Eve’s Theme – a poem by David B. Prather

Eve’s Theme
 
 
Rumor suggests that the name of things originated with me,
even those distinct variations of rain.
 
But this is not exactly the truth.
Even the smallest creature, the least observed plant,
 
the most distant star has a voice and speaks
its own appellation.  I’m sorry
 
if you don’t understand.
If you are still enough, long enough, you can hear
 
all those who speak.  And as for the gossip of temptation,
don’t be so quick to judge.
 
Even the seeds inside the fruit call out.
I listen.
 
They say bite into the flesh,
let them see the light.
 

David B. Prather is the author of We Were Birds (Main Street Rag Publishing). His second collection will be published by Fernwood Press. His work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Prairie Schooner, Psaltery & Lyre, The Meadow, Cutleaf, Sheila-Na-Gig, etc. He studied acting at the National Shakespeare Conservatory, and he studied writing at Warren Wilson College.

Diet of Worms – a poem by Bud Sturguess

Diet of Worms

The boys at the conference feel so sorry for me
"He thinks the Diet of Worms is a diet, of food,"
they say among themselves
"He knows not enlightenment
He is simple, he is not truly Reformed"
Another says,
"I heard him once say he had never heard
of the Nicene Creed!"
And another adds,
"I heard him say he reads Beth Moore!
Has he never heard of Piper or Bonhoeffer?"

So I sit alone and eat my dish of worms
while the others, careful to avoid me
for fear of catching some Baptist sniffle,
indulge in big, lofty cakes
The icing is too rich, but they chew
and make the most absurd faces,
faces one makes when pretending his nose doesn't itch
The bread is too tough for any of them to slice and share
So they proclaim it predestined to be uneaten
I ask them what this means, 
but there are worms in my teeth
and they tell me they'll send me an email
with a link to explain it so I'll understand

So I sit alone and eat my diet of worms
They are sweet to the taste but bitter in my stomach
I remark to one of the boys passing by
that truth and revelation from God are like my worms,
or like the scroll eaten by John -
so sweet to the taste, but when we must face them
and apply them with all our grit and tears,
they're so trying on our guts

He suggests I read The Pilgrim's Progress
and walks away

Bud Sturguess was born in 1986 in the small cotton-and-oil town of Seminole, Texas. He has self-published several books, his latest being the novel Sick Things. Sturguess’s work appears online at New Pop Lit and Erato, as well as in the print anthologies Mid/Southfrom Belle Point Press, and The Daily Drunk’s From Parts Unknown. He lives on disability benefits and collects neckties.

Trumpet Morning – a poem by David W. Parsley

Trumpet Morning



It is no cloud surrounding the horizon, 
that silhouette revealed now 
in the growing light along its range.

Around each peak the coming sun’s
announcement glows
like tongues of cleaving fire.  Canyons

exhale on the last lights of the city
as a thunderhead flotilla
emerges from the west

acquiring the migration trails.
Fig trees shiver along the stream
like a weave of trembling chalices.

Beneath the aerial schism the sleeping
earth dreams on:  not the dream
of storm’s omened contact

at the mountains’ first ridges, where light
flies up in face of the blackness, climbs wing
upon wing from the dwindling blue

which at the moment before engulfment
sends the only calling ray
to a waiting rose of sharon in the field.

A former Pastor’s Assistant, David W. Parsley is an engineer/manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he works during the day (okay, and some nights and weekends) on interplanetary probes and rovers. His poems appear in London Grip, Poetry LA, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Autumn Sky Poetry, and other journals and anthologies. “Kyoto: A Cycle” was a semi-finalist for the Able Muse Award.

Dusk Fog – a poem by Steven Searcy

Dusk Fog

As pastel clouds bloom, stretch, and slack,
mist rises from the hillside’s back.
Dishes get washed. The kids get hugs
and story time. The lightning bugs
and bats show up to flash and flit.
The treetop’s now a silhouette
in the fading light. All the day’s rough
words and anxious thoughts are enough
to bleach the evening’s beauty, when
they’re fully felt. The softness in
the warm air whispers wordlessly
that maybe wrecked hearts can still be
restored, as this simple, lonely place
awaits the night, shrouded in grace.

