When my baby said peaches, peaches,
I put the can into the opener.
Its lid rose on the machine’s arm.
The peaches smelled peachy-spice
and curled into little moons.
My son gummed his peaches, sloshing
juice from his mouth’s ends.
I washed out the can and then saw
what I had missed in my loving him
like water into wine. The cool blond
of pear slices on the Del Monte label.
The membrane between here
and there can separate as an unexpected
wind swishes silk draperies apart.
Here’s another one.
You might not have noticed.
You could have been standing
at the base of the stairs,
seen a woman in a long shift hesitate.
What was happening was this.
My foot reached for the next step,
and in that instant a ghost
passed through my chest
on its way downstairs. It didn’t
move out of the way for me,
didn’t care that I knew it existed.
We both went our separate ways,
my path leading me to this moment
where I tell my tiny limitless tales.
Luanne Castle’s Kin Types (Finishing Line), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award. Her first poetry collection, Doll God (Aldrich), was winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she studied at University of California, Riverside (PhD); Western Michigan University (MFA); and Stanford University. Her writing has appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, Glass, Verse Daily, and other journals.
First Mother’s Day without her
and you are pulled in two, toward the open arms
of your thirsty girls and that blue expanse of sky.
Flute song on the radio, evanescent as breath.
Once there was a lark, and speckled eggs,
and fledglings testing their wings. Now they fly
in time to that most ephemeral of melodies.
Wayne Lee (wayneleepoet.com) lives in Santa Fe, NM. Lee’s poems have appeared in Pontoon, Tupelo Press, Slipstream and other journals and anthologies. He was awarded the 2012 Fischer Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and three Best of the Net Awards.
The annual Best of the Net Anthology from Sundress Publications promotes the diverse and ever-growing collection of voices who are publishing their work online and serves to bring greater respect to an innovative and continually expanding medium.
Nominations must have originally appeared online and must have been first published or appeared on the web between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. Nominations were due on September 30, 2019 and must have come from the editor of the publication.
Congratulations to this year’s nominations from Zingara Poetry Review. I hope every poem is included in this year’s anthology!!
First night it’s all hugs and kisses
presents and rich food, then
as the days wear on I’m an errand boy:
sent out for a ton of frozen fish
or olive oil in demijohns,
sacks of African rice
dragged back from the store
then heaved up narrow stairs and:
could you pop across the road for wine,
you know the one I mean?
It’s as well we don’t live together
or this would never have lasted six years.
A romance in small doses –
we sip it like brandy, cautiously
and sometimes I wonder
if this is what I signed up for
until we take the train to Barcelona,
hit the bars and she’s dynamite
and I’m floating down Avignon street.
John Short lives in Liverpool (UK) and has been published in magazines such as Yellow Mama, Rat’s Ass Review, The Blue Nib, Poetry Salzburg, Barcelona Ink, French Literary Review, Envoi, Sarasvati and South Bank Poetry. His collection Those Ghosts (Beaten Track) will appear hopefully later this year.
My imagination kitchen
fills with a hundred giraffes
crouching to help with dishes.
My bathrobe is made of cloud.
The houseplants debate each other
over dinner, wrinkling their leaves
in thought. My nail trimmings
are little moons. I watch the backyard birds
become helicopters hauling their bird knowledge
in and out of trees. When my fingers make food,
they’re searching through time for fire and caves
and simple families. I remember my childhood
as a series of collections—blackberries in my hand,
snowmen, river stones, the sound of deep sky
over a rural emptiness.
Like you, too, I suspect,
I clothe my worry
in these decorations.
It’s harder to hate a beautiful thing.
It’s harder to hate what I’ve made
when it shines or quacks or spreads
bright juice all over my skin.
I protect myself. So my armor is
Wild animals crowding out the pain.
Rebecca Macijeski holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Nimrod, The Journal, Sycamore Review, Fairy Tale Review, Puerto del Sol, and many others. Rebecca is Creative Writing Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University.
The portrait of Harriet Tubman burbling in the ink of a twenty-dollar bill. The way hands can be cupped to form eagles and bison when the shadows on bedroom walls slip through the jet stream of your imagination. The way women’s boots never go out of style. The way wallets are cluttered with unclaimed lottery tickets and Chinese fortune scripts. Take pleasure knowing chaos theory honors the wisdom of Japanese butterflies. Cherish this year of lunar wonders. October’s Hunter’s Moon. The November moon so close a heroine could step off of her hometown street into zero gravity. Hold your memory of a president racing his puppy through the White House halls at Christmas. Celebrate the happy accident of the newest blue and the oldest cherished songs. Sing Hallelujah! Thank the fog. Thank the way persimmons ripen during hard frosts. The taste of haiku lingering on your tongue. Take comfort in the assurance that scarves will always fit. Be grateful for the circle of light dancing above your head. It guardians the secrets in your eyes. Be grateful for the photographs of your most embarrassing moments. Be grateful for the impossible challenges before you. Be grateful knowing that, for this hour, gratitude is enough.
Michael Brockley is a 68-year old semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, Tattoo Highway and Tipton Poetry Journal. Poems are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Clementine Unbound, Riddled with Arrows and Flying Island.
A parade of goats clambered down the path,
bells clanging. Between two cliffs
jutting out to sea was a green valley
with a gray road like a fallen ribbon
surrounded by palm groves
and little houses like white sugar cubes
sprinkled down the slope.
The ocean crashed against the cliffs,
frothing white on dark blue, and puffy
white clouds massed on the horizon
beyond the shadowy shapes of distant islands.
The air smelled of sweet juniper, as I bit
into the soft flesh of a ripe fig
and basked in the warm sun.
Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Meteor Shower (Dos Madres Press, 2016). She has also written a novel, Fall Love, which is now available in Spanish translation as Amigos y amantes by Compton Press. Recent honors include 2017 Adelaide Literary Award in Fiction, 2016 Songs of Eretz Poetry Prize, 2016 Common Good Books’ Poems of Gratitude Contest, 2016 RhymeOn! Poetry Prize, 2016 F. . She lives in New York City. www.annewhitehouse.com