February 23, 2017

Rubecula by Gareth Culshaw

You watch not far away
Standing chest first.
You wait as if for a bus, 

mind attached to the soil, 
heaved up skin of earth, 
a million years decay. 

I see death in your eyes,
deep afterlife. I dig and dig,
until a hole is big enough. 

Letting you leave this world behind. 
Once you are placed inside, 
your eyes look up.

I have no words, just a spade 
to tilt things back in.
Your leaving is the last thing I need.

Then when I turn my back 
you are there like a homeless 
man in a bin. 

Scratching for the tail end 
of the sinking worm. 
Guardian of the woods and me. 

Gareth Culshaw lives in Wales. He is an aspiring writer who hopes one day to achieve something special with the pen.

February 22, 2017

House on a Hill by Zvi A. Sesling

The multi-window white
house with red tile roof
sits atop a high hill above
Route 5 in San Diego
Fog is just beginning to
lift as it blows across the
top of the house toward
the next hill
There was a movie with
such a scene the couple inside
afraid of the hostess who projected
evil and stared at the young couple
In the movie the house burns to the
ground the couple escape the hostess who is
laughing hysterically and dies in the flames
or did she – the question is never answered

Zvi A. Sesling edits Muddy River Poetry. He authored King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street, 2010), two chapbooks Love Poems From Hell (Flutter Press, 2017) and Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva, 2011), and two books of poetry, Fire Tongue ( Cervena Barva, 2016).

February 19, 2017

Late October Friday, Madbury Road by Matt Stefon

In a couple of hours the rain,
as if giving what it had been
holding back—a summer's worth of water
to bust the drought at once,
making up for lost, dry
time—would shock the gold trees
bald, then leave them on the roadside
like mummy monks begging
a midday drink. But that would be
all then. Under the dimming sky,
that wasn't here yet. What was here—
charged with twilight—glowing
heads of street lamps showing
the yellow path free and clear.

Matt Stefon lives and writes north of Boston. He is the former religion editor for Encyclopedia Britannica and teaches comparative religion in Norwich University's online degree completion program. He has self-published three e-chapbooks of poetry and has his first print collection, Shaking the Wind, forthcoming.

February 17, 2017

Ford Park Cemetery by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

The orchestra of bird flights were a delight to my eye. Bursts of sun had inundated the sleepy patch of the cemetery. There were two narrow, mowed paths where I had to walk. I had ventured out and dashed upon the coldness. There were little violet wildflowers growing on the corner of one grave. I looked closer —

Anna. D. Murphy
Died 1900. 8 years old. 

Two seagulls 
flew over the vast expanse. When I looked closer, it seemed to be a path leading to another village. It was just a space of vast land, covered with tall green grasses and the smell of mourning. I walked ahead as I watched the sun play a game of hide and seek. I was here on an assignment I had given the self. I ventured out to look at tombstones and think of how life turns out for some — until now, I looked at little windows of houses to think how the confines of their four walls felt.

It was different with death. By virtue — this was a task nobody could accurately explain. It was Sunday, and I was thankful that the cemetery door was left open. It was vacant, for the most, with just two people knelt down at two different graves. I felt as though this were another land. The concerns of people here were different from the outside world. There was an innate privacy that the cemetery offered — though public spectacle was broad.

My eyes took me to another tombstone

Sarah and William,
Died 1874. 8 months old.

The epitaph had blurred but I could read the words "love" and "angels" inscribed. My hands reached out for my handbag. I always kept a little stuffed toy flower I once brought. It traveled with me ever since. I kept it beside their tomb — while a soft drizzle spread on my face as I left.

Sneha Subramanian Kanta believes that all writing is a form of dissent. Her work is forthcoming in Fallujah Magazine, 7X20 mag, Dying Dahlia Review, Sahitya Akademi, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Erstwhile Magazine and the print anthology of Peacock Journal. Her work has been published in poetry anthologies such as Dance of the Peacock (Hidden Brook Press, Canada), Suvarnarekha (The Poetry Society of India, India) and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the prestigious GREAT scholarship, pursuing her second postgraduate degree in literature in the United Kingdom.

February 15, 2017

Leaving by Sarah Russell

The dimmer switch is canting down
and flowers on the table are in silhouette.
I know the contours of this room so well,
know the path across so I don't stub my toe;
where one dining chair's leg tangles
with another, mars in the untangling,
so I lift it up and over gently to sit down.
You want to push the toggle all the way
to dark, but let me have this twilight
'til my heart adjusts, OK?

Sarah Russell lives in State College, PA with a patient husband and a curly dog named Smudge. Her poetry has appeared in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, Black Poppy Review and Shot Glass Journal, among others.  Follow her work at www.SarahRussellPoetry.com 

February 14, 2017

The Ebb and Flow by Ken Allan Dronsfield

From atop the great redwood trees
dragonflies fantasize of summertime;
of warmer mornings, balmy winds
dodging flycatcher's and bullfrogs.
The grasses are green along a pond
baby goslings enjoy the new sunrise;
barn owls love a midnight stellar show
wolves howl and worship the full moon.
Beating hearts prevail in creeks or marshes
deep rivers and great bays ebb and flow
large animals enjoy the salty sweet grass
beautiful wild flowers grace rolling hills.
As the sun now rises in the eastern skies,
from within that great awakening forest
a lone cicada sings his mating sonnet
within the ebb and flow of life's circle.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize Awards and the Best of the Net for 2016.

February 12, 2017

Everything Red for the Queen by Michael Lee Johnson

Everything is red 
in the kingdom of the queen.
Matador hat with barnacles,
witch white hair to the shoulders,
tickling the breast.
In her eyes are the blood shot
of many vampires;
in her heart the daggers 
of many soldiers.
Five inky fingers
cross her throat
like an ill-fitted necklace.
Her dress is like heart charms,
scales of fish dripping
blood toward her toes.
Withy, twists around her throat.
Anglers of the court toss hooks
toward her cherry red lips,
capture the moment
of the haze of purple
surrounding her head.
Everything is red 
in the kingdom of the queen.
Death changes colors from red to blue.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 935 small press magazines in 29 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author's website http://poetryman.mysite.com/.  Michael is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises, Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.