Sevy – Sara Mullen

For Eden

Hazefallen evening,
the window wound down.

Beyond reeling hedgerows
the fields race

flyawayhome
skies

while darkening trees
wave lornful bye byes

and, little one,
you trail your song,

a cotton thread
on the breeze.

Bye bye –
dusk gorges gold,

the road rolls on
and you,

you trail your little ghost song
who knows where.

 

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Orationis (Or a rosary of stars) – Tudor Licurici

Infinite, Eternal Cosmos, let not the fevered ardors of our passions by nihility’s oblivion be eaten and annulled, but keep them in your sacred reliquaries of twilight memory to be stored for all aeons that our souls may rejoice in them once more when the fragile recollection of past worlds befalls them. Let the aethers collect all dreams of prime youth gilded by maternal embraces that soothe the souls of infants. Let the nebulae consume all kisses and whispers of the ages’ lovers that they may resonate once more through the worlds’ sundowns. May they live on in the glimmers of nightskies and enrapture the lovers to be. Let not the tears of our departures dry utterly, but keep them humid in the sprays of spring rainfalls, that they may not have been a vain weeping but a communion with the sorrow of the stars. Let not the overflowing joy of our births and the immense grief of our deaths become extinct with the years, but hold them in the memory of stellar fires that they may glare atop the worlds forever. Let not the innocent joys of our childhood ever wither, but hold them in doting grip like you hold the dreams of angels.

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Creep – Gale Acuff

When Sunday School is over, Miss Hooker
slips her Bible and her teacher’s copy
of our workbook into her purple purse
and walks out to the parking lot with me

following–I always hang around so
I can open her car door for her
and she always says Such a gentleman
thank you. I try not to watch her legs
when she gets in. I don’t know why I don’t
–I look somewhere else for those few seconds,
at her front tire, maybe, or at the sky
unless the sun’s too bright and even then
I squint. That’s the way my eye makes a cloud.
I look at her again when I hear her
pull the door shut. Next she’s putting on her
seat belt and shoulder harness in case
she has a wreck, of course, driving home, God

forbid. If I were grown I’d carry her
there in my arms every step of the way
and I’d like to tell her so and one day
maybe I just will. I’ll pray about that
again tonight, right after I whisper
the Lord’s Prayer in the darkness, and beg
that God protect everyone I love
–it’s natural then to slide right into

praying for Miss Hooker and wondering
what it’s like in her bedroom at night, not
that I’d ever go there. She’s not married
so I guess she sleeps alone, except for
a cat or dog, or maybe both, maybe
one on either side of her. Her lamp is on
and she’s reading a magazine, something
about clothes or hair or shoes or makeup.
Sometimes I think I can even hear her
yawn. Then she says Good night to the cat or
dog, or maybe both, and turns out the light,
and sleeps and dreams, maybe of marriage
and babies. Or both. I’d like to creep in

without waking the cat and dog and her,
and sleep there at her feet and when she wakes
and yawns again and opens her eyes and
makes me out, I wonder what she’ll say and

what I’ll say back to her. Oh, I’m sorry,
I’ll try, but the front door wasn’t closed and
you should probably be more careful–begging
your pardon–and I was just passing by
and noticed and thought I’d come in to tell
you and not ring your doorbell instead in
case there was a burglar with a knife at
your throat. Or gun. And then I came back here
to check on you and suddenly I felt
very sleepy and here I am, and there
you are, ha ha. She’s so grateful that she
gets up (I’ve got my eyes closed and face buried

in the quilt) and makes us breakfast and then
it’s time for me to walk to school, so we
stand at her door and she gives me her hand
and I shake it and I’d like to kiss it
but I have manners and don’t pump too hard.

On my way home from school I stop back by
to check her again. She serves me a snack
and before I split I drop to one knee
which means she has to bend over to me
so maybe that isn’t gentlemanly
and propose. That’s when I wake on Monday

morning, cold and hungry and stupid but
loving Miss Hooker as much as ever,
praise the Lord. Next Sunday I’ll walk her to
her car again and open her door and
she’ll get in and this time I’ll look at her
legs as she gets in but look first to see
if she’s looking at me looking and if
she is I’ll die and if she’s not I’ll burn.

 

GALE ACUFF has had poetry published in many journals and has authored three books of poetry. He has taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine.

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The Gap – Gareth Writer-Davies 

the space in which the rat
moves
is the gap between floor and ceiling

the bounds
of the home
he is making

sensing
marking
alert to my scratchings

I know his purpose
what
I am to him

is something
moving
and breathing

waking
and sleeping
in the gap between floor and ceiling

 

GARETH WRITER-DAVIES: Shortlisted Bridport Prize (2014 and 2017), Erbacce Prize (2014), Commended Prole Laureate Competition (2015), Prole Laureate for 2017, Commended Welsh Poetry Competition (2015), Highly Commended in 2017. His pamphlet “Bodies” 2015 (Indigo Dreams) and “Cry Baby” 2017. His first collection “The Lover’s Pinch” (Arenig Press) was published June, 2018.

