Naïve and Sentimental Sonnet by Thomas Zimmerman

This world so hard and dark but ours and shot
clean through with light—and so I write to you,
storm coming. I am drunk on life and clouds
and God—or likely, love. That’s all we know
on earth. So bring the dogs, a hat, a coat,
your suffering—and come with me to . . . I
don’t know, a place we make, a space, a world,
an opening in matter, stuff. I’m not
a physicist. A lover of the possible:
that’s me. So loving that I break myself
for openings. Odd God, but maybe He/
She/It is in us all. Relax. Some things
stay green. And if not this, Next world, I say,
next world. Our changes haven’t finished yet.

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Tom’s website:

Also by this poet: “A Better Poem

I Love Broken Things by Kym Cunningham


The walnut man in a broken straw
hat divined our future in streetside palm fronds
a          womb
an oil-derrick apartment and that
three-legged dog I
always wanted

Our children would be beautiful, if only
they had none of me and all of you
Your hair your smile
Your lips your eyes
Your skin
Your skin
Your skin

I can’t let them be broken too
So every month, I break the egg
Watch the yolk
down my legs

Our hatchlings with locked jaws of
monsters sing

Tell me, love
Are we thicker than water

Kym Cunningham will receive her MFA from San Jose State University with emphases in creative nonfiction and poetry.  She is the lead Nonfiction Editor of Reed Magazine, the oldest literary magazine West of the Mississippi.  She received the Ida Fay Sachs Ludwig Memorial Scholarship and the Academy of American Poets Prize for outstanding achievement in her writing. Her writing has been published in Drunk Monkeys and Reed.

Tendril by Taunja Thomson

Moon inside coyote
shines from her mouth
in the pitch of evening.
Her ears are leaves
ruffled by a rare wind.
Her claws as sharp
as cactus spines.
She has eaten owl and lizard
and snake and she knows
relentless sun    frozen night
sand and web    flower and blood
thick blooms that pinwheel
in day and pray with closed petals
at night.
She opens her mouth—her tongue
a tendril of moonlight
through rock and star.

Taunja Thomson’s poetry has most recently appeared in Potomac.  Two of her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Awards: “Seahorse and Moon” in 2005 and “I Walked Out in January” in 2016.  She has co-authored a chapbook of ekphrastic poetry which has recently been accepted for publication and has a writer’s page at


Water’s Edge by Joe Amaral

I came upon a creek,
following deer trail scampering by
fire-swirled poison oak, dapper sycamore
and bone smooth cottonwood

I heard mallards, snowy egrets
and my favorite, silverblack coots,
lounging in shallow water as if
they were toweled old men at a sauna

What surprised me was the angel-feathered body
guarded by a hunchbacked hawk
glaring back at me like a guilty vampire atop
his hapless victim, pecking at its beanpole neck

The bird of prey blasted into the trees, perching
on a branch, angrily observing my approach
Beside the shore of moss, mud and stone
lay supine a juvenile duck with a grotesquely

twisted head, its webbed feet pedaling
midair like an upturned bicycle
Its agonal, guppy breathing and distantly dim
flaxen eyes clutching my dutiful heart

It was barely alive, a dollop of blood upon its throat
Turkey vultures double and triple looped above me,
so many there must have been bigger game to ply
I sighed and stepped over the poor gasping creature

It was able to crane its crooked neck and regard me,
beak opening and closing in broken respiration,
akin to a hatchling beckoning wormy regurgitation
But I could only offer it reincarnation so I stomped

my foot down on its head as hard as I could
A crepitus of sound of sharp gravel cleaved the sky
the same moment the hawk burst out the foliage
and flew away, chasing the soul only it could see

Joe Amaral splits his time spelunking around the California central coast as a paramedic and stay-at-home dad to two saucy little girls.  His poetry and short stories have appeared in awesome places around the world.  Joe also won the 2014 Ingrid Reti Literary Award.

Mapping The Gnomes by Christina M. Rau

Stuck in a corkboard,
all sightings get categorized—

Red:  Definite
Blue: Possible
Yellow: Probable
Orange: Unlikely

A 3-D connect-the-dots journey
between bushes in Brussels
under azaleas in Iceland
among marigolds in Massachusetts
through paved paths in Puerto Rico
behind vines in Bellvue
around weeds in West Germany.

Reports come in rapid at sunrise
when the light excites and surprises—
three or four skittering across lawns and behind
old dog houses, their voices louder than
you’d think, if that’s that kind of thing
you think about.

They shout Make Way! Hold Back!
They move in scattered variety,
hurry to their places to
complement the poppies
accent the petunias
uphold the underbrush
with a wink, with a wish.

The big board tracks all the movement,
an attempt to capture magic
on the head of a pin.

Christina M. Rau is the author of the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Founder of Poets In Nassau, a reading circuit on Long Island, NY, her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and most recently in the journals Amethyst Arsenic and Better Than Starbucks. In her non-writing life, she practices yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions.

That Photo, Which She Carried to Class by KJ Hannah Greenberg

That photo, which she carried to events, shows youth and beauty,
Also free-flowing wisdom, lovelies hung on walls, gnawing on doors,
Climbing telephone poles; maidens with few fears
Whose exploits include difficult pairings, full sublet prices.
It radiates diatribes wrung out by emotional teenagers,
Depicts all forms of obsequious behavior, reflects inner balance,
Remains spiced by conflict, bravado, and the questioning of cleaning fun.
Also, it gives a peek in to that rarity of reasoned decision-making.

Along the speaking circuit of hillbillies, horrible monster with swollen fingers
Extrasensory abilities, flawed couplings, pimply noses, articulated opinions,
Shuttle cats to local hospitals, pull up forbs of spring, teach herbal gymnastics,
Maybe, additionally, reserve castile soap for parental participation in public schools.
A plethora of high manors, bards, and local serfs, reduced to sharing shrugs,
Smile, chuckle, throw tantrums while morally relaxed others surf Internet cafes,
Seeking pink or gray beaches beneath Northeastern dumps, tiaras, gloves,
Sleek modes of dress, suspicious manners as found in bridal magazines.

Loosened onto existing ephemera, drunken gulls carry away bits of time, viscera,
Harnesses, new careers among succulent barramundis, gasping tourists’ limbs,
While books written by domestic divas parcel accidental merit, split fifths,
Trumpet dames’ lingo, falsetto productions, women’s song, acoustic guitar music.
Feminine health products never turn heads as long as people continue to be
“Smart enough” to discern among glossy rhetoric. Alternatively, provoked into curiosity
Concerning manner of eating starfish, hunting quail, gathering leprechauns,
Persons smooth minor inconveniences, including the complexity of the universe.

KJ Hannah Greenberg, who only pretends at being indomitable, tramps across literary genres and giggles in her sleep. Her newest poetry books are: Dancing with Hedgehogs, (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and The Little Temple of My Sleeping Bag (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), Citrus-Inspired Ceramics (Aldrich Press, 2013).

Seashells by Jota Boombaba

                 —for Mary

Open like a seaside cave
the waves roll in, roll out
the bats fly in, fly out

And then you come, brief tourist
flashlight in hand, your oohs and aahs
    only your absence left behind

Jota Boombaba, when not on the road, writes in and around San Francisco, where he lives and kicks back with his son.  Visit him most days at