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.