“White Crow” by Yuan Changming

Perching long in each human heart
Is a white crow that no one has
Ever seen, but everyone longs
To be

Always ready
To fly out, hoping to bring back
A glistening seed or a colorful feather
As if determined to festoon its nest

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan and hosts Happy Yangsheng in Vancouver; credits include ten Pushcart nominations, seven chapbooks, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), Best New PoemsOn Line, Threepenny Review and 1,389 others across 41 countries.

 

“Safe” by Karlo Sevilla

“Along the sidewalk,
always safest along the sidewalk,”
father used to say.
(A truck may swerve,
roll over the sidewalk
and pin you against
a lamppost…)
Still, always safest
along the sidewalk.

I wear my brand new pair
of Air Jordan while I walk
on the sidewalk.
(They’re affordable
and look and feel great
as the real deal.)

I’m safe as I stroll
with my shoes
on the sidewalk.

Karlo Sevilla is the author of “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Radius, Matter, Yellow Chair Review, Eunoia, Poetry24, The Ramingo’s Porch, Ariel Chart, In Between Hangovers, in the anthologies of Peacock Journal, Eternal Remedy, Riverfeet Press, and Azoth Khem Publishing, and elsewhere.

 

“Night” by Jerry Wemple

Night falls suddenly when the sun declines
behind these granite hills. The boy sits on
the river side of the flood wall, his back
to the town. He smokes a cigarette, counts
the cars and tractor trucks on the state road
across the water. Wonders where they’re bound.
The boy would like a car, some way, any way
to leave the town, to drive past the farms
until the hills grow and the woods thicken
and sit beside the tiny stream that is the start
of this half-mile wide river. The boy rises,
heads into town. He walks past the little park,
a few blocks up Market, enters a tiny hot
dog restaurant, nods to Old Sam, who started
the place after the war. Sam knows, fixes
one with everything, uncaps a blue birch
from the old dinged metal floor cooler,
while the boy fingers the lone coin in
his pocket. Outside the wind rises and shifts.

Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here (winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award), The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. His poems and essays have been published in numerous journal and anthologies. He teaches in the creative writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

“Overheard” by Carolyn Martin

As evening sneaks around
the house,
the ironing board and
kitchen sink gossip about
your first kiss.
Inexplicable –
how they understand
the weight of soft,
the intimacy
of wind-brushed clouds; how,
in this chartreuse spring,
you’ll leave behind
your baseball glove for moony moods
and un-chewed fingernails; how
you’ll charge
summer’s quickenings
with shattered
beliefs of black and white.
Tonight, as the board folds itself
and the last dish is washed,
the owl clock hushes
their surmise.
If you had overheard, you
would have entertained
their slivered truths,
perhaps cheered their prophecy.

From English teacher to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and perfect summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK including “Stirring,” “CALYX,” “Persimmon Tree,” “How Higher Education Feels,” and “Antiphon.” Her third collection, Thin Places, was released by Kelsay Books in Summer 2017. Since the only poem she wrote in high school was red-penciled “extremely maudlin,” Carolyn is ​still ​amazed she has continued to write.

 

 

“Three Pleasures” by Lola Haskins

Coffee

The day you learned to love bitterness,
you were sure you were grown.

*

Flowers

Older, you set flowers in clear water as if
with enough kindness, they would not fade.

*

Desire

The din of thousands of wanting cranes
informs your winter steps. You count

on them like husbands, every dawn.
Then one morning, they are gone.

Lola Haskins’ most recent poetry collection is How Small, Confronting Morning (Jacar, 2016). Her prose work includes an advice book and a book about Florida cemeteries. Among her honors are the Iowa Poetry Prize and two Florida Book Awards. She serves as Honorary Chancellor of the Florida State Poet’s Association.

“Do Not” by Barbara Lawhorn

Don’t fall in love ever again.
Maybe, don’t trust yourself.
Maybe only believe in what is
tangible. Don’t use similes
and metaphors so much in speech. Don’t

let others know what you are thinking. Feeling.
Doing next. Don’t plan ahead. Don’t plan meals.
Don’t think. Don’t think the wind rustling the dead
leaves, still hanging on, is God. Don’t

expect. Anything. Don’t expect anyone.
Anyone to make room for you in the homes
of their lives. Or you for them. Get small. Get quiet.
Work on disappearing into yourself. Think.
Think bomb shelter, canned goods, flashlights, and sleeping
bags. Zip yourself up. Listen. Listen. To the water rising
in you; all that blood. Be a dead leaf casting away, first on air
then on water. Use as few words as possible. As necessary.
You aren’t a tree. Words aren’t branches. Words are icicles.
Only hang them coldly, where they are really needed. Don’t

press your body to anything or anyone. Let your body only
be lodging wherever and whenever you are in the world. Don’t
talk. Don’t send a telegram to the world; send one to yourself.
Don’t smile unnecessarily. Set your face. Your skin isn’t Silly
Putty. Much of the world is unfunny. Don’t

laugh. What foolishness
you swam in. How dare you? You wore optimism like a bikini
that didn’t fit you. Take it off. No one will look at you,
much less touch you, in your nakedness.

Barbara Lawhorn is an Assistant Professor at Western Illinois University. She’s into literacy activism, walking her dog, Banjo, running, baking and eating bread, and finding the wild places, within and outside. Her most recent work can be found at The Longleaf Pine, BLYNKT, Nebo: A Literary Magazine, and Naugatuck River Review. Her favorite creative endeavors are her kids, Annaleigh and Jack.

“Schoolhouse Rock” by Alex Stolis

Three is a Magic Number

The moon is full. Strike that. The moon is. Strike that.
There is no moon. There is a motorcade. Motorcycle
cop in full regalia, an American flag flies stiff in back.
The hearse is black, the black of silence; the kind that
crowds out light. Squeeze my hand want to know you
are still there. I’m having a premonition. Count the cars
with me: twothreefour, a hawk circles. The moon’s over
head after all, perched on a branch ready to fly.

The Shot Heard Round the World

The jukebox whirs and murmurs to a stop. Lipstick
law takes over after 2AM. Every cliché ever heard
gets lined up, ice-watered down, poured into a cup
along with sawdust and pool chalk. Go ahead suck
the lime. Lick the salt. Choke on it down. All bets
are off since the clean slate called it a night. This is
the land of a-plenty, land of absolute memories.
Last call is a random, desperate kiss.

Elementary, My Dear

The walls are suffocating, shedding their skin.
We’re not born for permanence. Adam made
the decision for us. We are destined to die of
exposure in the presence of love. Beauty: the
bite of an apple, a flash of white skin, one last
breath on a pane of glass. Sin: a constituency
of stars, a cabal of angels shuffling over a pin
head; a brand new coat of paint.

Alex Stolis lives in Minneapolis; he has had poems published in numerous journals. Recent chapbooks include Justice for all, published by Conversation Paperpress (UK) based on the last words of Texas Death Row inmates. Also, Without Dorothy, There is No Going Home from ELJ Publications. Other releases include an e-chapbook, From an iPod found in Canal Park; Duluth, MN, from Right Hand Pointing and John Berryman is Dead from White Sky e-books. His full length collection, Postcards from the Knife Thrower, was a runner up for the Moon City Poetry Award. His chapbook, Perspectives on a Crime Scene and a full length photo/poetry collection, Pop. 1280 are forthcoming from Grey Borders books.