Home | About Us | Submission Guidelines | Chapbook Reviews | SPOTLIGHT | Links | Contact

Break Up
Karen Douglass

Gold carnival beads on the floor,
Christmas tree stand in the hall—
in May. You watch me pack books,
your legs crossed, casual as a crucifix.
You were my religion. Not now,
Cheating Bastard. Here,

take your tuna fish sandwich
             and your hat.
Let the other woman torture her feet
because red shoes entice you.
Ask her to wear the blue lace teddy.

Go, wait outside so I can lock the door
and swallow the key, an easier trick
than believing you, Cheating Bastard.

When I am old-old-old, I might stop
damning you to the deepest hell, and
I might forget the alleluia of your body.

Metaphysical Dentistry
Karen Douglass

A broken molar busts like a bomblet—
not that I’ve ignored the wants of the body,
having used buckets of toothpaste,
a gross of brushes and picks, and
spent a year’s salary over the years
on cleanings, fillings, a crown, a bridge.

Yet this dental traitor startled me
in a mouthful of mashed potato,
an intimation of the hard fact
that I too will finally split off to become
one more elemental bit to be recycled.
Isn’t it obvious that death always taps our teeth?
Takes us bit by bit to the dark pit, dangling us
at the brink while we eat and drink,
ignoring the truth: life is a halfway house,
a rambler’s stopover between here and nowhere.

The dentist will mend my mouth, let me forget again
that I’m chewing through my remaining days
until nothing’s left to savor. The message is clear,
every broken tooth like a Burma Shave sign
leading to the punch line, Gotcha!

In 2007 I left behind my paid work to write full time, mostly poetry, some short fiction, and this random blog, kdsbookblog.blogspot.com.

Waiting Room
Brian Fanelli

Stubble darkens the faces of men in soiled
T-shirts and scuffed work boots. They crowd
the hallway and bow their heads. Bound now
to the stiff white bed, father can only say

hello, and nod. These are the men who met him
at Chet’s Bar after his blistered hands had retired
the hammer. They know his dented Ford, know just
where it sat in the lot as he slurred Johnny Cash songs

at the bar. Who better to circle his bed, and hold
his calloused hands, worn thin now? His breathing
is labored, hunting arm limp from the stroke.
Sight gone, he sees all too well. To comfort them

he promises his friends come doe season,
come trout season, come opening day,
he’ll be there.

New Girl
Brian Fanelli

I enter the church, genuflect
next to my new girl, beneath a looming cross,
where a frail Jesus looks down,
his face pained, head bowed.
When the organ groans and the graying priest begins,
I remember the parking lot out back
where I sparked joints, popped open beers with buddies,
then slipped to the woods with Patty Spike,
who pushed her tongue between my lips to show off
her new tongue ring bought with cash
she stole from her mother’s purse.
“Damn that feels good,” I said, then asked,
“Coming over later to color my hair?”
When we drove away from the church,
we blared Bad Religion, sneered the lyric:
I’ll believe in God when 1 and 1 are 5.

Weeks later, I read Patty’s obit,
how she fell under a train,
crushed after trying to jump boxcars bound for LA.
I washed the green from my hair,
aced college entrance exams to avoid
getting crushed under grinding wheels,
or bone-breaking labor in a windowless factory,
home now to town punks I used to know.

Now I stand next to my new girl who wears
a soft sunflower dress instead of a safety-pinned skirt.
If I nod off during mass, she nudges me,
locks her hand with mine, and I know
come morning she’ll still be here.

Brian Fanelli's poems have recently been published by Word Riot, My Favorite Bullet, and Chiron Review. They are also forthcoming in the anthology Ripasso. He has an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University and teaches writing and literature at Keystone College in Pennsylvania. His first chapbook, Front Man, is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.

