Kathleen Coman: “The Reasons”

The Reasons

of course i know why i write
because somewhere in the darkness
that lies in between the pages of
my ugliness and pain
you will find light and beauty
the fire you need to spark a flame
in your soul


Kathleen Coman has received a Bachelors of Art in English from the University of Toledo as well as taken graduate level courses in creative writing. Past publishing credentials include: A&U Magazine, Carty’s Poetry Journal, Blinking Cursor Literary Magazine, and others. She has self-published four novels.


Paul Piatkowski: “Fever”


My toes are cubes,
and no number of blankets
can stop this fever
burning in my skin
while my body freezes
and my mind first wanders
then settles intensely
on a void I try to place.

Being sick, Virginia Woolf
complained, is a topic
writers spent too much time
avoiding. My father in law’s poems
about his cancer,
the year before he died,
were his best work. All agreed.
His “Turkey Buzzards”

what his life’s work will recall.
The sweetness of the moment
when he could see the end so near,
my toddling daughter
at his bedside
and his end juxtaposed
so clearly.


Paul Piatkowski has had work published in a number of journals including Florida English, Naugatuck River Review, Fast Forward, 2River View, and Sheepshead Review. He is currently working on his PhD in English Literature at UNCG Greensboro. He lives with his wife and daughter in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

P.C. Scheponik: “Chasing the Sun”

Chasing the Sun

Lightning bugs in jars, blinking luminescence, like God winking,
like stars gathered into jars called galaxies, blinking luminescence
so we can see our way through space, through time.
Eternity folds over on itself again and again until there is no clear
beginning, no clear end—just the infinite present that lends itself
to dreams of future past.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Who knows how long lightning bugs or stars in jars will last?
Unscrew the lids. Let them all fly away.
Their great migrations of light will shape our desire to stay and
to pray until we finally get it right.
We, the children of the night, chasing the sun in our eyes.


P.C. Scheponik is retired. He is a lifelong poet who lives by the sea with his wife, Shirley, the love of his life and his shizon, Bella. He has published four collections of poetry and has been published in numerous journals.

Thomas M. McDade: “Molly V. Walters”

Molly V. Walters

Children dig foxholes but Walgreens’
pails and castle moats are dry.
Mothers keep tykes and tots,
not to mention themselves
clear of the chomping surf.
We hope the wind-taut red
danger flag doesn’t apply
to a piper cub flying back
and forth, back and forth
pulling a banner imploring:
A bystander claims the daring
suitor warms the passenger seat.
For God’s sakes, girl
launch an affirmative flare.
Forgive and forget if that’s the rub.
Aeronautics sure beat on one knee.
Sprint up and down, up and down
the beach a white flag waving.
Charm the tots and tykes to assist,
body-write YOU BET on the sand.
We worry about you and your beau
and the pilot running out of fuel.
Is that sputtering we hear?
Molly V. Walters, we will lend
our voices, shouting YES, YES, YES.
It’s sure to succeed.
We promise to love you unconditionally.
The sea will calm and the children
will applaud your filling their pails
kindly completing each castle.

Thomas M. McDade is a Fredericksburg, VA resident, previously CT & RI. He is a graduate of Fairfield University. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA. At sea aboard the USS Mullinnix (DD-944) and USS Miller (DE/FF 1091).

Marjorie Sadin: “An Oyster without a Pearl”

An Oyster without a Pearl

In memory of Carole Mack

My father is an oyster without a pearl.
Carole was his pearl.
She spoke her mind.
Now he is an empty shell, tossed on the shore.
Their years together
the best of his life.

My father is drift wood. He has no home.
He lives in my condo till he finds a place of his own.
He’s whittled by time,
dried wood, washed ashore.

My father is a seagull. Complaining, squawking
about everything, the dust behind the bed,
the room is too cold. He has trouble walking, back pain. A seagull, he lets you know.

My father is tide roaring in, as it dissipates
near the shore. My father is unafraid
as he faces death.

My father is an oyster without a pearl.
Carole was his pearl.


Marjorie Sadin has recently published a chapbook, Struck by Love, and a full length book, Vision of Lucha, by Goldfish Press. She has published her poetry nationally. Marjorie lives in Virginia and reads her poems locally. She is a docent for the Library of Congress and editor of The Federal Poets Magazine.

Tony Gorry: “Other Lives”

Other Lives

Afternoon on a darkening street
in trees dappled by gas lamps
a breeze whispers slyly of winter
and leaves stir at my feet
yearning for branches above.

Houses with glowing windows
frame comings and goings within
while from the shadows I watch
the mysterious lives of others
ones I might have known but didn’t
ones I might yet know but won’t.

Shivering in a sudden gust of wind
I resume my slow walk home
the lives of those others scattering
like the leaves that swirl at my feet.


Tony Gorry has published in JAMA, The Chronicle Review, The Examined Life Journal, The New Atlantis, Fiddleback, Cleaver Magazine, and Belle Rêve Literary Journal. His essay in War, Literature & the Arts was Notable in 100 Best American Essays 2012. His book, Memory’s Encouragement, was published by Paul Dry Books.

Mark J. Mitchell: “Fire”

She says her husband
smelled smoke and left.

She never knew what kind
of smoke—tobacco, sulfur,
oak or hickory—

just that he smelled it
and went out

like a candle.


Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War, just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks—Three Visitors; Lent, 1999; and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel Knight Prisoner are available. He lives with his wife, the activist Joan Juster, and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.