“Christmas 2015” by Ujjvala Bagal Rahn

~(Tybee Beach)

Under winter’s diamond night
cross the shore of sunburnt youth.
Underneath the ocean’s roar
sighs our baby’s scattered dust.
Denting gentle sands, our girl’s
toddler feet made turtle trails
lead you through the windy chill.
Soon you’ll see us, far away
underneath the shivering moon.
Cradled in my hands, your gift
wrapped in time’s dichroic foil.

Ujjvala Bagal Rahn’s poems have appeared most recently in Möbius: The Journal of Social Change, Frogpond, and Poetry in the Air (Jan. 21, 2015, WHCJ, Savannah State University). Her micropress, Red Silk Press (poetry, science, science fiction and memoir), has supported the Savannah Spoken Word Festival, Asian Festival, and Local Author Day.

“Marilyn Monroe” by Ellen Saunders

We applaud, adore and adorn
the holiday tree in Rockefeller Plaza,
embellish its natural beauty
and render it unrecognizable.
When its brief stint in the starlight
is over, the man-made magic
gone, we’ll carry it to place far
from view. Reluctantly, we’ll return
to our tired selves, all the while knowing
that there’s always next year. Another tree
that once held a winter’s worth of snow
in its arms. Another star on the horizon.
Another chance to build up and tear down.
The possibilities are endless.

Ellen Saunders’ work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Toronto Quarterly, Calyx, Pearl, Apple Valley Review, among others. Her first chapbook, Masquerad” was published by Long Leaf Press. She is currently working on a second collection.

“The Winter Finch” by Markus Egeler Jones

Around the steps the trees bend
singing themselves to sleep
in the bending time of early winter.

Finches strain their necks
fluffing and fluttering
in the snowing, blowing afternoon.

Cars down the road rumble past
vibrating the air like new
woofers at the downtown cinema.

The finches jump with whispery
anticipation clinging to feathers
before they mingle into nightfall.

It is a comfortable cold
through the wind and snow
stars are ornaments hidden by clouds.

The cars muffle now and whether
darkness or clouds or the quiet
of a starless night, they drive softly.

Even the fir trees are gone hiding
behind the dark curtain of snowfall and steps
the finches vanished without notice.

Markus Egeler Jones graduated with Eastern Kentucky University’s MFA. He is an Assistant Professor at Chadron State College. His first novel, How the Butcher Bird Finds Her Voice, was published by Five Oaks Press. His fiction and poetry appear in New Mexico Review, Crab Fat Magazine, The Story Shack, Temenos.

“American Tradition” by Elizabeth Perdomo

those black
bottom-line day
specials. This is
the real deal reason:
Coffee & conversation
& New York TV parades;
dried bread crumbled &
vegetables well chopped,
sautéed amidst savory seasons,
parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme,
stuffed into a plump, thawed
turkey, set to roast within
an over full capacity oven.
houses smell like home;
Holiday scents & sweet
potato aromas mingle
into a green bean meld;
red cranberry relish,
sweet & tart & cool,
a blend held at ready,
while pecan pieces
& pumpkin orange
become skillfully
transformed into
fragrant memory
crusted pies.

Elizabeth Perdomo has lived and written in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas these past
sixteen years, moving to this region from the Rio Grande Valley of northern New Mexico. Born
in Kansas and raised both there and in Colorado, she has written poetry works since a young
teen. Perdomo also lived in the Southeastern USA for many years, where she married and her 3
daughters were born. Perdomo has been an active member of the South Texas Border Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist since 2016. Her written pieces reflect her passion to learn about local
places, culture and tradition, as well as gardening, ecology, nature and much more. Perdomo is
the author of a book of poetry about the people and places in East Tennessee entitled, “One Turn of Seasons” and has had a number of poems published in periodicals, chap books and
collections, including a recently published collection entitled, “Kansas Time + Places.”

“December” by Sharon Scholl


The cottonwoods come down
last among the shedders,
come in piles like leather napkins
folded brown and gold.
Wind swirls them into speckled hills,
mattresses for leaping children.
I’ve watched the cutting loose
as each twig cast its fate on air,
the whole like silent snow,
space a-flutter with gentle death.


There are things we can’t hold onto,
joys that slip from our bodies
at the stroke of time.
They float quietly away
beyond the comfort of grief. We pull
them from our minds, bend over them
like firelight, warming old bones
in the radiance of what used to be.

Sharon Scholl is a retired college professor of humanities and international studies. Her recently published chapbooks include Summer’s Child (Finishing Line Press) and EAT SPACE (Poet Press). She convenes A Gathering of Poets, critique group of a dozen local poets celebrating our twelfth anniversary.

“ADVENT” by Lynda Fleet Perry

~ for Mark

From the farm’s back field the wind is rising
as we walk, holding hands, to cut our tree
in the crisp night air. The moon is rising

over the skeletal tips of branches, forking
into the gathering dark. We can see,
from the farm’s back field, the wind rising

by the way the old cedar moans, tossing
its now-black foliage, as if to shake free.
On this solstice night, the moon’s rising

arc holds Venus—glimmering and winking—
at celestial arms’ length. They’re married
above the farm’s back field—wind rising

as if to rush the inevitable coupling
of sickle and orb, a brilliant zenith
of this longest night. The moon is rising

higher. Now we can see the tree, leaning
crookedly, our Yule pine, its shadow spindly
in the moon’s silver light.  Night has risen
over the farm’s back field. The wind still rises.

Lynda Fleet Perry is the author of a chapbook of poems, At Winter Light Farm, published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. Her work has been published in Blackbird, Defunct, qarrtsiluni, New Zoo Poetry Review, and other journals. She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and daughter, and works as a writer and communications manager for a botanical garden. 

“Reading Moby Dick Again” by Roy Beckemeyer

“…a way I have of driving off the spleen”

says Ishmael, and I wonder
if the writing of it is as much the remedy
as the decoction of travel, the pen and page
as much as the Pequod prescription,
if the narrative, as dense as a cud of bolus,
is truly the prima medicina for men at sea,
at least for sailing men of letters
longing to be shut of the shore,
carpet bags stuffed with shirts,
paper, a bottle of India’s finest,
black, corked, ready.


“the whale would by all hands
be considered a noble dish,
were there not so much of him”

…and Moby Dick a noble book,perhaps because there is so much
of it, and all that explanatory
digression between the true and
hearty, grab you by the short-hairs
narration is really needed, because,
by Ahab, by Queequeg, by God,
you cannot appreciate the story
without you understand the job,
the whaler’s lot in life, his tools,
his fare, his devotion to his brothers
on the sea, to the whale, his prey,
the incarnation of his every need,
his very nature.

Watch for Roy Beckemeyer’s new book of ekphrastic poems, Amanuensis Angel, coming soon (March 2018) from Spartan Press, Kansas City, MO.