Monthly Archives: November 2018

Copperfield by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

I was not afraid of my father,
thin/frail/sick. Never saw
him put a hole in the wall
or heard him raise his voice,
but I was young and that time
he slapped me on the head
was only once and I am
sure I deserved it.

I must have. I should have
been afraid of the way
he quoted Rod McKuen
and signed his letters
“never hurt intentionally”
like it’s a fee ride as long
as you didn’t mean it. As long
as we are so sensitive, we cry.

He cried and died, little
rabbit man and his hat.
And to this day, I can’t figure
out why he matters. He mostly
doesn’t. And, imagine dying
that way, knowing even your
kids don’t believe your
sorrow. I am thankful he
was not an a magician,
just imagine that poor girl
sliced in half.

Leslie Anne Mcilroy won the 1997 Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Prize, the 2001 Word Press Poetry Prize and the 1997 Chicago Literary Awards. Her second book was published by Word Press in 2008, and third, by Main Street Rag in 2014. Leslie’s poems appear in Grist, Jubilat, The Mississippi Review, PANK, Pearl, Poetry Magazine, the New Ohio Review, The Chiron Review and more.

Please Help This Vet by Gianna Russo

Red light at the corner of Hillsborough and Florida Avenues

His sign’s propped by his VFW cap.
I’m muttering at the red light.
Clouds are grey bellies slung over the belt
of cityscape and wind swipes the street,
riffling his long grey hair, pages of his paperback.
It might be Going After Cacciato or Catch 22.
A face that battered, he may have seen Saigon that last day,
Americans swooped from the hotel roof,
copters returning like jittery swallows.

I was too young for sit-ins, the Washington march.
I drew peace signs on my cheeks, teased my hair to a ‘fro.
But the first poet I knew humped Hamburger Hill,
sliced though bamboo like so many wrists.
His poems were gristled with jungle beauty.
He drank himself numb before every reading.

Here, at the light,
this vet sets back up his blown-down sign,
hunches on the curb, glasses slipping down his nose.
Should I believe the surrender of his tee?
So hard to know about folks on the street,
the broken sandals.
What if I held out a dollar?

Why do I ignore the wind-thrashed sky,
his book pages flailing as I drive on by?

Gianna Russo is the author of the full-length poetry collection, Moonflower (Kitsune Books), winner of a Florida Book Awards bronze medal, and two chapbooks, including one based on the art work of Vermeer, The Companion of Joy (Green Rabbit Press). Russo is founding editor of YellowJacket Press, ( ), Florida’s publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has published poems in Ekphrasis, Crab Orchard Review, Apalachee Review, Florida Review, Florida Humanities Council Forum, Karamu, The Bloomsbury Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, saw palm, Kestrel, Tampa Review, Water-Stone, The MacGuffin, and Calyx, among others. In 2017, she was named Best of the Bay Local Poet by Creative Loafing. She is assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Saint Leo University, where she is editor-in-chief of Sandhill Review and director of the Sandhill Writers Retreat. 

Courting Wonder by Martina Reisz Newberry

You have to be amenable to Wonder.
You have to read the spaces between the words
as well as the text and you have to see that
where you step may be earth scattered over with
a magic loess.

You have to believe that hands as well as eyes
let you see souls; lips as well as fingertips
heal. You have to believe that the God of the
White Tiger is the God of you, that demons
live in every lie ever told, in every
day of loneliness come to any living creature.

You have to discern that a voice is a bin
that holds, folds and releases tears, fury, glee.
When you have faith in these things, astonishment
will visit your doorstep and there will be an
unstinting flight to your days, burning stars
in your dreams.

​Martina Reisz Newberry’s recent books: Never Completely Awake (Deerbrook Editions), and Take the Long Way Home (Unsolicited Press). Widely published, she was awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.


Martina lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian.

The Last Train by Will Reger

Sister, we are in an ancient place, that last
station where the living change trains.
Everyone comes here, tired of living,
ready to lay it all down, ready to be done,
or confused how they came here so soon.
It is you with the transfer ticket, dear, not me.
After you board I will travel on alone,
swing back this way some other time.
Your body jerks and rumbles with shut down.
The train you need picks up speed.
Everyone on the platform feels the power
and starts to gather up their things,
unaware — no baggage car on this train.
I would gather you once more if I could.
Your eyes are two pools of puddle water.
A last light reflects in each, like hope,
like the promise of Science or God, or like
a star falling across the sky, sparking love.

Will Reger is a founding member of the CU (Champaign-Urbana) Poetry Group (, has a Ph.D. from UIUC, teaches at Illinois State University in Normal, and has published most recently with Front Porch Review, Chiron Review, and the Paterson Literary Review. His first chapbook is Cruel with Eagles. He is found at — or wandering in the woods playing his flute.


Dia de los Muertos by Mel Goldberg

Think of death
as an old friend who will provide
a place for your shriveled body

Think of death
as a sidewalk taco stand
serving agua fresca in paper cups

Think of death
as the Iquitos airport,
the open-air thatched roof lean-to.

Think of death
as a lover who whispers
as you turn and look away

Every relationship contains loss,
every touch holds pain
of death’s exquisite dreadful moment

The words of death’s
exquisite dreadful moment are contained
in all the poetry in the world 

*Also known as Día de Muertos, the celebration originated in central and southern Mexico. Those who celebrate it believe that at midnight on October 31, the souls of all deceased children come down from heaven and reunite with their families on November 1, and the souls of deceased adults come visit on November 2.

Mel Goldberg taught literature and writing in California, Illinois, and Arizona. He and artist, Bev Kephart traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico for seven years, settling in Ajijic, Jalisco. Mel has published on line and in print in The UK, The US, Mexico, and Australia.