Mirror Image by Dilantha Gunawardana

You look at the glow of the super moon,
At a flawless circle, epitomizing perfection.

So was by legend, Cleopatra, and by myth, Helen of Troy.
We all like to see some beauty in us, outer or inner,

Like that feeling which sponsors effervescent mirth,
From a one-way transaction with a roadside beggar,

Mirrors are ubiquitous; in the bedroom, above the sink,
On the outside of a car, some hand-held, some hung in the soul.

All are badgering truth machines, inescapable, almost
Like the nagging sun during the daylight hours,

And mirror images are far from idyllic sculptures,
Only an offering of honesty, of a fine glass-like reality,

A reflection that you look at, either directly or with tilting pupils,
In a myriad of deft angles, gazing at a familiar creature,

Who fails to meet up to your high expectations.
Still, you graft a tongue-full of flattery,

Harvesting an eyeful of dishonesty from a mirror’s face,
Oblivious that deception is like a daffodil,

A blooming Narcissus.

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist, who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. Dilantha wrote his first poem at the ripe age of 32 and now has more than 1700 poems on his blog. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, Kitaab, Eastlit, American Journal of Poetry and Ravens Perch, among others. He blogs at – https://meandererworld. wordpress.com/

National Poetry Month Call for Submissions

Zingara Poetry Review is celebrating National Poetry Month this April by publishing a poem every day of the month and wants YOUR submissions.

  • Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems 40 lines of fewer in the body of an email, any style, any subject, to ZingaraPoet@gmail.com with National Poetry Month as the subject of your email.
  • Include a cover letter and brief professional biography of 50 words or fewer, also in the body of your email.
  • Submissions will be accepted through April 30th, unless otherwise announced.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let me know immediately if submitted work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Published poets receive bragging rights and the chance to share their work with a diverse and ever-growing audience.
  • Submissions which do not follow these guidelines will be disregarded.
  • If accepted work is later published elsewhere, please acknowledge that the piece first appeared in Zingara Poetry Review.
  • There are no fees to submit. All submitters will be subscribed to the Zingara Poetry Review monthly newsletter and digest.
  • Check Zingara Poetry Review every day in April to read great poems and celebrate National Poetry Month.
  • Send me your twitter handle and follow Zingara Poetry Review @ZingaraPoet and I will tag you the day your poem is published.

I look forward to reading your submissions. Happy National Poetry Month!

Meeting My Old Boyfriend after Thirty Years by Dianne Silvestri

He phoned asking to meet for lunch,
after long silence since I shoved
his frat pin back the year after
we left for college. He’d looked me up.

In high school already he knew what he wanted
and made me do it, those years before
I knew I could refuse. Now I preempted
his predictable persuasive monologue.

I wore a confident shirt and make-up,
took along photos of my husband and children
to show and tell my escape.
He was easy to spy, but the smart team captain’s

eyes now seemed crocodile green,
his smile toothy, Roman nose too thin.
His build was fuller, self-assurance unchanged.
I gave a firm handshake, ordered chicken salad.

After comparing updates on family
and careers—he married, no children—
talk brought his news of others from our class,
one dead already.

I politely gathered up the end,
accepted his card and spotted the note
penned on the corner, “if there’s any interest,”
dropped it into my bag.

Dianne Silvestri, author of the chapbook Necessary Sentiments, has had poems appear in The Main Street RagEarth’s Daughters, The Comstock ReviewEvening Street ReviewThe Worcester Review, PulseThe Healing Muse, and elsewhere. A Pushcart nominee, she is Copy-Editor of the journal Dermatitis and leads the Morse Poetry Group.


Making AWP Your Own

It’s time again for the annual AWP conference and dozens if not hundreds of blog posts and articles are popping up everywhere offering advice on how best to network, navigate, or otherwise survive the three-day write-a-palooza.

And for good reason.

With 20-30 panels occurring simultaneously at any given moment and hundreds of tables and booths offering all types of free swag and publishing advice during the day and dozens of on-sight and off-sight readings, signings, and parties at night (not to mention hotel room gatherings), AWP is something like a child’s wildest Christmas fantasy, provided that child is a writer who spends most of the rest of the year isolated or with her nose in a book (or grading papers).

This level of stimulation can overwhelm the new-comer and quiet-at-heart, or trigger a kind of high for the more gregarious, extroverted go-getters among us.

Which is exactly the nature of AWP. It is both exciting and overwhelming, humbling and empowering, energizing and draining, and many things in between, too, so you might as well make the kinds of choices that are meaningful to you.

Putting friends first, for example. You know, those people who comprise your literary community, both now and in the future. The ones who hold your hand when you receive a string of rejections and the ones who celebrate your successes, whatever the size, with glee? Friends who help you maintain perspective and are quick to buy you a drink when its lost? They are, after all, the reason you are here at all.

Or attending panels because their subject matter seems genuinely interesting to you, not just because you want to meet the people facilitating or presenting (unless they are your friend, of course; then attend in a show of support). It’s pretty hard to make a meaningful connection at most panels, anyway. Might as well have some integrity.

And speaking of integrity, remember to look at a person’s face before checking out their name badge. You can’t truly know how important you may become to one another until you spend time with, and get to know, one another. Choose meaningful connections over superficial.

AWP is all about over doing it, so go ahead, but remember your career is worthless without your health, so take care of yourself, too.

