Parkour – Daun Daemon

 

sailing through saplings

            claws clutching first one stem

                        swinging to another and another

            paws grasping winter’s bare branches

                        tail dancing and switching

the giddy squirrel flung itself

            into the berry bedecked holly nearby

                        deftly dodging the prickles

            finally kicking with its back legs

                        launching onto a tall pine tree

scrambling up rough bark

            stopping thirty feet off the ground

                        and barking at its competitor

            parked on the poplar nearby

 

I had never thought of trees

            as vertical obstacle courses

                        for athletic risk-taking squirrels

            showing off their kinetic prowess

                        their giddy sciurid confidence

or was it joyful desperation

            to navigate the world by vault

                        and leap from here to there

            as fast as we can with as few

                        scratches and falls as possible

even then to rise and climb,

            fall and roll, crawl, and run

                        around, across, over, under, and

            straight through to the moment

 

when we must stop

 


Daun Daemon’s fiction has appeared in Flock, Dead Mule School, Literally Stories, and Delmarva Review among others, and she has published poems in Third WednesdayTypehouse Literary Review, Remington Review, Deep South Magazine, Into the Void, Peeking Cat Literary, Amsterdam Quarterly, and other journals. Daemon is currently at work on a memoir in poetry as well as short stories inspired by memories of her mother’s home beauty shop. She teaches scientific communication at North Carolina State University and lives in Raleigh with her husband and two cats.

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Downtown after the offices let out – John Grey

 

Tall buildings cast overlapping shadows.

It’s night long before nighttime.

Last of the commuters catch their train, their bus.

Garages empty out.

The few inner city dwellers

lock and latch the doors

of their small fortresses.

At street level,

two men approach each other.

It’s dark. Identities are smudged.

Is it? No it can’t be?

Wasn’t he the one who… ?

And didn’t he…?

They nod as they pass –

recognition or just acknowledgment

that there’s no other in this world –

neither gives an indication.

Each hears footsteps

on the concrete sidewalk,

softer and softer,

farther and farther away.

Then all would be silent

if it weren’t for themselves.

But they don’t feel responsible,

just alone.

 


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Published in Nebo, Euphony, Columbia Review, Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

The Wave – Kristy Snedden

 

A wave curled over my bed

last night, fell into the center of my body,

surf ran through each cell.

The words I was saving for today

Washed away leaving empty space.

It was warm, like that glow around

The waning crescent moon.

 


Kristy Snedden has been a trauma psychotherapist for thirty-five plus years. She began writing poetry in June 2020. Her poem “Dementia,” was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 90th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Her work appears or is forthcoming in various journals and anthologies, most recently Snapdragon, Open Minds Quarterly, The Power Of The Pause Anthology, and The Examined Life. She is a student at Phillip Schultz’s Writers Studio. When she isn’t working, reading, or writing poetry, she can be found hiking in the Appalachian Mountains near her home or hanging out with her husband listening to their dogs tell tall tales.

Who I’m Really Thinking About When My Grandaughter Assumes I’m Missing Her Grandfather and Gives Me that Soft-Sweet Look – Diane D. Gillette

 

I remember Rita in her pink kitten heels, her hair coiffed up in a lavender helmet, her lips leaving ruby stained proof of her existence on my neck. She tasted like merlot, and sounded like the sigh after a storm. I remember the pretty way she danced around my living room to the Nat King Cole record she brought over. Her hips entranced me, and I pulled her back on the couch so we could make love all over again. I remember the way her gardenia perfume settled into my pores for days after she was gone. How I could feel her skin under my hands, soft like butter, for weeks, for months, if I just closed my eyes and thought about her. I remember the taste of rain in the air when she drove away. I remember thinking that no matter what she said or believed, she’d come back. I remember finding the wedding announcement from the newspaper. Or rather, it found me. A manila envelope with no return address. No note attached. Just the announcement, snipped and clipped so sharp – a papercut right to the heart. It said the bride had been beautiful. But there’s no way Rita could have been as beautiful as she had been dancing in my living room.

 


Diane D. Gillette (she/her) lives in Chicago. Her work is a Best Small Fictions selection. Her chapbook We’re All Just Trying to Make It to January 2nd is available through Fahmidan & Co. Publishing. She is a founding member of the Chicago Literary Writers. Read more at www.digillette.com.

