Dreams are for the Morning – a poem by Carolyn Oulton

Dreams are for the Morning

Another night twisted into my skin.
Heat fits to the window
like a sheet of steel.
Pillows a miasma,
covers swamp and ooze.

Until water threads the gutters,
and in letting go scatters morning
unexpected as the drift of coffee
through the kitchen. God
walks slowly on the grass.


Carolyn Oulton has been published in magazines including Acumen,Artemis, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, from the edge, Ink Sweat & Tears,Nine Muses, Orbis, The Poetry Village,The Moth and Seventh Quarry. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at carolynoulton.co.uk

Conversation with my guts after looking at the tangka of the wrathful god Aksobhya – a poem by Sara Epstein

Conversation with my guts after looking at the tangka of the wrathful god Aksobhya, a buddha associated with transforming anger:

I see you, my guts, in all your wrathful glory!
Your red rivers and rivulets reach out in a ring around me,
circling and radiating heat and inflammation!
In the center is the image of your guardian deity,
a dancing man with three eyes open wide,
one in the middle of your forehead,
a fierce frown on your face,
you wear a sash of decapitated heads
all looking startled, like Nearly Headless Nicks
all in a row.

You dance in your gold and turquoise pointy shoes
atop a giant tiger who holds two victims in its paws,
one male and bloody,
the other a naked female twisting to please the tiger.
You hold a dagger, scorpion, chalice,
waving them to cut through whatever needs cutting through.
All this takes place on a bed of lotus flowers
in a lake in which skulls float by in groups of three.

Above you is a strange birdlike creature with arms,
who sprinkles confetti of powerful truths as she flies.
The sky overhead is deep blue with wondrous swirly clouds in the distance.
The whole picture is surrounded by geometric designs like a
triumphant brocade, whose gold and green and blue lines seem
to trumpet from the red background that royalty is here, now.

As I sit here honoring the years you have been all wrapped up
inside my guts, waiting to be celebrated and released
I marvel at your strength, your patience, your power!
Where shall we go together on the mighty tiger with the green eyes?
What wicked shall we extinguish and burn up?
What cool pools shall we swim in?
What will our song and dance be?


Sara Epstein is a clinical psychologist from Winchester, Massachusetts, who writes poetry and songs, especially about light and dark places. Her poems are forthcoming or appeared in Silkworm, Paradise in Limbo, Mom Egg Review, Chest Journal, Literary Mama, and two anthologies: Sacred Waters, and Coming of Age.

Vanishing Point – a poem by Cynthia Pitman

Vanishing Point

Safe in the lifeboat
but still leashed to the ship,
I cut the binding rope
so I can float free.
The sky and sea consume me.
I blend into their hues of blue.
No longer afloat,
I sink into the horizon.
Then, born again, I rise over high waters
to the merciful Heaven
that awaits my freed Soul.
I ceil the sky.
I shroud the sea.
Their Holy blues define me
in my grave Divine.


Cynthia Pitman has had poetry or prose published in Amethyst Review, Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Arts (Pushcart Prize nominee, 2019), Third Wednesday (contest finalist), Vita Brevis, Leaves of Ink, Ekphrastic Review, Adelaide Literary Review, Right Hand Pointing, Dual Coast Magazine, and others. Her poetry collection, The White Room, is forthcoming.

Winter Leaves – a poem by Janet Krauss

Winter Leaves

Clusters of paper thin brown leaves still clinging to their trees
send forth a scent, strengthened by those long settled
on the ground, send forth the breath of the woods,
a persistent, cured and aged scent not of decay but of fruition—
a message that they are still feeding their trees.
The clusters are not to be viewed as bearers of desolation
left behind after other leaves fled to the ground.
They are carrying on life in their own forest of Eden.


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.


Sacred Sound – a poem by Stephen Kingsnorth

Sacred Sound
(Reflecting on Painting: Ephphatha)

Aspic, he must preserve sound.
Twice makes mark,
telling bound, his man sighs –
suspires long,
deep and earful pining breath,
a groan of lung,
yearning aches for sympathy,
pathetic echo from within.

Neither whisper, rustle, murmur, sough
as wind in trees, poor mimicry
for breathing God, when languishing.
Neither sad, relief, or tired
in the exhale, bullied air,
but exasperated cry
find release for one in need.
Beyond the gulp sings Aramaic tone,
telling six, repeated live.

