By Deb Whittam
To the counter she marched
resolute, chin held high as
she looked the shopkeeper
directly in the eye.
That painting, there, the one
above the door, I’ll give
you twenty dollars,
not a penny more.
Silence met her words
but with a nod he agreed
and painting in her hand, she smirked,
there had been no need to plead.
At home she unwrapped
her highly sought after prize
only to discover on the frame
a notation that made shock arise.
twenty she had paid,
twenty she had offered,
but the tag clearly stated
clearance – just one dollar.
Under an organic coverlet
tangled roots channel through clay.
Each threadlike finger, a plunge
into dark, moist, fecund paradise.
The shape is defined, turned, hoed.
A spade and a savage push cuts through.
The oily scrape of metal on soil
churns up segmented, sinuous miners
the color of waggling tongues.
And leggy parasites, their sultry wind
through fathomage interrupted.
The bed, sedulously furrowed and sown
by a calloused and grime-lined hand
Silence, as unseen feasts, a million quickenings
and a thousand microscopic fornications explode within.
A weathered vine
through an accident of ice
in the wintry wind.
By Ali Grimshaw
her internal screaming toddler,
“I don’t wanna. I don’t wanna.”
Will Power offered a hand
linking her arm in his
to lead around the corner.
Her first step through
this now open door
a route unavailable
to her past self.
Ali Grimshaw’s poems have been published on Poetry Breakfast, Vita Brevis and VerseWrights.
By Jack Belck
Of love’s gentleness she dreamt
with little hope or feigned attempt
to whisk away his manly moves
which no caring love behooves.
He wants hard not soft romance
Soft be gone for another chance.
Her perfect face and body
his tanned muscles and smile
come together for passion
but only for awhile
Relentless reality soon reminds
flesh bonds so easily with flesh
but nothing can ever connect
two empty untouched minds
By Alexander Ardenont
Stay a month longer, Jin-dynastied sun …
Too eager you signed unfounding breath.
Greeting came carcass-gifted,
Calamitous cause leaves unsaid?
Enlighten then your parapeted subjects:
Sixty-thousand they stand, suicide-shawled.
Where erred veneration,
When fell celebration?
The horsed horde at our gates know not love
(Their language lacks the rhyme).
At those hands are we
To be skull-split,
Rent from family and form,
Rent for silver and sex?
It cannot be!
Your claims I disavow, your shapes I abnegate.
To my disciples I say only
Adopt, in final moment,
The butterfly’s art.
By T.J. Barnum
Sometimes she explodes. It’s not pretty.
She buys several mirrors to watch for signs of approaching combustion.
She enrolls in yoga classes, starts kick-boxing, gets a buddha tattoo.
Friends tell her everyone has bad moments.
She reads books: It’s habit. It’s buried pain. It’s bi-polar.
Reframe. See a counselor. Pray.
She gets her tongue pierced as a reminder to stop.
One day a stranger at a market hands her a key:
“Why are you so mad at yourself?”
She starts conversations with the person in her mirror.
At first it sucks.
After awhile, they both smile.