genre: Poetry

Polar Bear

By Carol Hobbs   

Her glassy muzzle beats back the salt squall to be here. She who in her time swallowed seal cub after seal cub, sets out from Iqaluit, sprints the Arctic platform from leeward ridge to longing, dividing sea from tundra. When pack-ice grows too thin, fishermen catch her like a ghost in the trawl. She rakes… Read more »


Dijon Kizzee Loved Anything on Wheels

By Sarah Browning   

While America is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, we in Black America are dealing with the 1619 pandemic. – Benjamin Crump, attorney for the family of Dijon Kizzee (1991-2020), killed by LA County police deputies, CNN, 9/23/20   Dijon Kizzee loved anything on wheels – bike, go-kart, motorcycle    Family calls him Mama’s boy, broken by… Read more »


Not An “Other” Climate Poem

By Rasheena Fountain   

I heard that It rained outside again; not that type of storm that you hear, loudly: the red reigning showers, burning pines—ap—peals, skies, a loose sieve Our tempest, long-winded— hourglass shards twisting time into silent sand mounds: Nightshades’ severe temperament Illy-oozing dystopic ether Malleable breaths betrayed Brick-and-mortar dust Yellow buzzers’ sundown I can’t breathe, We… Read more »


The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Photography, 1855)

By Gerard Robledo   

The relationship between a photograph and reality is complicated …complicated at best. – Errol Morris   Offered up for discussion are two photos preserving a moment: one real, the other slightly less. When photography edged away from alchemy into science. The infamous firsts of war, an arranged image: hand-sized cannonballs like elephant shit riddling the… Read more »


There’s No Flower in War

By Suphil Lee Park   

But there’s room for joy in the dark future growing wings. She believes this with resistance to life fading. [Believe this.] The war’s been long upon her. Is here to last. Is here to outlive the time few mattered more than passion. [The fruitless act of planting a seed in an open wound that won’t… Read more »


Calm is Your Color

By Kate Allore   

Waganakising, Land of the Crooked Tree. Calm is your color. Chartreuse kernels perch atop blades of Little Bluestem, they pirouette. Ancestors sing out with color soaked hymns; paint my heart with sadness, yet calm. Spotted Fawn explores the pristine waters of Wycamp Creek — bearin witness to the memory of ebony cloaked strangers, white around… Read more »


Ravel

By Partridge Boswell   

verb; untangle or unravel something; confuse or complicate (a question or situation); noun: a tangle, cluster or knot   Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down. —Toni Morrison Here, it’s day. There, another sleepless vigil of a fraying burqa. By the time these billowy clouds reach the Hindu Kush,… Read more »


Motheren

By Mary Buchinger   

It was a book of manners she handed me a closed book I failed to open a book I could hit her with No  never would even think to do that so deep inside   those many pages words chewed-up  digested ʌð  The way of teeth those curved rows that meet and grind mother and child… Read more »


On the Day of a Distant Invasion

By Jed Myers   

Down through a forested gouge in the earth, we took the trail under tall firs and cedars toward our secret lookout. We wanted to take in the distances over our inland sea. Off that water an icy wind infiltrated our slice of woods—old conifers shifted, moaned like live sirens. Ferns thrived on those moss-curtained towers—countless… Read more »


photo credit Alexis Rhone Fancher 

Ghost Triolet

By Donna Spruijt-Metz   

—after Psalm 105 lines 28-33 Flower-thin darkness came down around you, genius of things that fit into things—my ghost child fit fish into water, blood into fish, pale into blue. Flower-thin darkness came down around you, crowding things into your hungry heart until you crowded yourself out. Frictioning leafless and wild, flower-thin darkness came down… Read more »


Starlight

By Tamako Takamatsu   

When the waters have finally receded, night falls. None of them are used to such darkness (……………Obsidian……………) so black they cannot see their hands before their tear-stained faces. None of them have ever been without human light, without electrons, miraculously harnessed, without the power of the universe to obliterate ancient shadows. (……………The extraordinary dedication of… Read more »


childhood punctuated

By Nissa Valdez   

in fifth grade I realized salvation wasn’t for me I didn’t think I’d make the cut and what did it really mean to be saved from something I’m not sure what and Catholic school had taught me all it really could plus my dad was about to be ordained a deacon and I figured that… Read more »


