liii. Same body alternate alive. Your curves continue, flux at image of old, limp at new language. There’s a ghost for each of us looming behind, winks register nothing but closed eyes. Specters don’t hold hands, they haunt like fumes, taunt our new selves not to touch. Air is broken tile. We walk cautious, slippery feet. ___ Matthew Porubsky has four collections of poetry and works for Union Pacific Railroad as a freight conductor. Books, links and info at mppoetry.com.
I want my own closet
where I can
pull up a chair.
my candy red
patent leather shoes.
in the moth grey lace.
Without your sweat
stewing in every crotch
of your jeans.
I want to dress
in the wake
of my own
Now in the dark of early morning
it all begins to come clear—
the spoons in their drawer slots,
the flashlight where it might be needed,
my wife still asleep in our bed.
We moved here from 7 climates away
not knowing if our transplanted needs
could accept the acid soil and the sweet sun.
But in a week the house began to live,
its faucets standing like Elizabethan servants
ready to pour out the water of many uses,
the electric outlets eager to inspire tools,
the heating here for the easy asking.
Taken alone, all this is not a marriage,
but begun in such a place,
like a plant in the loam of lust,
it aspires to more, and it finds more as it rises
into the air, the light, the admiration.
We water it with our losses, prune it
lightly with our respect for its future,
and cater to its needs with our own need
for mercy projected onto it as a friend.
John J. Brugaletta was editor/publisher of South Coast Poetry Journal, has had two volumes of his poems published, and lives in Northern California with his wife and several bears.
When the mother bonobo plucked
a parasite from her child’s back,
a small droplet of blood pooled
on the surface. Did the adolescent primate
over the permanence
After nearly a quarter century
donning his talisman, I found myself
middle-aged & single, sitting
under a naked winter willow, rubbing
the permanent divot now encircling my finger,
with a new found appreciation for the term
deciduous…found it apropos in describing
I felt like a four year old
with a skinned knee
picking at the scab,
a child with chicken pox, powerless
to stop scratching, wondering when
the healing would begin.
And then, like magic,
while running my index finger
through the layers of spring pollen
blanketing my scarlet red convertible,
I glanced down to discover
the pale recessed flesh on my ring finger
had finally disappeared.
Shawn Aveningo is an award-winning poet whose poetry has appeared in dozens of publications worldwide. Shawn hosts the “Verse on the Vine” poetry show in Folsom, CA (www.verseonthevine.com) and has been a featured poet in Sacramento, San Francisco, Sausalito, Seattle and St Louis. Shawn’s a Show-Me girl from Missouri, graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Maryland and is a very proud mother of three.
I will not collect the hair
from your brush, nor the nail
parings you drop in the pail
to cast a spell. You won’t hear
whispered commands in your ear
while you sleep so I can have my way.
I will not call the old woman
on the mountain who sells potions
and instructs on fertility. Though
she has ways to make rain fall on you
to restrain you. We’ll keep our vows
simple, neither of us bowing.
When we sleep we’ll stay on our sides
of the bed unless beckoned. I’ll wash your
dishes, you wash mine, and deep
we’ll travel until dead.
Neither of us will iron or be ironed.
Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, sex therapist, writing coach and seminar leader. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Perigee/Penguin/Putnam), and her work has appeared in Cider Press Review, Rattle, Off the Coast, Kestrel, Permafrost, Slipstream, Timber Creek Review, The MacGuffin, Writer’s Digest, The Fourth River, the minnesota review, Personal Journaling, Free Inquiry, and Playgirl. She now writes poetry and does fabric art in rural central Virginia. www.JoanMazza.com
“By reading and writing poetry, I come to terms with my obsessions.”
Another woman steals a picture
of our doctor from his office,
him cupping new babies.
She centers him on her refrigerator
with a Buddha magnet,
prays to him daily
over the ritual of opening,
of the taking of milk and cream.
In the fall she has a daughter
fat as a butterball turkey
while my belly remains empty,
the only objects filling
my kitchen, held tight,
an “I visited Wall Drug” postcard
and the face of a brother
like a rotting jack o’lantern
A year later, I bump into her
in a clinic parking lot.
She offers up an ultrasound
of her eye, points out the spot
they zapped her clear of a clot.
She cries out
of her one good eye,
asks me to pray she will see,
that her vision no longer floats.
I pull her to me,
take her in,
take her x-ray eye home,
throw her voodoo in the trash.
Cathryn Cofell, Appleton, is the author of two full length collections, Sister Satellite (Cowfeather Press, 2013) and Stick Figure With Skirt (forthcoming from Main Street Rag), and six chapbooks including Split Personality with Karla Huston (sunnyoutside, 2012). You can also hear her perform her poems on Lip, with the music of Obvious Dog. Her work has been published in over 300 journals and anthologies and is the recipient of over 50 awards, including the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award (2019), the Mill Prize for Poetry (2019), the Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award (2014) and multiple Pushcart nominations.
Your life’s a better poem than any that
you’ll ever write. I feel that I should end
with this, but think that it’s been said before.
And now the snow (perhaps the season’s last)
is swirling, and the coffee’s working fast,
with Mahler’s Second, playing now, to rend
then mend my pent emotions; soothe, combat
the ambiguities that pack the core
of my identity. It’s sour-sweet:
catharsis, death-and-resurrection. We
all know this well, but I am every time
enthralled by it. The music stops. My street
is buried quietly. My reverie
will linger longer than this cobbled rhyme.
Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, MI. His chapbook In Stereo was published by The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012.
In the fifth morning of their
“Do you still love me”
she asked checking
a new swimsuit in the mirror.
“Of course I do” he said
and rolled his finger down
to a new text message
on the screen of
his smart phone.
Their honeymoon suite
flat panel TV (on the mute mode)
silenced the words that
ran down the screen on
Heidi Klum’s face.
And they didn’t share
another word until their server
came to their breakfast table
to help them sort out the words
on their menus.
All rights reserved
Basil Rouskas’ first chapbook Redrawing Borders was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press and drew favorable reviews in the Journal of Hellenic Diaspora in 2012.
this starry-eyed night
across opaque waters
language of the lake
sparks the darkness
and his zest
until a kiss
has been anchored
upon the lips
of his sweetheart
this summer evening
near the banks
of James Madison Park*
*James Madison Park is a waterfront park located on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin
Jeannie E. Roberts is the author of two books, including the newly released Nature of it All, a collection of poems (Finishing Line Press). For more, visit www.jrcreative.biz.
What did I know of love
Or lasting relationships
Only that my belly began to swell
With a baby
That I prayed for every night
My mother forced me to have it
Empty like a deflated balloon
I stopped praying
And I never risked having
My uterus fill up again
I didn’t trust that a child
In all its perfection
Could be born
From all my broken pieces
Rebecca Chamaa loves to walk, write poetry and bake. She has been published by San Diego Writer’s INK, Hallmark, Evangel, Christian Women Today, The Secret Place and others.