William A. Greenfield, “Two Dollars’ Worth”

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Two Dollars’ Worth

Mama cashed checks at the
local market and made deposits
to cover the checks she wrote
yesterday, because Papa didn’t
get paid until tomorrow. He
would get angry and make Mama
cry while she made fried eggs
for dinner. Mama would get
angry when Papa went to the
races. Once she threw a glass
pitcher at him as he ran down
the back stairs. But he hit a
big one once and bounded up
the stairs and said we were going
to the lake. I was falling asleep
in the back-seat footwell when
Papa pulled into the Esso station
and smiled at Mr. Riley. “Gimme
two dollars’ worth,” Papa said.
Somewhere upstate we pulled
off the highway, and mama pulled
clean clothes from a brown paper
bag as I shivered in the crisp
dawn air. Papa liked the lake’s
crystal-clear majesty, and Mama
liked counting ground hogs and
rabbits along the highway. Papa
found a cheap cabin for the night,
and Mama made us sandwiches.
Once, we went to Frontier Town.
I fiddled with a cowboy trinket
on the ride back through the
mountains. All that was left was
enough to get us home. “Gimme
two dollars’ worth,” Papa said.

 


William A. Greenfield is a writer of poetry, a part-time public service worker, a fairly good poker player, and a fairly poor golfer. He resides in Liberty, NY, with his wife, son, and a dog—always a dog. The winner of Storyteller Magazine’s People’s Choice Award in 2012, William has had poems published in dozens of literary journals, including The Westchester Review, Carve Magazine, The East Coast Literary Review, and many others. His chapbook, Momma’s Boy Gone Bad, was published in February 2017 by Finishing Line Press.


 

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Heather M. Browne, “Jacaranda Rain”

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Jacaranda Rain

I watched her fall
from the western side,
watched her trembling in the wind.
Lavender skirts lifted high
exposing freshness, hips and thigh.
She was freckled there.

Twirling, daintily,
rustling as she slipped,
all the notes down in arpeggio,
guitars or mandolin.

I listened for her sigh,
that slight exhale trapped,
broken free,
and lying down jubilant.

The vibrancy of her color shocking,
the sour bite of spoiled fruit,
cherry, jacaranda rain,
covering everything around her
asphalt gray.

 


Heather M. Browne is a faith-based psychotherapist and was recently nominated for the Pushcart Award. She’s been published in The Orange Room, Boston Literary Review, Eunoia Review, Apeiron, The Lake, and Knot. Red Dashboard released her first collection, Directions of Folding.


 

Craig Brandis, “Storm Over Houston”

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Storm Over Houston

A shadow props up the gutted barn
where we spent the night.
To be keen all the time—not to swerve.
Ten minutes out of every hour
is enough most days.

A man with boulders in his soul,
a dock trying to hold onto
it’s string of boat horses,
a bone-drenched woman
with praise for a God
who is stealthy as a barn cat.

Out on the highway
no sound now,
as if someone
had picked them all up
from a skiff with a pruning hook
and put them in a sack.

 


Craig Brandis lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and studies poetry at the Attic in Portland with David Beispeil and Ed Skoog. In addition to publishing in online and print journals, he is a student of book arts and publishes limited edition chapbooks of his poems using letterpress and handmade paper. His work has been published in New Verse News, Three Line Poetry, the Ekphrastic Review, Dovetails Literary Journal, and elsewhere. He can be reached at craigbrandis [at] gmail [dot] com.


 

James Scannell McCormick, “Eye Floaters”

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Eye Floaters

(Muscae Volitantes)

It’s as though their name is
to remind you: not crawling, not
climbing, not picking a quick,
stuttered gait—though still
weightless, so nearly weightless
that no word can mean down,
no word up. But rather flying.
In flight: thick swerve or
arc across zenith, snow-plain,
day-lit pane, page. Swarmed,
settling but never settled. Once
seen, no unseeing: no looking
at, but no looking away. They
hover and cloud but scatter faster
the faster you look—and more
maddeningly. You try to name
them: seahorse, lobster. Honeycomb,
web. Ghosts. Memories, and as
cureless. And what flaw without
harm, fault without hurt? You
must bear those, too: They’ll
always be, and in you. Of you.

 


James Scannell McCormick holds a doctorate in creative writing—poetry. He writes and teaches in Rochester, Minnesota.


 

Janet Barry, “Sweet Milk Dreams”

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Sweet Milk Dreams

I have had enough of my own misery

The world has been going on
without me; some people

have died horrible deaths, or noble
ones, and some have gotten married,

had babies, or just spent every day
going to work and coming home

and feeding the dog. Maybe
they come home to love or maybe

the hungry dog is enough, slurping
his bowl of kibbles. Maybe the dead

are in heaven now, wondering why
they ever strapped on that suicide vest

or took that icy route, or what
that fight was all about that ended

in gunshot. The baby cries
for her mother’s womb. Sleeps

in white linen swaddles.
The dog lies all night

in the doorway. In his sleep
he snorts and snuffles,

legs paddling.

In the darkness, maybe,
sweet milk dreams.

 


Janet Barry is a musician and poet with works published in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently Little Lantern Press, The Mom Egg, Snapdragon, and Third Wednesday. She was recently Featured Poet in Aurorean, and has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, as well as having her poem “Aubade” chosen for inclusion in BiLINE (Best Indie Lit New England). Janet holds degrees in organ performance and poetry.


 

Alicia Hoffman, “Repair Manual”

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Repair Manual

Relax. To survey the splintered
landscape, the heart in your hands,

that injured bird, open-beaked and
hungry, is a step in the right direction.

Lie down. You need to disassemble.
For this, a wrench is useful. Pliers

for the wiry parts. String for sutures.
Soldering iron for wounds. Place

all bits on a surface of your choosing.
Perhaps an arid desert plain is best, sun-

baked and ready for the word arisen.
Close your eyes. They are not needed

for this type of toil. Spread the parts
in the grains of sand. Time to pass

over each shattered bit. Step lightly
and be careful to break into song.

The melody matters. It must ride
the paradox of sweet and strong.

Embrace the wrongness hard.
You will sense it fuse slowly together,

so do not be alarmed to discover when
you open, what was broken is gone.

 


Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes, and teaches in Rochester, New York. She is the author of two poetry collections: Like Stardust in the Peat Moss and Railroad Phoenix (Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press). Find out more at: aliciamariehoffman.com.


 

Bryan Miller, “The Blooming”

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The Blooming

Her thin shoulders like sere hills roll
and shift beneath the flowered nightgown

as she presses the iron against dress sleeves,
searing creases in. Her fingers grip

the handle’s curve till blisters blaze and throb,
weep against the pressure of her thumb’s

narrowed web. Chokecherries strangle her
collar as the fiery chrysanthemums

bloom vivid round her waist, catching
weak sun through the yellowed muslin curtains

that waver and strain the breeze, pan
for bird song and bee drone, the mower’s whine

and cease. Against this day, she will—against
the ruck of tires passing—array herself.

 


Bryan Miller is a middle- and upper-school English teacher and freelance editor from Columbus, Ohio. Having earned his MA in English from the University of Kentucky in 2002 and his BA in creative writing and poetry from Murray State University in 1995, he has had poems and short stories published in 3Elements Literary Review, Blinders Journal, Extracts: Poetry and Short Story Anthology, and The Independent.