So why, tell me, should Mark retain,
expressing heard as Peter told,
from healing death and rising girl,
nickname brothers, dedicating bless,
father’s talk, desolated cry?
Greek-speak pique, stark memory,
bold word horde hold, stored history.
And gospel journalist spots need
to colour tale own palette code –
no treatise, but recalling trade.


Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by over a dozen on-line poetry sites; and Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader & Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines. https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/

The Sun Speaker – a story by Wayne-Daniel Berard

The Sun Speaker


She saw him standing in front of it at one o’clock, when the reception had barely started.

At three-thirty he was still there in the same place, before the same huge canvas splattered with reds and oranges.  It took up the entire wall.

He had a watery drink in his right hand.  His eyes never seemed to leave the painting.  She approached on his left.

“Like it?” she said almost jauntily.  She was in her forties, but looked younger.  Her dark blonde hair was all up and barretted, for a look of arranged casualness.  The same was true for her brown woven skirt and vest.  The skirt was just short enough  —  almost modest standing, not quite scandalous sitting.  The vest enjoyed the same relationship with her breasts, stretching for a glass, standing in conversation.  The weave was earthy but not rough, her cream shirt loose at the turtleneck, smooth and ribbed below.  It was not her first show.

“Like it?” she had asked.

Soundlessly, his left hand moved across the inches between them and held her right, his fingers between hers, gently.

The gasp of impropriety travelling from her lips, down her neck and shoulders toward her arm was totally overwhelmed, saturated like sand by a wave of feeling, of threatlessness, of soft passion rolling from his fingers through hers, over her wrist, and up her arm, toward her entire being . . .

It was the translation of insight from idea to touch.  She’d felt it before, through the bristles, the dark, curved handle of a brush, but never from another human being.

“It’s mine,” she said lowly, neither of them turning from the painting.

He nodded.

“Shemesh,” he whispered, “Shemesh Devoret.”

The words exploded in her mind, but not violently, not at all.  She recalled those candies she’d liked as a girl – sweet on the outside, explosively tart to the teeth.  Though this detonation was visual. All oranges and reds and yellows going off in her head.

“What?” she said.

But he’d let go of her hand, put the drink down on a round table, and moved off among the other guests.

She stood there for a moment gazing at her own painting.  Now its spiraling luminosity seemed a spot of light left over on the cornea after a bulb has flashed.

“Admiring your own handiwork?” a friendly voice piped in, a hand on her shoulder.  She patted the hand politely, but moved away, looking for him.  She found him in a tiny alcove where many had lain their coats, standing in front of a small, slanted window, typical of these old Victorian houses turned to galleries.  Part of his face was blocked from her vision by his right arm, stretched to the slant of the wall, supporting him.  He seemed to be out of breath.

She crossed behind him.

“I needed to get some lesser light,” he said, staring out the window to the parking lot.

“What did you call me?” she asked in a whisper.

Shemesh Doveret,” he answered.  “It’s your name.”

“My name?” she said, afraid.  Not of him, of Deborah Anderson, nee Ackerman, whom she could feel receding in the distance.

Shemesh Doveret . . .” she repeated to herself.

“It means ‘Sun Speaker,’ one who speaks the sun,” he said, still turned from her.  “I knew you by the painting.  Finally.  Knew I’d found you.”

The outside world, the milling of the guests, the sound of glasses clinking, the memory of where she had to be that night, the next day  —  all this started to slap at her cheeks as at a fainter.  Who was this guy?  They had paid for security for this thing, hadn’t they?  She began to look around.

He turned toward her.  The narrow light of the window shone behind him.  Almost motionless, he took both her hands in his, saturating again all fears.

“Don’t you remember?  It was before we came here.  Before we were born.  We were together in the heart of God, with all the others.  Waiting.

“Then we touched each other.  Remember?  We loved each other with total love in the heart of God. Eternity upon eternity.  What did we care?  Maybe we would never be sent here?”

She didn’t know it, but her feet moved some inches closer to him.

“Then it came.  I would go first.  Oh, we grieved and clung to each other.  Don’t you remember?  ‘How shall we find each other?’ you asked me.  ‘Will we forget all this forever?’  You learned what it would be to weep then.”

Her eyes did not focus, but let themselves be bathed in the light that formed him.

“But I said to you, ‘Shemesh Doveret, wait.  We will find each other.  I promise.’              ‘But how?  How?’ you pleaded, and already I was shimmering away from you, already on my way here.

