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”

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”

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.

ayaz daryl nielsen: Two Poems

I saw a lynx
above Gold Hill
deep in a restless night
when I should
have been sleeping
a quick flash
through headlights
as I rounded
a curve on the
remote dirt road
and deep in
that restless night
a lynx saw me

 

_____

 

The bear in heavy fur licks its lips and
dreams the taste of berries on bushes.
Wild flower seeds waiting below white-
washed chapels of frozen snow listen
to voices of wild geese and wood ducks
carried within an early morning chinook wind.
Humbled, I pour a second cup of coffee,
again renew my promise to keep the
wondrous faith of this earth and my
loved ones, and add a splash of cream.

 

 

 

ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (35+ years/160+ issues) with poetry published worldwide, he is online at:  bear creek haiku: poetry, poems and info. Among other deeply appreciated honors, he is especially delighted by the depth and heart of poets worldwide whose poems have a home in bear creek haiku’s print and online presence.

John Grey: “An Allegory”

An Allegory

is when you say
one thing
but mean something else

like when you’re
talking chickens
but it’s really about people–

your tale is of a wolf
who creeps into
a hen-house at night
and devours a half dozen
of the best layers–

only it’s no wolf
and you’re not actually
talking hen-house–

it could be about
some army
razing an enemy village

or a man
moving in on you
back when you
were too weak to defend–

you tell me
you fear wolves
and you feel
for chickens–

what you mean is
you’ve learned to fear and feel
in equal measure

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review, and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Willard and Maple, and Red Coyote.

Tim Hawkins: “The Goodbye Note”

The Goodbye Note
 
So you don’t forget,

Our time together
has curled away from
an enduring narrative arc.

Does that make sense?

I’m not quite sure how to put it,
but from now on we should avoid
whistling the same songs,
crying through the same films,
liking all the same books, beer
and restaurants, sharing
all the same old enthusiasms.

Our time together should be

forgotten like a flimsy alibi
scribbled on greasy napkins,

ignored like the inane melody
haunting your morning,

snubbed like the poor boy
who loved your whole childhood,

cast out sobbing
like a demonic soliloquy
into a herd of swine.

Yours truly.

 
Tim Hawkins’ short fiction and poetry can be found in many print and online magazines and anthologies. He has published a poetry collection, Wanderings at Deadline (Aldrich Press, 2012), a poetry chapbook, Jeremiad Johnson (In Case of Emergency Press, 2019), and a story and poetry chapbook, Synchronized Swimmers (KYSO Flash Press, 2019). His second full-length poetry collection, West of the Backstory, is forthcoming in late 2020 from Fernwood Press. Find out more at his website: http://www.timhawkinspoetry.com