Gail Slater 

My day begins in moonlight.  I smell a wind shift
lifting blades of grass from somewhere,
skipping over stones, surrounding my heart.
I am so glad of this.  
Come with me to the edge of tears
where candles gutter but stay lit
to cast a protective light over blue-iced holiday store fronts.
Let’s gather our cohort. We have places to get to
now that the streets are cleared of snow.
Let’s go full tilt.  That way we’ll never fail.
My brain sings with passionate intensity.

Gail Slater builds her life around poetry and teaching ESL. She’s published in Northeast Journal, Old Ship Poets, Castle Rock Press and has workshopped her work in Cambridge MA, New York NY and Sligo Ire. 

The author with Seamus Heaney. 

Ash Trees

Kenneth Pobo

Opposite branching,
a geometry rising,
turns tree into V.

Tens of millions of ash lost.  

Emerald ash borer kills
in two or four years.
Pests work silently.  
Treetops thin.  
Bark splits or flakes.  
Autumn’s yellow fire
can’t burn out disease.

Look up.  
A spreading emptiness.

Kenneth Pobo had three new books in 2015: When The Light Turns Green (Spruce Alley Press), Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), and Booking Rooms in the Kuiper Belt (Urban Farmhouse Press).  He teaches creative writing and English at Widener University.  He gardens, is somewhat of an authority on Tommy James and the Shondells, and plans to read Hardy’s Return of the Native this June.


Temple of the Unknown God

– Isaac Westerling Sauer

Light shining through the stain
Light passing on printed book cover letters.
Little shades pass above the
Light flickers over the covers.
Little ones, little hands cast
One by one they cast little shades.
Pass over the old books, pass
The little light moves with the little
Passes now, passes on, and fades.

Isaac Westerling Sauer is a Pennsylvania poet, currently living and working in West Chester. He received a Bachelor’s degree at Eastern University studying literature, politics, and philosophy. Isaac writes mainly stream-of-consciousness and perspective/narrative poetry.

– Miles Varana

So often there are blocks that give way to
the arachnidian spires of wind-up basilicas
and stretchered nuns who cry out pantomime Italian,
Questo è tutto per i turisti, This is all because of the tourists.

Faces everywhere are set in plaster and handed
over to the cops. The cops are hard at work on a
bas-relief collage for the next big potluck, and
they say, We’re all just itching to show you.

Wherever there are quickening parkside parking lots,
there are lonely office men who scuttle over every
crack, careful not to break Mother’s back, and who will tell
you, Never turn your back on the kind of woman you meet online.

Grandma is the pinching, candy-giving carnival
clairvoyant of early youth. Her irises are onion haunted
pools, her teeth are the yellow, ship-breaking rocks of
distant shores. She glides over the mentholated carpet
and glares deep into your pupils as she reveals
your destiny: You’d better listen to me, boy.  

Miles Varana is currently a staff reader for Hawai’i Pacific Review. His work has previously appeared in Chicago Literati, Yellow Chair Review, Clear Poetry, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, and Unbroken Poetry Journal. He enjoys naps, rainy days, and copious amounts of sushi. Miles lives with his girlfriend, Alana, and their pet bunny rabbit, Cameron.


– Alec Solomita

Say you’re approaching 64 and say you want to
write a lyrical poem about your first love. Then
say her name was Hazel Keister. Where does
your loyalty lie, with authenticity or music? Or
can you achieve both with the word dazy, the word
Easter, the first gin and tonic you ever had and
your first kiss on a warm, close, dewy night?
(Note to self: change her street name from Hurlbutt
to Chauncy or, better, Chelmsford Green.) Let’s say
her dad was Warren Keister and he was the editor
of the long-running Equality, a Marxist
publication that changed nothing but Warren’s
status. And say, or does it go without saying, that
Hazel was sharp and lovely and laughed at your jokes.
That her father had the bluest eyes and that hers
changed color like a mood ring. Say that she lived
in the enclave of Cambridge, Mass., where wealthy
Communists enjoy their love of humanity.
Imagine they had two summer homes,
one on the Vineyard, one in Ogunquit. Picture her
marrying wealthy, living wealthy, and continuing
to preach proletarian. Say you’re approaching
64 and your next love was named Peggy Hershtik.

