Via Negativa in the Town Park, Late February – a poem by Anne Yarbrough

Via Negativa in the Town Park, Late February 

The geese grazing tarnished yellow grass 
are nonchalant, and rightly so.
When some benighted dog dashes to catch them
they, at home in each dimension, lift away into the gray sky
and settle gently upon the river, and calmly float there,
indifferent again, easeful, directionless.

Children run from the river’s edge to the playground
bearing their prizes, pieces of driftwood, mostly,
or small river stones that fill their pockets, or a gray goose feather.
On this cold day the swings hang motionless,
the jungle-gym a dark iron grid, flat, empty,
the slide a downward path from sky to earth, untaken.

Along the path along the river
a woman in a long dark coat stands still, looking up at 
the dark forked branches of an old tree
then sits on a bench and looks at the river,
which doesn’t look back. A man with a yellow dog
passes two women who walk together, one hatless.

Two more men walk along the path, 
looking for Pokémon creatures who lurk 
in the old trees and rise up immaterial
from the gray river, then slip away again
to hide somewhere else. Three young
men confer near a clump of marsh reeds, gravely. 

The men are walking slowly now, in single file
along the river path, heads bowed,
holding their phones in front of them,
a short procession of choristers holding hymnals
or young monks lifting up empty bowls, 
tilting them toward the sky.

Anne Yarbrough‘s debut collection, Refinery, was chosen by Hayden Saunier for the 2021 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize and published by Broadkill River Press. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poet Lore, Delmarva Review, Philadelphia Stories, Gargoyle Magazine, CALYX Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in an observation post along the lower Delaware River with a husband and a dog.

St Tredwell – a poem by Lydia Harris

St Tredwell

Into your  keeping
take these curved  forms 
one dying the other weary.

Let me ride the miniature sledge 
on runners of horn. 
I pay with my pin of bone, its human face. 

When she is ripe cut round the moon.
For her and for you I have gathered the remains of a chapel. 
The path there awkward, a stone trail edged with star grass. 

Assist me to reach  
through silence, 
each word the weight of a goldcrest. 

I have worked without speaking. 
I have worked every day. 
Mostly I have been standing in one place.

Hard to believe the shimmer isn’t you

Lydia Harris lives in the Orkney island of Westray. She held a Scottish Book Trust New Writer’s Award in 2017. Her fourth pamphlet A Small Space is due from Paper Swans this year. Her first full collection, Objects for Private Devotion is due from Pindrop Press in 2022.

When I Listen to the Nay – a poem by Nur Turkmani

When I Listen To The Nay 

I become the sea. The sea when it is nearly still,
the sea when a seagull comes close to its surface,
hardly touching the waves to catch fish, 
before flying off again. 
I become the sea and its ancient sailors, 
those who looked to the stars for when to leave, 
when to return. 
I become the sea when the sun generously spills onto it, 
turning its water into a shattered boulder of sapphire, 
each piece as precious as the other. All the lost parts of our self, 
here, when I listen to the nay, this thousands-year old 
wind instrument, and I become the sea, its suffering, 
if suffering were seen for what it is: one of the layers of life. 
I listen to the nay to become the sea, the heart of it, 
the blue fish almost a hundred meters beneath my surface, 
the black drum, the eels and kelp, 
even the midnight zone where sunlight cannot reach. 
Friend in despair and in hope, sit by me in this cold,
tell me, how to handle such depth—
such near-collapse.

Nur Turkmani is a Lebanese-Syrian researcher and writer in Beirut. Her poetry has been published in The Adroit Journal, London Poetry, ECLECTICA, and others. Her poem “Body Parts” was selected as a runner-up for the Barjeel Poetry Prize. She is the Managing Editor of Rusted Radishes: Beirut’s Art and Literary Journal and is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.

Lifting – a poem by David Hanlon


This life is made of fence and brick;
warped and crumbling.

The late February sky, malaise-packed with heavy clouds,
has finally cracked.

Trees are worn, satchel brown, licked with ochre and rust,
by nature's wonder-burnt tongue.

The musky scent of wet wood, permeating.
The red-orange flare of a robin, flickering.

But look, lilac crocuses, 
petal pincers, sprouting in clusters,

like tiny feet,
magic circling tree roots,

their amber stamens,
spring's fireworks, 

to ignite.

David Hanlon is a welsh poet living in Cardiff. He is a Best of the Net nominee. You can find his work online in over 50 magazines, including Rust & Moth, Icefloe Press & Mineral Lit Mag. His first chapbook Spectrum of Flight is available for purchase now at Animal Heart Press. You can follow him on twitter @davidhanlon13 and Instagram @welshpoetd

Consumption – a poem by Art Nahill


I can hear my heartbeat
through my bones.

Not loudly but insistently.
Like rust.

I open my mouth
to scream

but the sound is swallowed
by smoke.

My life is mine to carry
like a suitcase 	or something smaller.

What little volume
it takes to hold us 

by heat and light.

A deck of cards.
An eyeglass case

if we’re lucky. 
No bigger than that.

I surrender myself
to myself.

The way a fallen tree
gives itself over 

to the forest fire.

Art Nahill is an American-born physician and poet who lives in Auckland New Zealand. He has published on both sides of the equator, in magazines such as Poetry, Harvard Review, Rattle, and Poetry NZ among others, as well as three book-length collections.

