Tennyson’s Song

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By Alexis Wright

If every thought of you
Was petal’d so daintily
A lustrous garden I’d have
And forever there I’d be

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Self-Preservation

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By F. J. Bergmann

Zombies retain vestiges of self-preservation instinct; they didn’t follow me when I leapt from the cliff as a last, desperate measure. I’d rather die than become a zombie. Badly injured by the fall, I could only crawl. Pain-filled hours later, a cabin came into view. Its windows glowed through the dusk; help was near! Muddy, bloody, but with renewed hope, I dragged myself to my feet and shambled along the fence. Through my smashed mouth, I called for help but could only moan indistinctly. The door opened. “Here comes one of ’em!” A gun muzzle poked out, became a zero.

     
F. J. Bergmann looks forward to becoming independently wealthy via sustainable energy practices by recycling zombies as biofuel in the post-apocalypse.

Whatevuh

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By Michael McGibney Whelan

It’s a word that shrugs its
Shoulders throws the whole shebang
Overboard yet doesn’t actually abandon ship
Tolerates a stupidity by dethroning it
Knows what doesn’t really matter
And so it carries pins to prick
Pompous balloons and
When told they don’t
Serve wry bread
Rolls its eyes
And sighs

What-evuh

     
Michael Whelan is the author of the poetry collection After God. His work has appeared in The Best American Poetry Blog, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Galway Review, and Little Patuxent Review among others.

Earliest Memory

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By Richard Woolley

Her father’s thick hair caged in his thick fingers. Her father hunched on the edge of his bed, an attitude she would one day recognize in flight safety literature. And the sound of her own voice as she ran across the landing, shouting down the stairs at her brother. Shouting in response to what her brother was shouting, a game they were inventing, something. The brace position, thick fingers whitening. The sound of her own voice, which her husband would one day accuse her of loving. A game in which the rules changed faster than she could think.

     
Richard Woolley’s stories have been published in the Nottingham Review, The Pygmy Giant and Shotgun Honey.

Outlier

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By May Hem

I never cared much for statistics
until you were one of them.
Now I scan them for patterns
and correlations
to find significant factors
and probabilities of effect size
but only that outlier
hints that you were ever there
and the effect measurable
only in the absence at my side.

Table for One

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By rlmcooper

As usual, my back is to the restaurant’s kitchen door, a lone diner always parked in some out-of-the-way location as though I might, if seated amongst them, infect the other patrons with the “friendless” virus. Yet, as I glance across the thick-carpeted room I’m sad for the couple, long married, who no longer speak, for the parents attempting to rein in a disruptive child or get a sullen teen to eat. I celebrate young lovers and blindly happy newlyweds. No, I do not dine alone. Life’s comedy and drama unfolds before me, and I am content.

Writer’s Block, The Sequel

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By John Grey

I tried to write a poem
about nothing
but, unfortunately,
something came to me.

RELAX
prone on couch,
staring at
painted clouds on ceiling,
lids slowly closing,
lowering the sky

HI THERE
through my years
as a lover
my feelings
have followed
a reductive path
from superficial
and shallow
toward a truer
and more understated
elusive and indirect
minimalism
what I mean is –
you’re no Scarlet Johansson
but you’ve caught me at a good time

A POET DREAMS
all these years
after the death of Frost,
Dickinson, Whitman,
all I need is that great first line
and being alive helps

     
John Grey’s work has appeared in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review. He has work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.