Ariel Berry: “Memory, and All the Ways We Torture Ourselves”

Memory, and All the Ways We Torture Ourselves

I remember my mother’s soft hands and the way I wrote about them once, unkindly, because I was angry and afraid and the English teacher told me, this seems rather harsh, and I pricked behind my eyes because I knew she was right, and I remember the way those hands comforted me when I was six, and sick, and unable to keep warm in my shuddering fever chills; she piled blanket upon blanket on my small limp body but still I shivered for more, and when I was finally well I went to a friend’s house to attend a party and as a joke all the children hid from me and I could hear their giggles as I stumbled dimly in the dark, crying out in my shame, and when I grew older I saw those girls on social media with children of their own, and I accepted their friend requests wondering if their own little girls treat other little girls that way, wondering if they remember laughing and want to apologize, or likely have forgotten; I remember laughing at a little girl when I, too, was small, because she had said something silly but meant it in earnest, and the whole room laughed at her and I laughed along too, even though her red face was the least funny thing I could have imagined; I laughed the loudest—I still think about her, that little girl, what became of her, if she stalks me on social media and wonders if I remember humiliating her; I do, I’m so sorry; I wonder if she grew into a teenager who once drank in her parents’ basement when no one was home because she knew she could get away with it, oh wait, that was me, and I vomited the vodka and was still vomiting when my parents got home and I lied and told them I had the flu, and my mother’s soft hands, they held my hair back while I puked, and I never told her I was lying, never told her so many things, never told her about her soft hands and how my teacher said, think kindly of your mother because one day you’ll never get her back, and she was right, and now I hold my own infant daughter in my arms and her hands reach toward my eyes and I tell her, I hope you never remember; I hope you forget and forget and forget.

Ariel Berry has a Ph.D. in creative writing from Western Michigan University. Her work has appeared in filling StationHOOT ReviewNight Picnic, Flash Fiction MagazineAmerican Short Fiction100 Word Story, Gone Lawn, and Southword. She lives in Albion, Michigan, where she surrounds herself with books and animals.

Thomas Piekarski: “Tantric Chant”

Tantric Chant

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry has appeared in such publications as Taj Mahal Review, Poetry Quarterly, Literature Today, Poetry Salzburg, South African Literary Journal, Modern Literature, and others. His books of poetry are Ballad of Billy the Kid, Monterey Bay Adventures, Mercurial World, and Aurora California.

Johanna DeMay: “Reasonable Doubt”

Reasonable Doubt

I don’t trust Big Pharma, Margaret frets,
but Mexican folk remedies? Mushrooms?

Herbal teas, lime juice, turpentine?
Aren’t curanderos just faith healers?

Tepotzláns ancient shaman, Don Pedro,
blended Náhuatl with Spanish—duet 

of reed flute and Flamenco guitar. He patched
my bloody finger with warm belly fat

from a tlacuache—Mexicos beloved marsupial.
Tore a strip from my yellow silk scarf

to wrap his handiwork, warned me
not to wash my hand. I had nightmares—

infection, amputation—yet my wounded hand
felt cool, no longer throbbed. 

A week later he removed the bandage—
no lump of putrid fat, just a pale ridge

of ropy skin. ¡Perfecto! A perfect graft.
After fifty years, even the scar has disappeared.

Faith healers? Auras? New Age crystals?
¿Quién sabe? But curanderos…

I’d almost forgotten my tlacuache transplant.

Growing up in Mexico City, Johanna DeMay began writing to bridge the gap between her two languages, two cultures. Now retired, she writes and volunteers with the immigrant community. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals. “Waypoints,” a collection of her poems, will be released by Finishing Line Press in 2022.

Jakima Davis: “Lake By the Ocean”

Lake By the Ocean 

Step right up to the microphone
Lines written in broken English
Young Shakespeare on the mic
Or maybe a young Dylan Thomas 

Step right up to the microphone
Cakewalking babies on the keys
Ringing the jangle sounds
Maybe find the next Bob Dylan 

Step right up to the microphone
Visit the lake by the ocean
Spit the alternative soul poetry
Spread it with some blues hop

Jakima Davis writes, “I’ve been writing for almost 22 years. I’ve been published in underground publications. I’ve published three chapbooks. One in 2016, and two in early 2021. I’m expecting my full book published soon  This is my third appearance in The Big Windows Review.”

