Kathryn de Leon: “Chickenpox”

Chickenpox   (1962)

I found the bump
below my belly button,

sitting on the toilet,
petticoat encircling me
like a queen’s grand hoop skirt,
feet dangling above the floor,
an angel too new
to get off the ground.

I rubbed the red bump,
pressed it
like a mysterious button,
wondering if anything would happen.
Nothing happened.

I’ve long forgotten the fever
and the countless bumps
that came out like twilight stars
all over my helpless skin.

I remember only that first bump,
one red blossom
in a field of smooth, white,
little girl skin,

and I remember innocence,
long before pubic hair,
long before sex,

life still white,
everything white,
except that single
red bump.

 

 

Kathryn de Leon has been writing poetry off and on since she was about nine years old. She lived most of her life in Los Angeles, but is now residing in England due to a life-long love of the Beatles. She’s had poems published in several small literary magazines.

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Kaja Lucas: from ‘small love’

Lucas--small loveKaja Lucas is a Maryland-based poet currently representing Baltimore as a 2018 Youth Poet Ambassador. Currently in high school, she has been featured in her school’s literary magazine, and works closely as an editor. She loves sunsets and black tea.

alan catlin: “Incautious Reverie”

Incautious Reverie

She was cautious, so wary,
she hid her feelings from everyone,
including herself, as tarnished images
that could only be revealed once
a cyanide solution was applied.
What was revealed was a photograph
of a dream where voices were heard
but there was no one there to speak.
Was a shadow of a spirit that hid
behind objects the way rocks hide
in a landscape of stones mined from
a nightmare that has no beginning
and no end. Hiding reveals nothing,
she thought, roots you to a ground
that refuses to be as solid as the roots
that seek to find purchase there.
Unbalanced as she was nothing is
reveled to her like images in a developing
tray. Remove them too soon and too little
is exposed, too late, and all the details
become fixed in the wrong places, become
landscapes with no horizons. Still,
she continues to bury what she needs most,
mornings after dreaming, the day becomes
the night she was afraid to focus on,
a reverse image on a negative that mirrors
what is missing in her life. Reaching out
to hold something, anything at all, is futile,
the fears she sought to hide have claimed her.

Alan Catlin is the author of Blue Velvet, winner of the 2017 Slipstream Chapbook Competition. His full length book Wild beauty will be published in 2018 by Future Cycle Press.

 

David Anthony Sam: “Hear like a Stone”

Hear like a Stone

Hear, like a stone,
as the Amtrak rattles
its brittle commute
back to your home.

Your fate is as clear
as vapor wriggling
from the lips of
your dead saints.

The millstones grind
your thoughts until
they falter like
devious old men.

Sunset is red-gold
on the rails, astral
fortune for ephemera
like you. Then,

you punch Sicily
into your smartphone,
hoping someone answers
your granite ears.

–after Rimbaud, “Entends Comme Brame”

 

David Anthony Sam lives in Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda. Sam has four collections, and his chapbook, Finite to Fail: Poems after Dickinson, won the 2016 Grand Prize in GFT Press’s Chapbook Contest. In 2017, he began serving as GFT Poetry Editor. www.davidanthonysam.com

Craig Greenman: Two Poems

Harpist
 
Turned to one side,
she resembled my lover,
 
and by extension,
you.
 
(If only our music
were without sadness,
too.)

———-

Traffic

Wait. She sleeps in
irregular breaks. Stop
honking. I will
judge –

so what? They’re all the same.
Mama knows a lullaby. Doorbells &

schnitzel. Wild
things.

No,
I will not move.

 

Craig Greenman teaches philosophy at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire.  His short stories have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and he was a finalist for the Walker Percy Prize in Short Fiction. His philosophical work includes a book, Expression and Survival: An Aesthetic Approach to the Problem of Suicide, and various articles.

Linda Casebeer: “charm and strange”

charm and strange

broken down it turned out
charm paired with strange
named for the lifetime of the K
particle strangely long
and charm only on a whim
they came in twos and threes
like truth and beauty until
those names were deemed
too sentimental until that pair
was renamed top and bottom
along with up and down
the lightest of quarks each
fundamental particle unable
to be broken down any further
the way obituaries have the last
word on Richard Taylor
smashing electrons into protons
to reveal what lay within
the heart of all objects his
a story in an invented language
quarks themselves named
for a line in Finnegan’s Wake
three quarks for Muster Mark
begins the story anywhere
in 1990 when the Nobel Prize
was awarded for quarks
we had so little time to wonder
about the heart of anything
was it fractional charges
that had brought us together
to the blue house a world
built of children and work
dogs and cats lilies and irises
if anything we might have found
time instead for translations
of Octavio Paz another prize
winner that year literature
over physics since the story
begins anywhere

 

 

Linda Casebeer lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and has published one collection of poetry, The Last Eclipsed Moon, from Cherry Grove Collections, as well as poems in journals including Slant, Earth’s Daughters, Pinyon Press, Hospital Drive, and Soundings, among others.

Simon Perchik: Two Poems

You lean into this tree as if its roots
struck something made from wood
no longer moves, became an island

with mountains laid out in rows
and though they have no arms
they open them when someone

is left close by –under such a weight
their hands break apart the Earth
from feeling their way around it

grave after grave, blinded by moonlight
as the chunks you never saved
form this nearly empty night

with nothing but the bright green hole
this dying tree drains, keeps dry
between what you wanted and the shine.

*

From inches away his finger can’t miss
–the other kid plays dead, falls arm over arm
the way all games come with a well

are filled with wishes hardened into stones
sure the Earth would go along
though there’s no splash –what you hear

is the thud that purifies each death
as one aimless night followed by another
overflowing and this park

becomes the sudden laughter
you no longer get to be
are waiting for this dry wooden bench

to open, let you in, hear the stream
stones hear when young, not yet
sent to the bottom even in the afternoon.

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.