Mundane Magic – a poem by Melissa Pollock

Mundane Magic

I cut death off my neglected plants,
Not in sacrifice, in making room for new seeds of abundance.
I give them names and I tell them sweet stories to help them become their best selves.
I clean out my expired fridge,
Not in chore, in ceremony for new harvest.
I vacuum my carpet to clear decayed skin.
I use my broom to sweep dirt back to earth instead of myself to the stars.

Likewise, outside I collect fallen remnants of the season:
I hunt special sticks, particular pinecones and feathers.
I squeeze pimples and pluck hairs to reclaim my beauty
I cleanse myself and my crystals in essentials: oils and menses.
I touch myself softly for self-love and power.
I let fresh air into my bedroom to cancel out cheap candles and twice burnt sage.
I send silent wishes on wings of birds and butterflies.

I let the fruit fly live at the last moment,
My tiny hands an automatic weapon that won’t fire.
I laugh wildly at the crows jokes.
I converse with ghosts about the weather.
I recite names of flowers like scripture.
I roar like a lion to scare away my demons.
I wear a dead man’s necklace.
I sit in stillness –not boredom.

Then I revel in all the nothingness.

Melissa Pollock has been writing poetry for twelve years and although new to publishing –she is excited to be submitting work for review. Melissa’s writing conveys her fascination with spirit, the occult, the wild nature of women, and synthesizing opposites. She is a trained therapist, she enjoys spending time with her family, and practicing her craft.

Labor Day Morn – a poem by Arlene Antoinette

Labor Day Morn

Driving home from the hospital
at 8 o’clock Labor Day morning,
the road is vacant. No cars ahead of me,
none behind me. The streets are still,
except for the lone dog walker who
I believe, is also finding peace in the quiet
of this moment. Words come to mind,
the beginning of a poem about chirping red
cardinals, bright pink crepe myrtle trees
and aimlessly fluttering butterflies.

I reach down into the cup holder and grab
a pen. Out of the corner of my eye,
I see a random scrap of paper and ease
it from its resting place using the tips
of my index and middle fingers of my right
hand, steering the car with my left, quickly
scanning the road for possible oncoming traffic. I flip
the old golden corral receipt onto its backside
and begin scribbling the beginning of a poem.

I don’t stop writing as the red-light halts
my progression but aids my flow. I remain
at the light even after it reverts to green. I’m
not thinking about my father laying in a
hospital bed with a brain bleed. I’m not worrying
if he will be alive tomorrow. All I know in this
moment is that I’m surrounded by beauty
and silence. I look up and the light is still green,
I continue to hesitate in making a left turn. After the
left there will be a right which will lead back onto
the main road to tailgating, honking horns, and a reality
I prefer to forget.


Arlene Antoinette is a poet of West Indian birth who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College and worked as an instructor with disabled individuals for many years. You may find additional work by Arlene at Foxglove Journal, Little Rose Magazine, I am not a silent Poet, Tuck Magazine, The Feminine Collective, The Open Mouse, Amaryllis Poetry, Boston Accent Lit, Sick Lit Magazine, Postcard Shorts, 50 Word Stories, The Ginger Collect, Neologism Poetry Journal and Your Daily Poem.

Faith is for Followers – a poem by Sanjeev Sethi

Faith is for Followers


In this circus of pursuits reverses
are marked on maps designed by
divinity. Some theologues brand
this to causations in other births.


Shortcomings cat-sit my conscience
as I splurge on fourflushers who lure
me to regions of no-return. Bounties
in belief rescue me without reproof.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His poems are in venues around the world:   A Restricted View From Under The Hedge, Pantry Ink, Bonnie’s Crew, Morphrog 16, Mad Swirl, The Penwood Review, Faith Hope & Fiction, Communion Arts Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.



ode to the shopping mall in december – a poem by Rebecca Kokitus

ode to the shopping mall in december

 sleep in heavenly winter white noise, I wish I could / I’m caffeine awake / my body stillborn in the bustle of “what can I help you find today”

(can i help you find the rotten heart of it all / the ground floor of Macy’s / where I go on my breaks to disassociate / the back hallway intestines / behind doors marked “authorized personnel” / the string and tin can veins of it all / where no one sees me cry)

here, the endless Christmas Eve service / forgotten summer hymns forgotten again / altar of fake plants / benches like pews / empty like every day but Sunday

burst outside for long awaited cigarette break / the forever tinkling / sound of snowfall to an insect / ceaseless Salvation Army bell

Rebecca Kokitus is a part time resident of Media, PA just outside Philadelphia, and a part time resident of a small town in rural Schuylkill County, PA. She is an aspiring poet and is currently an undergraduate in the writing program at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She has recent work in Rag Queen Periodical and Moonchild Magazine, and more work in other places. She tweets at @rxbxcca_anna.

