The Day Before

by Summer Koester

A devil's club graveyard all that remains,
bones of a mighty clubbed fortress
reduced to small brown skeletons,
silent, still scaffolds of what once was.
This is how you say madrugada in English–
the coldest, darkest, undead hour
when spirits roam the earth, right before
the first snow:
the rainforest so dry and quiet
bones and shapes, negative space,
the air sucked right out.

Avant-Garde Writers at the End of Long Driveways

by Howie Good

Kim Kardashian has been seen texting while riding her horse along the road. The two activities inform one another. It shouldn’t happen like this. It shouldn’t happen at all. It’s 75 years after the war, and I’m still uneasy. A rhino poacher got stomped to death by an elephant and then devoured by a pride of lions. Now we want to take it further and go faster. There’s bound to be some confusion. The sun dries the ink, and with every step, people tear pieces of the fragile paper. The face becomes a landscape. We’re starting the spring off wrong.

SuperLuna

It's very nearness changes who I am.         
--after Sarah Harwell "Super Moon"

by Judith Ann Muse Robinson

Dark dome of night. Split. Ablaze
at the clerestory. Buona sera,

Superluna of the blood. Welcome. Rest
awhile within our brimful nest

of empty opulence. Creation holds ephemeral
residence enough for you. Clever

hangs its head beneath Niagara's
tongue turned sifting whisper

of Sahara's shifting sands. Distant river
ice explodes a scent of new-mown hay.

Fleshing-out begins of sclerotic bones. Rudder
lost. Dam-breaking floods

expose dry riverbeds draining smelted ore
of sword and shield.

Babble becomes anthem. Becomes
lullaby. This palsied foot taps Tango.

Lines

by Padmini Krishnan

Chilly night
Redwood tree absorbs
all the moon

Prague

 by Terrence Sykes

up in the old hotel
an uncharted country
nightingale sings amongst the garden

vltava waters flow
in silent repose
night photographer waits

stagnant crepuscular air
drags that indigo sky
through naked branches

upon staved river bank
following shadowed sun
meandering to awaiting sea

Dying in Drift

by Sam Dixon

A dark sea falls,
ceaseless in heavy curls,
drumming the beaten sand at Cape Henlopen

as a blue-black fin lifts, hangs,
fought out like a capsized hull,
bobbing wave-lip on wave-lip,
tugged in
by the stammering, convincing shore.

Lines

by Christina Chin

cormorant dives
Li River's starlit water
an oar pauses

An Evening View Of Fuji
Utagawa Kuniyoshi


Tinney Creek

by Anda Peterson

runs past
and under
the TJ Max
CVS, Target.
Tinney Creek
travels back and forth
from Tampa Bay
rises and falls with the tide
feeds turtles, Egrets, Muscovy ducks
who seek tiny prawns, mud crabs, bugs
in its water.
Along its  muddy bank grow
feathery Java fern
rounded Moneywort
verdant, abundant
     despite the insults of a styrofoam cup,
     a plastic bag,
as if this was still The Garden.

Here between snaking highways,
Dollar Stores
gas stations
condo buildings
Taco Bells
Hawk has built a nest atop the pole
advertising Beer and Low-Cost Cigarettes.
Mallard makes the high grass along the parking lot
her nursery.
Crow claims the power lines.

Appalachia

by Austin Hehir

Moon light skips
off the rattling creek.
Slowly wandering down the
hills. Fire smolders in our souls as
we climb.
Sucking down the nectar, intoxicated.
Hands viced to the cold bed of the truck.
Headlights off, star lights only to guide the path.
Dimly we race, against the passing of time
and foolishly we think that nights
in the rolling mountains tumbling
metal wagons carelessly down
the hill and through the
creek will last

Forever.

Hardwoods

by Mathieu Debic

Groans in the hardwoods.
Wind stretches timbers, abates;
a blaze, a red shower.

Kallar elephant corridor, Western Ghats

by Ajay Kumar

Some just came to drink
across a table of water,
others just left,
pudding-pipes in their way,

a calf sniffs to the side,
alone a bull’s tusks
point to his raised trunk,

movement of myriad grey.
A flycatcher, a blue of his own,
excavated in the sky
from the sun, rests on a Neem.

Soap pods in patches. Snaky
trunks smell a cardamom memory.
The ones that came to drink leave
for wild plantains, more come
across the water again.

Nightfall at Minnamurra

by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

At the foot of Minnamurra Falls
the maples heave in the gale,
wind drawing applause
rich with sudden confetti,
whirling bushels
of umber, gold, sienna.

the trees arch skyward,
upper reaches shorn
as the windstorm shuffles away,
balm of autumn night
settles eggshell, tranquil,
the forests of Illawarra
lit by a smudge of fireflies.

Consider This

by Mary Innes

Consider how it is
    we eat the air:
Sunlight touches green,
turning spirit into matter,
becoming us
who breathe our spirits back to air.

Consider how the grasses' green
becomes our skin, our heart, our hair.
Carbon marries light
and we appear.

