The Poet

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By Sandra Arnold

Walrus-like he slumps
in the shadows of the rocks
flickering fire
into a flaccid belly.
She doesn’t see the pelican chin
or hair too thin to be so evenly raven.
Only his eyes refracting the stars
and the moon’s reflection in fragments on the sea.
You fuck divinely he complains. So it must be the wine
or the cold sea wind that renders me unimpressive
for I was never impotent till my wife asked for a baby.
She weeps
then comb my hair with spiraled shells
and sweeten the night air with love songs
and the eloquence
of your verse.

         
Sandra Arnold’s third novel, Ash, (Mākaro Press, NZ) and her first flash fiction collection, Soul Etchings, (Retreat West Books, UK) will be out in 2019.

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By(e) Chance

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By Paul Bluestein

You were never good at waiting;
impatient from the day you arrived.
On the beach or in the woods,
you always ran ahead
as if you couldn’t wait
to leave me behind.
But I could see you,
looking over your shoulder
or waiting around a bend
to be sure I was close behind.
Then, reassured,
you were off again.
This time I can’t follow
where you are going.
There is no bridge we can cross together,
but there is a path
that will lead you on from here.
You need to take it,
and I need to let you go.

        
Paul Bluestein is a physician, self-taught musician, and a dedicated Scrabble player.

Elm Street Neighbor

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By diannemoritz

From her curtainless
Kitchen window,
Light pools
On a midnight lawn.

The old woman sits
In colorless night coat
Hunched over
Her formica table,

Limp hair hiding
A shaggy profile,
Shuffling worn cards
For games of solitaire.

I walk my dog
Down shadowed streets
And watch
This pantomime:

Slap of cards,
Thin wrist reaching
For a glass rattling
With amber ice.

A sudden chill
And sadness
Drenches me
With cool rain.

        
This poem won honorable mention at the Westhampton Beach Poetry Festival, but was never published. Dianne has published online in The Haiku Foundation, Haiku Universe and others.

Fishing for Magic

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By Lorraine Caputo

Up & down the river boardwalk
along this swollen river
people dip lines
into the quick current

A man fights to bring his back in,
long, expensive rod bending —
only to emerge
debris

A large raft of
waterlilies
swiftly drifts
downstream

& that woman,
thick-armed, thick-bellied,
thick feet shod
in flip-flops,
again unhooks a fish,
kicking its flapping body
towards her pile
& returns to drop her
simple line from a
bamboo pole
into the fast-flowing
waters

… her magic
that will feed her children
this night …

       
Lorraine Caputo’s work has appeared in over 150 journals in Canada, the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa; 11 chapbooks of poetry, including Caribbean Nights (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014) and Notes from the Patagonia (dancing girl press, 2017), and 18 anthologies. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada chose her verse as poem of the month.

Is This Living?

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By A.S. Coomer

I noticed my typo
product
instead of
produce
& wondered if
I only think in terms
of the finished thing
leaving the living
to be constructed
by tomorrow’s steadier hands.

        
A.S. Coomer is a writer, musician, and taco fanatic. Novels include Rush’s Deal, The Fetishists, Shining the Light, & The Devil’s Gospel. He runs Lost, Long Gone, Forgotten Records, a “record label” for poetry. He co-edits Cocklebur Press.

A Coastal Walk

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By Gareth Culshaw

We passed the sun saw the earth had spun
now it gave us sand to rub in our hand
feel a thousand stones flake as grave bones
hear the waves kiss what our lips miss
our footprints showed that our heart glowed
but we had been blind lost what we didn’t find
walked into darkness fed our eyes starkness
the sea touched our toes drowned out the lows
gave salt to our blood drained away the flood
our legs became freer we were far, but near.

Brachylogy*

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By Carolyn Martin

A rose is.
Nothing else need apply.

We never cease.
Eternity lasts a long time.

Confirm: some things
are better left.

Wildness wants out
but laws hold it in.

Once hope dies,
illusions disappear.

Ignore unpredictables.
Love to do what’s now.

After great pain,
small cuts hurt most.

Love is many-splendored
until it isn’t.

My God, what waste!
Space needs filling up.

* Conciseness of expression

        
Carolyn Martin’s fourth poetry collection, A Penchant for Masquerades, is scheduled for a 2019 release from Unsolicited Press. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly.