Transitional Weather

by Peach Delphine

Relentless sky burnishing us
into shade, thicket comforts heart, 
Gulf the promise of tongue, hammock 
an elevation we sing from, 
nave of cypress and fern.

Roof knows intimacy of rain
percolated off the sea, returning 
to us, dripping from brittle cabbage palms,
settling in sand, seeping through limestone, 
eroding our bones, dissolving  memory.

Rain is a liberator, together
we return to the flowing,
brine submerging our hands,
shaking free of the woodstork,
linear, then fluid, balancing warily
across puddles and ruts
shell road, steaming after clouds
spend themselves into dissipation.

Rain is a language of those gone
before us, into shadow, sea swallowed,
middens and hammocks longing
for lost songs, palmetto restless
in their absence, the first shower
redeems tree frogs, having endured
dry season, a vast singing commences.

Taste of sky and a chorus
of small voices, liquid calling of grackles,
ink pooled then taken to flight, 
morning rain, wiregrass 
thick with spider webs collapsing.
Rain is the sleep of clouds
come to restore flow
in the diminishing aquifer, rain
is cottonmouth swallowing
its own tail, body of iron,
body of cloud, sparking wildly.

Rain is the last libation poured 
from the blue bowl before our hands 
go cold, our tongues reduced to ash,
clouds flowering wetness, fragmentation 
of self, so much longing lifted skyward into cold,
approaching emptiness, frozen
shards spilling, precipitation is how we name
the light flowing through water, from sea 
to sky to sink then the long darkness
of karst and aquifer.

Peach Delphine is a queer poet from Tampa, Florida. Former cook infatuated with what remains of the undeveloped Gulf coast.
Published
Categorized as Poetry

Sandhill Crane Migration

by Jessica Poli

                  Kearney, Nebraska

No, this was not the edge of the world
though I thought it might be:
cranes lifting off the wide, silty river
in a huge mass, churning, shifting
as the light shifted, the sun making its slow way 
to the water. I didn’t expect
the tears that came—or not the tears themselves,
but the reason for them, this witnessing
of birds’ bodies huddled together warmly on the water 
and flying in close lines along the horizon, 
a sight which suddenly raised
a wild jealousy in me. 
To be close to that many bodies, 
to feel someone else’s strong wing 
brush against your soft underbelly—
I wanted that. 
I wanted to be jostled in line at the grocery store
waiting to buy milk and peanut butter,
to get lost in a sweaty crowd 
at The Bourbon listening to a band 
that only knew four songs.
No, this wasn’t the edge of the world,
but it felt like we’d been coming to it again and again
for the last year, getting closer
to the sharp edge of ourselves, that place
where we can stand no more, 
where there’s an audible snap 
and then all the grief floods in. 
The water was low on the river.
Before I left, I stared at it
moving across the silt that gathered
around the bridge’s piers.
Two cranes flew overhead and called out,
and the sound echoed in me.

Jessica Poli is the author of four chapbooks and co-editor of the collection More in Time: A Tribute to Ted Kooser (University of Nebraska Press, 2021). Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Southern Indiana Review, The Adroit Journal, and Redivider, among other places. She is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, founder and editor of Birdfeast, and Assistant Poetry Editor of Prairie Schooner.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Tide

by Hulian Zhang

Bit by bit
Bite by bite

The invisible was swallowing
I can hear it masticating

That must be the last intact part of my skin
Because from where I feel the pain
 
I was waiting for it to finish the last chew
I was waiting with an unprecedented peaceful despair  
 
Quiet so quiet
Slight by slight

Here comes a light
The warmth from my friends’ chests, the beating tide

Hulian Zhang (she/her) is currently a PhD candidate in Medical Ethics and Law at Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University (UK). This is her first time publicly sharing her poems.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Rain in Clouds

by Hulian Zhang

The sky must be grey
I am hiding under my duvet

I hear it cries
Sounds not like a sunrise 

I am hiding under my duvet 
As if I were above the clouds 

I thought that the rain was irrelevant                    
But the pillow is soaked 

Clouds and darkness surround me

Hulian Zhang (she/her) is currently a PhD candidate in Medical Ethics and Law at Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University (UK). This is her first time publicly sharing her poems.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Solaris

by Megan Burns


outside the lining of possible outcomes
tether dreaming, the way grass dances under 
the surface of water, and the film a poem, you attach
paper shreds to the end of the vent 
in your spaceship room, inside the vacuum 
what you desire is the rustle of leaves
a leaving of natural behind, it tried to silent
inside me so many songs of longing to bring
you back, when is lift off, we ask
and translate it to me
it’s already occurred 
it’s already happening 
we’ve already left this place behind

the way you get to throw off the cloak 
of being human in the end, a finale so big
it takes all of your breath away

Megan Burns is the publisher at Trembling Pillow Press (tremblingpillowpress.com). She is the co-director of the New Orleans Poetry Festival (nolapoetry.com) and has been hosting the Blood Jet Poetry Reading Series in New Orleans for the last six years. She has been most recently published in Jacket Magazine, Callaloo, New Laurel Review, Dream Pop, and Diagram. Her poetry and prose reviews have been published in Tarpaulin Sky, Gently Read Lit, Big Bridge, and Rain Taxi. She has three books Memorial + Sight Lines (2008), Sound and Basin (2013) and Commitment (2015) published by Lavender Ink. Her recent chapbooks include: her Twin Peaks chap, Sleepwalk With Me (Horse Less Press, 2016), Beneath the Drift (Red Mare, 2019) and FUCK LOVE: I’m sorry someone hurt you (Shirt Pocket Press, 2019). Her fourth collection, BASIC PROGRAMMING, was published by Lavender Ink in 2018. Her forthcoming collection is called PLURALITY. 

Published
Categorized as Poetry

To Luba, from where we began

by Catherine Rockwood
A floating cloud has forgotten its last rising.

Forgetfulness of all kinds is a great splitter of forms.

Everything is wavering between what it remembers and forgets.

Wind pursues the cloud; the cloud dissolves itself.

What does a cloud gain by remembering?

The towers of silence are the province of a careful word.

A clepsydra weeps in time, because of what it’s forgotten.

Dew is the lost memory of clouds. 

Who shall keep the keepers?  Anyone.

By remembering, a cloud gains in competence what it loses in deftness.

It endeavors to obtain perpetual motion so that it may remain uninstructed.

Everything is wavering between what it remembers and forgets.

Remembering, a cloud will weep in time.

Catherine Rockwood’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Reckoning MagazineScoundrel Time, SWWIM, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and elsewhere.  You can find her nonfiction and reviews in JMWW, Mom Egg Review, and Strange Horizons.  Her poetry chapbook, Endeavors to Obtain Perpetual Motion, is forthcoming from the Ethel Zine Press in 2022.   


	
Published
Categorized as Poetry

Giovanna Garzoni, Flowers in a glass vase

by Catherine Rockwood

Let me drown deep. Let me be lost and found
inside this vase I once set on the ground.
Lopsided glass, quick-fused to a small base.  

That’s easiest.  Above it, thick, a crush
of softening flowers, cut in early hush
by servants of the palle who deferred

each choice to me.  And then, all day, I looked.
The painter’s secret’s what the painter took,
her hours.  Find in my work record of those

wherever leaf declines, where the red poppy
bright daffodil, smooth tulips and narcissi
subside with heads drawn downward by the dark

that blooms inside the vessel holding them.  
Their water’s somewhat old and every stem
pressed up against the glass has lost its prime

but I these glories spent in saving	          mine.  

Catherine Rockwood‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Reckoning MagazineScoundrel Time, SWWIM, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and elsewhere.  You can find her nonfiction and reviews in JMWW, Mom Egg Review, and Strange Horizons.  Her poetry chapbook, Endeavors to Obtain Perpetual Motion, is forthcoming from the Ethel Zine Press in 2022.   

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Nervous Endings

by Jessica Q. Stark
Eros is everywhere. It is what binds.
—John Updike 

She's young in age but knows her sage
She knows a page or two from the book of the luck
—Princess Nokia


Like a probable god, I am

the archetype of a shape


small desires at the end

of my arms and nose


of houses and undone 

hours against bone


This is a memory test. I am going to read a list of words 
that you will have to remember now and later on. Listen carefully. 
When I am through, tell me as many words as you can remember. 
It doesn’t matter in what order you say them.

