Flow

By Fiona H. Evans

In the days of bursting ripeness,
my breasts aching,
wondering how it might feel
to be swollen with child,
I yearn to surrender solitude
and drown in love,
devoted and selfless.

Then waking normal again
in the calm after the storm,
I’m relieved to be
slim and whole and vibrant,
my dreams of motherhood
and hormonal regrets
all washed away
in a red torrent of
wasted blood.

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“I write to make sense of my feelings, and I hope to help others do so, too.” – the poet

Grave Aches and Cramps

By Dianne Moritz

I do not like this getting older,
With pain in back, and, neck and shoulder.

There’s arthritis in my knees.
I’m losing short term memories.

Things cardiac are out of whack.
I am a hypochondriac.

I do not like this getting older,
My bones are brittler. I’m inches littler.

What good is being wise as Zeus,
When looking like Old Mother Goose??!!

Like Dylan Thomas, I will rage,
And not go gently into old age.

Still … I laugh, I love, I live.
Aging sure beats the alternative!

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“Sometimes I write just for fun, but still dream of collecting my drabble in a book.” – the poet

How It Should Be

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By Anonymous

(Originally published on 10.5.2015)

Have you noticed how I linger now when we embrace?
How I press my face into your blouse and inhale,
fight the urge to take a chunk of your flesh between my teeth,
let it dissolve on my tongue?

Because you are where I
should be.

You are what I
should be, and

We is how it
should be.

When I leave,
[perhaps you notice this, too]
I don’t look back—
Won’t.
I set my jaw, pocket my fists, and march,
eyes always forward.

Is that what you do, too?

Submerged

By Josephine Rudolf

Another rejection, another sleepless night, another dagger in my heart. I stumble and fall; I don’t feel anything.
My vision ripped from me I plunge into darkness; I don’t feel scared.
I whimper, screaming inaudible; I feel numb.
Something appears in the pit of my stomach; it crawls up my throat; I feel a sensation.
As I begin to taste it, I beg my throat to keep it; I feel a tingle.
The words burning into my tongue, I cry out for you; I feel fear.
I know you won’t come; now I feel everything.

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“I write so I can breathe.” – the writer

Notes from Underwater

By Alan Altany

The human mind
in perennial discontent
never fully appeased,
agitated with intensity,
perpetually stretching
itself beyond recognition
for the divine-designing
Mind of God; restless
too of heart, pained by
the sensuous world’s
fast-fading beauty
tempered with ambiguity
at every memory’s turning
towards the mysteriously
magnetic still point
pointing due north
through a crucible
of sublime melancholy
and exaltation, the crux
of soul and heart rising.

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The poet is a college professor of religious studies.

Boredom

By M.J. Iuppa

Why is it so hard to believe that we were wrong?
We supposed, our first mistake in many, that you
were everyone’s darling. We leaned over your white-
washed fence, hoping to get a glimpse of your happiness.
Your children posed American Gothic for you, so we
could see that you were living a good life. You
did everything right—you saved, you splurged, you
drank wine every day. What were we doing?
We were the mirror. We held you up and admired
everything you said and did, without excuse or ex-
planation. We ignored all the early warning signs.

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“I write to reveal the story’s ‘under-telling.’ Read between the lines.” – the writer

Volcano Country

By Michael Mintrom

I cut a measure of sky
from boards in the shed
and, with brass brads, attached
a belt of rusted iron.

Now a row of jagged peaks
touch the space where
in real life, you’d see
plumes of smoke rising.

My world. Volcano country.
Like when kyacking on the lake,
looking across the ripples
to mountains and sky.

I think of all the places
eruptions are occurring —
families trudging
to imagined safety.

My world is nothing.
My story is nothing.
But I affirm love
and all the good I know.

That, for today, will do.

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“I like contemplating the mysteries of life.” – the poet

Replaced

By Phyllis Souza

“Dearie, you can be replaced.”
After all, I’ve done for you?
“Rub the back of my neck.”
I’d be glad too.
“You’re hurting me!”
Good.
“I can’t breathe.”
You can be replaced.

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“I write not to forget.” – the writer

Choice

By Zhihua Wang

Unconsciously,
I’ve chosen a difficult road –
going forward, thorns.
going back, I don’t see my home.

By now, I can only wish
that I can move on
and be firm.

Don’t ask about me.
Assume I’ve got many things
in this world forgotten,
like festivals, travels,
and the enthusiasm
for a reunion.

People are decorating
their lives, to cheer others
or please themselves.
I only want to be left
alone, with one heart
sinking
to the bottom.

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Zhihua Wang is a poetry candidate in the Arkansas Writers’ MFA Program at the University of Central Arkansas. Her work has appeared in Aji Magazine and Currents, and is forthcoming in Last Leaves Magazine and San Pedro River Review.

Projection

By Nicole Spangler

You told me you loved poetry. Stilted and sharp, staccato across the page. I obliged, corners and pages spilling over my shirt sleeves until I couldn’t tell where they ended and I began. I’d approach you later with a sore tongue, trying to smash your love into my obsession like they belonged together. In September you left for Grad school and I tried to give you poems that reminded me of you. There was a brief flicker in your eyes the moment I handed it to you, and it was there I realized you never liked poetry to begin with.

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Nicole writes because she has too many thoughts and too much free time.