And Yet

And yet, it comes on.
Oh, silent for the most part,
Without apparent movement.
I could say like a minute hand
Or a small dune
On the edge of an oak woods
Or even that far
Corner of the room
That looks the same
Day in and day out.
Oh, but you say, that far
Corner does not move.
And yet, it comes on.


BD Feil’s stories and poems have appeared in Craft Literary, Poet Lore, Mississippi Review, The Literateur, The Linnet's Wings, Mulberry Fork Review, Slice Magazine, New Haven Review, New Plains Review, Summerset Review, and many other places. BD Feil currently writes from Michigan.

Extinction, or the Circus Polar Bear Moves On

Free now, and heading north
she cheats at cards, shoplifts
a black fur coat, swipes beer
for the first time. Beer
she likes, the sun—
not so much. She adjusts
night-vision goggles, zips up
go-go boots that glow
in the dark. Preparation
is key—but she’ll know it
when she sees it: ice and snow
and seals, her heart
in her throat.


Sherry Stuart-Berman is a psychotherapist in community mental health. Her poems have appeared in Paterson Literary Review, 2 Horatio, and Atticus Review, among others, and in the anthologies, Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai and Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books. She lives in Staten Island with her husband and son.   

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Salt

another word for salt:

the iridescent brine plucked
from a mare’s eyelashes;

a cask full of moon, pulled-to,
tucked under the tongue;

and between your fingers,
a benediction, soft

as robin’s egg, to hold
this reflection of life

in a calcified shell.
break it to pieces, crush

the tawny shards
under your heel.

you have another word for salt,
another word for alive,

nudged into meaning, safe for later,
as you need it. to taste.


Tamara Jobe lives somewhere in the woods in the South, tending horses and writing poems. She also edits Figroot Press. 

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A poem I give to my son that my mother gave to me

Make sure the bag opens
with the wind. Don’t try
to fight. You’ll lose. 
Place the bag flat
on the edge of the pile.
Your heels firmly inside
the bag so it won’t fly 
away. Now, crouch
down over the leaves. 
With your right hand,
hold the bag; now use
the left to shove the leaves
through your legs.
I’ll rake the rest closer
to you, while you start
shoveling. Always keep
a rake close to you
in case there is no one
else around you to help. 
No, I won’t just hold
the bag so you can bring
me an armful of leaves. 
Listen to the wind. 
What if I’m not around
to hold the bag for you?
What if I’m not able
to hold the rake while you
bag the leaves? Make sure
to keep the rake here,
next to your feet, right
next to the leaf pile.
What if no one is around
to help you? Promise me. 
Let’s get to work. It’s cold. 
The wind hurts. I’m tired. 
Place your heels where
I showed you. Crouch
down and start shoveling.
I’ll rake the pile closer.


Jacob Stratman’s poems and essays have been published in Plough Quarterly, The Christian Century, Rock & Sling, The Rumpus, Wordgathering, Cave Region Review, Nebo, The Lullwater Review, and others. He teaches in the English department at John Brown University, but spent 2017-2018 teaching at Handong University in Pohang, South Korea.

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1956 Ford (Postcard, year unknown)

Dear family,
we discovered an antique car,
a Tudor station wagon
with a rectangle grill, and two oval
turn signal lamps. It was hiding
in an apple orchard.
We were hiking through
the high meadows,
outside of, and way above
Grand Traverse Bay,
the great lake resting
down there below Northport,
shimmering, like heaven’s
stained glass mirror.
Lorelei had fallen over
a limestone rock,
and I’d bent down
to help her up again.
From beyond a crooked
apple tree, we saw the car.
It’d become a hornet’s nest:
just a berm, where hornets
startled themselves up
and out of it,
like winged lacerations
(this is what Lorelei
exclaimed) but you know
Lorelei—who she’s become—
especially after her divorce
from Frederick,
how her wild
exclamations are so poetic
But the car!
So argumentative,
squatting there
inside the summer’s
heat and its blue splendor,
like it had no
better place to be!
Was planted there!
We decided to poke
a crooked stick
into the church vault
of its rear turn signal
light socket, which was empty
(although the red taillights
themselves were still intact)
because we thought
the frenzied hornets
were flying out of there
(such a stupid thing we did!)
And sure enough,
a half-dozen of them
exploded out at us.
And I nosed my face
into its front seat to find
the steering wheel
had spider webs
totally surrounding it—
completely masking
or disguising it—
like needlework
overlaying an empty eyelet,
and Lorelei called
the car an abandoned
existence—
sitting there among
the red and yellow
nasturtiums.
The head lamps are so
alienated
, she said to me,
like life’s left them.
We were listening
to Sarah Vaughan’s
"September Song": 
“when the autumn
weather turns the
leaves to flame.
The unassailable
condition of our
loneliness.
The sky above us—
I remember this—
it was Bermuda blue
and Colonial white.


