Gull – a poem by Emalisa Rose

Gull

Perhaps mere cliché
yet her sighting still soothes
beneath sorrow's incision

here, as we gather to stand
over soil that will cradle
the casket's last calling.

Silver gull circles.

Somehow she knows -
she just knows.

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and crochet. She volunteers in animal rescue tending to cat colonies. She walks with a birding group on Sundays through the neighborhood trails.  Her work has appeared in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Amethyst Review, Spillwords and other wonderful places.Her latest collection is This water paint life, published by Origami Poems Project. She can be reached at veganflower00@gmail.com

Lunchbreak – a poem by John Seacome

Lunchbreak

Surveying the view over fresh wrapped sandwiches,
lunch break workers sit in their accustomed spaces on the Edge
A display of silver obliterates the western sk
A numinosity so bright it’s hard to loo
Is it the gateway to heaven?
Not like the much sought-after setting sun
Performing tricks on the horizo
Changing hue as it grows, then sinking exhausted below the horizon,
like a tired human slipping below the duvet.
The comfort of sunset is a set piece for marking day and night
like changing the guard.
Today this sky intimates a rare glory
The linking of Heaven and Earth
Not a time for sleeping but a time to wake.
but this makes the nerves tingle.
maybe offering a promise of greater things to come.
The plastic wrappers thrown carefully in a bin,
The lunchtime philosophers
head back to work and home.

John Seacome is a retired Town Planner and has spent his retirement years training to be a Licensed Lay Minister and working in his local Benefice south west of Wakefield. He also researches local and family history and enjoys being with his granddaughters nearby.He is more familiar with prose writing but is attempting to create a poetic style at present

A Name for Ourselves – a poem by Ryan Helvoigt

A Name for Ourselves 
 
Burning and brick and bitumen 
a stench of ambition 
and untested brotherhood 
common as language. 
“A name for ourselves” 
And what was that name? 
Forgotten, abandoned like 
the city, a broken fist 
raised to the heavens 
and slapped down. 
“Its name was called  
Babel”—an appellation  
not built, but breathed 
out of confusion, bestowed 
not for the accomplishments 
of man, but of God. 
 
I’ve not seen the plains 
of Shinar, but I too 
have feared dispersion 
and craved to graze  
the floor of heaven 
with grasping fingertips. 
Have ached for recognition 
built with boasting hands 
blistering with self-import. 
I’ve not spoken a universal  
tongue, but I too 
have danced to sirens’ 
song of camaraderie,  
ignoring the steady 
steps of obedience. 
Have drunk the wine  
of autonomy, becoming 
intoxicated with names.  
 
Unless the Lord builds 
the house, those who 
labor, labor in vain. 
How much more the city? 
How much more the tower? 
How much more the name?  
 

Ryan Helvoigt ​is a poet living in Durango, CO with her husband and two children. She holds an MDiv in missions from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Her work has appeared in Fathom Magazine

Snow Geese – a poem by John Valentine

Snow Geese



What ineffable grace where they lift from satin
ice fields and arc across a milk-white moon

as if spirit had gathered the wind in this crystalline
moment for its own up-rushing, inestimable

purpose. What streaming they make along
the winter sky, how the air seems more mystical

and translucent for their flying as they rise to
greet the glowing sun and ride the canyon clouds

until they drift to nearly nothingness, a long
thin line of shadow and suggestion.

And then, as if spirit could never forget
the earth, they ease, hover, suddenly settle

into brilliance, glorious air, a chaos of wings
that feathers and preens the glistening light.


John Valentine has recently retired from 45 years of teaching philosophy courses at various colleges.

Sparrow in the School – a poem by Abigail Myers

Sparrow in the School


Daughter, I see you
in the barren corridor, 
frozen and pulsing: 
too shamed for shelter,
too hungry to pray.
A pale sparrow, 
far from home and too
afraid to sing, careers
from wall to wall.

Truly I tell you that
not one of these will flutter
madly tiny, dirty wings between
the red Exit in its wire
cage and the counselor’s door without
the knowledge of your Mother
in heaven—

but a spear shall pierce
your own heart also, for you
cannot teach a house sparrow,
two they are for a penny.
You cannot point, helpless, toward
the door opening on to the
courtyard, cannot offer
the false grass, the smogged sky.

And the sparrow beats her wings,
panicked, bereft, four hundred sixty
thumps a desolate minute.
Know you not that
I see you also, between the
red Exit and the world,
your own blood hard, fast,
a cage around your softness,
teeth and tongue in your mouth?

Say to me, daughter:
I have shattered my wings
from flying to nowhere.
I need an egress, a nest.
Mother, give me more sense
than a sparrow.  Lead me out
and the bird may follow.


And I will take you in my hand.
I will set you against
the sky and array you in lilies.
I will hold your humming heart
near mine, still aflame for you
and your broken world, 
red as an Exit, 
pure as a sparrow
flown, spent, finally, home.


Abigail Myers lives on the South Shore of Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.  She has published essays in the Blackwell Philosophy and Popular Culture series and offers poetry, fiction, and nonfiction on spirituality and art at abigailmyers.com.

