Robert Forester: “Another Day”

Another Day

She’s breaking twigs.
Each snap grows softer,
echoes down a river to the sea.
“I’ll meet you there,” her eyes whisper.
And here comes tomorrow:
there is a sunrise,
a baby girl, a trip to Paris.
We are still in bed at noon,
hiding between hotel covers,
and waiting for the world to disappear.
We wake up to sunsets.
Matchstick piers.
We kiss—these dreams belong to her
and another day.



Robert Forester is an emerging poet who currently resides in Santa Cruz, CA. He attended Willamette University, where he studied Creative Writing and Philosophy. He currently teaches English in the heart of the Silicon Valley at Saint Francis High School. During his free time, he enjoys all things outdoors, from surfing to rock climbing.

Robert Wexelblatt: “A Mourning Dove, Mother’s Day in the Pandemic Year”

A Mourning Dove, Mother’s Day in the Pandemic Year

She’s already been there a week,
day and night, in high winds, hail,
snow.  Not one seed has passed her beak;
she’s that determined not to fail.
Her nest is crude, just twigs, no more,
heaped up between my gutter’s drain
and the end-board.  I saw it pour
down over her, the cold hard rain,
and watched the north wind ruffle
her feathers.  A red-tailed hawk
patrols above; she can’t shuffle
her feet, stretch her wings, squawk.
I’d like to help, to toss a crumb,
but afraid I’ll scare her off.  So, I
keep watch, once in a while drum
on the window, a feckless ally
drawing her black eye, give a wave,
beam an encouraging grin.
That hawk’s a worry; I want to save
her from the peril she’s in.
My sympathy’s useless. I can’t do
more than cheer her, witness her fate,
hope it warms, pray the sky stays blue
and watch the future incubate.
Locked down by life’s imperatives
—two eggs, one virus—we’re both stuck fast
in our respective narratives,
unsafe and silent and harassed.


Robert Wexelblatt is a professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published seven fiction collections; two books of essays; two short novels; two books of poems; stories, essays, and poems in a variety of journals, and a novel awarded the Indie Book Awards first prize for fiction.  

Joe Albanese: “Pieced Together”

Pieced Together

Born from the
after-light, examined by the
distant star.

Caressed and forgotten by
the once-winter nightfall.

Guard myself and tinker
with it until
jigsawed with a chainsaw.

I’ve been tampered with by
some unknown
god or wizard or
chance, spit up here
where gold
crackles piece me together.

I am holding. I am stronger
than before.


Joe Albanese is a writer from South Jersey. He has had short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry published across the United States and in ten other countries. Joe is the author of Smash and Grab, Caina, For the Blood is the Life, Benevolent King, Candy Apple Red, and a poetry collection, Cocktails with a Dead Man.

Sarah Butchin: “Self-Regarding”


He taught me how selfish I could be
Not because I wanted a lot 
But because I took it all
Betrayal is breathtaking done deliberately 
He didn’t make me worse
He showed me I was no better 
Did it with me, would do it to me
So do it, I’m done

Sarah Butchin writes, “I live in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I’m an MFA student, a wonderful mother to my five-year-old twins, a hard-working freelance writer, and a rather adequate wife. My debut novel In the Time of Towertown will be released through Black Rose Writing in mid-2020.” 

Ari Lohr: “Elegy (i.)”

Elegy (i.)

i’m told that if you
fold a piece of paper in half 42 times,

the result is long enough
to reach the moon. somewhere

you hover between 33 and 34 folds.
i pleat the first crease.

you enfold me in your arms
divided by the delicate murmur of

electricity and hushed breaths.
the city unfolds

from daylight to dusk.
a car whizzes by.

we never speak of this moment.
i seal the fourth crease.

we are engulfed by the gentle
hiss of the radiator,

the muted hum of the TV screen. you reach for the
power button. i grab your hand.

after seven creases
the paper is too thick to fold further.

i unravel it and see a boy tango
with the gravity between static and saltwater.

in the margins, i scribble your name
Luka. Luka. Luka.

the bridge unwinds into music
and then nothing. the car

whizzes by and the city unfolds
from gentle whispers to muted static

and you reach for the power button
but no one grabs your hand. if i were to

fold this into an airplane and
throw it off the Golden Gate,

i wonder how far it would fly.


Ari Lohr is a wannabe-astronaut-turned-poet living with his four cats in Portland, Oregon. He can be found on Instagram as @i.o.jupiter.

