How to Baptize a Child in Philadelphia, PA by Mike Zimmerman

First, clasp the crown of his head
like a football, a hot pretzel,
like the accidental bird flown
in you forgot to let go.

Say “you can be anything.”
Let him drink soda at breakfast;
read him a story at night.
Let this story be about

A car or a dog or a fish.
Say, “I wish you didn’t
ask questions at bed.”
Turn out the light.

If you’re going to the dollar store, bring him with you.
Let him buy Mountain Dew and sour lemons.

Help him with his homework.
When he asks, “we’re mostly water? how
can that be true?” Tell him, “because it’s
in the book.” You don’t know the particulars
Except that Jesus walked on water,
The Delaware must be a sacred thing
despite the bodies in cold clothes
on the news. Baptism happens in water.

If he finds a blue jay with a broken wing, tell him
it serves those Jays right for beating the Phillies.

When hell comes up in church, he’ll ask
“What’s revelation? What’s sin?” Show him
The steel mill again. Tell him, “Son,That time of reckoning is not for us.”


Mike Zimmerman is a writer of short stories and poetry, as well as a middle school Writing teacher in East Brooklyn. His previous work has been published in Cutbank, A & U Magazine, and The Painted Bride. He is the 2015 recipient of the Oscar Wilde Award from Gival Press and a finalist for the Hewitt Award in 2016. He finds inspiration and ideas from the people and places he loves. Mike lives in New York City with his husband and their cat.

Gentle Stratigraphy by Kim Malinowski

Leaves crowd blossoms into wispy

decent—

is that how it always is?

Meandering fall into glade—

your hand reaches out—
moss between toes
pebble jutting into hip
coyote jawbone at brow.

 Banks cut by patient water.

Soft decent—

Sandstone and lime carved into stratigraphy.

I map it like I do your irises, your dimples—gentle craft. 
Do you carve me with your caresses?
Shape me as the stream does the bank?
Fingers tap at my stomach.
Moss and mud—water—do you map me?  

The sun sets. First stars appear.
Do you know the constellations of my freckles?

 You may bend and ford me.

Let my stratigraphy show layers.
Love and loss—unbearable and bearable pain—
show life lived to the brim.

 Reveal me.

 Revel in godhood—shape my soul.


Kim Malinowski earned her B.A. from West Virginia University and her M.F.A. from American University. She studies with The Writers Studio. Her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work was featured in Faerie Magazine and has appeared in War, Literature, and the Arts, Mookychick, and others.

grounded by Heather Laszlo Rosser

today, I watched
the red tailed hawk
swoop through the bare
trees, and wanted to fly.

I don’t know why now
or why not before
but suddenly, it’s
imperative that I know
something about flight.

do I ask someone?
boys dream of flying.
the fellow in the deli
probably knows. excuse me,
sir, what is it like to fly?

last night I walked down a narrow
passage in a charcoal sketch,
but like my young daughters,
I wanted up.

can we be too rooted to the Earth?

tonight I will ask the boy next to me
the one hiding out in a lean, sure man,
I will ask him, beloved, can I hold on
behind you on your way through?

Heather Laszlo Rosser is a New Jersey native and has been writing all her life. She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Vermont and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Vermont College. This is her first published poem.

Chocolate by Michael T. Smith

“I just
Brought you
Chocolate,
So we can start from
There.”

The word
       Itself
Was intoxicating –
‘chocolate,’
Hung on my lips before I
Said it.

Tasting it,
And letting the idea
       Seep into my mind
In some eternal moment.

But the idea
Should not be dormant,
       Alone –
And so it will be joined
To a thing not untoward –
To what I bring to you.

Michael T. Smith is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches both writing and film courses. He has published over 150 pieces (poetry and prose) in over 50 different journals. He loves to travel.

*July 7 is World Chocolate Day

Review of Only as the Day is Long by Dorianne Laux


Only as the Day is Long

New and Selected Poems
by Dorianne Laux
New York: W.W. Norton & Company
Paperback: 2020

A review by Dana Delibovi

Dorianne Laux was not someone I ever chose to read. I knew she wrote longer narrative and confessional poetry, but I like poets who write short lyrics. I heard her poems depicted lots of robust American sex, all flesh and zippers, but I like poetic sex that’s either unrequited or heavily veiled. I understood she told stories of the working class. That’s a harrowing place for me, a place I almost killed myself to leave behind.

