Poetry


Adam’s Rib

by Taylor Miskowski

Eve, when you bit
into the apple,
were there any worms?
Naked body, naked body, snake.
I gave myself
to everyone,
my opinions stuck on
borrowed sweaters,
my fingernails
trapped in between
teeth I had
kissed.
How can you give
yourself away if you
were never really yours?
Nothing was yours
except
the mistake you
were forced to make.

Hungry for Things I Have Never Eaten

by Taylor Miskowski

In 9th grade, I took biology and I longed
for a tapeworm in my stomach to keep
me company. I did have a parasite growing inside of me
just not one I could see.
For 5 years I sucked the salt
off pistachio shells and the smell of rubber
cement made me hungry.
My blood stopped tasting
like pennies and began to run
like water so thick I imagined myself
drowning in it. Avoiding life put me in control
of what would never happen to me.
I never knew it was possible
for the world to get so much bigger.
Now when I look back
on all that I’ve missed,
at least I know
the reason why.
Cindy Maria – Beauty From Ashes, calligraphy ink

Magenta Tangerine

by Amber Billenstein

What color do you see
when you look at me?
I see blue
with you,
but me,
I’m green,
and everything
in between.
And hello
to yellow
below
in the mellow meadow,
where you and I,
side by side,
colorfully glide
in the rainbow tide
of us.
Maybe now you can be green,
and I can be magenta or tangerine.

Burn

by Amber Billenstein

the flower blooms to burn,
the essence of a living
metaphor that sways.

I contemplate the purpose
in my ever-present pessimism
to my dismay;
 
do I bloom to burn?
a rise and then a fall,
condemning me to stay
 
in my solitude,
in my servitude,
both should drift away
 
to the skies,
towards the heavens
and creator of the day.
 
a seed and then a bud
sprouting with prospect,
unaware of what may
 
or may not
come to be in life;
who is to say?
 
a field of flowers burns
turning smoke up to the sky, 
a poetic disarray.
 
I bloom for me,
to feel something,
burn whatever may.
Haylee Rolnick – He Loves Me Not, Digital Photography, 2018

Ice Bride

by Kevin Flynn

Forsake wanton summer,  
its tawdry heat and sprawl
Come to me in autumn
when the first leaves 
flee shortened days   

Let us join   
in sheltered shadow
the chill gloam 
of twilit afternoons

Beneath windblown drifts of leaves, 
in cyan banks of snow 
we’ll lie in darkness,
hearts scarcely beating
as snow gathers 
layer upon layer above

We’ll enter into silence, 
and sleep
limbs entwined 
like roots of giant oak
hearts like banked embers
As we dream winter dreams

Fuji Observed

Based on Hokusai; Thirty Six Views of Mt. Fuji; The View from Kajikazawa

by Kevin Flynn

The sea claws the land
until only a sliver remains, 
arched above the void

On it, the fisherman plies his craft 
his lines form faultless tangents           
over an ocean
of cloud,
of sky

Poised, adrift
he wrests his catch from the sea                       
At the far end of the earth,
the tip of the horizon

His young helper turns, oblivious 
to his labors
Only Fuji observes
from the edge of the universe
the end of the world

Inheriting the Paper House

By Nathan Stewart

You’re gone again, but gnarled words remain,
as depressions in the parchment wallpaper 
hallowed by rite. I’m cut by strife, enchain me
in the sappy pungent sapor of

your dreams. 
		Swollen, trodden, acrid, framed canvas 
		unnamed and unknown, hung on rusty tack
		for a pure degree, suburban madness. 
		Preach expectations, don’t talk back. 

Let our home smolder with sonorous fumes,
smother insults – Abuse and shrieking tinder.
An anxious flame gutters in my tomb 
and so, I died 
the child you knew.  

Lacking, 
		I sought healing for wounds while you slumbered
		I forge my dreams and joys unencumbered.
Parirou Djafari – Feel Like, Graphite, 2019

Open Casket

by Brenda Mason

You look so nice, well-dressed in your Sunday best. The pain is tender and deep 
inside; dull stomach, loose bowels, concrete feet. You step toward the long 
open box, though you suspect you shouldn’t; Aunt Thelma will surely judge.

Step forward. You’re nestled in the nook between him and the cool, red 
vinyl of his favorite chair, mesmerized by the gentle rise and fall of his soft, warm 
chest. You listen to him read the Sunday comics, and ask him to explain why 
it’s funny just so you can hear his voice, because it speaks only to you. 

