Explaining the Rainbow – a poem by Barbara Alfaro

Explaining the Rainbow
 
The moon needs no footnotes or praise
nor does the rainbow whose beauty
 
silences thunder. Thales it is said
tripped and fell while studying stars.
 
Anaximander introduced the infinite
as the beginnings of all. Anaximenes
 
concerned himself with the behavior of
earth, the sun ~ and explaining the rainbow.
 
Poets thought the stream of colors 
across the sky the goddess Iris.
 
And children busy playing
disturb timelessness with their giggles.


Barbara Alfaro is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for her play Dos Madres and the IndieReader Discovery Award for Best Memoir for her memoir Mirror Talk. Her poems have appeared in various journals including Poet Lore, Variant Literature, and Glassworks. Her poetry collection, Catbird, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. http://www.BarbaraAlfaro.net

Sudden Blue – a poem by Clint King

Sudden Blue
 After Psalm 139

Is this the furthest ocean
the final arms where all gulls glide
 
Is this the sudden blue where
whales bathe and hear their song in first stereo
 
Is this the shore where
I should always stand surrendered to stardust
 
Should I walk these sands
until muscle gives out at last
 
as if I ever had control at all
as if I ever knew why I moved the way I do
 
There is nothing to look for deeper
than the endurance running toward me
 
What do we wait for
not already waiting for us?
 
What aches to outstretch to you
and see you as you have never been seen?
 
Would you meet wonder on the corner,
carrying nothing, as if your whole search for eternity
could flicker under a lamppost
 
How gorgeous to be greeted
without words
And to step into night
as confident as wings
 
No longer gathering the will
to outfly the moon

Clint King is an American poet. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, he graduated from Miami University, with a double major in History and Political Science, and a minor in American Literature. He lives in California, where he is at work on a collection of poems and his debut novel.

light & fire – a poem by Kathryn Knight Sonntag

light & fire 
2 Chron.3.8
 
do not fear       death as death—
long watery arms, placid 
                        Prussian blue—will touch
your {lightbody} 
 
touch a password to {lightcube}
 —20 by 20 by 20—dis-
                        integrating inside light & fire,
beside other lightbodies, figures 
 
in divine presence singing
ballads of transposition
                        —clay to sinew to sanctuary—how
bodies of {fleshwater} found
 
each {other} assuaged 
fear of annihilation rebirth. 
                        death brushes the implacable
vision of becoming, the falling
 
sparrow dreams—breaking shell, breaking 
wing in her fall—the {lightfix} 
                        of her still orbs—full tilt to sun—
 
unblinking under the greater orange orb, under
what would {otherwise}
                        blind, what would burn.
 

Kathryn Knight Sonntag is the author of the poetry collection The Tree at the Center (BCC Press, 2019). She has recent and forthcoming poems in Psaltery & LyreAbstract MagazineThe Curator, and the anthology Blossom as the Cliffrose (Torrey House Press, 2021). She works as a landscape architect in Salt Lake City, Utah. www.kathrynknightsonntag.com

After the Fire – a poem by Karen Ulm Rettig

After the fire
     -a reflection on Notre Dame Cathedral
 
You seemed to grow
from the marrow of Earth, 
bones of limestone rising
in gothic glory to pierce the sky,
built of  rock, but lifted
by faith that could wield 
logic and harness reason in an age 
when ecstasy was still possible.
You withstood the assaults
of time and nature and humankind 
for eight centuries, only to be ignited 
by a present-day spark.
Now your charred walls gaze 
on a wilderness of rubble; 
your ethereal stained-glass light
is boarded-off and common sunshine 
floods your nave through a broken vault;
the cool, rational logic
of your architecture is threatened
by a claw of mangled scaffolding.
 
Today it is cranes that pierce the sky,
skinny arms hovering 
over a patient on life support,
state-of-the-art machinery nursing 
what modern technology injured. 
Those cutting-edge tools
will clear the rubble and clean the walls, 
repair the roof and reinstall the stained glass,
but they can’t revive
the soaring joy that lifted stones 
into leaping arches and imagined 
that light could be holy. 
The radiant faith that could create 
your hallowed space is near to collapse, 
weakened by rampant reason,
scorched by blazing skepticism,
swaying beneath a claw of doubt.                            

Karen Ulm Rettig has a Fine Arts degree and began writing poetry when in her 30s. She is a member of Cincinnati Writers’ Project and has published one book, titled Finding God: Our Quest for a Deity and the Dragons We Meet On the Way. Find her online at karenulmrettig.com.

Two Men in White Address Them – a poem by Jane Greer

Two Men in White Address Them
Acts 1:11
 
Why do you stand here looking at the sky?
Are you amazed as river passes by,
keeps on moving from the hidden past
into the hidden future, yet stays steadfast,
revealed, in front of you—or do you drink,
face in the water, kneeling on the brink,
refreshed by the real presence of the stream?
If you should notice in your walking dream
a brief caesura between wind and wind,
a shift where atmosphere has slowed and thinned, 
do you lose your mind to grief, do you despair
of ever again feeling the stir of air—
or do you know, nearly from your birth, 
that wind is with us always? On this earth,
being, leaving, returning: all are the same
for river, wind, and Christ, whose holy name
on your lips can raise the dead. We laugh at you,
but mean it kindly. If you only knew.


