we painted an oak tree
and hung it above the bed
our first november,
now tiny fingers lie between us
in sudden shifts
grasping at nothing
and falling back-
listless lateral roots
this baby boy,
my baby boy
I can’t see his dreaming
without seeing you
how you tore your body,
your fire and flesh
to make shelter
you turn to face me now, in bloom
full-lipped, ripe as an avocado
I can see through your shirt
drops of milk on your breasts
I know my body is useless,
even as sacrifice,
but still I want to learn
how to offer it as worship
Kevin Coons‘s fiction and poetry has been featured previously in Grey Sparrow, Forge Magazine, Black-Listed Poetry Review, and several other online zines.
Long narrow room with black corners
Tucked away, mind and heart get by
Hipster cowpoke sipping a tall boy
While paging through a handmade zine
Reading about what used to be obscene
The stamp on my hand a sharpie C
Or minimalist derriere
Nothing has changed in this world
The President is still corrupt
The nolonger kids are still alright
DeKalb, Palatine, and River Grove
Thirsty Whale and Haymaker punch
Fast, faster, and fastest we sped
Cascading from verse to verse
Dancing with the crowd, three sets
Sleeveless tees and skinny black pants
Not unlike the jeans I chose to wear
On this smoke laden night
A complete accident of time
Sweating hard underneath the lights
There are bars like this everywhere
The moon and the Martian plains
Turn me on like a lite brite, babe
Overdrive and distortion come
The bands are still good
The stage is still high
Outrage and empathy ring
Bass, guitars, and drums we sing
Loud enough to hope – in love
Doug Hoekstra is a Chicago-bred, Nashville-based writer. His first book, Bothering the Coffee Drinkers, appeared on the Canopic Publishing (TN) imprint in April 2006 and earned an Independent Publisher Award (IPPY) for Best Short Fiction (Bronze Medal). Other stories and poems of his have appeared in numerous online and print literary journals; a second book of prose, The Tenth Inning, was released independently in 2015, and a book of poetry, Unopened, was released in 2019.
The Sweetness Before
Her pulse beats in her neck like
outside the window
they drink water with
crystals of sugar
swirling into my coffee
her lipstick marks
the rim of my mug
eyes alight with moss and dew.
This is what love tastes like.
This is the sweetness
Rae Rozman is a middle school counselor in Austin, Texas. Her poetry often explores themes of queer love (romantic and platonic), brain injury, and education and has been published in several literary magazines. You can find her on Instagram @mistress_of_mnemosyne for poetry, books, and pictures of her rescue bunnies.
My Daughter Creates a Taxonomy of Every Little Thing
Birds or rabbits is not a simple question
but we have to choose, likewise
windows or doors, the moon
or the stars. That’s the game
What’s essential, what belongs to you
more than the other? Letters or numbers
yellow or blue, trees or grass?
It’s a surprise and a relief
to reduce the world as if it’s too much
Because after all it is
I take pinecones over seashells
blue over yellow, bees over
butterflies; now a god of logic
now a god of instinct
You take brush over comb
windows over doors
sky over sea
And when we’re done
halving the beautiful world
you ask me for tea
with sugar and honey
And all the birds
come flying back
Jeffrey Hermann‘s work has appeared in Hobart, Pank Magazine, Juked, Houseguest Magazine, and other publications. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 by Juked.
Father told me about the meat
of a mastodon—
the Siberian winter kept it fresh
all these years.
I slept in the freezer
with the meat.
I liked the cold
& couldn’t move.
Father brought a redhead
in a yellow dress
a tulip in her teeth
to thaw me out.
A man has a choice.
Remembered in me
a pretty boy
reading a book in the park—
I told father I cared for him.
Father was a peak.
Mountain boys know
up top, the snow
Down here, heavy
yellow night dumps
flurry after flurry. This snow
cannot escape spring.
Too early in May,
the woods tease
their little flowers.
I smell the thaw of river.
His breath a furnace
to my neck.
it’s just too warm here—
Jack Berning is a writer and graduate student at Colorado State University, pursuing an MFA in poetry. He currently lives alone in Fort Collins, Colorado.
he gazed up
he continued to
knowing the stars
Dr. Roger Singer has been in private practice for 38 years in upstate New York. He has four children, Abigail, Caleb, Andrew and Philip and seven grandchildren. Dr. Singer has served on multiple committees for the American Chiropractic Association, lecturing at colleges in the United States, Canada and Australia, and has authored over fifty articles for his profession and served as a medical technician during the Vietnam era. Dr. Singer has over 1,050 poems published on the internet, magazines and in books and is a Pushcart Award Nominee.
Love at first sight is such a cliché
until it happened to you,
an invisible wave
passing through every particle of you
like a ghost playing a pinball machine,
instantly realigning your being,
re-magnetizing you to a new true north.
If she were an iron filing
she’d be clinging to you already.
You aren’t the first
and you won’t be the last.
It happened to Dante
the moment he laid eyes on Beatrice
and he immediately did the only sensible thing–
begin composing an epic poem
about the nine circles of hell.
Your fate, it seems, is kinder
and less grand–
merely to toss and turn all night
with thoughts of her,
then to rise in the morning
somehow magically refreshed.
Kurt Luchs has poems published or forthcoming in Into the Void, Right Hand Pointing, Antiphon, and The Sun Magazine. He placed second for the 2019 Fischer Poetry Prize, and won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. He has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as well as writing comedy for television and radio. His books include a humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny) (2017 Sagging Meniscus Press), and a poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (2019 Finishing Line Press). More of his work, both poetry and humor, is at kurtluchs.com.