“Between Worlds,” “Fly,” and “Undulation”Serena Agusto-Cox
I never imagined being a mermaid
Other girls talked of curly hair,
seashell bras; all I saw were scales —
Water felt like a second skin to me.
I could glide and swoop, avoid
imagined obstacles at speed. Read more.
“Medicine Ball,” “Existential Crisis in the Cereal Aisle,” and “Retirement Home, Room 314”David Icenogle
When I hate myself I reach into photo albums
and pull the child version of me into the present.
I make myself look at that boy
and say the awful things I have said
to the mirror in my mind.
The condemnations rush away
like the refugee raindrops that scatter Read more.
“Stone Bottle Balustrade,” “Chelyabinsk-65,” and “Squiz Normcore”Steve Biersdorf
the cruelest of outcomes,
predetermination Read more.
“Sophia’s Wisdom”Elder Gideon
the moon will be like the sun
& the sun will be like the seven
who bind up our trauma
& mend the wounds inflicted by our flesh Read more.
“Les Hommes des Vertes Montagnes,” “Understanding Joanne,” and “Integration”J.D. Gevry
six silent, shaken years
as I traversed the borders
my father’s tuque
he gave me
one snowy day, leaving home Read more.
“Foreplay,” “Red Sneakers,” and “21 Questions for Minnie Mouse”Penny Freeland
We tried to comb out the glued ponytail of the first Barbie
and dress Ken.
The basic Ken came with a bathing suit, but you could buy a sleeper set:
brown and beige striped pajamas. Read more.
“Views from the Cushion,” “Passive Aggressive Origin Story,” and “X-Ray Yoga Vision”Robert Eugene Rubino
Doorway into adjoining room’s debris
boxes blankets pillows piled in childless crib
window fence smokeless chimney lifeless tree
its branches as bleak as a hopeless soul. Read more.
“The Bluest Eye” and “The Blue Worker”Kollin Kennedy
My bluest eye that is without the blue,
But the blue within to make up the two
Continues to reach its color by blue
Without any division from the two Read more.
“It’s Time, You Say,” “Thirteen Eggs in His Pocket,” “The Morning After”Andrea Hellman
It’s time, you say,
it’s yours to make the call of when to stop
to feel the years
attack your joints and swell your knees until
you don’t agree
it’s fair to be in so much pain to move around
from bed to chair Read more.
“Do Animals Grieve Too?,” “Competition,” and “Rainy Day in New York”Patricia Hemminger
The black swan fluffs
her dark wings, red beak
as surprising as the peacock’s
white plumes, gauzy half moon
wedding veil and the fact
that they both bore offspring
for the first time Read more.
“wakeup,” “Popular,” and “Landlocked Lament”Julie Benesh
with a hodgepodge pile of stuff
to make a bouillabaisse or salad of leaves
build a mansion or lean-to shack
protect from elements and enemies
fashion a tiara or a sassy sash
so as not to scare the children Read more.
“Going to a Wedding,” “A Last Look,” and “At the Holocaust Museum”Linda Laderman
We climb the steps of the synagogue when Annie asks, What is Jewish?
She is the child of a Jew, a son I raised to tell a story
with the fanfare of a performer on The Moth Radio Hour. Read more.
“A Stranger’s Peace” and “In the Moment”Steve Snyder
The smell of sawdust I breathe in
As I work on the assembly line.
The monotonous, mechanized creation of orange crates
Gives my spirit peace – a stranger’s peace.
“Academy Cemetery,” “D. H. Lawrence Ranch,” “A Eucalyptus Grove, South of San Juan Batista on Highway 101”Stephen Barile
And rolling grasslands
All wildflowers in the spring
Dotted with graves
Backed up to the foothills
Blue mountain peaks
Uplifted behind them. Read more.
“Eisenhower’s Highway, 1960,” “Pain,” and “Upon Finding the Birth Quilt My Great Grandma Made for Me in My Mothers Attic”Steve Brammell
It changes names as it rushes east
– Toll Road, Turnpike, Thruway –
supernatural, this ribbon of concrete,
where our brand new Buick,
swept back with its fins,
can fly, leaving the flat lands behind. Read more.
“Interval 189,” “Étude 15,” and “A Disappearance”Ray Malone
it whispers its way through to me, the night,
in the dying light of day, the things done,
the slow dissolve of sense, the list of smiles
ticked one by one from memory, a frown
or inimical face, best forgotten: Read more.
“The Flight Attendant,” “The Librarian,” and “The Lighthouse Keeper”John Peter Beck
Stay in your seats
and remain calm.
I am sure St. Bona of Pisa
said the same things afloat
when leading crusaders
to the Promised Land. Read more.
“Alone” and “The Night After I Stumbled Upon My Blood Owning Slaves”Nancy Meyer
I hear in jail they beat you
with soap in a sock so the bruises
don’t show. I ride South
on the Greyhound
to Bloody Sunday, Bull Connor, Read more.
“dep sesh,” “sadhu,” and “Missus Oxygen Kisses Mister Dynamite’s Heart”Gerard Sarnat
loci of suffering’s
my measly attempt
to lower stress level
a crying need warns
me off phantasmagoric
pathologist’s post-mortem Read more.
“labyrinthia,” “laestrygonia,” and “ogygia”Michele Evans
when i was a child,
momma told me:
sticks and stones
may break my bones
will never hurt me. Read more.
“Hineini” and “Lover Found/Lost (Renée)”Lisa Delan
i am neither the seed
nor the fruit –
me in the in
between love and
where i hide,
“Grief,” “Clouds in the Sky,” and “Recalculating”Cindy Buchanan
A month after our daughter was born,
we planted a white dogwood. I didn’t know
the legend of the crucifixion wood.
I just liked the symmetry
of the four-petaled flowers, plump white crosses
with bright green pistils in the middle. Read more.
“when the barn owl hoots no more,” “no trace,” and “again”Christa Lubatkin
when the night’s
dark eyes won’t lift their lids
won’t cheer the day awake
lose their breath
forget their flow Read more.
“Clauses,” “Complements,” and “Moods”John Davis
The subordinate clause clattered to the asphalt:
Because I didn’t want to be a house flower.
He fluttered his fingers like a hitchhiker. He hoped
to thumb a ride from a dependent clause, Read more.