Who I am in a Traffic Jam
Amye Barrese Archer

Is the eight year old girl in the back
of her father's Buick Regal.
Singing every note of Hotel California
the lone eight track left
by its previous owner
mimicking the guitar solo
the whines, the whirrs,
before Don Henley defected
and they were the new kids in town.

Who I am in a traffic jam
is the sixteen year old
driving her father's shiny blue truck
down to the banks of the polluted river—
legs spread like a V v v V

Who I am in a traffic jam
is the twenty three year old
in the Red Geo Metro.
That wouldn't run in the rain.
despite my pleas
on my knees
in the dirt
when it was discovered he had slept around
and I needed to leave, now.
She clicked, not cranked.
and I stayed put.

Who I am in a traffic jam
is the thirty year old
fresh faced divorcee
in the newly leased red sedan.
driving all over the map
refusing to go home alone.

Who I am in a traffic jam
is bored and thinking too much about the past.

Amye Barrese Archer is a graduate student working towards her MFA in Creative Writing at Wilkes University. She has written poetry, short stories, and many truths on bathroom walls. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Twins Magazine, The Ampersand Review, The Battered Suitcase, and Oak Bend Review. Her chapbook, "No One Ever Looks up" was published by Pudding House Press in 2007. Amye has three-year-old twin daughters, and shares her life with her brilliant husband, Tim. You can read her blog, First Person, at www.amyearcher.com.

Dear Thief
Adam Hughes

To the schmuck who stole my GPS on Thanksgiving night

You’re never going to read this.
I’m going to assume you’re not the poetry type.

You’re the type who is thankful for unlocked
doors and window mounts, for backlit screens
and morons like me who forget things. While I
tryptophaned from two dinners, valiant turkeys
reassembling inside my stomach, you were Plymouth
rocking me. Good luck finding where you’re going,

satellites position cars and vans and hikers,
but thieves need more than orbitals.
You could have just asked for directions.

Adam Hughes is a pastor and poet from central Ohio. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in journals such as the New York Quarterly, Tipton Poetry Journal, and the Foliate Oak. His first chapbook, Pilgrim Poems was released in 2010 by Pudding House Press and his debut collection, Petrichor is due out this December from NYQ Books.

Never Enough
Oleh Lysiak

She wants him to love her.
He does.
She wants him to need her.
He marries her.
She wants a building with studio
so she can be an artist.
He gets it.
She turns her studio into storage,
wants to hire border brothers
to help with pet projects.
He wants her to shut the fuck up,
aware there’s never enough.

Oleh Lysiak

No matter which road you choose
at the high road fork, you’ll have to
build that road yourself and be on it
until you face the fork again.

Oleh Lysiak's poetry has been published by Boston Literary Magazine, Bad Light Literary Journal, Commonline Magazine, Void Magazine, Apt Magazine, The Boatmen’s Quarterly, The Bay City Slug, The Stinking Desert Gazette, Estafette Literary Journal and The Word Almanac. He is author of Filet & Release, The Chromium Kid In The American Zoo, Barely Inside The Lines, Scars In Progress, Geezer Rumba.

these days I weep at nothing—
a song in the car,
flowers at the grocery store,
my son reading to me,
a red-winged black bird at the feeder.
But today
I said, “No more tears.”
Which meant Niagara Falls
and me flying over
in the wooden barrel.

AJ Smith likes strong coffee, holding hands, and singing in her car.

Elizabeth Cleary

She cowers in the dark,
in a corner, afraid to breathe,
afraid to move,
certain-death approaches,
blocks her view to the door,
blocks her escape; her throat,
too parched for her rising

He rushes towards her,
through darkness,
teeth clenched,
all fisted determination,
his eyes scouring shadows,
intent on finding where she hides,
crumpled and crying.
In the moment before he latches onto her,
she thinks—it’s too late;
closes her eyes,
wishes she had run,
crashed through window,
full body force,
imagines herself
floating through air.

