Prayer for a bridled mind – a poem by Jenny

Prayer for a bridled mind

I want to be free range, to lope in the wake
of wind kissing me good morning, as if nothing
besides my alignment
with the slow turning earth
matters. I yearn to know in my marrow
the immense truth of this “as if”
a place of being
louder than any ringing phone, ticking clock
in my head, my slice of our collective
Thoughts would soften into wordless sensing while
words, when used, could take flight
from a place wholly foreign
to small dimensions of logic or prescribed
meaning. We could say what
we can’t now, what can’t
even be thought.
I would like to shed the belief that anything
is obvious and swim in
a fluid in-between where everything emerges and
fades, all ultimately unknowable and yet
so delicious to explore, co-invent
and witness. I could
discard the need to understand, agree
or disagree and live


Jenny has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 13 years having moved here from the New York metropolitan area with her family.   By day she is an international tax lawyer, but day and night, a poet, loving to write poems and share with anyone who will read them.  Her work has been in included as part of the yearly Bainbridge Island Poetry Corners celebration in which poems are posted on local storefronts, Ars Poetica, a juried pairing of poems with the work of local artists, several anthologies published by Diversion Press, two publications out of the Grief Dialogues project, “Just a Little More Time” and “Grief Dialogues, the book”, The Cascade Journal Vol. II, of the Washington Poets Association and others.

Ganesh – a poem by John W. Steele


Beloved Ganesh, elephant-headed Lord
of Letters, you who penned Vyasa’s epic,
the Mahabharata, I call on you—
if I may be so bold: be my scribe.
Coil your eloquent trunk around the moon
and hold it overhead to light our work.
Dip your single, most auspicious tusk
into your deepest, darkest pot of ink.

Light candles, burn incense, sweep away the dust.
Trumpet Om. Write my words on all
the rivers, lakes, and oceans of the world.
Scatter them to the winds, the fields, the stars.
Whatever spirals back, intact, inscribe
it on the heart and mind of humankind.

John W. Steele is a psychologist, yoga teacher and graduate of the MFA Poetry Program at Western Colorado University, where he studied with Julie Kane, Ernest Hilbert and David Rothman. His poetry has appeared in Amethyst Review, Boulder Weekly, Blue Unicorn, The Lyric, Society of Classical Poets and Verse-Virtual. One of his poems was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart prize, another won The Lyric’s 2017 Fall Quarterly Award.

Say God’s love is like eating your Wheaties – a poem by Matthew E. Henry (MEH)

Say God’s love is like eating your Wheaties

Say God’s love is like eating your Wheaties.
against Merton’s angst, equate the two. now,
say it aloud: ignore the dissonance.
conflate them in a pious confession
of grain cereal and divinity—
eschew the Eucharistic connection
as too easy, too obvious. now stop:
see, taste the inherent absurdity
in sacramental simplicity— how
language, like life, is a short series of
decisions to ascribe small sanctities;
to hold as holy the milk and honey
daily adorning our tables; to call
the ordinary, host, the carnal, blessed.


MEH is Matthew E. Henry, a Pushcart nominated poet with works appearing or forthcoming in various publications including The Anglican Theological Review, The Other Journal, Poetry East, Relief Journal, Rock and Sling, andThe Windhover. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have pursuing a MA in theology and a PhD in education.

Letter to a Bird Trapped in a Subway Tunnel – a poem by Sean Lynch

Letter to a Bird Trapped in a Subway Tunnel

Inside the subway station
I write a letter
to the frantic bird who’s flying
to and fro,
“You have forgotten by this point
that the world is open on the outside.
That there is endless space.
Space that the sky represents.
You have forgotten fresh air.
You have forgotten trees.
Your little lungs grow spastic
as you tilt your head
absurdly standing centimeters tall
on a gray subway platform.
You have broken my heart, bird.
This would have never happened
if we weren’t here. Humans have doomed you.
You are God trapped in our small minds
searching for a way out.
You are an embodiment
of our existence
and that, for human beings
escape is possible
but improbable.”
The train arrives
and I leave behind the letter
on the metal bench
for the lost bird to build
a nest with and perhaps
find some rest down there.


