Roman Holiday

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By Jane Dougherty

Casa Mario had become their restaurant, ever since their first holiday together when he had proposed as they watched the sun set over Rome from the Gianicolo.

Years later, he still insisted, always gently with a smile, never giving her chance to say she wouldn’t mind trying somewhere different for a change.

She would take his hand, trying not to let her smile slip, trying not to look with too much longing at the noisy, bright, banal restaurant fronts they passed, none of which reminded her of the dreams tossed away like coins in a fountain.

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Crows to the Rescue

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By John Grey

Crows have been by
to relieve us of my dead.
A possum was squashed.
A raccoon was mangled.
A sparrow dropped from the sky.
Can’t look.
Don’t even want to think
about those carcasses being out there.
Luckily, crows have a taste for my discomfort.

     
John Grey’s poetry has recently appeared in The Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review. He has work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and Visions International.

The Milk

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By Carolyn Black

Am a little sour today
More than half-empty
Near the end of my days
A fresher version is nearby
It looks identical to me
But holds more weight
More presence

Ah, a hand is reaching toward me
Careful!!
Don’t shake me like that
I might curdle

The hand picks up the other carton
Which it chooses over me
Loaded, as it is, with promise
Of rich creamy coffee
I am all but dried up
Only a thimbleful of me left
Not worth pouring

Destined for rinse then recycle
May as well
Be totally empty
Washed out

Shelter

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By Matt Paul

‘Seek Immediate Cover,’ flashed the tornado update before the TV died. I screamed for Callie until my voice splintered. She wasn’t in the basement, under mommy’s bed, or hiding in the fairy-lighted crawlspace. I called my wife’s name, forgetting for a moment. Hailstones battered the front porch, and I spotted Callie in the street. Her mother’s red hair wind-socking, pink gel shoes peeling from the asphalt. As I bolted out the door she stretched her arms skywards, to the better place I’d said mommy had flown, her tiny hands clenching-releasing as if reaching for a hug.

You

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By Mrswoonsocket

I was a coward. I avoided confrontation like the plague. I couldn’t imagine standing up to anyone, putting myself on the line for anyone or anything.

And then I met you.

When I was with you, nothing went wrong. Together we did things I never would have tried on my own.

And then you left.

I cried for days. I moped around, bemoaning my loss, hating the emptiness of my life.

And then I remembered.

The freshness that clung to you. The sense of accomplishment you helped me grow. All the good we had done together.

And then I lived.

The Helper

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By Phil Town

“I can help you.”
“I don’t need help.”
“You look like you do.”
“I’ll get over it.”
“I can help you forget.”
“Maybe I don’t want to forget.”
“You don’t want to forget what’s making you miserable?!”
“Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to just face it down …”
“I can help you do that, too.”
“… on my own.”
“It’ll be easier with me, you know?”
“I know, but … You have been a good friend, it’s true.”
“Been?!”
“Sorry, yes. I’m pouring you down the sink.”
“Nooo!”

Night

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By Joan McNerney

Slides under door jambs,
pouring through windows,
painting my room black.

This evening was spent
watching old movies.
Song-and-dance actors
looping through gay,
improbable plots.

All my plates are put away,
cups hanging on hooks.
The towel is still moist.

I blow out cinnamon candles,
wafting the air with spice.
Listening now to heat
sputtering and dogs
barking at winds.

Winter pummels skeletal
trees as the moon’s big
yellow eye haunts shadows.

     
Joan McNerney’s poetry has appeared in Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.