He wears a mask;
when he grabs her, he picks her up
with one hand,
like a rag doll, when
he throws her
over his shoulder,
she tastes death
licking at the back of his neck,
exhausted, she gives in -
to him
and he carries her away,
away from the fire.

Elizabeth Cleary makes a living as an IT strategist and writes poetry when she's not studying the magnificent weeds in her garden. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Verse Wisconsin, Tipton Poetry Journal and Caduceus. Co-chair of The Poetry Institute-New Haven, she writes from her home in Hamden, Connecticut.

Elopement, 1974
Elizabeth Dickhut

She snuck away
under the low-slung clouds
of November
to West Virginia,
where she could say
Yes and I do
in front of a small
of his friends
who had driven
from their dorm rooms
to the courthouse.

In the dorm,
there was a cake
his friends had made
from a box. It said,
Congrats, John and Jeanne.
The couple cut a piece of cake,
lifted it precariously
on the dull blade of a butter knife,
and then laughed
as they playfully
forced a bite
into each other’s mouth.

His friends clapped
and cheered
and then returned
to their books,
but not before
slapping the groom’s back
in approval
as they walked past.

His dorm room smelled of sweat,
of Old Spice, of pine floor wax.
The lower bunk creaked
with their weight, the space
barely big enough
for both of them.

The next day, he went to class
and left her there alone
to call her mother and father,
to tell them her new name.

They did not understand.
They asked questions
that made sense—
where would she live,
how would she live?

But their voices sounded distant,
as if spoken through water.
And she was just a girl
sitting at the bottom
of the deep end of a pool,
ignoring their frantic voices
coming at her
from above.

Elizabeth Dickhut lives in Western New York with her husband, John, and their six year old son, Evan. She has taught high school English for twelve years in Medina, New York. She did not begin seriously writing poetry until after the birth of her son. Many of her poems have appeared in The Buffalo News, Artvoice, and the Journal of Medical Humanities.

He's Always Smiling
Laura Rodley

We are his windows
we the people who hand him
our money for our bills, lottery tickets
our questions. In his cubicle
he answers the phone, answers
us, sends electronic money,
receives wires of money for stranded students.
Where there could have been a window
is a brick wall and calendar.
Where there could have been a door
there’s a wall with three computers
and so we bring the fall breeze
rattle of acorns and crackle of leaves
even the salmon streaked
sunset that billows behind
the wall where he stands
the whale weathervane on the roof above him
still as the sun leaves purple
streaks, we are his emblems
his walk in the woods
his sentry to the first evening star.

Hunkering Down
Laura Rodley

Resounding like gunshots, the
thunks of cord wood against metal shed
walls reverberates around the
village. Hoar frost gathers
on the leaves of pumpkins, oil
deliveries scheduled and few have
enough money for the downy hide
of winter soon to descend,
like the rump of a deer leaning
back against the grass, curled in
the field, with eyes half open
as she sleeps, ears alert and twitching.

Laura Rodley's 2nd chapbook, Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose, published by Finishing Line Press, releases this fall.

Michael Frissore

She sits in a magical place
that rings with the sounds of cats and guitars.
It is a world of fools and loners and hysterics.
Lost in a love/hate relationship
with herself,

she is a morose misfit
dreaming up fantasy lovers
and choking on her own terror.

Scheming of escape,
she lies in neurosis,
fantasizing of mirth and passion.

She is a delicate petunia blossom
staring at the floor
in her leather jacket and floppy ponytail,
summoning up a belief
in her own voice,
which cracks and swoops giddily.

She moves—
nicely, nicely,
a mesmerizing swirl of frumpy glamour,
an enigma
still at work inventing herself.

Michael Frissore’s poetry collection Poetry is Dead won the Coatlism Book Prize in 2008. His work has appeared in Monkeybicycle, Fast Forward Volume 3, Gold Dust’s Solid Gold Anthology, and elsewhere. He writes for SlurveMag.com and blogs at michaelfrissore.blogspot.com. Mike grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Oro Valley, Arizona with his wife and son.

