Hills & Mountains


By Lian Wang

when god piled up lumps of dirt and stone
did he think to himself
they would
host singing competitions
between baritone owls
and soprano sparrows
sport seasonal fashion
green and frills for spring/summer
orange and nude for fall/winter
shed dead skin
but revitalize
from a symbiotic relationship
with bamboo scaffolding
yet tall ones would be mountains
and short ones hills?

“The mountain outside my window distracts me from virtual classes.” – the writer



By Melissa Gill

If you find me

Growing wild

Please do not pluck me

Out of my element

Let me live

Among the wildflowers

Instead of leaving me to wilt

In the corner of your room

“I write to slay the monsters in my head, and to remember my grandmother’s smile on my birthday.” – the writer

The Coyote


By Jim Bates

“It’s a damn coyote,” the man exclaimed, looking out the window of his mansion. He yelled to his wife, “Ellen, call animal control. Hurry!”

Oblivious, the sleek animal trotted on. He knew he’d ranged too far from his den and into the Neighborhoods, but he was hunting for his mate and their pups. The rabbit he’d killed was his reward and he hurried to get home. The smell of humans frightened him. He trotted faster planning to never return.

Ellen ignored her shouting husband. Instead she watched the coyote lope away, envying it’s freedom, wished she could join him .

Jim Bates is fascinated by the interaction between humans and the natural world, and he hopes his writing reflects that interest.



By Conor Kilbride

The mountains have grown
Alongside humanity
They are growing still
Like civilization
This is how it will go
One never-ending show
The peak will breach the sky
We have passed that
Now we can fly
And when humans fall
The mountains will be there
Still growing

Conor Kilbride writes “to pretend I am a more serious person than I am in reality.”

Bird Speaks to Man


By Martin Christmas

I, garden sitting.
Magpie perches on a bush,
so close I could sense it watching me.

Slowmo, I walk closer,
Magpie perches unafraid.
I could have almost touched it.
Magpie watches me.

Stepping away slowly,
into the house for the camera.
Fully expecting
Magpie to have flown away.
No. Magpie remains, watching me.

I, the junior partner in this trust relationship.
Magpie gives me time for three shutter pushes,
then flies away, majestically.

Man makes contact with Magpie.
More correctly, the other way around.
Magpie gives time of day to man.

We are not
the centre of the Universe.

Martin Christmas has been published in several Australian anthologies and overseas in Red River Review (USA) (Featured Poet), and StepAway Magazine (UK). His chapbooks are Immediate Reflections and The Deeper Inner. “To write is like breathing,” he says.