What the Pope Said – a poem by Sarah A. Etlinger

What the Pope Said

The Pope has said
that hell doesn’t exist–
souls only disappear.

But your beautiful creases
spread on mine; invisible
except in the right conditions
of temperature and light.

At night, I glow in the dark:
indelible patterns
from your breath
inked into my flesh,
the living map
of where we’ve been.

Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor who resides in Milwaukee, WI, with her family. In addition to writing, hobbies include cooking, traveling, and learning to play piano. Look for her work in The Penwood Review, The Magnolia Review, Cliterature, and many others. Her chapbook, Never One For Promises, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in 2019.

Disappearance – a poem by Scott Waters


I tell the family I’m going for a walk
up the beach

breaths of fog steam under a limpid sun
the grey strand as wide as a soccer field
crumbly brown bluffs 30 feet high
painted in rust, eggplant, dark green
ice plants with purple flowers popping out
a toddler runs from his mother holding a string
and a parrot kite rises into the lavender mist
provoking squawks of delight from below

I find my legs have begun to run
past a lifeguard station surrounded
by blankets chairs umbrellas in more colors
than a rainbow can hold
a pair of black porpoises slice
the foaming Pacific on my left
accompanied by gasps on my right
I jog past a small dead gray whale
flung and twisted by the muscular waves
skin now coppery and mottled
with knuckle-sized white barnacles
lower jaw bone of the beast
bleached and upthrust toward the streaming sun
a stench of blubber rot follows me
on the rails of a breeze
but I outrun it

now I shut my eyes
and there’s nothing but the thud
of my feet on hard wet eons
a blended roar of water and wind
warm orange light on my eyelids
I feel myself


…………………………………….on pelican wings

into a wild and rippling canopy
of blue


Scott Waters is a poet and songwriter living in Oakland, California, with his wife and son.  He graduated with an M.A. from the San Francisco State creative writing program, and has published previously in The Santa Clara Review, The Pangolin Review, Oblivion, and NatureWriting.

Naming the Trees – a poem by Coreen Hampson

Naming the Trees

The mountain opens its mouth to speak.
No one but the wind is listening.
Guide books and maps open,
the tourists talk about
which mountain to climb and
where to eat breakfast. The mountain
closes, refusing to tell them anything.
Talks to the wind instead. No one
is listening other than an owner who
charges twenty-eight dollars
for breakfast.

Trees whisper and wave. The people
call them “beautiful”. They don’t
hear the whisper. Want to name the
nameless trees. They want to find
the nameless mountain on the map.
As if to name is to own in some way.
Nothing reveals its real name, Each one
must find their own true name
and hold it in their hearts .

The wind moves the tree
in a nameless dance, his mouth
on her ear. She hears her own name.
Her arm moves down his body
but he is gone. Her longing swells
beneath seed-laden branches,
drops down into her roots,
into the ground,
and she is free.

Coreen Hampson lives in Grants Pass, OR. She is a gardener and poet. Her first book of poetry, Growing Smaller, has recently been accepted by Flowstone Press.

Pink Lotus on Still Water – a poem by Marga Fripp

Pink Lotus on Still Water

In my dream I battle water,
muddy-gray torrents
heaving fear
over my sunken bedroom.

I can’t swim, though I try.
The waves rise and thicken, the stalks
of my feet take root
in a swamp.

The wide-eyed baby
clasped to my chest
smiles. I am terrified
for his life.

No skills to swim but skills
to save, I tug my body
through viscous fluid,

each step an anvil—
I’m a shipwreck in bottomless night.

The baby
takes my hands
in his hands. His smile
pulls me upward.

Slowly, we ascend.
The flood recedes,
the smiling baby
drifts in cotton-soft air.


I am light-made,
a pink-lotus floating
on still water.

I float. I bloom. I fold
into wholeness.


Marga Fripp is a Romanian-American women’s empowerment social entrepreneur and former journalist living in Geneva, Switzerland. Her poems like music long to be heard, danced with and set free. Her work has appeared in Ink and Voices and Offshoots 14: Writing from Geneva, Fall 2017.

The way the iris opens – a poem by Deborah Leipziger

The way the iris opens

Ventricle by ventricle,
an internal map

a propulsion from within
lavender and plum

The way the iris closes
is a reversal,
a recoiling

Slowly like a scroll
of parchment,
winding tight

gathering its corners until —
its veins visible —
it becomes itself.

Deborah Leipziger is an author, poet, professor, and mother. Her chapbook, Flower Map, was published by Finishing Line Press (2013). She is the co-founder of Soul-Lit, an on-line poetry magazine. Born in Brazil, Ms. Leipziger is the author of several books on human rights and sustainability. http://flowermap.net/

Awakening – a poem by Ellen Austin-Li


“This sense of clean and beautiful newness within and without is one of the commonest entries in conversion records…And that such a glorious transformation as this ought of necessity to be preceded by despair …”
-William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience

Without ghost lines of turned-down pages,
I pulled the unread book from its wedged perch,
opened to a tale written by a drunk sage.
Without ghost lines, no turned-down pages,
I unlocked the door of my cage—
from weathered story sprung the answer to my search.
Without ghost lines of turned-down pages,
I awakened in this printed church.


