Metamorphosis at a Stop Sign in Florida – a poem by T.S. Davis

Metamorphosis at a Stop Sign in Florida
(After the butterfly dream of  Zhuang Zhou, circa 369 – 286 BCE)

On a sunny day, at a quiet crossroads in Florida, 
I sat behind the wheel of my truck, minding the stop sign. 

I looked both ways.
Nothing was coming, nor going. 
Nothing was there. 
Nothing. Except me. 

And then…

an exquisite butterfly flitted silently across the road, 
like black and gold dancing together, and came to flutter 
above my cobalt blue truck, and finally settled down onto the hood, 
as if the truck were a giant fluorescing flower, and I, somehow, 
in my sudden ethereal state, was the nectar hidden deep inside. 

In that languorous moment, 
as its six delicate feet reckoned
with warm blue metal instead of soft blossom,
the butterfly slowly opened and closed its wings, 
as if pretending to fly, and the butterfly and I,
for the tiniest of instants, both believed 
I was a flower. 

And then… 

the sweet reverie melted and dissolved,
like a dream dilutes in the light of day,
like white smoke fades into blue sky,
as the butterfly skittered away,
streaking the air with graceful loops of color,
and I was left sitting alone in my cobalt blue truck
at a stop sign at an empty crossroads in Florida, 

Wondering, am I a flower? 

Or a man, believing he’s a flower? 

Or a flower, believing it’s a man?  

I exit the truck and stand in the intersection,
the intersection of time and space. 
I feel the heat on my back, and turn,
full-faced to the sun, to gather in the warmth. 
Slowly, I open and close my arms to the sky,
as if I had wings, pretending to fly. 

I shut my eyes, tightly, so I can see


T. S. Davis is the author of Sun + Moon Rendezvous, a book of poems, and is the former producer of the Seattle Poetry Slam. He’s performed his work around the US, including Manhattan, Chicago, and Seattle. Most recent publications include poems and essays in Rattle and other magazines. Mr. Davis is a retired Registered Nurse who lives in rural Arizona and writes creative nonfiction and Shakespearian sonnets.

Soul Resolutions – a poem by Alison Jennings

Soul Resolutions (For Stanley Kunitz)					

I want to lean back
into immortal life—
memories of the human race,
the myths of our abrupt
arrival here on earth –

and discover
what brought us
to this spinning planet,
where, instead
of finding Eden,
we push rocks up hills,

which roll back down
with each failure—
war and crime, poverty, 
pollution—to be worthy
of the treasures
we’ve been given:  
air and water, animals 
and plants, sun
and rain and colors.

I want to reconstruct
the ancient legends,
unveil the essence
of existence, see where
we made mistakes, 
and study when (and how)
we got it right;
to ultimately bless
this borrowed dust.

Alison Jennings is a Seattle-based poet who’s written poetry since her ninth year, but only began to submit her work after retiring from public school teaching.  Recently, she has had over forty poems published, and won 3rd place or Honorable Mention in several contests.  Please visit her website at

March 2020 – a poem by Victoria Moul

March 2020

The day I saw Mary at Euston
it was only a glimpse as if
she had turned her gaze our way just for a moment and sent
her form to appear oh so briefly a few feet
ahead of the ticket barriers.

I expect she was there for someone else.

Kind and calm and just a trifle impatient 
(who wasn’t, in rush hour?)

and transparent, so that through her I saw
all the rest of us, hurrying.

Victoria Moul is a poet, scholar and translator currently living in Paris. Her poems and verse translations have recently appeared in The Dark Horse, Modern Poetry in Translation, bad lilies and the anthology Outer Space: 100 Poems (Cambridge, 2022).

Ten Thoughts on the Necessity of Escape – a poem by Bryan Helton

Ten Thoughts on the Necessity of Escape


Caught in this room, this cage,
cool and bright.
Here a long age.
This is not the sun's light.


Outside, an unseen 
	blue being
climbs a may-ladder
swings the lamp-sun
	of spring.


Did I dream or did I see
(they are the same 
you will say to me)
the moon last night
	rise howling
with antlers growing 
above her face of light?


	Trapped here
	in this chair,
the body reverberates
with two distinct words:
Movement is life
(whatever that is, it is 
	what it must be)
and then you said:
Life is rebellion against time
(this is why you must dream
	bright dreams
		for the dead)


Now the magus hand,
numb, with a wild motion,
	signs an invocation,
	a sharp slap 
	to crack
	time's head.


The command, the counterspell:
	You, look up!
The walls are rippling.
Your eyestones are echoing,
having fallen down the well.


The great jonquil world,
the blind flower, unfolds.

Warm and fecund hills,
the earth's flat palm-plains,
forests where the laughing fox
mountains made of aeons,
all rush upwards
	towards the mind's eye,
hang there,
encompassed by the first 
		and only ocean.

One moment's vision:
continents of tangled green.


The sphere of time floats
in the drinking-cup of my skull.


I look past these strangers’ faces
	all flamed with hell-fire.
Give me back my happy solitude.


