William Doreski: Two Poems

Down the Mississippi

Rafting down the Mississippi,
we’re simple enough to enjoy
starlight flexing in the current
and the grimace of sunlit bluffs.
We hope we achieve New Orleans
without tripping over a snag
or grinding up on a sandbar.

We aren’t like Huck and Jim evading
the clutch of civilization.
We aren’t like the bargemen 
toting grain, cotton, soybeans,
sand, fertilizer, coal, and gravel
from this desolation to that.
We’re more like retired couples

enjoying cruises with mobs
of bridge and bocci players.
We lack the mobs, of course,
but we can mock the expressions
of the white-haired people in ads.
The river carries so much silt
we’re surprised there’s farmland left

to farm. Villages above
the high-water mark regard us
with disdain. Villages below
annual flood level look desperate.
We drift without steering, trusting
the muscular flow to shape us
to its will. The days and nights

peel like old wallpaper, exposing
landscapes too plain to inspire.
We’ll arrive somewhere, but how
to distinguish it from nowhere?
The river groans with old age
but never loses its focus,
every drop of water employed.

Some Local Archeology

In the ruins of the high school
I find, among shards and cinders,
bits of human bone. They glow
like opals, intelligent even
in their fragmentary state.
You with your metal detector
scout for coins and other trash,
your grimace focused so firmly
I wouldn’t dream of disturbing you.
I’m going to collect all the bone
to calculate the mass of life
lost when the old structure burned,
twenty years before I was born.
No one bothered to bulldoze the site.
No one cares that the town no longer
sends its adolescents to school.
For many years they’ve stayed home,
birthing from the age of thirteen,
shipping half their human crop
every year to state institutions.
The bone-bits are so weathered 
they’re almost wholly mineral,
fossilized scraps of people
we might have attempted to love,
or at least tolerate. Ivy,
that ironic vine, shrouds the walls
with their gaping window holes
framing views of violet hills.
The blocks of reddish sandstone
retain a certain integrity,
the material itself much older
than the ruins of Athens or Rome.
You find an Indian head penny
and a liberty dime. Let’s quit
for now. You can buy us lunch,
and I’ll show you the bones I’ve found
and maybe you can name them.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

Kristy Snedden: “Fog Forecast”

Fog Forecast

After his accident
fog entered our home.
It lifted on my way

to the gym or the office
each morning
when the sun finally

sailed high enough
to unfurl my thoughts,
to remember my best friend

said to call her today or
wonder if the landlord fixed
the plumbing. I forget

the fog is at home.
Last night he greeted me
in the carport

to tell me he took
the dog’s medicine.
He said it with a little

chuckle. Then we rested
in our chairs. The sun gave
her last glint as she slid behind

the mountain and the dark inched
through our house until, finally,
the fog covered me too.

Kristy Snedden has been a trauma psychotherapist for thirty-plus years. She began writing poetry in June 2020 as a path to healing when the pandemic magnified the stress experienced by trauma therapists. Her work appears or is forthcoming in various journals, most recently Snapdragon and Power of the Pause Anthology. She is a student at the Writer’s Studio.

John Dorroh: “Old Towns”

Old Towns

I want an old town like dusted biscuits
in my mother’s kitchen, forget the stretched
chrome-and-glass behemoths, all the new shapes
that young architects sketched in their heads
in their own mother’s kitchens. I want the town
to lie down on top of me and make me earn
my breath. The breakfast diner with pancakes
as large as steering wheels, link sausages, 
eggs sunny-side-up with bottomless cups
of coffee. The family-owned jewelry store 
with shimmering trinkets hung onto tiny limbs 
of fake trees, luring customers into their dens.
The hardware store with the husky mascot, standing
on the edge of a cliff, howling at a white crescent 
moon. I want the wolf in my bed. I will rest
on the sofa and give her a good night’s sleep.
I want an old town with postal workers who
know my name and wear light blue shirts
the same color as my mother’s eyes. The candy
store with homemade fudge two inches thick
and salt water taffy made at the beach down
the road. I want an old town with copper roofs
gone green and the sound of mourning doves 
cooing as the sun slides up over the ridge
of ancient oak and maple trees. I don’t want
to grow up in faux this and faux that
and have a soul buried under the concrete 
that I have to dig out, that I have to fight for
when they unpackage another Chipotle,
clearing my grandmother’s property 
for yet one more place to bury my town.


John Dorroh has never fallen into an active volcano or caught a hummingbird. He has, however, baked bread with Austrian monks and consumed a healthy portion of their beer. His poetry has appeared in over 125 journals. Two of them were nominated for Best of the Net. His first chapbook was published in 2022. 

John Grey: “Birthmark”


You say that, at your birth,
the midwife, in the midst of celebration,
spilled wine down the right side of your face.
It was a fine claret, you add.
The stain never did come out.

Another time, you tell me that,
being two-faced physically,
you’ve done your best
to make sure that your nature doesn’t follow.
You’ve always been honest with me.
Everyone else I know says the same.
Your resoluteness is working.

