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.
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.
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
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.
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.
that holds us together
Our conversations are volcanic.
Each idea erupts into being
for consideration and review
and hovers atmospheric
until it diminishes
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
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.
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
their secret spinnerets,
how these September days
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.
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
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.
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
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.
When fresh and clear,
his lenses missed
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.