Terror Management Theory

By Quintin Collins   

To measure humanity’s purpose in hunger and funerals, count divots in the bark of an oak tree. The voids collect raindrops, nestle the beetle and the worm. In the hollows that litter our peripheral vision, measure humanity as the depth of a stomach or the depth of a grave. I want to believe everything tossed… Read more »


Elegy as a Room for My Dead

By Quintin Collins   

I try to reinvent you. A white gravestone in a field of white gravestones: I conjure this image instead of you. When you died, I was asked to write an elegy for the funeral. I didn’t know how to make you from the blank page, another cavity for the body you inhabited to fill. Even… Read more »


etymology ft. urban dictionary

By Quintin Collins   

after Airea D. Matthews   because my parents liked a filmmaker or so I’m told pulp fiction means blood splatter spells marvin’s brain on the rear windshield  means quentin tarantino my parents would spell Q-U-I-N-T-I-N their own magic  transformation but still fits in mouths when teachers roll call or for job interviews  but still quentins… Read more »


Five Short Essays on Open Secrets

By MC Hyland   

For Laura Henriksen & the Secret Feminist Book Club Months after Fiona Apple’s voice fills my apartment every day for weeks, I find one of her lines straying repeatedly into my head. I too used to want him to be proud of me / And then I just wanted him to make amends. It’s a… Read more »


Essay on Paper

By MC Hyland   

Once, my time was valueless because I lived somewhere very cheap. After that, in a new town, I was unable to secure enough paid work, and my time remained untethered from cash economies. In the first town, I learned many small luxuries: seventy-five cent beers at the bar on weeknights; weeding at the organic farm… Read more »


Poem Misquoting Paul’s Letter to The Corinthians

By Keith Kopka   

I’m beginning to equate God with nothing but the tedious stammer of Porky Pig’s bald body popped through the center of a bass drum, announcing the end of another Merry Melodies production. A vacuum where no one dies until they look down in midair. Years I’ve spent writing a sight gag for the failure of… Read more »


What the Seven Taught Me About Love

By Foolan Flopez   

If you love the ducks, don’t feed them bread. If you’re brown af, don’t feed them tortillas. She didn’t teach me the second bit, but to be fair, she was like *maybe* seven. We don’t expect sevens to be smarter than us, but here she was, chasing down a clearly sad middle-aged man and his… Read more »


unquenchable

By Livia Meneghin   

plums melt on linens washed just yesterday the stain is shaped like her face she thinks a fan moves the air but she has no desire to rise she cannot tell her daughter about her bed about her cold pillow & sweat- drenched sheets or how figs are the only food worth eating in august… Read more »


Wound City Diptych

By Ellen Austin-Li   

I. At night, I move among the beds. In this city, the streets are corridors branching into alleys that run between bodies wrapped in gauze. I speak this language native to wounds: friable, purulent, granulating, necrotic. We say serous and mean straw-colored. We agree this drainage indicates healing. Serosanguinous, still a fine rosé. At the… Read more »


Wedding Portrait

By T. R. Poulson   

The vows hover like smoke and glitter, his mind clichéd with memory: faces, hands, and smoke of New Years’ night, his search for empty.  His find was her. They ran on beaches, talked and joked as in a novel, first kiss taken, thunder and lightning, roses, whole nine yards.  Six Flags, the Sky Coaster.  He… Read more »


Desert Crossing…

By Marcie Rendon   

I am yaqui, pasquali, Mexican, pronghorn, sand lizard, gringo, I and the sons and daughters of migrant dreams Gringos come south looking for eye candy Hot tamales and discounted medical care Mexica’s head north Hungry for a slice of apple pie With dreams bought on credit And hopes Western Unioned home each fortnight I am… Read more »


Threads

By William R. Stoddart   

     1. Gdansk. My father in a pram. That’s his older brother Moshe standing like a soldier, his cap pushing out his ears. Grandmother and grandfather on the settee wear borrowed clothing from the photographer: grandfather a black frock coat over a high-collared shirt, grandmother some dusty, Edwardian straight jacket. They’re not smiling.  The occasion is… Read more »


