September 25, 2023

Leaving by Jennifer Nichols


I’m old
let me leave this world
before I forget the best of it
sunsets flowers waves crashing
the smell of tomatoes on the vine
picking blackberries eating peaches
the warmth of the sun on my body
friendship and the people I love
if I should forget all this 
it will be time to go

Jennifer Nichols is new to submitting her poetry. She is ninety two years old.

September 22, 2023

Grosbeaks / The Hours by David Chorlton


There were canyons that pulled
themselves free
of mountains that created them,
gravel roads that storms picked up
and tossed aside, black light

at pine-oak elevation when
lightning flashed the sky down
to claim its portion of the Earth.
There were deer who stopped
to listen to the ore beneath them sing

and there was wind
calling to the miners who had returned
to their own world
to stay there. Thunder tugged at the trees

before it all went by so quickly
the sun had time to shake itself dry
before setting. It was almost music
when water was an aria flowing
over rocks and cymbals flashed

a grand finale before the misty
silence after rain, broken only
by the grosbeaks’ calls.

The Hours

Nothing much to do today, just
walk along a desert path
to where the bees have made a darkness
of themselves behind
the honeycombs they work
inside a sheltered hollow the sun can’t reach,
then wait for the golden light
to return by late
afternoon when time moves alone
on the street with a shadow for a tail
until the minutes turn to finches,
doves and quail, while seconds flash before
a watching eye as hummingbirds.
There’s a world that works
by pressing buttons. Sunlight doesn’t reach
there. You need a password
to get inside it. And there’s a world
that never asks you
for your name: no records kept, no
deadlines. It’s where
the hours go when they grow tired
of being counted
and become leaves
that shine from within themselves.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix, having previously lived in England and Austria. This year saw the publication of "The Long White Glove," an account of the wrongful conviction of a family member in Vienna. He still produces occasional watercolors and is attentive to the local wildlife.

September 14, 2023

The Ancients Ride at Bon Time by Darrell Petska

The chill of their coming your neck hairs sense,
your eyes turning north, your ears perked
to a swelling airborne murmuration—

undulating waves of dragonflies, tails autumn-
nipped, cresting the horizon, dipping low to
the hieing of your ancestors riding their backs,

your greats-, great-greats- and greaters-still
crying from their mounts: “What news?
How do you fare? Do you think of us?”

They rush quickly by, familiars to life,
their feet once planted where you now stand,
eyes upturned in reverence and awe,

leaving you to swallow your answers as one
parting plea, like a frost-bitten leaf, falls to earth:
“It’s not too late to change!”

Distance soon reclaims their cloud,
and small pieces of you tagging along, until—
it must occur thus—

you awaken chilled some late autumn day,
beneath and all about you pulsing
the ancients’ gossamer multitude,

familiar adjurations springing now from your lips
as you ride time’s back into tomorrow:
“Remember us. Live your life anew!”

Note: The autumn migration of dragonflies coincides roughly with the annual Japanese Bon Festival and an old belief that ancestral spirits, riding dragonflies like winged mounts, return to visit the living.

Darrell Petska is a retired university engineering editor. His writing can be found in Third Wednesday Magazine, Verse-Virtual, Muddy River Poetry Review and widely elsewhere ( Father of five and grandfather of six, he lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife of more than 50 years.

September 12, 2023

Paradise / At Maits Rest Australia by Anna Citrino


debating whether the road would be what it promised,

“Paradise Valley.” We read the sign through the mist,

and decided to turn.

A long green path scattered with foxglove, 

buttercups, and tumbled with wild roses sauntered 

down tree covered hills to fall gently into a quiet stream. 

Bright blue-headed birds darted between branches 

to balance on long grass strands leaning 

over quiet mirrored pools.

Enveloped in spicy eucalyptus mist,

we wandered beneath swooping crimson rosellas,

leapt across steppingstones, looped through 

moss bearded tree ferns to the end of the path

where we stood between fallen logs below 

slick black stone, water sliding softly over.

Tonight when I look up into your face

amidst the room’s soft light, I think of that road

and the choice we made to turn down it, not knowing.

And yes, it is paradise—more alive with beauty

than we ever suspected.

At Maits Rest Australia


toss their confetti leaves

into the afternoon light’s gentle lap,

dot the misty air with a celebration 

of green pointillist delight.

Lifted out of the dry desert,

we shake the dust from our heads 

and drop into the cascading downpour 

of leaves falling into crevices, covering 

the faerie hollows and leprechaun dance floors.

Slowly, we wander deeper and deeper

into the canyons of color, happy 

to be caught in the wet world of life.

Anna Citrino is the author of A Space Between, and Buoyant,  Saudade, and To Find a River. You can find her going for walks near the coast or biking on paths through a forest where she lives in Sonoma County. Read more of her writing at

September 8, 2023

Choosing by Michael L. Newell

Each window holds a world, no two
quite the same.

Each world holds a you; choose one,
the others forever lost.

She takes your hand. You step through.
Nothing will ever be the same.

You look back. The window is gone. Look
ahead. She smiles. She waits.

Children peer round her dress. Their shy eyes
welcome you. You forget the window.

You walk to your new family. A choir
of birds sings. A road unspools into the distance.

Michael L. Newell is a poet who lives in Florida. He frequently publishes in Jerry Jazz Musician and Bellowing Ark.

September 5, 2023

Upstream by Robert Nisbet

She was a strange girl (but a lovely girl)
and she’d taken him, that Saturday,
to a river stretch she knew, leaving the Teifi
to track a small stream to its source
and to visit the haunt of the kingfisher.
He was a town boy, soon for university,
to London, Oxford Circus, UCL.
(Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
his headmaster had said).

The stream-life stirred, flickered … he felt
the water’s shimmer and the girl’s sincerity.
When the kingfisher flashed by them,
she felt joy’s radiance, orange, blue,
but he had almost blinked it by, kept feeling
the force that was drawing him on,
to a circus-brilliant but darker world.

*First published in Shot Glass Journal #36 (2018)


Robert Nisbet, a Welsh writer, was for several years an associate lecturer in creative writing at Trinity College, Carmarthen, where he was also an adjunct professor for the Central College of Iowa. His poems appear in Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes (Prolebooks, 2017). Frequently published in the USA, he is a four-time Pushcart nominee.

August 30, 2023

The Blue Mountain by Stephen Jarrell Williams

My tears burn
from letting it out
I weez and cough
escaping back into the mountain
trees and streams in the far view
away from the choke of cities
collecting myself and deep breathing
in the secret places once unknown
their caves of ivory walls painted by hand
and floors of thick moss
green shimmering
fresh as heaven in the beginning
how I refound this in my childhood
coming back to me
in these days of distress
walking in awe through the tunnels
and vaulted ceilings
masterful paintings on the walls
and every slab of stone and walkway
monuments to the dead
fathers and mothers
of seed and flowers
this secret place
that in telling you
I've opened a possible
gate to destruction
for everyone that follows and finds
The treasures and haunting of
The Blue Mountain.

Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write poems and paint works of art at night with lightning bolts!  (Always wearing rubber gloves!)  He can be found on Twitter @papapoet