the collector of sighs
works in the dead of night
listens for bed spring serenades
the unzipping of zips
love me love me not
love me not
love me not
the daises are dead
the chain is unlocked
she falls from a great height
no safety net
onto a stretcher of the emergency services
who whisk her away to
the club of the betrayed
where dj sorrow spins cracked love songs
it’s never too late
she’s collapsed unconscious
drowned in her tears
her heart is broken
a thousand pieces
with no one around to help her
from the depths of darkness
there comes a hand
now she’s dancing with
Charlotte De’Ath was born in the east end of London but now lives in an idyllic cottage situated deep in the beautiful Suffolk countryside. She has published one chapbook, Kicks to Hypnotise Suburban Daughters, by Erbacce Press. She spends most of her free time playing with the Clueless Collective at: http://www.cluelesscollective.co.uk.
In your absolute
And the trust
While you lie
On an empty floor.
For her to speak.
Anne Mikusinski has been writing poetry and short stories since she was seven years old and most probably making them up long before she could hold a pen or pencil in her hand. She finds inspiration in music and art, and sometimes, even little things that happen every day. Her influences range from Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas to David Byrne and Nick Cave, and she hopes one day, her work will inspire others in the same way these writers have been an inspiration to her.
Elegy for Great-Grandma Fern
She tells me
———-that she is a mountain,
———-an institution in this family.
She has been here before this house existed,
———-before I was even a thought
———-in my parents’ brains.
———-that she is as old as old gets,
———-and she has seen as much as one can see.
She leans back
——————–and asks me
Isn’t that quite the accomplishment?
She slides into her brown stained recliner,
———-her elbows creaking as she pulls the lever,
——————–her pink welted skin squeaking on the dull leather,
——————————a short strand of gray hair drifting off her head.
My dad peeks his head in the room to make sure I’m okay.
———-Ben, she says, who is this?
——————–and she points a wrinkled finger at me.
———-That’s my daughter, Dad says.
——————–She doesn’t believe him.
———-No, she insists, your girls are just babies.
——————–Dad shakes his head
——————–and tries again.
———-They’ve grown up, Grandma. They’re older now.
——————–She shakes her head and stares at me
——————————as if not completely sure I’m real.
———-Ben, she says,
I can’t remember them growing up.
She is a mountain
and when I find out she has died
———-I ask myself
——————–if mountains can ever really die.
———-I ask myself
——————–if they can remember
——————————the curve of their children’s faces
——————————or the laugh of their first grandchild.
———-I ask myself
——————–if they can remember
Abigail Coulter is a student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and is involved with the writing community in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the recipient of the third-place fiction award from the Young Authors Writing Competition at Columbia College Chicago and has been published in the literary magazine Cadence.
Suddenly everything went silent.
No birds, no people talking, no rustle of trees.
Traffic had no sound.
I remember going to CVS
and paying for cigarettes with a check.
The clerk never uttered a word.
I was biding my time before packing my bags
and waiting for my father to pick me up.
But everything was in slow motion
like a kabuki dance.
Time stopped like a clock with no hands.
And on TV the president was giving
a speech in sign language.
I went to the bank where I withdrew cash
and no one noticed my hands shaking.
But everything was quiet so I didn’t care.
And I was alone on the street with many people
who were like extras in a film.
Was this what it was like to be deaf?
Or had the world stopped answering my questions?
I packed my bags and my father took me to the hospital
where they checked me in and went through my things for razor blades.
Marjorie Sadin has poems in The Barefoot Review, Microw, Emerge, The Little Magazine, Jewish Women’s Literary Journal, Tower Journal, among many others, and five books of poetry in print. Her new Vision of Lucha book portrays struggle and survival, love, death, and family. It was published by Goldfish Press. Recently she published a chapbook, Struck by Love, also by Goldfish Press. Marjorie lives and reads her poetry in the Washington DC area.
Time Is Running Out
And once again the water leaves the shore, fading away to the horizon. The shore extends itself into wet flats, miles of rippled mud draped with long strips of sky. These turn back to water, gray like the mud but lit from within, when the wind blows in from beyond the distant waves.
———-Small boats settle and sprawl on their sides, abandoned by the water that lent them grace.
———-We sit on the birdlime-spattered rocks, in the gray wind, and watch the water leaving. We say nothing, each thinking, There it goes. The water rushes outward, toward the edges of the earth. The gray sky lowers; sheets of it lie on the mud and turn to water when harried by the wind.
———-Time is running out. We see it, we know it. Give me your hand.
Doc Barfield’s Dreams
———-As a younger man, dreaming, Doc Barfield relived incessantly the morning his two boys drowned. He’d smell the bacon and eggs as he stirred them in the skillet, admire the first salmon-colored streaks on the horizon as he walked with the boys to the dock. He’d shake their hands—very manly—and make them promise to wear their life vests. Tell them to bring back a stringer of bream so he could fry them up for lunch. Realize his life was over the moment the sheriff tapped on his door. . . .