Flamboyan – a poem by Maria Marrero


You say it must come down
(Inside is the orange red where roots take hold)

What would happen if the flamboyan
Spread its roots beneath the house
Burrowed through the foundation
And appeared unannounced in the living room
Like a new baby, leaving pollen on the table
Petals, stamen, arrogant pistils

August sun burns the asphalt
Dogs sleep protected under its fronds
before it comes down


Maria Marrero was nurtured on pablum and poetry by her mother who sang her “las
Nanas”, little verses in Spanish. She is a lover of poetry and a lover of
words in both Spanish and English. She has taught writing for over 30
years, and now that she’s retired she finally has the time to write
poetry every day.

In a Silent Way – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

In A Silent Way

Steel-blue feather, with white
chevron tip & ready quill, lies
on my doorstep . . .

By what logic do I pick
it up & twirl perfection
between my fingertips?

I think for something so
light, it has heft.

Long ago in winter, you
gave me a gift of feather
earrings, and beneath

..the porch light full of dizzy
..snow, you said: Taking off the first step . . .

And I thought
you were talking
about poetry.

M.J. Iuppa ‘s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past  29 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.

Spirit in Matter – a poem by Emily Peña Murphey

Spirit in Matter

This was the morning when I saw through their grey veils
The souls of the stones.
Suggestions of weathered faces
Peered from beneath hoods of moss and the detritus of fallen leaves.
One bore a beard of pale lichen,
Another sported a downy cockade of unfurling fern.
A slick quartz boulder revealed itself the group’s leader;
The others encircled, it heeding a silent homily
Imparting the wisdom that accrues
To a being that has lodged for centuries in an earthen hollow.

Round about the trees kept watch,
Drawn up erect, all cellular senses honed;
Their alert intelligence vibrated
With the hum of a tautly-stretched wire.

Regiments of bloodroot
Massed on a southward slope
With green mantles folded beneath snowy helms,
Awaiting the high-pitched blast
Of a fairy trumpet.

Meanwhile, a grateful pool slowly filled
As a replenishing brook rushed down its throaty channel.

To be here at such a time each year,
To be silent,
To perceive the world with unnamed senses;
This is my commitment.


Emily Peña Murphey is a retired psychotherapist who has published work in several literary journals. She was recently designated a finalist in the short story and essay categories of the Adelaide Voices Literary Contest. She has family roots in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Texas’ Río Grande Valley.  She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S.A.










Emily Peña 2016

Arête – a poem by Jeff Burt


I am, the voice said, speaking from the charred figure
of a small madrone, a lifeless thing.

I’m spent, not simply tired, exhausted,
but empty, un-animated, without.

I did, and did, and did, and now I’m done.
I know you came for inspiration,

for certainty in spite of your disbelief,
for one more fiery ignition of knowledge

or a rabbit of faith pulled out
of the magical natural world you conquered.

I’ve run out of flame, I’m extinguished.
I could only keep it going so long.

That’s why I said listen to the little voice.
That’s me. That’s all that’s left.

The earth is done, you know. Don’t think
you’ve killed it, though what you’ve done

with its magnitude of riches is remarkable
in a negative way. Perishing is part

of life, and even this wet marble of a world dies
or changes every millennia. Fickle thing,

creation. I didn’t exactly plan it
in the way you think, nor is it an accident

or an evolutionary spin in the way
you think, either. I can’t explain it.

It simply was, in the way you think.
But you came here on a hike

looking for beauty and solace.
I’m no agent of grandiosity any more.

But sit. Stay with me. Talk. I’ll listen, give comfort.
It’s what I do. It’s what I’ll always do.


Jeff Burt lives in California. He works in mental health, and has work in The Monarch Review, LitBreak, Terrene, Nature Writing, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review poetry prize.

The Iron of the Holy Spirit – a poem by LA Felleman

The Iron of the Holy Spirit

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LA Felleman is currently an accountant at the University of Iowa.  Before that, she was a seminary professor. Prior to that, she was a pastor.  She moved to Iowa City with her husband in 2016 and started writing poetry soon afterwards.  In order to learn this new craft, LA attends the Free Generative Writing Workshops and participates in local poetry readings.

Omens – a poem by D.A. Lucas


The ancients saw omens
in the stones
and how oddly they settled
after the storm.
Observant of how the frost collected
on the timbers that eventually
they lopped down,
their splinters spelling doom.

They told of harvest
by way of firelight, their grins
reflected from the blood
that pooled at slaughter;
and trembled when
the ox bones,
chiming in the wind,
sang of famine and war.

But here, in the kingdom of modernity,
stopped in my car at a blood-red light,
it seems foolish to feel
connected with those pagan hands,
reaching in chants across the centuries
-their spirits and mine,
a confluence in my skin-
pointing at all these omens
found in each passerby:
sports car,
flower truck-
backdoor ajar,
petals spilling out.

D.A. Lucas is a poet and expat living in Changchun, China, where he teaches composition and rhetoric at Rutgers University Newark Institute’s business school at NENU. His most recent works have appeared in Barking Sycamores, The Blue Nib, and Three Line Poetry.