Effigy – a poem by Kate Garrett


Smoke-cocooned in the sacral
end of the year
outside the back door
swaying in time
to the ale in my glass
I loop my cigarette
in the path of fire-blossoms
unfurling across
the almost-winter sky

friends have drifted
home to sleep
and dream of revolutions

alone in the rain-smouldered night
ancestral memories awaken
this unfamiliar stirring in my stomach—
like devotion branded treason
like gunpowder waiting to flash-bang-devour
like an uprising I am not leading

I can’t see the stars
he doesn’t believe in ghosts or me
I bide my time


Kate Garrett writes and edits. She is the author of six pamphlets, and her first full-length collection, The saint of milk and flames, is forthcoming in April 2019 from Rhythm & Bones Press. Kate lives in Sheffield, UK with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat. www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk / twitter @mskateybelle

Given a Life to Spend – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

Given a Life to Spend

Not holy. Not holy, yet wholly
snow spins like a swarm of bees,
like a gauzy cloud snagged in
the crab apple tree where red &
green birds feather dust branch
to branch to feeder, swinging
tenderly, like the priest’s censer
leaking pearl-gray smoke over
heads bowed in thoughts few
say in prayers, in lent’s ashes
that can be read as sad petitions
for one’s life centered on things
incidental & idle that fail to be
transmuted in a veil of incense.


M.J. Iuppa ‘s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017).For the past 30 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

First Exit – a poem by L.B. Stringfellow

First Exit

The day I would lay down
to face the sun. In the darkest
hour, they told me not to fear
what, in my mind, I had already
repeated. Because to think is to do.
And since I thought of my death,
I had died already.

I watched those around me
in their slim tombs, the length
of their bodies thick, horizontal.

They were to prepare my body, remove
all but the essential heart
so that I could stare into
the eye for eternity.
They wrote falcons on my coffin
so that my son could become god.
I was meant to keep forever
locked within the walls of Osiris.
But, like a god, I passed
back through life
as through a dark pupil.

It has been miles since.
I return every hundred years or so
through strange doors.
The vulture of heaven is no more
than the stomach through which one passes
at times. I am no more
cemented in eternity
than the crumbled offerings
presented at my first death.

Like the mortals, I keep
repeating this dying
and rising from the dead.


L.B. Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, often exploring themes of transformation, woundedness, and interdependence in her poetry.  She grew up in the Southern US, has worked as a university instructor and as a professional tutor, and holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.

Hidden – a poem by Sam Norman


I have lost my boy
in a perpetual game
of hide and go seek.

I have looked

Is he in heaven?
He’s certainly not
in the other place.

Will he be found
only in my heart,
my memories?

Is he simply buried,
a star above his head,
waiting for the rapture,
or for the rest of us to join him
and become stardust.


Sam Norman has been teaching high school for 16 years at Bacon Academy in Colchester, CT. Until now, most of what Sam has written has been shared only with family and a few friends, though he has been published in Bacon Academy’s literary journal, The Salmon River Review. Most of Sam’s recent poetry focuses on a terrible tragedy. Sam’s son, Ben, just 20 years old, lost his life in a weather-related traffic accident on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018. Sam lives in Coventry, Connecticut with his wife Teri, their children, Becca and Daniel, a bunch of chickens, and their beloved dogs, Cloudy and Ripple.

Unicorns in The Hood Part 26 – a poem by Israel Francisco Haros Lopez

Unicorns in The Hood Part 26

i walked along the smoking mirrors
of tescatlipocatl and the day keepers
the ones that swallow keys and skeletons
until i found
the mouth of queztalcoatl
feathered serpent
stretching into
the womb of water
where water births stars
i tried to walk
into the mouth of quetzalcoatl
and found myself
back inside smoking mirrors
of tescatlipocatl and the night keepers
the ones that swallow dreams and visions
walked away
until i found
the mouth of queztalcoatl
feathered serpent
stretching into the water
of my eyes
swallowed my hope
and gave me
feather serpent
to place
in my tongue
to remember
to fly when
i speak


Israel Francisco Haros Lopez was born in East Los Angeles to immigrant parents of Mexican descent. Israel graduated from U.C. Berkeley and received a degree in English Literature and Chicano Studies followed by an M.F.A in Creative Writing. At formal and informal visual art spaces, Israel creates and collaborates in many interdisciplinary ways including poetry, performance, music, visual art, and video making and curriculum creation. His work addresses a multitude of historical and spiritual layered realities of border politics, identity politics, and the re-interpretation of histories.

