Philip Wexler: “The Phoenix”

The Phoenix

Bit by heavenly bit,
I overcome the rules

of flight and gravity
and life and death.

I plunge from dizzy
heights, alone

unknown,
dependent on

my memories,
off-kilter, lax,

no context
to the flames.

I do not aim to be
askew or split

myself apart from all
I care to join, but why

resist? Nor do I try
to be myself,

too little known,
dependent on old

magic. What happens
is what’s born

and comes to pass
and passes on.

An inkling
isn’t certainty.

I can’t endure
through ages on a whim.

I find myself
wrapped in the time

and place I’ve lost
a hundred times

before, am ashen
from the fear

I will be too
used up by hopeless

wandering to ever
reach the point,

and then I see
an end. The phoenix

does not choose to be
consumed, and dreads

each death as if
there were no rising.

 

Philip Wexler lives in Bethesda, MD. He recently retired from the U.S. National Library of Medicine. He has had over 150 of his poems published in magazines over the years. He also organizes a free monthly spoken word series, Words out Loud, at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland.

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Bobbi Sinha-Morey: “Red Poppy”

Red Poppy

It wasn’t the growth of
baby’s breath that brought
me back to my childhood
home, but the brokennesss
of a young woman trapped
inside the room she grew
up in who, with a scrap of
paper and pen, wrote a brief
will at two a.m., day by day
too ill to move from her bed,
her love for God gone,
wanting to give herself up
to death which presses itself
so tightly to her chest. Above
her head a crack in the window
and, every night, her drunken
mother’s tongue penetrating
the walls. All but a tiny miracle
saved her, and her spirit flew
away. I see her now, in a mirror:
her eyes, the curve of her lips,
open like a red poppy after
a morning rain.

 

Bobbi Sinha-Morey‘s poetry has appeared in a wide variety of places such as Plainsongs, Pirene’s Fountain, The Wayfarer, Helix Magazine, Miller’s Pond, and Old Red Kimono. Her books of poetry are available on Amazon.com, and her work has been nominated for Best of the Net.

Sharon A Foley: “The Loom Room at Lyon Silk Mill”

The Loom Room at Lyon Silk Mill

Threads like strings of a giant harp,
the shuttle swishing weaving,
feathers of peacocks unfold.

Once I saw a worker’s loom break.
She screamed, raised her shaking arms
“I’m done.” My father knelt
at the base of her loom
as she eased her leg toward him,
the palm of his hand on her shoulder
his fingers smudged with oil.

He pencils an “x” on the square
of the graph paper to show me
the new design. I stand on tiptoes
lean my hands on his thigh closer to him.

He shows me one thread embracing another.
That’s when I begin to think of him as God.

 

Sharon A Foley is an aspiring writer and has poems published in Solstice and the South Florida Poetry Journal. Ms. Foley has a BA in English from Salve Regina College and an MSW from Simmons College. She is a school social worker and private practice psychotherapist working on a book of poems about her early adult life as a nun.

Barry Yeoman: “Barely Hanging On”

Barely Hanging On

I’m constantly harassed
by unrecorded sentences
that loiter like pesky gnats
above the trashcan, the toilet,
the over-ripe bananas.

My diminished capacities
cover a continent, growing
and eroding with each storm.
Sand blown dust devils dance
while the boll weevil infests.

I’ve been pushing gloom
around all of my life, trying
to navigate obstacles, to win
at rigged carnival games.
There was a lush tempo I

gambled with and lost.
A black umbrella hangs
on a coat rack at the racetrack.
Something orange has left
a faint scent behind my glands.

Being harnessed to helium-
filled balloons I stay airborne
for ten feet between each two
steps I push off with. I would
not call this flying. I would call

it barely hanging on.

 

Barry Yeoman is a poet from Springfield, Ohio, currently living and writing in London, Ohio. He earned his B.A. in Liberal Studies: Literature and Creative Writing from Antioch University Midwest (Yellow Springs, Ohio). Submitting poetry since 2014 his work has appeared, or is forthcoming in Mission at Tenth, U City Review, Common Ground Review, Lost Coast Review, Right Hand Pointing, Crack the Spine, Harbinger Asylum, Gravel, and Broad River Review, among other print and online journals. He is working on a first book-length manuscript. He can be reached at barryyeoman@yahoo.com.

Julia Lisella: “Bird walk”

Bird walk 

On the wire woven through the trees
the bird, gray, larger than a swallow,
lands, seems frantic

to hear a call in return to her high caw

I stand listening beneath the tree
half thinking
we are waiting together

but my dog grows impatient
tugs for the next sniff near the end of the block
he, too, feeding on breath
and instinct and I let him
tug me along,

but I keep listening behind me
for the distance between
the end of her shriek and caw
turn to see the slight cock of her head
as she waits for sound to be met by sound
a companion
who does not seem to be anywhere near

Is she lost? Is the one she’s seeking lost?
Is she shrieking to a bird of another type
that does not sound as she does?

What waiting is is never clear
but I can feel it now
as something close
to this lost sound,
a vibration nearly recovered and nearly returned
to the original vibration,
the original shrill of need or love.

 

Julia Lisella is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Always and Terrain (both from WordTech Editions) and the chapbook Love Song Hiroshima (Finishing Line Press, 2004). Her poems are widely anthologized and have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Antiphon, Ocean State Review, Literary Mama, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso, and others. She has received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, MacDowell, Millay, and Dorset colonies, and has received a number of grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to lead community poetry workshops. Her scholarship focuses on American women modernists, especially Genevieve Taggard. She is Associate Professor of English at Regis College in Massachusetts, and has recently joined the Board of the Robert Creeley Foundation.

Matt Stefon:”Near Edson Cemetery, South Lowell, Nighttime”

Near Edson Cemetery, South Lowell, Nighttime

Is it just me or is the moon getting thinner?
The more I walk on down Bowden toward the station
and the Quik-Mart, I mean. It’s just open till ten.
And so I walk a bit faster past dim houses
toward the little gas station so close to sleeping,
cradled in the little square formed where Gorham and
Edson cross each other near where I’m walking now
on a late-evening run for water, ’Gansett, and,
having missed dinner, crackers, maybe, something small,
probably all I’ll want this waning hour beneath
that yellow hangnail sticking thin out of the sky
down toward where Lowell flattens to take in all its dead
across the street from homes still holding so much life.

 

 

Matt Stefon is the author of the e-chapbook The Long Contraction: Twelve Rejected Poems (Smashwords, 2016) and the print chapbook Shaking the Wind (Finishing Line Press, 2017). He is poetry editor of West Texas Literary Review and lives and writes north of Boston.