Tag Archives: Finishing Line Press

“Change of Heart” by Marian Shapiro

Suppose – no decisions
could be changed, no fates
rearranged,
nothing broken, nothing
needing repair –
where
would I be then? And you?

Marian Kaplun Shapiro is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988),  a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and  two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). A Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often embeds the  topics of peace and violence by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she is a five-time Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012.

“Where the Peaches Are Always Ripe” by Kim Baker

And then a knife
lifting skin from a peach
paring away the succulence
as if fruit never bruises
and she lost the rhythm
for just a moment
the aroma taking her back
that summer
his skin
her sublime laughter

And then the knife did what knives will do
continued cutting
even when she was already bleeding
down to her very bone
and she is alone
his heart stopped long ago
long before this peach
this knife

Her children never understood why
she wouldn’t come live with them
preferred to make her own bed
and lie in the fragrance of what was

So that all she can do in this existential minute
is watch the bright red of her life
flow through her fingers
stain her apron
empty her of all she knew
watch it descend

like a staircase to another place
where the peaches are always ripe
and she can swallow them whole
because wasting the skin
the pit of grace
is just too human

When she isn’t writing poetry about big hair and Elvis, Kim works to end violence against women. A poet, playwright, photographer, and NPR essayist, Kim publishes and edits Word Soup, an online poetry journal that donates 100% of submission fees to food banks. Kim’s chapbook of poetry, Under the Influence: Musings about Poems and Paintings, is now available from Finishing Line Press.

“Inches” by Jamie Lynn Heller

Some inches slide
smoothly along a surface,
easy to measure.
Others are deceptive,
deep enough
to drown in calm seas.

She told me,
looking up from where
she intently inched
one finger along the chair fabric,
that meth makes her beautiful.

I walk in the mornings
on a crowded sidewalk
where bumped shoulders
cross canyons between
strangers who are farther
apart than a touch.

While in my own space,
we sleep inches apart,
the sheet between us
grows cold during the night.

Some inches slide
along a surface.
Others are deep enough
to drown.

Jamie Lynn Heller is a Pushcart Prize nominee (Little Balkans Review 2014) and Best of the Net nominee (805 Lit + Art 2016). Domesticated, was published in 2015 (Finishing Line Press). She received honorable mention awards in Whispering Prairie Press Writing Contest 2012and Kansas Voices Contest 2017, 2011. jamielynnheller.blogspot.com

“A Glass of Wine Near Birds” by Judith Bader Jones

At twilight, Grackles and Goldfinches drink water,
but I prefer transparent Riesling, a wine to capture
in-between-light when all gets said and undone.

Glass in hand I drink and watch birds clutch
the rim of the feeder. My hand grasps a glassful
of stemmed memories populated with music.

After one sip of time people gather and hang around
for a last drink served up near birds perched next to
my life’s collection of ghosts. No one flies solo.

Judith Bader Jones’ poems appear in The Language of Small Rooms and Moon Flowers on the Fence,chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press. Her book of short fiction, DeltaPearls, published by Sweetgum Press, Warrensburg, MO  received the William Rockhill Nelson Award for Fiction. She has upcoming poems in I-70 Review, Heart, and CHEST, The Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

“Years Later You Walk In” by Maryfrances Wagner

Tangled under a blanket
we could melt curbed snow,
smoke up windows,

desire unable to hold.
Boiling water, morning
after, sudden laughter.

You walk into my dream:
older man, panzer tan,
builder hands.

How could I have imagined
you would turn: spoiled meat,
October leaf, yellow teeth.


Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas (Mammoth) and Pouf (FLP). Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing WitnessThe Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation), et.al.  She co-edits I-70 Review.

To find out more, enjoy this previous interview with Maryfrances:

Zingara Interview Maryfrances Wagner

Enjoy more poems at Zingara Poetry Picks

“In Memoriam” by Sharon Scholl

I feel the sigh of thinking
about you, breath
carving out a riverbed of memory.

Cool in the shadow
of my passing through,
scenes flicker – you standing

in a door three summers
tall. I’m trying to find
your form, assemble love
from the labyrinth of places
that contained us, the web
of words that passed for truth.

Your pulse is made of ashes.
Your being is a whirlpool
in the ripples of my brain.


Sharon Scholl is professor emerita from Jacksonville University (Fl)  where she taught humanities and non-western studies.  Her chapbook, Summer’s Child, is new from Finishing Line Press.  Individual poems are current in Adanna, Caesura and, Rat’s Ass Review.

Mapping The Gnomes by Christina M. Rau

Stuck in a corkboard,
all sightings get categorized—

Red:  Definite
Blue: Possible
Yellow: Probable
Orange: Unlikely

A 3-D connect-the-dots journey
between bushes in Brussels
under azaleas in Iceland
among marigolds in Massachusetts
through paved paths in Puerto Rico
behind vines in Bellvue
around weeds in West Germany.

Reports come in rapid at sunrise
when the light excites and surprises—
three or four skittering across lawns and behind
old dog houses, their voices louder than
you’d think, if that’s that kind of thing
you think about.

They shout Make Way! Hold Back!
They move in scattered variety,
hurry to their places to
complement the poppies
accent the petunias
uphold the underbrush
with a wink, with a wish.

The big board tracks all the movement,
an attempt to capture magic
on the head of a pin.


Christina M. Rau is the author of the poetry chapbooks WakeBreatheMove (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and For The Girls, I (Dancing Girl Press, 2014). Founder of Poets In Nassau, a reading circuit on Long Island, NY, her poetry has appeared on gallery walls in The Ekphrastic Poster Show, on car magnets for The Living Poetry Project, and most recently in the journals Amethyst Arsenic and Better Than Starbucks. In her non-writing life, she practices yoga occasionally and line dances on other occasions. www.christinamrau.com