday, The Chiron Review, and Nerve Cowboy. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles.

Roberta Beary identifies as gender-expansive, and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. She is the author of three books of poems: Deflection (Accents, 2015) nothing left to say (King’s Road Press, 2009) and The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 2007, 5th ed. 2017) which was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America annual book awards). Beary is the editor/co-editor of the haiku anthologies Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018) fresh paint (Red Moon Press, 2014), 7 (Jacar Press, 2013), dandelion clocks (Haiku Society of America, 2008) and fish in love (Haiku Society of America, 2006). Her work appears in Rattle, KYSO Flash, Beltway Quarterly Review and Haiku In English The First Hundred Years (Norton, 2013). Beary’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and multiple Pushcart Prizes. She lives in County Mayo, Ireland.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and a July abundance of plums. He has work in The Monarch Review, Spry, LitBreak, Wisconsin Review, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Poetry Prize.

Wilda Morris is President of Poets and Patrons of Chicago and Past President of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Her poems have found homes in numerous anthologies, webzines, and print publications, including Christian Science Monitor, The Alembic, Chaffin Journal and The Kerf. She has won awards for both formal and free verse, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her book, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant, was published by Rockford Writers’ Guild Press in 2008. Her poetry blog is found at

Maya Wahrman graduated from Princeton University’s Department of History with certificates in Creative Writing and Near Eastern Studies. She currently work at Princeton’s Office of Religious Life on issues of religion and forced migration. She has opinion pieces published in the History News Network and the English and Hebrew editions of Haaretz, and have had poetry published in Lilith Magazine, Love, Struggle, Resist, Fifth Wednesday Journal, The Copperfield Review, the Jewish Currents Poetry Anthology Urge, Sweet Tree Review, Heartwood Literary Magazine, and Nassau Literary Review.

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan and three dozen other cities. She’s differently-abled now—walking with a cane and flying in her sleep—so her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Watch/read her at and run/jump while you are able.

Timothy Pond loves the Staten Island Ferry because it’s orange and a free way to escape Manhattan. She is named after the grass.

Lynn Green is British American and co-founded a Real Estate Brokerage in Austin, Texas. In 2012 she returned to college to complete a degree in creative writing and is now writing full time. Her first short story, Cheese Whiz, won a thematic competition in The Knot magazine. She has written two children’s stories, a novel, and is currently working on a series of short stories.

Megan Denese Mealor is a double Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has been featured widely in numerous journals, most recently The Opiate, Maudlin House, The Metaworker, The Ministry of Poetic Affairs, Van Gogh’s Ear, Firefly, Poehemian, Fowl Feathered Review, Weekly Poetry, Visitant Lit, The Furious Gazelle, Rumble Fish, RAW, and Harbinger Asylum. Her debut poetry collection, Bipolar Lexicon: An Akathisia of Expressed Emotion, is forthcoming in October 2018 from Unsolicited Press. She also serves as a new volunteer reader for E&GJ Press. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens, Megan’s underlying mission is to inspire others stigmatized for their mental health. Her loves include alligators, air hockey, astrology, baking, swimming, snorkeling, crocheting, calligraphy, painting, beachcombing, ghost hunting, origami, and paintball. She lives in her native land of Jacksonville, Florida with her partner of six years, their four-year-old son, and two mollycoddled cats.

Mother’s Day Poems, Clutch One

Bougainvillea by Tamara Madison

She is brown like her shadow on hot ground
at high noon. Her hair, a dark bush, bounces
on top of her busy torso as she steps out — snap snap —
in rubber thongs in the pummeling sun
of a desert afternoon. Her arms are sinewy-thin,
muscular, she jokes, from beating children, and when
the baby sobs as Mommy leaves for wood shop class
or a meeting, she springs to the crib and shakes
the wailing child: “If you don’t stop that right now
I’ll beat you to a bloody pulp!” Her sunglasses flare out
toward her temples like the sly, outspoken fins on the powder-
blue Mercury that she steers with the same hand that holds
the Reader’s Digest while the other applies Bougainvillea
lipstick; a billowing fan of dust rises behind the speeding car
where the children rest on sticky vinyl seats, secure
in their mother’s love. Sometimes at night she fastens
rhinestones to her ears and poufs on pungent green perfume,
sets the cummerbund on Dad’s tuxedo so he looks
like a movie star with all the crop dust washed off him.
We watch them drive off toward a lurid sunset of blazing
orange and pink as night grows around the purple
shoulders of the mountains, and everything around us
smells of dirt and work and farm chemicals.

First published in The Belly Remembers by Pearl Editions



At Eighteen by Alexis Rhone Fancher

When I wanted to be seen
When I danced out to the edge
When I was so afraid to love

When I longed to be a Marilyn
When I slept my way to the top
When I opened my legs but not my heart

When I shouted at my mother over dinner:
“When I grow up I’ll be somebody,
not like you.”