Untitled

By Suzanna Slack   

I was trying to inhale the dry air of America by videotelephony. I thought I had nothing to contribute. “All I can think of is smell, because I made a pie and I had some essential oil burning to get rid of the smell but all I can really smell behind the oil is the… Read more »


Six

By Ellen June Wright   

Let me take you into the room where I slept in a stranger’s house. Let me take you into the darkened room by the amber glow of one small lamp— into the musty room of the two-story where I slept the untroubled sleep of an innocent; then opened my eyes to see, as if in… Read more »


Blue

By Cathleen Cohen   

For Faith Paulsen At midnight in a quiet house I hold up blue spheres cut from cold press rag paper because a friend requested a cover for new book, Cyanometer, named for an invention of Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, 18th -century explorer, who gauged weather by the sky’s color. This helped when climbing Mont Blanc and… Read more »


Soil Horizons

By Cole Depuy   

On the freeway’s shoulder, I keep a tightrope. The officer says, Put your hands behind your back. A gravestone. Barbed-wire. Trees grow through anything. Cells divide & flow. Swallow the chainsaws. The brain is just neurons. An LLC in Oregon to turn corpses to mulch. Turn flesh into something more useful than ash. There’s a… Read more »


Dollar Store Wine

By Hugo Paz   

  The other night as I was watching Rocky 3 for the millionth time I believe, I cried when Mickey died in Rocky’s arms his anguish as real as mine I felt it within me welling up, the tears pouring down like the Dollar Store wine I drink nightly the weeks of holding it all… Read more »


Homecoming

By Mariya (Masha) Deykute   

none of our mothers believed they were dead they peeled things, boiled things, bled, bled, bled they worried over the price of meat, wore red none of us believed we were born of wounds we have our feet our bantiki our books our capital letters & our dreamed battlegrounds you see how I cannot decide… Read more »


Sonnets in Astana 4

By Mariya (Masha) Deykute   

—in mid-step, in the yellow suspended capillaries, I Freeze; the guests have come unbidden; retreat, retreat! I trust my husband not to dash my son’s brains out, I Trust the engineer was sober; trust the bombs sleep. I check the locks, I check the locks, I check the locks. I trust my body, I trust… Read more »


Sonnets In Astana 5

By Mariya (Masha) Deykute   

If betrayal is a small word; rot Camouflaging as change; if I Lost the bare feet you loved; If my spine grew spikes; kiss The pictures of me you put In the cookie tin with the exes I’d like to press my ex-body Into stratified, metamorphic Dishwater —  what? No, I’m not mad — I’m… Read more »


An Ice Cube is a Body

By Rob Arnold   

Like all things, it begins as water and ends as water As water, it may become vapor, steam droplets on a window, a heaviness in the air we bring into our lungs It may become dew or dog piss in the grass, a body’s nourishment or excreta Residue from the time when it once had… Read more »


Pearl

By Rob Arnold   

The raw pearl my mother gave to me, that I gave to you. I carry it sometimes in my dreams, its memory swelling like a blister. Forged from the blood of the Pacific, little grain, little ache on the tongue. * If you held it in your mouth, it would be smooth, semen-colored, embryonic. If… Read more »


In the Event of Thirst

By Akhim Yuseff Cabey   

I’d petitioned with the power of a molting butterfly to be more than just a sack of polysyllabic slick wisdoms delivered with a staccato snap of righteous fingers. I preferred the grieving soprano whose octaves on moonlit, bonfire nights dampened cheeks and garnered affectionate caresses atop my head. this is why I’ve agreed to supply… Read more »


I Walk into Every Room and Do Not Need to Yell Where the Nigerians At

By Ayokunle Falomo   

                            after José Olivarez   because we’re here: everywhere.  loud. & colorful. & yes  we know crooked but o bless our mothers’ hands. what miracles they carve out of our spines.  what blessing it is to swim  in the rivers inside our fathers’ and mothers’ palms. & how we toil to prove that the way  they… Read more »


Laundry Quarters

By Rebecca Faulkner   

My brother drove his car barefoot the dash strewn with empties old cassettes     and maps to places he never saw    the sharp bend how the river leapt  and no-one said suicide                     but if you’d picked up  as I fumbled laundry quarters  for the payphone  I would’ve told you  endings are brutal metal on granite barely time… Read more »


