Giamila Fantuzzi, “The End of Binary”

Giamila Fantuzzi is a teacher and researcher in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Body Messages: The Quest for the Proteins of Cellular Communication (Harvard University Press, 2016) and of several scientific articles about inflammation. Her short essays appeared in Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, and Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine. She is currently working on a memoir about love and illness.

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The End of Binary

On this fine autumn morning
What ever happened to blue and green?
It’s beauty blush, golden glow, and soft peach up in the sky,
A dash of chablis for the grownups.
There is sepia, contessa, husk, and indochine
Down in the woods,
A touch of moss thrown in a corner for those who need comfort.
On this fine autumn morning
What the heck happened to blue and green?
This world.
This crazy world.
This crazy world of beauty.

 


 

 

 

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J. I. Kleinberg

A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, J. I. Kleinberg is coeditor of 56 Days of August (Five Oaks Press, 2017) and Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington (Other Mind Press, 2015) and coproduces the Bellingham-based SpeakEasy poetry series. Her poetry has appeared in One, Diagram, Otoliths, Psaltery & Lyre, and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and blogs most days at chocolateisaverb.wordpress.com and thepoetrydepartment.wordpress.com.

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This Cloth

This folding and refolding of clouds, this rippled quilt of sea
pulled to shore and away—this is not the work of a god I believe in,
only a cinematic trick, a way to speak of the unfathomable,
distract eye and heart from bodies bloodied and fallen
in a synagogue, at a concert—oh, any place bodies can huddle
in a moment’s hope or grief. The cloth of us ripped and frayed,
every thread torn from itself, warp from weft. And still,
here is what we do: collect the threads, pick the strands of light
from darkness, hold the gnarled ball in open palms to gather
our tears and then, slow as autumn’s night absorbs light,
we begin to weave.

 


 

 

 

Drew Pisarra, “Sonnet 24/7”

Drew Pisarra is one half of Saint Flashlight (with Molly Gross), a conceptual art duo that finds playful ways to get poetry into public places such as film-themed haiku on a movie marquee or a series of lost-dog flyers that drive to a phone bank of poems. These unconventional installations have been part of the O, Miami Poetry Festival, Free Verse: Charleston Poetry Festival, and Capturing Fire’s International Poetry Summit and Slam. His first book of poetry, Infinity Standing Up, comes out in early 2019. His short story collection, Publick Spanking, was published by Future Tense ages ago.

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Sonnet 24/7

I’ve tasted another’s sweat on your tongue
and licked off a stranger’s spit from your ear
o’erheard your sleeping voice and been stung
by an unknown name of no one near here.
Who am I to complain? What am I to do?
When doesn’t affection come with a sting?
Why shouldn’t I settle for less of you
instead of much more of a dingaling?
You gift me hours, I savor each minute.
You show up one night then you’re gone for days.
Months pass, links weaken. Then we’re back at it
in the shower or squeezed onto my chaise.
In my dreams, we’re together ’round the clock.
This room knows different: Tickety tock.

 


 

 

 

Emily Strauss, “Flood”

Emily Strauss has an MA in English but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 450 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. She is a Best of the Net nominee and twice a Pushcart nominee. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she also considers the narratives of people and places around her. She is a retired teacher living in Oregon.

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Flood

Glass shards in the flood
the river pours across fields
thick brown sludge these waters

loosed of fixed boundaries flow
down to meet storm-surged tides
pulled inland until ocean meets stone

dams breached and the cold mud
fills homes and plains, small boats
ride the streets full of water

stained by waste, dead chickens,
coal ash, nuclear run-off, snakes
all lodged together behind stone

walls, fences, buttresses, all water-
logged and ruined: you stone
gods who watch with blind wet
eyes, what more will you let wash
away, how far can you move stone?

 


 

 

 

Marcia J. Pradzinski, “Kindergarten 1950”

Marcia J. Pradzinski, the author of Left Behind, published by Finishing Line Press in 2015, lives in Skokie, Illinois. Her poems have been featured in print journals, anthologies, and online. Recent and forthcoming publications include Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, The Pangolin Review, and Ink In Thirds. Credit goes to her poet colleagues for helping her stay productive and accountable.

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Kindergarten 1950

black rosary beads click-clack
patrol the rows of wooden tables
Tuesday’s air raid siren screams

boys separate from the girls
the nun quick-steps to elbow-poking boys
black rosary beads click-clack

mimeographed nativity scenes
mix with the smell of waxy crayons
Tuesday’s air raid siren blares

the nun clutches her rosary beads
her eyebrows bunch and bristle
black rosary beads click-clack

she marches to my chair
drags it out scraping the floor
Tuesday’s air raid siren shrieks

you’re not a baby she yells
yanks my thumb from my mouth
black rosary beads click-clack
Tuesday’s air raid siren screams

 


 

 

 

Robert Eastwood, “Dive”

Robert Eastwood’s work appeared most recently in 3Elements Review, West Texas Literary Review, Up The Staircase Quarterly, and Poet Lore. His first book, Snare, was published by Broadstone Books (2016). His second book, Romer, was published by Etruscan Press (2018).

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Dive

It occurs early, when I can distinguish thought from dream.
Bedtime murk. My eyes alert behind closed lids.
My thought is to dive deep into sleep, my arms stretched out
to pull me down, away from light.

Into darkness I go, toward center.
Density sheathes me like a glove––a background of blue
becomes ebony,
where creatures, natural yet strange, exist:

the chambered nautilus of my heart, thumping
in its separate autonomy;
the fangtooth of my fears; the anglerfish of hopes,
which dangles siren-bait for me to reach.
The snipe eel, whose anus is in its throat,
festoons my lurid nightmares.
I don’t expect this suspension of sparks about me––
a token, perhaps, that I haven’t ceased to be.

Nor how simple, to tumble into myself, vague light
ceding to mystery.
First, I reach a midnight zone, then the abyss, black gate
of regret, into an ever-deepening trench.

Yet there’s warmth. My fingers thread something like water.
I search for a hint of color.
Time is a current, flowing between now & then.
I visualize rather than see. A thrash past my skin lets me know
I am sheer chance,
swimming in a dream labeled time, oblivious,
even of depths below––or what to call them…
(the within?), a final simplicity, & sleep.

 


 

 

 

Paul Fisher, “The Word Is Out”

A recent transplant from the Pacific Northwest, Paul Fisher lives in Walnut Creek, CA, with his wife, two cats, and a five-pound poodle. He studied creative writing and visual art at the University of Washington and earned an MFA in poetry from New England College. His second book, An Exaltation of Tongues, was published last year by MoonPath Press. Paul’s poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Cave Wall, Clementine Unbound, Nimrod, and many other venues.

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The Word Is Out

More a whisper
than a shout,
written on water
in lowercase font,

it bubbles with breath,
licks your lips,
and hops like a frog
from mouth to mouth.

In the kingdom of sharks
where silence is bait,
it swims like an eel
and leaps like a trout.