Random Reflections Light drifts, changes, day rolls into furnace, all fires are fire. Then there is the blank space The wall clock stops at quarter to nine. A dust storm blows the tiny bird’s nest The flowers fade, I don’t speak of it. The afternoon shifts to the evening with crumbly sigh, dimness sinks the needle in. The voice of the winds like any old memory, strays in the winnowed sand-yard. My diary pages are open all night inside the dark drawer. And I learn to burrow in the dark yet I shudder from where the Universe begins. ©gopallahiri Gopal Lahiri is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, writer and translator with 24 books published, including five jointly edited books. His poetry is published across various anthologies globally. Recent credits: Ink Pantry, Verse-Virtual, Madrigal, The Best Asian Poetry, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize for poetry in 2021
Walking Through a Mixed Conifer Forest on a Summer’s Day O earth, let us forever know the smell of the forest floor that embraces first heat of day where sap like honey crystallizes entombing citrus scent and moss unfurls to water and aspens wave their greeting and pine trees whisper stories to the wind and huckleberries seduce bears and thimbleberries surely shelter fairies as cottonwood twirls and tumbles on the breeze and we inhabit our bodies and our feet carry us forward and we walk at the pace of the forest and our minds lilt and drift with the butterfly and our spirits bubble and gurgle with the creek and firs and pines exhale wisdom and being nearby we inhale wisdom and it’s May and fires are a distant thing and the Swainson’s thrush sings and the chipmunk plays hide and seek and the golden mantled squirrel chatters and the deer watches silently at the edge and the fir trees drop their protective caps and the new growth is soft, and ever green and the spider web glints in the morning light and the ants delight in decay and decay smells rich and inviting and the next layer builds on this one as life begins and ends on the forest floor
Elizabeth Domenech is a writer, naturalist, and advocate for conservation and wildness. Her writing can be found published in Montana Naturalist, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Pivot and Pause: A Poetry Anthology of Resilience, Remembrance and Compassion (2020). She lives in Bozeman, Montana.
That patch of perennials The warped picnic table engraved with the paint stains and barbecues. The critters, a medley of mourning doves, deer and opossum, plus the countless stray cats I have fed. Those six standing sycamores greening with leaves, birds on the branches, corralling and cawing from morning to midnight. And that patch of perennials we’d planted two decades ago reminding of where we had been and where we are going.
When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting. She walks with a birding group each month through the neighborhood trails. She volunteers in animal rescue. Her work has appeared in Amethyst Review, Mad Swirl, Writing in a Woman’s Voice and other wonderful places. Her latest collection is This water paint life, published by Origami Poems Project.
The Wake It’s not clear where the river begins where her body ends watery thoughts phantoms meeting only to part a looseness expanding as stars might deepen— one empty breath at a time— to fill a winter’s sky ave ave it’s not clear is it she or the river that pulls me so? I dip my fingers into her hair stare into lidded eyes a dragon lies in the depth of each it seems to be sleeping dormez-vous? dormez-vous? a bell is ringing dormez-vous?
Scott Elder lives in France. His work has mostly appeared in the UK and Ireland. A debut pamphlet, Breaking Away, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2015, his first collection, Part of the Dark, by Dempsey&Windle 2017 (UK), and the second, My Hotel, is forthcoming in Salmon Poetry 2023 (Ireland). Website: https://www.scottelder.co.uk/
Nocturne In the beginning there was darkness, there was no ray and no prism, no rainbow to arch above the clouds, there was no water to veil the earth, no splendid sun to blaze, and no gentle breeze to murmur. In the beginning there was no pain, no mother to wail for her dead son, there was no sin no spirit, no father. There was no apple to want, no tongue to lick the nectar, no desire. There was no star to pierce the night, no heaven for angels to descend from, there was no cross, no candle, no altar. There was no blue sky, no wing to unfurl and no wind beneath, or above. In the beginning there was darkness, there was silence, and love.
Shakiba Hashemi is an Iranian-American poet, painter and teacher living in Southern California. She is a bilingual poet, and writes in English and Farsi. She holds a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Laguna College of Art and Design. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Atlanta Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Ibbetson Street Magazine, The Indianapolis Review, I-70 Review, Cream City Review, The Summerset Review, Roanoke Review, Collateral and the New York Quarterly Anthology Without a Doubt: poems illuminating faith.
Space Made of Breath I emptied the cup and then poured out the emptiness but then I looked in and there was still more what was your original face before you were born and what was the original face of this cup when it was still just the dust of the earth? what was the "i" before it grew into a self-important capital? lost its dot into a glazing that wanted to shine even though it was just earth cradled between someone's hands a container for emptiness and you can never pour it out it's too full of itself like I'm too full of "I" and dust I am Earth that wants to be cradled but my bones are too full of emptiness and when you look at my breath it disappears, it was never there you can't add air into air and make it separate why do we try so hard to draw our diaphragms into space made of breath?
