Monthly Archives: December 2016

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