Keith Roma, the 344th Firefighter


By Douglas J. Lanzo

Found on Christmas Eve, 2001,
alongside nine evacuees
he was striving to save,
the 344th firefighter
and sole member of New York’s Fire Patrol
lost on 9-11…
after rescuing over 200 people,
including a barefoot woman
he carried over tower lobby glass
from the inferno raging inside,
whose retired patrol father,
apprehending from his son the situation,
geared up to meet at Ground Zero,
but never got the chance;

Omitted as a fire patrol member
from some 9-11 annals
that remember the brave firefighters
who gave their lives that day,
but who deserves to be honored
among his fallen brethren.

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“I write when I feel inspired; I wrote this piece to honor a fallen hero.” – the writer

The Last Word On The Last Bird

By Lynn White

It’s almost done.
We’re close to the end
the too wet
too dry
too bright
too hot
bitter
empty end
If I could turn back time
I’d see flocks of birds
flying into the sunset
migrating
as they did for millennia.
I’d see the too loud gulls
swooping and diving
in raucous frenzy
to fill the sea and the sky.

Now there’s just one.

I’ve nothing more
to say.

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“I write to let the words escape.” – the writer

On Bees and Jabs

By Marina Talmacci

Deep breath, sharp sting, the throbbing ache,
An instant to inject
And poison swirls, a writhing snake
Delivered to protect.

Inscrutable, the fate of bees,
What are we, cursed or blessed?
Inoculated, well at ease,
Existence laid to rest.

Yet water buckets need to fill
Through brambles, tears and scabs
Our thirsty blooms need tending still
By arms stung numb with jabs.

With venomed veins and bloody knees
We persevere for springtime bees.

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“My friends call me ‘la poetessa obscura,’ as my words have been directed towards myself or specific people, rather than towards a broader audience. I write in two languages, English and Russian, and let the words come and settle as they are, volatile or tame, vers libre or form.” – the writer

Sunday Visits, a Haibun

By Dianne Moritz

My Gramma loved baking cookies. A favorite were Swedish rolls: balls of sugared dough, filled with pecans, and covered in confectioner’s sugar. These were often served on Sunday afternoons when the great-aunts and uncles drove in to visit us from their nearby Iowa farms.

Everyone gathered in the living room, but when they started speaking Swedish, I got annoyed.

Sunday afternoons
relatives visit
speaking Swedish
telling secrets
I never learned

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“I write to capture indelible moments in time, but wish I had asked more questions about my family.” – the writer

I See The Young

By Don Edwards

I see the young ones manically circling the yard,
Mop haired with freckles like constellations
Endless energy, expansive bones
Finding a path to make familiar.
Somehow a gift they came and I am responsible again
When I thought it was over and I had done my part
Now looking forward to the quiet of the rest.
I should have known no quiet for this weary one.

Little princes irreplaceable
Like priceless gems hidden forever
Within the earth now at last arrived
Are here to be treasured, protected, and admired.
I don’t assume tomorrow’s favor
I have seen so many yesterdays speed by.

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“I write in order to remain outside of the deep dark hole that offers itself daily. Like everyone else.” – the writer

Suburban Stay-at-Home Mom

By Sharon Waller Knutson

She squints as sunshine slants
and her five-year-old sails
through the room, drags
her out of bed and up the hill,
her bad breath blowing
in the air, hands trembling.
Her nightgown is plastered
to her blossoming bosom
and baby bump. The flu,
she explains. Last week
It was Covid. Her son’s
teacher doesn’t buy it,
gives her the same
disapproving evil eye
as her baby daddy,
his family, hers and her pastor
who preaches about sinners
like her, but all she wants
is to crawl under the covers
with her lover, Jim Beam.

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Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist living in Arizona where she now writes poetry because writing is like breathing fresh air.

Etymology of [Unsolicited] Silence

By Sama Fattah

alpenglow strokes napa, strawberry-kissed hillcrests,
parting my cross-stitched lips into a windswept yawn,
as aspartame-sylphs tug, drawing my last breath,
and somniferous tendrils enwrap my trachea.

chambermaids of dawn pluck insolent draperies
open / and recede the threadbare hearthrug that is
my verglassen tongue into blasphemous silence;
blooming briars enclasp the archwire—I speak, eyes peek.

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“I write to express all the things I never said.” – the writer

Vow of Silence

By Stevieslaw

Tired of talk.
How hard
to take this dreadful season
in silence.

The reason
for the pleading
has passed
like last summer.

I did not see
it going. Only gone.
To quiet
now

against those
tedious arguments —
repeat
and repetition.

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“I love/hate the challenge (of writing.)” – the writer

Undine Whispers

By Hicham El Qendouci

On the silted plinth
Of an immature moon
A desilted dream
Seeks its Delta
Open to the sea
Without mea culpa.

The sea horses blow
Unwelcome waves
Pulling on his chariot-banner
Neptune.

Feluccas draw undulating dolphins
Whistling as they sing
Marine cemeteries
By small lapping
By mermaid mumurs
Mermaids Flow-reflux of sirens
In their bath water.

At the twilight of the day
At the dawn of the morning.

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“I write to explore my imagination and express my feeling and emotions.” – the writer