Village-Love-Body-Airplane-War-Sacrifice-Ocean-Food-Family


What happens against 

a body occupied


a clock’s antidote to

a gone-village, gone


home for dispersion—

an absence, a little 

string laid out 

on life’s plank


on the phone

my mother worries

about her death, what


time it will be

who will care

who will take


she drinks


green tea against life’s

petty inflammations


childhood of rice
childhood of smallpox

of dirty water
and dead brothers—

her mother’s infection


impressing upon the

fabric of her body

like loose thread


I’m older now, she says

a little incantation as 


permission to stay

stone-still against 


memory’s stable—


the food between us

that she lets rot


I am going to read the same list for a second time. 
Try to remember and tell me as many words as you can, 
including words you said the first time.

Family-Sacrifice-Love-Village-Airplane-Ocean-Food-Body-War


What of a village?

My mother left

an airplane 


and returned twenty

years later to a hole in


her body, my body

like a net of 

decisions unmade


you can resist death,

but you can’t refuse

water—can’t garbage


a little white lie


she says the first time

she saw the ocean


she was up so high

moving away 

from every


known word

through blue sky


she moves slower

now and dyes her hair

weekly against


love’s firmament


what is an age,

but accumulation,


but a finite template

for life’s choices—


to move, 
to be still,
to love plainly, 
or to survive


I will ask you to recall those words again at the end of the test.

Body-War-Village-Sacrifice-Family-Love-Airplane-Food- 


		Ocean 
		 
	
Ocean 
			Ocean
 




Jessica Q. Stark, a native Californian, is a poet, editor, and educator living in Jacksonville, Florida. She is the author of three chapbooks, including her latest, INNANET: Love Poem for the Internet (The Offending Adam, 2021). Her full-length poetry book, Savage Pageant, was published by Birds, LLC in 2020. She is a Poetry Editor of AGNI and the Comics Editor for Honey Literary. She teaches writing at the University of North Florida.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Hanging the Bat House

by Bryan Moats
I
I can see down into what used to be
a cattle dipping pond, 
where at least one horse is buried
and lawnmower batteries rot. 
I can hear geese. I can smell rooftops. 

II
White knuckling the swaying 
branchless pine, 
twenty-five feet high, this is also where I keep 
my fog knife safe. Folded up 
in the airstream. It rains. It is raining.

III
Great puddles of thinking just deep enough 
to please the bright Indian Runner 
and the weight of some fat Muscovy. Water 
seeks gaps in suet. To ruin the bird’s seed. 
To keep me in bed. To yawn all over me. 

IV
I begin churning clarity 
the moment I hear thunder on the way, 
bouncing over the surface 
of the forest’s ready ministries. They have settled 
and spread out as a fog at twenty-five feet above the valley floor.

V
It still rumbles. Now the thickness
of dawn and its sister, 
an overfed cat, join me
at the top of the swaying naked pine. 
We sway. We are swaying.

VI
We never know where to go with this
moment. We never know where to go with
this top-heavy moment. Like three
sedate Harold Lloyds.
Accidentally going on with things. Slicing nothing.

Bryan Moats lives in rural Arkansas with his family of five. He is a farmer, illustrator, volunteer firefighter, writer and former editorial art director for the Arkansas Times. Find Bryan on Twitter @BryanMoats or Instagram @brynomite.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Call When You Get There

by Rachel Trousdale

For CAM

The Milky Way, like crumbs on top
              of a vast galette—studded
with ripe planets, like figs—
	      how you have enjoyed
everything you taste;
	      as you pass Alpha Centauri,
please, find a radio signal
	       sent to us by the sulphur beings
of the horsehead nebula,
	       and into their code add instructions
for tasting this last bottle
	       of the wine you left behind
	       .
	       .
	       .

Rachel Trousdale is an associate professor of English at Framingham State University. Her poems have appeared in the Yale Review, the Nation, RHINO, and Diagram, among other places. Rachel is the author of the poetry chapbook, Antiphonal Fugue for Marx Brothers, Elephant, and Slide Trombone, and her latest critical book, The Joking Voice: Humor and Empathy in Twentieth-Century American Poetry, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Find Rachel on Twitter @rvtrousdale.

Published
Categorized as Poetry