Meeting new people,
you don’t pretend the birthmark isn’t there.
There’s no attempt to hide it
with a string of hair.
It’s as much a part of you
as your bad jokes.
People laugh at them.
You laugh at your own uniqueness.

Your wife says that patch of purple
is what first attracted her to you.
She hasn’t seen it since.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review, and Hollins Critic. Latest books–Covert, Memory Outside The Head, and Guest Of Myself–are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline, and International Poetry Review.

Daniel Webre: “Man in a Green Bubble”

Man in a Green Bubble 

_____The man near eighty resumes his stooped walk from front porch to mailbox. It is posted near a busy road cut through the concrete of strip malls. I’m in one of the cars zipping past his tiny bubble of green trees not yet pierced by the ambitions of developers.

_____I don’t see much but the flash of his life breaking up the Sonic on one side and maybe a dry cleaner on the other, his leftover world no more than an acre tucked between.

_____I tried counting the cars in his driveway—I think there were two. But that doesn’t mean anything. He could have lived alone—maybe never left—the cars mere reminders of a wife and family and motives that took him elsewhere.

_____I remember he wore heavy black-frame glasses and grim determination. Though I wondered if he’d made peace with circumstance and trained his eyes to see only what fit well within those frames.

_____All this in a passing instant. There were Walmarts and McDonalds enough, further along the road, to make me forget that man and his long walk across a bubble, had I not stopped to write them down.

Daniel Webre received an MFA in fiction from McNeese State University and a PhD in English with creative writing concentration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in PinyonCottonwoodPaterson Literary ReviewWayne Literary ReviewThe MacGuffin, and elsewhere.

Yash Seyedbagheri: “Weekend at Volodya’s”

Weekend at Volodya’s

comrade, you drag up a body
long festering among the maggots
a man who created empires
who expanded a map
and purged the soils of sedition
while giving your country’s name
a bearlike ferocity

you pull arms right and left
look, he’s waving
while you assault another wall
another cathedral
and order a dead child for breakfast
in a pesky hospital

just keep dragging that body around
look he’s waving
this is truth
and soon you will drink vodka and eat caviar
in the rubble of another house
and in a palace that once waltzed with privilege
now prop him up just a tad more

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA fiction program. His work  has been published in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others. 

Kenneth Pobo: “Reclining Nude (Fernande)”

Reclining Nude (Fernande)

_____Gouache on paper, Picasso

The book of clouds opens
to page infinity, has no covers,
no authors.  No one can claim
ownership.  No wonder it stays
open.  Every turned page
brings rain somewhere.   I read
while reclining nude.  My chum
Fernande lies on the ground,
head on a pillow.  She too is
a cloud, good at dispersing.
I might get dressed.  It’s late.
Ground calls me.  Fernande
and I will have dinner, moon
ladles pouring steamy soup
in our bowls.

Kenneth Pobo (he/him) is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections. Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Lilac And Sawdust (Meadowlark Press). His work has appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Asheville Literary Review, Nimrod, Washington Square Review, Mudfish, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

Lara Dolphin: “Secret Song”

Secret Song  

When Dolly started out
There was Bill Earl Owens
With his signature Gretsch
Standing beside her
While she sang
A voice small as a country cabin
Grand as the Smoky Mountains
When she started writing
Nashville took notice
And made her a star 
Both astral and human
A sequined jewel among 
Staid country crooners
But there is a deeper truth
Kept from the public
Locked in a box 
In the heart of Appalachia
A box made from chestnut
Uncle Bill’s favorite 
That at its finest 
Offered shade
Strong lumber
And bounteous food  
How fitting that now it stores
Year after year
The unsung lyrics
The unstrummed melody
That will be the Queen of Country’s
Parting gift to future generations
What music lies within
We can only imagine
Perhaps it will speak of a world
Where we fall in a heap 
At the feet of majestic trees
Worshiping God’s sacred creation
Perhaps it will sing the music of Paradise 
A hymn to second chances


A native of Pennsylvania, Lara Dolphin is an attorney, nurse, wife, and mom of four amazing kids. She frequently wonders where the time has gone. Her poems are widely published in print and online. Her first chapbook, In Search Of The Wondrous Whole, was published by Alien Buddha Press. Her most recent chapbook, Chronicle Of Lost Moments, is available from Dancing Girl Press. 

Roger Singer: “Empty Streets”

Empty Streets

I hear hounds
and windmills
slowly grinding
bitter rust

a porch light flickers,
as moths circle
above dusty chairs

there’s an
upstairs light,
someone passes by,
casting a shadow

steel wheels of
promise safety
and a soft
wooden floor
to the next place

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.

Paul Ilechko: “Aubade”


Poet and songwriter Paul Ilechko lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. He is the author of several chapbooks. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Feral Journal, K’in, Gargoyle Magazine, and Book of Matches. His first album, Meeting Points, was released in 2021.