Adam King, “Like Your Castle”

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Like Your Castle

Not accidentally, the dream
Lets down its drawbridge.
You may enter, though the castle is without
Queen or prince or anyone like that.
A mirror may hang there
To reflect discomfort, complaint,
Or that there is no one fortunate inside,
No one to tell you
You are good.

It is dark unless
The room you’re in is missing a wall.
If you are able to see yourself,
You may wish to speak
To the mirror. In your mind, the bridge
Has been let down or you face
The underside across a moat of cracked earth.
Do not mention the past or future.
Have no notion of what to say beforehand.

No stick
To set fire to inside, no match.
You are altogether without,
And anything can happen to you here
But nothing will.
Will nothing.
When you come to the crumbling
Mosaic at the end of the main hall,
A figure faintly resembling you
Is painted there, who says, you imagine,
“I will keep you warm.”

 


Adam King lives in Albuquerque, NM. He holds an MA in counseling. His poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, St. Elizabeth Street, Seattle Review, and The Tongue. He is currently working on a screenplay based on the life of the poet H.D.


 

Maddie Woda, “The Use of Physics in Bucyrus, Ohio”

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The Use of Physics in Bucyrus, Ohio

Dogtooth violets in tin mugs, well water, lemon pie on the windowsill, I can feel the weight of five generations in my grandparent’s house, a little constellation of Midwestern values and homemade clothing, fertile mice and scabbed Bibles. My grandfather only comments on how thin I’ve gotten over the past couple months. He chatters with the cows about his day but keeps a cigar between his teeth until he mentions to me that making a living off the land is respectable, enviable, and academia is niceties in comparison.

No one starves if you stop working, he says, not even glancing at me as he taps ash in a ceramic dish shaped like an apple. What do you study again?

Physics, grandpa.

Physics. I don’t see any physicists saving the world.

My mother bustles in, torn lace apron, pushing my father onto the scene, he who has milked cows and coaxed corn out of the earth every day since he was old enough to walk to the barn by himself. He who feels soil in his veins and dew under his tongue, who treats calves with more tenderness than his children, who treats acorns with more tenderness than his wife.

Now dad, he says, ruffling his fingers like he’s shuffling playing cards, like he’s lighting a cigarette. Physics does lots of good things.

Oh yeah, my grandfather sneers, the solidity of an entire generation propping up his contempt. Like what?

Well. My father looks at me, eyes like honey even though his hair is grey at the temples. Tell us, son, what good are you doing?

 


Maddie Woda is an undergraduate at Columbia University in New York City, majoring in English and American Studies. She is a member of the Columbia Review and has forthcoming work in ANGLES.


 

Robert Beveridge, “Speaking through Severed Tongues”

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Speaking through Severed Tongues

The town crossroads
has been the traditional frame
for bird poachers, astronauts,
an occasional wallaby. Dinner
party conversation revolves
often around the doings there,
who slept with whom beneath the gibbet,
what really happened to the Challenger.
The town elders look the other way,
consider it less a problem
than what would happen if, say,
the high school became
the focus of attention.

 


Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. He has recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Ignatian, and YuGen, among others.


 

Mindy Watson, “Wedded” (a triolet)

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Wedded

They stood for us, yet bowed by grief’s great weight.
We could have been them, Josh and Kimberly,
Who trod this snaking path and matched our gait.
They stood for us (yet bowed by grief’s great weight),
As proud Best Man and Maid. But when he ate
His shotgun’s slug, and she her pills, we’d see
They stood for us. Yet bowed by grief’s great weight,
We could have been them—Josh and Kimberly.

 


Mindy Watson is a Washington, DC/Northern Virginia-based writer who holds an MA in nonfiction writing from The Johns Hopkins University. Her essays have appeared in Adelaide, Ars Medica, Corvus Review, and Thread. Her poems have appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry, Ekphrastic Review, Literary Hatchet, Midnight Lane Boutique, Palettes & Quills, Quarterday Review, and Snakeskin.


 

Darren Demaree, three prose poems

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Trump as a Fire without Light #172

I am unwilling to be the good man my wife says I am. I want to overreact. I am already wounded by Ohio. I am already memorizing the names of the dead. I am against this sickness, and my relatives want to argue about the name of the virus? Being still used to be radical. Prostration acts used to be my protesting act against the selfish tides of America, but now that they are hunting us, I can’t lower my head. I am not safe amidst my greatest love. Somebody keeps putting bullet casings on my back porch. The note says they will be aiming for the swollen heart tattoo on my left shoulder. Will they realize it’s the outline of our home once they see the skin pull back from the poem in the middle of it?

 


Trump as a Fire without Light #173

I don’t believe a soul can come out of nothing, and he has yet to show me anything more than a heaving meat-suit.

 


Trump as a Fire without Light #174

The village is quiet. The cities are on fire. The forests are almost gone. Once we can see each other from any distance, the world will swallow itself.

 


Darren Demaree’s poems have appeared or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. He is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). Darren is the managing editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and children.


 

Kevin Shyne, “The Minuet before Good-bye”

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The Minuet before Good-bye

On Sunday afternoon
my daughter calls me back
while making lunches,
saving every penny
for treks she takes
to destinations off the grid.
Clinking in the background
is her butter knife, the clapper
in a bell of mayonnaise
nine hundred miles away.

Her voice, bejeweled
by her audacity,
rolls through me in a rising tide.
I stream like seaweed in her current.
Our catch-up conversation
crests on words
more said than understood.
You have her eyes…
the last time you were here…
the years go flying by.

On another day, her hand in mine,
our faces close,
her bucket full of shells,
she held one to my ear.
I said, “Hello, is this the ocean?”

But now she has to go.
Friends are waiting at the door.
She says goodbye,
not wanting me to hear
their rollicking commotion.
The phone held to my ear,
I strain to hear the ocean.

 


Kevin Shyne is a lifelong writer whose work once appeared frequently in corporate annual reports and employee newsletters. Turning to poetry in his retirement, Kevin has had poems published in The Lyric, Poetry Breakfast, Poetry Porch, and The Avocet. Kevin lives in a small town in the corn-and-soybean heart of the Midwest, where, along with a group of fellow poets, he helped organize the first-ever poetry event for the Prairie Arts Council in Princeton, Illinois.


 

Mike Ferguson, “Today’s Cul-de-Sac”

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Today’s Cul-de-Sac

It’s another secure cul-de-sac,
and a grown man cycles home on

his boy’s bike, a case of beer
under one arm, and it’s probably

football Sunday with all the cars
parked neatly in their drives and

men inside homes shouting and slapping
backs with their free hands

(the others dipping chips in sauce
or grasping ice-cold cans),

and it is family life becalmed because
everyone is happily in their place,

not feeling left out or under
attack, and therefore probably safe.

 


Mike Ferguson’s most recent collection of poetry is the sonnet chapbook Precarious Real (Maquette Press, 2016). A retired English teacher, he is an American resident in the UK and co-authored the education text Writing Workshops (Cambridge University Press, 2015).