Steven Searcy lives with his wife and three sons in Atlanta, GA, where he works as an engineer in fiber optic telecommunications. His poetry has been published in Ekstasis MagazineReformed JournalFathom MagazineThe Clayjar Review, and Foreshadow Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @ithinkiamsteven

An Angel Flies Over – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell

An Angel Flies Over


You think—at first—it’s a wind
battering trees at sunset.

Or perhaps an airplane, lower
than usual on a flightpath by moonlight.

But it is his wide wing,
enfolding a weary, guilty earth.

You cannot hide from it.

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu   was recently published by Encircle Publications.

A new collection, Something to Be and a novel are forthcoming.

He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, he’s looking for work again.

He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and four full length collections so far. His first chapbook won the Negative Capability Award.

https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/

https://www.mark-j-mitchell.square.site/

@Mark J Mitchell_Writer

This Material World: A Benediction – a poem by DB Jonas

This Material World: A Benediction

                                    World-mothering air, air wild, /… fast fold thy child.
                                     GM Hopkins

Morning’s heron drifts
low over the sycamore.
A solitary, saurian flap
astonishes the cedar-tops.
Far past seeing, 
through the gun-metal dawn, 
a thousand cranes 
in weary squadrons 
bellow joy.

Out in this air a wildness cries out only to itself, lives only 
once to hear its whispered voice alive among the swaying trees.

A wildness cries in every air where only silence ought to be.
Here a tiny voice disturbs the quiet space where each one lives alone,

where each thing dries its leaves in the trailing fragrance of the rain, 
in the dispossessions that engender and expose each stark enfolded self,

in the cry that draws us one and all and time and time again into this 
mordant, murderous world’s life-mothering atmosphere, as far

from spirit as things get, as far from things unseen as those dark
quantities themselves: the compromising body, the uncompromising

body of evidence that rises to our life-denying eye, into our joyous 
pulsing heart, into all we struggle not to see. So if it please, o world, 

do grant us each and every day our dread day’s daily crumb, 
and deliver us each moment from the life of worlds to come,

for here, from somewhere far past seeing,
you can hear the wild clamor
of your interrupted solitude.
Listen as, within your precious
silence, above the pearly dawn, 
a thousand cranes in weary squadrons 
make joyful noise.

DB Jonas is an orchardist living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico. Born in California in 1951, he was raised in Japan and Mexico. His work has recently appeared in Tar RiverBlue Unicorn, Whistling ShadeNeologism, Consilience Journal, Poetica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Amethyst Review, The Decadent Review, The Amphibian, Willows Wept, Sequoia SpeaksRevue {R}évolution (https://www.revuerevolution.com/en/db-jonas) and others.

Holy Basil – a poem by Ahrend Torrey

Holy Basil
 
 
I notice the young holy basil, 
delicate,
 
with its two shiny leaves 
like tiny elephant ears.
 
I ask it, why we live—
then leave it for a day
and come back.
 
Then leave it for a day
and come back.
 
Without directly answering the question:
            
each day 
I watch it grow.

Ahrend Torrey is the author of Bird City, American Eye (Pinyon Publishing, 2022) and Small Blue Harbor (Poetry Box Select, 2019). His work has appeared in storySouth, The Greensboro Review, and The Perch (a journal of the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, a program of the Yale School of Medicine), among others. He earned his MA/MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and is a recipient of the Etruscan Prize awarded by Etruscan Press. He lives in Chicago with his husband Jonathan, their two rat terriers Dichter and Dova, and Purl their cat. 