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Autobiographical – Mark J. Mitchell

My life lacks color.
I don’t affect trailing scarves
that flow in the wind and catch axles.
I never sleep in a coffin.
at demonstrations I obediently
hold up my sign and chant as I’m told.
I have no mysterious lovers.

I quietly construct marinades
out of herbs and leftover wine.
I read three or four books at a time.
I’ll be seized by the need
to find a poem that hasn’t been written.
I curl softly into my wife’s arms.

But sometimes, sometimes,
I dream in German
and other times
in French.

 

MARK J MITCHELL’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied  at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/

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The Theme From Jaws – Tiffany Belieu

father is back and angry
again the lifeguards post red flags

spousal violence witnessed
according to my therapist(s)

makes one depressive, overweight,
inner tube leg-dangle anxious

advice from those who survive
when the storm comes, tread lightly

at the wave’s crest take a breath
hold up those who, like you, hurt

this raft the bits of family
we banded together, held each other

afloat through fierce waves we knew
would calm, lap sorry at our feet

but we’ve seen too much blood
and fins to ever feel safe to swim.

 

TIFFANY BELIEU is a poetry late bloomer. Her work is published or forthcoming in Awkward Mermaid, Collective Unrest, Pussy Magic and Moonchild Magazine. She loves tea and cats and can be found @tiffobot on Twitter.

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She Knows Everything – Dave Stacey 

She knows everything
has agents in every outpost
sipping mojitos in the shade
averting eyes
then a sudden flick-back
later tapping notes in code
on trusty contraptions
in bedsit rooms at night
landladies downstairs
watching TV unawares

She sees all
although her birds
and bats are now
semi-retired, displaced by
a growing squadron
a crack cadre of elite
miniature drones
cunningly disguised
as flies and wasps and moths
tracking your every move

She no longer pores
over data on spreadsheets
spotty whizz kids in her employ
have devised sensuous algorithms
and apps that flash notifications
to her wearable devices
highlighting patterns and trends

And as for that prototype bug
she syringed into your ear last night
(did that herself — if you want
a job doing well and so forth)
it’s found itself a
quiet little spot
ordered a flat white
and opened a laptop
headphones in
pretending not to listen
to your each and every thought

 

DAVE STACEY lives and works in London. He has been a secret scribbler for a number of years, only now coming out into the open.

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sweet//summer – Ehlayna Napolitano 

no place for my shoes, i
am sunsick in my best friend’s bathroom
while she is
straightening her eyeliner
in the mirror.

her father will never
fix the one cream-colored tile
that is cracked in the corner —
but on this day, she tells me
that the room is eventual;

projection is the act of
turning things into projects.

we are july-hot in the woods,
she is dotting her lips with
gossamer honey.

i put my shoes in her bathtub and
we sweat under the iron
as i straighten her hair out
and it slicks against her neck,
caught in sticky sweat, like
bugs in amber.

she has not occurred to herself
as beautiful yet;
and i am standing picking at my clothes,
running comparison tables in my head —

as if i could eventually uncover
the formula to explain the seeping dissatisfaction;
a matter of division,
one self here, another there — i could be beautiful too.

“i can’t get the lines straight,” she says to me,
and i agree.

 

EHLAYNA NAPOLITANO is a poet and editor. Her chapbook, “Penelope in the Morning,” was published with tenderness lit in 2018.

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At the time of first blood I’m shut in a drawer – Hilary Hares

An antique chamber of unpanelled oak,
it holds me like a library, smells of small slights
and pencil-sharpening. Echoing the memory
of a dream, somehow it feels safe.

Beside my knee, a flamingo’s beak, snapped
on the croquet field, forms a hollow cornucopia.
Trapped by my hip, a moth-wing, fragile
as gelatin, crumples – disaster to hatch in a drawer.

The stamps are out-of-date, the envelopes
unwritten beside a pile of blank sheets used for
boarding-school letters that started: Dearest,
ended: all our love – I always crossed that out.

Turning over is hard. I push against
the wooden ceiling. A set of keys finds
the hollow between my shoulder-blades,
tries to unlock something.

The Old King never notices I’m there.
Rooting for his palette knife, crusted in oils,
he comes across an empty tube of Carmine 189,
sighs, scuttles back to the safety of his cell.

The Red Queen reaches in with a hot hand,
finds me wanting, turns up my palm,
searches for a future.

 

Having survived a childhood dominated by the Red Queen, HILARY HARES has an MA in Poetry from MMU. Her poems have found homes online and in print including Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Magma and South. Her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon supports Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.

Image via Pixabay

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