Category Archives: Zingara Poetry Picks

“Resistance” by Marian Shapiro

Ice whirling in our face. Snow angling side-
wise. We pull our stocking caps deep
over reddened ears.      Tilting forward.
Pressing on.  Everyone agrees:
this wind chill is a killer. Never-
theless, the trees, bare of all but squirrels, remain

Wait until Spring, they murmur.
Then we will dance the dance of leaves. Re-
sistance will be so lovely.

Marian Kaplun Shapiro, five-times Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts, is the author of a professional book, many journal articles, approximately 400  published poems, and three books of poetry. She practices as a psychologist in Lexington, Massachusetts.


“Coldsurge” by John C. Mannone

            After ‘Heatwave’ by Ted Hughes

Between Huntingburg and frozen Indianapolis
The Midwest plains had entered the fly’s belly.

Like black-eyed rabbits half-buried in snow
My plane shudders in the icy wind.

The illusion of a runway is so real
Trees sprout on it, and human carcasses.

Only droning of the engine
And no beacons for the hapless.

I cannot penetrate the silence till sunset
Releases its raptor

Over the clouds, and birds are suddenly
Everywhere, and my pilot’s flesh

freezes in the breathing-in of great eagles.

John C. Mannone has work in Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Peacock Journal, Baltimore Review, and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and others.


“Under the Weather” by Rachel Barton

remnants of ice fog sparkle like glitter
frost crisps grass and thistle
shimmer of holiday gift wrap ruffs
the bin-on-wheels pulls me in a glide over a sheen of ice
on slippered feet an unexpected ride
down the drive to the curb

this is the day after
pajamas and frizzled ham on a plate
an afterthought of toast and jam
he sips espresso  through a blanket of foam
folds himself back into a roll of fleece
drifts into a dreamless sleep

I survey the counter of holiday sweets
palate dimmed by yesterday’s surfeit
no more rush to prep or polish I pause
as sun rises above the neighbor’s roofline
a weak light slow to warm
the tinsel of silvered grasses

Rachel Barton is a poet, writing coach, and editor. She is a member of the Calyx Editorial Collective, edits Willawaw Journal, and co-chairs Willamette Writers on the River. Find her poems in Oregon English Journal, Hubbub, Whale Road Review, Mom Egg Review, Cloudbank, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Out of the Woods, was released in 2017. Happiness Comes is just released from Dancing Girl Press.


‘Tis the Season by Karen Wolf

Blue eyes dripping sadness stare through dark
rimmed glasses and Daddy’s Mopar
truck windshield. My
running pace allowing glimpses of his
disproportionate pear-shaped scowl. Flashes
of his life imagined
schoolmate cruelties leveled for his
countenance, name calling,
social shunning, tripping, punches. A passing freight
train halts my progress enabling a hello
with Dad as he emerges from the post office, Christmas
cookie in hand. His boyhood
sadness crumbles away.

Karen Wolf has been published in Smokey Blue Literary and Art Magazine, The Wagon Magazine, Oasis Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Bookends Review, The Drunken Llama, Blynkt, Raw Dog Press, Street Light Press, Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal, Ripcord Magazine and many others. Her chapbook, “That’s Just the Way it Is”, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018.

She says that poetry soothes the savage beast and opens her eyes to the beauty that abounds within the world.

“Silent Night Broken Night” by Patrick Cabello Hansel

María stumbles on the road
into town and falls, baby first
on the baked earth.  José
stares at his virgin bride,
his exile, his horn of plenty. He crouches
to help her up, but she shouts “No!”
He must apologize for the strange
look in his eyes, for handling her
like a stone the moment he first
knew her weight.  The stars,

 pin pricks on the skin
of heaven, look down: here
are the children of earth, frozen
in the wounding that precedes hope.
No words redeem the time,
or take the pain away.  There is
sinew and bone break and breath.

 María and José look at each other
in the last dirt before Bethlehem.
Their eyes are cradles where no child
has yet been lain.  José nods,
leans María into his shoulder,
and as the two rise as one, her water
breaks onto her robes and his,
his feet and hers, the dust, the stone,
the river under it all.

They walk, quicker now.  No donkey,
no angel, no choir.  Just the hurried
birth racing like wind. This child
will not wait for shelter,
his name rushes headlong
through the dark tunnel
that billows into waiting hands.

There is hay and straw enough.
His skin will be wrapped
in the softest cloth.  Poor men
will bring songs. No house
dare hold this child.

Patrick Cabello Hansel has published poems in over 40 journals, including Isthmus, Red Weather Review, Ash & Bones and Lunch Ticket. His novella “Searching” was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News and his book of poetry “The Devouring Land” will be published March 2019 by Main Street Rag Publishing. 

“Invocation // The Beast That Resides in the Acute Angle” by Gregory Kimbrell

The cabbie’s right hand travels the warm flank
of his unharnessed stallion, the striped woolen

muffler still pulled tight across his mouth, as if
to prevent himself from speaking aloud any of

the things that come into his mind after a long
day of work, before walking back down empty

streets to his shared room. The turpentine has
soaked through the earth floor at the west end

of the stable, where a clever boy who ran away
from home when he was still only fifteen used

to sleep in the hay every night. But even when
the world seems to forget us, the memories of

what we have done can seldom be rubbed out
completely. And sometimes the kids who look

far older than they are loiter behind the bolted
door to smoke, for kicks setting on fire unsold

newspapers and watching them burn up in the
rain barrel, wishing they could cause real harm.

Gregory Kimbrell is the author of The Primitive Observatory (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), winner of the 2014 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Manticore—Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, Phantom Drift, and elsewhere.

“Northwoods Christmas Orphans” by Nancy Austin

We caved to the kids visiting in-laws on the real holiday.
No, not chopped liver, I reassure my husband, coax a scarf
into his ungloved hands, point to crystalline aspen and hoar-frosted
huckleberry under the just-shaken snow globe sky.

Tires crunch a path around the lake, a doe darts across the wooded drive.
We kick off boots in a knotty-pine kitchen fragrant with cardamom, bacon, vanilla.
Winnie whips up her cream cheese frosting, mammoth cinnamon swirls yield
to our knives thick with sweet butter cream.
Emily, energizer bunny of this geriatric cohort, converses too quickly to think
between gasps of air, My friend can’t see with her immaculate generation.

We gather around their woodstove after breakfast.
Emily’s husband Ray recalls the year their Ford Fairlane
broke down near a rural tavern/general store,
Emily fills in every other phrase before he can finish.
Bologna at the bar. Crackers that Christmas.
Winnie and Ron remember a holiday alone,
Rotisserie chicken with our fingers in the parking lot.
They held one another’s gaze like a warm hand,
as if to reaffirm life’s slights and disappointments
form the glue that bonds, that comforts.
I nodded to my husband with that same knowing glance.
He narrowed his eyes, muttered chopped liver.

Nancy Austin has lived on both coasts, but prefers the land between. She relishes time to write in the Northwoods. Austin’s work has appeared in Adanna, Ariel, Gyroscope Review, Midwestern Gothic, Portage Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Poets Calendars. Her poetry collection is titled Remnants of Warmth (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books, 2016).