  • Drink plenty of  water, especially if you are relying on caffeine and alcohol for energy.
  • Stop in for a daily restorative Yoga for Writers session at 9am and/or 12pm in room 10 of the convention center.
  • Attend a daily 12-step meeting at 7:30 am or 6:30 pm in room 11 of the convention center (everyone is recovering from something).
  • Get outside for fresh air and take a nice walk (while being aware of your surroundings).
  • Collect your thoughts in the Dickinson Quiet Space, rooms 32 & 32, fourth floor of the convention center.
  • Fuel yourself with the best food you can manage (pack whole foods, avoid fast foods).
  • Plan a non-conference activity (lots to do in Tampa).
  • Wash your hands frequently.

The best way to avoid the post-AWP crud, or any crud at all, is to pay attention to your limits. While it’s true you will be around a lot of germs, it is also true that you are always around a lot of germs. Becoming run-down is what allows them a chance to infiltrate and attack your weakened immune system. Stay strong. Stay healthy.

Network wisely and sustainably. Don’t take it personally because your connection looks past you when someone more famous shows up nearby. Likewise, don’t break your connection with someone just because someone you think is famous appears behind them.

And when it comes to meeting famous people, just be cool.


  • Be sure to visit small press tables. They need and want your work more than the big guys. Some of them may even become a big press someday, and you will have been with them from the start. All of them are important.
  • Have real conversations. Finding an editor you mesh with, who likes your work and supports you, is invaluable.
  • Stop by booths and tables of the journals who have published you. Tell them thanks!
  • Like all disciplines, the literary world has it’s share of assholes. You don’t have to be one of them.

AWP is all about fanning ambition, making smart connections, and furthering your career. Don’t leave your heart, mind, or soul behind.

And Happy Conferencing!

(And here’s a peek into what we were all up to this time last year: AWP Poets, Writers Plan Protest in DC)


“Having Her Say” by K.L. Frank

This girl,
burns past me in the Student Union.
Her passing flash awakens memories
of days dragging around more heat
beneath my jeans than my years
should have stoked. I longed
to inflame the sky with shibboleths,
and watch them flash like fireworks.
This girl,
who can’t be hauling around
more than twenty years, wears
black sweat pants low slung.
The waistband straddles
the curve of her hipbone –
a circus rider performing tricks
for her audience. ‘PINK’ appliqued in pink
outlined in pink sequins glitters
across her butt (the space between ‘I’ and ‘N’
floats over her coccyx) twitching
as she walks away.
This girl’s
hips affirm louder as they sway
than the slogans burning my lips.
No matter the cause, her bumper sticker
assumes mythic proportions
against a load-bearing bumper.
Be she touting a balm against violence,
a signature hue, a favored singer, or
support for breast cancer research,
whatever her say,
this girl
has my vote.

Karin L. Frank is an award-winning author who lives on a farm in the Kansas City area. Her poems and stories have been published in a wide variety of venues both in the U.S.A. and abroad. Her first book of poems, A Meeting of Minds, was released in April, 2012.

“Praising the Familiar” by Brian Fanelli

We hardly write about each other now,
comfortable in daily routines. You lean in,
press your back to me each morning
as we linger in bed.

I scroll through my phone,
share news over coffee.
I used to karate chop the air
over headlines I disliked.

You taught me to uncurl my fists,
put down the phone, find beauty
in the familiar, such as the taste of blueberries
at breakfast, their sweetness like thickened wine,

or the way the cat dashes
from window to window,
trying to paw at birds, or how you leave
lipstick prints on mugs once done.

So here is a poem in praise of those routines,
the warmth of your back pressed to mine,
the groan of floorboards after you shower,
the way you pull a chair out and always sit across from me.

You showed me there is holiness in the everyday,
the first morning light, the quiet of those hours.

Brian Fanelli’s poetry collections include Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Poetry Prize, and All That Remains (Unbound Content). His work has been published by The Los Angeles Times, Verse Daily[PANK], World Literature Today, The Writers Almanac, and other publications. He teaches at Lackawanna College.











“It’s Not Simple, the Heart—” by Lois Marie Harrod

artery-fisted, three-pronged aorta
with its middle finger twisted up

yours and better be. Brachiocephaliac
to the right, left common carotid in the middle,

and left, the left subclavian: the blood-draggled glove
of a penniless troll, the knot

of a neglected vegetable, fennel, celeriac,
but the heart always left, left behind,

left below, and common, that too,
the neck, the head, and left again,

and yet it keeps on beating, who could guess?
Drum and drum skin, thick stick, complicit.

The complicated heart because complexity’s simpler
than simplicity? Think Bach:

his great heart with mitral and aortic valves all throbbing,
oh who loves him more than I, this year

when no one is performing Brandenburgs in public,
nothing now but the sound of the recorded heart,

played to calm an infant, sound’s knotted beauty,
septum, septum, do you not love the septum,

the separation, the beat between the beats,
dirt clot and fairy tubules, clenched face of an infant

dismissing what fed him, the ventricles, the valves
the Greeks thought we think with the heart?

The heart’s a hollow muscle.
Some days I want to think with mine too.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016. Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis and How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth, in 2013.  Widely published in journals and online, she teaches Creative Writing at TCNJ. Visit her website: www.loismarieharrod.org