Same Old Room – a poem by Tom Bauer

Same Old Room

There moves a strange aloneness to this place.
The room repeats itself, weaving in time,
the same each day, yet different, sliding by
the same dusty yellow factory curtain.
How can a formal essence beam the words?
Like the room, my brain repeats itself in time,
except when jolts of angst project my mind
beyond the corner mysteries of the space.
One time, when I was tangled in despair,
I found my shuttle digging clues within.
I’ve been looking for that hopeful state again,
the thoughts that once inspired a hopeful mind.
They come to me in moments like this one now,
the warp of each room flush with love somehow.

Tom Bauer always wanted to write poetry. In the late 1980s, he published his own chapbooks, which he sold door-to-door. Currently, he has work forthcoming in Blue Unicorn.

Barren Stones – a sestina by Christopher M. Edwards

Barren Stones

You found a piece of turquoise, 
when you wandered incessantly 
through the dust, the dust falling, 
the scrub, in New Mexico. On porcelain, 
you found the piece, in a store next to a leafless 
tree, and you held the cold stone. 

It seemed more than a stone, 
engraved with images of deeper turquoise, 
primitive, and yet elegantly leafless, 
plants and grains sprouted incessantly
across its surface, a surface as smooth as porcelain. 
Looking at it, one almost felt one was falling. 

And you sometimes held it, falling, 
deeper and deeper into the stone, 
sitting there in the bathroom’s porcelain, 
alone, looking at your piece of turquoise. 
Always looking, looking incessantly, 
at the shapes, though they were all leafless. 

They were not even trees, being leafless
didn’t matter, but you, you, you were falling 
like it was something you had to do incessantly;
when falling, you were falling into the stone.  
Little by little, parts of you were becoming turquoise. 
After dinner, you would put away the porcelain, 

and then sit there at the table, as still as porcelain, 
you sat for so long the trees became leafless 
outside, and the roads became an icy turquoise; 
no one left their homes for fear of falling. 
But we didn’t worry about you, you were stone. 
How someone can do stillness incessantly,

I don’t know. We talked to you, though, incessantly; 
in the hopes that you’d wake up, we even broke some porcelain. 
You didn’t. Moment by moment, you became stone, 
looking into the design of leafless 
trees, where children climbed without falling,
and smiled at you in bright, beaming turquoise, 

above a stone, a tree that’s leafless 
they climb incessantly, without any porcelain, 
without any falling, climbing into the turquoise with you.  

Christopher M. Edwards is an attorney in Washington State who enjoys doing manual labor when he gets the chance. His poetry has appeared before in online whispers & [Shouts].

Ginkgo – a poem by Rita Moe


We survived Hiroshima 
and the comet.

Our lineage predates the dinosaurs. 
Our growth rings can number in the thousands.  

We meet pollution with dogged resilience
and our seeds & leaves are said to cure all ills.  


	It weights 
	each twig.  

And so we cherish our autumn ritual: 
Lighting our heights in a shine of goldenrod,
and then—


in a single day, 
loosing each leaf from its aerie—
a shower of shimmering maize 
circling each tree with a platter of gold.  

Rita Moe’s poetry has appeared in Water~StonePoet Lore, Slipstream, and other literary journals.  She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Sins & Disciplines and Findley Place; A Street, a Ballpark, a Neighborhood.  She has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Roseville, Minnesota. 

With a Nod to the Empty Tomb – a poem by Abigail Carroll

With a Nod to the Empty Tomb

I will make my bed.
I will seed the earth in perfect 
curves and rows—
fine labyrinth of green.
I will run scales 
as praise, not notes, 
invoke the Triune 
in every chord.
Let me slice onions,
beets, as if kitchen knives 
and cutting boards 
were holy art.
Yes, I will choose words 
like a glazier 
perched in a high nave
carefully placing
each flame-blue shard.

Abigail Carroll is author of Habitation of Wonder and A Gathering of Larks: Letters to Saint Francis from a Modern-Day Pilgrim. Her poems have appeared in Sojourners, Christian Century, the Anglican Theological Review, Crab Orchard Review, and the anthologies How to Love the World and Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide. She serves as an arts pastor in Burlington, Vermont, and enjoys playing Celtic harp.

White Noise Days – a poem by Susan Wilson

White Noise Days

I’m having a white noise day.
There’s a sound like tinnitus in my ears,
like the distant crackle of a television that has lost its signal,
when the aerial lead has come out of its socket.
An old familiar channel is no longer transmitting.
That’s what it’s like when somebody is not there anymore.
Forget about calling an engineer to fix the problem,
no aerial adjustment or change of set will bring them back to you.
You cannot reconnect with them.
That person is off the air but it’s not the end of them.
They’re just on another frequency and you can’t receive it,
so you will not see or hear them anymore,
at least not until you join them.
You have to sit and listen to the sound of life without them
while they’re up in the airwaves beyond your reach.
In other words, every day is a white noise day.

Susan Wilson lives in East London and began writing poetry following the death of her mother in 2017. Her poems have been published by Lucy WritersSnakeskinThe Runcible SpoonDreich and Areopagus. Prior to the pandemic she was a regular performer at “Spineless Authors”, a local open mic event. Her debut chapbook is ‘I Couldn’t Write to Save Her Life’ (Dreich, 2021).