My Husband by Marjorie Sadin

His eyes are seashells washed up on the shore.
His nose an anchor stuck in mud.
His head an egg shell broken by a baby bird.
His hair the baby bird’s feathers.
He coughs like a tug boat horn.
He curses like a thousand sneezes.
He complains like a TV commercial.
He walks like a goose ambling.
He sleeps like a man drowning.
He cleans hands like a surgeon.
He forgets like fish where to swim.
His hands grope like nets in the sea.
And he loves like no one else.


Marjorie Sadin is a nationally published poet with poems in such magazines as Chrysanthemum Literary Anthology, Blaze Vox, Big Windows Review, and The Jewish Women’s Literary Annual. She has published five books of poems including a chapbook, The Cliff Edge, and a full length book, Vision of Lucha about struggle and survival, love, death, and family. Recently she published a chapbook, In a Closet. She lives in Northern Virginia and reads her poetry in the Washington DC area.

2 Poems by Cliff Saunders

MASTER PLAN

Fill your hot tub with eggs and bounce
shoes for your daughter in front of her

to sweeten her tart tongue. Dress your dog
like a tribute to Jackson Pollock.

Look in the mirror, where you stand
knee-deep in bow ties. Look

in the mirror, where you shed
yellow spiders and even caterpillars

with red faces. Is your kitchen moving
north all the time? You bet your life.

Your job is to seize the world
from a small radio, from a can of tuna.

Fear not the alphabet of your sofa.
Let your children sing questions

to family heirlooms, maybe go around
the house naming roads after pirates.

Ignore the howling in your wall
of allegations. Once it’s located, let

the door hit you on the way out,
empowering you with a limp.


TURBULENT GODDESS

The day that pineapples became the symbol
of civility to a circus, I said to her,

“Let’s gather our wits and fill streets
with an antiseptic aftertaste.

Let’s be less alone together.”
First she laughed, then she called me

a tiny asteroid. She was ruthless,
as majestic as marble on a pedestal.

There was no fear in her. I loved her,
and I still do. It wasn’t long ago

that ghosts made her sleep all the time
inside them. She fell through the cracks

of life like rain through ice,
through the glass of an early spring.

Waking in sunlight, her green-dyed
hair was grass! It was a big moment

for her. I took care of her comfort zone,
and she gave me one last bit of at least

eighteen twisters, took my whole heart
into her with no warning. She needed

a moth with her on that August night
before she went blue as a new body,

ear to her heart. The world’s light
turned her into a pink owl of delight.

She sounded like a Thursday night
in late spring when she found this field

echoing with sign language. I depended
on her to hold me between the hedges

in her own wonderland as she bulldozed
my neighborhood straight to my heart.


Cliff Saunders is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Mapping the Asphalt Meadows (Slipstream Publications) and This Candescent World (Runaway Spoon Press). His poems have appeared recently in Bryant Literary ReviewAtlanta Review, Qwerty, Lullwater Review, Monterey Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Common Ground Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. Originally from Massachusetts, he now lives in Myrtle Beach, SC.

2 Poems by Peter Mladinic

Enchantress

She casts a spell on a man.
She knows how. The secret
is in her dark flashing eyes,
and it is a secret.
She’s not telling anyone.
It’s better kept secret
from all, except herself.
She knows how.

Some things about herself
she doesn’t know. But this one
she knows, for she must
because she does it very well.
What’s her secret?
How does she cast her spell?
She’s not telling.
Better not to whisper

even one word about it.
It happens slowly,
at times quickly, in silence.
It’s good. The spell itself
is good. The man, as if
hypnotized, under her spell,
does what she wants,
which is fine, pleasing
both to him and her.

Enchantress, I imagine
sitting under a tarp
in the woods, out of the rain,
the rain all around me,
falling all around me.
That summer rain
is the nearness of you.


Hair

Ed Craig, the big mystery was we never saw the nuns’ hair.
In classrooms, the convent, the big dark church
their hair stayed hidden.
You were bright, that showed in your grades.
Did you ever wonder what Sister James with her alabaster skin
and aquiline nose looked like with her habit off?
Her Sister of Charity habit’s rim like white accordion pleats
squared her long face,
white pleats at the start of her long black habit.
Take the vow: don’t show your hair,
the deal they made as Christ’s brides. I never saw Sister’s hair,
nor the hair of Sister Carmela or Sister Gerard or Sister Regina.
Sister Vincent, I heard, lives with a woman in New Hampshire.
How many left the convent, the order?
When habits’ white pleats framed their faces the mass
was in Latin. When Latin left the mass the pleats were gone.
A round crescent circled faces different from ones
we answered to and obeyed.
Sister Vincent took off her habit in the convent.
I wanted her hair in my mouth.


Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press.  He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

2 Poems by James Croal Jackson

Countdown

Vodka I would glug from a wound
on my forearm, health preached and instructed.

I said I saw a liver pumping liquid from the sky
but the crowd called it cirrus. I could not differentiate

lust from love, not in the waning daylight,
not when I am trying to make it

the rest of the year wanting to forget
its starting incident (the backyard pond

shimmering in the moonlight amidst televisions
of confetti). The public countdown ends

at zero but I keep counting, never an end in sight,
always with my eye on the next

golden apple to descend into a crowd.


