Michael R. Burch, “Mayflies”

With over five thousand publications, including poems that have gone viral, Michael R. Burch claims to be one of the world’s most-published “complete unknowns.” His poems, translations, essays, articles, letters, epigrams, jokes, and puns have been published by hundreds of literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. His poetry has been translated into fourteen languages, taught in high schools and colleges, and set to music by seven composers. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com and has served as editor of international poetry and translations for Better Than Starbucks.

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These standing stones have stood the test of time
but who are you
              and what are you
                            and why?
As brief as mist, as transient, as pale …
Inconsequential mayfly!

Perhaps the thought of love inspired hope?
Do midges love? Do stars bend down to see?
Do gods commend the kindnesses of ants
to aphids? Does one eel impress the sea?

Are mayflies missed by mountains? Do the stars
regret the glowworm’s stellar mimicry
the day it dies? Does not the world go on
as if it’s no great matter, not to be?

Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose.
And yet somehow you’re everything to me.





Jillian Smith, “Swimming before a Storm”

Jillian Smith lives in Atlanta, GA, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Poetry at Georgia State University. She has previously published poetry in SOFTBLOW Poetry Journal, Anderbo, Bluestem Magazine, and Barking Sycamores. Originally from outside Philadelphia, Jillian got her BA in English from Penn State University and her MFA in Fiction from Florida State University. She recently got married, welcomed two cats into her family, and moved into her first home.

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Swimming before a Storm

We squirm
like gelatin
splayed out
on pool furniture

fingering books’
limp pages.
Words drip
down my thigh

or rise, formless,
into clouds.
A breeze skulks
in corners.

Sky chafes
its gray shelf.
In the water,
my shadow

sinks and floats,
twin versions
of myself.





Ann Weil, “Lucky Man”

Ann Weil is a former teacher and professor of special education from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She wonders if she is doing the “aging gracefully” thing correctly. When not writing poetry, she can be found in the lotus position pretending to meditate. Ann’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Nine Muses Poetry, Lucky Jefferson, Amethyst Review, and Young Ravens Literary Review.

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Lucky Man

Summer of ’76
My first gift from a boy.
An Emerson, Lake & Palmer album.
He—you—told me to listen to Lucky Man.

I was yours from that moment.
What I could never get from my father,
You gave me.





Deonte Osayande, “News”

Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, Michigan. His nonfiction and poetry have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, the Pushcart Prize, and a Digital Book Award. He has represented Detroit at four National Poetry Slam competitions. He’s a professor of English at Wayne County Community College. His books include Class (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017), Circus (Brick Mantle Books, 2018), and Civilian (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2019). He also managed the Rustbelt Midwest Regional Poetry Slam and Festival for 2014 and 2018.

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Today, the news was new
ways to tell if your cat loves
you, no death by cops, rich
folk didn’t get more seeing
all these people needing
help & turn blind, my newest
best friend has the growth
we’ve been waiting for, celebrating
with more of the doggystyle that got
us here in the first place, hens
also “talk” to their chicks in soft tones
while they’re still in the egg, chicks
can even be heard peeping back
from inside the shell, let me be
the rooster to her hen, receiving
the good news from her lips, this
small thing that changes everything
& despite my wishes there’s never
times when black people aren’t strong