Gospel of Magdalene – a poem by Letitia Jiju

Gospel of Magdalene

God, quilt me in
winnowing sea-limbs.

	Under this greening 
	thicket of touch. 

Want is syllabled;
it shuns all language

	but whirling noons
	in the drawly moon-

mouth that wishbone us.
God, kilt me unto you

	as night pleats
	into frilled wait.

Let me rake and rake
the ruddy earth to myself.

	Lodge me somewhere
		in its hunger.

Letitia Jiju is an engineer and finance professional who has a penchant for exploring and retelling the divine and the mythological. Her poems have appeared/are forthcoming in Zero Readers, The Daily Drunk, Moist Poetry Journal, Acropolis Journal and Emirates Literature Festival. She serves as Poetry Editor at Mag 20/20. You can find her on Twitter/Instagram @eaturlettuce.

Rags – a poem by Dan Campion


A flood plain’s a preservative. Look there,
a knob of thighbone bares its umber skull
amid the sediment. Exposed to air
it will not last. We’ll lose this animal
unless we promptly excavate and wrap
the bones in layers of dipped-in-plaster rags.
We’ll swath what we can salvage and unwrap
it in the lab. Seas come and go, time drags,
then suddenly the creature, though extinct,
stands up, recalled to mind, almost to life,
may even find the niche where it was linked
to others; probe around it with a knife,
you’d find connections. Leave that, though, to me.
You’ll grasp in time how circumspect to be.

Dan Campion‘s poems have appeared previously in Amethyst Review and in Light, Poetry, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism (Bucknell University Press) and coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Holy Cow! Press). A selection of his poems will be issued by the Ice Cube Press in July 2022: https://icecubepress.com/2021/10/01/a-playbill-for-sunset/

In the Orchards of Eden – a poem by Catherine Gonick

In the Orchards of Eden

At an outdoor café, we sip margaritas,
and my oldest friend says she’s done
with all that is dark. From now on
she wants only light. I know she’s weary
of my darkness and weird fear 
that too much radiance could pull
me from earth before I’m ready.

Licking lime and salt from her palm,
she reassures me: It’s spiritual, not
personal. As girls we ate too many
dark fruits. I hear her abandon me
along with the tree that fed us
and am scared to ask if we’ll meet 
again for a long birthday lunch. 

Across the table, backlit by sun,
she’s a shadow with a glowing edge. 
I don’t want to lose her. I want her
with me in the spoiled garden, 
where light and dark are still a pair.

Catherine Gonick’s poetry has appeared in publications including Soul-Lit, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Live Encounters, Notre Dame Review, New Verse News, Sukoon, and Forge, and in anthologies including in plein air, Grabbed, and Dead of Winter 2021.  She works in a company that combats the effects of global warming. 

Ensō – a poem by Caroline Reddy


  The Ensō shape is complete, 
  in its dance of form and emptiness
  to remind us of this and that
  spinning us inwards;
  wrapping us in incense and breath.
 It is the Ensō that 
 can encircle gritty metallic scraps 
 and dark chocolate-
 or twin flames
 an ocean away 
 awakening when the other is asleep
 but always completing
 the reflection of the other.
I wonder if we can rotate 
within the center of gravity,
with no duality 
across time and space.
I wonder if we can embrace it all:
even when we have survived wars,
and the death of those we love;
their bodies have absorbed 
a mountain of clouds
and mulch insulating the soil
inside those molecules. 

We can be partners in the process
as we snuggle under the covers
as our moment unfolds
as a karaoke bar plays an old-time song
and a child wonders about a supernova—
and an Ensō.

Caroline Reddy’s accepted and published work include poems in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Clinch, Cacti-Fur, Star*line, Braided Way, Active Muse.org and Soul Lit.  In the fall of 2021, her poem A Sacred Dance was nominated for Best of The Net prize by Active Muse

Groomed Yard Imaginings – a poem by Kay Kestner

Groomed Yard Imaginings 
wishes to be overgrown 
be bud and sprout with  
endless possibility to branch out 
but the grounds man comes weekly 
pruning trimming grooming 
distinctly deciding the limits  
of growth and shape and size 
sore branch spills sap 
prays for storm to uproot him 
topple him onto the grounds man 
set yard of trees free  
to become great forest 
uncut un-groomed 
beautiful wide-open wildness 

Kay Kestner is a screenwriter, poet, and prose writer.  She is the founder and former editor of Poetry Breakfast.  Kay has led writing workshops through the Ministry of Artistic Intent and The NJ Poetry and Arts Barn.  You can find more information about her work at KayKestner.com.

