They drift in pods
on water petal to petal
each a floating skin.
Flowered brown encrustations
they move side to side.
Stalk by stalk they branch
separate directions. They thrive in salt
life support seaweed used for iodine.
So little we see on top
beneath lies tangled webs
layer upon layer
a mangled helix on a serpent’s head,
a crammed, yarn skein.
like our riddled mortal enigma we gnash
against star charted rock,
Florence Murry’s poetry has appeared Stoneboat, Mainstreet Rag, Southern California Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, earlier in The Black Buzzard Review (Florence Bohl) and elsewhere. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript called Last Run Before Sunset.
Of the Deep
Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,
the lands and those who dwell therein.
The sea is woman same as ships sailed upon her
same as rivers in their course
capricious, changeable, subject only to wind.
Women in my family gravitate to shores
gather strength from the rhythms
the coming in and going out silent at night
a deep breath, an exhale, being swept onto sands.
Farther down the coast, washed clean
they call the pebbles diamonds
even though they were only the clearest quartz.
It is alchemy mixed with a mind
that reckons possibilities, knows how to lean
into the railing as a ship pitches over and down
a wave as it leaves ocean for river
knows how to rise and fall with the moon.
Kyle Laws is based out of Steel City Art Works in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Uncorseted(Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2020) Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence coauthored with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With eight nominations for a Pushcart Prize and one for Best of the Net, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. She is editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
Remembering Oscar Romero
¡Haz patria, mata un cura!
Forget him, he whose life was elegy,
tasting and tracing death's shadow. In touching it,
he fought the umbrageous, audacious canopy
it stretched over El Salvador, the death-squad-valleys
so cruelly cooing with caracara, woodcreepers
wounded by the weight of the noise, the Lete's
screeching flow he had so swam and strained against.
The mass came. He knew he would die, and so exposed
his chest to absorb the bullets, not swooning to the east,
and, knowing the resurrection was delayed,
he consecrated another, and redismembered each
campesino, fearing himself, not as a story-book martyr.
He nervously tilted his shoulder to the nervous flow
of the staccato of a God-made gun.
Sam Hickford has not been canonised as a saint, maybe this would help him with his DBS application.
You were made to do hard things,
open the door to birch leaves
covering the porch with a gold carpet,
to tiny feathers left in the bird bath.
You may be clinging to a brittle branch
before it falls on me. There is no chart
or list to mark off, to allow a breather.
I know walls won’t protect you
when the wind spins like a dreidl
through the woods. It may whirl you
against the trunk of trees, flatten
you against rocks. But this is not
your only home.
When I look up,
I see you in a sliver of moon gliding
between stars, lighting the Milky Way
or some other universe that fills in
where you’ve been
to keep me whole.
Helga Kidder lives in the Tennessee hills. Her poems have appeared in Silver Blade, Trouvaille Review, and others. She has four collections of poetry, Wild Plums, Luckier than the Stars, Blackberry Winter, and Loving the Dead which won the Blue Light Press Book Award in 2020.
A Poem of Peace from Insanely-Priced-Leggings Reviews
I love the way peace fits, and - to top it off - you cannot find
this color in the stores. Vibrant green!
I’m 130 pounds, 5’5”, and my hips are pretty
curvy. This Peace fit perfectly. Quality is there.
It does not feel constricting like cheaper
Peace has felt.
This Peace is the comfiest Peace I have ever
worn. It’s thick but not too tight and will fit
your body like a blanket. It even has a fuzzy
inner lining that keeps me warm and cozy.
This Peace is so soft and so breathable.
My only complaint is Peace’s outrageous pricing.
I got the wrong size - will exchange it. I’m sure
the right size will make a difference.
I love the feel of this Peace when I first
put it on. The problem comes when I start
to move. The Peace gradually slips down. I feel
as if I have to stop and pull it up.
Extremely comfortable Peace, but after
a few hours of wear, it seemed to stretch
out. I had to constantly tug the elastic,
which is very distracting.
Not to mention, Peace snags a lot.
Peace is too small, and there’s the hassle
of duty and taxes. I think I deserve
better than this.
I received this Peace as a gift and was so excited, having worn
my old Peace into the ground. So disappointed… This Peace feels
thinner. There is no compression, so the Peace feels loose, like it might
slip right off if I wear it to Yoga.
Bummer, because now I can only
wear Peace around my house.
I bought my Peace in a store, because
it felt great - nice and tight. Now, after only
a few days, Peace has lost its hold. It’s stretched out. I see
no mention of this in the return policy.
I returned it. The Peace delivered had glue spots, and it totally
flattened my backside.
This Peace is itchy, scratchy, stiff, and see-thru.
I feel deceived.
