Somewhere There is Hunger, Somewhere, Fear – a poem by Nancy Himel

Somewhere There Is Hunger, Somewhere, Fear			
	─ a cento 

All she had to eat was snow 						 
glad to be swallowed completely. 					
Onions and grease, lumber and bleach, she opened			
with no unstoppable weeping. 					

This is followed by ninety beats of silence				
shimmering in the shock						
mounding the slender bodies as the sun blazed			
skin almost transparent, almost familiar.				

Out ahead, an envoy, blatant and exposed				
in candlelight, this hermit praying					
Break me like bread. Take me						
the gnarled scars, flesh lumped like redwood burl.			

Death is feeding elsewhere tonight					
Curses will pour back into mouths.					
The white flurry of spring sweeps in					
just as a rust-red shadow slides across the moon			
leveling the ground again						
breaking down the blood-clotted					
and a lone naked root is searching for soil.				

In the staggering universe						
you could crack the sky like lightning					
each moment plump and separate as a raindrop			
a thousand torch songs crying out, an exaltation of larks		
drenched in rapture, the angel glistening.				

Two years of hiding, so calm, so dignified, so just.			
We don’t speak. We just wait, alive together.			
What the story doesn’t tell is how to go on,				
what a swan becomes.


All lines borrowed from poems by Ellen Bass. 

Nancy Himel spent 30 years teaching high school English in the hood near Los Angeles before she retired in August, 2019. Prairie Schooner published one of her poems in 2007, and now that she is a full-time poet, she is hoping more of her work will be published soon. She lives in Tucson, Arizona where she is working on a memoir-in-verse, tentatively titled From Ruach’s Cradle.

Screensaver – a poem by John Short

SCREENSAVER
                       
I have a screensaver
of the earth revolving in space,
a fragile ozone halo
 
our only protection but
some really think there’s a god
out there looking down.
 
Now if that space is infinite
and he made it,
that places him beyond infinity.
                       
How long did it take to create time?
Doesn’t bear thinking about,
my dad says, drinking his decaf

as we sit on this tiny degenerate
rock, in need of salvation.
 

John Short has a degree in comparative religion from Leeds University and a diploma in creative writing from Liverpool University. He’s published a pamphlet Unknown Territory (Black Light Engine Room) and a full collection Those Ghosts (Beaten Track Publishing) and blogs sporadically at Tsarkoverse.

Prayer Shawl – a poem by Jeff Burt

Prayer Shawl


At the crest of the mountain 
a penitent in open prayer, 
kneeling, weeping, raising his arms, 
and not a single bird.
The winter rain has erased 
all the footprints of good weather 
visitors, and will mine.
Below a woman runs, 
her breath visible in short puffs, 
then disappears. How long 
I have worn this mountain.

Jeff Burt works in mental health and lives in Santa Cruz County, California with his wife. He has contributed to Williwaw Journal, Heartwood, Red Wolf Journal, and Your Daily Poem.

Weightless, we’re soaring – a poem by Emalisa Rose

Weightless, we’re soaring


The wind will exonerate
just as it scatters

side lined by seashore, we
are wrapped in a whisper.

silver wing troubadours
saluting the infinite 

eluding the wave towers
we break dance the time zone.

Sand sanctioned figurines
scribblings from finger art

drawing our heart house
inflating our flat lines.

Let's toast the wind tonight
as it siphons our shadow,

forsaken of obstacles
weightless, we're soaring

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and birding. She volunteers in animal rescue, helping to tend to a cat colony in the neighborhood. She lives by a beach town, which provides much of the inspiration for her art. Her latest collection of poetry is “On the whims of the crosscurrents,” published by Red Wolf Editions. 

Atomic – a poem by Melody Wilson

Atomic 

									
It’s a reasonable question,
one good friends 
usually get around to:
“How do you envision God?”

You reply, on the phone, 
before we flit to another 
and another subject:
“I think of it as Jupiter’s 
gravitational pull, or
the way atoms can be split 
and then split again, infinitely.  
It’s in there somewhere…”

And then we are talking 
about a woman on the bus, 
or food, or politics, 
and I come to understand.
I can let God be the space 
between diminishing matter.
The solution 
that holds us together
between discussions, 
between words.

Our conversations are volcanic.  
Each idea erupts into being
for consideration and review
and hovers atmospheric
until it diminishes
dwindles really 
and sputters out.

The rising market, 
the decline in music. 
Art, culture, God.
These subjects compose 
our existence, our trajectory 
together.  Each topic beautiful 
and whole, as we divide 
and display them to each other.  
We are forever seeking purpose,
solace.  As if the answers lie
waiting between our words.
But to share a definition, 
a specific vision,
that seems a lot to ask.
Nothing to hold 
in the palm of my hand
just the flaming fragments 
of your infinite mind
fluttering to Earth
like stars.


