Stacey Z Lawrence: “Spared”

Spared

Flat on my back
I taste your breath
and track
your blades
hover for hours
I will not sleep
despite good weed.

The doctor warned my
nips might tingle, so
I pull the duvet
tight and swaddle
myself, like you did
when you were alive,
to our baby girl.

Under the covers
I use my finger,
hips
lips
clit

nips
pink and hard,

still mine.

 

Stacey Z Lawrence teaches Poetry and Creative Writing in a public high school in Northern, NJ. She is working on her first book of confessional poems, which explores the untimely death of her husband shortly followed by her bout with Breast Cancer.

Lily Tierney: “Stars”

Stars 

A burning passion roaming the night’s sky
placing me in between heaven and earth.

Dare I ask for more among the silent twinkles,
or is it enough to know they are there?

Stars, collect all of my feelings that you
give so freely to the night, and my eyes are
closed to the journey of trust ahead.

 

Lily Tierney‘s work has appeared in Illumen Magazine, Selfhood: Varieties of Experience/Transcendent Zero Press, Polu Texni, The Stray Branch, Harbinger Asylum, and Jellyfish Whispers. She enjoys writing short stories and poetry.

David Anthony Sam: “The Orphan”

The Orphan

The unweighted half
of a seesaw
balances skyward–

I have fallen
with stinging thud
in my alone–

the whole sky
fills
with vacant blue–

 

Born in Pennsylvania, David Anthony Sam is the proud grandson of peasant immigrants from Poland and Syria. For most of his life, he lived and worked in the Detroit area, graduating from Eastern Michigan University (BA, MA) and Michigan State (Ph.D.). He lives now in Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda. Sam’s poetry has appeared in over 80 journals and publications and he has five published collections including Final Inventory, published by Prolific Press in October 2018. Sam’s chapbook Finite to Fail: Poems after Dickinson was the 2016 Grand Prize winner of GFT Press Chapbook Contest. He currently teaches creative writing at Germanna Community College, where he retired as President in 2017. He serves on the Board of the Virginia Poetry Society.

Kyle Heger: “Predecessor”

Predecessor

He walks several paces ahead of me,
forever saying what I want to say,
doing what I want to do: polite,
patient, adroit, proceeding in a state
of grace. And, because I can never
get close enough to throttle him, throw
him down on his damned red carpet
and trample on his twisted form, I try
instead, with varying levels of failure,
to content myself with tolerating him.
I shudder to think how he feels about me.

 

Kyle Heger, former managing editor of Communication World magazine, lives in Albany, CA. His writing has won a number of awards and has appeared in 58 publications, including London Journal of Fiction, Nerve Cowboy, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. He attended Washtenaw Community College in the 1970s.

Judson Simmons: “Everything Becomes Silence”

Everything Becomes Silence

I am hopeless to the night,
praying for the silent,
yet drawn to its collection of noises.

———————————–Haunted
by the fingers of arthritic trees
scraping across my window screen,
forewarning:
———————————It may be our time.

Alleycats find refuge
in the weeded growth beneath my sill—
their feral chants claw their way up
a creaking fire escape
———————————-towards a crescent-scarred sky.

I can almost hear,
hidden between the timbre of raindrops,
worms crawling from the earth,
left to flop hopelessly
upon the cement—a rudimentary dance
to a moon that will not reply.

Slowly these sounds are buried
in the dirt of the sky. I surrender my eyes,
and everything
———————————becomes silence.

 

Judson Simmons earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and holds a BA in English from the University of Houston. He currently resides in Brooklyn, and works at NYU. His poems have appeared in various journals, and his chapbook, The Hallelujah Hour, was published by Amsterdam Press.

Michael H. Brownstein: “After the Night Ended”

After the Night Ended

A tide of weather and early hair
Morning splinters into shoal reefs
We waken to graves
Mountainous islands windowed in purple blue mist
A hoarse seal cackling near a large piece of driftwood
Awe is the loudest silence
Let’s go home, get a good grasp of water,
And then head out to the factory of souls

 

Michael H. Brownstein‘s work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, The Big Windows Review, poetrysuperhighway.com, and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and The Possibility of Sky and Hell (White Knuckle Press, 2013). His book, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else: A Poet’s Journey To The Borderlands Of Dementia, was recently published by Cholla Needles Press. (2018).

Eric Chiles: “Empty head”

Empty head

Pity the empty head,
not one idea bouncing
around inside.

All still and dark
like a cloudy night,

no bats or owls
hovering on wind
that’s not there.

No sweet dreams
to remember

when the sun smiles
on the horizon
and whispers,
Wake up.

 

After a career in print journalism, Eric Chiles teaches writing and journalism at a number of colleges in eastern Pennsylvania. His poetry appears in Allegro, Chiron Review, Gravel, Plainsongs, Rattle, San Pedro River Review, Tar River Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Caught in between, is forthcoming from Desert Willow Press.