A Tree Reborn

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By Tanzelle

Circular cracks show on its map
Its rivers do not flow, only dried up sap

Mountains rise up and its structure still sure
However, the dying giant has no cure

Grey, empty, hollowed out
Water it cannot go without

It gains new life on a lonely night
when by lightning strike it is set alight

Its ashes nourish
The soil it will encourage

Seedlings sprout from its ground
The extent of life is ever profound

              
Tanzelle writes “for creative expression.”

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.”

On Identities

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By deenprogress

Labels,
From the moment of birth…
“It’s a Girl!”
Stay with us,
As we grow….
First-Born, Example-to-her-sibs.
Shaping us,
While malleable….
Smart; socially awkward; Bookworm.
Into Self.

We acquire some of our own…
Muslimah*, Munaqqabah*.
In this life of Meaning,
Relationships define us….
Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend.

Yet, still, are those
Others seek to attach….
Generations-, Cultures-, Decades-thick
Truth, with her identical twin; Not-so-true
Who I should be.

These labels we wear, give, inherit, bequeath
Willingly, Unwittingly, Grudging, Proud
Burying the Human, Unique.

I peel; weary, wary
Affirming this, Rejecting that
Hoping, someday, to find; amidst it all;
Me.

             
“I write to tackle life from an African Muslim Woman’s perspective.” – the writer

The Waterfall

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By Bibiana Krall

“I have never danced in the rain,” she said.

Her words transported me back in time to my childhood.

Woods protected our farm, a fragrant mystery of spruce, maple and oak.

The rain gutter on the barn perched so high, hawks nested there.

Providence was a hole in the eavestrough the size of a man’s fist.

Orange-clove shampoo with my sister in tow made for summer adventure.

Gravity created a waterfall, mischievous hands deflected its force.

Washing our hair in freezing-cold rain, we became land-locked mermaids.

Lightning eventually forced us indoors.

Boldly embracing life, we never stopped yearning for more.

              
“I write because I have something to say. I write because for years I was told my voice didn’t matter. I write for freedom and I write for hope. I am a late bloomer and went back to school a few years ago. I studied hard and read more books than I ever had in my life.” – the writer

She

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By Bruce Levine

She floated on air
As if suspended
By hot-air balloons
A spectacular ride

Her spirit as free
As seagulls ascending
Or eagles go soaring
Through mountain top clouds

Her laughter as joyous
As chocolate fudge sundaes
And time everlasting
In perpetual spring

The days rushing forward
And weeks disappearing
Time standing still
Yet gone in a flash

Like spun sugar melting
And reindeer descending
On rooftops at Christmas
A Santa Claus laugh

Today and tomorrow
Forever remember
The time shared together
A favorite repast

                  
Bruce Levine, a 2019 Pushcart Prize Poetry Nominee, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theater professional. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife.

The Night Bus

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By Shaily Agrawal

I took the night bus
draped in my wedding sari,
still adorned with the jewels
my parents had scrounged for me
over the years,
breaking their tender hearts
for raising a daughter unworthy.

I sought you
and the answer to
why I wasn’t enough for you.
I hope, they wouldn’t
cremate my body
before I reach you.

              
“I’m working-from-home mother and a small-town woman with a skewed perspective. My stories write themselves.” – the writer

Ruby

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By Judy Darley

She can count the number of dawns she’s witnessed on one hand. One, climbing up Masada to watch sunrise bleed over the Dead Sea. Two, that Colorado hot air balloon ride with prairie dogs yipping beneath. Three, the time she and Alex stayed up chatting so late that day broke before their mood did. Four, the night she woke with stomach cramps so acute they drove to the hospital as light sloshed pink over low-hanging clouds. And now, five, wrapped in blankets on the lawn with Alex, sipping ruby port, celebrating forty years together and six months in the clear.

             
Judy Darley is a British author who “can’t stop writing about the fallibilities of the human mind.” Her short story collection, Sky Light Rain, is out now from Valley Press.

Before Luck Changed

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By Elizabeth Sams

The homeless man sat; his fingers ticked the ivory.
He smiled a toothless smile.
His teeth had long since gone.
His memory had not.
His fingers danced over the keys effortlessly.
He played Chopin, the Classics and Bach.
He played on and on.
He played Sarah McLaughlin
and Alicia Keyes.
People stopped; he heard their silence
and the clink of coins.
He played on and on.
Someone was singing.
He knew that voice,
the blind girl who begged on the street
he called home.
Both lost in moments
when their talents were applauded
and they were loved.
Before luck changed.

              
Elizabeth Sams is a Canadian wife, lover, mother, poet, writer, retired nurse educator, and procrastinator extraordinaire who writes “to houseclean cobwebs and express desires, feelings and fantasies.”

Under the Tuscan Sky

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By Leela Srinivasan

we make & unmake ourselves.
The Renaissance in stop-motion, statues
of Greek gods cast into sand. The great literary
tradition on the windows of each taxi splattering
the street. Florence is peculiar, it lingers like warring
flavors on the tongue. The aftertaste won’t leave
you for days. Good. I think I want company here.
I go down to the marina amidst the broken rocks
& I stay until the sky burns into dusk. I count
everyone I have lost. I count my prides before
they can fall. I wonder when the tide comes in,
what will be left.

              
Leela writes “to make sense of the world.”

A Spring Moment

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By Mark Tulin

I often remind myself
how much I love the first day of spring.
It appears unexpectedly
when the world seems cold
and imperfect,
when my youthful soul yearns
for a blooming flower
in one fragrant moment.

The sun doesn’t have to shine.
The world doesn’t have to feel safe or stable.
Nothing has to be in order
or to make sense.
It is the first day of my favorite season
when I feel most grateful
to be a small part of a grand universe,
that gave me my first breath.

              
Writing creates an intimacy with the world.” – the writer