Heather Truett is an MFA candidate and an #actuallyautistic author. Her debut novel is releasing in 2021. She has published poetry and short fiction with Tipton Poetry Journal, Panoply Zine, Drunk Monkeys, and others. Heather is represented by Hilary Harwell and serves on staff for The Pinch.
rhapsody: (n.) an effusively extravagant discourse
before this wood altar stained
in years of splashed wine.
this church, its slatted-oak floors—
no response to my presence.
monstrance adorns ordinary bread—
before me, a priest
wrapped You in gold.
years later, You found me
shrouded in this silence,
waiting for the right words
to speak themselves from my mouth
so i can find You
i never wanted a monstrance.
if You speak now, speak
in spilled wine, nails
and scrap wood.
Cheyenne McGuire is a rural poet from Colorado who focuses on the interactions of the ordinary and divine. She is currently studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in earthwords, Quarantine Magazine, and Ink Lit Mag.
In the rarified air
of Llasa at 12,000 feet,
I’m wondering about my heart
as we climb the hundreds of stairs
to the Potala palace.
But what better place for a heart to give out
than where centuries of Dalai lamas
have dwelt amongst the prayer flags,
and monks with mala beads,
where the scent of yak butter candles
fills the dark and winding corridors
and centuries of prayer permeate
the stone of ceiling and walls
and benevolence is the air we breathe.
A monk in a small niche handles his beads,
lips moving, oblivious to pilgrims, tourists,
and the sudden appearance of Chinese soldiers
with their impassive faces and gray uniforms
as they march through the narrow passages.
Outside, more soldiers,
stationed at every intersection
and on almost every rooftop
above the Barkhor market,
are incongruous amid the prayer flags
flapping and straining at their tethers.
Most are printed with the image of wind horse –
symbol of good fortune
and carrier of prayer to the heavens.
Advised to not look at them,
or take photos,
we sit in a second story room eating yak stew
behind a murky window.
Bored and restless, soldiers scan the busy market -
waiting for some disturbance –
a petty thievery or another self-immolation? –
as monks in robes the color of dried blood
and pilgrims spinning prayer wheels
circumnavigate the market.
A day’s drive outside Llasa
we gaze out the van windows –
on one side, the trappings of assimilation –
cell phones, motorcycles and western clothes,
on the other, mountains,
stark and beautiful,
aproned with wide open vistas of barrenness,
dotted with colorful yurts and herds of yak.
Two worlds neatly divided by asphalt,
interrupted every few miles by military checkpoints
where our packs and van are searched
for some unexplained contraband.
Later, at market,
past the wagons laden with exotic spices
and tented displays of Tibetan horns,
two young girls, vendors, smile and giggle –
finding us amusing and strange –
as we select a small prayer wheel,
a yak bell on a strap of threadbare wool,
and a bracelet of rough-cut carnelian, amber
and yak bone strung on a cord.
Turning to leave, a shy touch on my sleeve
as they hand me another bracelet,
a gift this time,
intricately beaded coral and turquoise –
bits of Tibetan sky –
come from the blue mesas
far above the breath of mountains
where wind horse is running,
Barbara Parchim lives on a small farm in southwest Oregon. Retired from social work, she volunteered for several years at a wildlife rehabilitation facility. She enjoys gardening and wilderness hiking. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Ariel Chart, Isacoustic, the Jefferson Journal, Turtle Island Quarterly, Windfall and Trouvaille Review. Her first chapbook has been selected by Flowstone Press to appear in 2021.
a small twig
from your sweet
the final time
I stood in
I am taking
you with me
from this home
I baptize you
I plant you,
I’ve done all
to the heavens,
with a laugh.
Peggy Hammond’s poetry is featured or forthcoming in The Lyricist, Oberon Poetry, High Shelf Press, San Antonio Review, Inklette, West Trade Review, Rogue Agent, Ginosko Literary Journal, and Trouvaille Review. Her full-length play A Little Bit of Destiny was produced by OdysseyStage Theatre in Durham, North Carolina.
Sparkling in the Sun
Snowflakes, drifting, sparkling in the sun
on a May morning,
as improbable as a pandemic.
As unlikely as this rock ambling
around the outskirts of
some universe sprouting life.
As irrational as telling frightened
people “all will be
well” during the bubonic plague.
As impractical as giraffes, platypuses,
three toed sloths that
hang fathoms above a forest floor.
As incredible as tornadoes, earthquakes,
rainbows, the still
small voice, the presence of eternity.
As illogical as you and I victorious
out of millions of
sperms and hundreds of eggs
As impossible as me and you,
30 years together
watching sunlit snowflakes in May.
Carol Casey lives in Blyth, Ontario, Canada. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Prairie Journal, Sublunary Review, Plum Tree Tavern and others, including a number of anthologies, most recently, Tending the Fire and i am what becomes of broken branch. Facebook: @ccaseypoetry; Twitter: @ccasey_carol; Webpage: https://learnforlifepotential.com/home-2/poetry/