Walking with Aiko – a poem by Ann Weil

Walking with Aiko

Sun’s rays and cerulean skies
belie the chill of March
on this imposter of a warm spring day.
Bare black branches aiming skyward
like arms reaching, beseeching
the heavens to warm the earth.

Nose and ears pinked by the wind,
my pace quickens to heat my body
and hasten a return to hearth and home.
Beside me, my true companion,
reveling in the freedom,
oblivious to brisk breezes that chill the bones.
Eyes bright, tail wagging,
she leaves no smells un-sniffed,
no fellow being ungreeted.

Oh, to be so joyfully present
in this very moment!
How grateful I am to be in step
with this exuberant teacher of life.


Ann Weil is a former teacher and professor from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her work can be read or is forthcoming in Poetry Quarterly, Nine Muses Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, Headline Poetry and Press, Young Ravens Literary Review, American Writer’s Review, The Voices Project, and Clementine Unbound. Her website is www.annweilpoetry.com.


Did Katie? – a Reflection by Susan H. Evans

Did Katie?

The afternoon sun filters through the mid-sized elms, and the asphalt smells like a heated oven. My car registers 95 degrees, even parked under the trees. I throw my work tote in the front seat, and crank up Elfin, roll my windows down farther, and glance at my side view mirror before backing out.

What is this? A florescent-green something clings to my mirror. Crisp, furled up leaf? Fresh snap pea? Bright avocado slice with legs?

Whatever it is regards me with black, pinpoint peepers.

On the 25-minute drive home, my eyes dart back and forth between the road and my lime gelatin-colored passenger. I squeeze the brakes carefully. I wonder about wind shear.

I need not to have worried. Those chartreuse tootsies stick like suction cups. Maybe she enjoys the breeze. Maybe she likes to go places as I do. Maybe, a bit of a gypsy.

I relax my shoulders when I pull into my driveway. Not a microfilament of her pristine little self appears ruffled.

My little passenger can make a home here on these two acres of lawn, stream, pines and maples. I wish her well and leave her to figure out relocation details.

I search online for my pretty bug and discover she is not as pedestrian as a cricket or a grasshopper, but is a lovely, magically colored insect called “katydid.”

As the bright afternoon softens into a translucent evening, I light a white candle and settle down on the floor to meditate. In the pale glow, I try to still my mind, but thoughts return to the little katydid that journeyed home with me.

A distant memory of a story my Aunt Katie told me surfaces. Before Alzheimer’s took her mind and, ultimately, her life, Aunt Kate –speaking in her country twang –shared that schoolboys at Unicoi Elementary taunted her, jumping at her and back, singing, “Katy did, Katy didn’t, Katy did. She didn’t! She did!” In the telling, my aunt wrinkled her nose remembering how that, well, bugged her. I feel a sad “missingness” for my aunt.

I briefly consider whether Aunt Kate might use the katydid to reach out to me. – aware that I might make a connection with this particular insect like no other. What an imagination, I think, and blow out the candle.

Ten days later, I lift the trunk of my car to stow groceries. There on the back window glass basking in the morning sunshine, perches another katydid. She faces me, her long antennas gracefully sweeping several inches past her compact body, six tiny legs gripping the glass. Do you see me? she seems to ask.

Three mornings later, I pull back my bedroom curtains at six-thirty. On the window screen, the shadowed outline of another katydid welcomes me. I blink my eyes and peer closer and blink some more. It cannot be, I think. I lie back in bed and quiver a little like a furled leaf, myself, incredulous at the unlikely creature poised behind the curtains. What are the odds of three katydids appearing so close in time –as if they are showing themselves to me purposefully– situating themselves in places I cannot help but see?

Almost a month passes. It is now late July, dog days of sizzling heat. I visit my mother and park on the street in front of her small white house. Returning to my car a couple of hours later, I whisper, “Katydid,” in a little trill, laugh a little to myself, and start to open my car door. Near the side mirror reposes another katydid. By this time, I just marveled and accepted this little insect visitation. As I drive home, she pads across my windshield to the other side of my car, nonchalant as if she knows its terrain like the back of her feelers. Arriving home, I find her near my car’s back window.