Sean Lynch is a working-class poet who lives in South Philly. His poems have been published in various journals including (parenthetical), Chrysanthemum, and Poetry Quarterly. He’s the author of three chapbooks, the latest being 100 Haiku, published in 2018 by Moonstone Press. You can find out more on

Closed Systems – a poem by Jessica Rigney

Closed Systems

She says she feels as if she’s living
In an unused world. Awake from the ripe
World is this new world. Says she
Expects to bounce on tethers of a
Nexus. A luminous nevertheless in
Memory of what still lies in the worn
World. How the day she says doesn’t

Feel like the day of what’s inscribed on
A plate of glass in her pocket etched with
Function of province of what’s lack and
Having taken things too far. Forgive me
She says. For this fray and pretending.
For I am like the living of what’s used
In a world of fetish and memory and

Oh my how the system is, she says
Closed in a pocket so evenly matched
With the shape of my hand. She suspends
Disbelief. Makes a good best guess for how
Her mouth is not her own after the lustrous.
After the everything and the suspected.
Still, if you believe, she says, how a world

How the collision of two worlds and not
More than that—Well perhaps if I’m being
Honest, she says, then they are endless. This
Waking. This living on tethers stretched.
There are more worlds from which to wake
More hours in a full grown day. All
Which close themselves. She says close

And here she is suspended by a system
Of elasticity—of an array of dazzling Oh-my’s.


Jessica Rigney is a poet, artist, and filmmaker. Listen to her voice & see moving pictures here. She is twice a quarter-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (2016 & 18.) Sample her poetry at Salomé and Cider Press Review. She is poetjess on Instagram.

Purple Finch at the Garden Feeder – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

Purple Finch at the Garden Feeder

Scamp of a bird
…………….once seen, rarely

forgotten: head
…………….dipped in red table

wine— birthmark
…………….that won’t fade.

He picks his favorite seeds
…………….& pitches the rest, letting

them fall among snow’s
……………………..flecks of

light & his shadow

…………………head tipped back, trilling

spicy whole notes, brighter
than one’s yielding heart.


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: for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

The Coming of Spring – a poem by Cynthia Pitman

The Coming of Spring

Green gardenia bushes
line the butter-cream wall,
tended by a fountain goddess
standing tall on terra-cotta tiles
that are graced by painted fleurs de lis.
The still bushes await the spring,
when they will bear new leaves
and bring forth velvet white blossoms
that will saturate the air with sultry perfume.
We wait, too, for the coming rejuvenation
when we will stagger and teeter,
inebriate of our sodden senses,
after winter blows away.


Cynthia Pitman has had poetry published in Amethyst Review, Right Hand PointingThird Wednesday, Leaves of Ink, Vita Brevis, Ekphrastic ReviewLiterary YardAdelaide Literary Magazine, Postcard Poems and Prose, and Mused: Bella Online. Her first book of poetry, The White Room, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.

Peregrination – a poem by Jill Pearlman


Is peregrine not a bird
the word peregrination suggesting

wings, open spread of marvels,
feathered creeds

more colors beyond

our valises, black silver-gray
scuffed by rough handling, greasy, paunchy

filled and fed, packed, stacked,
returned, standing for the next

approximation – but that’s the problem.

Peregrination, I read, is flat-footed

what I, my children, my lovers
do with compulsion, then return unnerved

is two steps backward, stand
in one place aching with failure.

My peregrine is astute, attuned,
known by stillness more than motion.

My phantom bird; how lightly
meaning attaches to words.


Jill Pearlman is a writer and poet based in Providence, RI.  She has published in Salamander, Frequency Anthology, Soul-Lit, Crosswinds and others.  She writes a blog about ecstasy, art and aesthetics in wartime at


Passage – a poem by L.B. Stringfellow


I heard the slap of river against the boat.
I was meant to cross the Nile
with my own thoughts carved
from the skeins of leaves.
My carriage was the scarves of reeds,
my temporal coffin, skin
of sarcophagus.
There were those on each side who guided me

across. There was no holding on to be done.
I was going as a bird might through wind.
I waited to be scoured clean,
to be bathed in natron, ibu.
But I was not

still. There was no other
sense I had so strongly
as that of movement.
Not the boat so much as my body.
Not a passing through so much as

the rush of what was eternal in me.


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.

The Healing of a Wound – a poem by Emily Peña Murphey

The Healing of a Wound

There comes a time in the healing of a wound,
When it must be exposed to air,
Unswathed of gauze wrapping,
No longer babied and worried over;
Allowed into the light.

The strategy of bandaging worked for awhile
But is no longer best.
Surely such change means an openness
To recurrence of the original pain;
Braced for,
Yet surely returning with a lesser intensity.

An intricate ballet of cells and tissues
Will be directed by a divine hand,
Protecting the damaged places
Until a fresh boundary is set.
Young skin will form
Over a site once inflamed, oozing and raw,
Where for a time contact with the world was impossible.

Eventually the scar will become part of a new self
Moving forward and timorously welcoming growth.
In time we may even invite others to touch such a place,
As Our Lord once beckoned His bewildered disciple,
Having survived a brutal death
And boldly proclaiming a second birth.


Emily Peña Murphey is a retired psychotherapist who has published work in several literary journals. She was recently designated a finalist in the short story and essay categories of the Adelaide Literary Contest. She has family roots in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Texas’ Río Grande Valley. She has been coping with chronic illness for over two decades. She lives in Philadelphia.