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“Caracas”, “The Milky Way as Path to the Otherworld” and “Mirrorland”

Issue 10 by Mari Pack

Figurative language is the essence of poetry, but its timbre is varied from poem to poem—“energetic,” “vital,” “arousing” are descriptors in Mari Pack’s poetry. See “The Milky Way As Path to the Other World”: “a life of too many sugar syrups/meat caught in a blender, coughing up/nothing but dust –/high pitched notes/ shattering in round, operatic soprano holes.”

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“Portrait: Woodbury, Indiana”, “What Happens to Dealership Cars During a Hurricane” and “Aubade with the Red Door”

Issue 10 by Paige Leland

Page Leland’s prose poem “Portrait: Woodbury, Indiana” is a poetic journey of narration, rhythm, and metaphor in three stanzas with lines such as these: “When we close our eyes, the sky rips open, sounds like bones breaking”; “Pass the time by searching white clouds for a sign of something divine—“; “9 pm, when the sky is dead and black and the moon is only an outstretched hand away.”

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“Of Van Gogh”, “Pescador Beach” and “Beginning Piano”

Issue 10 by Somnath Ganapa

The sense of touch is valued in Somnath Ganapa’s poetry: the poems resonate whether the subject is Van Gogh, the beach, or the piano. An example of this gift in “Beginning Piano”: “I gingerly lifted her upper lip with gentle fingers,/ Revealing white and black teeth underneath./Back straight, reverent fingers on middle C,/It was my first time.

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“Pebbles”, “The Books” and “My Father”

Issue 10 by Sandeep Kumar Mishra

Sandeep Kumar Mishra tells stories in his poetry but he never abandons the poetic line. “Pebbles” exemplifies the skillfully crafted narration and metaphorical voice: “But patient jeweller of tides;/Volcano-born, earthquake-quarried,/Heat-cracked, wind-carved,/Death shapes compact among the rocks.”

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“Dilettante”, “Visiting Hours” and “The Nice Guy Awards 2017”

Issue 10 by August Ritchart

The concrete image is principal in August Ritchart’s poetry, but don’t mistake it for simplicity, as the image absorbs meaning. See “Visiting Hours”: “You mailed me an Easter basket this year/Inside were some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups/The special egg-shaped ones/I ate them/And these eyes can’t see far enough outside myself to know/ Which parts of me are your hand-me-downs.”

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“Some Privileges”, “Burial Feathers” and “Slovak Smelling Salts”

Issue 10 by Sara Marron

Conjoining the language of music and the agency of poetry, Sara Marron ponders the depth of humanity’s touch. It reverberates in “Some Privileges”: “Putting my arm around your waist, taking your backpack from you to descend the subway/ platform, walking:/In relievo, sotto voce; subito triofale/A direction to make the melody stand out, voices in undertone; suddenly/triumphant.”

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“I have tenuous connections to famous literary men and they haven’t helped me to become a famous poet” and “Get It Together”

Issue 10 by Rebecca Larkin

Rebecca Larkin knows the powerful play of irony, nowhere more so than in her poem “Get It Together”—personification and metaphor as vehicles: “We’re all rooting for him/ TO GET IT TOGETHER,/He’s basically a tree that had its feet cut off/And its nose washed out by acid rain/and its leaves of personality waxed up so hard/they can’t photo-synthesize.”

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“Arthritis”, “Grape Jelly” and “Equinox”

Issue 10 by Tabatha Jenkins

You can’t escape the pathos that permeates Tabatha Jenkins poetry. In “Grape Jelly,” pathos mixes with reality and evokes tears: “You only have a little while left/before your mind tethers off/ and signals for the end./They’ll come with good intentions/and very little patience,/they’ll only hear what they want to.” True poetry extends pathos to life.

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Anchors

Issue 10 by Charles Wall

Charles Wall subtly weaves the themes of loss, love, and renewal in “Anchors.” A father and son who have lost a wife and mother, respectively, teeter on losing each other but it is the model ship – a memory displayed on a wooden shelf – that offers their moment of renewal.

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Speaking Politely

Issue 10 by Helen Wurthmann

Helen Wurthmann puts the spotlight on two siblings – and in turn, on us – in her story “Speaking Politely.” It’s Christmas and siblings Moe and Halo are on a grocery run, for wine and other festive items, and to get Halo out of the house before she picks another fight. It is during their time together on this seemingly benign errand that much is revealed about their relationship, Moe’s past, and our manufactured limits on compassion.

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Wrong Number

Issue 10 by Jamie Grove

In “Wrong Number,” Jamie Grove explores the oft whispered topic of aging. Marilyn is alone and scared, having been taken to a hospital for reasons she cannot remember. Her aging body betrays her resolute spirit and she reaches out to Father Jones for solace, leaving a message. But she has dialed the wrong number and instead leaves a desperate message on Kirby’s voicemail. Kirby’s initial disregard for the caller wears at her and she eventually decides to visit, with fateful consequences.

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The Storm Trooper

Issue 10 by Tyler Pesek

Tyler Pesek is a self-proclaimed fan of Star Wars so it seems fitting that he would create “The Storm Trooper,” a Star Wars fan fiction story. The story begins when a solitary man discovers a lone helmet in a humble shelter and, with a touch, he enters a trance and sees the story of clone soldier 017. But below the surface of the storytelling is an intriguing and thoughtful examination of the fine line between being human and being AI.

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Wonderland

Issue 10 by Leilani Squire

With courage and honesty, Leilani Squire writes of a life-changing event in her stunning piece “Wonderland” – “I can’t go back to that place before I was married. That part of my life is dead and buried, and covered with too much shame and grief.” The narrative grabs you and the raw emotion and truth revealed lingers.

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