“As Charged,” “My dad,” and “One Last Thing”Steven Deutsch
The jury found you guilty
in just an hour and fourteen minutes.
Long enough for bathroom breaks
and a single show of hands.
Your public defender
advised you to cop a plea,
but mom borrowed a suit and black shoes
and dressed you as an innocent man. Read more.
“Plus Ca Change,” “Telling” and “About Last Night”Julie Benesh
That swagger-daddy On the Red Line el
asks the auntie if she’s Spanish
she’s Italian he requests a sex act:
poor lady won’t muster insult or outrage
and we roll our eyes on her behalf. Read more.
“Cry of the People”Michael McQuillan
The netherworld’s sordid secrets, disclosed,
brook no remorse for the dead nor regard for
those barely alive. Brutal eruptions
punctuate detention’s boredom. Nor does night’s
darkened cell ease despair. With 6000 not 3000
confined to have a cell is rare. Read more.
“Gothic Gloves,” “Pass on the Space Needle,” “Napping Bulldozers”Sterling Warner
Romancing your looking glass reflection
northern lights pierce fractured windowpanes
frame my mirrors with supercharged
atoms displaying rhythmic finesse
each particle a proficient flamingo soloist
in step with a blinking star metronome Read more.
“Around the Final Bend” and “Lovely Scene”Kate Adams
Song, take these rhymes and carry them abroad.
Lift your little wings and beat and beat
like in some Disney ﬁlm. The Greeks had gods,
the Christians, Christ. We moderns have the heat
of giants booming from the screen. Our stars
take close-up orbits, Venus kissing Mars. Read more.
“Muscat of Alexandria,” “La Porte d’Enfer,” “Omar Khyamm’s Restaurant in the Sequoia Hotel”Stephen Barile
On Temperance Avenue,
Southeast of the city of Fowler,
Is a ten-acre vineyard
Planted to Muscat of Alexandria vines,
In the true sense of the old world.
Near the railroad tracks and old highway,
Raisin packing, and packaging plants,
And their chain-link fences.
Hundreds of solitary vines
Over one-hundred years old… Read more.
“4 + 18 = 5,” “Posse Comitatus,” “The Rape and the Lock”Ailish NicPhaidin
Gerald awakens to a shrill alarm
Gouging out his eardrums at 4:30 each morning
Rousing from a delicate slumber
He slinks into the bathroom to prepare his wan body for the day.
Rose arrives from work at 7:30 a.m. as she does six days every week
Like an invisible shroud of gossamer her soulless fragility moves… Read more.
“First Morning in Town,” “Lake House,” and “Trail That Has No Name”John Brantingham
In the morning,
I edge my Saturn past
the horse carriage.
I hear the hoofs clack
over the sound
of my engine. Read more.
“Mural of the Aztec Market of Tlatelolco by Diego Rivera,” “Walking by Charles Henry Alston,” and “Untitled (New York Cityscape) by Charles Henry Alston.”Ammanda Moore
I’ve always loved a crowded market, busy with comings and goings. In Peru, I craned my neck at the crowds of people, laughing and exchanging goods. I was zooming by in a van, but how I wished I could stop, buy an elote with large kernels to eat, and meander the stalls. Read more.
“Creative Storm Watch,” “Tornado Warning,” and “The Cultivar”Ashley Williamson
My hands crackle with electricity
And when it happens
my wrists start humming
my eyes and nose tingles
And the neurons
lightning strikes) Read more.
“I Am Not My Father’s Dream,” “Song Dust,” and “Ricardo from his Adobe Says”Mario Duarte
counting smoke plumes
on the mesa horizon
while yucca spire buds
Between rocks guarding
the front door, a sunflower
stalk bends. I welt too.
Yellow flames wake the air. Read more.
“Weather Whiplash,” “Thoughts and Prayers,” and “Sharp Edges”Aurore Sibley
Two trees came down across the neighbor’s lawn last night
with the rain, kissing the gutters along the roof, knocking over
patio chairs, but everyone inside, just safe. We are uphill
from the flooding, where the beachfront parade of restaurants
were washed away Read more.
“Simon Baker’s Heart Attack”John Horvath Jr
Having played aces at the poker table in one dark
Corner of the bar and been accused, drank
Sloe gin fizz then kissed the girls (the music was just great;
The women naked danced demurely on tabletops slimy at Jake’s Bar-n-Grill
Whose neon sign announced “This Place Will Make Your Ladder Climb”) Read more.
“Notes on the 21st Century,” “Reality,” and “Readings of a Seashore”Kathi Crawford
It’s not the end of the world, though it could be, but the sun
came up today and I’ve had my morning coffee, while, at the same time,
Yellowstone stood rain-smothered, the Midwest roiled in the midst of a heat wave,
and millions across India and Bangladesh lost everything to raging floods and landslides. Read more.
“The Greenhouse,” “Open Water,” and “Brotherhood of the Brotherless”Amy Allen
On a corner lot
nestled among two story homes
wooden swing sets
and paved driveways
stands a glass greenhouse. Read more.
“The Magic Hours: Tucson Mountains,” “Lacuna,” and “Cenzontle”Susan Cummins Miller
The universe lurks
in the magic of the hours:
the evening sun slides behind
the ruins of an old stone house
and the cholla thicket, strewn
with the wreckage of windblown leavings— Read more.
“The Choosing,” “Raveled,” and “Last Judgment”t.m. thomson
Fly from that house
clad in cotton dress & aviator cap
with its cracked leather—you knew you’d need it
Ride mistral through
a sky casting its greys over a landscape
brown with mud & blonde with barley spikes
bending. Read more.
“Can’t lawyer any mawyer,” “a little bit of everything not too much of anything,” and “Friends”Thomas Barranca
a torture fund
for the poorer:
a rampant righteous dance
themed: taxidermy of piety
so hot do my cheeks burn
lost to our lessers Read more.
“Stakes,” “Mount Nebo,” and “Time Pieces”Michael Sandler
A lump hammer propels me close
to buried root, each head-heavy swing
a blow at resistance. I want to lash
the stubborn vines to scaffolding
so they’ll grow upright, as we want
for our children—as I raised you, my child, Read more.
“Linn Junction,” “Midwestern Blues,” and “Dear Capitalism”Julie Benesh
My father built the cabin by the river
himself, and built me a treehouse
on the riverbank and two kinds of swings:
one with a tire you sit on and one to hang
on upright. We found a wounded duckling
near the pond, and nursed it back to health. Read more.
“How to raise a child who loves herself,” “Blessing for the Prairie Plants,” and “Ode to the Waterwheel”Rosalie Hendon
To raise a child who loves herself,
remove the word “beautiful” from your vocabulary.
Replace it with brave.
Instead of her hair, her eyes, her skin:
Notice her soul. Read more.
“arcs of light,” “The Divine Right of Kings,” and “Walk in Balance”Howchi Kilburn
How can I still be sad about ancient pains?
These tidbits of lost connection strewn like bread crumbs
to delineate a path back to the witch or warlock
who cast this spell of forgetfulness
“the better to manipulate you, my dear” Read more.
“In the Valley,” “Reflections,” and “A Spat”Joanne Grumet
I walk north where garlic mustard grows
with heart-shaped leaves,
clusters of tiny white stars.
Their slender stalks border a trail
into the woods
past a brook where the deer drink. Read more.
“Appointments,” “Steps,” and “Last Days”Ronald Pelias
I wait for the next appointment knowing
it will arrive as another scheduled day
where I’ll put my body in a stranger’s hands.
That person in white will study my numbers,
listen to my heart, press fingers into my flesh Read more.