Old Woman Bay
I rise, grandmother spirit, Nokomis
here, at the bay, where I have always been
my face, the furrowed head land,
turns toward the horizon
though the great lake’s cold, deep water
pounds life and death against me
my hair of balsam-fir-cedar
mantles across my great granite spine
its millions of rugged tendrils
burrow in earth and rock
when I am silent, buried beneath snow
my limbs, branches of sugar maples,
dance green in the spring
until the time of letting go
when my yellow-orange-red dreams
tumble across the skies
I am Nokomis, grandmother spirit,
here, at the bay, where I have always been
for all my great age, I am strong
how else to bear this wild, dazzling cold?
Paula Kienapple-Summers is a poet from Kitchener, Ontario. Her poems have been published in Existere, The Nashwaak Review, Tower Poetry, and Spadina Literary Review as well as anthologies including Another Dysfunctional Cancer Poetry Anthology (Mansfield Press: 2018) and Voicing Suicide (Ekstasis Editions: 2020).
You push off; I hold my breath:
the wobbling bike a wayward lurching ball,
its fits and starts careering left and right,
along, across, astride the wheel of life.
A six-year’s path is there before my eyes;
the flutters in me bounce and brace
and bounce again,
while cycles you traverse
are loaded down with dream and hope.
Speed your way along the road, my son:
the trick, it seems, is in not staying still.
Bill Richardson lives in Galway, Ireland, where he is Emeritus Professor in Spanish at the National University of Ireland Galway. He has published books and articles on Spanish and Latin American literature. His poems have been published in Irish newspapers, Galway Review, Stony Thursday Book and the Fish Anthology 2020.
What the Sheep Know
The whole flock on State Route 72 near Jackson Road huddles
around a large haystack the farmer has just refreshed.
They do not remember yesterday, when he marked them
or know they have blue or red splotches on bellies or backs.
They do not consider his plans to shear them next week.
They know that fresh hay is sweet
and the breeze foretells a summer storm
but there’s a barn if the rain bothers them
which it won’t.
Not much bothers them—
hail or lightning or extreme cold
might cause a small panic
but they are placid creatures
what brains they have
busy with important things—
hay in front of them
sun on their woolly backs
lambs frolicking nearby.
Judy A. Johnson’s work has been published in journals and anthologized; her poems have been recorded and broadcast on a local radio station. Johnson works in libraries and educational publishing, mining daily life for poems and essays. She has belonged to a writing group for more than two decades.
A LILY OVER GLASS
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin...
Matthew 6:28 KJV
Here, there is only a release.
A falling against
the space at the center
where rain dapples my face
and all is quiet.
Silver mountain water
shapes my voice,
caught in swallow’s call.
Let the moment fall over you,
swell over your feet.
It asks only
for your release.
Notice where it pulls
and where it stops to
curve around you, this
current from fracture.
Made from the silver skin
of deep earth,
it grounds you
and keeps you
A lily over glass
Glass pearled in mist
breaks over my head.
Brine-drenched arms reach,
toward nameless shore.
I watch the seagull,
a specter in gray,
bow to the water’s edge.
Hannah Hinsch is a Seattle-based writer who graduated summa cum laude from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in English Literature and fiction. She was the editorial intern at Image journal, a leading quarterly that joins art and faith, for two years. Hannah writes across genres, and finds her impetus among Greek mythology, the Old and New Testament, and in the green, salt-soaked Pacific Northwest. Hannah not only sees writing as an exercise in aesthetics and attentiveness, she leans into writing as a way of knowing, a hermeneutic of God.
Bubbles bunch in the bath
like staphylococci –
nature poking fun
at our idea of cleanliness.
Would that I could believe
in these tempting regularities,
the shapes echoed from scale to scale
like emblems of a fractal God:
God of spirals, God of branches,
God of blobs and hexagons,
God of little walking stick,
God of body politic.
Andrea Kibel is a new poet and 24-year-old graduate student in biology. A child of immigrants from South Africa and Zimbabwe, she grew up in the redwoods of California’s Santa Cruz mountains before studying in Dallas, TX and South Bend, Indiana. Andrea draws on science and nature, strangeness and isolation, and Jewish experience and imagery to create poems ranging from free verse to blank verse and sonnets.
