IN A GRAY TOWN by John Grey

Gray clouds,
if I get out from under them
I can say goodbye
to the fishing boats,
write lines of poems
with crying gulls and raindrops,
my lowly audience
in April’s guilt-free imaginings –
what couldn’t be better than this?
back against stone clock tower,
droop-faced worshipers
trudging from the temple –
I hold myself here
so there is no looking back,
there are only innumerable people,
fish smells, the docks,
old rough hands, tattooed arms,
so stark, so removed,
it’s like I’m in a
low low crowd on tip-toe —
rain sits humbly
on the back of my neck,
I don’t really mind
that this town is a sentence—
it’s how I shed my people,
moving on,
knowing no one,
and taking out a pad and paper –
I’m a veteran of gray clouds,
and the clock-work doings of others –
an old man strides down the rocky hill,
sings hoarse and wild –
he’s out of his head,
where he belongs,
I wear my gray mind
like a raincoat.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

Cave Girl by Sarah M. Prindle

Sparks from the fire
flit into the air like fireflies,
illuminating the cave
and the tribe sleeping within its shelter.
The cave girl is huddled
under a blanket of fur.
Her tribe’s breathing
flows in and out like the tide,
but it cannot lull her to sleep.
The restless girl rises, tiptoes 
to the cave’s mouth and peers outside.
Like glowing embers, twinkling stars 
dot the silent black sky.
The forest is alive with
hooting and chirping.
The girl sneaks down the hill
into the Shrine Cave.
No one is allowed in this sacred place
without offerings of food or fur. 
But the cave girl is entranced 
by the painted animals 
and stick-figures her people made.
Why shouldn’t she create
a drawing of her own?
She covers her hand with clay
and presses it against the wall
where the handprint will remain 
for thousands of years.
Future generations will see it
and part of her will live on.

Sarah M. Prindle received an Associate’s degree in English from Northampton Community College. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections and has already had some of her work published in several literary magazines and websites.

Prison Quay by Ryan Tan

Melanie enters my cabin with five bags of grass jelly, says Captain Nigel should be fired for denying me shore leave. I remove The Exorcist from my bed before she sits. Black jelly drifts in a sea of soy milk. I tell Melanie I jumped off the deck and challenged myself to return without going ashore. She laughs, but it’s true I gripped the railing and watched a boy punch the ship’s gong. He had three moles on his chin, like Nigel. The silent gong flailed. At dinner, I catch Nigel’s eye and nod. He sits upright and nods back.

Ryan Tan studies English Literature at the National University of Singapore. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Straylight, Grimdark, Bone Parade, Altered Reality, and The 13 Days of Christmas.