Ellen Austin-Li is a nurse reborn as an award-winning poet. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she participates in every writing workshop in her path. She has been published in Artemis, The Maine Review, Writers Tribe Review, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and others.

Weakness – a poem by Rupert Loydell



Viv Albertine suggests, in retrospect,

that ‘it’s a weakness to want to be adored’,

and she’s probably right, but I’m trying

to square it with Jean Vanier’s short piece

about ‘how to lose power’. Immersing

himself in the daily life of the disadvantaged

and disabled, he no longer has to pretend

that he’s better than others. I wonder

if wanting to be loved or adored isn’t

natural, but maybe by not worrying about it

and simply loving others – in practice, not

as an emotional or theological idea –

we end up being loved ourselves. Perhaps

not by those we desire or lust or admire,

but by other human beings who suffer

the same pains and heartaches and worry

as we do, only worse. This all looks pious

set down here, it is perhaps pretentious

to quote post-punk queen and preacher

side-by-side, but it seems applicable

to my world. It might mean neighbours

and students, the elderly of the village

and friends of friends I don’t like,

but that’s the point. I don’t want

to be a saint or famous poet anyway.

© Rupert M Loydell


Rupert Loydell is a writer, editor and abstract artist. His many books of poetry include Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Return of the Man Who Has Everything (Shearsman 2015); and he has edited anthologies such as Yesterday’s Music Today (co-edited with Mike Ferguson, Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2014), and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos (Salt, 2010).

To the Rock Artist – a poem by Anne Dunford

To the Rock Artist

It seemed almost indecent to
take away the sods
that clothed your carvings.

After years of burial
we exposed you to the sky
revealing all, bit by bit.

We, in our ‘civilised’ world
wonder, what of us will remain
thousands of years hence?

The soil and turf replaced,
your work once more
remains sacred, a secret.

Anne Dunford After working mostly in education for many years, Anne is now spending more time writing. Poems  published on Poetry Scotland’s Open Mouse and in a number of poetry magazines including The Dawntreader published by Indigo Dreams. She is working on a poetry collection. She blogs at Life’s a Beachhttps://annedunford.wordpress.com/

Tsunami Morning – a poem by Mark Tulin

Tsunami Morning

Just like any other day,
I awoke bright and early.
I had my buttered toast,
Half & Half in my coffee.

I kissed my wife goodbye,
the dog gave a wag of his tail,
promised my twin daughters
I’d make it to their dance recital.

Opened the door and got carried away
by a big watery dinosaur.

The wave was at least a thousand feet tall,
had a wicked smile for a curl,
a destructive force of a demon crossed.

A dawn of a new era.
My old life washed away.
Good riddance to my nine-to-five job,
goodbye 401K,
I was getting tired of civilization anyway.

All my worldly possessions were gone,
my pipe dreams and gold teeth,
my daughters’ roller skate key
and my silver Ford Explorer
had all floated away

Down a one-way street,
past my favorite ice-cream parlor,
past the schools I attended,
along with saturated lawyers, computer geeks,
and complete strangers I never planned to meet.

I swam submerged with the endangered species
and non-denominational types with their hipster friends.
Sadly enough, only a few people floated to the top–
a Hatha yoga instructor named Laura,
a canonized Saint from Walla Walla,
and an investment broker from Kalamazoo.


Mark Tulin is a retired Family Therapist who writes poetry and short stories in Santa Barbara, California. His chapbook, Magical Yogis, was published by Prolific Press (2017). He has published in smokebox.net, Page and Spine, Friday Flash Fiction, and many others.  His poetry and short stories can be found on his website, Crow On The Wire.

The Cricket’s Silence – a poem by Lily Thomas

The Cricket’s Silence

Please, do not quit on my account.
Do not let my presence be so daunting
that it stifles your song.
No, dear friend, resume your tune.
My eardrums long to be stirred
by your music, like a zephyr
on the leas in mid-May.
Be silent no more, little one.
The evening sky bids you, sing!
Lift your lilts unto the meadow
and pacify the day’s activity into
a stillness, so serene.
Would not the birds chime their
melodies if I strolled below their perches?
Would not the toads bellow their
cadences as I tread the paths of their marsh?
Then why, virtuoso, do you silence now
while I pass through your meadow?
Be merry and sing your song,
do not forsake me in silence.


Lily Thomas is a senior at Trevecca Nazarene University where she majors in English with a concentration in creative writing. She also holds an editorial position for the Cumberland River Review based out of Nashville.