By Tremaine L. Loadholt

he came home to an
empty space.
his condo, a quiet, chaotic hole
that gripped him tightly.

the memories of Claudia
pained him throughout each day.
he could see her swollen eyes,
clogged with tears, then
her mouth drawing in from pain.

the chemo had dulled her
insides—crushed her soul.
her voice, now an echoing
ghostly ghast
followed him
everywhere he went.



Waking up with Adam


By Julie Bloss Kelsey

It occurred to me
eventually, we all wake up
outside the Garden of Eden.

So many promises
unfulfilled and broken:
illness and death,

earthquakes and heartaches,
a myriad of misery
accompanies this human form.

It is our daily choice
to rise from the ashes
and accept our truth.

Go forth and be fruitful –
multiply our happiness
as best we can.

Friends are key –
ones you can text
a single swear word

in the dead of night
and your phone pings back
with emojis of love.

It is then we realize:
maybe a tiny piece of Eden
has followed us home.

The Envy of the Village


By J. E. Kennedy

Old Mrs Bergman’s roses were the envy of the village. The bushes bloomed in a congregation of scarlet and coral, sun-flare yellow and delicious tangerine. They spilled over the walls and lit up the pavement with their scattered petals, like delicate wishes skipping along the breeze, destination unknown.

Mrs Bergman plucked and preened, watered and fed. She whispered sweet nothings. She told the roses all that she would have told him if he were here. And they bloomed.

At night she would take the fading telegram from the drawer: Missing in action.

And she waited to meet him again.

On the Porch


By jgrey10233

Your skin
attracts late afternoon sunlight
endows flesh with the translucence
of an upstairs window.

I’d believe the day ends,
and the night begins with you
if I didn’t know better.
I confess I know no worse.

A man tucked under sheets,
a roach oozing from floorboards,
one snores,
the other scrambles toward
the crumbs under the bed,
both give every indication
of how they plan to spend
the night

Cat slaps the bird around,
snaps its back
before devouring the flesh.
Sometimes, there’s a cruel streak
to hunger.

John Grey has recently published work in Nebo, Euphony and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.



By Victoria Bird

She is buttoning her silk shirt over shivering flesh when the tightness closes around her throat. A whip’s feathered kiss. The ticklish snarl of a cheese wire. The heft of apology in a string of pearls. Perhaps he is dying somewhere, and that threadbare touch is the last of his grip. An affectionate farewell in the brush of his fingertips. One last bloom of purple and red.

Even in Darkness


By Lee

I have, on a moonless night,
turned from the dark fail
of mankind’s madness,
to look on the dappled ageless sky—
before man made God and time—
and seen no emptiness, nor God, nor time—
just the spark that gains my lively living eye.

Here is a greater thing than faith:
from dust of stars we came
and to them we return.
Whether wrapped in clouds of God and glory
or a simple shroud of linen and earthy clay—
Does it matter? Have we not had
(despite all the Madness we make)
this dark and Holy sky?