Newfoundland
G. Tod Slone


Monkstown

Burlington

Saint Lewis

Lines

by Felix Constantinescu

The orchard’s road
Tall, withered thistle.
Wet soil, damp.
Plum-tree bark, red
Vegetable light.

Turtles

by Olivia Cyr

Jane, my college best friend, licks the back of her hand,
and closes her eyes. It’s the salt, she says. It tastes so earthy.
I say, it tastes like the saltwater, you mean. No.
She turns my palm over and licks it from the heel
to where my pinky finger begins. Like salt.
It takes me a minute to taste brininess the way that she does,
when I open my mouth and try a handful of salt water,
lapping it gently. Jane laughs, pulls me gently along.
We walk along the small, tucked cliffs above the shore,
looking out onto the Naples water.
My sandals work the backs of my ankles like sandpaper.
I stop, take them off, toss them in my drawstring bag
and step through the billions of pearls of sand and salt.

A bicycle whizzes past us, and Jane giggles. For a moment,
I think she is flirting with another pizza boy,
riding through the cobblestone valley in half-moonlight
on his way to the pizza parlor, al chiaro di luna.
But Jane grabs my elbow and squeaks.
When I look where she’s pointing, my cheeks go fat with a smile.
And suddenly we’re girls again, long before the throes
of college and career life, plucking ladybugs from each other’s hair
after swimming in the lake at camp; tanned, smooth legs akimbo
on the grass while we talked about dreading that first day of high school,
how we thought we’d much rather be squeezing lady bugs
until their plump, pearly bodies engorged, popped like little fireworks.

On the cliff, Jane pulls me, and we skid recklessly
down a sandy path that slopes between jagged rocks,
our bare feet sprinkled with bubblegum nail polish.
I land at her side, and as we come to a stop by the frothy water,
I put a hand over my sunned chest. I suddenly feel exposed
and want to run forward and scoop them up.
Baby turtles have hatched somewhere along the tiny,
bubbly waves of high tide. Five of them.
Barely minutes old, they sleepwalk, like blind little starfish,
their legs and arms tender flippers. They slog through the sand,
exhausted and oily, as it sticks to them
like granules of sugar on my grandmother’s whiskey cookies.

I pull my hand back to my mouth, lick the inside
of my wrist to taste the earth. We stand, perfectly paced monuments
on the beach, watching the turtles sluicing themselves
with water and coiling, clumsy. Beached, quintuplet sacks of flesh.
Jane is so careful to step around them, and studies their patterned trails,
divots in the sand from their pointed flippers.
The carapace of each turtle is a slick skin sectioned out into squares.
These are leatherbacks, I tell Jane from across the way.
We watch them, crouched over their trails, as they race to the ocean,
wiggling rhythmically, resting every few paces.

I imagine them dehydrated, desperate to reach the water,
breathing heavily with newborn aches all through the tender
curves of their limbs and I’m frightened for them.
I could pluck them from the race and carry them to the water,
past the hermit crabs and sand spiders. I want to mother them,
careful and reasonable. Now, my niece is almost five but
I think about my sister nursing her all those times
when she was a baby, when my sister was just twenty-two
and I was writing for newspapers. I worry about when
she will curl up beside her mother like that again,
and know it will be because someone broke her heart,
and not out of instinctual hunger. She will be desert rocky and mica strong,
and glistening all at once. She will be seventeen
squishing ladybugs on picnic blankets while I write in Colmar
with capfuls of Veuve Clicquot at my little kitchen table.
When she was just weeks old, I cradled her at my own chest
while she gazed up through pink eyelids, both of us full of wonder.
Nursing became fluid, it became competitive for her—her little mouth
grazing over her mother’s skin, my sister just running
her hands over her face so she could look at her, not wanting
to let her eat even when she fussed. That hard, rudimentary pit
in her body of motherhood would make her too eager
for her baby to stay that small.

I though often about how she would grow up,
how she would have to move and shift and be, without leaning on us,
and it choked me, that thought of growing— of them each learning
the push and pull of the other. How will my sister do it?

Jane and I have been in Naples for two weeks,
and Jane has finished her book review, while I have buoyed myself
on the beach in the evenings and written in broken Italian
on paper napkins. It is our last night here;
I dig my hands hard into the beach sand,
encouraging the nest of turtles to go, go, go.
And they move without assistance.
Where’s their mother? Won’t they drown, you think?
Jane shimmies her bottom into the sand next to me,
but the babies have dipped into the tide.

Tanka

by Darrell Lindsey                             

sound of a flute
going deeper into dusk
along the river
we count the same firefly
over and over again

Christi Kochifos Caceres
Longsheng Rice Fields





Yarrow

by Jeff Burt

The yarrow blooms
in Las Vegas neon yellow
a gaudy sign
inviting bees
to stop, to spend
a little something

Route 109

by Tom Lagasse

Wandering through the Litchfield Hills
In his battered red Chevy Malibu
Its odometer nearly tipping to 100K
Li Bai drunk from one too many
with his friends at the GW Tavern
pulls his car to the shoulder
Near Sunny Ridge Road.
On the back of an envelope
From an unpaid bill he scratches:

The mist rests
on the pines
above
as they lean
with the weight
of Route 109.

