Lasagna With the Professor by Kirby Wright

Kirby Wright Va State Park Staff

We rock twin rockers out on the porch.
The gray wind fills with rain.

“Hail predicted,” you mutter.
You have lost at lust again,

This time with a junior in college
The age of your daughter.

You fake youth with a tan
And camouflaged hair.

“Nature calls,” you announce, springing up.
You fantasize our childhood

Fingering blossoms
Of an African violet

While stuck to the toilet.
Your Birkenstocks smell.

I ask you to dinner.
You nod. The spark leaves your eyes

Converting me from crush to old maid.
After minestrone soup

I serve hot lasagna with wine.
You gulp merlot and noodles.

I gulp too, killing that first bottle
And scraping foil off the second.

Purple-blue veins feed
Your muscles and brain.

The promised hail comes,
A riot on my roof.

 

 

Kirby Wright won the 2018 Redwood Empire Mensa Award for Creative Nonfiction. He’s working on a collection of poems tentatively titled Lasagna With the Professor.

Daily Walk by Robert Knox

Daily Walk Robert Knox Albert Herring

Sibling trees,
rattling tongues
in the leaf-blown breeze
Even in the homey, civilized month of June
the rougher tongue of otherness
speaks in a scrap of woodland
beside the place where the Civil War sailors
came to die
just out of hearing
of the restless city

All their branches
speaking wind

Robert Knox is a Boston Globe correspondent, a poet, fiction writer, and the author of a recently published novel based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case, Suosso’s Lane. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in other journals such as Every Day Poet, Off The Coast, Houseboat, and Yellow Chair Review. His poetry chapbook Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty was published in May 2017. The chapbook Cocktails in the Wild followed this spring.

The Beautiful Suffering by Margarita Serafimova

39521963_2222656797975321_8107586554655932416_n

Shining are the hundreds of thousands of fish
in a sea prison, shining as one.
Deep suns.

The Beautiful Suffering Margarita Moofushi Kandu, Maldives, fish by Bruno de Giusti

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017 and Summer Literary Seminars 2018 Poetry Contest, and long-listed for the Erbacce Press Poetry Prize 2018. Margarita has three collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip New Poetry, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, The Journal, A-Minor, Waxwing, Nixes Mate Review, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, The Writing Disorder, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Chronogram, Noble/ Gas Quarterly, Origins Journal, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, TAYO, Shot Glass Journal, Opiate, Poetic Diversity, Novelty Magazine, Pure Slush, Harbinger Asylum, Punch, Tuck, Ginosko, etc. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.

 

Ocean fish in Moofushi Kandu, Maldives photograph by Bruno de Giusti.

#Mountains: Mount Hood by Kenneth Pobo

Kenneth Pobo Mount_Hood_from_Bald_Mountain_flickr_Thomas_Shahan

Sunlight and clouds, the plane hits
a stone of turbulence. I almost bump

my head on a storage bin. Through
the window, a dark shape.

What’s that? I ask a woman
squeezed in that awful middle seat.

The pilot announces Mount Hood—
as we near Portland, the mountain

is an eye that stays open
long after we pass.

 

First published in Save My Place, Finishing Line Press.

 

 

Kenneth Pobo has a new book of prose poems forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House called The Antlantis Hit Parade. His forthcoming chapbook of haiku and tanka will appear from Yavanika Press. It’s called Threads.

 

Photograph of Mount Hood by Thomas Shahan.

Poem For Kate In Chemo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

various-stages-of-not-responding

Above where your right breast used to be
the oncologist implanted a port to make things easier.
“It takes forever,” you say. “An hour’s drive, each
way, an entire day used up, laying
there.”

But first, the tourniquet, tied to your upper arm,
the cheery nurse, tapping for a working vein,
your thick blood at last flooding into one syringe
after another. Then the weigh-in, each time
less. “Bone and skin now,” you say.

If your numbers are good, you head
to the chemo room, rows of cushy
recliners, supplicants tethered to plastic bags
held high by IV poles, a forest of metal trees.

You unbutton your blouse, offer up the convenient
port to a flush of saline – like ocean, you tell me,
like waves.

Next, the chemicals, those shimmering droplets
riding the plastic tube into your chest,

a kind red blanket, thrown
over your legs.

I tear the best New Yorker short stories
from the magazine and mail them
to you in Port Townsend.
Something to pass the time. Something non-
medical to discuss when we chat each week.

We both know you’re dying, though your
husband still has faith, and you cling to his
hope, coming back week after week because
it makes his life bearable.

When the chemo bags are empty,
and the stories read, you leave the pages behind
for a needful stranger.
In 2000, when you lost your breast,
your husband insisted you have
chemo then, too.
“It makes me feel more dead than alive,”
you confessed to me after the first week.

Appointment days, you’d leave the house,
drive to the woods, walk the trails
instead of treatment, those
huge redwood trees shading your path.

Each evening you’d return to your
husband’s innocent embrace.

You made me promise not to tell.
And I never did, until now.

 

For Kate O’Donnell, (1949-2014)

 

First published in the Nashville Review.

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems,(2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Art by Brooke Warren.

Napkin Poem #3 by Margot DeSalvo

Margot DeSalvo

In a world of Johnny
Rockets and breakfast
buffets
I stand along
the diamond
lined boardwalk
with seagull shit
and fried dough
serving as a
perimeter between
the person I want
to sound like and
the censorship I
succumb to.

 

 

Margot DeSalvo is just another person in this world seeking stability, simplicity, and coffee. Her writing has been picked up by Sunflower SultrasGhost City Review, KYSO Flash, Nothing Substantial, Sonic Boom, Clarendon House Publications, The Pangolin Review, Whale Road Review, Streetlight Press, Dying Dahlia, Flatbush Review, and Teaching English in the Two-Year College.

Three Summer Cherita by Peter Jastermsky

romanchildrenplay marble Marie-Lan Nguyen

racing outside
the children’s food
left on the table

with the lecture
about hunger

in faraway places

**

lifting a brick

the pocket
of hidden coolness

a brief respite
for the hand
this summer day

**

garden vegetables
the children picked

into the pressure cooker
letting it go
the wish

for a dinner
like the neighbors

 

 

Peter Jastermsky writes Japanese short-form works. His writing has appeared in many journals, including Failed Haiku, Haibun Today, The Cherita, and KYSO Flash. Born in Connecticut, Peter and his family live in Southern California, where he works as a licensed counselor.

 

Photograph of marble Roman artwork by Marie-Lan Nguyen.