Preparing the Garden – by Wendy DeGroat


There is satisfaction in the reclaiming,
defining again where things end and begin.
Twigs and leaf-debris cleared from beds.
Dime-high seedlings, oak and holly, pulled,
weeds too. Willow fence restaked. Bench
brushed clean. Afterward, shoulders
and back that good kind of weary. Heat
seeps from my shirt as I rest in the shade,
peaceful riot of birdsong and traffic, cheers
from a distant ballgame, a fountain gurgling.

What more could I wish of this place?

As I think this, two sparrows race past.
And for the first time, as my eyes follow
their flight, I notice a Celtic cross
under the neighbors’ Nandina and recall
the dogs they lost this winter, our cat
we lost this fall. I wonder if the cross
marks one or both their losses, or whether
it’s planted to help us remember them all.



Wendy DeGroat’s poetry has appeared in U.S. and U.K. publications, including Common-place, Raleigh Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Mslexia, Forage, and The Brillantina Project. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she works as a librarian, teaches writing workshops, and curates poetryriver.orgHer chapbook Beautiful Machinery is forthcoming from Headmistress Press in 2017.

Lord, will my phone be saved too? – by Vince Borg


Lord, when my time is up, will I be saved…
And will my phone be saved too?
It’s just that I rely on it so much
And I would hate to be without it,
Even in eternity.
I lost it once, and I was really upset..
All my contacts gone, my photos,
All my messages from friends and relatives,
My Facebook, twitter and What’s App
All disappeared off the face of the Earth.
I know it was lucky that
I’d backed everything up.
But still it was a scare
Not being able to hold
It in my hands.
It gave me a feeling of deep unease.
So please Lord,
When my time is up,
Will my smartphone be saved too?

No, my child, there will be no need.
In fact there will be no need for you
To attend in person either.
Where did you think your data
Was going when you saved it in the Cloud?
No my child, I will already have what I need
To make a judgement.
Your SIM is in my hands,
Metaphorically speaking of course.
When the time comes
I’ll give you a call.

Pick up, won’t you.




Vince is a retired Maths teacher. His family has lived in North Leeds and enjoyed the Yorkshire countryside for over 40 years. He performed in open-mic at Wicked Words in Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, for many years, and produced an unpublished anthology ‘Running Down the Up One‘ in 2012.

The Weight – by Ryan Stone


One drunken night, he lay on the coach road
and she lay beside him. He pictured a truck
descending – wobbling around corners,
gaining momentum. They spoke about crushes,

first kisses. He told her of an older woman
who’d stolen a thing he couldn’t replace.
He tried to describe the weight of lost things.
She listened until he stopped,
until I stopped

hiding behind he. I felt small,
watching the cosmos churn
while I lay on the coach road
one summer night, speaking
of big things
and nothing.



Ryan Stone lives in Melbourne, Australia. He shares his home in the Dandenong Ranges with his wife, two beautiful sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes. His poetry has recently appeared in Writers’ Forum Magazine, Eunoia Review, Black Poppy Review, Napalm and Novocain, Poppy Road Review, Ekphrastic and Pyrokinection

The Poet’s Breath – by Audrey Howitt

i met you in the sun

you wrote your poetry
on clouds
blue on white
a daisy, your pen

until grey streaks pushed
your kind aside
deeper and deeper
into the edges
pulling petals apart
a litany to tiny ends

the wilt of a berry
on your breast
rebirth it’s red
this new ink
the leaves your pages

poetry, your breath.



Ms. Howitt is classical singer and voice teacher, a licensed attorney and psychotherapist. Her work has been published by Lost Tower Publications.

Hills Without Elephants – by A.J. Huffman


Hills Without Elephants

glow like twin moons, lost
to a distant skyline. I close my mind
like a window, leave
my eyes open as I make a wish
for occupancy. Silence
echoes back at me, a most unwelcome
response. I grab two markers –
neither true black – and color
the pain. The distortion is temporary,
but provides projections
that shimmer like giddy ghosts.



A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

already always – by Lonnie Monka


fall asleep
just fall
sleep is not death
fall as we all fall from each day’s peak
fall into the morning
          fall out of this pre-emptive mourning
for the moment when consciousness breaks
            fall asleep
                     just fall to your death while dreaming
            that dreams only seem
digest those dreams
          defecate their meaning
                      pleasure yourself interpretations
just fall the fuck to sleep

fill discontinuous time-gaps
            speak theories
say all possible words
               till lightning-like
desires flash into tickling touches
            that hover over blanket-less backs
just plead your case to invisible ears
           that carefully compile your memories
of striving to see the surrounding darkness
           with eyes that touch the lack of light
painful memories
               fall into the future
                       fall these memories
                                               into tomorrow
fall asleep
fall all memories of failing to fall asleep
             into waking up
tomorrow depends on falling asleep
           having fallen asleep
this is already always     tomorrow




Lonnie Monka is a U.S. native now living in Jerusalem. He loves the finer things in life, like reading & writing, and experimenting in the kitchen. He runs occasional literary events and readings under the name Jerusalism. Feel free to check out his literary musings at



I’m Walking Home – by Alec Solomita


I’m walking home from the convenience store
thinking about an old girlfriend who shape-
shifted into nü gui one summer evening
when a stone garden cat gives me the eye
and the creeps. I’ve got three almond
Hershey bars in my pocket for the mad wife,
and a package of peanut M&M’s for me.
The street’s dark and cold and when the
wind picks up, I roll myself into a ball
and turn around to avoid the sting, facing
where I’ve been, the wind at my back
and remember how I dreamt about women again
the night before. I dream about women almost
every night next to her coarse quiet breathing.
And then I remember the scene in Fargo where Mike
Yanagita at the Radisson restaurant tries to put up
a good front for Marge Gunderson then falls to pieces,
and Marge delicately lowers her head to her diet Coke.




Alec Solomita lives in Somerville, Mass., USA. His fiction has appeared in, among other publications, The Adirondack ReviewThe Mississippi ReviewSouthwest Review and Ireland’s Southword Journal. Recently, he’s published poetry in Literary OrphansSilver Birch PressTurk’s Head ReviewAlgebra of OwlsDriftwood Press, and The Fourth River.