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poetry

Petrichor
                          
The earthy scent when rain falls on dry soil
             I can smell the earth waking up
It’s been hot here,        barren
               A vacant feeling

The leaves like wrapping paper
              Hollow sound of the wind swelling and          guttural acceleration
Tension      a weighted silence in     anticipation

I can hear the light of the sinking sky                 rhyming
               With the darkening     night
How will the language of the earth be different tomorrow?

Raindrops hugging words
                Moving             too fast              for me to decipher
They hit the leaves on the ground
               Like sugar to parchment paper

Whoosh of air as a passing car              decelerates
             How different would it be if I were             closer
Could feel the speed of the machine tickle
                 Crawl up my skin

Yet I can’t           stop                    thinking                about how heavy
               The silence in the wind sounds

                                                                                                    Now that you’re no longer
                                                                                                                                                                                                    here.

Gregory Caso is a graduate of Bucknell University with an honors degree in creative writing. He is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Hofstra University. He works in both prose and poetry, and his work has previously been published in Mistake HouseDiodata, and Fire and Ice. He is also a competitive long-distance runner, avid coffee drinker, and antique book collector.

This is How It Begins Every Summer

when cicadas claw to the surface
and break out of their brown shells

crushed by squirrels running
after each other’s tails round and round

the large wood oak at the end
of a cornfield in rural America.

My daddy and I rest
with glasses of sweet iced tea

listening to those males flex their tymbals
calling their red-eye sirens high up in the trees.

Planted for Me

I didn’t know I would be grateful
for the memory of my pond
where cattails were thick around the edges,
the sun warming my stone lounge,
toes dipped in cool water,
my hair wisping in the breeze.

I didn’t know today that my pen
would dance across paper,
sway and swish in cursive, marring
the ivory surface of a once mighty pine
where squirrels twittered and chased,
hid acorns and fallen pecans
in the woods curving
my favorite place to think.

Chris Wood is a lease analyst by day, student by night, and writer in between. Chris lives in Tennessee with her husband and three dogs. She is currently earning her bachelor’s degree and has poetry published in Poetry Quarterly, Haiku Journal, and other publications. She won second prize in the 2016 CWG Spring Contest for her poem, Thus Your Live Grows.

Majestic Metropolis

Never a Christmas, without a duvet of snow,
Draped over all the grass, rocks, rivers, and trees.
I don’t mind, sitting here, watching my younglings grow,
The simple life, without cosmopolitan drama, full of peace.
No sign of the blood-thirsty necromantic narcissistic cannibals,
Just a towering snowman that could crush a wooly mammoth.
No attention deficit disorder of urban crowds to dance for,
Just me, my posse, and the smile of my glorious dog, Judd Jr.
Only concerns, worth biding, are how much water to pour
On top of each massive block of snow, packed to the core.
What a sight to see in this monumental majestic metropolis!
No need to compare to the neighbors that don’t exist.

Simon Havok traveled the world during his time in the US Air Force. He has previously been published in the Air Force Time, Literary Yard, and Scarlet Leaf Review. In 2019, Havok finished his first autobiographical book of poetry entitled ‘Through The Eye & Mind of A Frail Vessel’. When not writing, he enjoys raising his four amazing sons.

Apocalyptic Fortune Cookie

Let the earth last
             Till she grows great rings around her
Less like simmering Saturn and
              More like a solid cedar
So when she is swallowed whole by Yahweh

Coughed up overnight
              And pressed pristinely back into her orbit
Like a marble stolen from the ground game
              We may then peel her bark back
To just this monolithic moment.

Mariah Ghant (she/hers) is a black, female artist based out of Philly. An alumnus of Vassar College, she gained two degrees in Drama and English focusing on Acting and Poetry Writing. Mariah enjoys creating and teaching art across various genres including theatre, writing, dance, and movement. Forever fantasizing on the phenomenal, Mariah’s writing explores relationships, the cosmos, and attempts to explain the unexplainable.

To see more of her work, you can visit her poetry Instagram (@mariah.g.poetry).

Curiosity

is such a strange affliction with questions
                                                  getting stuck in the throat
                                                               after swallowing exclamation points
that might have made life better.

Maybe you not asking me was a
                                                 wisp of air circling the mouth,
                                                           afraid of letting the landing gear down
& scattering words on the tongue’s runway.

Maybe me not asking you was isolation
                                                    becoming religion,
                                                                        trading in my black leather jacket

for a simple, Amish, no power look.

Maybe talk is the sound a Kleenex
                               makes leaving the box, clearing a path
                                              between heaven & earth, and all things telling
the lips to stay in a belted and upright position.

Daniel Edward Moore lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems are forthcoming in Weber Review, The Cape Rock, Kestrel, River Heron Review, Passengers Journal, The Night Heron Barks, Coachella Review, Ocotillo Review, Nebo Literary Journal, and Main Street Rag Magazine.

He is the author of the chapbook, “Boys” (Duck Lake Books), and his full-length collection “Waxing The Dents,” was a finalist for the Brick Road Poetry Prize (Brick Road Poetry Press). Visit him at Danieledwardmoore.com.

Writer’s Dilemma

I brought you, a dolphin
into the story—those
squeaks and trills filled
my mind, words like ripples

appeared on the screen,
formed sentences in their
wake…but then I thought
of the fish netting news

and now I beseech you—
save yourself, move
to the margins, just
leave the screen. My mind

is caught up in this netting
theme—thoughts guided
down fishing line to
my hooked, barbed fingers

flopping out your fate—
beware…the net is near.

Richard Matta is active in San Diego poetry circles when not catering to his golden-doodle dog’s every whim. He grew up in New York’s rustic Hudson Valley, attended Notre Dame, and midwest winters explain why he lives in California.

Before We Shipped Out

Before we shipped out there were these cream-coloured
cue-cards we had to complete—the kind you wrote
your speeches on in grade school—little things, pre-printed
with our blood type, eye colour, prominent scars/birthmarks
/tattoos, height, approximate weight (we’d lose some
in the desert—some, all), a small checkbox to indicate the
accuracy of the above, and a black underlined space, where
we were to write a code-word, something easy to remember
we could to tell the rescue team who busted into wherever
we were being held captive if during a firefight we were
captured and taken prisoner, they would know for certain
it was the right soldier they were bringing home.
I wrote carrots, I think, because I like carrots fresh from the
garden. It could have been potatoes, I wrote, because, well
I like them, too. Each day I head out to the shop, I see
the prisoner of war flag hanging on the wall, big letters, You
are not forgotten. But if I’m being honest, most days, I do.

Andrew Lafleche is an award-winning poet and the author of Ashes, No Diplomacy, Shameless, A Pardonable Offence, One Hundred Little Victories, On Writing, Merica, Merica, on the Wall, and After I Turn into Alcohol. He is editor of Gravitas Poetry. Lafleche holds a Master of Arts in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. He lives in the Ottawa Valley.

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