Alan Cohen, “Waiting”

Alan Cohen’s first publication as a poet was in the PTA newsletter when he was ten years old. He graduated from Farmingdale High School (where he was poetry editor of the magazine The Bard), Vassar College (with a BA in English), and University of California at Davis Medical School. He did his internship in Boston and his residency in Hawaii, and he was then a primary care physician, teacher, and chief of primary care at the VA, first in Fresno, CA, and later in Roseburg, OR. He has had 108 poems published in 53 venues over the past eight months.

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Waiting

It is the stuff of which all is made
It stands, gallons deep, in a great basin
And a ladle is ready to hand
There is a spring at the bottom

You can drink or bathe
Or take away buckets full
There is no dragon at the door
You can return as often as you like

It can be used to make fame
Or profit, to found a church
You can find it by following your heart
There are maps and prophecies

There are signs and portents
But they only point
There is nothing to show
It is always there, waiting


Wayne-Daniel Berard, “Certain Facility”

Wayne-Daniel Berard PhD teaches Humanities at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His poetry chapbook, The Man Who Remembered Heaven, received the New Eden Award in 2003. His nonfiction, When Christians Were Jews (That Is, Now), subtitled Recovering the Lost Jewishness of Christianity with the Gospel of Mark, was published in 2006 by Cowley Publications. A novel, The Retreatants, was published in 2012 (Smashwords). A chapbook, Christine Day, Love Poems, was published in 2016 (Kittatuck Press). His novella, Everything We Want, was published in 2018 by Bloodstone Press. A poetry collection, The Realm of Blessing, was published in 2020 by Unsolicited Press.

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Certain Facility

 

Dad shakes his head
in the nursing home
he never did before
showing only dead certainty
on everything his own
position my brother’s and
my worthlessness the
unshakable nature of his
every decision he was sure
and what were we? Now
it’s side to side eyes lowered
he doesn’t know
               but that’s
not the worst he doesn’t
know if he ever knew anything
unwittingly
he prepared the post-modern for
us to find our worth in freest
insecurity now
         Dad is diapered
in notsureness which
he’ll allow no diverse
foreignness to change.


Robert Nisbet, “Golden Boy”

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has been published widely in Britain and the USA. In 2017 he was shortlisted for the Wordsworth Trust Prize in the UK, and he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US.

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Golden Boy

Hugo had hairy legs and we had goose bumps,
that summer in the lido (we were all fifteen).
He’d stroke a languid way down-pool
for half an hour or so, while we, shrieking,
dive-bombed, arse-first, off the springboard.
Then, on a packed spectator bank,
he’d stretch and brown himself,
turn golden in the sun.

That was his way through school,
and later. He did well, I suppose.
Made money and influence and enemies.

I remember best though, back in school days,
the night we had that leaving dance
(some of us going off soon to the tech).
And Hugo clearly fancied pretty Hetty.
But there by the cloakrooms, midnight,
our Hetty cuddled up to me and Harry
(two of the lido goose-bump boys),
slipped her hands through our arms,
bonding us in a sexy, rugby-style front row,
saying “Walk me home, boys?” Yup. Will do.

We walked her back, squeezing, giggling,
the mile and a half to her parents’ house,
cherishing that last sight of Hugo, in the doorway,
drawing morosely on a cig.


Andy Posner, “A Love Sonnet Written on the Occasion of the Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem “The Machinery of the State” for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Rise Up Review, and From Whispers to Roars.

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A Love Sonnet Written on the Occasion of the Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I won’t accept death delivered in prose.
Darkness fell twice tonight; can we still know
what’s real? Give me your hand and we’ll compose
ourselves. Do you recall, not long ago,
when one could mourn but not despair? When pain
made sense? I’m tired. Let us not be bound
by Time, least of all these times, when again
we stand upon the brink. I hear the sound
of mourners keeping vigil in the night:
we’re but tiny flames clinging to the wick.
I want to touch what aches in us, the light
we guard to stay alive. My dear, come quick.
I hear a knock; I’m afraid. Is it you?
I dare to open and let hope come through.


Robin Turner, “The Way the Sweet Gum Pray”

Robin Turner has recent work in Literary Mama, Heron Tree, and One (Jacar Press). Her chapbook, bindweed & crow poison, is available from Porkbelly Press. She lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

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The Way the Sweet Gum Pray

Don’t speak to me of faith these days,
its fabled leap all forward force,
all muscle and trouble, slow mercy.

I’m watching the way the sweet gum pray,
the sugar maple and the oak—a leaf at a time,
in its time, lets go, surrenders into

the late-lit air where it’s met, joined with
something—call it what you will—
something that carries

and does not carry, that moves
with and along, with and along,
with and along, a great whisper.

And everywhere here the tall pines tower,
holy and knowing, bearing witness. Listen
They are silent as our dead and ever green.



Barbara Daniels, “Emeralds”

Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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Emeralds

My friend fingers her gemstones
and reads her elegant lecture. Almost
singing, she tells us stories pursue

their endings like wolves
on the track of a wounded elk. I hate
the three thieves, locked tower,

sleeping prince. Her hair has thinned.
Cancer’s back. I don’t believe
an emerald’s light enters the blood

and closes the evil eye. I don’t want
to travel in silver ships or untangle
a proof or a paradox. I want to go home

to a bottomless pool, become a slick
animal, swim through summer
with spadefoot toads in the moving green.


Barbara Daniels, “Imperfect Grief”

Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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Imperfect Grief

The sign at the church says
Thursdays: Grief Sharing.
Half-empty apartments

crowd the street. At a window,
a woman in black.
If she’s like me, she’s glad

it’s getting too dark to see
raised veins on her raddled
hands. I can’t go back

through plowed fields, three steps
up to a modest door, can’t
walk till night wrings itself out

and surrenders to sunrise, house
sparrows idling in the gutter,
iced-over pond shining

like giftwrap. I ask the cold
to be kinder, snow to touch softly,
feather, fall. Every day

my amaryllis almost opens, first
a green pregnancy, spot of red,
then leafy reaching. What drives

a red bloom out of each plumped
green belly, too late for Christmas,
but bright and bouffant as a prom dress?

 


Ann E. Wallace, “An Abundance”

Ann E. Wallace is writing poetry and essays as she recovers from long-haul COVID at home in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her poetry collection, Counting by Sevens, is available from Main Street Rag (2019), and she has published work in Huffington Post, Crack the Spine, and Snapdragon, as well as Clementine Unbound and other journals. Her work can be found at AnnWallacePhD.com and on Twitter @annwlace409.

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An Abundance

This winter spring summer
has been a long haul of suffering
and silence, of sickbed days on repeat,

with life pared down to its essence,
my attention honed on the fragile act
of breathing in, then out, for four beats,

in, out, speaking, cooking, bathing
hefty efforts to be weighed each day,
any one jettisoned for the other.

Yet amid the scarcity, an abundance
has flowed to my small and quiet place
within this solitary house of quarantine.


Howie Good, “It’s Not Me, It’s You”

Howie Good is the author of The Death Row Shuffle, a poetry collection forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

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It’s Not Me, It’s You

You hear the thin cries of a drowning man. You notice that seemingly innocent words like today, yesterday, and tomorrow have been censored. You pick quarrels with the baggers at grocery stores. You try but fail to ignore the prevalence of right-wing militias, foreign movies dubbed in English, shark sightings. You prefer baseball to football and a medically induced coma to either. You wonder what it would be like to suffer a gunshot. You have a recurrent dream you’re lost in an old abandoned warehouse, usually with a friend you had growing up, whose brother played Russian roulette once too often.