Molecular Therapy
Bobby Steve Baker

My therapist settles
metapatiently and swivels
back and forth
weighting for change.
If I talk she doesn’t have to think.

Metamorphosis starts at
her stilettos.
One is planted on the rug
the other rests high on her knee.
Lime green panties
are visible in her compound eyes
reflected from my own.

She does not recognize
she is pupating in her black silk
dress and pearl necklace.
Soon all to be

When the pause has been
unprofessionally long,
like my gaze,
she chirps about
that New Yorker cartoon.
I can understand her garbled
clicks and clacks by channeling
Gregor’s sister.

I know the one.
This upscale thirty something therapist
say to the patient, “Why don’t you
try going out and buying lots of stuff.”

Stupid rabbit.
I do that all the time.
Like late last night
I rode these large smooth multi-function blenders
in high-tech stores
all over town.

I straddle-grip them tight
between my legs
and fly over the whole
appliance section, recliner-rockers,
and auto parts. Pitch and roll and blade speed
are step-wise varied
to probe vibrational epi-dymnamics.

The goal is to engage
the Lamar precessional frequency
of my atomic essence.
Spin like atop, tilt
side to side
at will and always return upright.

Gain control of hydrogen polarity,
subatomic harmony,
and moods will be a snap.

Blender after blender failed.
“Have you ever had that kind of disappointment
at other times,” the lime green
scaly milk snake hissed,
hoping to snare me in a disconcerting insight.

Bobby Steve Baker is a Cosmetic Surgeon in practice in Lexington Kentucky. He grew up on the shores of Lake Huron on the Canadian side but so far has kept the word "eh" out of his poetry. He recently completed the MFA in Creative Writing at National University. His poems have appeared in Poet's Podium, Jones Av, Gnu, Public Republic, tinfoildresses, Strong Verse, The Boston Literary Magazine, Yellow Mama, Sounds of the Night, Storyteller, Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology, Verse Wisconsin, Grey Sparrow, and The Ann Arbor Review. He is a contributing member of Poezia, a group of poets for readings and critique in Lexington and "Accents" a weekly radio program on literature and the arts on WRLF Lexington.

The definition of a dramatist:
A thespian whose taste in garmentry
Excludes the bodies of his characters.

Bottle of Red Wine
Robert Laughlin

A bottle of red wine,
A clock face after nine:
The only things that age
Makes better, said the sage.

Robert Laughlin lives in Chico, California. He is a frequent contributor to Boston Literary Magazine. Two of his short stories are Million Writers Award Notable Stories, and his novel, Vow of Silence, was favorably reviewed by Publishers Weekly. His website is at www.pw.org/content/robert_laughlin.

The Gypsy Cider Mill
Barbara Stratton

The fairies danced around the Gypsy cider mill.
Inside their Eldest lay still, struggling to breathe.
Shall I let go? I have lived many years. Is it my time?
No. I want to stay and see many things resolved.
But then there will be new things and always the question.
And I am tired...
I will sleep now. Not a good time to make decisions when you are this weak.
And he slept.
And the fairies danced around the Gypsy cider mill.

Barbara Stratton is a part-time editor, writer, and octanagerian. She lives north of Boston with her husband of 56 years and their pet golden retriever.

What Now, Dandelion?
Felicia A. Rivers

Mark? Mark. Mark!
Tell me: where are you now?
Is your spirit dead somewhere, lifeless in a box like your husk?
Or does an invisible you wander on some inaccessible plain plane
empty and restless as the soul of a dandelion
blown to hell in the still summer air?
Does it sit on a cool stool in the darkness
obsessing over past lives, past sins, passed opportunities?
or is it suspended in a chrysalis light waiting for the right gust to send it earthward?

