“Good Old Dad,” “Nuns Fret Not,” and “That’s All Folks”

Jack D. Harvey

Had enough of it,
pushing along with
his job and family
and gave up.

Game over.

Good old dad,
always liked trains
and that’s where he went.

“Tree Rings,” “The White Cat,” and “Goodbyes”

Cami DuMay

My skin told me first, when I saw his picture. The cold memory of touch
a frantic messenger, almost swifter
than the optic nerve. My body remembers.

So I got into the shower, ran it scalding, breathed
the vapor like medicine, the mist a place to lose myself,

“Barefoot,” “Reconstructions,” and “Vulcan’s Flames”

Louis Faber

He says his favorite clouds
all wear size seven shoes. He knows she believes
she once saw a paisley rainbow
and will never forget it.
She wears size seven shoes
and her tears can be torrential,
yet they can still nurture

“Pull,” “The Fall,” and “Moth”

Blake Auden

Unsure how many lives I’ve taken.
Hornets, spiders, the boy hardened – unbelonging
in the furling roots.
But this isn’t about the bodies,
it’s their shadows, seeping through the openings,
weighing the bones with dark.

“Black Tambourines,” “Brother Red Gold,” and “Flesh”

Patrick T. Reardon

And I heard black tambourines, stolen
steel guitars, small-room tubas, forsaken
trumpets, green castanets, kettledrums
of gold, stained-glass window pianos
— the orchestra of the alley,
pavement joyously undefended.

“Contagion,” “Melancholia Covida,” and “Intermission”

Eve Hoffman

Who among us has not been infected with COVID
fear? Waking, wanting to vomit but the vomit hangs
burning in our esophagus and we are not certain of the day
of the week or when our toilet paper will run out and if
there will be more in the stores. Who among us does
not fear dying alone, COVID keeping loved ones distant—

“Lake Ontario,” “This Town With One Bridge,” and “A Proctor at the Final Exam”

Sally Ventura

You are launching us in the boat
that you made seaworthy. It scrapes against the
pebbles which shift so reassuringly when the lake
is calm. It is your boat, your day, and we are your
children. We have brought along our families,
all that we have added to your empire.

“Immortality in a Song,” “Meditation,” and “Repose”

Hannah Baker

The song begins—
the first beat calls forth
an aroma of strawberry syrup
from your vape as its smoke
dances with the music, past my nose,
and out through the windows
of your 2012 red Toyota Camry.

“Farewell, My Lovelies,” “A Chameleon Named Silencio,” and “The Unwoke Wizard of Oz”

Robert Eugene Rubino

Good riddance, alcohol.
Good riddance mary-jane.
Good riddance hashish and uppers and downers.
Good riddance Timothy Leary … we hardly knew ye.

Good riddance to
those bottles of quenching cold ice-cold cottonmouth-inducing beer & ale
and those steins of on-tap room-temp Guinness stout
— it’s good for you the billboard said and the billboard wouldn’t fib.

“Cancer: A Paean,” “Legacy,” and “The Three Nuns: A Contrapuntal for Voice and Canvas”

Olga Dugan

Abditive—that’s you,
sneaky sniper, taking us out
more than a hundred types of ways.
A name change per each organ,
tissue, cell you invade…bronchus,
lung, prostate, colon, uterus…
From the shade you surface

“Old Bookstores,” “World,” and “Spoor”

Andrew Field

are sad places, where the dead wait to be loved.
A teenager in the poetry section
sits on a red milk carton,
her black lipstick like an opera,
pulling one book down after another
in a frenzy of polite quiet.

“To the Dead Man Living Inside My Knee” and “What I Thought Was Pollution Was Really God”

Jamie L. Smith

A careless dictator, most days
I do not think of you

unless you protest, beating your fists
against the walls of my flesh

when I’ve danced you too hard
or damp February

clenches your teeth
into a knot of hot fury. Please

“If These Walls Could Talk,” “Images of Night,” and “Overheard on a Train”

Russell Willis

If only these walls could talk
we wonder
What might goad their reluctant tongues?

Wondered more often
by those who would be betrayed or wounded by the
small talk or gloating of these walls

“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.

“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

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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…

“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…

“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.

“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.

“Creative Storm Watch,” “Tornado Warning,” and “The Cultivar”

Ashley Williamson

My hands crackle with electricity
And when it happens
my wrists start humming
Somewhere between
my eyes and nose tingles
And the neurons
direct that
(Anticipation before
lightning strikes)

“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.