Bridge of Souls – a poem by Susan R. Page

Bridge of Souls
                                      
 I.
As I leaned over the railing of the Millbrook Bridge
to contemplate the rusty water and the witchy leaves below,

reflections shone on the leaves, where they lay like clotted roe.
A man, sporting a wreath of silvery hair, approached.

His gait was halting, but his blue eyes danced. At first, 
he walked by; then he stopped, turned around, and asked

What are you looking at?

I’m watching the water and the way the light 
ripples copper and blue across the leaves below.

Oh, he called out, You’re doing it just for your soul!
Yes, I replied, happily surprised that he knew.

I presumed you were sent by the town 
to check on the quality of the Millbrook’s water.
                                    
 II.
It’s the soul that interests me. Now, toward the end
of my life, my view is rapidly expanding, like a brook 

in spring, playing its rushing  rhythms over the rocks 
and roots below. I now have time to know who I am

before I go. I count the time in moments now. Just to “be” 
is thrilling, and to see what’s around me, and who. 

III.
 I felt that with you, just now, he said. 

And I felt it with you.
        
I’ve come to know that doing without being was not fully living. 
All of my “doing” years brought me little peace.

And now I must go. I wished the old soul good-speed, 
and then slowly, he turned, and disappeared from view.

I returned to my place on the bridge, 
      back to the brook and the light, 
      and to the copper and the blue.

                                        
                                   

Susan R. Page lives in Concord, MA. She began writing poetry in a Lesley University workshop with Elizabeth McKim and Judith Steinbergh, and in Seamus Heaney’s Poetry Writing Seminar at Harvard. She is currently a member of Not the Rodeo Poets writing group. Her poetry has been published in The Cumberland Review and Amelia.

To Be Fed – a poem by Brian Palmer

To Be Fed



I saw him in the grocery line lay down 
a can of beans, a loaf of bread, some milk.
I paid his bill, a total of two dollars.

And now we walk apart in winter twilight,
my dog with me and he alone, our food 
in knapsacks—mine, full, yet feels hollow still.

I should have given him my pears, imagining
how round and sweet they would have tasted
in his cardboard lean-to near the river.

I walk past geese out gleaning tattered cornfields. 
Measured, ordered, land is parceled, owned.
In their migrations, “in” and “out” are moot; 

the remnant fields for them are for surcease, 
for the gathering of some meager sustenance,
since they, as do the multitudes, must eat.

In the falling dark and cold their barking builds,
and then they lift, the pull itself ineffable
inside a wild cacophony of calls.

I stop. My dog continues down the road.
As snow begins to fall, I stand and listen
to them fade into the feathery gray.

I turn for home but feel a gnawing hunger 
to be desperate in the landscape, too, half- 
alive, in search of scattered seeds, of rising 

high enough to get my bearings, somewhere,  
seeing far below those men—me, him—
the geese, the dog, all looking for a place

to rest our wings and heads and hearts, to eat
our cache of bitter food, to deem ourselves 
as beautiful. And finally, to be fed.

Brian Palmer is intrigued with and often writes about the vital and undeniable intersections of our physical, mental, and spiritual lives. His poetry has appeared in various journals including Expansive Poetry Online, BristleconeThe Society of Classical Poets, and The Lyric.

Bookmark – a poem by Rita Moe

Bookmark


Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee;
All things pass:
God never changes.
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.
 —St.  Theresa of Avila, 16th century

At Woolworth’s 
my mother bought 

two yards of wide,
red satin ribbon,
 
parsed it into six 
inch lengths, 

pinked a crown
on the top of each,

sheared an alpine slope
at the bottoms, 

fed them one by one 
into the roller 

of our portable 
Smith-Corona.

Letter by letter, 
fingering each key

like beads 
of a rosary, 

she imprinted 
the saint’s prayer 

and handed the ribbons out  
like benedictions. 

Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee…

I found solace 
in the words;

saw in Theresa 
a sister in renouncement;

and times 
would even weep 

at being addressed, 
so tenderly, as thee.   


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.