I hope you found a piece of peace that eluded your teen, aged mind.
I hope
the awkwardness, the loneliness, the fear the pain, the deep need to belong
that drove you, dogged you, harried you until you went up to your bedroom,
assembled your father’s Luger, blasted the stereo,
(Child of the 70s—I’m thinking Yes’ “Heart of the Sunrise”)
and, blew out your dandelion brain
evaporated when you did.

Did you know your little sister found you?
Your mother sent her upstairs to tell you to turn down the damned music.

On dark, empty nights like these, I wonder:
Is it the suicide or
your sister’s pain or
your father’s guilt
that will send you tumbling back
for another ride on the winds?

Felicia A Rivers lives in the Greene Townes west of Philadelphia where she performs odd, but confidential jobs for a financial institution, and chases after her BA in English at Villanova. She also spends a fair amount of time carving out poetry, plays and other random thought-forms. Her poetry has appeared in The Battered Suitcase, The Ampersand, Poetry Quarterly, and some street sheet in Philadelphia that had a short, but happy life.

Soft Pedal
Sarah Allen

My sister gets herself up forty-five minutes early
to practice piano. My independent sister.
Through the ceiling I hear her perfect scales and her
songs, complicated songs. Beethoven. Bach.
I think about school, my friends and her friends.
Her many friends. I lie here and think I’m glad
I’m not her. My pretty, pretty sister
who plays piano at six A.M. with the soft pedal
down so I won’t wake. Although I never quite
get back to sleep.

Sarah Allen is an English major at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Besides writing, she enjoys theater, dogs, and she owns all eleven seasons of Frasier.

The Sleepover
Amanda Gayle Oliver

For Chaney Magnolia Hicks

I will never forget the night
I held your hand.
I believe it will always mean
more than any man's fingers,
that will clasp onto mine.
That one tear sliding down your
cheek, held more emotion than
your words.
Attempting to be so grown up.
I wonder what color hair you had
before it fell away.
And how many days after that
you refused to pray.

I was a few hours more than
a stranger when the nurse
asked me to hold your hand.
How hard you fought to resist,
how intensely you squeezed,
as both of our hands formed a fist.
Only eleven, they put you in this
ring alone to fight an enemy that
Punched you from the inside—out.
I wasn't there for a whole round
Only that one combination that
struck below the belt.

Too many turns, so many
cycles, poisoning a tiny frame.
I want the rounds you ride
to be on a carousel.
I want the spins you take to
be in a crown, a princess dress.
I want to wipe that tear away,
But I know better than to touch.
You will be tough and I will
be vulnerable—
So fragile you might break
my fingers.
It is what I can give, a
memory that lingers.

Amanda Gayle Oliver is a student and writer living in Birmingham, Alabama. Her poetry has recently been published in Lamplighter Review and online for the Canadian Alzheimer's Association. She is currently working on a book about healing from self-injury and will be debuting a play in Fall 2010 called, Stuck.

Cairn Wonder
Maureen Kingston

At the Village Diner, sipping coffee,
captivated by his post-meal ritual.

The delicate way he piles his breakfast
dishes every morning into a monument:

fruit bowl centered on sticky hotcake platter,
milk glass centered in fruit bowl, silverware

leaning west in the milk glass, stabilized
by two paper napkins stuffed into its side.

And his serene satisfaction once the task
is completed, the pyramid built.

What had experience deposited in him?
What river cut through his plateau?

How many years of genetic wind
and fracture to carve this behavior in him?

Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Alehouse Press, Blue Collar Review, Blue Earth Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, Lucid Rhythms, Melusine, Nebraska Life, Paddlefish, Pemmican, Plains Song Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review, WestWard Quarterly and the anthologies Words Like Rain and The Great American Road Show.

Living the “Art” Life
Christopher Reilley

You say you wish to live your life as if it were Art, do you?
Then you must be willing to sacrifice yourself on the altar.
You must learn to listen intently to the choir of air conditioning
and the slow, languid electric chant of your flesh.