Scott Laudati: “Driving to Thom Young’s House”

Driving to Thom Young’s House

I heard there were no gun laws in Texas
so I rented a Taurus and drove
to Thom Young’s house,
running over prairie dogs and singing the new
Blake Shelton Christmas song.
And when I got there
I bought a rifle and some nightcrawlers
and we fished in a puddle behind the Allsup’s.
But the fish didn’t want any worms
and on the drive back
Thom said Led Zeppelin wouldn’t make it today.
And I remembered the music
and how it had lived in me once
and in my dreams
I can still hear my mother sing it like
she’s hanging over my crib.
And sometimes the college radio
comes in clear from Amarillo
and Thom finds an old box of tobacco
and we smoke like kings without a throne,
flicking ash at the coyotes circling the porch.
Once upon a time betting on
whether it would be them
or us
but we don’t play that game as much anymore.
And on cold Sundays after Christmas
we leave burritos outside for the dogs.



Scott Laudati‘s recent work has appeared in The Bitter Oleander and The Columbia Journal. He spends most of his time with a 14 y/o schnoodle named Dolly. Visit him on social media @ScottLaudati

Andrea Carter: “Stingrays”


Colorless as the water where they prey,
their venom lives long after myth.
This is one way our love can decay,
colorless as the water where we prey.
Odysseus’ son speared Odysseus that way.
A rich sting to rule beyond my death,
colorless as the water where I prey,
if venom is all I leave to spell our myth.


Andrea Carter grew up in Southern California. She teaches writing at Muir College at UC San Diego. Most recently, her poetry has appeared in Fourteen Hills and the San Diego Poetry Annual.

Francine Witte: Three Flash Fictions

No Good

_____She knows Morley is no good for her.  End of the world stuff.  His previous girls had 1) hung herself like a spring floral in her closet and 2) threw herself off the bridge bag of old laundry style.
_____But still there was the sex.  Oozy and tingly and down to her toes.  She would find herself thinking about it everywhere.  Oh yes, the way he bit her lip.  And yes, his calloused fingers.
_____One day, she is waiting for him to come by like he promised, and she gets a phone call from his wife.  She is whisper quick and tells her that Morley himself is dead. Another lovergirl shot him jealous through the head.  I am going through his cell phone, the wife says.  With you, I’m only halfway through.
_____She thinks of her place in the alphabet.  Mary.  M. That’s only halfway through as well.  She wonders about the X’s. There can’t possibly be an X.  So maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems.
_____She thanks the wife who, as it turns out, has already moved on to the next.


It’s not pretty

_____leaving a man you promised to marry.  Leaving him in the car as he drives you to your wedding.  Leaving him in the empty parking lot near the drugstore where you pulled in that first night to pick up emergency condoms.
_____It’s not pretty how that all means nothing now. How the guests are waiting. How the preacher is waiting, how the man you promised to marry is about to become a white oval face in your memory as you slip out of the car, out of your wedding dress and run in your underwear, into the drug store, into the backroom behind the pharmacy section, into the arms of Hector, the delivery guy, who was always smart enough to bring his own condoms those sweet achy nights behind the garage while the man you promised to marry slept right upstairs.
_____And it’s not pretty how when you do slip into Hector’s arms, and feel his warm breath on your neck, you smell the faint perfume that Lucinda the night cashier always wears.
_____And how you hold off his kiss just long enough to look out the window to watch as the man you promised to marry picks up your empty wedding dress, props it up sitting in the passenger seat and drives off to go home and wait for your call the way he has done a hundred times before.


On Second Thought

_____I decide to return her gift. It doesn’t come from an honest place. It doesn’t come from love.
_____The gift is a cashmere scarf. How very chain-y of her. If I keep it, I will have to promise to meet her for lunch.
_____If I keep it, she will be able to cut me into multiple me’s, like a cartoon dog. I would still me, but there would be 16 me’s, and smaller, much smaller. Each one smiling and inviting her to tea.
_____I know if I keep it, I will never be able to shake her upside down out of my life. She will  be a cereal box I keep putting back on the shelf because it’s not quite empty.
_____I know if I keep it, I will fall in love with the cool cashmereness of it, soft, like the way time softens a memory, how a friend stealing your man a time or two, can turn into a life lesson.
_____Like it was really a positive how she taught me how to watch for the want in other women’s eyes when I bring them around my man. Thank you, I might even learn to say to her. Over lunch. Over tea. As I sit there, my thumb stroking the lying pull of the cashmere. My other fingers frozen in disgust.



Francine Witte’s poetry and flash fiction have appeared in Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Lost Balloon, Stonecoast Review, Moon Candy Review, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed Wrong for All This (Flash), The Theory of Flesh (Poetry), and The Way of the Wind (novella.) She lives in NYC.