Kuan Yin in the Garden – a poem by Kathleen Goldblatt

Kuan Yin in The Garden

A storm moved through yesterday,
leaves in the yard already browning.

I bend in the garden to clear broken twigs, 
whisper a greeting to Kuan Yin

who sits among the sea grasses,
stony hands in mudra. 

The dead work here in the garden with me–
 pleasant folk, you understand–all farmers, aged,
except for one child not yet old enough to walk. 
I kneel, pull weeds–mother slips by, offers me her shovel

as they chatter, hoes in hand,
Kuan Yin still wordless.

Kathleen Goldblatt is a poet and training member of the CG Jung Institute of New England and the IRSJA. Her work appears in four editions of the Wickford Poetry and Art Book; her chapbook, Our Ghosts Wait Patiently, is due in fall 2022. Kathleen lives in Newport, Rhode Island.

Instructions for {Prayer} – a poem by Nancy Huggett

Instructions for {Prayer} 
(from Jeremiah 6:16)

Thus sayeth the Lord:

{DROP} the pencil, the dishcloth, the hammer, the mouse,
the grocery list, the pen, the duster, the spoon, the rusted nail.
Open clenched hands and release. 

{RAISE} high—veined, smooth, cracked, 
bitten-to-the-quick nails—in praise 
and let them fall together
slowly. A lotus bud just 
about to flower, in front 
of your broken tired heart. 

{ASK} for the ancient ways, 
the old ways, the dusty well-trodden ways hidden 
under concrete freeways, byways, overpasses.
Old ways travelled by land ancestors, spirit 
ancestors, blood ancestors. By hummingbird, mother, 
great-great grandfather, rumoured aunt, 
slow-boat-to-Chili traveller, hooded monks scribing on linen, 
buddhas awakening under the Bohdi tree
ancestors. Space then, for all the stars, black 
holes, comets, galaxies to lead 

{REST} from all the longing that ties and binds you.
Let go of striving. 

to the ground,
lay supine on a bed
of fallen leaves.
Feel the ancient breath:
in and out and in and out.
from when the world was created, 
big bang, first last forever breath.
The way of rest. 

Nancy Huggett is a settler descendant who lives, writes, and caregives in Ottawa, Canada on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg people. Thanks to Firefly Creative, Merritt Writers, and not the rodeo poets, she has work out/forthcoming in Reformed Journal, Literary Mama, Prairie Fire, Pangyrus, and Waterwheel Review.

A Rooftop in Spain – a poem by Clive Donovan

A Rooftop in Spain

Stretched on the cluttered terraza,
relishing the shade, with jasmine in my nostrils,2
while dodging spiny bushes in cracked urns
and pondering my English exasperations
at slapped-on paint, cankered concrete,
beautiful but ever-detaching céramica,
where wood and plaster rot in rain and searing sun.

Yet the anarchy of rooftops attracts my gaze;
the unplanned reckless riot below,
with the neighbours and their washing lines so very close.
A woman rages at her daughter
for some dangerous mistake
– slamming that big, iron door, probably
and, obstinate, the toddler retaliates with screams.

And after a lull, the mother sings:
a complicated song with percusión de mano,
her voice uncoloured with regret – each moment's
nugget of joy in passionate throat – and a second voice;
as they exult in song defiant, the child caught
and taught to know and willing pay – Acepto! –
– Duende! – the cost and end of everything.

Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Amethyst Review, Prole, Sentinel and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, UK. He is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee for this year’s best individual poems and his first collection, The Taste of Glass, is recently published by Cinnamon Press.

Mary Learns to Live with Less – a poem by D. Walsh Gilbert

Mary Learns to Live with Less

Trinkets boxed into the attic:
keepsakes, knick-knacks, tokens

guarded through generations,
whether bauble or heirloom,

now withdrawn—seen only in memories.
There isn’t room for trivialities

in a single studio with bedrails.
She’s promised they’re not ruined.

