September 19, 2014

The Meeting by Tobi Cogswell

Buy me a ticket on the morning ferry,
meet me at the quay. I have just a small bag—
don’t be disappointed. We don’t even know
if we can dance this dance.

Stop at the shop, buy apples, brown bread,
good butter, better coffee. I know you
already have the wine, brought over
from your earlier trip to Barcelona.

I will be wearing a blouse—
the lightest pink of your imagination.
My hair will be damp, face flushed
from anticipation and the crested sea.

Hold me as if I were your lifesaver.
The strength of your arms will write whether
I leave on the next tide, whether the ghosts
of morning breezes ensure we survive.

Tobi Cogswell is a four-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee.  Her sixth and latest chapbook is “Lapses & Absences”, (Blue Horse Press).  Her seventh chapbook, “The Coincidence of Castles”, is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (

September 18, 2014

Mystery House by Richard Schnap

His mind was a mansion
Where stairways led to walls
And doors opened to nothing
With rooms full of lights
That would turn on and off
All by themselves
And he wandered its halls
But always returned
Back where he started
As if in a maze
Whose entrance and exit
Were both the same

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

September 17, 2014

Late September by James Owens

Early mist burns from the lake. The chipmunk
scitters along a lichen-spotted fallen locust,

from cool shade into sun, from sun
through bands of shade.

Small things, yes,
but there is no grief in them.

The pulse of the season finds itself in my body.
I am different

when a yellow leaf breaks from its twig
to glint down the air,

and different again
when a red leaf falls.

Two books of James Owens’s poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, Poetry Ireland, The Stinging Fly, The Cresset, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has an MFA from the University of Alabama and lives in central Indiana and northern Ontario.

September 14, 2014

Summer Thunderstorms by M.J. Iuppa

No time to count: one-one thousand, two- one thousand, three-one thousand. The dome of sky darkens to tourmaline. The countryside blanches in sepia. You look across the stillness of the newly planted fields and see columns of rain charging forward—the press of a hundred-thousand hoof beats— its clouds of steam trailing behind like swatches of pink voile.  In an eyeblink, you are no longer standing with your arms loose at your sides in a landscape that’s more than familiar.  Everything’s off-kilter, except for the watering can left on the porch. You notice what does and doesn’t stay put, like the way the soft hairs on your arms rise in the air’s electricity. 
Alive.  How often have you felt it?  Walking home from Allen Creek Elementary, with your first perfect spelling test held tight in your fist. It rained, and the smear of red ink taught you a lesson, like your first deep kiss in the back of a Rambler, hidden beneath a canopy of honeysuckle—thoughts, pulsing neon behind closed eyelids, urged you to choose red or green as the hour unfolded in its curtain of rain. Alive. All those split-second decisions you can’t take back, or do over.
Yesterday, the news was weather: a bracelet of thunderstorms, scuttling east, with high winds and hail the size of mothballs. Hard to believe when the sky is blue and empty. You look at the garden’s promise.  All those tender plants moored in their rows, unaware of what is to come.
Last night it rained in June’s velvet dark. Thunder rumbling, long and hard, measuring the distance where lightning’s strike of fortune splits the sky’s tight seams and sends its flash on a raid to wake you, shake you in your cast iron bed.  You wrap your arms around yourself and listen to the rain in the gutters, against the lilac leaves below your window; filling up the glass left on the porch.  Its hurry slows to a lilting melody; and before  it stops, you sleep.

M.J. Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario.  Between Worlds is her most recent chapbook, featuring lyric essays, flash fiction and prose poems (Foothills Publishing, 2013). Recent poems, flash fictions, and essays in When Women Waken, Poppy Road Review, Wild: A Quarterly, Eunoia Review, Andrea Reads America, Canto, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Avocet, Right Hand Pointing, Tiny-lights, The Lake (U.K.), The Kentucky Review, and more.  She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College.  You can follow her musings on writing and creative sustainability on Red Rooster Farm on

September 12, 2014

Fate by Joan Colby

Misplaced confessions to clear
The heart with sea salt
Like the impulsion to close your eyes
In traffic, smash the pedal
And see what happens.

What happens is always bad.
Shut door. Fiery collision.
Needless casseroles baked for the living,
Dispatches from the wrong
Side of town. All of this
Could be avoided by the simple task
Of keeping your mouth shut,
Your eyes open.

Go ahead, walk under a transparent
Umbrella of shame. Drive in the
No-passing lane, its twin ribbons
Tying you to the inevitable shape
Your life is going to take:
Old Buick with sprung doors.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner.  Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. 

September 10, 2014

The Teacher by Joan McNerney

She hoped some would leave,
rise above dirty factory gates
past plumes of smoke spewing
from the cement plant.

Occasionally when discussing
great American novels, the walls
shook. Ravines were blasted
for more rocks to crush into powder.

She wished they would not become
clerks for soul-less chain stores or
cooks in fast food joints where
smells of burning grease lingered. 

What was the use of teaching literature
and poetry to these children who would
soon grown listless?  Their spirits grinded
down like stones in the quarry.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Hill Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.

September 8, 2014

Seaweed on the Beach by Marianne Szlyk

Reds, greens, browns, and mustard yellow
add earthy undertones,
the taste of miso,
to the neons, the overexposed
blues and whites and yellows,
the painted plaques and t-shirts,
the stick candies and salt-water taffy
sold at the gift store.

The rusty Irish moss
on this beach
will not turn into
anemones or coral
or even amber sea glass.
Like the seagull accents
wheeling in the wind
past summer,
the moss remains.

[Note: "Seaweed on the Beach" appeared in Of Sun and Sand, Kind of a Hurricane Press' anthology for August 2013.]
Marianne Szlyk is a professor of English at Montgomery College and an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review.  Her poems have appeared in Poppy Road Review, The Blue Hour Literary Magazine, Pyrokinection, Storm Cycle 2013: The Best of Kind of a Hurricane Press, and elsewhere.  She edits a poetry e-zine at