Starlings – John Muro

 

Dispatched from dusk, an iridescent stubble

breaks over everything and lacquers the lawn,

and each inch of terrain becomes a mangle

of brunette sheen. Sodden acres are now

blanketed beneath a chattering with numbers

too vast for counting. In precipitous precision,

they rise, like a head-wind suddenly made

visible, quickly extinguishing any creases

of light as each bird binds itself to the whole,

keeping tightly to form as if something

foreign and intent on anarchy might displace

it and lead the murmuration astray, none

daring to pull opposite of their dark destiny

and fretful portage between earth and heaven.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Song – John Muro

 

Last night I fell to dream

of Castle Combe,

 

Its shambling mists and tawny stream,

the holy pathos of its homes.

 

Wind-washed clouds, the lunar gleam

of cream-colored stone.

 

And there, somewhere between

drowsy dusk and day, I stood alone

 

In fevered dream,

in Cotswold cold,

 

Woke to air, moon-tide dimmed,

and the lulled hush of wool-

 

Soft hymns

with all hope gone.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Swallows – John Muro

 

Easy to envy

their erratic

exuberance

ascending with

scythe-like wings

in fevered flight,

rounding rooftops

and the crowns

of trees before

returning like

blind oracles

with a divine

purpose and

grim prophecies

to share. Their

delirious arrivals

and farewells

blend then blur

into fleur-de-lis

pivots and pirouettes,

chevron tails split

apart like lengthy

shears slicing through

charmed circles of

air moments before

their tiny throats

of glossy indigo

morph into embers

as daylight falls

upon the tongues

of tides just catching

the last wink of sun.

 


A resident of Connecticut, John is a graduate of Trinity College, Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut. In the Lilac Hour, his first volume of poems, was published in 2020 by Antrim House, and it is available on Amazon. His poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in journals including Euphony, Moria, Penumbra, River Heron, Sheepshead, Third WednesdayAmethyst Review, High WindowPoetica Review and the French Literary Review. John is also a two-time 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

The tender pines – Robert Beveridge

 

It is not far, not far at all beyond

the city limits where the road ends,

even the tire tracks peter out amidst

the wild-grown grass surrounded

by trees, invisible from buildings.

Just enough room to park, lay out

a blanket, pitch a tent.

 

Off to one edge, a ring. I thought

at first of mushrooms. But no—

of snails, their variegated shells

ablaze in the afternoon light.

I read to them awhile, until the sun

was low enough that it was time

to gather wood. Whether they

enjoyed it I’ve no idea.

 

A fire just long enough to warm

ramps, mushrooms, beans, a chunk

of bread torn to pieces, then to bed

and dreams of snails who aspire

to write their first poems.

 


Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Blood and Bourbon, The Stratford Quarterly, and Stonecoast Review, among others.

Hush – Don Thompson

 

The night, this night anyway,

has requested quiet—

using an older, quieter word.

 

The owl complies, sounds one note

pianissimo on a marimba

with a soft mallet.

 

No crickets fidget.

 

No feral tom cats talk trash.

 

Even the hound over on the next farm

howls for only a few minutes

and then, whatever had been bothering him,

lets it drop

and drifts off to sleep.

 


Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. A San Joaquin Almanac won the Eric Hoffer Award for 2021 in the chapbook category. For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at www.don-e-thompson.com.

Bogquilt – Jacob Riyeff

 

blue goose road at night

cuts thru bog country

streams of leaves

flow the road

and moats dogs 

aflight, all 

of them. gray 

light purpling 

the air. vertigo 

round cedar-lined 

curves. watching 

for deer –

there – the moon

shines over acid

water, pitcher-plant

relics, my brow.

 


jacob riyeff is a translator, poet, and scholar of medieval literature. his work focuses on the western contemplative tradition and the natural world. jacob teaches in the english department at marquette university and lives in milwaukee’s east village.

I Have Walked This Path Before – James G. Piatt

 

I am peering through raindrops, which are

washing away my memories watching the past

fade as I walk along an old path I have walked on

many times before.

 

I have walked this path before, in the springtime

when cheery trees were pink with blossoms,

giant maple trees were showing their pink buds,

and young animals in their new born freedom

loped along the river, carefree, and filled with the

excitement of new birth.

 

I have walked this path before when the summer

heat silently placed its warmth upon my

shoulders as I sat on a beach chair near a placed

pond thinking about the beauty of nature, and

listening to the sweet warbling of tiny songbirds.

 

I have walked this path before when autumn’s

slowly increasing winds started their polished

journey into winter with whispered hints of

fading time, and the sun was covered with dark

moisture filled clouds.

 

I have walked this path before when the chill of

winter blurred my footsteps, tiny birds took

refuge in bushes and I, bundled up in wools and

layered cotton, pondered on the coldness of the

season, and what I should etch onto the marble

face of my tombstone.

 


James is an internationally published poet, a Best of Web nominee and three time Pushcart nominee. He has had four poetry books; Solace Between the Lines, Light, Ancient Rhythms, and The Silent Pond, 1500 poems, five novels, and 35 short stories published worldwide. He earned his doctorate from BYU, and his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, SLO. He writes poetry to maintain his sanity, and sometimes succeeds.

Baskett Slough III – Marc Janssen

 

The milk sun combs uncombed fields

While

An atonal chorus of geese concert invisibly directly overhead.

 

All around

The illusion of softness

In the graceful curving hill-scapes,

Rust carpets of oak leaves,

Before it is broken by an insincere tittering of human voices.

 


Marc Janssen lives in a house with a wife who likes him and a cat who loathes him. Regardless of that turmoil, his poetry can be found scattered around the world in places like Penumbra, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast and Poetry Salzburg. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, the annual Salem Poetry Festival, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate.

A Chapel of Sunflowers – Marc Janssen

 

Driving out west of town

There is a field, maybe part of an abandoned farm,

Filled with sunflowers.

There should be a name for a group of sunflowers,

Rank on jumble they stand

Lion-faced their ragged yellow manes roar in a June rain shower.

Their faces a cloud confusion.

 

This field of flowers could be called a landscape of sunflowers

A beauty of sunflowers

A Saint Francis of sunflowers

A van Gogh of sunflowers

A peal

A heart

A tender

A good grove of sunflowers.

 

Then it was gone

Somewhere behind me,

And the next thing comes into view

Between rain drops

Green and colorful and new.

 


Marc Janssen lives in a house with a wife who likes him and a cat who loathes him. Regardless of that turmoil, his poetry can be found scattered around the world in places like Penumbra, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast and Poetry Salzburg. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, the annual Salem Poetry Festival, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate.

A short lecture On the female body, and Other beautiful Things – Ann Pedone

 

Yes, you can call me a nymph. How else to explain that

my mouth is a river that never meets

the sea. Don’t be afraid. I understand how this thing

how the body

works. I know everything, all the names

of all of the places inside

of me. Watch. I’ll show you how to make it

more than a metaphor.

I know full

well that sex isn’t some

thing to play at, my valentine. You see this thing here

this immensity

between my legs. This is what turns day in

to night

light into dark. This is flesh of the

same silence.

I know you want to wrap your

self around it.  I see the desire dripping down

your back. Do it now, before it is too

late. Do it before you turn into a poem

inside of me.

 


Ann Pedone graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from UC Berkeley. Ann is the author of the chapbook The Bird Happened, and the chapbook perhaps there is a sky we don’t know about: a re-imagining of sappho is forthcoming in December. Her work has recently appeared in Riggwelter, Main Street Rag, Poet head, Cathexis Northwest, The Wax Paper, and The Phare, among others.

Bewildered – Ann Pedone

 

What is the body in the eyes of the body

is it nothing more than a translation

of water salt and air

an alchemy of blood and sand and lust

bones fragile anxious within

muddy flesh the nervous

desire of hips

bewildered

that you are still not here every

 

day I put my feet down one in

front of the other a child would

say that this should be enough

but the heavy box of the body asks

 always for more.

 


Ann Pedone graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from UC Berkeley. Ann is the author of the chapbook The Bird Happened, and the chapbook perhaps there is a sky we don’t know about: a re-imagining of sappho is forthcoming in December. Her work has recently appeared in Riggwelter, Main Street Rag, Poet head, Cathexis Northwest, The Wax Paper, and The Phare, among others.