Melody Wilson
writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. Recent work appears in Quartet, Briar Cliff Review, Amsterdam Quarterly, and The Shore. Upcoming work will be in Tar River Poetry, Whale Road Review, Timberline Review, and SWWIM. She has recently been awarded the 2021 Kay Snow Poetry Award and is Honorable Mention for the 2021 Oberon Poetry Award.

Spiders – a poem by Kathryn Simmonds

 
Spiders                                   
 
On the thread of 
this attempted prayer
a hair braced attentively 
 
I lower down,
the slightest give 
a catch only the heart 
 
can feel, and think 
of spiders, 
their secret spinnerets,
 
how these September days
when opening 
the greenhouse door
 
I’ve walked face first 
into a web 
no one could know 
 
was there except 
the crumpled maker. 
I’ve spun nothing 
 
and hang in nothing, 
my thread invisible unless 
glossed by light, 
 
lowering down into air,
or what is not air 
but the belief of it. 
 
 
 

Kathryn Simmonds has published two collections of poems. She lives with her family in Norwich. 

The Tone – a poem by Stephen Kingsnorth

The Tone


Why claim the name of poetry?
These codes, sounds, sights to be received -
unless my self-indulgent phase
is barren laid, no progeny?
By printer’s ink I want eroteme,
not to end line myself alone -
or I would speak from mindful couch.
If all else fail to find such task,
then how will they, I, benefit -
for why community of souls,
wisdom I sole recipient?
So face the stave, some audience,
remove the megalomania,
the monologue with self alone -
allow reaction set the tone;
it’s said that twelve can change the world -
eleven if the silver paid.

Penny dreadful, classic tome,
nouveau cuisine or greasy spoon,
the lingue franca, koine Greek,
I pose a drip-fed, question marks,
like parables that rubbed wrong way,
insulted those, established ways,
who knew which side their Lord was on,
happy to confirm that God their own,
that they affirmed what He had done -
until the upstart seeded doubt
for those not wearing Sabbath best,
for wrestlers, could not let it rest.
Treatise prose persuades so few;
it is the story, changed world-view
that knocks perspective, paradigm
and dares the daring to review.

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had over 250 pieces published by online poetry sites, including Amethyst Review, printed journals and anthologies.  https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/          

The Sleep Sack – a poem by Annie Powell Stone

The Sleep Sack

It’s Prehistoric Boys Two, 
a scroll-down choice,
but you can’t tell they’re dinosaurs from the doorway.
Instead it looks like a house dress, floral,
and he a puttering housewife 
pacing and muttering.
Or
it’s a robe
and he’s a tiny priest.
When his brother comes in
he anoints him with teething drool,
touching his head.

Annie Powell Stone (she/ her) is a writer, tutor, and fan of peanut butter toast living in Baltimore City with her husband and two kiddos. Read more of her poetry on Instagram: @anniepowellstone.

Wood Thrush Song – a poem by Charles Weld

WOOD THRUSH SONG
 
When Thoreau writes It is delivered like a bolas
or a piece of jingling steel, the prey, I guess,
is he, himself, caught in the web of balls
and line, until, legs bound tight, he leans and falls,
taken down by the Wood Thrush’s caroling.
And when he writes in late December, recalling
June woods filled with that fine metallic ring,
that he would be drunk, drunk, drunk, dead
drunk to this world with it forever, there’s no dread,
only excitement at the thought of being
brought down by Wood Thrush song again. Deep
calls to deep, making balance hard to keep
like a pond, when it turns over its 100 feet
of water, erasing the layers that’d kept things neat.

Charles Weld’s poems have appeared in magazines such as Snakeskin, Southern Poetry Review, The Evansville Review, Worcester Review, CT Review, Friends Journal, Vita Brevis, Better Than Starbucks etc. Pudding House published a chapbook of his poems, Country I Would Settle In, in 2004. Kattywompus Press published another chapbook, Who Cooks For You? in 2012. His poems were included in FootHills Publishing’s anthology Birdsong in 2017. A mental health counselor, he’s worked primarily in a non-profit agency treating youth who face mental health challenges, and lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, USA.

Bifocal – a poem by Ralph La Rosa

Bifocal
 
When fresh and clear,
his lenses missed
little, near
or far, and focused
in his youthful days
on friends who would
behave in ways
he saw were good.
But those more distant,
who seemed so raw,
looked more content.
With age, he saw
both near and far
are what we are.

Ralph La Rosa, retired from professing American Literature, has published critical prose on major American writers and has also placed fiction, poetry, and film scripts. These days, he mostly writes poetry, appearing widely on the Internet, in print journals, and in the chapbook Sonnet Stanzas and the full-length collections Ghost Treesand My Miscellaneous Muse: Poem Pastiches & Whimsical Words.