The Sky-lit Room – by Robert Nisbet

 

The Sky-lit Room
A small Welsh town, 1966

A sky-lit kitchen window where, just two
floors up and on a rise, I thrilled upon
the past, the town.

That kitchen, Castle Terrace, had a view
of jumbled streets, of buildings joist-by-jowl
with history,

a past of stitched and soldered livelihoods,
of hardships, close-negotiated hopes,
a small town’s loom.

 

 

 

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has had many poems published in the UK and the US, in journals like San Pedro River Review, Constellations, Clementine Unbound, and Common Ground Review.

Cloud tales – by Anwer Ghani

 

When we learned laughs, the moon lights sleep in our lids, and when I groped the face of strange voice, the vehicles pass very fast. How you can imagine this? How you can count what the cloud tells you?

 

 

 

Anwer Ghani is an Iraqi poet and literary theorist. He lives in Iraq now and worked in a hospital as consultant physician. He has poetry collections in Arabic in e-book form, and many books in poetry criticism in Arabic. He is the chief editor of Tajdeed, an Arabic prose poem magazine, and of Arcs, a prose poem magazine.

White Sheets, Black Sheets – by Steve Klepetar

Here in the north, rivers don’t run red with blood.
Corpses of flowers still dangle
on their long stems and geese have gathered
and flown south. The leaves, no longer interesting,
scatter brown and crinkly across lawns or cling
to oaks singly or in clumps. Not far from this quiet
place, languid with unusual warmth, someone
thought it quite a joke on Halloween
to hang black effigies from their front yard trees.
Maybe they were supposed to be ghosts –
white sheets, black sheets?
But between us there are ghosts enough
worrying their way up from rivers underground,
ones that burn, ones you will pay a coin
to ride across, and ones that rob you of your memory.

 

 

 

Steve Klepetar has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems. Family Reunion and A Landscape in Hell are forthcoming in 2017.

Amelie’s Song – by Ken Meisel

 

For Anita

When the birds invaded the wild parsnip
    and rot carved black smudges
        like a cancer in the Queen Anne’s lace,

and when the dame’s rocket and yellow iris
    were flooded by a sudden storm squall
        that flatted them down like royal princesses

in ruined dresses, she wandered down
    into the lonesome motherwort
        to gather the whorls of white flowers

into her broken little arms for the funeral.
    And when the sweet clover and garlic mustard
        grew heavenward in the dry sun,

she knelt there at the edge of the pond,
    waiting for a bird she had heard
        calling out to the wind to come back down again

to her, so she could hear it sing. And when night fell,
    when she knew her mother would never
        return – because death had flooded her

just like bad blood floods the eyes of an animal
    just before it crawls off and it dies –
        she wandered to the open edge of the bog

where the nodding ladies’ tresses grew wild there
    in their décor of white flowers spiraling up thin
        adolescent bodies getting ready for their

autumn dancing: and then she laced them –
    one-by-one – to the sides of her head,
        where she flowered them there in her braids

for the next joyful dancing – and for all the dances
    that followed, all the years after that.
        And, at her wedding, she wore a pink

lady’s-slipper, and trails of purple fringed orchids
    fell behind her wedding gown as she
        strode down the aisle there, into the sun.

 

 

 

Ken Meisel is a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow. His recent books are The Drunken Sweetheart at My Door (FutureCycle Press: 2015), and Scrap Metal Mantra Poems (Main Street Rag: 2013). He has work in Rattle, Midwest Gothic, San Pedro River Review, Boxcar Review, Otis Nebula, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Pirene’s Fountain, among others.

Irit – by Anna Kahn

 

She teases her husband and wonders at him,
demands dinner and soaks the pans in the sink
for the morning.

Occasional cook, she fills the dishwasher with swearwords
and the pan with oil and garlic and playful insults,
then wonders why the only Arabic we know is obscene.

She weighs serving bowl against serving bowl,
choosing the best beauty
from a cupboard of beauties decades in the collecting.

She gardens, new gloves and begged advice
now her children have unchilded themselves.
Soon the garlic plants will be ready for the pot.

