Phil Wood studied English Literature at Aberystwyth University. He has worked in statistics, shipping, and a biscuit factory. His writing can be found in various publications, including Autumn Sky Daily, Miller’s Pond, Snakeskin Poetry, and Poetry Pacific.
Making Sense: A Seduction
It’s possible to know the truth
because the truth smells right. It’s sweet.
Listen with sleep. My voice will root
and find its soil. So take a bite.
What you see is what you will taste.
It’s touch that wets the light. Believe.
All further proof of me is false
like senseless thought delays this night.
Brenna Courtney studies at the University of Virginia.
There is some sweet scent, earthy
and dizzying, and the dark birds perform
pretty dives in the lowering light. It is too late
to take the path shrouded by rough bush
and honeysuckle, with its playground, and the fence
for the playground (the latter, dismantled,
stakes propped up into a sort of stout, pointed
fortress). One by one, the wide porches
unfold their legs, and pairs of rocking chairs
coax their owners to rest. The beckoned amble home
with their hands behind their backs, their postures
blanketed by silence. I take good care to
avoid them, though there is nothing
hostile in their eyes.
William Miller’s eighth collection of poetry, Lee Circle, was published by Shanti Arts Press in Maine in 2019. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Penn Review, the Southern Review, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
It was him, the neighbor kid—
he picked up the wounded bird,
threw it into the sky.
The bird fell down harder
the second time, thrown from
my hands, a blackbird
with wet feathers, a frightened
black eye. He fell to the sidewalk
and flapped for two boys’
sick pleasure. That was nature
in our cold suburb, our parents
cruel to us, each other.
His house was noisy, mine filled
with quiet hate like poison
from a gas stove.
It felt good to be cruel,
mock and maim something
weaker than myself…
but only for a few seconds,
frozen in that bird’s black eye.
The sky was indifferent,
flat, gray, like the floor
of a house where nothing
really lived, laughed or loved.
Emily Kingery teaches courses in literature, writing, and linguistics at a small university in Iowa. Her work appears or is forthcoming in multiple journals, most recently Birdcoat Quarterly, CutBank, Quarter After Eight, and Trampoline, and she has been both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a nonprofit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community.
The more you think about it,
there’s nothing to think about. You know
you can live without it.
Order water, lemon wedge. Sit
curled, disguised; the curve will show
the more you think about it.
Starve generously. Quit
coveting. If your limbs bow,
you can live. Without it,
you are less the fetus-pit.
The more you lose, you grow
the more you. Think about it:
you, hollowed comfit,
mother minus mother-glow.
You can. Live without it.
Bite the peel and suck. Spit.
Deny it and you know
you can live without it all
the more. You think about it.