So I’m still wrestling with why I felt drawn to buy her collection, Only as the Day Is Long. Maybe my instinct perceived what my reason could not—goodness knows, it wouldn’t be the first time. I loved this book, and I regret not reading Laux sooner

Only as the Day Is Long is a superbly curated volume, the best of a life’s work.  Poems are arranged chronologically, starting with selections from Laux’s first book, Awake (1990). The first poem from Awake, the opening salvo, is a narrative confession, all right, but certainly not of the grey-light-at-the-summerhouse variety. “Two Photographs of My Sister” conjures two pictures: one from a camera and the other from memory, one of a child in a cast-off swimsuit and the other of a teenager beaten with a belt by her father.

She dares him.
Go on. Hit me again.
He lets the folded strap unravel to the floor.
Holds it by his tail. Bells the buckle
off her cheekbone.
She does not move or cry or even wince
as the welt blooms on her temple
like a flower opening frame by frame
in a nature film.

The remorseless, almost clinical brutality of this image hooked me on Laux—I could not look away. After that, I was caught completely by the poem’s end, where Laux admits that her sister’s swelling face still follows her, like a “stubborn moon that trails the car all night…locked in the frame of the back window.”

I had to keep reading. In poem after poem I found a brave and untamed narrative that compelled me to care: the endless chores and abuse of a tough childhood; the mystery of debased parents who somehow managed to craft glitter-covered change from the tooth fairy; and the sacred, lost ritual of “Smoke” selected from the book (2000) of the same name.

Who would want to give it up, the coal
a cat’s eye in the dark room, no one there
but you and your smoke, the window
cracked to street sounds…

Laux is has a particular gift for poems about everyday objects and the stories they hold. A favorite of mine is one of the book’s new poems, “My Mother’s Colander.” A whole world of childhood literally sifts though this object, part culinary tool, part toy. I physically felt my own childhood in Laux’s final image: kids holding the colander aloft in the sun, its star-shaped holes making “noon stars on the pavement.”

Less appealing to me are the poems of sexuality and celebrity in Laux’s corpus. Many of the sexual poems often indulge in body parts and whoops and the doffing of underwear—items that are out of my prudish comfort zone, and which remained out of my comfort zone despite Laux’s deft prodding. An exception: “The Shipfitter’s Wife,” in which sex after work is a way for the wife to comprehend, almost to metabolize, the husband’s toil—“The clamp, the winch, the white fire of the torch, the whistle, and the long drive home.” Perhaps my prudishness also caused me to dislike the celebrity poems about the sensual mystique of Mick Jagger and Cher. These poems, selections from The Book of Men (2011), felt contrived, painfully so since Laux’s work about everyday life rings so true.

In terms of craft, Laux is a master of two poetic skills I admire greatly and only wish I could approximate. The first skill is the generous use of verbs, especially the stout Anglo-Saxon verbs. “Antilamentation” a poem against regret, is a prime example of Laux’s barrage of verbs: beat, curse, crimp, chew, pitch, and more. The second skill is the just-right line break. Laux never breaks a line haphazardly; every break, punctuated or not, adds to both meaning and music. This is perfectly illustrated by these lines from “What We Carry,” the title work of Laux’s 1994 book.

He tells me his mother carries his father’s ashes
on the front seat in a cardboard box, exactly
where she placed them after the funeral…
What body of water would be fit
for his scattering? What ground?

After reading Only as the Day Is Long, it struck me that I could never write an objective review about it.  I could never say with conviction that any and all readers would like this book. That’s because what I most loved in the book were the stories and images that mirrored my own life. Laux’s earliest years were spent in New England; I grew up there. Laux’s father was in the navy; my father was a navy veteran who worked as a boat-builder. Like Laux, I once smoked like a chimney and listened at night to the sounds of my drunken street. I changed social class through education and writing. But the question that remains is why, after so many years of knowing about Laux and avoiding her, did I now pick up her book?

