Jim Zola is a poet and photographer living in North Carolina.
It is the night,
color it in capes of mystery.
For not even the stars
know the true intent.
It is the night,
color it in fear like
a woman’s quickened
pace to her car.
Eyes averted, keys
playing Hide & Seek
in the now oversized
It is the night,
color it prejudiced.
From side alleys,
it peers around the
corner. Waiting for
the next victim
of a senseless
It is the night.
Checking the long
list of names that
will not see the dawn.
It is the night; grand and
foreboding. Wrapping its
arms around us. As we
pray the grasp is not
Shontay Luna is a lifelong Chicagoan whose interests include binge watching favorite shows, collecting coupons and investigating the mysteries of deep dish pizza. Her work has appeared in The Daily Drunk and The Literary Nest, among others. She’s the author of two chapbooks, Reflections of a Project Girl and Recollections & Dreams.
Far beyond town, high atop white cliffs,
in three old houses that undulate with the wind,
three loners live on the edge of the sea.
In the first house: a fat man with four black cats,
a rusty typewriter, and the hiss of surf far below.
Clicking and clacking an epic no one will read,
he sits on his plush tush in a kingdom of words.
Ink, Coal, Pitch and Shadow shift positions
and likely think him mad. The townspeople do.
In the second house dodders a wizened crone
and her foul-smelling cauldron of tinctures,
her long, bony fingers brittle as kindling.
Her pet ferret runs circles around the brew,
claws at her skirt for attention, for Icicle knows
the witch can’t see him, can’t hear him.
Like a ghostly apparition, she cackles randomly.
The townspeople claim she’s two hundred years old,
surviving on mold spores and sea-salt.
In the third house: a self-proclaimed shaman,
a hairless albino with pink eyes, a brocaded robe,
and Bliss, a goat with a never-ending supply of milk.
He wasn’t always a holy man, didn’t always have visions.
A tumble down the rocks, a dent in his head, and everything
changed but the townspeople’s wicked opinions.
Loners, the three nod when crossing paths,
consider their grouping a kind of fate, a kind of magic,
what the shaman calls a festering accident.
In the woeful village, the townspeople hunt
for the next outcast, but fear disturbing the Trinity
balanced on the edge of the sea, the smoky green sea.
Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor for Dos Gatos Press of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Bearing the Mask, and 22 Poems and a Prayer for El Paso. Poems have appeared very recently in Impossible Archetype, Rogue Agent, Anti-Heroin Chic, Panoply, and many others. His website is http://swig.tripod.com
Christopher Woods is a writer and photographer who lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His photographs can be seen in his gallery –http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/ . His photography prompt book for writers, FROM VISION TO TEXT, is forthcoming from PROPERTIUS PRESS. His novella, HEARTS IN THE DARK, is forthcoming from RUNNING WILD PRESS.
Daytime ghosts appear most often
in sun-swept forest where light
and shade flicker into and out
of formerly human forms.
Sometimes they chill me foolish
on hot afternoons when sweat
glues my T-shirt to my torso
and half-blinds me sluicing down
my forehead. These humid moments
drop my guard and expose me
to perceptions angled slightly
enough to reveal ghosts flitting
from tree to tree, nimble inside
their little gusts of resurrection.
No one believes they’re authentic,
although every hiker sees them.
We know that ghosts haunt places
deformed by culture, congealing
upstairs or in creepy basements,
hanging like bats in steeples,
rising in vapor from graveyards.
Catching them naked in the forest
should reassure us that life
after death resembles classical
notions of woodland gaiety.
But the chill that sometimes grabs me
knots my tired muscles and stops
my heart for a moment. Here
at the edge of the marsh the light
moves so briskly the ghost-figures
dance with terrible clarity,
as if expecting me to join them.
One day, before the equinox
flattens the curve of light,
I’ll venture into the spongy marsh
to see if the ghosts are thicker
there, feeding on mud and swelling
like golems. Reverting to matter,
although a temporary state,
might challenge me to imagine
being that flesh rather than this.
William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson College, Goddard College, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is Stirring the Soup. williamdoreski.blogspot.com
In our community, we trade virus statistics.
I’ll trade you X corpses in this city for Y corpses across this state.
Initially, we speak with somberness, but with each day, somberness is superseded by childlike energy. Glee, even.
Statistics beat images of shortness of breath or nausea.
But for fleeting moments, when loved ones gasp in constrained rooms, we wait for texts. Try not to imagine lives without their smiles, nicknames, and bad jokes. We even spare hints of empathy for others.
After our own die or heal, we discard Kleenex and step up the statistics trading.
We’ve cried enough.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
Pippa Scott is a budding new artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico. From the age of two, she has shown incredible artistic talent. Her favorite mediums include sketching, acrylic painting, and digital art. She enjoys watching anime, playing video games, and spending time with her three dogs.