The Poet at Nine – a poem by Stuart Bartow

The Poet at Nine

knew poets to be wrinkled beings
with crazy white hair who seemed
to possess some power others didn’t have.
At nine he did not write poetry,
was a weak student, but may have intuited 
the world is a poem in need
of deciphering, that poetry might be
the only way to know. He kept busy
catching baseballs, climbing trees,
gazing into the sky, daydreaming.
He could stare into a pond
for a long time watching darters flit briefly
into view, then vanish as if real
even when unseen.

Stuart Bartow lives in the Taconics region of New York state where he chairs the Battenkill Conservancy, an environmental group working along the New York-Vermont border.  His most recent collections of poetry are Green Midnight, published by Dos Madres Press, and Invisible Dictionary (haibun), published by Red Moon Press.

Resurrection – a poem by Jonel Abellanosa


Life by a million stitches
how I push myself back up.
Spelling my spirit to stir
in my quickening.
Living by a thousand fountains
how I quench myself back to thirst.
Saying love, echo, here
hear me say love.
Say a second
isn’t a syringe but a seed, seed
ground I see. Say a minute,
wait, a minute isn’t a joint
but joins, in a minute join
flesh to bone, joint to sinew
and inhale, pull in the draft
of air. Let the cleaned wreathe.
Look, do you see past
the shimmer? Touch and see
your face is still my face
but the past has been nailed.
Walk past the rolled stone.
Do you know your new name?
Say it after me. Let your tongue
get used to my new name.
Repeat after me. Lazarus.

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. He writes poetry and fiction. He considers the sacred an important element of his personal poetics. He advocates animal rights and living comforts. He has three beloved dogs.

Flowers of Hope – a poem by Tom Bauer

Flowers of Hope

We going to blow ourselves up? I don’t know.
Potential’s always there. Even if we crush
the weapons into useless bits of dust,
there could be someone, right? Planning something?
It’s just my brain. The house is clean, perhaps
too clean, the kind of saintly clean which only
virtue can reveal in hearts that know sin,
like kindly ones; born in hell, dwell in heaven.
The desk I’m at is here this now, I know
that much, because I’m here to see it’s so,
but otherwise uncertainty rules the day.
What is the chance that brains line up? That armies
of regret can turn to hope as one and flow
in harmonizing natural displays?

Tom Bauer is an old coot who did a bunch of university and stuff. He 
lives in Montreal and plays board games.

Resurrection – a haibun by Keith Polette


“Watch out for largemouth bass,” my grandfather said, “especially the lunkers, they’ll eat anything:  frogs, mice, muskrats . . . I even saw one leap out of the water and pull down an eagle whose wingspread was as wide as a paddleboard.  Those fish see everything with their dragonfly eyes.”  That was the day before he left in the hour of the wolf to row to the middle of the lake where he cast his line deep.  Just as dawn pulled itself up over the horizon, like a pink-crested bird struggling out of a trap, a behemoth bass hit his boat and swallowed it whole.  All that was left was my grandfather’s straw hat bobbing on the water like a buoy.  

	before time
	moon-sized mouths
	lurking below

Three days later he returned, smelling faintly of fish, but with a light in his eyes that I had not noticed before.  When I asked him, he would not say what happened, only that he’d been somewhere that was like the inside of a cold coal furnace.  After that, when we fished, we kept close to the shore, pulling in perch and bluegill, walleye and bass small enough so that they wouldn’t break the line.  One evening as we were rowing back to the dock, he said, “In a few years, it will be time for me to take you out to the middle of the lake while it is still dark.  In the meantime, and this will take a while, you’ll need to learn how to breathe underwater.”

	dry dock
	the creak and groan of wind
	in the old boat

Keith Polette has published poems in both print and online journals.  His book of haibun, pilgrimage, received the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award in 2021.

Rock Collection – a poem by Ryan Keating

Rock Collection

My daughter deposits a rock 
into the round-topped treasure box 
that guards her growing collection.
Thuds and rattles sound the value
of each piece to her and so to me.
What distinguishes these from those
scattered in the garden outside
isn’t quantified by qualities
or colors or mineral compounds.
She likes them.
And that’s enough for both of us.

She knows I keep rocks of my own.
A brown round one in my briefcase
gathered from a gravel driveway,
a stone altar to remember 
losing a long season of love.
We look at it together sometimes
so she can share its worth with me,
a pebble three thousand miles from
the rubble heap, not because it shines,
but because we look at it sometimes.

And today, squinting from the sun
on my front porch and the planet
I’m learning to see the beauty
as Christ opens to me his treasure
composed of rocks, thuds and rattles,
heaps of things and shining people,
gardens and memories of loss,
a collection, a stone altar,
beautiful because he keeps it.
And we look at it together.

Ryan Keating is a pastor, writer, winemaker and coffee roaster on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. His work can be found in publications such as Saint Katherine Review (forthcoming), Ekstasis Magazine, Agape Review, and Miras Dergi, where he is a regular contributor in English and Turkish.