I’m still not sure. It might be simply a matter of the extra time I have these days. I’m older, semi-retired, happily at home, and freer to explore.

Or maybe it’s taken me this long to touch the wounds my of hard-knocks past—the kind of past that informs so much of Laux’s work.  A legacy like that dogs you, and its bite-marks hurt, no matter how many degrees you rack up or how many poems you publish. A battered colander, a smoke in the dark, or a sister’s livid welt sticks with you, in Laux’s words, “no matter how many turns you take, no matter how far you go.”



Dana Delibovi is a poet and essayist from Lake Saint Louis, Missouri. In 2020, her work has appeared in The Confluence, Apple Valley Review, Linden Avenue, and Noon. She is the 2019 winner of the James Haba Award for Poetry.

Even When by Shannen Angell

Thank you to this damned body
a middle ground
no man’s land
mediation between the warring sides
the daggers in its skin
its joints
its bones
and the self that extends past
physicality

instead embracing compassion
creativity consistency
even when its body is
incapable of walking
even when its body is
locked to the bed
even when its body
cannot contain an ounce more
of pain

Thank you to this damned mind
a middle ground
pie in the sky
idealist who insists that
inviting cousin chronic illness
to the wake will not
reignite the generations-long battle
between the self that extends past
physicality

and the physicality itself
the space it demands to fill
even when its mind is
struggling to swim
even when its mind is
convinced of its dusk
even when its mind
still cannot give up
and continues to raise
its hand


Shannen Angell attends Utah Valley University and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in writing studies. When she isn’t writing poetry, she can be found cross stitching or playing Animal Crossing. She has previously been published in UVU’s Touchstones and Snow College’s Weeds.

the fruit archive by Derek Berry

inheritance is the incorrect word for the righteous
pulse that stutters when i learn of this history,
how the story spills teeth on asphalt.
each document in the fruit archive
is a red-soaked landscape, 
a forget-compass leaving bruises on the map.

under every map, a new map— secret
as joy & ancient as erosion. marble faces
with age-busted visage, like stolen
territory etched with opulent monuments
to a forgotten resistance. i find too brilliant
pebbles speckled with blood, evidence
that someone once was alive carving desires into stone.

stone shelves worn, chipped
like a brick thrown back. in the fruit archive,
the water rises. brief flood 
swelling tomes into indecipherable violence,
river-urgent end of a heterosexual reign.

rain seeps through the ceiling of the fruit archive,
riot of seeds splitting open easy as a skull. 
the dirt is bloodwet & blooming rage, 
and here, even drowning 
in what is never said aloud,
i find a worthy inheritance.

Derek Berry is the author of the novel Heathens & Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA, 2016), and poetry chapbooks GLITTER HUSK and BUGGERY, recipient of the 2020 BOOM Chapbook Prize from Bateau Press. They live in South Carolina.

Behind the Bruised Peach by Kitty Jospé

I hold something resembling a fruit whose form
perhaps could pass as peach. We know the story:
starts as blossom, with the expectation of turning
into the honest-to-goodness jubilance of juicy
sun-ripe peach.

How to understand the truth of the matter?
It reminds me of my father’s lesson about the indelible
mark of a lie: he folded a piece of paper,
handed it back to us, saying, no matter
what you say, there is nothing you can do to get
rid of that telltale pleat. It is a hurt that will always
wear its scar—

like this rock of a fruit
bearing the marks of multiple beatings,
in a mass of fellow picked-too-soon fruits
under the sign “Fresh Peaches.”

Kitty Jospé, MA French Literature, New York University; MFA Poetry, Pacific University embraces the joy of working with language and helping others to become good readers of poems, people, life. Docent at the local art museum, moderator of two weekly poetry discussion groups, singer and pianist, she enjoys applying these skills in workshops on ekphrastic poetry. Her work is in 5 books, published since 2009 and numerous journals and anthologies.

Poetry Added to Annual Contest

South 85 Journal is adding POETRY to it’s summer literary contest this year with a $500 cash award. Our inaugural poetry judge is Denise Duhamel.

Full details, including information for the Flash Fiction contest, can be found below and on the South 85 Journal website.  Deadline for contest submissions is August 1st, 2020.