Maija Haavisto has had two poetry collections published in Finland: Raskas vesi (Aviador 2018) and Hopeatee (Oppian 2020). In English her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in e.g. Moist, Capsule Stories, Soul-Lit, ShabdAaweg Review, The North, Streetcake, ANMLY, Eye to the Telescope, Shoreline of Infinity and Kaleidoscope. Follow her on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/DiamonDie
Bartimaeus Clasp…that holds the darkness… and it is noon, and he is fastened beyond his wish as if wrapped in some morbid shroud without bindings. He, the blind beggar, the petitioner at Jericho’s gate, who can never look outward on a vista, never see a star tumbling from heaven, whose sight, confined to sightless patterns bleeding into umber-red, knows by feel, by taste, by touch, but more by intuition, the world’s activities. He hears the palm fronds that rustle in the morning air, the sound of sandals on flagstone, the bells of camels carrying their tired cargo, the grappling, the laughing of little boys wrestling in the dusty plaza. He smells the scent of lemons and melons exaggerated in the heat, and the figs and dates on their way to market packed carefully in their baskets. He feels the tunic of a merchant, busy with the cares of morning, whisper past his outstretched hand, feels the warm sand filtered between his toes in his sandal and the small lizard that unexpectedly slithers over his thigh. Today there is the jostling of a crowd There is a special excitement…a different crowd…not the one that gathers for the market busy with the occupations of day, with the gossip of each passing hour; not the one that follows a thief, shrill in its cries of pursuit; nor the one that prepares in hushed voices for the passing of a dignitary. Something other. Suddenly a brighter darkness. It is a fire with warmth, without heat, and he is drawn like the flower he cannot see to the sun he can only feel in a magnetism of divine coercion. He finds his voice rising from his throat, uttering the Messianic secret, discovers himself on his feet stumbling forward toward a depth he cannot fathom knowing only the draw and need, seeing without seeing. Caught by the force that impels him, he leaves his cloak. Frightened, without the conceit of imagined appearances, he is aware of hands pushing him backwards. His supplication, his syllables have a sharpness that surprises. Then a question. Encouraged by the Prophet’s invitation, he finds himself in the presence of Him who elicits love. His knowledge no longer reliant upon lateral effect, he plumbs the depth of certain understanding, the hidden, now unobscured. He comprehends as clearly as if sight were his, and it matters only little that the circumference of his universe is darkness. Still, in answer to the question, he names desire. Then the miracle everyone sees. It is not the miracle he feels within, the unexplainable expansion, the question which no longer needs to be asked but is answered. Delineation and line and depth and color and overwhelming beauty in a breathtaking instant are his. He sees the sun and understands the shadow.
Ann Power is a retired faculty member from The University of Alabama. She enjoys writing historical sketches as well as poems based in the kingdoms of magical realism. Her work has appeared in: Limestone, Spillway, Gargoyle Magazine, The Birmingham Poetry Review, The American Poetry Journal, Dappled Things, Caveat Lector, The Copperfield Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Amethyst Review, The Loch Raven Review, and other journals. In addition, Ann’s poem, “Ice Palace” (The Copperfield Review) was nominated for Best of the Net in Poetry last year.
What Right Do Meanings Have To Hide Behind The Things We See I saw the alchemy symbol for the first breath we breathe on a bumper sticker that was on an ambulance that was on a busy street last week and in that moment I knew I’d never get smart enough to define the one and only meaning behind what I saw which, I mean, honestly is exactly the sort of predicament that could make you start a religion without even realizing that all you had to do was maybe tell just one other person to get the whole ball of waxing Moons rolling and so I guess I’ll tell you that lately my work days get me up before the Sun can come through my window, and this morning when the gold light shined in and began to give me some shadows to see the sunlight through the lace of the window curtain made this pattern on the wall that looked precisely and frighteningly like the alchemy symbol for honey, two fish kissing each other in profile, the one on the left frowning, the one on the right smiling, and I debated on whether to mention it to anyone until now and so since you are technically anyone what do you think it all means or maybe at least can you tell me what some of it might mean
Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rich’s poems have appeared in Bending Genres, Menacing Hedgeand Stink Eye, among others, and he has work forthcoming in Boats Against The Current. Rich is BOMBFIRE Magazine’s Associate Editor, and he is the author of All Of This Candy Belongs To Me.
Mirabai Your fragrant devotion—charcoal fire—sandalwood incense burning— through a long winter inspires me— each moment tossed into the flame— each moment a note from the flute player—handwritten—you find strewn like flowers when the bridegroom comes—how—when sunset comes— your heart restlessly begins to hum hymns of desire—it is becoming clear—a clearing—your tent pitched—fire wood gathered—each moment kindling you offer—prasad—beloved you sing—come now
John Copley Alter is an elderly foreigner.
Silence “...make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.” Wendell Berry Silence creates a wide berth for a poem to be born and for a poem to leave a silence behind ringing with meaning and a choir of images, a silence housed in a temple or a church, a silence bedded in still waters or reflected in a child’s eyes the first time she gazes at the wavering flare of a lit candle.
Janet Krauss, who has two books of poetry published, Borrowed Scenery, Yuganta Press, and Through the Trees of Autumn, Spartina Press, has recently retired from teaching English at Fairfield University. Her mission is to help and guide Bridgeport’s young children through her teaching creative writing, leading book clubs and reading to and engaging a kindergarten class. As a poet, she co-directs the poetry program of the Black Rock Art Guild.