In Baghdad – by Mary Buchinger

 

She rolls the lemon in her palm.
So light, she thinks. She closes her eyes,
imagines the sacs inside
emptying beneath the sun,
the edges of each clear purse moving
toward each other as they dry –

Do you want to buy? he asks.
Its fragrance dissolving in air
or is it hers? That clean astringent scent—
lemony Abir, Beloved Abir, by the window,
a bowl of fresh tabbouleh, parsley chopped,
linger of onion cut with mint.
He asks again, Do you want to buy?

A yellow-drop sun
wipes clean the desert,
the day.

 

 

 

 

Mary Buchinger is the author of two collections of poetry: Aerialist (2015) and Roomful of Sparrows (2008). She holds a doctorate in applied linguistics and is is President of the New England Poetry Club and Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Gargoyle, Nimrod, PANK, Salamander, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere.

hunter – by K. Eltinaé

 

Dressed in dazzling white on Fridays
Baba began his hunt for me.
I locked myself in the bathroom
listening to threats about djinns.
Later hid on the roof until he gave up.

I couldn’t find my place at the mosque
trapped in limbo out of line
between the feet of a stranger
as another nudged me from behind.

At home, he scolds about the future
in the same tone as the narrator on T.V
spellbound by gazelles that vanished
like his biscuits dipped in tea.

 

 

 

 

K. Eltinaé is a Sudanese poet whose work has appeared in New Contrast, Baphash Literary & Arts Quarterly, Algebra of Owls, NILVX, Illya’s Honey, Ink in Thirds, Elsewhere Literary Journal, Peeking Cat Magazine,The Ofi Press, Poetic Diversity, Chanterelle’s Notebook, and Poetry Pages: A Collection of Voices from Around the World Volume IV. He is the editor of “21” a Poetry Magazine. He currently resides in Granada, Spain. More at http://k-eltinae.com

Pirate Birds – by William Doreski

 

Starlings attack my feeders
and shock the other birds away.
I lean against the overcast
and watch the pirate birds feed.
Everyone prefers cardinals,

grosbeaks, chickadees, titmice.
Everyone dislikes iridescent
black birds that strut and swagger
through the milky summer air
and perch with comic ferocity.

Rain today. The Sunday papers
will flop like flapjacks. The news
will stifle the gravest sympathies
with details to make one squirm.
Gunfire rakes the national psyche

with murders at home and abroad.
The dead stack themselves in layers
deeper than the final ice age,
the one Robert Frost expected
to follow in his wake. I’ll read

of funerals in Dallas, mourning
in Palestine and Libya, rage
in Germany and Pakistan, angst
in the South China Sea. Maybe
I’ll read about fashion in Milan,

soccer in Kenya, poured concrete
architecture in Spain. But drought
in Bolivia and a typhoon
in the Philippines may convince me
that the starlings merely punctuate

horizon after horizon;
they aren’t the grammar of despair
that has gloomed this drizzly morning,
and their mechanical little cries
don’t mock but merely echo me.

 

 

 

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, in a small house in the woods. He taught at Keene State College for many years, but has now retired to feed the deer and wild turkeys. He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals and several small-press books. His forthcoming book of poetry is The Last Concert (Salmon Press).

Blue Baby – by Susan Castillo Street

 

They always tiptoed round the hole
until one day when I was twelve

told me I’d had a little sister.
Where is she now I asked.

In Heaven with the angels
they replied. I was not convinced.

She was a Blue Baby, bless her heart,
died when she was six days old.

After that, as I drifted off to sleep
I’d see her floating in the air outside my window,
rippling arms the colour of the sky, calling,
telling me I should’ve been the one to die.
You never told me, my dead sister.
It’s our family’s grownups
who know how to splinter hearts with words
as blue and cold as ice.

 

 

 

 

Susan Castillo Street is an international woman of mystery. She has published three collections of poems, The Candlewoman’s Trade (2003), Abiding Chemistry,  (2015), and Constellations (2016), as well as in several leading journals and anthologies. She is owned by two cats, Dan and Eric.

8.20 – by Sharon Phillips

 

Green fields moss-stitched with beet or fuzzed
this seat taken   the service to London Waterloo
with shoots of winter wheat copper leaves on forest
finish your drink   our next station   good for you
floors sky bleached to old denim by February sun
behave   what’s this dump   don’t flush while seated

greendark cuttings dazzle of silver frosted roofs
hello   on the train   mind your fingers   relax
flint-grey platforms splatted white with cockle
suspicious items   I can’t help   already said that
shells of chewing gum and gobs of pigeon shit
information   have a sandwich   in all carriages

yellow brick terraces rusty cars in wreckers’ yards
want a roll   it’s a small town   kill my husband
metal-clad office blocks with art deco curves
too damp   dadada   see a show   have a drink
building sites where bony cranes pause to confer
get lost   arriving at   I don’t know what to do.

 

 

 

Sharon is retired and lives in Dorset. Her poems have been published on websites including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Algebra of Owls and Snakeskin.

File Under Self-Harm – by Janine Booth

She’s marked her again and the scars will preserve it.
She’s causing her pain ’cause she thinks she deserves it.
She isn’t a file on a case worker’s shelf.
She isn’t self-harming, she’s harming herself.

Hyphen, inversion may make it sound neater.
Straight like the burns from the bars on the heater.
She’s the subject, the object, the hurter, the hurt.
The rejecter, the reject, the victim, the perp.

She’s harming herself but she doesn’t self-harm.
She isn’t arm-cutting, she’s cutting her arm.
She isn’t flesh-burning, she’s burning her flesh.
She’s fresh from a session of self-aimed aggression.

She’s not a statistic in post-trauma health.
She isn’t self-harming, she’s harming herself.

 

 

 

Janine Booth is a Marxist motormouth, who is in the second half of her poetry adventure having ranted in the 1980s and recomposed in 2014. She writes and performs poems funny and serious, formal and random. Janine has had three poetry collections published. Check out her website: here

Anosmia – by Kitty Coles


I ask my husband to describe my new perfume

(because I have no sense of smell)
and he reports it stinks of princesses.
He has told me that earthworms reek raw meat red
and the blossom clustering the prunus
is sweet, scented the way cold petals feel.
Incense is twilight and Christmas stirred together.
The sea’s like white salt tastes but often
mixed with a lugubrious undertow of dirt.
The cat’s like a clean coat, a certain crispness,
and snow’s bouquet is nothing but it makes
a faint increase in every other fragrance.

When I was sickest, he said that my flesh smelt
like tree-roots washed by rain but, nowadays,
it’s pale and yielding like buttercream.

 

 

 

Kitty’s poems have been widely published. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and the winning pamphlet, Seal Wife, has just been published. Her website is here.