JULIA PETERKIN LITERARY CONTEST HONORS SOUTH CAROLINIAN AUTHOR
Winners in Each Genre will Receive $500 Prize Each

South 85 Journal, Converse College MFA program’s online literary journal, is adding poetry to it’s annual Julia Peterkin summer literary contest.

As in past years, the contest honors South Carolinian author Julia Peterkin, an1896 graduate of Converse College whose novel, Scarlet Sister Mary, received the Pulitzer in 1929.

Submissions are open from June 1 through August 1. One winner in each genre will receive a cash prize of $500 and four runners-up in each genre will be named and published alongside the winning selection in the Fall / Winter issue of South 85 Journal. Only the winners will receive a cash award.

Contest readers, composed of seasoned writers and MFA students, will review submissions and forward them to the presiding judges. Converse College MFA faculty member Marlin Barton will make the final selections for the Flash Fiction award and Converse College MFA faculty member Denise Duhamel will make the final selection for the Poetry award. All submissions will be read blind.

Submit your previously unpublished fiction of 850 words or less for consideration in the Flash Fiction contest or up to three previously unpublished poems of 50 lines or fewer for consideration in the Poetry contest.

For more information or to submit, visit the contest page on Submittable at https://south85.submittable.com/submit/118884/julia-peterkin-award-for-flash-fiction-500-prize.

Cotton and Coconut  by Michelle Grue

Phone turned off, but I can still hear the elegiac
wails of mothers unmade by bullets shot by
my money turned into taxes,
turned into uniforms with golden shields
more afraid of unarmed melanin than white
murderers

Generations of hatred that disregard the sanctity of Black lives
Black queer lives, young lives, old lives, ratchet lives, politics of respectability made flesh – none safe
Tragedy unpunished because of policies and laws and the comfortable
ignorance of everyday people unwilling to remove
rose-colored glasses that hide the reality of a
nation we love that we wish loved us back

I can’t un-see the latest viral video of generations of hope turned into a corpse,
but I can feel the black cotton in the field of my son’s head rub against my face.
I can smell the coconut as his hair tickles my nose.
I hear the hallelujah in every rustle his warm child body makes against mine.
I marvel at how he takes every scarred lump and fleshy cranny of my body and
remixes them into safety,
a sense of security I know is an illusion.

Hands that dump flour into a mixing bowl, that
tug mine as we count pinecones, that
hold mine as we dance to the Motown songs of my Dad’s
youth, my youth, now his youth
anchor me while I try not to hear the
haunting of
strange
fruit.


Michelle Grue is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies higher education pedagogy and Writing Studies through the lenses of intersectionality and critical digital literacies. She has previously published in Zingara Poetry Review, the fantasy journal Astral Waters Review, the Expressionists Magazine of the Arts, and DASH Literary Journal. Feeding her creative energies and making space during motherhood and graduate school life has been a challenging pleasure.

 

American Shop Windows by Rikki Santer

after “The Munich Mannequins” by Sylvia Plath

Mannequins lean tonight
sober-faced giraffes,

eyebrow apparitions, torsos
imagining animal pleasures.

Surrogate armies defend
molded nipples & navels,

postural idiosyncrasies
always captured ready

to wear. Tweens with their 
own rod & base, trail through 

the mall, libidos with fables 
glittering from cellphones.

Smoothies sustain them.
Credit cards explain them.

Suburban world trips the axis.
Selfies, like flatlined cameos, 

frame vapor tongues numb
under fluorescence.


Rikki Santer’s work has appeared in various publications including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie, Hotel Amerika, The American Journal of Poetry, Slab, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, Grimm, Slipstream, Midwest Review and The Main Street Rag. Her seventh poetry collection, In Pearl Broth, was published this past spring by Stubborn Mule Press.

Interview with Poet Carol Smallwood by Carole Mertz

I am pleased to feature Carol Mertz’s interview with Carol Smallwood.

