Transubstantiation – a poem by Sarah A. Etlinger

Transubstantiation 

Whenever a Jewish woman is pregnant,
it’s believed, she could carry the Messiah.
Maybe that’s why she can’t help but feed you.
How like Mary: preparing a hidden feast
for your belly like the nourishment
growing in hers, perfect conditions
for growing a life.

Maybe that’s why I take
such pleasure in feeding you:
they say the spirit resides
in pieces of barren cracker
and the cloying sweetness of wine.
Jews do not believe this
and yet–
my holy ancestor
crawls out of hiding when we’re alone
and I’m praying the rosary on your chest:
each rib a mystery
…………(Oh hail those holy mysteries
…………as your heart beats…)

each beat hail my holy Queen
my life my sweetness my hope
oh hail hail
my holy Queen

each breath a decade,
each “Glory Be” my kiss–

You make Mother of me
sweetness my hope oh welcome to Grace
You make Mother of me
there on your chest
from the very breaths I grow
within the deepest cells
of my body.

 

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.

Poem for Nigel F. – by Gabriella Garofalo

Poem for Nigel F.

To Nigel

By the by, God, have you ever seen my life?
It is your celebration, of course – and mine:
Nighttime, nighthawks, a soul marooned
On a desert island only sabres can slice:
Is it the word? The moon, maybe?
Be then eternity and the heavenly vaults my witnesses,
And ask them to declare why my soul crumbled to dust,
Maybe an ancient sibling rivalry with her sister death?
Remember those fights, the blazing rows, and you, God,
Looking at them as you do at crippled girls
And crushed beggars on the streets –
Who’s the blackguard, the wounded light
Afraid to give you shelter and her eyes
When the sky shouts ‘no’ and the biting anger of the grass
Shreds the deaf branches who never heard the voice
Of warring angels, and the green on sale,
Their only choice being raw light or sour shines –
Nor can you hide in a sparkling shelter
‘Cause the heat blights the scene,
The fire shrugs off your hunger –
Nor can you run to a jonquils field,
Nor to the water, what help have you got?
Alien limbs while an oblique demise takes it easy?
So, get rid of your lust for those bastard voices
And don’t you dare bug the sky:
He’s got lotsa weapons, your soul has not –
Just stay put and wait:
Maybe one day flowers will hustle life,
April will throw you a burning sky,
And your seeds, all of them, all of them,
You’ll gather to shout and rebel
‘Here comes the first season, here comes her light’ –
Meanwhile, beware of wrecked cells,
Pomegranates and crooked promises –
Ever realised anytime they pop in for dinner
They look so restless?
I know, it slips your mind, but your name is food,
A food they can’t wait to eat up
Under the shining stare of a retired cellist
Who thinks bluebells are dying to chat him up,
As they are in love and who says flowers can’t talk?
Who says mothers morph into a mortal sin
When joining their men from a lost Eden?
Some even ask for an answer they never catch,
That limbs are inseparable from rocks and stones,
From trees and leaves, and souls are even worse
Than blasting stars –
Then the polite rejections come along, like fences, like walls –
And, of course, many sheepish smiles.

 

Born in Italy some decades ago, Gabriella Garofalo fell in love with the English language at six, started writing poems (in Italian) at six and is the author of “Lo sguardo di Orfeo”; “L’inverno di vetro”; “Di altre stelle polari”; “Blue branches”.

Interview with the Clooty Well – a poem by Helen Ross

Interview with the Clooty Well, Munlochy 2 August 2018

Time was when they’d bring
their best circling sun-wise in houndstooths
silks dipped in my spring
tied to a nearby Ash with knotted prayer.

Left to rot
Pain forgot
Off the tether
Pain forever

Things were different then of course.
I mean we’re talking way back to the AD’s,
St Boniface, fairies.
Some even trusted me overnight with their babies.

Did it
does it work?
Do I think I can heal hurt?
According to TripAdvisor I’m a right state.
Barely a trickle emerging from the hillside.
Leafless branches creaking under the weight.

Problem is very few truly believe nowadays.
Others are so spooked
teeth get chipped on the tree roots.

And the stuff they offer
t-shirts, trainers, wigs, x-rays.
Synthetic crap that never decays.

Not that anyone dares remove or replace

just in case.

Helen Ross is a teacher of History in Glasgow. She has published in a range of academic and popular history magazines but has only recently started writing poetry.

Eve – a poem by Rebecca Guess Cantor

Eve

In evening
we are most awake.
Darkness dulls the outside
and we are left alone.

We were never awake
in the garden
that was never black,
never left to ourselves.

We slept
and dreamt, made love,
always watched
by the somnolent moon.

I brought the dark
to this place.
Now I sleep, dream,
make love in blackness

that brings each call
of the lark to life.
I taste the dark that opens
each jasmine,

letting its scent dance
among the trees,
black against the moon.
I am left surrounded

by night, within fear’s
reach, but I do not regret
my act, my theft.
I have no care for what

comes next because I know
what I was never meant
to know: without the dark
true beauty cannot show.