‘No method,’ I answered.  ‘No means.  Only be you, and I shall find you, Shemesh Doveret.’ ”

The alcove, the universe was very still.

“When I saw the painting, I knew.  When I touched you, I knew.”

“How?” she trembled in breath.

Silently he put both his arms around her.  Deeply she breathed.

“Because I knew that when I found you, I’d feel heaven.  And I’d remember heaven.  Not in ideas.  In touch, in colors . . .

“What is your name?” she whispered in his ear, already pressed to her lips.

He spoke it.  Without hesitation, like night, she wrapped herself around him.



Wayne-Daniel Berard, PhD, teaches Humanities at Nichols College, Dudley, MA. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His novella, Everything We Want, was published in 2018 by Bloodstone Press. A poetry collection, The Realm of Blessing, will be published in 2020 by Unsolicited Press.

part IV of “Trio sonata” from NOISE OFFERING – poetry by A.W. Kindness


(iv) part IV of “Trio sonata” from NOISE OFFERING


Screenshot 2020-01-13 at 12.49.29

NOISE OFFERING is based on the structure of Bach’s contrapuntal composition MUSICAL OFFERING.       


A.W. Kindness: Born in N.E. Scotland, long-time London dweller. Published round the end of last century in mags including And, Angel exhaust, Fire, Memes, Terrible work, more recently in Molly Bloom.

Prayer – a poem by Kristin LaFollette


An old brick house I
felt a connection to—
(We were both dust and
the pages of books)—

It was September and
……………..there was no optimism left in me.

In the old house: ……..Cereal and a carton of
eggs, coffee and milk,
heavy wooden doors
and a subtle smell like
stale laundry.

I started thinking about
how other people see God,
if they kneel with their knees
planted firmly on the ground,
speak quietly with their eyes

…………..closed and their head down,
spines curved like tall grass.

The house reminded
me that, in some ways,
I long for time to pass,
that I will never regret my age,
that I will always
…………………………..welcome ash as a gift—

Near the house was a
restaurant with high tables
where I talked with people I’d
only recently met……..but already loved.

Conviction is my own natural remedy,
all…………………milkweed and lavender—

……………………Religion is the sea
……………………I am lost in—


Kristin LaFollette is a writer, artist, and photographer and is the author of the chapbook, Body Parts (GFT Press, 2018). She is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana (Evansville, IN, USA) and serves as the Art Editor at Mud Season Review. You can visit her on Twitter at @k_lafollette03 or on her website at kristinlafollette.com.

Out from the Epicenter – a poem by Phoebe Marrall

Out from the Epicenter

A turbulence of earthquakes
has etched rivers through
my stucco plains.

Its engravings thread,
lightning forms, from the
epicenter out into vastness.

Not until some determined
handyman caulks them white
will they dry up.

And where they disappear
will flow other rivers,
long in new courses.

The daddy longlegs and
trestle builders will direct them,
and replenish my plains.


Phoebe Marrall, orphaned at the age of nine, was a survivor of The Depression and of a grueling childhood. When she died in 2017 at the age of eighty-four, her daughters Jane Hendrickson and Camille Komine inherited hundreds of poems she had written. They remained unpublished during her lifetime, but it is the intention of her daughters that a collection be compiled for readers to appreciate. Relief, Have You a Name? is currently a work in progress, being edited by Gayle Jansen Beede.

Oh Mortality – a poem by Kim Malinowski

Oh Mortality,

I am left graying. My amber
blush swept away with last year’s leaves.

My smile is my smile, but there are folds and lines.
Time steals my molecules and you my energy.

I keep watch on the longest night of the year,
my candles counting the seconds in pools of wax.

The Wheel turns and so does my body—a slow
moody dance that ends in a tilted,
shuffling waltz.

My hair has a strand of silver—do I burn or bury it?

When do we begin to call ourselves old?
Mother, Maiden, Crone?

If I run from you, will you still whisper of Autumn leaves,
leather satchels, porch swings with tucked in blankets?

When I am old, will I only know it with the aches of my bones?

And then there is this damned hair.
When it is silver, do I shave it off,
or do I let the rainbow dangle
…………….like the moon
………………………….on the edge of the Big Dipper?


Kim Malinowski earned her B.A. from West Virginia University and her M.F.A. from American University. She studies with The Writers Studio. Her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work has appeared in Faerie Magazine, War, Literature, and the Arts, Mythic Delirium, and others.