It is a new doctrine I will teach.
The white bread of the clouds
fills me
and the belly-warming wine of the sun
inebriates my life.

Bryan Edward Helton is a poet and fiction writer from Georgia, USA. He spent his early years writing songs and studying Theology and Philosophy. His work has been published in various literary journals including South Florida Poetry Journal, The Squawk Back, Heartwood Literary, and the Orchards Poetry Journal. He is the author of The Manic Joy of the Dead from New Voyage Books. 

Morningside to Meadowlark – a poem by Robin Turner

Morningside to Meadowlark

to Tanglewood to Orchard. These streets
that want to be folded into poem.

They have kept me company, held me
when I did not want to be held.

This is friendship, wordless bond, steadfast
quiet to quiet. I ask the thick surround sound

of trees: Are you stuck here too? Rooted 
in spite of yourselves to inhospitable ground?

How to thrive anyhow, how to stay, take hold,
to leaf and branch for a season, make a home

for the birds and your own grounded doubt.
How to reach ever skyward—oh

stubborn longing!—to fly
to not fly at once.

Robin Turner has recent work in The Fourth River, Bracken Magazine, One Art, and Ethel, and in the Haunted anthology (Porkbelly Press). A longtime community teaching artist in Dallas, she is now living in the Pineywoods of rural East Texas for a spell. She works with teen writers online.

Sunrise Triolet – a poem by Caitlin Clase

Sunrise Triolet

Where sky meets land-a gold cloud band;
But we are Michelangelo’s Adam, 
Faint finger raised to outstretched hand.
Where sky meets land, a gold cloud band. 
The swirling starlings lightly land,
Perch, and sing at the edge of the chasm
Where sky meets land. A gold cloud band - 
But we are Michelangelo’s Adam. 

Caitlin Clase is an aspiring storyteller who spends more time reading than writing. She loves the sound of bells, the smell of vanilla, and any color of a jewel toned hue.

Tornado Watch – a poem by Joan Leotta

Tornado Watch

Rumbles resound 
igniting a frisson of fear.
Looking out the
window all I see is fog
as thick as a blizzard.
No way to tell by
sight if a whirling
cloud’s approaching.
Television beeps.
Can I finish my coffee
here at the table?
A few minutes later
rain tip taps then pounds
our roof, as promised,
threatened by the rumbles.
I take a deep breath,
choose to finish my coffee,
mindful that last year
a tornado crushed my
friend’s neighborhood
just a few miles away.
I say a prayer that
once again the watch will
go unanswered.
Just in case, I place
two more flashlights
with fresh batteries
in our safe room.
I know tornadoes can
whirl through our lives
without much or any warning.

Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. She performs tales featuring food, family, and strong women.. She’s a two-time Pushcart nominee, nominee for Best of the Net, and runner up in the 2022 Robert Frost Foundation Competition. Her newest chapbook, Feathers on Stone is from Main Street Rag.

Extinction – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

Without a thought, I gazed out the kitchen window
to watch the gathering of winter birds at the feeders.
I haven’t had a visitor in weeks, yet I can expect
dark-eyed juncos and hairy woodpeckers to set
caged suet & seeds in motion, hour by hour, until
watery blue shadows fall upon the thickening snow.

M.J. Iuppa’s fifth full length poetry collection is The Weight of Air from Kelsay Books, May, 2022, and a chapbook of 24 100-word stories, Rock. Paper. Scissors. from Foothills Publishing in 2022.  For the past 33 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.

Divine Intervention – a poem by Ashley Robles

Divine Intervention

Ashley Robles is your average chronically ill Hispanic bisexual and the only person you know that still wears fingerless gloves. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Austin and has been catching up on sleep and video games at her home in San Antonio ever since. Her work has been published in The South Carolina Review, The Poet’s Billow, Unstamatic, Grim & Gilded, and is forthcoming in the Alebrijes Review. She is a recipient of The Bermuda Triangle Prize and a part of Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Poetry Collective. She can be found online everywhere @mzashleypie

Blessed are the Coffeemakers – a poem by John Claiborne Isbell

Blessed are the Coffeemakers

Blessed are those who, when they hear about suffering,
	ask a follow-up question instead of changing the subject.

Those who tell a homeless navy vet
	who just wants a little flirting and affirmation

they like sailors. Those who dance before the Lord.
	Blessed is the delivery man –

blessed are the simpletons and the felons,
	the crazy lady haranguing the pedestrians. 

Blessed is the guy with the free flyers.
	Blessed is your neighbor you never talk to.

Blessed are the bus boys and the rush hour drivers,
	the child soldiers. The dead, for their span on Earth is done.

Blessed are the fickle and the incomplete,
the guilty. Blessed are those

who make the coffee in the coffee pot
while others chatter. Blessed are the blind,

the fallen, the foolish.
Blessed are the deaf.

John Claiborne Isbell taught French and German for many years in Indiana and Texas after his Ph.D. at Cambridge University. In 1996, he appeared in Who’s Who in the World. He has a new monograph, An Outline of Romanticism in the West, with Open Book Publishers, where it is available to download for free online. His first book of poetry, Allegro, came out in 2018.