Angel’s Telegram – a poem by Jessica Mattox

Angel’s Telegram 


An angel whispers in my ear:

It’s okay. 

Her words like clockwork
melt the worries in my soul, 
because a soul was not built
to worry, not meant to house
toxic fog but rather sail

on night mists. I see
angel lighthouse 
signals; their still,
small morse code 
reaches my heart

and the morning 
comes, a welcoming 
mother, facilitating
a sense of wonder.

I recycle J. Alfred Prufrock’s 
business card, because I am a loveable
fool but he will never again
tell me that it’s a crime
to disturb the universe.

I’ll eat a peach, live like a peach, and be peachy. 
I’ll drive to Georgia 
and eat all the sweet
peaches I can get my hands on, 
because the angel
whispered in my
ear, left a telegram
that reads:
 
Hello, stop.  You’re beautiful, stop.
And as for all of the doubt,
stop. 

Jessica Mattox is a PhD student in English at Old Dominion University and an adjunct English professor. In addition to writing poetry, she is passionate about the teaching and learning of technical/professional communication and first-year composition. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Last Leaves Magazine, The Album at Hollins University, Exit 109 at Radford University, and others. In addition, her academic scholarship has been published in the Virginia English Journal.

Vicissitudes – a poem by Janet Krauss

Vicissitudes


The large motherly hand of the hemlock
ushers the breeze as a guest onto the porch.
I ignore the tree’s allusion to death
and Socrates.  Instead, I am drawn
to the spread of its wide branches.
The leaves look and feel like infants’ fingers,
the green that of newborn spring.
But at night the tree slips into a robe
black as obsidian that blocks my view
of star-strung Orion.  I move away
beyond the hemlock to find my place
to watch Orion begin his journey
across the sky.  He has all the room in space.
He does not know his fate.
We both are content to wait.

Janet Krauss, who has two books of poetry published, Borrowed Scenery, Yuganta Press, and Through the Trees of Autumn, Spartina Press, has recently retired from teaching English at Fairfield University. Her mission is to help and guide Bridgeport’s  young children through her teaching creative writing, leading book clubs and reading to and engaging a kindergarten class. As a poet, she co-directs the poetry program of the Black Rock Art Guild.

Gifting My Maracuyá – a poem by Laurie Kuntz

Gifting My Maracuyá

 A stringy vine that gets tangled 
in shoe laces, or around bare ankles,
it's best to let it creep 
up tall trees in broad sun, 
no shade to hide its bloom,
but I have shade and stumbles,
so I gave my Maracuyá vines away 
to settle in a sunnier clime.

Years passed, and the vine flowered 
a ripe passionate purple mass 
of petals and filament and corona.

We forget all we give away 
until it returns fully ripened. 

A stringy vine in another's soil
blossoming flower into fruit and passion,
returned as a gift bestowed 
by giving love away.

Laurie Kuntz is a two time Pushcart nominee and a Best of Net nominee. Her fifth poetry collection: Talking Me off the Roof is available from Kelsay Books. Visit her at: https://lauriekuntz.myportfolio.com/ 

Cronk Meayll – a poem by Simon Maddrell

                                 Cronk Meayll


                             Rock crystal centre of the bald hill
                                       graves wherever I stare to balance
                                                   feet that teeter & scratch on the edge
                                                           eyes close to a howling sun & nose
                                                                    sea-smelt breeze of gorse flower
                                                                                     heather with undertones of sheep                             
   in a red darkness, like whirlwinds
                species after species extinguish 
                in meteor showers that create visions
                ancestors floating still above twelve graves
                                              hands shaking –– heads shivering
	                                                                    at all we have yet to do.




Cronk Meayll [Manx Gaelic]: Mull Hill (literally bald hill). 
 

Simon Maddrell is a queer Manx man, thriving with HIV. He’s published in fifteen anthologies and publications including AMBITButcher’s DogThe MothThe Rialto, Poetry Wales, Stand and Under the Radar. In 2020, Simon’s debut, Throatbone, was published (UnCollected Press) and Queerfella jointly-won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition.

Eve Discusses Adam’s First Wife – a poem by Gail White

Eve Discusses Adam’s First Wife

You tell me Lilith has become a fiend,
a vampire, a screech-owl, one who preys
on children (I have three and she has none),
sentenced for disobedience to run wild,
hideous now, howling for all she lost.
You tell me I was taken from your side
that I might always find a refuge there,
a warm and nestling creature like the cat,
safe from the free but haunted world of dark.
And I’ve adjusted splendidly, I think.
My apple fritters are the best you’ll eat,
go where you will. I keep domestic life
tidy and clean. I never stir abroad
for fear of Lilith’s shriek and bat-like wings.
Yet when our first son killed our second son,
I – the good mother and obedient wife -
had one quick moment’s envy of her life.

Gail White is a contributing editor of Light Poetry Magazine and a frequent contributor to formalist poetry journals and anthologies. She is a 2-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Prize. Her most recent books, Asperity Street and Catechism, may be found on Amazon. She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana with her husband and cats.