When I took a lover twice my age
When I told him I wanted photos
wearing only my grandmother’s

ruby necklace
When he shot me, butt-naked on
my mother’s oriental rug

When I went home to flaunt the affair
When I fluttered a cache of the photos
onto her bed

When she walked to her closet and opened
the bottom drawer
When she handed me a large, blue envelop

When I looked at photos of my mother, naked,
her young face wicked, movie-star dreamy,
When I recognized the girl who wore only a ruby necklace

and looked like she had plans even bigger than mine

When she said, “I was only sixteen. He was forty.”

First published in Poets & Artists Magazine.



Infested Fruit By Ravitte Kentwortz

Mother had bitter orange
hair and breasts larger
than other moms in my boarding school.

She didn’t use them
to breastfeed. In her
kitchen, when I visited,

poppy seed rolls she rolled,
dropping condensed milk
into dough’s opened mouth.

Now in her seventies, she
bears on my table, heaving

to devour
peaches, a bushel
of wet peanuts.

Kale in the heat —
the ground lamb weeps.
Then sizzles.

Nana comes too. Time
her cellar filled with food
before the war, she says,

a good year for pears.
When grandfather was taken,
Nana hid. Torn

bags of grain
under her house. Halved frozen peaches
in the cellar.

When he returned, imagine
with what hunger
they had my mother — she says, time

she was tiny and blond, like
an infested fruit,

to his chest, mouth stuffed
with cloth.

they packed her and rooted
for roots under brittle sugar.

Nana says, your mother
was held
by your father.

Her teeth cut teeth in his flesh.
She did not tell
of my roots,

that strapped her in so many veins,
taking her food. My father still
stands there —

as she batters her
belly with me in her
right hand, blue

blue stains of shriek,
stuffed blue, on
strawberry lips.



Mother by Mary McCarthy

I dreamed her wicked
with shining eyes
and long fingernails
that poked and pinched
an unexpected ambush
in a dark room
the sudden flash of teeth
from what was not
a smile-
another nightmare
with too many wrong turns
to take me anywhere new
She couldn’t really afford
long nails
with so much work to do
no time for any such
for rage or spite
or the simple need
of a woman starving
out of sight
hidden behind
her many children
feeding them
feeding them
keeping nothing
for her own hunger



I Love You, Catherine, but I Don’t Like You by Catherine Zickgraf

your words sounded fair at the time—
but they hung like ghosts in the air,
like Dad’s work shirts filed headless
on the basement line.

I’d watch for larks out the window at lunch
after buttoning all those shoulders onto hangers
in the breezeless dark.



Fallout by Carolyn McAuliffe

Fuchsia blooms flirt from thorny clusters of cacti to passersby, taproots plunge valley-deep chapped with thirst below the still, open road. The jointed cane cholla boasts petals in shocks of crimson, creamy white, and yellow like the billowy collars of a circus clown. Saguaros stand tall, fixed amongst the creosote, agave and shade of the nurse-mother mesquite. In communion and praise the elders bear their naked ribs and reach toward the open, sleepy sky.

I see you tug at the stretch of belt across your swollen midsection. I see your mind click and check and click again. So tired. Too many fitful nights tangled in damp sheets, pillows tucked between your thighs and wedged at the small of your back. You defend and you resist. You shift from supine to prone, roll left and right, while I dig my bony knees so hard from the inside out. Stretch and reach and push. I see you carry the weight of me for miles.

He flicks a cigarette butt out the window while a mournful tale of promises broken plays on the radio. You smile like a schoolgirl and imagine him singing it to you. You shake your head and watch him tap his fingers to the drum beat on the dashboard. You feel a kick and now you’re glad you had that second slice of pie at the diner 20 miles back. I see you peel back the flaky crust layer by layer, until the prongs of your tinny fork sink into the brown-sugared apple insides.

A sliver of light rips the sky wide open. A thunderclap sounds. A million tiny pieces of glass rain down on you, and him and her. You hold close the ink-eyed beasts circling from above. You embrace the barbed pads of the prickly-pear, ripping the fleshy skin until the juices erupt into a deep swell of grace. I split your belly in two and I am forcibly plucked from your core. Wings flap wildly as frayed feathers fall from the half-light sky.

With the tip of your finger you trace the fallout. Below your navel a thick, raised pinch of skin trails south. I see a razorback formed by the dry sweeps of wind, scorpions, and serpents of the sand. Did we quench our mouths on the well-spring? I see you push back the dry brush and brambles. On arid dust you choke with palms raised to the sky. You whisper, Lorraine. A pretty name, Mama. Very pretty.