Jane Greer founded Plains Poetry Journal, an advance guard of the New Formalism movement, in 1981, and edited it until 1993. She has two collections of poetry, Bathsheba on the Third Day (The Cummington Press, 1986), and Love like a Conflagration (Lambing Press, 2020) and lives in North Dakota.

Implorations – a poem by Sanjeev Sethi

Implorations
 
Let others not whip with words
assault me with their arrogance. 
May the chart of course 
be as easy
as is achievable. 
Steer me, Lord of lords
to be my finest rendition: 
where anger and ego 
are absent, 
where avarice 
has no base, 
where the core 
is connected to you.

Sanjeev Sethi is published in over thirty countries. His poems have found a home in more than 350 journals, anthologies, or online literary venues. Bleb a Wee Book from Dreich in Scotland is slated for June 2021 release. Wrappings in Bespoke is joint-winner of Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux organized by The Hedgehog Poetry Press UK. It is his fifth collection. It will be launched in late 2021. He lives in Mumbai, India.

May Procession – a poem by Mary Beth Hines

May Procession
 
We sail on lace
feathered arms
into the glare of May
sunlight, shattering 
the air with a chorus
of our nuns’ saintly,
sweeping names.
They brush us into line.
 
We descend the grand 
slope of cathedral stairs
sparkling with the ice
melt of a nearly
forgotten winter, and fly
to the hill over the river 
where we hover
above the blare
of the sin-filled world.
 
A May Procession, all
blossom and yellow-
beaked, orange-tinged, pure
black and white, burning
hawthorn, and all of us
bloom and sway 
and tip toward a fall 
from the slick 
bank into the whirling
water below.

Mary Beth Hines writes from her home in Massachusetts following a career as a project manager. Her work appears in journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Orchards Poetry Journal, The Blue Nib, The Lake, Snakeskin, and The Road Not Taken among many others. She is working on her first poetry collection.

Washing My Feet – a poem by Lisa Molina

Washing My Feet

Your tiny toes waved at us
through the ultrasound monitor.

A few years later
in the twilight of evening,
when I was cleansing you in the 
womb-like water of a bath,
I dipped my cold feet in 
to warm them.

You took one into
your hands and began to wash
my dirty, stinky, ugly, old feet.
Washing them clean from the
journeys of the days.

Thus, our nightly ritual began:

A loving mother’s care rinsing 
her young daughter’s hair.

A child’s innocent touch, 
refreshing her tired mother’s feet;

Baptisms through simple acts of love.

I, your disciple, having my feet washed 
 by your purity of spirit-

-You’re a young woman now.
I sometimes watch your
bare toes wiggle
as you lie on the couch
reading a book.

Sometimes they wave to me;
Unknowingly.

And I wiggle mine;
Remembering;
Gratefully.

Lisa Molina lives in Austin, Texas. She has taught high school English and theatre, served as Associate Publisher of Austin Family Magazine, and now works with students with special needs. Molina’s poems can be found in Trouvaille Review, Indolent Books, Ancient Paths Literary Blog, Tiny Seed Journal, Beyond Words and The Poet- Christmas Anthology 2020.

Kelp – a poem by Florence Murry

KELP
 
They drift in pods
on water petal to petal
each a floating skin.
 
Flowered brown encrustations
they move side to side.
Glistened blades
 
Stalk by stalk they branch
separate directions. They thrive in salt
life support seaweed used for iodine.
 
So little we see on top
beneath lies tangled webs
layer upon layer
 
a mangled helix on a serpent’s head,
a crammed, yarn skein.
Tight-twined sphere
 
like our riddled mortal enigma we gnash
against star charted rock,
Laminariales—imagine snare. 

Florence Murry’s poetry has appeared StoneboatMainstreet RagSouthern California ReviewTwo Hawks Quarterly, earlier in The Black Buzzard Review (Florence Bohl) and elsewhere. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript called Last Run Before Sunset.

Of the Deep – a poem by Kyle Laws

Of the Deep
 
Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,
   the lands and those who dwell therein.                               
                                                —Psalm 98     
 
The sea is woman same as ships sailed upon her
            same as rivers in their course
capricious, changeable, subject only to wind.  
            
Women in my family gravitate to shores                               
            gather strength from the rhythms
the coming in and going out silent at night  
 
a deep breath, an exhale, being swept onto sands. 
            Farther down the coast, washed clean 
they call the pebbles diamonds 
 
even though they were only the clearest quartz.
            It is alchemy mixed with a mind 
that reckons possibilities, knows how to lean 
 
into the railing as a ship pitches over and down
            a wave as it leaves ocean for river
knows how to rise and fall with the moon.

Kyle Laws is based out of Steel City Art Works in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Uncorseted(Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2020) Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence coauthored with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With eight nominations for a Pushcart Prize and one for Best of the Net, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany. She is editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.