Ken Meisel is a poet and psychotherapist. He is a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, Pushcart Prize nominee, and winner of the Liakoura Prize. Recent books include Mortal Lullabies (FutureCycle Press, 2018) and The Drunken Sweetheart at My Door (FutureCycle Press, 2015). He has work in Midwestern Gothic and Rattle.

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In-Visibility

In the movies my mother is always rescuing someone.

My aunties are the lookouts. They pull up in a tore-up station wagon with larger than life rims
that might as well be earthbound moons. In an original cut of the very first of these films
my mother was played by a light-skinned actress in a frumpy scarf who
couldn’t even pronounce God the way my mother do.

We swapped her out for a woman closer to my mother’s hue, hijab on fleek.
She knows how to douse Arabic with our vernacular until both languages are Black
Seed Oil and Shea Butter and Tea Tree oil and Vaseline and Sandalwood and Emerald Oud
dabbed on and glossing opened palms. There are so many of these movies now,

crime-fighting Black Muslim Women snatching bullets outta thin air with their teeth,
slapping the taste out a Politician’s mouth and stealing on some fluffed-up tyrant
with your uncle’s big-ass walking stick. Each one of these movies

has a version of a scene where she resuscitates the day with some ingenious roots and juiced
concoction, or one go-to recitation of the verse everyone who isn’t us
just assumed she wouldn’t know because her last name is Johnson or Shabazz or she didn’t have
a khimar on.

Even our own men, they try to take all the credit.

When she rescues them in these movies, it’s usually mid-backflip, pre-uppercut
her whole body and soul a magnificent flex—in these movies, when the credits roll
they play a Native Deen track or that Doo-Wop song, or all of SZA in the background.


Sagirah Shahid is an African American Muslim writer from Minneapolis, MN. Her poems and short stories can be found in Mizna, Paper Darts, AtlanticRock, Blue Minaret, and elsewhere.

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The Lighthouse

He would croak in my ears about his strange
birth—that he was muddy puddles and his parents
were high seas. He carried a tiny portion of ocean
inside his body. His natal pain felt bitter because
of salt. When he grew up he turned into a lake instead
of a gulf; adolescence meant desalination and
separation from the family tree. For the time being,
he could love and be any kind of water.
Most preferred: lacustrine, unflavored.

His skin was so swampy, embraced by dirt and moss, and
reflecting the sky as it was. But lonely down here,
he croaked under his breath again. I wish I had a lighthouse
though no passing ship to direct. Sunlight, I told him,
and silver moonlight. They needed no house, no tower,
no nothing to stand with and shelter them. They are
present there. Never be such a crestfallen lagoon just
because the so-called blue now appears more opaque
.
I sang him a cradlesong then he slept—probably
dreaming about his strange birth and the salt.

After years, I heard a lighthouse was built around
the dehydrated lake but I could be misinformed.


Innas Tsuroiya is a writer and poet living in Indonesia. Her essays and poems have appeared in Full Stop, Leste Magazine, The Fanzine, Flapperhouse, Liminality, Spy Kids Review, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @festivegrave.

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This Is What She Said She Saw

She said it was like watching a tree fall
Like watching a tree fall slowly, stop-frame
Spring, a wet warm Winter, nothing to hold it dear
All the ground around soft and yielding
A tree, slowly tilting, tearing its great divot
Of root and ragged earth in one great heave
Branches grasping at the sky
Birds hanging on till the last bit
Playing chicken with a sure thing
Only to skip, off, up, out of the branches
Nonchalantly on to the next tree
The next life. No more fuss than side-stepping
From curb to street, flying from my hair
As the dogs crossed me up and down I went
Slowly but majestically, like a tree she said.


BD Feil’s stories and poems have appeared in Craft Literary, Poet Lore, Mississippi Review, The Literateur, The Linnet's Wings, Mulberry Fork Review, Slice Magazine, New Haven Review, New Plains Review, Summerset Review, and many other places. BD Feil currently writes from Michigan.

