John Sweet, “the truth, despite everything”

John Sweet sends greetings from the rural wastelands of upstate NY. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the continuous search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest poetry collections include Heathen Tongue (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A Flag On Fire Is a Song of Hope (2019 Scars Publications).

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the truth, despite everything

and if you believe in
the devil, the devil wins

easy enough

and what if you move to the
west coast and forget my
name, or what if you
remember it?

what if everything we had
is as meaningless
as everything we have?

no one wants this bleeding
to stop more than me





Tom Montag, “After Li Yu’s ‘A Fisherman’s Song'”

Tom Montag’s books of poetry include: Middle Ground, The Big Book of Ben Zen, In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, and Seventy at Seventy. His poem “Lecturing My Daughter on Her First Fall Rain” has been permanently incorporated into the design of the Milwaukee Convention Center. He blogs at The Middlewesterner. With David Graham he recently co-edited Local News: Poetry About Small Towns.

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The sea shows its thousand layers of snow.
All the peach and plum blossoms sing of spring.

I have a full jug and my fishing pole.
How many of you can say you have both?

I have my oars and a boat, a small breeze,
a light hook, strong line, this lovely island.

I have my cup of wine, these waves—





Oliver Hutton, “Black Hole”

Oliver Hutton’s work has appeared in Clementine Poetry Journal, Clementine Unbound, Rat’s Ass Review, and IthacaLit. Otherwise, he is an English lawyer in a Swedish company in Greece.

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Black Hole

I limit me
I label me
I suck all in

matterless matter
circles me
and I absorb it

my brain
is a hole
gorging on matter
trapping density
getting fatter

emitting gases
and other clutter
gaining gravity

as though I matter





Sam Rose, “Blushing”

Sam Rose is a writer from Northamptonshire, England, and the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine. She is a three-time cancer survivor and a PhD student, researching the role of poetry in psycho-oncology. She has had work published in over fifty venues. Find her at and on Twitter @writersamr.

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The tree at the side of the road
has leaves only on the lowest meter or so
of its trunk, head shaved, its torso bare,
like it had been wearing a dress that
since dropped to its knees
and those remaining leaves flush ruby
as the tree stands, embarrassed,
against a frosted silver sky.