Powhattan’s Mantle, Pocahantas’ Magic Cloak – by Joan Leotta


Powhattan’s Mantle
Pocahantas’ Magic Cloak
(on display in the Ashmolean Museum)

(Pocahantas, daughter of Powhattan, was born Matoaka, known as Amonute, and later known as Rebecca Rolfe, b. circa. 1595 in Virginia – d. March 1617, London, England)


Wrapped in the regal
softness of her hard homeland,
Amnute, Makatoa, Pocahantas
reigned over all.
The cloak was her father’s.
A bit of home that travelled
with her to this harsh new
place called England.

This outer mantle matched her inner honor,
touched the place in her that
gave her the strength
to save John Smith
from the ax,
to  become John Rolfe’s wife,
to endure rough seas on the ship,
to try to embrace the cold damp of London.

I wonder, did she ever cry herself to sleep
wrapped in that former finery ? Did she
lift it to her face amid the stink
of London to recall the
clean sweet smells of forest and the Bay?

After the birth of her son, Tom, or
doing the bidding of her spouse,
caring for her babe
did she quietly repair to cupboard
to stroke this cloak,
crying out to her father?

Then, there she could save the lives of others,
now could not save herself,
from raging fevers, not
even with the magic of her father’s cloak.

Swiftly, too swiftly she descended
into the ground at Gravesend!
We have her father’s cloak but
Pocahantas took its power with her.




Joan Leotta has been playing with words since childhood. She has four novels, a collection of short stories and a picture book in print with three different publishers, available on Amazon. She has won awards in the US and abroad for her writing and performing. Her poetry and essays are in Gnarled Oak, Red Wolf, A Quiet Courage, Eastern Iowa Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Postcard Poems and Prose and others. Her second picture book, Summer in a Bowl, comes out in September 2016. Joan also performs folklore and one-woman shows on historic figures. She lives in Calabash, NC where she walks the beach with husband Joe. Find her on her blog or on Facebook.


Ice Scraping – by James Greenwood-Reeves


The car now sleeps, its morning slumber too cold
surely to ever move. Its skin, still as
the epidermis of some ancient creature,
forgotten in ice and darkness. Have you ever
wondered how Arctic explorers must have feared
the sleeping death of cold, to wake and find
they kept no breath? Frost as thick as a thumb,
as hard as nails: an inch of tooth-white ice.
It bites the skin: it stings like lack of love.

And when you next scrape off that layer of white,
imagine clawing out of their ice-house
as desperate as the wind, alone as night.




James Greenwood-Reeves is a young writer and lawyer in Lincoln, England. His first poems were inspired by songs from The Smiths, R.E.M., The Cure and other mildly dated bands. His more recent writings, including poetry, short fiction and essays, can be found here

For Humanity – by Nick Romeo


Yesterday I walked to the store
I passed two people begging for money
and another unconscious on the sidewalk
I kept my head down and moved faster.

Today I heard the small cry of a cat
the little guy was by the dumpster
I had to take him in and feed him
It’s too dangerous outside.




Nick Romeo is a multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer.  His writings have been published in various literary magazines such as Uppagus, The Gambler, StreetCake Magazine, and others.  He was interviewed for Pankhearst’s Fresh Featured in December 2015 and The Daily Poet in February 2016.  Nick lives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with his wife and cat, Megatron.


The Black Spit of The Red Wine Drinker – by Alec Solomita


They can say whatever they want. But you know, she talks so slowly I could love her forever. I’m so glad she found me. This has been kind of a rough summer for me. My girlfriend left me. My wife’s sick. My shrink has been acting really hostile. My back went out. The weather’s been wacky, too. And what with the frankenfish and the hogweed scares, it’s just a creepy time. And then this girl comes through the bar’s dark and says, I have a feeling I’m going to love you more than God loves Wonder Bread, in a tone so languid the sentence lasted minutes. I said, well there’s a lot you don’t know about me. And she says, I don’t know anything about you. I paused and looked down, I shot that man on purpose. Luckily, she said, I have the resilience of an abused child.