The Dying of Baal

In ancient Syria it was said
if the paid mourners did not wail
and play their flutes,
the fire snake of grief,
the demon Bhalak, would stir
and scorch the bereft
from the inside out.

I bury one hand in the dirt.
With the other I throw dust
over my head. I am barefoot.
I do not eat. My bloodless hair
I pluck and tear: Syria is dead
and all the professional
mourners have fled.

Oh Syria! With the god of Storm
and Dew now thunder-mute
in Homs, Aleppo, Damascus and Palmyra,
without the rip of shirt and flesh,
un-memoried, the thousand silences,
thick and slow, stand on the banks
of the Orontes, a living mist,
wordless as the dead.

I thrust one hand into my chest.
With the other I scratch black scars
in a lost language of Body:
some, any, every, no.
The earth burns my feet.
My blistered tongue swells
with seared and serpent breath. 


Helen Wing is a poet and fiction writer currently living in Beirut. She has worked as a poet-in-residence in schools in China, the UK and the EU and runs creative writing workshops for performance and poetry book publishing projects. Her work has been published in UK, US, China and Lebanon.

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422 for Every One

The pines congregate and assemble, tower en masse, make
it known we have traveled into different territory, into
a different time zone—that far western edge of it, so that the light
seems brighter, remains longer into evening.

They are there on the banks, along the road. Some full and green.
Others, bottle brushes. More, browning or whitened
with amputated limbs: the shattered, split ends. Still more,
weathered—exhausted, if they could be said to look so. As if wind
tires them. Or the perpetual vertical state, that kind of vigil
the one on the island finally rejected, curving at the top, leaning.

Birch, too. Suddenly, there, a stand of them,
or the one with its three trunks buried in the red stone.
And the other rising, meeting the bluest sky seen,
with just a tuft of leaves at the top. I had to stop and take
a picture—it somehow demanding that of me, though
I was also weary.

Birches do that—call out, clamoring. It’s all
that starkness. The white column and scarce, thin leaves,
and some with nothing. Their branches brittle
or their roots exposed, bared on the slope near the shore.

She said she couldn’t live where there weren’t lots of them.
The lone one stationed and fenced off would not do. Here
is where she should come, I think, soon—this vestige of trees,
what someone told me was the link between heaven and earth.

Grounded and enervated—still reaching.


Kelly R. Samuels lives in the upper Midwest. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including The Carolina QuarterlySweet Tree Review, Salt Hill, and RHINO. She has a chapbook forthcoming in early 2019 from Unsolicited Press. 

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Polysemy

I am dawdling, looking for lost books
I don’t intend to read. I am not sure I
can explain the cult of Judas, translate
holliwoodesca, seek vengeance through
prayer. I want a meaning to tithes, god
as a cowboy—nose respingada. I am
becoming maudlin. Soon I will even miss
our sexless nights in Mexico City. Things
are proceeding. Someday you’ll explain to
me the difference between yarrow and
Queen Ann’s lace, ermine and sable, and I’ll
tell you why my heart is a dry arroyo and not
a gulch. I’ll tell you why I no longer venerate
Coyolxauhqui, drink on high holy days. I’ll lie
to others, tell them my heart is balustered with
offerings to Maximón, that romance is the art
of trundling through lovers. I’ll say meaningless
things, tell them my heart is a cord of driftwood,
latticework dripping wisteria. I won’t speak of
how it’s difficult to live in silence, how I miss
the lit mags accreted in the bathroom, the smell
of coffee in afternoons we called mornings.
Things will proceed. Old friends will call and
laugh at my effigy of San Simón de Zunil,
the pyre of box elder. I’ll menace my monster
god with sawdust kindling and lucent taper. He
will laugh, palm outstretched, or not at all,
this being a lie, all of this too much to hold,
these poems too wet to burn.


David Joez Villaverde is a Peruvian American multidisciplinary artist who resides in Detroit. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Yemassee, RHINO Poetry, The Indianapolis Review, L'Éphémère Review, Yes Poetry, and Occulum. He can be found at schadenfreudeanslip.com.

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Denali, Alaska

Where you come if you want to call it quits,
slow, miserable quits.

