Mary Conjures a Spell – a poem by D. Walsh Gilbert

Mary Conjures a Spell

Orion with his belt of lights.
Slither between dandelion and crab grass.
Salamander at night.
How to walk the ways unknown.
A world gone wrong.
The welcome note promises a thriving.
You take what you can get.
Tinder from the banks of Purgatory Brook.
Iridescent forsythia.
Waiting for the intoxication of the lilac.
Spice of kielbasa spooned during war.
After the locusts and before the star glow.
The odd forces of again and again.
Mortar and pestle.
Tiny stitches at the hemline.
Become invisible.
Belonging becomes benign.
Chisel imperfections from the marble.
A prayer or a commandment.
Burn an offering to the old ways.
When to mourn and when to eat tomorrow.
How candle-bubbled soup becomes a pie.
Woman’s work.
A calling.

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.  

Morning Prayer – a poem by Chase Padusniak

Morning Prayer

God, it’s another day
Blown past in a chilly squall
Dried out by the bright sun’s ray,
Unseen, but felt by each and all.

Rev the engines; flip the bird.
Another post-industrial box
Flies paralyzed, not a word
To speak but a palsied squawk.

Forgive us these snotty thoughts
And empty deeds, these firecrackers.
Bring whispers, love, this fight fought
In the nightmare of history unlacquered.

Deliver this undiluted hate and see it
Through to the self, the atrophied hands
Of Felix Randal and Joe Plumber. Sit,
Crucify aeon time, reduce to dry sands.

God, dilate the days and chomp
The bit; the sun dips and abyss again
Grips what has been, crushes, stomps,
What I decry. This prayer is answered.

Chase Padusniak is a PhD candidate in Princeton University’s English department, where he specializes in late medieval mystics like Julian of Norwich, Marguerite Porete, and Jan van Ruusbroec. He is an associate editor at Macrina Magazine; his poetry and prose have appeared in Soft CartelChurch Life JournalComitatus, Augustinian Studies, Athwart, as well as the edited collectionSlavoj Žižek and Christianity (Routledge 2019), among other outlets. Twitter and Instagram: @ChasePadusniak

Unseen Waves – a poem by Alfred Fournier

Unseen Waves

After Robert Bly 

When this cup is empty,
I will slide my chair back from the table,
I will rise in morning light
and thirst no longer.

Once, I strode across bright fields
between houses, between roads.
I listened to the catbird’s call from the tanglebush.
I pocketed her song, should I need it later.

This is how it is. The count of our days
like waves that break unseen behind hills.
Wash of a tide that sustains us, barely an echo
as we go about our day.

Our business is not what we thought here,
not what we were taught to want at all,
but what we saw in the mirror
when we were eleven,

the age my daughter is now.
I hope she won’t forget, won’t be lost
like the rest of us for decades.
A secret knowledge simmers in us.

I will pass beyond those hills.
This knowledge comforts me now.
It curls up like a cat beside me.
No trumpets. No angels. Only tea by the window,

breakers swelling in the distance,
if I’m not mistaken.

Alfred Fournier is an entomologist, writer and community volunteer living in Phoenix, Arizona. His nonfiction and poetry have appeared in Amethyst Review, Delmarva Review, American Journal of Poetry, Lunch Ticket, Gyroscope Review, The Indianapolis Review and elsewhere. New work is forthcoming at Blue Unicorn and Drunk Monkeys. His Twitter handle is @AlfredFournier4.

Clasp – a poem by Shane Schick


God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. -- Acts, 19 11-12

Thousands of years after, 
thousands of miles away
from so much as the dust 

of any piece of cloth or cup
your hands had handled,
or had bumped or brushed

against you, I still search 
for particles, vestiges
of what came into contact

with you, whether left
in the veins of leaves 
or in the soil on a stone,

whatever could be carried,
somehow, across the sea
and the centuries, brought 

to me by sympathetic wind
or the friendliest of waves,
by a caregiving Earth

as if offering me some soup,
not necessarily to heal me
or because I had a demon

to evict, just to acknowledge
that to be a disciple is not
simply to follow but to adhere

to both teaching and teacher,
secured not like a strand 
of hair curled inside a locket

but like a locket’s chain,
links that want only to
encircle, to hold on.

Shane Schick is the founder of a publication about customer experience design called 360 Magazine. His poetry has recently appeared in EkstasisMacrina Magazine and other publications. He lives in Whitby, Ont. with his wife, an Anglican priest and their three children. More: Twitter: @ShaneSchick.  

While we are gone – a poem by Emalisa Rose

While we are gone

Spring will soliloquy
while we’re away
then collapse once again
into that vortex of mystery
where only the winged world
has both privilege and privy to.