 

 

 

Anna Kahn is a member of the Roundhouse Collective and is in her second year as a Barbican Young Poet. She lives in London with two cats and one human. By day she works in tech doing something largely inexplicable.

Down Dormer Dappled Light – by Jim Zola

 

It doesn’t dance but creeps along the spines
of books grown dusty. I know the dust will stay.

Through the window, our side of the street is patched
with white. The other side is lined with squares of green.

Downstairs, the kids’ squawks and cries keep me anchored,
they rise and make me think of lifting things,

children not my own. Some seem to have bird bones
and threaten to fly away. The heavy ones

are just as surprising, their pockets filled
with secrets. I’m amazed at what death takes.

When my mother-in-law died, I could have
lifted her with two fingers. My father

turned into a ghost, his features blurred
like an old photograph. And now this

morning light takes everything and leaves
just enough to make me stay.

 

 

 

 

Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook –The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection –What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.

The Eyes We’re Looking at Are the Eyes That See – by Devon Balwit

 

We argue about peek-a-boo,
whose eyes get covered, mom’s
or baby’s. Having played with
three kids, I insist mom covers.
But then, they counter, baby can
easily see we aren’t gone. But
babies don’t understand whose
eyes look – mom, the whole world
willed into action, mom’s eyes
the ones proving them real.

Even here and now, at this table,
we’re not more advanced, still
unsure whose eyes matter most,
fearing erasure when not seen,
clapping when reflected.
Object permanence? Prove it
in deepest radio silence, or
when our posts sink unnoticed
in the queue. Cover your eyes.
Look. Peek-a-boo.

 

 

 

Devon Balwit is a poet and educator from Portland, Oregon. She has a chapbook Forms Most Marvelous forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press (summer 2017). Her recent poems can be found in: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, The Ekphrastic Review, Noble Gas Quarterly, Timberline Review, Trailhead Magazine, Vector, and Permafrost.

Itch – by Belinda Rimmer

 

My mother’s patchwork spreads
across the floor
like it’s smothering flames.

Her needle speeds
through muslin, cotton, sack cloth.

The central square,
from which all else radiates,
my blue and yellow baby blanket.
Once rescued from a bin,
splattered with cabbage and gravy.

As my mother sews,
her spectacles fall
to the tip of her nose.

I itch to push them up again.

 

 

 

 

Belinda has poems published in various magazines, including Brittle Star, Dream Catcher, ARTEMISpoetry, Obsessed with Pipework and Sarasvati. Some poems have appeared on-line, others in anthologies. She has an MA in Fine and Media Arts and a PhD in Women’s Voices in Contemporary Poetry.

Heading to Kellas – by Beth McDonough

 

After an outpost beech or two,
that march now backs
against suburbia’s frontier attack
from the retail park. Bales
brick up, garrison defences
at its built approach. How long

can any cut-back field hold out
gold in the face of proffered
silver? Across the way a yellow sign
offers one Poplar Avenue – pre-occupied
behind tidy walls, placed
where no poplars ever rooted.

 

 

 

Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Gutter, Antiphon and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Her pamphlet Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett, published by Mother’s Milk Books) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.

SPIDERS…HEARTED – by David Alpaugh

SPIDERS…

Desperate for things to say – should you deliver
my eulogy – liken me to Uncle Toby. Instead of
squashing one crawling up the wall – I’d catch
it; open a window; and drop it into our garden.
Please let mourners know I was always kind to

Spiders. And bees. I always helped them out of
our pool when they flew in. I hope you will say
little or nothing about the way I treated people.
Spiders destroy insects. Bees make honey. But
people? Don’t get me started! I did try to be big

HEARTED…

 

 

 

David Alpaugh’s poems have been published in poetry journals from Able Muse to Zyzzyva and his work was included in California Poetry from the Gold Rush to the Present. His collection Counterpoint won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and he has been a finalist for Poet Laureate of California. His “double title” poems appear in Gargoyle, Mudlark, Spillway, X-Peri, and The American Journal of Poetry.