Spring came on reluctantly this year—
like the probing of a diffident lover,
uncertain of welcome.
It gave me time to remember
how much the heat of the new sun
felt like a caress
and how the breeze from the south
made me feel like shedding layers—
clothing and skin,
and running wild-hearted
through the first green.
Steve Deutsch’s work has most recently appeared in Literary Heist, Nixes Mate Review, Third Wednesday, Misfit Magazine, Word Fountain, Eclectica Magazine, and The Ekphrastic Review. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
I took a sip and dug a little deep
not knowing what to keep so I let it slip
when words are left unsaid and attentions left unpaid
so I ran instead for I’ve been misled
reaching high and feeling low
in the radio, Evenflow
thoughts arrive like butterflies (Vedder, Gossard)
out of guise and in my eyes
have mere words begun to flee
in my head I disagree
time to think time to ponder
will it be enough I surely wonder
By Linda Ganga
Part of her wanted him to stay. The other part accepted he had to go. The naive part—the idealistic part—believed him when he said he was an artist. She knew not to try to make him stay. Just a little longer. She stared at his profile. He, at the ceiling. She studied his bones; his eye, a turquoise stone.
She reached. He slapped her hand, “You trying to break my neck?”
She rolled away rubbing her wrist. Made portraits of him. Every day.
One day, she painted herself into his third eye and left.
By Katharine Griffiths
Healing hands, harming fists
Comforting embrace, crossed arms
Soulful gaze, empty look
Validating ear, deafening silence
Understanding heart, selfish attitude
Heartfelt words, stinging criticism
In death sorely missed, free to find bliss
And then, before I could guess,
you had crawled back, silent, strong,
you were resilient, I’ll give you that.
First, a smudge, jet black, spreading,
smokey, to an ink stain, which unfurled, erupted
to a bloom of thick cloud, ill and dense.
The uncertainty in myself returned,
mind and body, and while I was glad
to have you gone, there was something beautiful
in your return, and how secret you’ve become,
like a rush of starlings, folding, enveloping
upon themselves hidden before a clean slate of night sky.
By Hawkelson Rainier
We walked among the headstones last autumn. The trees looked like fire; it could have been oil on canvas painted by Van Gogh during an absinthe delirium. We joked that we’d bargain shop for companion plots when we hit middle age. I’d check out first, around 85, and she’d follow soon after of a broken heart.
It didn’t work out though. After she left, the skin of the universe became translucent to me. I saw its skeleton – just a scaffolding of ones and zeros stacked to infinity. There was no ghost inside. There was no mystery in it at all.
Hell-bent on repentance
I dug up my past
– a stack of confessions
in black ink and metaphors –
true and false,
unstructured and incomplete.
Forgotten in the pages was
a decade-old whispered poem
to a future lover,
the writer of words and dreamer of dreams
who could make me believe
his theories of history and heaven
I wanted to write him poetry while the world burned
through its tribulation.
But you only like poems that rhyme.