Carole Smallwood is an interviewer, editor, and literary judge. Her most recent book is Patterns: Moments in Time (Word Poetry, 2019). A multi-Pushcart nominee, she’s founded and supports humane societies. A collection is also forthcoming from Main Street Rag. Their conversation right after this poem by Smallwood:

We Select

a few—the selections random: a melody, morning fog, a path,
knowing with certainty at the time they’ll be ours to the end—
an imprinting sudden as first love with no thought of aftermath:
a sunset, muffled cry, a Thanksgiving dressing, smile of a friend.
Knowing with certainty at the time they’ll be ours to the end,
they return at unexpected moments, their clarity a surprise:
a sunset, muffled cry, a Thanksgiving dressing, smile of a friend
bringing feeling from depths we cannot withhold, disguise.
They return at unexpected moments, their clarity a surprise
an imprinting sudden as first love with no thought of aftermath
bringing feeling from depths we cannot withhold, disguise:
a few—the selections random: a melody, morning fog, a path.

C.M. Carol, from the number of collections you’ve published within the last decade, it’s obvious your work is a rich flow of creativity. Can you tell us a little about your attitude toward work and your writing process? When did you start writing poetry?

Smallwood: Writing never seemed to be work ever since learning to read in school. The whole idea of words—the way they sound, look, evoke, made me feel right away it was a new world I wanted to explore. Of course I had no idea what was involved but knew it was one I wanted to be in. Poetry was a form I didn’t think I’d ever try, as after taking college poetry classes in which one class period was figuring out what a poet meant in one line seemed impossibly hard. But finally I decided to try a few so jumped in and was amazed to get acceptances which encouraged me in 2006 to keep going. Probably dealing with cancer at this time prompted me. Yes, I’m OK now but facing mortality pushes one. By chance I ran across formal poetry and after much struggling came up with a villanelle which gave me so much satisfaction I found out how to do triolets, pantoums, and other forms; the rondeau my latest. I found How to Write Classical Poetry: A Guide to Forms, Techniques, and Meaning (Ragazine) to be of great help. As far as the process of writing, it is illusive, very mysterious. The best comes from our unconscious which we know little. It seems the times I try the hardest are times I do the least and when I am not trying, ideas come. Writers are always writing even if not putting words down as it is a simmering on a back burner we have little to do with. Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea in a very short time as he was ready for it, it was cooked so to speak.

C.M. Do you work mostly at home? If not, how do you establish your routine, for example, if working at a library or another location? In Interweavings, your collection of creative nonfiction, in your essays, and in some of your poems, you refer to visits to the library, and sometimes to the napkins at McDonald’s. I’ve always wondered if you actually took lunches at McDonald’s.

Smallwood: Yes, I work mostly at home now, around 5 hours at the desktop computer. When not at home I often jot down words on paper that is always handy and yes, sometimes when I run out, on napkins or placemats. Lunch out is my carrot to keep me working and I’m a good customer of fast food places—they know me by name and what I order.

C.M. When working at an outside location, what writing tools do you carry in your tote bag?

Smallwood: Just my list of things to shop on back of scrap paper and two pens. Often ideas pop up while I’m driving, so I have a clipboard handy on the passenger seat. It is hard to read on the fly (if you want to read it).

C.M. I’ve admired your essays at Society of Classical Poets on various poetical forms. Does content of your poems dictate the form you choose, or vice versa?

Smallwood: A cinquain sometimes starts as a poem but ends up as a sestina or fiction. My computer screen has a big folder called Unfinished Work that I keep going and often use, that is, finish. My latest notes I took last night long hand watching television.

C.M. Does the material reside in your mind (pre-inscription, as it were) and then you shape the poem? Or do you begin with the formal outline of a villanelle or pantoum, for example, and work the lines into the poem’s formal construct?

Smallwood: Ideas come first and then I write it as a narrative not thinking what form it would fit. The challenge in most formal poetry is not to make it too “sing song” that is, the rhyme must not overwhelm. I often start out with many lines but end up with just a few or toss it.

C.M. In various passages from your writing, you’ve referred to John Galsworthy? How has his writing influenced your own?

Smallwood: I have lunch with John every day even if carrying hard copies in my purse makes it heavy. It was in high school I first read him and greatly admired his style—not knowing about him at all, I just felt it was special and someone I wanted to keep reading. I now have a set (Devon Edition) I treasure that came with uncut pages as well as several autographed books. He has written widely in other forms besides fiction, but it is his novels I keep reading. His The Forsyte Saga has been in at least 2 major television series but I can’t watch it because my image of the characters just doesn’t match those on screen after reading it so often. I often think of his:  “Art was unsatisfactory. When it gave you the spirit, distilled the essence, it didn’t seem real; and when it gave you the gross, cross-currented, contradictory surface, it didn’t seem worth while.”

C.M. Do you have favorite contemporary poets? I feel I’m always trying to catch up on authors I haven’t yet read. Do you feel that kind of pressure?

 Smallwood: Yes, I have that same pressure of keeping up to date. And concluded one just cannot!

C.M. One of my favorite essays from your Interweavings is the one you call “Beginning the Day.” I like it for the “present moment” of the essay and for its reverence of the past, told as much by the scarf the cat played with (made from flour sack material), as by items such as stones saved from the past and reference to an old Department of Agriculture land study. This essay achieved such a balancing of “then and now.” Can you tell us something of how this essay came about?

 Smallwood: Thank you! The things I mention were taken from what I saw. As one that fights to fall asleep, seeing dawn has become very familiar but I can never really capture it—it is an amazing process seeing familiar things take on reassuring form early in the day. The essay was an attempt.

C.M. Your collections are so interesting and so varied, one from the other. In Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences you organize your material according to the earth’s elements, speaking sometimes of the Swan Nebula and sometimes of tea bubbles. The unity of Prisms, Particles, and Refractions, on the other hand, is so different from that of A Matter of Selection where in your preface you address the question of words left in poems and thoughts suggested by what’s left out. When you start assembling your material, do you always recognize immediately the common thread that will make the collection cohere?

Smallwood: Thank you! It isn’t until I’ve written nearly twenty new poems that I can detect a theme to shape a new collection. There is a thread that connects them even if didn’t know it when writing them and it is satisfying to find, pin it down.

C.M. I think readers would be most interested in learning what part of the collection process you find most enjoyable? most laborious? most challenging?

 Smallwood: The most enjoyable is seeing the collection fall into place as a unit out of so many parts. In each collection I use 3-5 Parts in Roman Numerals to place the poems as a further definition. And begin with a Prelude, end with an Epilogue. Give it structure, maybe it is the librarian part of my background. The most laborious is thinking of a new poem: thinking is the wrong word—it just comes when it is ready. Sometimes you are convinced you have written your last one and a new one is a thing of the past; it is all over. The most challenging is to keep yourself open, the waiting.

C.M. If you don’t mind serving further as teacher, could you tell the novice poet how to go about organizing his/her material, or how or when (s)he should approach a publisher?

Smallwood: Once you finish putting the collection together, add requested blurbs, let it sit a month at least, read it with new eyes. Make sure the table of contents matches the order of the poems, spellcheck. If possible, have a friend spellcheck.  This is the way I organized my most recent poetry collection, In the Measuring:

  • Blurbs
  • Half Page (title only)
  • Title/Author Page
  • Epigraph
  • Recent Selected Work
  • Table
  • Foreword
  • Introduction (Preface)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prelude
  • Names of Parts
  • Epilogue
  • About the Writer

Decide if you want to pay a fee for a contest, or a reading fee. Most publishers go this route but some do not. A reliable list of publishers is by Poets & Writers: Small Presses

Expect to wait, make dozens of submissions as the competition is high. I’ve had 8 poetry collections published so far and another hybrid (not all poetry) is coming out in November from Finishing Line Press; a poetry collection in 2019 from WordTech Editions. John Dos Passos expressed it well when he wrote:  “If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works, with all the misconceptions, the omissions, the failures that any finished work of art implies.”

***

Carole Mertz, poet and essayist, is the author of the 2019 poetry chapbook, Toward a Peeping Sunrise (Prolific Press). She writes for various literary journals in U.S. and Canada and resides in Parma, OH. Mertz is the Book Review Editor at Dreamer’s Creative Writing.

Finally Going to Tell You about the Staircase Ghost by Luanne Castle

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.

The Lark Ascended by Wayne Lee

–for Mica and Annie

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.

 

2019 Best of the Net Nominations

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.

The judges for poetry this year is  Eloisa Amezcua.

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!!