Christopher Hadin: “Alternative Energy Wishes for My Brother”

Alternative Energy Wishes for My Brother

“I am ok. Work is kicking my ass.
Sometimes I wish I did something
else like install wind turbines or something.”

I also wish you
installed wind turbines.
Or mini hydroelectrics
on downspouts
of the lonely.
So when it rains
a mechanical arm
hits a gong every 30 seconds.
The gong is tuned
to the frequency of the human heart.
Or solar panels
on people’s eyelids so to
power their phones
they must sit
perfectly still
eyes closed
thus creating an
inner dialogue
rendering a cell phone obsolete.
Or biothermal
exchange generators on
the thumbs
of a polydactoid cat
rigged to a tiny projector that
shows kaleidoscopic lights
on the ceiling
when one strokes its ears and it purrs.
Or a pressure differential converter
built into the floor of
the room
of a disabled child
so when she
rises from her wheelchair
and takes
a single step
messages flash out
all over the world
celebrating the sacred dignity
of small things.

Christopher Hadin is a writer, naturalist, and environmental educator. His work has appeared in Sky Island Journal, The Thieving Magpie, Better Than Starbucks, October Hill Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, The Headlight Review. and Loud Coffee Press. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan.

Russell Rowland: “Rain at Night”

Rain at Night

Rain insists all evening. We shelter in place,
not thinking about the homeless. Love may conceive
upstairs, in isolation from the elements.

A boy’s night is long under canvas, him alone.
Rain fingers’ patter cannot reach his face; they seem
feminine, like Sirens tapping Ulysses’ prow.

Or he lies on a bunk in the cottage Dad helped build;
listens to rain on shingles just overhead.
A book of poetry, from the shelf containing all

the Reader’s Digest Condensations, has The Eve
of St. Agnes: “Her rich attire creeps rustling
to her knees.” In the rain he can hear it, as he waits

for parents to go out for the evening. He will drift
asleep afterward, rain on the window like pearls
she removed, warm from her bosom, in Keats’ poem.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Publications), and “Covid Spring, Vol. 2” (Hobblebush Books). His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.

Roger Singer: “Abstract Gallery”

Abstract Gallery

doorway watchers
he said, she knows
nobody knows
creative oblique
voices on the piano
a jump of junk
barbed wire love
piercing affections
shadows on doors
painted hands
abandoned shoes
canvas footsteps
still framed colors
blocks of people
crashing oceans
windows weeping
wounded clouds
star blessings
mirrors of self
burning candles
heaven without hell

life is a cartoon
between comic books

Dr. Roger Singer is the Poet Laureate of Old Lyme, Connecticut. He has had over 1,150 poems published on the internet, magazines, and in books and is a 2017 Pushcart Prize Award Nominee. He is also the President of the Shoreline Chapter of the Connecticut Poetry Society. Some of the magazines that have accepted his poems for publication are:  Westward Quarterly, Jerry JazzSP QuillAvocetUnderground VoicesOutlaw PoetryLiterary FeverDance of my HandsLanguage & CultureAdelaide Literary MagazineThe Stray BranchToasted CheeseTipton Poetry Journal, Ambassador Poetry Award Massachusetts State Poetry Society, Louisiana State Poetry Society Award 2019, Arizona State Poetry Society Award 2020, and Mad Swirl Anthology 2018 and 2019.

Frederico Voroniuk Manica: “Flooded”


Cotton pressing against cotton
Blue rivers sinking into silk
The materialistic urge for more than
existence, to feel
cotton sheets embodied by
water (detached elemental
motion, raw mass
seamlessly moist). White absorbing
mud, seedless — light brown,
brown, dark — cotton. In
my insides, a dirty mind. What does
that make me? 

Frederico Voroniuk Manica is a young aspiring writer that is fascinated by abstract and symbolic poetry. They have recently participated in the Poetize 2022 contest. 

Carol Hamilton: “A Normal Day”

A Normal Day

is ever poised on a fine-stropped edge
we cross barefoot but never know it
until we teeter.
Yeats saw a metal ball balanced
on a small fountain jet
in a shop window, remembered
it when troops blasted
two ancient bridges near his Tower.
Not knowing what aerialists
we were born to be
until the swaying begins,
we are blithe
in our daily centrifugal dance,
never look down.

Carol Hamilton taught  2nd grade through graduate school in Connecticut, Indiana, and Oklahoma, was a medical translator and storyteller. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has published and received various awards for 19 books and chapbooks of poetry, children’s novels, and legends and has been nominated ten times for a Pushcart Prize.