Israel has been published online and in print poetry journals and magazines, including, Rise Up, Across The Margin, La Bloga, The anthology ‘Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice’. He has two collections of poetry ‘Waterhummingbirdhouse: A Poetry Codex’ and ‘Mexican Jazz Vol. 1’.

On the Ferry – a poem by Jen Stewart Fueston

On the Ferry

Screenshot 2019-03-05 at 08.17.15


Jen Stewart Fueston lives in Longmont, Colorado. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, most recently Ruminate, Rock & Sling, and The St. Katherine Review. Her poems have twice been finalists for the McCabe poetry prize, and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, “Visitations,” was published in 2015, and her second, “Latch,” will be released in early 2019. She has taught writing at the University of Colorado, Boulder, as well as internationally in Hungary, Turkey, and Lithuania.

Allow – a poem by Ali Grimshaw


How different it is
to force
instead of allow.
To let it come to you.
Without your touch.
Inside a flower bloom
without a worry
if the petals overlap.
To relinquish. Your plan
might not be the one.
Unfold another way,
yet considered
inside magic
that you desire.


Ali Grimshaw is the author of Flashlight Batteries, https://flashlightbatteries.blog/ a poetry blog for those struggling in darkness and tough times. Her poems have been published in Vita Brevis, Poetry Breakfast and Ghost City Review.

Prayer flags – a poem by Carol Alena Aronoff

Prayer flags

When I exhale,
the Tibetan flags
suspended from a shelf
above my desk flutter–
sending prayers
into the world.

Now when breezes
move through leaves
of the golden shower
tree and neighboring
coconut palms, I see
them as prayer.

When wind ripples
river, it sets small
stones afloat, carries
twigs and koa branches
toward the ocean
as offerings.

Is movement arising
out of stillness
And is stillness
the sacred ground?


Carol Alena Aronoff, Ph.D. is a psychologist, teacher, poet. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and won several prizes. She was twice nominated for a Pushcart.  She published a chapbook and five books of poetry: The Nature of Music, Cornsilk, Her Soup Made the Moon Weep, Blessings From an Unseen World and Dreaming Earth’s Body (with Betsie Miller-Kusz).


A Day of Peace – a poem by Merril D. Smith

A Day of Peace

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning

White gull soars into the blushing sky,
drops a clam shell on the beach,

leaving it
for the boy to find.

He’s never seen the sea before
but he’s seen fragmented beauty

in his shattered city,
of broken statues.


Dark clouds roll in from the horizon,
the boy picks up the broken shell,

puts it in his pocket,
a token of hope.

Mackerel sky, mackerel sky, never long wet and never long dry.

One raindrop falls,
then another

landing on the woman’s greying hair,
dripping down her sun-weathered face.

She sniffs the air, smiles
at the scent of damp earth

imagines the corn that will rise
from the thirsty ground,

smiles, as the raindrops fall faster,
drumbeats upon the earth,

waking it,
quenching it

with more than her blood–
both sated and alive.

Once in a blue moon

the sky clears,
the moon silvered-full hovers

over sea and land,

the woman stands on her porch and watches it,

to the sounds of the night,
thinking she can hear the corn grow,

or the moon
humming a lullaby for the fitful world.

In his new bedroom,
the boy takes the shell from his pocket,

gazes up to the sky,
he hears no thuds,

no sniper rat-tat-tat-tats,
only the wind sighing, blowing

him dreams of flying like a gull
over a moonlit sea.


Merril D. Smith is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in American History and numerous books on history and gender issues. Her poetry and stories have appeared recently in Rhythm & Bones, Vita Brevis, Streetlight Press, Ghost City, Twist in Time, and Mojave Heart Review. Her blog is at merrildsmith.com.

With and Without – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

With and Without

                for Meghan Rose

Shimmering shells dry
on the kitchen table—
fragile like one’s heart
Yet, able to hold the sea
like love— un-
quenchable—lives en-

Overwhelming jungle
rhapsody of stars
needle-sharp, unblinking
the steady gaze of
my daughter’s eyes.


M.J. Iuppa  is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full length poetry collections, This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017), Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY.