Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Song by Martin Willitts Jr.

I love you as much as air.
What have I done to deserve you?
I’m almost exhausted
by the absoluteness of love.

Even in the quiet garden
planting gardenias, I hear you,
singing a summer rain.
What have I done to deserve you?

My joy is almost crippling
with an ache for more.
I notice moisture in the rain.
Drops hang in air,

tiny bells trying to ring.
I am constantly lighthearted,
dizzy with hypnotic love.
My face is a song of rain;

a song arriving from you
moves the metronome
of my heart, opening
into a white gardenia.

Martin Willitts Jr has 24 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press, 2018)  and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press, 2019).

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Snowstorm by David Gross

Fading fencerows.
All night into morning
pellets of ice and snow
crosshatch steely skies,
enameling earth,
disguising winter's poverty.

In the afternoon clouds part,
sunlight glosses porcelain pastures,
blackbirds and sparrows scratch snow
where a garden once grew.

But beside our porch steps
ragged spires of faded lavender
cast long shadows across a blank page,
portents of a poem
spring might bring.

David Gross lives with his wife on a small farm in southern Illinois near the Shawnee National Forest, where they hike and bird as often as possible. His most recent collection is Little Egypt (Woodhaven Press, 2017). He has recent poems in Acorn, Common Ground Review, Front Porch Review, and Otata.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Garden by Michael Keshigian

He abandoned the garden 
she cultivated so long ago,
no longer capable
of watching gentle bees
whirring, landing 
to sip sweet nectar
upon trained wildflowers.
Now weeds propagate 
where thick pods of marigolds 
and hostas once separated cultivation
from forest spontaneity.
Where she would stand
to admire colors
which blossomed at her beckoning,
designed with violets and pansies
dashed with peonies, 
the rosebush fragranced 
the enclosure
from its single stem
each time she passed.
Now its choked by moss 
that turns the stone shelves 
she laid in patterns,
damp in the green dress of negligence.  
Nature’s epitaph for beauty lost.

Michael Keshigian, from New Hampshire, has been published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Aji, San Pedro River Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Muddy River Review, Passager and has appeared as feature writer in over twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations ( 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Driveway by Steve Klepetar

So long since you departed that late winter day 
with dirty snow still packed in the gutters, and spring 

nowhere in sight. From my window, now, I see 
two humpback hills rising toward a sea of low clouds, 

a green-gold curtain of leaves. 
The room feels chilly, the afternoon light a little strained, 

as if its sweetness were an ache, an absence coming on. 
You would have loved it here, the fireplace and wine 

goblets with their wide mouths, their smooth feel 
and heavy glass. Someone has pulled into our driveway, 

an old man and a woman wrapped in a shawl.
She stays in the car, he gets out, looks up at our roof, 

but by the time I open the door, he’s backing out, 
turning down Red Barn Road as if he were looking for you 

in the red maple beyond the house, back by the pond 
where dark birds gather like mourners near the shrinking reeds.

Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Klepetar is the author of fourteen poetry collections, the most recent of which are A Landscape in Hell (Woodhaven Press) and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Frost Queen Passes by Diane Jackman

Frost on the spider’s web,
stretched between oaks,
marks each loop and lace
in morning mist.

The path winds down
away into the brooding trees
where shapes and shadows
gather, beckoning.

Voices keening drift
in the silver air
to the left, to the right.
But when she turns her head,

They fade into mocking laughter.
Tinkling glass fragments
shimmer into her mind.
No one is there.

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in The Rialto, snakeskin, optimum, Elbow Room, Spillway, small press anthologies, and won several competitions.  Her childhood was spent on a farm in the English Midlands where the fields were enclosed by the ruined stone walls of a burnt-out seventeenth-century Dower House.  It has had an effect on her work.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What Do You Remember? by John Brantingham

She tells the detective that the bank robber in the black ski mask moved his hips the way her brother did. “Are you saying that he was your brother?”

“No Carl’s been dead thirty years.”

The other one smelled a little like her first boyfriend, someone she knew sixty years ago and died last month. She starts to pant, shallow breaths that don’t fill her lungs. She can’t control them, puts a hand to her chest.

“That doesn’t help us much.”

“I’m just answering your question.” She’s lightheaded, but she remembers the smell of her baby’s head. She remembers losing her grip on an apple and crying when it fell into the creek.

“Are you all right?”

She remembers being a little girl and running across a foggy field on Christmas morning hearing her friends singing “I’ll be Home for Christmas” even when she couldn’t see them.

John Brantingham is the first poet laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, and his work has been featured in hundreds of magazines and in Writer’s Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016. He has eight books of poetry and fiction including The Green of Sunset from Moon Tide Press, and he teaches at Mt. San Antonio College.