Jared Carter, “Surrender”

Jared Carter’s Darkened Rooms of Summer was the first book selected for the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry Series and was published in 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. Carter lives in Indiana.

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No longer caught up by the things
    of time, she prays –
And as the loosened dove, that brings
    the leaf arrayed

With silver to the outstretched hand
    of Noah, comes
At last to rest within a band
    of light and, done

With wandering, begins to fold
    its wings, and sleep –
She enters silence that will hold
    against the deep.





Kelly R. Samuels, “Bees’ Work in the Maoxian Valley”

Kelly R. Samuels is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of two chapbooks: Words Some of Us Rarely Use (Unsolicited Press) and Zeena/Zenobia Speaks (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Split Rock Review, RHINO, Inscape, and SWWIM. She lives in the upper Midwest.

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Bees’ Work in the Maoxian Valley

In the grass on the slope near the lake.
Lying and slumbering
and then wakened.
The sting on the sole
with the wail following.

Over there – plying of the blossom.
All the gray nests tipped
parasols under the eaves.
The stonecrop’s bloom
unseen, so many.

So few. Here
where we climb, pollinating
with hand the apple’s five-leaved flower
first pink and then white.
The moist loamy soil
and sun, and this – how to do
what has been done
naturally, as if born to it.

So quiet – the bent stick
and tuft of bird’s feather.
No buzz or hum heard.





Paul Smith, “Nocturne for a Drawbridge”

Paul Smith is a civil engineer who has worked in the construction racket for many years. He has traveled all over the place and met lots of people. Some have enriched his life. Others made him wish he or they were all dead. He likes writing poetry and fiction. He also likes Newcastle Brown Ale. If you see him, buy him one. His poetry and fiction have been published in Convergence, Homestead Review, Clementine, Literary Orphans, and other lit mags.

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Nocturne for a Drawbridge

At nighttime
when your brothers sleep
their fixed spans pinned
so they can’t budge
the tender’s eyes droop low
and shut
while yours get bright
and then look up
and see the sky illuminated
a billion stars light up the night
to free your cantilevered frame
from the pinions
that hold it tight
and loosen it so you’re upright
then, perpendicular, you see
the realm of man
from which you’re free
not him not fate not geometry
dictate to you
how you should be
you flex your limbs
as traffic stops
where no ships pass
and horns honk loud
at the peculiarity
the rarity
of your perpendicularity
then alas
you go back down
your bascule gears backtrack until
you rest upon
the abutment sill
now traffic ebbs
and traffic flows
on your girders
your brief unrest
has passed
your servitude has not
it lasts until
the sky is full of light again
and you are free
from us and gravity





Laura Stringfellow, “Full Moon, St. Augustine”

Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, holds an MFA in creative writing, poetry, and hails from the very humid southern United States. Recent publications have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals, including Déraciné, Right Hand Pointing, and Nine Muses Poetry.

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Full Moon, St. Augustine

     Hundreds of lights reflect off a sea that refuses them. The water has its own house whose doors are open to few. The street lamps look docile and inviting, but this is the same bay where, four hundred years ago, a hundred French soldiers were massacred by the Spanish who agreed to spare them only if they were Catholic or if they were useful.

     I imagine them to be bones at the bottom, or long ago taken into the deep and made into excrement. Across the bay, tourists wait to drink from the Fountain of Youth in their hopes to confirm history. They admire what they find nostalgic—the strange life of the buildings, the sorrel walls of the infamous Fort Marion, still cold with the voices of the captured.

     Slowly, the tide recedes, exposing darker sand, clumps of shell and brown coral. Gulls step cautiously into the water. A porpoise jumps a half-compass. It seems that the sea circles under the tow the way birds do over landfills. The bridge rises, a jack knife that threatens those who disregard the bay. The moon hovers overhead with the illusion of stillness.





Liam Strong, “asking my father why he collects broken conch shells”

Liam Strong is a transgender nonbinary writer and the editor in chief of NMC Magazine, Northwestern Michigan College’s creative arts magazine. They work on the editorial board of Random Sample Review and currently work as an English tutor and teaching assistant. You can find their works in Impossible Archetype, Dunes Review, Monday Night, and 3288 Review.

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asking my father why he collects

broken conch shells

it’s why you only pinch morels;
you never yank them like ingrown hairs.

spiders and ants may cloister within
but isn’t that another kind of sheltering?

the apse of shells can hold spines
of families who aren’t family.

snails are persnickety. they loan homes
like tents for weddings. the domicile

of flesh harbors a marriage between
the clinging of survival to a hearth

made in our own image. we take
what we can without kintsugi.

that is a last resort. imagine the cave
of your hand to your ear. in its absence

a furrow of whispers. so why not the conch,
who sings as if from a far place, so far

the translation is broken, not lost.
you cannot break a place.