 

Rebecca Guess Cantor’s first book, Running Away, was published last year by Finishing Line Press and her second book, The Other Half: Poems on Women in the Bible, is forthcoming from White Violet Press. Her poetry has appeared in The Cresset, Mezzo Cammin, Anomaly, Two Words For, Whale Road Review, Anomaly Literary Journal, and The Lyric among other publications. Rebecca is the Assistant Provost at Azusa Pacific University and lives in Fullerton, California.

Tintinnabulations – a poem by Sanjeev Sethi

Tintinnabulations

Awakened insides ensure steadiness
in cognition and commission. In His
fluorescence thoroughfares glide to
goodness. If this seems ballyhoo-like
so be it. He doesn’t need this noise.
This is my deed, my dodge. His light-
heartedness eggs me on to poetize.

 

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His poems are in venues around the world:   A Restricted View From Under The Hedge, Pantry Ink, Bonnie’s Crew, Morphrog 16, Mad Swirl, The Penwood Review, Faith Hope & Fiction, Communion Arts Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Meditation with Weights – a poem by Diane Elayne Dees

Meditation with Weights

The turf is my temple,
the sled my altar—
each white line a mala
to help me remember
my breath. I remember
my breath and my legs,
my feet and my hips,
my hands and my arms.
I remember each person
who helped heal my body.
The white lines compel me
to move on in spite of
exhaustion, sore muscles,
depression, and age.
My heart pounds a message
that life courses through me,
though I may feel distant
from life and its source.
All that I know is: keep
pushing and pushing—
reminding myself
that my breath is my life.

 

Diane Elayne Dees‘s poems have been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women’s professional tennis throughout the world. (https://womenwhoserve.blogspot.com)

The Communion of Saints – a poem by Anne Higgins

The Communion of Saints

Every Sunday I declare that I believe in it.
Those women torn apart in the Coliseum,
Brigid, whose father was a Druid,
Lioba, almost buried in the same tomb as her cousin Boniface
Therese, the youngest, with her shower of roses.
But also Margaret Slavin Higgins, hugging me in the kitchen,
Fannie Denlinger Kauffman, who died when my mother, her daughter, was seven.

Holy cards don’t do them justice.
On Sundays, I feel their cloudy presence
Which surrounds me like the scent of Spring hyacinths
In the air of the garden,
Thicker, sweeter than incense.

 

Anne Higgins teaches English at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg Maryland,  USA. She is a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.  She has had about 100 poems published in  a variety of small magazines. Five full-length books and three chapbooks of her poetry have been published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press  2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky,  Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God,  Wipf and Stock 2010,  Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press 2016. Her poems have been featured several times on The Writer’s Almanac.

The Gentle World – a poem by Joel Moskowitz

The Gentle World

There is a gentle world.
Mushrooms send their healing
mycelia through the mossy earth,
trees listen with their sensitive leaves
to the weeping in the wind,
and communication runs through stone.

There is a gentle world. And it must be so
because the mountains are so large,
with millions of human feet smoothing
and indenting the ridges of rock,
and our faces shine
from caresses, too.

Love is a mist. There is pain
but with empathy, veins of justice
in the worn-down cornerstones of towns;
and we uphold the basics
like strangers calling people Darling
for those who like that endearment,
advice for one who loses hope,
sedatives for one with too much hope.

There is gold drifting down,
brilliance in the scales of fishes,
carved bowls overflowing with seeds,
enough macerated plums
for us to feel grateful.

 

Joel Moskowitz, an artist and retired picture framer,
lives with his wife and cat in Maynard, Massachusetts. His poems have appeared​ in J Journal, Naugatuck River Review, Midstream,
The Healing Muse, and Whiskey Island Magazine;  and the online journals Muddy River Review, Boston Poetry Magazine and Soul-Lit. He is a First Prize winner of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire National Contest.

Paradox – a poem by LA Felleman

Paradox

for strait the gate and constricted the way leading to Life and few are those finding it. -Matthew 7:14

I pray from my diaphragm.

Adoration travels up
Through my body
Shines out of
My face to become
An expansive embrace
Beyond me.

The narrow way encourages
Such overreaching.

 

LA Felleman is currently an accountant at the University of Iowa.  Before that, she was a seminary professor. Prior to that, she was a pastor.  She moved to Iowa City with her husband in 2016 and started writing poetry soon afterwards.  In order to learn this new craft, LA attends the Free Generative Writing Workshops and participates in local poetry readings.

Architecture – a poem by Mugabi Byenkya

Architecture

Palisades forbade entry to the glade
Perceptions fade in the jade mind of a young renegade
Cascades fall as the façade crumbles through the raid
Deranged I wade through the rubble that I made
Aid comes in rays illuminating everything to the bay
Intricately laid relaying a story through lines and ways
The changing times interpreted through structures for days
Telos creates form like a cay or a fay
I’m gay like a piece of hay in the beak of a jay
No life, no cry tears of bliss caress my cheek as I lay
No days off, I lead with no delay spreading radiance like May
Nay, you say? I discovered beauty without pay
Inspiration in a part of my mind caving in from decay

 

Mugabi Byenkya was born in Nigeria to Ugandan/Rwandan parents and is currently based between Kampala and Toronto. Mugabi is a writer, poet and occasional rapper. His debut novel, Dear Philomena, was published in 2017 and he recently concluded a 30 city North America/East Africa tour in support of this. https://theysaidishouldtalkmore.wordpress.com/