And somehow we’ll carousel
along with the sojourn of leaves
sadly contorting
into vague wisps of self

with us on the outskirts
where weeds ache with loneliness
forsaken by worldly pretension
yet at peace with the gift of exclusion.

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting with macrame art. She volunteers in animal rescue, tending to cat colonies. She walks with a birding group on Sundays. Her work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Amethyst Review, Literary Veganism and other wonderful places. Her latest collection is “This water paint life,” published by Origami Poems Project.

On Faith, Personal or Otherwise – a poem by Grace C. Przywara 

On Faith, Personal or Otherwise

Is faith set and certain
or is it alive and changing (or is that me)?
On one hand, I hold onto a
dogma that has been passed on,
outlawed, that has martyred and inspired, 
started wars and healed nations.
Is it a solid rock with histories on top
or does bad ol’ humanity stay the same,
while faith, like vapor, takes up the shape
of needed grace?

My faith (can it be claimed?) is filed into
the different drawers of me. 
Jesus in my chest, and the saints close by—
Blessed Mother behind my eyes, 
but the Old Testament and the epistles
are in some bone or another,
still making up my structure but not understood, 
the tolerated ache undiagnosed.
I’ll never be set and certain, 
so will I ever be whole enough
to hold it all at once?

Grace C. Przywara received an English degree from the University of South Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in Ekstasis Magazine and is forthcoming in Rise Up Review, and has placed multiple years in contests hosted by human rights organization Rehumanize International. Grace currently lives in Aiken, South Carolina.

Everlasting – a poem by Brian Kates


A single raindrop falls, 
seeps through grass
and soil and rock,
is pulled by the sunlit hand of God
into thirsty roots, up, up,
up through xylem and stoma 
into the womb of a cloud,
to be born again, life everlasting
beyond the reach of priest or prayer 

Brian Kates holds a Pulitzer Prize, George Polk Award and Daniel Pearl Award for Investigative Reporting. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Spirit Fire Review, Paterson Literary Review, Broadkill Review, Banyan Review, Third Wednesday, Common Ground and other journals. He lives with his wife in a house in the woods in the lower Hudson Valley.

Song – a poem by Joe Benevento

"She sang a song without any questions, full of color and joy"
                                                                      -Elisa Kleven
It isn't easy to sing that way,
since song suggests word and all
words can be questions.
And she was not naïve.
She wasn't singing without knowing
why we worry about any joy
asking us to accept it
without inquisition.
And yet her song seemed
satisfied to suggest its colors
proved how natural it also is
to sing.  Rainbows are real:
though no more believable
than killing storms, no less
so, either.
Her singing said suspend
your doubts, breathe in belief,
make your very listening a prayer
of thanks someone can still sing
this way, and you will co-create
these colors,
join this joy.

Joe Benevento’s work has appeared in almost three hundred publications, including Bilingual Review, U.S. Catholic, Dappled Things and Poets & Writers. He has had fourteen books of poetry and prose published, including: Expecting Songbirds: Selected Poems, 1983-2015.  He teaches creative writing and American literature at Truman State University.

Dive into Light – a poem by Elizabeth Hykes

Dive into light
Dive deep into light and swim.
Then, stand and squeeze the
light from your hair and
watch it fly around you.
Grab some drops from their flight
You can feel droplets of water
smaller than fog, but a liter of light
feels no different from a
wheelbarrow full.
All light reflected from the ocean
weighs the same as
the light in your hand.

As it does every day
darkness falls upon you.
There! See the trail you generate:
A rainbow, droplets of light
continue to fly from your
saturated hair.
You might see a pot of gold
revealed by rainbow light,
or perhaps your greatest fear
no longer hidden in the dark.

Know that light always returns.
Dive back in.
See how light receives you,
welcomes and uncloaks the
dark cloud that, like the rainbow,
follows you.
How well you swim
buoyed and cleansed
unhampered by the darkness
you just explored.

Elizabeth Hykes lives and writes in southern Missouri. A retired clinical social worker, writing has sustained her through the ups and downs of life.

Kaleidoscope – a poem by Janice L. Freytag


Look at a barley loaf
through the beveled lens.
See it open
like a feast of 
golden flowers 
slicing into my hunger
on a thousand knives.

Do it again with a fish.
Prismatic acrobat leaping
through glass fragments,
filling the frame
with silver glint.
I was never filled
before today.

Look at our clustered
faces, and hands 
splintering across green grass,
giving, taking
mirrored baskets, 
circling round the center
where all good gifts meet.

Janice L. Freytag currently resides in Souderton, PA. She began writing poetry after working in post-war Bosnia.  Her poems have appeared in Radix, Relief, Saint Katherine Review, Windhover and others. In addition to poetry, she has written four children’s musicals. She is an enthusiastic, though not always successful, gardener.