Lines

by Susan N Aassahde

kiwi copper raindrop
lobster duet
charcoal slug faucet

No Signs of Intelligent Life

by Todd Mercer

Beam me up, Scotty. I’ve seen enough.
This place is devoid of civilization.
Get me the fuck out of here, before
the prevailing madness mires me in muck.
The locals keep voting to abolish
the locals. They think it’s in their interests.
Something went wrong at the schools,
learning is no longer possible.
People like this cheer for meteors
that are streaking straight toward them.
They can’t foresee the destruction,
only focus on the shiny light.
How they’re still here even this long
is a stumping mystery.
Rumor has it the same citizens
used to want what’s good for citizens.
Little proof remains. So who can say?
They must have somewhere to go
after here’s obliterated. No panic
at irreversible damage from
intentional decisions they have made.
They could fix their society and ecosystem
for free, but they reject the effort,
they suspect a darker motive.
Stupid people lack the means to self-assess
and to alter course. Beam me up
and set a course for basic rationality.
Enlightened self-interest prevails
on the higher quality planets. This was
an asylum before the funding ran out.

Ant's Prayer

by Inguna Brože

Lord Almighty called man
Please listen, if you can-
Don't step on me,
Don't crush a snail,
Don't burn us alive
We want to survive,
Don't pin a butterfly on nail,
Don't catch a bird
To hear it sing,
Don't try to clip its wings,
Don't, don't, don't...
       Amen

Life Sentences

by Alexander Garza

The longer the spill, the redder the earth gets,
And the more that we speak out, the lesser our sentence.

The same goes for lighters and smoke
And even not to bother with honor or hope

Or expectation. The slope
Seizes moisture and don’t forget

We’re mostly water anyway.
So when the tide comes, even the tiny ones,

At dawn under the sunny guise of afternoon,
Even the ones at night,

Be prepared by having breathed well,
Filling lungs and portraits

And release muscles tension tender
Into the sultry skies of the Gulf,

Somewhere between nadir and God,
Between oracle and shore.

Cherry Blossom
Watanabe Seiti


Lines

by Veronika Zora Novak

3 a.m.
cherry blossoms hung heavy
with snow

ebb tide

by Martha Landman

last night the moon was in your hair
but the day is vast around us now
the horizon further away
islands and mountains hold
the infinity of this place
the ocean peels away from the shore
large circles of brown and blue
thin layers of water lying still, a flat bed
we walk on the ocean floor
a white-bellied sea eagle swoops
a fiddler’s bow playing Spiegel im Spiegel
but last night the moon was in your hair 

I Remember Aleppo

by Terrence Sykes

ancient silk road heirloom
grew upon the left bank
determined Queiq river
steeped landscape
rising field of peppers
powdered ochres
colors changing
seasons ceased
blossoming at dusk

Lines

by Hifsa Ashraf

curls of smoke
from the chimney
flying crows

Australian bushfires

by James Aitchison

They say the smoke has reached Chile.
Not just the smoke from our blazing forests,
But the smoke from lost firefighters and townsfolk,
And thousands of lost homes,
And five hundred million wild animals,
And cattle and sheep and bold horses
Burned alive in once-lush paddocks.

They say the smoke is toxic.  It is not.
It is sacred.

Land Inventory

by Janet Sunderland

The county appraiser sent a questionnaire
and a topography map, wants me to update
our family farm value, asks about changes
to acreage or productive capability of the land.

Ignore the appraiser’s flat gray map, see,
instead, the sapphire sky, white-striped
like zebras in Grandpa's National Geographic.
Airplanes flying high to Africa or China maybe.

Walk the field of milo - stacked red heads
flaming on emerald stalks. With one swift swing
of the machete, sever a sunflower’s head,
wipe sticky black resin from the blade –

The map won't show Great Simba, now rotted
to a termite's meal, won’t capture hazy afternoons
we picked gooseberries, or our clamber up
the peeling bark to ride a gray husk to India.

Legends lie hidden in the appraiser’s map—stories
held by the wind, borne by cottonwood seeds, flung
free, as we were all flung free. Memory our property.
I sign the questionnaire; affirm no changes to the land.

(Corn) Husk In The Wind

by Randall Rogers

It's true in the end ashes do look best.
Or the new beautiful
compressed-bone art deco white oval
I saw advertised on TV the other day.
Creamy it looked like a bar of Dove soap.
A large burial mushroom pod
where your remains sprout
new fungi (or fun-guys!), perhaps? Heh-heh
So many options,
so much to look forward to
getting old, croaking, and being buried in
the quaint little cemetery
around the church
of the small town
on the prairie
in southern Minnesota
where all the farms
are neat and orderly
and there are towns
like Truman
where industrious Germans and Swedes
mow their lawns on Sunday
now that weed's legal
and there's decent internet
it's okay to live there.