Take the City, Too

you say a package was
stolen from your porch

I am just trying to stay out
of the rain

vent blowing frigid air
through this new home

& you tell me Robert witnessed
the van speeding beyond the jangled suburbs

as if thievery need be
so complicated

stealing happens
on the sidewalk

these blankets of concrete cracked
beneath high-rises

a UPS truck sputters past a pothole
right turn signal blinking, blinking


James Croal Jackson (he/him) is a Filipino-American poet. He has two chapbooks, Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, forthcoming 2021) and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), with recent poems in White Wall Review, Subnivean, and Hello America. He edits The Mantle Poetry (themantlepoetry.com) from Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com)

2 Poems by Alice Wenzlow

Recital

My mother cried
when I told her
I didn’t believe in God.
She smiled
when I told her
I still believed in fairies.

I like to see my mother smile.

Her eyes light up
into a phosphorescent brown,
sunshine radiating off the pupils
that somehow
still believe in everything
without seeing anything.

So I put on my toy wings
And danced around the living room,
like a monkey
made to perform.

“There is no God” said my feet.

“There is no fate” said my arms.

I twirled round and round
and she laughed and clapped.

And she didn’t hear a thing.


Love story

He caught me at the end of a party
with a cup full of Ava’s parents’ good scotch
I know he wasn’t actually drinking.

“Do you read theory?” he slurred out,
smirking with the confidence
of a boy who occasionally gets told
he looks like Timothee Chalemet.

I stared back at him apathetically.

“Karl Marx.”
He spelled it out for me like a child.
“Fuck Capitalism.”

I smiled
like I thought it did any good
to burn Ayn Rand books
you bought on Amazon.

“Have you read Sylvia Plath?”
I asked through my over-glossed lips.

I only received a jingly laugh
that made me want to punch the freckles
off of his face.

I made out with him anyway.


Alice Wenzlow is a first year student studying English and creative writing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She enjoys re-reading Kurt Vonnegut novels and climbing trees.

Scene from The Monster House by Kate H. Koch

Katie J. and I could only ride our bikes down the length of the alley, and as we passed each garage we searched for magic on our street. We decided that fairies held meetings in the dimpled flaws on the neighbor’s blacktop at night. And the cherry red Volvo in the one-car garage belonged to a secret movie star. But by far, our favorite mystery lay in the Monster House. Its broken windows and peeling paint hid behind a tangle of lilac bushes that formed a dark canopy over the driveway. When the sun was highest in the sky, Katie and I would dare each other to venture up to the garage. From the alley, we could see the objects pressed against its windows. Jumper cables. Fabric scraps. Wet paper bags. Fishing bait. When we squinted through the glass, we saw faces in the loops of rope and butcher’s twine on the floor. One June midnight, The Monster stood under a ring of smoke choked lilacs. When our eyes met, he grinned, and crushed his dying cigarette over a fallen flower petal.


Kate H. Koch has synesthesia, which means every sound flashes as a color before her eyes. Her vivid condition inspires her to seek the magic in everyday things, and this has helped her during her time as a graduate student at Harvard Extension School, where she is pursuing an ALM degree in Creative Writing and Literature. Kate is fascinated by all things macabre, and you can find her work in The Metaworker Literary Magazine, Club Plum Literary Journal, and Z Publishing House’s Minnesota’s Best Emerging Poets of 2019: An Anthology.

Donna by Cat Dixon

While fishing, men find the red, orange, and green
striped shirt and brown ring. Another search
will reveal nothing. There may be something
else to find, but it isn’t here. She has
evaporated into the clouds, transformed 
into the woman who travels free without
a glance behind, without itinerary. This raindrop 
that splatters the shoulder, this black feather
caught in a fence, this dandelion 
that you would’ve poisoned or picked, 
all carry her spells. She’s left the stream
and found her way out of hell.


Cat Dixon is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and The Book of Levinson and Our End Has Brought the Spring (Finishing Line Press, 2017, 2015), and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLockedAnti-Heroine Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.

THIS NEWS WE GET by John Grey

I’ve seen the news you’re talking about,
someone kicked off a reality show,
a diva’s third divorce this year,
a star, long past her prime,
arrested in Beverly Hills for shoplifting.
No wars, no terrorists, no famines,
no ghettoes, no murders
unless a rap star did the shooting.
None of what I know as news.
And yet, that’s news for somebody.
And that somebody is most of us.
And maybe that’s the real news here.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, “Leaves On Pages” is available through Amazon.

Aesthetic // Distance by Lauren Busser

(in response to the Dutch Coronavirus Riots January 2021)

It doesn’t look real
Bold color and lights
a glossy veneer.
Peaceful, soft light
warm and inviting
next to police
in moto jackets
and helmets.
Cars are on fire,
mannequins lay
in the street.
People watch
in boxes with stone
and brick borders.
Damage is framed as art
to be aesthetically pleasing
worth of showcase,
easy to digest.
Almost like a movie set.


Lauren Busser is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She is currently a graduate student at NYU where she’s pursuing her master’s in Integrated Digital Media and an Associate Editor at Tell-Tale TV. She has won multiple awards for her writing from the Connecticut Press Club. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best Small FictionsStarTrek.com, Litro, Menacing Hedge, Cotton Xenomorph, Popshot Quarterly, Cease, Cows, Mineral Lit Mag, and others. She tweets at @LaurenBusser and shares photos of dogs, knitted objects, books, and baked goods at @madamedefarge on Instagram. You can find more of her work at laurenbusser.com.