Step again. You’re on the park swing, grasping the linked 
chain to hold your weight. You scream higher as he slowly pulls 
you back and up, your butt nervously slip, slip, slipping forward on the 
stiff, plastic seat, when you feel the glorious release of wind 
separating your hair from your face, your dress from your thighs and your butt 
slides back into place. He always times it right. 

One more step. You’re holding the wheel at 10 and 2, with the left 
blinker on. The light turns green and you thoughtfully lift 
your foot from the brake and set it on the gas 
pedal. You check your mirrors, just in case, and begin 
to turn. Stop he says, while you roll into 
oncoming traffic--that wasn’t a green arrow? 
His voice commands go, Go, GO, and you put your body 
weight against the floor and grip the wheel 
white. You almost killed him that day. You don’t recall 
if this was 3 or 4 years ago, but you do remember 
he never told mom. 

There. You rest your hand on the painted 
wooden edge that you helped pick out 
amongst the windowless pinewood derby 
chassis, designed to keep the dead from dying. 
You try not to recall the dark, curtained 
showroom with its metallic 
taste of bile. Engulfed 
in soundlessness, 
stillness, you look 
down; look carefully;
watch for signs. 
You know you won’t
see anything. Still, 
he looks like 
last week. You wonder 
what it feels like. You know
the warmth of 
his voice, the sureness of
his arms, the fragility of 
his heart. Your hand takes action 
and grasps his arm.

Stunned,
sucker-punched by the absence of life, your 
mind races. Nothing--
nothing ever felt 
so hard. 

[Blue as french]

by Stephanie Denny

Blue as french
A constellation of lights
on the blue jay’s plight

Delicate as dew
through the brook
not ready to return home

Studded as a diamond
a star shines in the
night sky

Whisper as a scream
the flight takes to
the sky

Song as a melody
the spirit is in its
path

White as a pearl
the moon’s glow
keeps the bird alert

Soft as silk
feathers the 
shade of sapphires

Dance as a step
a little extra spring 
in his perch

Break as the dawn
with a chill
in the air

Shine as the sun
through the meadow
and then home
Shant Bahjat – Iraqi Mountains, Oil Paint, 2019

ICARUS 

by Aliza Garza

Icarus, O daring soarer of the sky 
fearless guise of the divine 
so entranced by the glory 
immortal is your story 

Because of you, they teach us not to fly 
and oh, how we’ve tried 

We are confined 
never too low or too high 
kept from land and sea 
we lose ourselves in between 
Warren Norgaard – Dream Catcher, Kiln-Fired Glass, Twin, Stone, Feathers, 2020

Today, I’m broken

by Gertrude Perlin

Last night, on CNN, I watched
a young woman talk about her brother
He was a nurse in New York, his sister said
My parents are broken, she said

I’m broken too

A picture of a smiling handsome young man dressed in scrubs
I feel a connection
A long time ago, I too was a nurse in an eastern medical center, in Boston


Pictures of people lying in hospital beds surrounded by many machines and tubes

I was just in New York, in January, in the City
I saw it all, the Met, the MoMA – it was beautiful, “The Starry Night”
I walked down (or was it up?) 7th Avenue (or was it 8th?)
pushing my big blue suitcase
I sipped my Carlos Bakery hot chocolate in the cold New York air
I was searching for something
I left warm Arizona very early that morning
to see a show at one of my favorite clubs that evening

Today I’m broken, crying, thinking of the smiling young man dressed in scrubs

He took care of the sickest people
We barely knew what was wrong

I give a donation to a New York City foodbank
Maybe it will help someone there
I send a message to Governor Ducey:
I’m broken, please help us

Unknown Variable

by Graven Arnold

As it lays here with rust on its bones,
the body that was once full of life has gone cold.
With barely enough energy to move,
its system replays what it had wished:
of days that were not the same, 
     but full of adventure and funny games.
Tell me what happens when the sky rains,
when everything seems to change.
Do you cling desperately to what is gone
or do you face the music and move on from the wrong?
It lays there waiting for things to remain,
calculating who was to blame.
History doesn’t repeat,
but it rhymes,
and look at you,
a machine lost in time.

Warren Norgaard – Bound to Labor, Kiln-Cast Glass, Iron Object, Twine, 2020