———-But in his later dreams, Doc Barfield’s boys remain undrowned. He has lunched with them on the bream they’d have brought back if their canoe hadn’t capsized, attended ball games, graduations. He’s bailed the younger, Toby, out of jail, and discovered with the elder, Frank, that he is gay. The boys he dreams are all grown up now, out living on their own. This is a source of comfort to Doc Barfield, whose cancer is quite advanced, and who can’t say what will happen to his dreams once he is gone.
English Professor (Huntingdon College) and Fiction Editor (THAT Literary Review), Jim Hilgartner has published in journals including Apocryphal Text, The Chapbook, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, New Orleans Review, Red Mountain Review, SLAB, and Vermont Literary Review, and twice received Fellowships in Literature from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
Spell for Blue Sky on the First Day of Spring
Raven, cross the wind.
Curly willow, clothe your coils
———-in catkins colored yellow.
Crocus, call the sun and drink it down!
Ancient pages of paper birch,
Tara Shepersky is a taxonomist, poet, essayist, and landscape enthusiast, with tangled roots in half a dozen soils of America’s West. She has been previously published by Cascadia Rising Review and The Yearbook Office, and as a guest contributor on the Columbia Land Trust blog. Find her on Twitter @pdxpersky.
Stagecraft At The Temple
Our guru cyclones in –
Pantomime dame falsies,
Snazzy banana ear-rings.
We’re alert or lie-abed,
By calibre, disembarrassed souls.
Headway is fundamentally a pose.
Money Pouch Banter
Our guru clucks
To his market-stall Rolex.
Flashbacks are virulences
That dodge time-bending.
Shuffle themselves to omnipotence,
For dewy lives.
Dropping Through Cracks
Our guru live wires
That rat-shaped bulb,
Frazzling celestial dodgems.
Proceedings are whip-handed.
Jam sesh: The Grateful Dead v Us.
Orphaned by destination,
Sunup is ticketless.
Turmeric holdovers on Miss Piggy t-shirt.
Fresh rap about every simper’s alpha –
Our guru’s on dictum.
We yum with postures of schisms;
Tomorrow we’ll be hustled for moolah.
A 3-splits mirror,
Furfur is this turnout’s replica.
Unclasping ingrates purse,
The secret heart, libido. In memory,
Our guru dunked at hallowing waters.
Though time herself mislays the pure.
Christopher Barnes is an artist, filmmaker, poet, and poetry and art critic (Poetry Scotland, Jacket Magazine, Peel Magazine, Combustus); is a co-editor of the poetry magazine Interpoetry; and is author of the collection Lovebites (Chanticleer Press, 2005). Christopher’s BBC webpage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml
I found you under Mylar
pinned to foamcore.
I found you while Santana’s “Smooth” streamed commercial free.
I found you
in the front seat of a Lexus
(I am not a car man, therefore cannot provide the model).
I found you behind the story of your daughter’s birthday.
I found you
I found, once more, a starving liar,
imprinting on the first vibration to emerge from crusty corners of childhood attic.
I found you, sweating, heaving slowly, atop slick dampened linen
while the shower (one of two) ran
in the other room. I
found you in a stray graze of paw,
I found you in eye contact connected by
I found you in the wakeful, separate rising moments of solitary weekends.
I found you fettered to black hens in western golf course.
I found you in moments,
in inches, between unkempt eyebrows.
I found you in recreational drug use references which you never included
myself. I found you
where I left you:
at the end of a nylon line,
salty and twitching.
I found your comparison of my physique to Hollywoodland tinsel flattering.
I thought myself leading you,
but motion is relative
on point A location in relation to solar positions, point B placement to personality phases.
A slave to the praises I
found me in you: desperate for unquenchable, untethered human impulse.
I am the one leaving
heel marks in mud, ruts downhill.
You found me, looking up, imposing arbitrary restriction.
Raise anticipations as dried floor wax after juice-pressed evenings.
“You are a better kisser.”
“Because I meant it.”
Dave McGovern is a Chicago writer, carpet historian, food documentarian, relisher of one note jokes. His work focuses on urban living, agoraphobic wanderlust, and utilitarian emotion.
Here in the twilight of an autumn day
a breeze had once foretold the coming
of a teacher who walked the wood
and bathed in the bright winding stream.
Throbbing light marked his arrival
and antlered shadows his wild retinue
as they fled down the forest path
trailing an echo of feral laughter.
Decades on I stand in that place
where the stream still flows nearby.
A gentle breeze stirs the autumn leaves
but no whispers tell of his coming.
No lights dance and no echoes sound.
A few deer browse the meadow quietly.
I’m back from years in a wider world
where there are no such wild parades.
Sadly it’s only on memory’s edge
that I glimpse them in my twilight time.
Tony Gorry‘s essays, memoir, and poetry have appeared in The Big Windows Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Chronicle Review, The Examined Life Journal, The New Atlantis, The Fiddleback, Cleaver Magazine, and Belle Rêve Literary Journal. His essay in War, Literature and the Arts was cited as Notable in 100 Best American Essays 2012. His book, Memory’s Encouragement, was published by Paul Dry Books in April 2017.