Alec Solomita has published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review and elsewhere. His poetry has appeared in, among others, 3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, and, forthcoming, Driftwood Press and Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics. He lives in Somerville, Mass.

Some of his other published poems can be found here: Invisible, Pulpy the Wit and Upstate/I’ve Come to Think

Two Haiku – by Joe Williams



You are a liar
Such a beautiful liar
The very worst kind


Man is an island
It is in the Irish Sea
John Donne is a fool


Joe Williams is a writer from Leeds and the creator of Haiku Hole. In 2015 Joe began performing on the poetry and open mic circuit in order to inflict his work on a wider audience. Some of them claimed to enjoy it, so you can blame them for encouraging him to continue.

Written – by Monika Swiatek


we’re written in the trees, darling

she said, the summer vegetarian,

beets of papaya peel paisley on our blanket

i read the trees all summer

by october, the words had yellowed –

fading, they fell, ugly and twisted from the sky

when the freeze set in,

no more words were written, nothing punctuated the silence;

there were only

the stars.




Monika Swiatek currently works and resides in London. She is passionate about writing and photography, finding that the two often intertwine into intricate patterns worth exploring. She is currently working on her first collection. More of her writing and photography can be found here

Letting Go – by Helen Shay


She doesn’t cling anymore.
That sweaty, grimy, too-
young-to-have-a-wrist fist,
that clenched its red need
staining into my arm,
has loosened.

Instead, a cool-er hand touches
mine. Still dirt of play beneath
nails, but each painted different
colours by her, experimenting
with bottles and jars.
(My bottles and jars).

Soon that hand will let go.
She’ll have her own varnish
to silver each full-grown nail
with strokes, sluicing with sparkle.
Then she’ll fleck her fingers out to dry
– like a wave goodbye.




Leeds-born poet, Helen Shay, has work in publications/online, holds Creative Writing MA (Distinction) from Manchester Met University and teaches with York University’s CLL. She’s performed at several venues (including Glastonbury Poets’ Tent – still has mud stains!) and hosts Harrogate’s monthly Poems, Prose & Pints. More details on her website or on Facebook.

Smart Mirror – by Elan Mudrow


Putting on your makeup

Has been kidnapped by smart phones.

Ransoms are paid monthly,

Don’t worry, it’s done automatically.

The kidnappers will send you alerts

If your eyebrow pencil is in danger.

They will text you a request

To update your personal information

Skin tone, age group, sexual identity, eyeliner.

Make sure to

Add a backup e-mail account

In case you forget your eyeshadow.

Answer all security questions:

1. Your mother’s maiden blush
2. Maybelline is your father’s middle name
3. What was the name of your first pimple?

Type in the right code, if you can.

You are beautiful.

You are not a robot.

All attempts to hack into your face

Have been blocked.




Elan Mudrow lives in Portland, Oregon. Elan studied writing at Centrum, a partner of Copper Canyon Press in Port Townsend, Washington. Elan’s works have appeared in Von Reuth, Anotherealm, and Writers for Calais Refugees. Elan now seeks an M.A. in English at Portland State University.

An upcoming book, Rain Desert, is due out by July, 2016



Your name – by Maja Todorovic


Your name

Wears its own fame.
Starting with B.
I like how B blows out of my mouth.
Like a playful Boo!
child’s ambush from
a hidden corner
your surprise from behind,
hands eclipsing my eyes
and kiss in the neck,
wistful sighs.

R likes to roll on my tongue.
Wants to get out –
doesn’t want to get out.
Jumps, bounce of my teeth
and rolls like a train speeding its feet.

S likes to become shhhhh…
when I put my heavy, tired head on your
chest, nest.

All vowels and consonants
are disciplined solders, creating brigades of
always ready to march,
when desire knocks on the door of my mouth.
Hurrying deep south.



Maja is an educator and writer from Serbia, currently living in the sunny Hague. When she is not busy with rhyme, she munches on bowls of fruit and pretends to do some yoga – or at least that’s how she would like to spend her time. Liked this stanza? Jump to businessinrhyme.com for more extravaganza.