I’ve read if you hate yourself—
& the fucked up way the world is going—
park an old bus out in the scrub,
keep a journal to show how you died in extremity.

You’re not a moose,
you don’t browse puce-colored scrub.

The driver slows the bus so all
             have a photo of authentic Alaskan fauna,
something amply paid for.

With misshapen grace
            she shoulders up to the growling diesel.
Her knob-kneed calf trots to stay close,
golf ball eyes intent, the deep brown focus
            of the irrevocably wild.
Their hides are crone-dark with wetness.
Breath plumes from both into frigid air.

Your heat is not secure like those two,
in a savior coat, nor do you have
            that supreme indifference.
A cow & her gangly offspring
            loping beside us in the rain.
We climb a gravel stretch beyond civil paving.

Of course the moose keep on
            into tundra scrub beyond the road,
a subtle ballet of darts & weaves,
with waggles of departing scuts.

Most grab one good photo from a rear-most aspect,
actually the better angle for a moose,
& somehow, beyond beautiful.
The road’s end thwarts impulse to follow
            into wilderness of their lives.
Our horizon wobbles, a raw, running throb.


Robert Eastwood’s work appeared most recently in 3Elements Review, West Texas Literary Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Poet Lore, Triggerfish Literary Review and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. His book Snare was published by Broadstone Books (2016). His second book, Romer, was published by Etruscan Press (2018). Robert has received two Pushcart nominations.

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The East Wind

The east wind wakes me up—oh, the wind’s gentle enough, mind,
it’s not some goddamn roughneck—and I’m not complaining about
anything (unless maybe it’s the sharp and many jade fragments
scattered on the floor), but, see, the east wind’s carrying her scent
through porch screens above my head, and it’s as if my nose got
jammed in a lazy sweetheart’s armpit, and I’m down on both my
bleeding knees, begging her not to move or make me move. Now
I hear two bells in the distance (they’re in a college clock tower),
and the night sky’s clouded over where my pyjamas be pocketless,
and there’s nothing here for me to use to scoop up greeny shards.


William C. Blome lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he clutches a
master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work
has previously appeared in such fine little mags as
Poetry London, PRISM International,
In Between Hangovers, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, and The California Quarterly.

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Sacred Wood

A light fir bell
sprung green,
a tree full-grown,
green, green as ever
its coat ever green
in this forest of hope.
A special worshipful tree,
its needles, its cunning cones
with stiff prickled scales
welcoming, bristling,
in the morning breeze.
This one tree waiting
in the forest’s heart
for the consequence of
our arrival; the forest
parting itself only
to fold itself
over and over;
the traveler’s footsteps,
the hunter’s hut,
the remains of seasons
leave no trace.
The wood creaks in the cold
and we wonder why we came
on a cold day to this forest,
the two of us, all this way,
wandering far from home,
wondering how we found
this special tree.
The tree, that light
fir bell sprung green,
a shield, a queen, an upright
altar, growing towards heaven,
taking us, two among many,
opening our hearts,
making us one,
making us see
in exaltation and terror
its standing transient splendor,
its sacred stance and place,
then changing us
to one certain form,
making us open to all,
making us sound no separation,
no sound at all,
silent and joyous
in the open air,
like bells made of water.


Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, The Antioch Review, Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, The University of Texas Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and other online and in print poetry magazines. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and has been published in a few anthologies.

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A Good Dog

She smiles, toothy at the seasons.
On our walks, it’s common for her
to disappear, rummaging for treasures
like a Saturday morning garage saler.
She has brought me many things:
rabbits chased and trapped where the fence lines meet,
a garter or rat snake still twisting around her muzzle,
and once the hind leg of a young deer left to rot by a wasteful shooter—
each time she bit down,
securing her grip on this tendoned treasure,
its tarsal joint a développé to heaven
and back. This good dog reminds me
this world is not soft
and my feelings mean nothing to it.
This prairie is mostly brutal,
underside or throat tinged
red, many things ending
before a sentimental woman thinks they should.
This good dog will not be sad for me
when she lies down one day, chest rising slower,
brown eyes heavier, a sigh
like the hanging up of a kitchen phone.
She will think I am silly
and too full of tearful sorrow.
But this is far off in the future, beyond many miles
and seasons, a little grayer for us both each year.


L Mari Harris lives in Nebraska, where cattle outnumber people 4 to 1. She's ok with that. Follow her on Twitter @LMariHarris

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