I consider whether Aunt Kate sent those little green critters to say, “Susie, you did what you could for me and I am well now and sending blessings to you. Stay open to guidance from our side.” Did Katie? Or did she not?


Susan H. Evans writes and educates college students in East Tennessee.  She is published in Deep South Magazine, Ornery Quarterly, Six Hens Literary Journal, and Christian Science Monitor.

The Day Mary Oliver Died – a poem by Marilyn Grant

The Day Mary Oliver Died
(in some of her own words)

I want to believe the day you died,
you lay down in a field of lilies and
let bliss have its way with you.
One by one they came to comfort you,
the fox, the owl, the hawk, the deer
that you communed with at dawn,
the wild geese guiding you home,
the goldenrod, the lilies, the peonies nodding
you off with their light-filled bodies.
I like to think you died of an overdose of bliss.
Your tombstone would say, here lies a poet,
killed by delight, a bride married to amazement.
You who loved the world so much, I
want to believe you are still alive in another,
in the body of a rose or a tree or a fox.
Is it true that when Mr. Death, that imposter
came for you, you were nowhere to be found
because you were everything everywhere?

Oh, it’s not true that you are not needed.
More than ever we need you to remind us
to trust the dazzling untrimmable light
outshining the dark stories of our lives,
to call us to be astonished by this
one wild and precious life, and in the end
be brave enough to give up the world.


Marilyn Grant has taught writing at Cerritos College and journal writing to Hospice nurses.  She belongs to a weekly Sangha with like-minded spiritual seekers, which is the inspiration for much of her poetry.  Her poems have appeared in Amethyst Review and Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry.

Mi Chamocha – a reflection by Madison Zehmer

Mi Chamocha

Mi chamocha ba-eilim Adonai?
Who is like you, Adonai?

As a convert to Judaism, I had the opportunity to choose my own Hebrew name before my beit din. I went through lots of possibilities—Sara, Rachel, Abigail—but in the end, I chose Miryam; Miryam, who led the Israelites out of Egypt singing.

The Israelites left the worst of situations singing. I wish I could have been there to hear the joy in their voices, the celebration, the relief, the fear, the pain, the grief, the hope.

Converts’ souls are said to have been with the Israelites on Mount Sinai, like all Jews in the past, present, and future. My last direct Jewish ancestor, my great-great grandfather, died in 1919, and so my connection to Judaism for the first part of my life was limited. But I found Judaism again. I came back home.

I wonder how my Jewish ancestors celebrated Passover in Europe. Could they, with antisemitism and persecution? Did they have to hide their Jewishness? Were they proud of it? Were they assimilated? I have so many questions and painfully few answers. So today, with no Jewish family members to share a Seder with, in person or over Zoom, I am celebrating Passover in the midst of a pandemic.

I am watching leaves sway in the wind, I am watching inchworms crawl, and I am listening to birds chirping. I am celebrating in the way I know how: I am singing the beautiful prayer Mi Chamocha, the words of praise that my Jewish ancestors sang when they left Egypt, lead by my namesake, Miryam.

The Israelites were singing in grief, but they were also singing with love, joy, and hope. So today, I sing because it still is Passover, even in the midst of a pandemic.

It is still Passover, and I will sing.


Madison Zehmer is a poet, writer, and wannabe historian from North Carolina, with published and forthcoming work in Déraciné, Drunk Monkeys, Gone Lawn, LandLocked, and elsewhere. She is editor in chief of Mineral Lit Mag, and her first chapbook, “Unhaunting,” will be released by Kelsay Books in 2021.




Picasso’s Guernica took me aback —
his masterpiece against the dread of war —
starkly painted in blue and white and black
its bleak immensity a metaphor
for senseless killing. It gripped me as I stared,
then fell upon my knees, hands clasped, and sobbed.
Something in me had broken, my soul bared
to agony, my very senses robbed.
Some spectral substance in the paint he used
intruded on my spirit and left me
weeping upon the floor while disabused
of everything my tear-filled eyes might see.
The guard came, touched my shoulder with her hand,
said, “Es bueno llorar,” and helped me stand.


