Lights Out – a poem by Reagan Upshaw

Lights Out
The float engages as the toilet’s tank
is filled.  The sound of running water dies.
All noise of human bustle gone, the house
relaxes into weary creaks and sighs.
The trees outside are silent, with no wind
stirring their leaves.  A sparrow in its nest,
I settle into sleep beneath the distant
rumble of a red-eye heading west.
The smoke detector’s indicator light
winks faintly overhead, its tiny sun
the only glow except the bedside clock
displaying unwatched minutes one by one.
My breathing scarcely stirs the coverlet.
With no external sound distracting me,
I listen to my nervous system play
its steady note – F above middle C.
O let my end be gentle as this night
as silent and enfolding.  No more dawn -- 
let darkness rock me in its arms until
my heartbeat slows, then stutters, then is gone.

Reagan Upshaw lives in a town on the Hudson River 60 miles north of New York City and makes a living as an art appraiser, while gardening and keeping bees.

Stained Glass – a poem by Elizabeth L. Merrick

Stained Glass
Brightening sky ignites
the cross, sheds jeweled light  
on suffering skin and bone
in this dank church.  
Light pours upon 
our humble heads,
cobalt, blood
red, deep orange of a dying day,
or new day. Trapped
inside our dark
separate spaces
we merely stand and blink,
craving more than sunshine.

Elizabeth L. Merrick lives with her husband in Somerville, Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in journals including Green Hills Literary Lantern, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Front Porch Review.  She has also authored publications in the field of mental health and addiction research, as well as a guidebook on Boston’s historic house museums.

Namaste – a poem by Nancy Knowles

            for Carly Sachs
In my heart, there is a tree 
called Chora, and when I visit 
my heart--so rarely--the tree 
stands up, unfurling her 
branches like long whips 
and the leaves rustling 
open. I have to lean away 
at first because she is massive 
and tall, but then I come in 
under her branches. She is rooted 
in the earth’s molten core. 
Her branches go everywhere, 
connect to everything, caress 
the sky. I feel shame 
in denying her, not even knocking 
at the door of my heart to see 
if she is home. No one can take her
lightly, and I have not had time 
to be serious. When I gave 
birth to my daughter, my hips 
clenched like a fist, and in the necessity 
of life, my whole body 
has been clenched. But that 
is Chora, too, the strength 
of the hour again and again 
and always. Now, I want 
to unclench, to rebalance, to welcome
the strong inner self it takes
bravery to recognize,
dedicated not to daily cares 
but to the distance, that reaches 
happiness and into and beyond death. 


Nancy Knowles teaches English and Writing at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, OR. Her ghazal “Be Still” earned an honorable mention in the Oregon Poetry Association’s 2019 Spring Contest. She has published poetry in ToyonEastern Oregon Anthology: A Sense of PlaceTorches n’ Pitchforks; War, Literature, & the ArtsOregon East; and Willawaw Journal. Her poem “Sixth-Grade Homework” is available at and “The Only Eternal” at

On the Brink of Tomorrow – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

On the Brink of Tomorrow
                                        Howden Pond, Hamlin NY
Leaning on my cherry-switch walking stick, looking
beyond yellow reeds and pearly everlastings, the pond’s
depth has shrunk, revealing its puckered banks where
belly tracks of beavers have worn a path to their estate
of young poplars that satisfy their hunger, reducing 
trunks to pointed stakes; and at the water’s edge,
floating among the reeds, a few stripped branches
wait to be towed to the old den’s interior. Yet today,
construction isn’t anything more than the wind’s 
ruffling of yellow leaves and the pond’s inky surface.
I am not a reflection here— not a striking shadow,
ready to prove this morning’s geometry— only
a set of eyes, wanting to travel without leaving
home— wanting to be standing here, tomorrow.

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 32 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.

Backyard High Wire Act – a poem by Linda Vigen Phillips

Backyard High Wire Act
Ringling Brothers flying trapeze,
Circe de Soleil,
a granddaughter showing off gymnastic feats—
all rhythms of life captured between held breaths.
A performance this morning
outside my kitchen window
gave me pause: 
bare, slender branches,
black, spindly outlines backed by
December dawn light
immersed in blue violet.
First one squirrel
racing with abandon
up the tallest maple, past the nest
distinguishable in silhouette
against the burgeoning sky, and soon
another close behind, and a third
following the leader in agile leaps
from fragile limb to limb, death-defying
connections mysteriously maneuvered
in spite of bobbing, bushy-tail weight.
Once on a tour a guard shouted "silencio"
nudging us on like cattle 
in the overcrowded Sistine Chapel
where I craned my neck
hungry to see a spark, 
to imagine the electric air
Michelangelo left there
between God's finger and Adam's.  
Now, as the day quickens and long after
the squirrels disperse, 
gossamer limbs dance in the breeze,
maple twigs reach to oak
and somewhere, a sacred
synaptic transaction. 

Linda Vigen Phillips‘ poems have appeared in The Texas Review, The California Quarterly, NC Poetry Society Award Winning Poems 2001, Wellspring, Main Street Rag, Independence Boulevard, and Windhover.  She has two published YA novels in verse, Crazy and Behind These Hands. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband.   