You should watch television with your mother, sadly enough,
while your girlfriend rides in cars with strange men.
You should drink every day, until bad things sprout
from between the cracks in the floorboards of your mind.

You must wear a tattered bathrobe like a carnival tent
and gather hours like found items at a yard sale.
Sometimes, usually in the dead of winter, you must
bawl like a baby at the sound of an alarm clock blinking 4:20.

Everyone will say how much you live for your art,
they will marvel at your dedication and craft,
while you hold your soul in a mason jar, looking inside
to find the miracle trapped in the amber.

Should you persist in this, as only a true artist could,
you would find that there is more, so much more to art
than eating jelly straight from the jar, or cat’s whispers,
or the fluttering of strange pink moths in the winds of your heart.

Christopher Reilley is a print technologist that has developed processes and solutions for W.B. Mason, Xerox, and other multinational companies. He has been writing poetry outside of definable niches since 2000. His works have been printed in Word Salad Poetry Magazine, Hitch, Forward Review and others. He has won prizes in numerous poetry contests, the latest being Poetry Zone's 4th Annual Slam. His chapbook Grief Tattoos will be published in the fall of 2010 by Big Table Publishing Company.

You and Me
Doug Mathewson

When we were little, just young fox kits still in the den.
You pretended to hunt, and ran with wet feathers in you mouth.
I wanted to be that bird more than anything.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand your poem.
Really so incredibly sorry.
You held it up to show that it was printed in a shape.
You were very excited and so was I.
I hadn’t really caught the title,
but you were so happy, I let it go.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand your poem
The shape was a nut, maybe an acorn I thought.
There were winter scenes and images
of bright eyes, longing for special treats.
Then I understood it was a dreidel,
and your cousins Nathan and Sahara,
were celebrating the joy of Hanukkah!
Not two hungry squirrels at Winter’s Solstice like I thought.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand your poem.
You cried then, and told me the shape was a heart.
A heart, your heart, you said
because this was a love poem, written because
you loved me, or used to think you did.
I felt horrible making you cry and for being such an oaf.
Then I was crying too, and laughing crazy.
Because I had always loved you, and never thought you’d notice.

I’m sorry I didn’t understand your poem,
but now I do.

Doug Mathewson continues his love/hate relationship with reality from his home in eastern Connecticut. He favors hats, and rarely turns down desert. His work most recently has appeared in The Boston Literary Magazine, Cezzane's Carrot, Gloom Cupboard, and Poor Mojo's Almanac(k). Sporadically he is grasped by fits and starts of inspiration, equally he can be swept away into infinite worlds of busy-signals, radio static, and elevator-music. To read more, comment, or just poke-around please visit his current project, True Stories From Imaginary Lives, at www.little2say.org.

Table of Our Discontent
Sharla Anderson

They sit, worn and fading
at the wooden table
where laughter once permeated
behind knowing smiles;
fixed now in silence
frail flowers fall inside a broken bottle
as modest sunlight stray
through dirty windows,
dancing across weary wood.

Her eyes peer at the parched painting,
drizzled dust rests upon its fragile frame—
of an old couple, sitting, at a wooden table
worn and faded…
Funny, how fate finds us; she suspects
then stares at him and wonder,
Do you still dream?

Sharla Anderson is a part-time poet who lives in a quiet suburb outside of Philadelphia, PA. Her previously published works appear in SP Quill Magazine, May 2009 and Blood Moon Rising E-Zine, Issue #38. When Sharla is not penning poetry, she loses herself in a book and spends time with her children.

I. “It’s just not a good fit.”
Are they talking about bathing suits? I know that feeling—
this one has horizontal stripes and my hips look as wide
as a horizon of sea viewed from shore on a clear day.
and this one—so ill fitting that it will surely slip and slide out of place
at the slightest provocation or gentlest caress of wave.
No one wants to be in an unfitted get-up. It looks very bad and everyone
knows it.