What we can’t see isn’t
always gone. Packed for safe-

keeping. Or, finding a new home
with prairie children or at pacific shores,

ready for what comes next, 
to retell what’s been born before
to ones who are still learning,
who have forgotten, or never knew.

Let’s call it legacy. Let’s call
it inheritance—what’s been left

by the primal crone, the midwife
of the message found in the crocus

breaking through brown grass, 
a dispatch from the root of things,

the one who knows that sharing
wisdom burgeons in the empty field.

D. Walsh Gilbert is the author of Ransom (Grayson Books) and forthcoming, Once the Earth had Two Moons (Cerasus Poetry). Her work has recently appeared in The Lumiere Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine,and the anthology, Waking Up to the Earth, among others. She serves with the non-profit, Riverwood Poetry Series, and as co-editor of Connecticut River Review.  

Encounter – a poem by Mary Ford Neal


I met god last night on the 38
and I had always understood that god was omniscient
but he had no idea who he was. 
When I asked him why he placed the stars
in their particular patterns, he looked at me
the way you might look at someone
who’s holding a knife. I wasn’t holding a knife.
When I asked him why he permitted war and famine
and heartbreak and disease and greed 
he moved to another seat. When I asked him
if my gentle grandmother who smelled like lilacs
was really waiting for me in the afterlife
he pressed the bell and the bus jolted to a halt.
As he shuffled down the aisle and hopped off
with a glance behind to be sure I wasn’t following
I called after him: That’s me and you finished, god

and god looked relieved.

Mary Ford Neal is a writer and academic from the West of Scotland. Her poetry is published widely in magazines and she is the author of two poetry collections: Dawning (Indigo Dreams, 2021) and Relativism (Taproot Press, 2022). Mary is assistant editor of 192 magazine and Nine Pens Press.

kviti: on yearning – a poem by Rana Bickel

kiviti: on yearning

during the month of elul 
ani lidodi vi dodi li 
i am for my beloved and my beloved is for me

when we long for God with every cell in our bodies

craving the closeness of the yamim noraim approaching
cold days in synagogues pounding our chests
sweet honey and pomegranate at meals 
a never ending tune woven through the month

i met a woman during elul 
who had an alarm on her phone 
ringing through the day 
every half hour it went off she said
kiviti adonai linegdi tamid
i yearn for god next to me always

but it's an insufficient translation 
kiviti means not just yearn but
that romantic bodily love desperate longing
i want to be able to touch you every moment god, she said
out loud unabashed
eyes closed heart open 

we have so many words for longing in hebrew
crave/yearn/ache/thirst - are wildy inadequate 
kayl taarog al afikey mayim 
as a deer yearns for water
ken nafshi taarog elecha elokim
so my soul longs for you god

but it's so much more
deers NEED water don't you see

every day in prayer we murmur
do not send us away empty handed
raykam al tashivenu 
plz just a whisper of your voice behind us in the shul dust 
that would be enough - we plead

would it though?

i don't know if i want god next to me every moment
i wouldn't want to drink then wear crop tops kiss 
ppl laugh rolling on the floor 
not that i think god doesn't want me 
to do those things
just it's hard to be a body and a soul 

is it i yearn for god next to me, always

or always, i yearn for god next to me

does it matter?
always / tamid

Rana Bickel (she/they) is a queer Jewish poet from Maryland residing in Chicago. She is a recent graduate of Barnard College where she was a member of the slam poetry team. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bourgeon Magazine, Thimble Literary Magazine, and the Jewish Literary Journal. She loves books, community, and rainstorms. 

A Poem Called Mala – by Jodi Lin

A Poem Called Mala

My third finger 
and thumb
move along each bead.
Smooth to the touch, 
the bead,
a marker
a prayer
a desire 
a plea-

to:	all the angels in heaven
to:	the one that i call god
to:	the buddhas  and bhodisattvas
	of the past the present the future and beyond
to:	 my ancestors of my highest good only
to:	 palden lhamo the protector of the doctrine
to:	 mahakala the protector of the doctrine
to:	 padmasambhava the guardian of awakenings
to:	 avilokiteshvara the buddha of compassion.

To all of you blessed beings
with your abundant compassion,
have mercy on me
have mercy on all of us who pray
to clear our karmic obscurations
so we may thrive
in your shelter 
of peace.

Jodi Lin is a Queer/Trans Asian Pacific Islander poet and filmmaker based in Manhattan. Their poetry can be experienced in a video diary called “Leaving Beauty” on their YouTube channel of the same name, Olney Magazine, and The Poetry Project Footnotes publication. A graduate of the ART Institute at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence College, and a Brooklyn Poets Fellowship recipient. https://linktr.ee/hellojodiii

An Anti-Memoir – a poem by Don Brandis

 An Anti-Memoir
Our predictable memoirs if collected
recorded from their motley sources
would be strings of wishful kindly
(some far less kindly) lies,
as truths of what we were,
not what we wanted to be, are so boring
the ghostly future past
a small grey figure sits
on one shoulder, while on the other
is a patch of sunlight
they switch places now and then
it’s in their act
the CEO, the emperor, the dashing general
rock star, celebrity billionaire
trade off with a shimmering void
of strident bird call just before sunrise
of elevator doors opening
on someone we almost recognize
of walking a hallway
away from an ugly scene
where we weren’t at our best
but might have been
if the moment had been longer,
had included a pause that lengthened
if we used it to re-enter
that other self we always are
in that patch of shouldered sunlight
impending, quietly heralded
by an almost-foreign steadiness descending
with an implicit anti-memoir
as if we could have forgotten

Don Brandis is a retired healthcare worker living quietly outside Seattle writing poems.  Some of his work has appeared in Amethyst Review, Leaping Clear, Blue Unicorn, Poetry Quarterly and elsewhere.  His most recent book of poems is Paper Birds (Unsolicited Press 2021).

Current – a poem by Timothy Lavenz


My breath
             shall be sufficient
                                       unto thee

               nearly in silence

the attentively controlled muscles

                  in and out
                                        in opening
closing without cease

               to open again
                                         within me

slaying every notion of I am

                a matchbox counting

off each sulfur 

one by one
                     the gift
                                   its warmth 
simply of
                 joy or sorrow

the simplest
                       one word

body's heave in spirit's keep—
this treasure is beyond belief:
you are welcome into blood:
into faint thickness & vitreous
matter of star: which hour upon
hour shall re-arouse the flick,
o unchanging, o infinite power:

             feeling: this:
the automatic magic

                        where all of this

now eventually
                          now ever
                                          shall go:

             into flames.

Timothy Lavenz is a poet, philosopher, and translator. His work has appeared in Epoché Magazine, Oraxiom Journal, Kunst und Kirche, and Sequestrum. Many of his writings can be found at fragilekeys.com.

Revelations – a poem by Oindri Sengupta


Sun is resting on the leaves.
It is 4pm now and
The city is sleeping in silent chaos.
There is an obscure movement of pain 
in the wind.
It is a time of revelations, of unresolved stories
that brings out the nail pinned in your heart
to nail you further down
inside the vast abyss of time.
Time is distorted here.
Its landscapes form from the melting sun
and dissolve inside the minds.
We who live with closed doors
are forever pining for the lost songs of childhood
to soothe our crammed souls.
There is dampness everywhere-
over the tin roofs, on the railway stations and over us
when we cook our meals for the next day.

We are used to sleeping with lies.
And we live like crossroads 
with our entangled bodies,
our hands searching for the wind birds.
Do we wake or sleep?

Oindri Sengupta is a published poet based out of Kolkata, India. Her works have appeared in a few online and print journals like Muse India, Kritya, Ethos Literary Journal, Istanbul Literary Review, Poetry Quarterly, USA, Contemporary Literary Review, India, Penwood Review, USA, Usawa Literary Review etc. and also in a couple of poetry anthologies. Apart from writing poetry, she also teaches English in a Govt. Higher Secondary School in Kolkata. Her maiden book of poetry After the Fall of a Cloud was released by Hawakal Publishers in February 2022.