HAIBUN: A DRY JULY
The woods stand brittle-dry. Leaves curl, falling prematurely. Rain has failed throughout this arid July. Across the fields, dust devils spiral over spots void of clover. Hardy Ox-eye Daisies (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) – white against purple Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare) – bloom in fencerows and wood’s edge, unaffected. My eyes hurt with dryness; my mind clamours over symbols of death and snakes. Poplar leaves tremble by the farm pond, seek their felted undersides that would foretell rains’ approach. Another dusk. In the dwindling light, a slender doe with fawn, approaches the pond, her ears erect, listening. My breath catches in mirage-light. Slowly, they descend the gentle slope where frogs croak, red-wing blackbirds settle for the night, and I swallow a silent breath.
In mid-summer drought
Doe and fawn discover pond
Frogs croak rousing cheer
Kathryn MacDonald’s poetry has been published in literary journals in Canada, the U.S., England, and Ireland. Her poem “Seduction” was short-listed for the 2019 Freefall Poetry Contest. She is the author of A Breeze You Whisper (poems, 2011) and Calla & Édourd (fiction, 2009). Website: https://KathrynMacDonald.com.
All our lives
if we are attuned to it
vacillate between absurdities:
How can life be something?
How can life be nothing?
The signs all
are crossed and knotted
leading to both
and to neither.
Who can unravel them?
And yet the heart beats
and knows with its knocking:
this life is something.
Riley Mulhern is an engineer and a research scientist. He writes poetry because it makes him more alive.
in Cyberspace, you know.
Cyberheaven. It’s a good place,
nothing can get broken. God
can grow a giant leg if He wants,
and stretch it—there’s room for that
and more. God can use
the browser to amuse. If we listen
hard enough, we could learn
what makes God
laugh. Oh yes, I think She does.
Laugh, I mean. So this browser
is right on the edge of Cyberheaven,
the screen all tight and crowded,
no room to move but behind,
just reaching out behind—aah.
God can just put
a finger here, push there—
just one finger, and the rest of God
hangs loose. Oh yes, I really
Diane Lee Moomey is a painter and poet living in Half Moon Bay, California, where she is co-host of Coastside Poetry, a monthly reading series; her work has appeared in PoetryMagazine.com, Mezzo Cammin, Caesura, California Quarterly, The Road Less Taken and others. Please visit her at www.dianeleemoomeyart.com
I want to bring so much
to the place that I call sacred,
rocks from the river and tumbled stone,
woodruff and pine needles,
grain and fruit for my offerings.
I want to bring sweet red clover
to please you,
just as you said it would
but I can find none in the city now.
Maybe in the spring when the close wind
palliates as best it can .
this cruelty of metal, tar and
concrete, I'll go out in the moonlight
and find it, rebellious beside the freeway,
defiant in the cracks of sidewalk,
or quartered like an outlaw in the
metropark. Perhaps then
I can give us our own refuge
in the solitary country,
where with any luck at all
the city will forsake us.
There I will make you an altar that
no one can violate, an altar of sweet red clover,
an altar of stone.
A graduate of Ohio State University, Psyche North Torok is a lover of words, language, and nature. She often visits the Olentangy River and has been known to leave offerings at its banks. Her poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, Plainsongs, Avalon Literary Review,and various anthologies including Forgotten Women and Dead of Winter.
set footsteps like arches
over each moment
to lighten the load
plumed grasses trodden dry
mute their pain real silence
outspoken in sun and shade
outside us they are and feel
a tortoiseshell’s mangled wings
poppies picked thrown aside
they our balm
your pain is real
for another breaking heart or home
our passing by hears is unseen
with no cloak of invisibility
a touchless touch with no imprint
lark larch lover
feathers leaves brushing skin
singing solitudes to one another
our pain is real the kindly ones
who shadow our trail
traces in our wake
remains stains spilt milk
in place of tears
bare feet on bare stone
a healing palm on passion’s welts
name intact and silence
mind’s wall tread lightly
between meadow grass and thorn
slip among the stems
lifting the press of domination
one through other
submission to liberating chains.
Jane Angué teaches English Language and Literature in France. She contributes in French and English to print and online journals such asLe Capital des Mots, Amethyst, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Acumen, Erbacce, Poésie/première, Traversées, Mille-feuille. A pamphlet, des fleurs pour Bach, was published in 2019 (Editions Encres Vives).