Jim Hilgartner: Two Flash Fictions

Time Is Running Out

            And once again the water leaves the shore, fading away to the horizon.  The shore extends itself into wet flats, miles of rippled mud draped with long strips of sky.  These turn back to water, gray like the mud but lit from within, when the wind blows in from beyond the distant waves.
———-Small boats settle and sprawl on their sides, abandoned by the water that lent them grace.
———-We sit on the birdlime-spattered rocks, in the gray wind, and watch the water leaving.  We say nothing, each thinking, There it goes.  The water rushes outward, toward the edges of the earth.  The gray sky lowers; sheets of it lie on the mud and turn to water when harried by the wind.
———-Time is running out. We see it, we know it. Give me your hand.


Doc Barfield’s Dreams

———-As a younger man, dreaming, Doc Barfield relived incessantly the morning his two boys drowned. He’d smell the bacon and eggs as he stirred them in the skillet, admire the first salmon-colored streaks on the horizon as he walked with the boys to the dock. He’d shake their hands—very manly—and make them promise to wear their life vests. Tell them to bring back a stringer of bream so he could fry them up for lunch. Realize his life was over the moment the sheriff tapped on his door. . . .
———-But in his later dreams, Doc Barfield’s boys remain undrowned. He has lunched with them on the bream they’d have brought back if their canoe hadn’t capsized, attended ball games, graduations. He’s bailed the younger, Toby, out of jail, and discovered with the elder, Frank, that he is gay. The boys he dreams are all grown up now, out living on their own. This is a source of comfort to Doc Barfield, whose cancer is quite advanced, and who can’t say what will happen to his dreams once he is gone.


English Professor (Huntingdon College) and Fiction Editor (THAT Literary Review), Jim Hilgartner has published in journals including Apocryphal Text, The Chapbook, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, New Orleans Review, Red Mountain Review, SLAB, and Vermont Literary Review, and twice received Fellowships in Literature from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.



Tara Shepersky: “Spell for Blue Sky on the First Day of Spring”

Spell for Blue Sky on the First Day of Spring

Raven, cross the wind.
Curly willow, clothe your coils
———-in catkins colored yellow.
Crocus, call the sun and drink it down!

Ancient pages of paper birch,


Tara Shepersky is a taxonomist, poet, essayist, and landscape enthusiast, with tangled roots in half a dozen soils of America’s West. She has been previously published by Cascadia Rising Review and The Yearbook Office, and as a guest contributor on the Columbia Land Trust blog. Find her on Twitter @pdxpersky.


Christopher Barnes: 5 Guru Poems

Stagecraft At The Temple

Our guru cyclones in –
Pantomime dame falsies,
Snazzy banana ear-rings.
We’re alert or lie-abed,
By calibre, disembarrassed souls.
Headway is fundamentally a pose.


Money Pouch Banter

Our guru clucks
To his market-stall Rolex.
Flashbacks are virulences
That dodge time-bending.
Yore-fun’s pictures
Shuffle themselves to omnipotence,
Archetyping tarots
For dewy lives.


Dropping Through Cracks

Our guru live wires
That rat-shaped bulb,
Frazzling celestial dodgems.
Proceedings are whip-handed.
Jam sesh: The Grateful Dead v Us.
Orphaned by destination,
Wheels flop-gripped.
Sunup is ticketless.


The Emptying

Turmeric holdovers on Miss Piggy t-shirt.
Fresh rap about every simper’s alpha –
Our guru’s on dictum.
We yum with postures of schisms;
Tomorrow we’ll be hustled for moolah.


Soapless Journeys

A 3-splits mirror,
Furfur is this turnout’s replica.
Unclasping ingrates purse,
The secret heart, libido. In memory,
Our guru dunked at hallowing waters.
Though time herself mislays the pure.


Christopher Barnes is an artist, filmmaker, poet, and poetry and art critic (Poetry Scotland, Jacket Magazine, Peel Magazine, Combustus); is a co-editor of the poetry magazine Interpoetry; and is author of the collection Lovebites (Chanticleer Press, 2005). Christopher’s BBC webpage:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/tyne/videonation/stories/gay_history.shtml

Dave McGovern: “Raynaud’s Phenomenon”

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

I found you under Mylar
pinned to foamcore.
I found you while Santana’s “Smooth” streamed commercial free.
I found you
in the front seat of a Lexus
(I am not a car man, therefore cannot provide the model).
I found you behind the story of your daughter’s birthday.
I found you
I found, once more, a starving liar,
imprinting on the first vibration to emerge from crusty corners of childhood attic.
I found you, sweating, heaving slowly, atop slick dampened linen
while the shower (one of two) ran
in the other room. I
found you in a stray graze of paw,
I found you in eye contact connected by
I found you in the wakeful, separate rising moments of solitary weekends.
I found you fettered to black hens in western golf course.
I found you in moments,
in inches, between unkempt eyebrows.
I found you in recreational drug use references which you never included
myself. I found you
where I left you:
at the end of a nylon line,
salty and twitching.
I found your comparison of my physique to Hollywoodland tinsel flattering.
I thought myself leading you,
but motion is relative
on point A location in relation to solar positions, point B placement to personality phases.
A slave to the praises I
found me in you: desperate for unquenchable, untethered human impulse.
I am the one leaving
heel marks in mud, ruts downhill.
You found me, looking up, imposing arbitrary restriction.
Raise anticipations as dried floor wax after juice-pressed evenings.
“You are a better kisser.”
“Because I meant it.”


Dave McGovern is a Chicago writer, carpet historian, food documentarian, relisher of one note jokes. His work focuses on urban living, agoraphobic wanderlust, and utilitarian emotion.

Tony Gorry: “Disenchantment”


Here in the twilight of an autumn day
a breeze had once foretold the coming
of a teacher who walked the wood
and bathed in the bright winding stream.

Throbbing light marked his arrival
and antlered shadows his wild retinue
as they fled down the forest path
trailing an echo of feral laughter.

Decades on I stand in that place
where the stream still flows nearby.
A gentle breeze stirs the autumn leaves
but no whispers tell of his coming.
No lights dance and no echoes sound.
A few deer browse the meadow quietly.

I’m back from years in a wider world
where there are no such wild parades.
Sadly it’s only on memory’s edge
that I glimpse them in my twilight time.


Tony Gorry‘s essays, memoir, and poetry have appeared in The Big Windows Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Chronicle Review, The Examined Life Journal, The New Atlantis, The Fiddleback, Cleaver Magazine, and Belle Rêve Literary Journal. His essay in War, Literature and the Arts was cited as Notable in 100 Best American Essays 2012. His book, Memory’s Encouragement, was published by Paul Dry Books in April 2017.

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

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.

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.