8Mother_and_Child_II_by Graham Crumb

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac and other publications. She is thrilled to have just retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school.

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume, Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. She’s the author of four poetry collections, including State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter Here, (2017), and Junkie Wife, (2018). Her photos are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Witness, Heyday, The Chiron Review, and Nerve Cowboy. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles.

Ravitte Kentwortz is an immigrant to the US. She studies philosophy in Colorado. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Posit, Portland Review, Caliban, MARY and others.

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 print and online journals, including Gnarled Oak, Praxis, Third Wednesday, The Ekhprastic Review and Earth’s Daughters. Her electronic chapbook Things I Was Told Not to Think About is available as a free download from Praxis Magazine.

Catherine Zickgraf has performed her poetry in Madrid, San Juan and three dozen other cities. But she’s differently-abled now—walking with a cane and flying in her sleep—so her main jobs are to hang out with her family and write more poetry. Watch/read her at and run/jump while you are able.

Carolyn McAuliffe resides in Southern California with her husband Mike and son Michael. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. Carolyn’s work has appeared in a Wising-Up Press Anthology and The Motherhood Muse.



Lion mother photograph by David Dennis. Human mother photograph by Graham Crumb.

Cutaneous by Nicole Michaels

Old woman in a cool green sweater,
lying like a tissue paper frog on her bed.

Her head is a pond, too deep and long gone,
infrequent visitors leave wax

flowers at its crumbling banks.
Why shouldn’t she refuse

the social calendar charting October activities,
with its fiery hues and cartoon pumpkins,

fanning turkeys and buckled hats. All month
she’ll take her coffee in her room,

covering the cup with a napkin,
cradling herself between sips,

hands grasping the pads of her own elbows.
During breathing treatments she’ll slip

her face into the mask,
stare at the bubbler on the wall,

as a mist grows
and settles around the room,

until there is croaking and she
breathes through her skin –



Nicole Michaels is a Marin County, CA native who makes her home in frontier Wyoming. She is a working poet with a degree in English from Stanford University where she studied under the late Diane Middlebrook and chose an emphasis in feminist studies. She spent some time in the American South as a journalist for small papers.

#MeToo; #GunViolence: Sara by Karen Silverstrim

She opened the door to the end. She could hear her son
splashing in the tub down the hall. She could see the intent
in his eyes, and she only thought, “hush” to her son.
“Don’t let him hear you.” She backed away from the door
and the gun, trying to placate, offering to talk. He had already
made up his mind though, the standard, “if I can’t have you,
no one will.” The shots rang out and stung her face like a bee,
as part of her jaw flew across the room. The end was quick,
but her final thought was her son. She didn’t close her eyes,
until she saw him turn the gun on himself. Her son would be safe.



Karen Silverstrim lives in western New York, spending her time hiking around the Niagara Gorge and teaching history.  Karen has been writing for forty-seven years, with publications in newspapers and literary journals in New York, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Canada.


Photograph by Ian D. Keating. 

She Tells Me to Write Her a Love Letter by Cori Bratby-Rudd

This dying rose smells like wet dog.
I can feel it panting through my fingernails,
stench floating over me, its particular brand of course hair
disintegrating into my ears.
I can taste the dark red
like the smell of expired wine.

Diana Gutierrez made me do this,
made me change the background of my iPhone
to this image of life.
What does it mean for a person to make us do something?

Puta, she muttered
As she was leaving.

A flea hopped onto my computer,
that’s why she left.
I killed it, come back!

I know that SpongeBob and Patrick totally fuck.
It’s a blue tickle of fact.
My mother told me to pick nothing

so I fly through a fan
and speak warped,
Come on Cori!
Get your shit together.

The curtain will rise
and here come the brides,
but only in a blank poster.

I have done nothing wrong and so I ask for forgiveness.
Unslam the doors and open a new can of original Pringles.

Dime algo en espanol,
Said her closed mouthed glasses.

The truth is I like rotted flowers
like a dog sleeping with one eye open.



Cori Bratby-Rudd is an eclectic writer from the Bay Area. As a recent graduate from UCLA’s Gender Studies department, and a current MFA candidate in Creative Writing at California Institute of the Arts, she enjoys incorporating themes of emotional healing and social justice into her creative and non-fiction works. She has been published in Ms. Magazine, DryLand Lit Press, FEM News, Canyon News, Rainy Day Magazine,  and Westwind Journal of the Arts. She recently received an editorial choice award in Audeamus’ Academic Journal for the best research piece.


Original photograph by BuzzFarmers.