A Bud is Born

By Emily Grodin   

From the dirt we are born, from the ground we breathe life. Waiting just below the surface until the time is right. A soaked up raindrop. A ray of sun that spills over me. But not just yet. Tiny footsteps above me. And a breeze I can’t yet taste. Worried of the world without me… Read more »


Soul in the Mortal Flesh

By Emily Grodin   

A mortal never challenges the gods. Weak and raw in the flesh. At least not intentionally with jealous or spite. But something unquestionable. Undoubtable. Unasked for by human. Gifted instead. Bestowed upon woman a treasure indeed. One that no man, mortal or god, Could question. Beauty in the form of woman who walks the earth.… Read more »


no crying over spilt

By Kathleen Hellen   

no milkstork at the bombed-out shrine in Hamamatsu no wholesomeness three sizes bigger, fatter my mother said that people brewed the tender leaves that steeped in fragrant matcha, mastered yeast from rice the poets tended no kine that cattled cud—no farmers choking on the gases who were these half-calf kids who schooled me in belonging?… Read more »


Opening the Casket

By Toni Holland   

Against the open palm of your dusk I place my fist into your first day of spring and you sing about death by the sink as you make tea. There was no light pollution and the stars were before You had instructed me not to take off my shoes in case there were scorpions on… Read more »


Taps

By Alexis Ivy   

after the execution of Orlando Hall 11/19/2020   Day has come a man is murdered by our country, it is federally done. Gone and somehow they didn’t print the last meal in recent issue of The Sun. From my soul I need to know if he was full, if the bison was smothered in Land-O-Lakes,… Read more »


Cairns (I)

By Philip Memmer   

If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. —Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus” In recognition of my life, the gods  provided me, in death,  this mountain,  this stone.  And forever… we all  get that. But what good  would forever be, without  a mountain,  a stone? * Sisyphus, the stone whispers,  are… Read more »


Crow Hop Elegy

By Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo   

Sing into   the thunder drum  crow hopping   from one foot to  The other, and             hops will follow  My chants and dancing           as I invoke  Crow’s wings with my arms  Extended in the falling snow,  hovering into the darkness,  my spine vibrating to              the sound  of my voice, until leaves become  buried   under this   frozen… Read more »


Sahara Sand 20/20

By Lisa Pegram   

A heavy cloud of Saharan sand swirls over the Caribbean for several days. The sepia veil is so intense, at high noon the sun looks like a full moon. A thick film of dust on everything. We must stay inside. The air quality is compromised. Ever the poet, a part of me smiles at the… Read more »


Mona Lisa

By Lisa Pegram   

Why not ask if her quizzical smile, aloof              plain              timeless, is not a blade, pointed at the one who dares attempt to capture her? The so-called “master” who speaks to the canvas as if she were not in the room. Perhaps, she has… Read more »


Yellow Comes and Goes As It Pleases

By Rikki Santer   

Someday I may learn my lemons, resist the marigold’s musky dirge, for I have this man who drags his feet through piles of rotting banana peels, residue of strict smoothies too thick for punchlines. Too often he trudges back into the dark forest with ocher pigment smudged on his forehead and cheeks to hunt for… Read more »


sky burial

By John Sibley Williams   

the sea is called / a body & the children / are still dying / so far from here / & here sometimes / bones rearranged into / drowned or dragged off skyward / biopsied or blood– slicked pavement / at night / when the white pines cut against an un- / white sky /… Read more »


History of (a Goldfinch’s) Madness

History of (a Goldfinch’s) Madness

By Ewa Chrusciel   

Turkish smugglers caught him in the wild and trapped him in a veiled cage, hung in a cafe. Deprived of light, the goldfinch mourned, his song a prayer of lament. Sorrow breeds melodies. Pipe smoke wafted through the room. The men meditated; they puffed nostalgic rings into the air. The goldfinches’ plaintive song lingered and… Read more »


The Hole

The Hole

By Richard Hoffman   

There’s a hole in this poem, a hole where all the usual ways I know to write a poem are stuffed to block the cold wind of the unexpected, a hole that allows the loud world to decide which portion of itself to poke through and require me to describe it or address it, a… Read more »