II. “We can’t publish all of the work we receive.”
I imagine the poor editor, kept up at night by compunction. “We regret,” he wrote
a hundred times just yesterday, “we are unable to give proper due to the volumes
of great work we receive.” would have to expand the journal to 600 pages.
publish every other week. read this stuff day and night and day and night endlessly.
ruthlessly. dedicated to giving every single word a fair chance. every unique writer
an unbiased trial. but there is just no way. and because of this, sorrowfulness. tender
hopeful hearts will break. heads will roll. words that would be heard in a world
of unlimited resources will go silent. stuffed back into drawers or old journals.

III. “Good luck elsewhere.”
I say this sometimes too. like after being hit up by vendors mercilessly
and continuously on the beach in exploited tourist towns. “No,” I say, “I don’t want
my name written on a piece of rice.” “I don’t want Chiclets, braided hair, T-shirts,
cheap silver jewelry, sodas in a bolsa or any food item from a cooler strapped on the back
of your bicycle in the morning and it’s now 4pm on a sweltering day.
but someone else might! odds. chance. destiny. luck. bad today but good tomorrow.
shake. blow. toss the dice again. (and again).

IV. “Although impressed with your work…we have elected not to publish
these particular poems. but hope you will continue to submit in the future.”
That’s not so bad. poor fit? no room? just can’t? it’s unclear
but hopeful. they probably don’t say this to everyone. or
do they? what does this mean exactly? maybe I’m reading too much
into it. but they have hope. and I certainly don’t want to crush it.

V. “As defined in our submission guidelines under selection criteria, we score each submission,
on quality, content and originality as excellent, good, deficient, or lacking.”
My poem scored “deficient”. in all three categories. as if they had used a standardized test.
I wish they had. because standardized means the scoring and interpretations
are consistent and predetermined. not based on opinion. dictatorial summation.
arrogant assessment. blind bisection. biased blasphemy. you bitch!
just say you don’t like it. good luck elsewhere. mismatch. we regret.
sorry to inform you. can’t. won’t. or how about “no”? a word of such integrity
that even infants understand. how innocently we might go about the day—
yes-ing and no-ing our way along eagerly.
satisfied with unfussy choices.

Renee Podunovich lives in southwest Colorado in an alternative energy “Earthship” home. Her writing has been described as merging science, nature, and soul, exploring human experience in relation to a living planet. Her work has been published in Ruah, Mississippi Review, Argestes, San Juan Mountain Journal, Arts Perspective Magazine and her book of poems If There Is a Center No One Knows Where It Begins (Art Juice Press) is available online. www.ReneePodunovich.com.

Rosemary Sprouls

In my deep tub
hot lavender water
undulates salted
ripples, pulses the breath
of dissipating foam,
swishes long iridescent
crinoline, slipperless
through clear velvet.

A demure woman I have
finally learned to decant
the quiver of a grin
as you burst my scented
escape with the bitter flick
of fluorescence, foam
your current need to know
what it is we need to
re - search to call it
research and find,
to discover where the bubbled
bad timing you drain
and the years of drowning
we mask should go now.

Rosemary Sprouls

We make
fire: click
flint, spark,
then bellow
at dried, gathered

Certain times
merely smolder
peat into heat.
Our gray dance
of shadows
slowing to

the silhouettes

of facing
dissimilar profiles.
my prominent
nose smells smoke;
your curls entangle

the flames.
Each year
is scarcer.
We sit in less


Rosemarie S Sprouls teaches at The Richard Stockton College in Pomona NJ. She is the author of the chapbook, More Possum than Turtle and is currently working on her first novel, When There's A Will. Rosemarie contentedly co-habitates with her husband Kevin in the idyllic pine barrens of Atlantic County and still subscribes to the Andy Capp comic strip advice clipped from The Herald News the week of her wedding, 28 years ago. "Marriages may be made in heaven, but you have to do your own maintenance."

eXTReMe Tracker