Alec Solomita is an editor and writer living in Somerville, Mass. He’s published fiction in The Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and elsewhere. Recently, his poetry has appeared in 3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, Turk’s Head Review, and, forthcoming, Fulcrum: An International Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics.

Free preview of our brand new issue, now available! FEATURED artists and writers in Volume 6: Michael Aronovitz
, Michael Bernicchi, 
Carl Boon, 
C.J. Cioc, 
G. Michael Davis, 
James Esch
, Stacy Esch
, Sarah Estime, 
Shuli de la Fuente-Lau
, John Grey, 
Courtney Gustafson, 
Brandon Hartman, 
James Croal Jackson, 
Adam Kluger, 
Rose Knapp, 
Blake Lynch, 
Tina McQueen
, Kirkley Mehndiratta,…

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Vermont Winter

Richard Krause

Driving through the Vermont winter, white, white snow all around.  And the black, black bark of trees.  The contrast goes deep inside.  The black trees, the white snow.  The branches reaching out stiff and creaking, I can hear the limbs when I stop.  My breath I can see, the life is still there.  My nose begins to lose sensation, grow numb, my fingers too.  The white snow all around harkens, pulls, drags me back down Interstate 91, down I-95, down to the Cross Bronx Expressway exiting at Jerome Avenue, back ten winters ago.  As frigid as Vermont that night under the el.  It is past midnight, two or three in the morning.  A thick blanket of snow covers everything, the roads are iced.  I am taking my taxi in having pressed my luck already and not gotten stuck.  My garage is only a few blocks ahead.  At a red light there is a knocking on my cab window.  An old black couple asks, can I take them over the Concourse.  “No, I can’t make it,” I say, “up the hill.”  They plead with me.  “No, I have no snow tires,” and left them in the dead of night as immobile as the trees I now see every winter in Vermont squeaking in the frigid temperatures.  Each black bough, each dark trunk brings back their overcoats, dots the landscape with the appearance of reaching out stiffly frozen, barely able to move like the couple that walked away ever so slowly from my yellow cab–yellow as the sun, yellow as a wheat field in autumn, yellow as the butter that I melted on the French toast I stuffed myself with at breakfast the next morning.

Richard Krause’s collection of fiction, Studies in Insignificance, was published by Livingston Press and his epigram collection, Optical Biases, was published by Eyecorner Press in Denmark. His writing has more recently appeared in The Alembic, J Journal, Hotel Amerika, Scapegoat Review, Red Savina Review, and The Long Story. He teaches at Somerset Community College in Kentucky.  "Vermont Winter" is from his unpublished prose poem collection titled Observations East & West.

J.R. Solonche

No doubt he wanted
it as a complement to his
black suit and bowler hat,
the ones he wore everyday,
even in summer. Or maybe
he wanted one because
he recalled that Balzac
inscribed the head of his,
I crush all obstacles,
which he could now turn
into, All obstacles crush me.
What a comical figure he
must have made walking to
the workmen’s compensation
office as, every few steps,
crushed by all obstacles,
he fell to his knees, or on
his back, where he flailed
about to right himself,
the cane scribbling parables
in the air.

J. R. Solonche has been publishing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (Five Oaks Press), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books).

Robinson Jeffers

In scornful upright loneliness they stand,
Counting themselves no kin of anything
Whether of earth or sky. Their gnarled roots cling
Like wasted fingers of a clutching hand
In the grim rock. A silent spectral band
They watch the old sky, but hold no communing
With aught. Only, when some lone eagle’s wing
Flaps past above their grey and desolate land,
Or when the wind pants up a rough-hewn glen,
Bending them down as with an age of thought,
Or when, ‘mid flying clouds that can not dull
Her constant light, the moon shines silver, then
They find a soul, and their dim moan is wrought
Into a singing sad and beautiful.

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)