Circumstance

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By Rachel Grosvenor

I have that familiar feeling of being watched. I knew I felt a connection. I am deliberately not looking over in his direction. One hour left. The strange musty scent of the chemicals in my mask mix with my breath, circulating in my nostrils. I saw the type of mask that he was wearing when he got on the train; black, smart. I decide do it, to glance over, smile with my eyes. Take my chance. I flash a grin despite its concealment, toward him. There he is, head rolling on his shoulders, propped in my direction. Fast asleep.

           
“I write because I am compelled to, and always have been. Getting lost inside stories has always been my favorite thing in the world.” – the writer

Talisman

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By Jenny Middleton

We strung the paradise of those days
together as if they were shark’s teeth
threaded onto a leather lace
to be worn as a talisman forbidding tomorrow’s bite.

Each tooth having already eaten all other
shy, creeping terrors, before its own fall
from a blooded jaw to the quietness of a fossil
amongst a cathedral of cavernous bones
waiting to be plucked.

Now rooms are bare of that glory – hollowed
and we feel as skeletal as those displays
hanging in galleries where they sell,
for a few pounds, pendants
like the one we made all those years ago.

The new light ghosted with shadows slipping
between youth and the spill of age,
as if time was a toy spun carelessly in a Zoetrope,
then stilled again to individual images
that perhaps we can still hold.

             
“The last stanza of this poem sums up why I write – life can seem uncontrollable, like a child’s toy spinning recklessly, I write to still that spin.” – the writer

Profile

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By Andrea

I am no woman’s friend.
I count none as confidante.
They are baseless, petty, gossipy things
Nary an exception.
They don’t appeal to me
There is no spirit of affiliation,
No desire to share and pretend that hushed discourse is relevant.

I much prefer the male of the species.
They can be understood.
Surprises are rare and relationships effortless.
Dime-a-dozen flings
Or million-dollar heartbreaks
We have created them
We have molded them
So we must, of necessity,
Live with our mistakes.

             
“I’ve spent most of my life as either someone’s daughter, wife or mother. Writing allows me the freedom to be accountable to no one.” – the writer

Leap Year

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By Angelle McDougall

Leap Year is where all the leftovers go.
Not food, but things like misplayed notes on a piano,
the extra keys pressed on a typewriter,
the words from unfinished sentences,
partial thoughts, fragments of unused time,
redundant words, and lost translations.

The Goddess takes all these bits and pieces
and collects them throughout the years,
carefully storing them in a large jar
like grains of sand in an hourglass.
Every fourth year she tips the timer over
and lets all the pieces flow out into the Universe
to settle and fill in the empty spaces.

           
“I write poetry because it is the language I am most fluent in.” – the writer

One Last Kiss

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By Raymond Sloan

He wandered along the sand, looking toward the peak of the rock rooted in the sea, imagining her still perched upon it. Smiling. Waving back at him. A single tear fell and swam through the cracks of his skin as he stood there, before it crawled and rested on his broken heart.

He walked the short distance home and fell into bed and slept. He was awakened the next morning by the crash of the early tide, deciding today was the day. He raked the water the whole way there. Then climbed up and kissed the last place she touched.

             
“I write because I love writing.” – the writer

We Are All Alone

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By Beadanna7

The journey of each is
Solitary
Continuing
Starting from before our first conception
Each life immersing the resident
In the knowledge it came to attain
Deprivation irresistibly draws certain souls
Together
Repeatedly
Offering each the opportunity for satiation
Our seemingly coincidental encounters
Give sustenance to the hungers of the soul
Awareness
Attained
The soul is free to return
Sped on its journey by the intuitive promise
of continued existence
Blindly
inexorably
Drawn unaccompanied
Toward a future unknown

             
“I write because I must.” – the writer

Let Me Help

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By Adithya M.

The question is captured
By the wings of silence
The doors deny me again
While you confine yourself within.

The answers swirling in your eyes
As you wade through the hurricane
Go unheard, unheeded
Shadowed by the silent choice.

Today this is not enough.
Your muteness will not do
Let me in to the hurricane
And hold your scarred hands.

Together we will swim
Surge each wave, each wind.
To reach the serene eye
And watch the wonders within.

Let me in. Let me help.
Your struggle is your own,
To endure and enslave.
Let me help you decide.

             
Adithya writes “because if my thoughts don’t become words they get knotted in my head.”

Holiday Red, White, and Blues

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By Lois Perch Villemaire

Fireworks were booming
For weeks in advance.
It’s certainly hot,
The weather is right and
The day glows pristine at a glance.

The news is filled with reports
Of spreading and hospitals filled,
Crowds cover some beaches
Not a care in the world,
While others have shut down
Completely.

No marching bands
To lift the spirits,
No friendly gatherings
With delicious picnic foods.
A different kind of
Fourth of July
Without festive attitudes.

We didn’t wear red, white, and blue
This year.
How long are our lives
Stuck on hold?
Social distancing and wearing masks,
Especially because we are old.

             
“I write to reach into my heart and try to express my feelings. It’s also fun.” – the writer

Tacks Between Us

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By Tyrean A. Martinson

The pushpin box tumbles from my grasp
Clatters open on the hard boards
Sharp tacks skittering into corners.

The main heap of pointy ends
Between the door and my desk.
I leave them, not sure why until —

You barge in, demanding –
“What are you doing now? Why? I need you to – Ow!”
A tack stops your stride.

And … I am not sorry. I am Not sorry. I Am not.

I used to be sorry for everything undone,
Even my thoughts, tumbling like tacks,
sharp edges under the surface of us.

I am not sorry now.

             
“I love words. I love the shape and taste of them. I find refuge in words and stories. I don’t always get it ‘right,’ but I write anyway. It’s in my bones.” – the writer

Her Misery

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By Andaritian

When he says he feels the happiest these days, she can only smile. She doesn’t congratulate him, nor say she’s happy too. Because she envies him. She’s always wondering how it feels when someone’s genuinely happy. She can only dream about it. But when someone so close to her says they’re happy, she suddenly thinks she’s left behind. Everyone she knows has found happiness, why can’t she? Why does she always think she’s trapped in misery? Why can’t she move on? And in the end, she can only cry. Silently. Without, no one knows.

             
Andaritian writes because “it keeps her sane in the crazy world that seems to always want to drag her down.”