After earning his Master’s Degree, Mel Goldberg taught literature in California, Illinois, Arizona, and at Stanground College in Cambridgeshire, England.
After an early retirement, he and his artist wife traveled in a motorhome for seven years throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. They currently live on a small income in Mexico.

A Poem in the Margins of Leonard Cohen – a poem by S. T. Brant

A Poem in the Margins of Leonard Cohen

All the matter aroused in the vicious delights of Night-
Those that catch the noises, stretch them to a pitch;
A pitch received as something suffering, suffering carried
Over freeways- is set against me. When on these occasions
I’m afraid I hold a pillow, talk with my mind, wait until
Morning, when- again unrestricted, uninhibited, unafraid-
I’ll wake from all the mercilessness.


S. T. Brant is a teacher from Las Vegas. Publications s in/coming from Door is a Jar, Santa Clara Review, New South, Rejection Letters, Quail Bell, Mineral, Dodging the Rain, La Piccioletta Barca, Cathexis Northwest Press, a few others. Twitter: @terriblebinth

New Age – a poem by Craig Dobson

New Age

But over the sunlight
Of the first man.
R. S. Thomas

From gullet to jaw, along the ragged bite
to the tongue of sand tipped white
where I stand, maw-torn, this May morning
whose midwife gulls glide above sea pools
cauled with weed, as a cord of light leads me
– Jonah-born – to the infancy of foam,
over which my golden sire burns,
and my lapis dam spreads forever hands
to gather up their son.


Craig Dobson has been published in Acumen, Agenda, Antiphon, Butcher’s Dog, Crannóg, The Frogmore Papers, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Lighten Up Online, The London Magazine, Magma, Neon, New Welsh Review, The North, Orbis, Pennine Platform, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prole, The Rialto, Stand, Southword and Under The Radar.

Church – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell


No church could seal her soul. At night her faults
came out to play. Ignorant solace chased
her through frozen stone columns. Sudden vaults
might sprout on hills. Moonlight left her no place
for your mask. Praying to turn into salt,
she’d stop—quite still—then listen for dead chants
that cling, like condensed tears, to ancient walls.
She’d pick words without meanings while cracked saints
smiled down. Then sigh, turn over now, away
from homilies and songs. Soon God could speak
in her upturned ear. The silk voice would play
her untrained soul and she’d know just how weak
words were. She’d perch on sleep’s edge for a chance
to listen longer. Stars gave birth to day.


Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu  was just published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove.He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he makes his meager living pointing out pretty things. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/



“Things Are Not Always What They Seem” – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

“Things Are Not Always What They Seem”
—after Aesop

Things are not always what they seem
Pine smoke and sealed cells and honeybees
Carrying saddlebags of gold that gleam
Things are not always what they seem
Hidden beneath a mask of decay
Lies the substance of a Queen’s delay
Things are not always what they seem
Pine smoke and sealed cells and honeybees


M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 31 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.

My therapist – a poem by Claire Sexton

My therapist

I remember the time my therapist
made me cry, but not in a bad way. I
had stated for weeks that I found it
difficult to cry. That the ‘buckets’
people talk about had long been
thrown away. And that tears were
extremely frowned upon ‘back in my
day. Tears=failure. A sign of

But as I pondered her Converse, and
hugged my armchair, I became
acutely aware that truth was not the
monster it was, and has been. And
like a medieval anchoress, or modern-
day counsellor, I intuitively understood
that empowerment=stillness. A
spiritual commitment.

So that day I cried freely and I
cherished her words. ‘Your tears are
always welcome here.’


Claire Sexton is a fifty year old librarian living in Berkshire, but originally from Wales. She lived in London for twenty years and is currently detoxing from this experience. She has been published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, Foxglove Journal, Amethyst Review, and Light: a Journal of Photography and Poetry.