The Ripening

Tasselled by Independence Day,
field a sea you plunged in
among the green shafts, arms bare,
leaves stroking you like the rough
tongues of ruminants.
The splendid height in fruit
excited you, sugar milking
in the kernel, ears firm
under your learning grasp.
The cob groaned
as you unsheathed it,
exposed pale flesh, gnashed
at the creamy sweetness with
young teeth suddenly ravenous.
That was the humid season
you locked the deep eyes
of a doe at first light,
creeping home past the snow
peas gone by in the dew-cool
between one overwhelming
heat and the next. A blaze
of tail melting into blue trees—
she was gone. A blooded dawn
overgrew the morning star.

Lisa Raatikainen is a writer and music teacher who holds degrees in religion and biology. Her writing has appeared in Whale Road Review, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Vermont with her family.


A monk turned so still 
that those behind him,
who sat, stood and slept
overtook him, and creepers
with blue, white and purple flowers
started crawling over him,

the finest portrayal for me
of restfulness.

Locked down in my house
the way turtle is in its shell,
rather a corpse in the coffin,
I brood if confinement would free us.

A moment of peace
in this raging city, which is calm now,
as the wilderness slowly reclaims—
a rock python enters the office space
and spotted deer graze on unruly lawns,
the world has slowed down
but we refuse to rest.

Debasis Tripathy was born in Odisha, India. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Decomp, UCity Review, Rogue Agent, Leon Lit, Vayavya, Mantle Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Bangalore.

Final Thaw of Soft Earth

Something's not right with my river,
my mother says. And it is Truth: each
night the beavers pull apart saplings,
pull them apart fresh and at the edge.
The river gets blocked. The water stops
and at night I hear howling in the east.
In the year of the year of the plague —
this the age I restring my mother's
mother's Miraculous Medal and hang it
from my dash — the days are long as
a year. Ticks fall like spring melt
from branches and cling to the legs
of the moose calves. A great fir tree
falls on a man as he sleeps. The mountain
is angry, my mother says, and it is Truth.
In the days after this, another surgeon
would open me. There is never any
good explanation for my pain, which
is real. I must have it. Night after night,
this racket in the woods; the re-
building of the thaw-rushed dam which,
this time around, might make a good home.
This remarkable rumpus chirping hope.

Samantha DeFlitch is the author of Confluence (Broadstone Books, 2021). A National Poetry Series finalist, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Colorado Review, The Missouri Review, Appalachian Review, and On the Seawall, among others. She lives in New Hampshire with her corgi dog, Moose.