May 26, 2016

Dreamscapes by Ann Blackburn


A little boy is on a swing set blown by the wind.
Mulch flies around him — dead little girls climb the monkey bars.
Seesawing cats and dogs tremble hairlessly.
An eyeless woman gets splinters sitting down.

The slide is covered in double-sided tape.
A headless goat ‘Spring Rider’ stands motionless,
and the metal rainbow merry-go-round whips limbs in every direction.


The boy wraps four fingers
around the metal spear,
lifts his elbow,
and releases.

The silver fish falls into a puddle of
its own blood, and the scales slowly
peel from its body
one by one until the fish is bathing
on a metallic red sun.

Ann Blackburn is a student at Sarah Lawrence College where she studies poetry. She has studied with Cynthia Cruz, Suzanne Gardinier, and Martha Rhodes. She is currently working on her manuscript. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Maudlin House and Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal.

May 25, 2016

Falling by Joan McNerney

On a steel car looking out my
window. How many times will
this bullet train spin off rail?
How many times must I ride
that dark horse called nightmare? 
In air off course tumbling down falling. 
Dangling on thick utility cables
over edge, through trees into lights,
crashing fast against buildings. 
Now flying through space.
Careening in pitch black night,
my silver train shattering glass falling.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Spectrum.  Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications has accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four e-books.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.

May 24, 2016

Tumbleweeds by Jeff Kilpatrick

A tumbleweed has crossed my path and it was unlike any other.                     
This path is littered with tumbleweeds;
Short-term unions of time and space with a relatively unknown.                    
Most are meaningless, forgettable.
Others you get close to and they leave scratches;
Festering scars of regret.                    
A rare few turn and travel with you,
Pushed by the same wind, drawn by the same energy;
Only to separate when that wind shifts.                     
It’s a one-way path and I can’t go back.
If I could, I would.                      
I should like to see that tumbleweed again.

Jeff Kilpatrick has a PhD in Historical Linguistics and teaches Italian and Linguistics at the University of Georgia. He lives in Athens, GA with his wife and two children. His work can be seen in Westward Quarterly, Page & Spine, The Journal of Language and Literacy, and will soon appear in The Stray Branch.

May 23, 2016

The Root Cellar by M.J. Iuppa

Unsettling, in this autumn chill, I 
wear layers of other people’s clothes
over my own.  I am not alone here.  

Yet, I am lonesome at the sink, peeling
an Empire that splits in two, exposing a few
black tears locked in its chambered heart.

To watch these slippery seeds fall on-
to this slow ribbon of skin that unwinds
like a staircase, landing on its last step
in a dirt cellar that holds what
granite markers cannot hold
for long.

M.J.Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. She is Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor at St. John Fisher College.  Her third full length poetry collection Small Worlds Floating is forthcoming from Cherry Grove Collections, August, 2016.

May 19, 2016

Small Backyard by Donal Mahoney

It’s a small backyard
I’ve watched for years
from an upstairs window
while chained to a computer.
Whatever the weather

the old widow was always 
planting in spring
watering in summer
raking in fall
shoveling in winter

but the yard’s quiet now
the only traffic 
a resident squirrel
heading for the oak
over the tall grass 
the widow’s heir 
has stopped mowing.

She told her son
you don’t have to garden 
but please mow the grass
rake the leaves and 
shovel the snow
or I’ll shake you
at midnight 
the rest of your life. 

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Galway Review (Ireland), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Bluepepper (Australia), Public Republic (Bulgaria), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey) and other magazines. Some of his earliest work can be found at

May 18, 2016

Night Approaches by Michael L. Newell

The last remnants of twilight hang
above the peaks surrounding La Paz;
a few long strands of clouds, rather

like elongated schools of fish, float
above the glittering lights of the city
tossed upon mountainsides

with the reckless abandon and beauty
of stars inhabiting the sky
from horizon to horizon.

If I died at this moment,
my request would be to sail
amidst such beauty for eternity.

                                    La Paz, Bolivia, March 31, 2010

Michael L. Newell lived abroad for twenty years in ten countries.  He is now retired and living on the south-central Oregon coast.  He spends his time reading, listening to music, writing, and walking for an hour or more most days.

May 17, 2016

It's Spring, We Fear by Carol Alexander

It's Spring, we fear 
because so little had been saved for seed 
when winter drove hands from the field;

the task of tilling seems beyond all strength 
unless we consider salmon's urge to spawn

or the corner man with his suppurating leg 
who leans against the brick, a promise of peace 
in a skewed glass eye --

the child at her theme, who chews on the pencil tip 
for and, no subordinating clause.

Spring again, green frogs back, plus or minus limbs. 
What can she write? the day creeping on bruised knees; 
somewhere a road with hens, one-syllable words.

Spring is not dumb, hawking its wares, 
full-throated cries of birds, a hectic overflow, 
always a voice pure and shrill.

She's writing how she climbed the meme of a tree 
on some cityscape or hill, the riddled branch like an omen 
spearing the cold, piscine cloud.

Carol Alexander's poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Bridal Veil Falls is published by Flutter Press. Recent work appears in Avocet Weekly, Big River Poetry ReviewClementine, The New Verse News, Split Rock Review, and Poetry Quarterly. New work is forthcoming in 3 Elements Review, Eunoia Review, and Poetica.