Five Poems by Rose Knapp

Eschatological Logic

Estrogen ecstasy eschaton eschatological 
Burning visions of the end of this world 
Extirpation excision excelsior extinction deo 

Metamodernist Metaphysics 

What is being? Being in itself, being in all
Of its sets of Heideggerian equivocation 
Does being have a ground, an essence?

Ship of Souls

Sails over the dark dharma horizon 
Slipping into the Dantesque dramaturgy 
Of lithium lakes destabilized in Lethe 


Why is there something rather than 
Nothingness? Why is there life 
Rather a formless void of darkness?

Multiverse Shift

The universe shifts into multiplicities 
Of multiverses, coreless essenceless
And infinities of nonlinear pythic paths 

Rose Knapp (she/they) is a poet and electronic producer. She has publications in Lotus-Eater, Bombay Gin, BlazeVOX, Hotel Amerika, Fence Books, Obsidian, Gargoyle, and others. She has poetry collections published with Hesterglock Press, and Dostoyevsky Wannabe. She lives in Minneapolis. Find her on at and on Twitter @Rose_Siyaniye

Grieve Well, Friend – a poem by Nancy K. Jentsch

Grieve Well, Friend 
May grief’s moon-round pebble imbue 
thumb and forefinger with memories 
that stitch your breath’s seams, 
cut—honed like moon’s crescent— 
through jellied platitudes. 
May grief map your trek 
past memories that light— 
improbable—into your hands, 
onto your tongue, then melt 
fusing to skin and within. 
And may those memories 
bank a fire that smolders, 
sheds mere shreds of warmth 
for now, promises to dance 
in the fullness of time. 

Nancy K. Jentsch’s poetry has appeared recently in Thimble Literary Magazine, Tiferet, Zingara Poetry Review and in numerous anthologies. In 2020, she received an Arts Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Her chapbook, Authorized Visitors, was published in 2017 and her writer’s page on Facebook is 

If You Want the Rainbow – a poem by Amy Baskin

If You Want the Rainbow
—inspired by Dolly Parton’s infinitely wise words

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow
you gotta put up with the rain.”
But storms can hit harder than any blow.

Just when you need relief, the skies will flow
and pummel you with tears and aches and pain.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,

kiss your hurts and hug them close. Above all, take it slow.
And breathe! Losing your shit cannot be called “a gain;”
your storms can hit harder than any blow!

Get wet. Jump in puddles toe-to-toe.
Take a stroll, hand-in-hand with a friend. This is sane.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,

thank the rain! It saturates you ‘til you know
you cannot get any wetter. Head inside. Get dry again
once storms have hit harder than any blow.

Towel off. Drink tea. Cuddle. Then work hard! And throw
aside the fears that you can’t take it. Let those wane.
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow,
know storms hit hard. They’re part of getting clean and letting go.

Amy Baskin‘s work is currently featured in Bear Review, River Heron Review, and is forthcoming in Pirene’s Fountain. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, an Oregon Literary Arts Fellow, and an Oregon Poetry Association prize winner. When she’s not writing, she matches international students at Lewis & Clark College with local residents to help them feel welcome and at home during their time in Oregon.

Tea Leaves in Confinement – a poem by Amelia Díaz Ettinger

Tea Leaves in Confinement
Mornings are for finding words,
but the leaves in my tea
float orange and green
among the ginger, turmeric
dissolving in spoonsful of splendid honey.
This aroma sweetens the delicious quiet 
punctuated by bursting pops of sap
from the old stove.
The mild whistle of the wind brushes 
my windows. A seductress of play.
Mornings are best to write and amend
but the taste of tea lures me
to contemplate
the meadow with its brown brush
the long dark weight of Mount Emily
the nervous chirping of juncos under the hawthorn
their fleeting presence while they rummage the mullet 
I placed early in the moon’s shadow.
During this plague, solitude is the gift. 
Just like this morning’s tea.

Amelia Díaz Ettinger is a ‘Mexi-Rican,’ born in México but raised in Puerto Rico. She has two poetry books published, Learning to Love a Western Sky by Airlie Press, and a bilingual poetry book, Speaking at a Time by Redbat Press. A chapbook was released by Finishing Line Press in February, Fossils on a Red Flag. Currently, Amelia Díaz Ettinger is working on an MFA in creative writing at Eastern Oregon University.

Perennial – a poem by Lauren Carlson

I pray out loud too.
As dune grasses pray,
with their empty, crisp, quivers. 
I’m bound, like anything else
alive in winter, to attempt survival. 
Torn stem. Berries. Gull prints 
lonesome for life’s evidence.
Sunlight pools, wilts leftover snow and
where sand shifts ground, I imagine 
warm pockets. Contained. Underneath,
new stems heed nothing, not even cold.  


Lauren Carlson is the author of a chapbook Animals I Have Killed which won the Comstock Writers Group chapbook prize in 2018. Her work has been published in Pleiades, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Windhover, and Blue Heron Review among others. She recently graduated with an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson, the first low residency program in the United States.