Weave in, My Hardy Life by Walt Whitman

Weave in, weave in, my hardy life,
Weave yet a soldier strong
and full for great campaigns
to come, Weave in red blood, weave
sinews in like ropes, the senses,
sight weave in, Weave lasting sure,
weave day and night the weft,
the warp, incessant weave,
tire not, (We know not what the use O life,
nor know the aim, the end, nor really aught
we know, But know the work, the need
goes on and shall go on, the death-envelop’d
march of peace as well as war goes on,)
For great campaigns of peace
the same the wiry threads to weave,
We know not why or what, yet weave,
forever weave.



Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892.

Photograph of anti-Trump sit in, Mission District, San Francisco, by Pax Ahimsa Gethen.

#GunViolence: Two Poems by Lennart Lundh

June 2015, and Others

Gunshots don’t ring out.
Freedom rings. Coronets.
The voices of Sabbath choirs,
table graces, children at play:
These, I will agree, ring out.

Gunshots explode. Thunder.
Sunder flesh from blood.
Echo down the halls of ages
as they remind us of loss
in every firecracker overheard.

Gunshots salute. Pay semi-holy
tribute to Our victory over Them,
to more of Them dying than Us,
whether the war is institutional,
or against our individual targets.

12 June 2016: Again We Get It Wrong

Yesterday’s heat has given way to moderation, and I’m out front, down on my old, stiff hands and thick, aching knees, tending the varied wealth of our flower beds. Last year’s rose of Sharon volunteers need cleaning out, before they root so deep I’ll need a spade and back brace. Or maybe dynamite. There are days I’m almost frustrated enough to blow the place up and down and start over. Don’t worry. Ain’t gonna’ happen. I know better than to do that. But I swear this process will take forever. Meanwhile, it’s five days before the first anniversary of Charleston, and down in Orlando the clean-up crews aren’t even starting to get ready. The crime scene will take a week of forevers to process. A score dead, two score wounded, somebody with a score to settle. When they get fed up enough with whatever they’re personally, self-righteously fed up with, some folks just want the sound of gunfire to start over, to raise their spirits up and strike the others down. Why does the wrongness of this take forever for us to process?

Hopscotch_in_schoolyard author Jeremy Tarling


Lennart Lundh is a poet, short-fictionist, historian, and photographer. His work has appeared internationally since 1965.


Photographs: Students folding flag at end of the day, Central High School in Little Rock by Adam Jones; Hopscotch in school yard by Jeremy Tarling. 

#GunViolence: Turning Back the Clock by Matt Hohner



We turn back the clock, surrender ourselves to the thudding
darkness, drag the cold sun out of its murky prison cell, scudding
lower across the sky by mere measurement. Daylight skews.
Are the scorched shadows of Nagasaki back in the news?
Is it August 1945, or is it Pyongyang, 2017? Oligarchs charm
the devil in designer suits, rattle radioactive warheads like bones
in a cup, tossing their isotopic nightmare I-Ching across farm
fields, oceans, and boardrooms, cashing out before Armageddon
with polished monuments ready for new names to prepay Charon
while we dope-step blindly into history, our eyes fused to our phones.


The land shapeshifts under our feet. Time becomes a loop;
Is this Sand Creek, Colorado, 1864? Arapaho and Cheyenne
villagers and U.S. army cannons? Such glorious troops.
Is it Wounded Knee, 1890? No, this is Sandy Hook, Newtown,
Connecticut, 2012. The Indians are children. No. Look again:
it’s Columbine High School, 1999. The Indians are children,
the cowboys are children, and guns are still the weapons.
No. Fast-forward: Las Vegas, October 2017. The man
is not Crazy Horse or Leonard Peltier with a list of demands,
but a lone wolf on a losing streak in a hotel tower, raining down
bullets into twenty-thousand cowboys. A war rages in his head.
The blood congealing in an open field pools red.


The calendar flips backwards through years, tired epochs,
time’s grim course sweeping across Charleston and Antioch,
21st Century, past Memphis, April 1968, circling and spinning
back to Birmingham, September 1963, Indiana, 1930. A grinning
crowd gathers to pose for pictures around the mangled sun
hanging low from a tree. But the clock says it is Sunday in
America, November 2017, rural Texas: parishioners
in their sacred hour kneel to muzzle flashes and perish.
Supplication, execution: here is the church, here is the steeple;
open the doors and kill all the people.



Matt Hohner, a Baltimore native, holds an M.F.A. in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His work has been a finalist for the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, taken both third and first prizes in the Maryland Writers Association Poetry Prize, and won the 2016 Oberon Poetry Prize. Hohner’s work has been published individually in numerous journals, including Rattle: Poets Respond, Free State Review, and Crab Orchard Review. His book-length manuscript Thresholds will be published by Apprentice House Press in Fall 2018.


Eternal Clock photograph by Robert van der Steeg.