Three Poems by Prosper C. Ìféányí

Nouveau Sonata

night & the poet plots his                 way in a dark

room. thin threads of                   light spun on his

sheaf of papers.                            windows shut &

grieving with ideas.                       brimming


with tears—                                         coniferous ice

effulgent                                           like small teeth

cascading down                                   a snake-like

wind dredging                                   tremor & souls.


an ashen ghost                                           plotting

a coup on the radio.                           sweet riotous

cry, outside the field.                     fire lining rave;

the song                                   harpooning the crest


of the saint. suckled                       sugar-plum—

fingers somewhere                    the pillow of the

head has refused                               to unroll.

in the forest, a shindig             bereft of din & flow.


tired mouths                                          docked at

bay of sea-spit                                      two hands

large as   airy-wings                    piercing the white

of the   sky.                                    a chiseled anthill


in the memorious                   savannah. all mirrors

in the house                                                   sharded

&     splayed                                   burrowed deep

the tendril of images                drowned by clarinet


hymns.                                            roofs perforated

by singing bullets.                    bodies serenading

the fall                                        like suture of two

bird claws—                                  licked & spat dirt


in a cubicle                                          of bouncing

light. a shepard boy                     in his leanness

traverses the field                       round yolked in

thorns & wolves.                 what tree best he hide?


A Poem to Read From Right to Left

After Othuke Umukoro

you tell I where poem the of part that is This
already you but; father my miss I much How
about talk to going just am I so ,don’t I Know
—man burnt a like is city burnt A .cities Burning
eating force paralysed A .colour without Shade
the under hidden is Rest. blight like hopes All
the for rest no is there meaning ;dove a of Foot
existence natural into city a cry shall We. Restless
we ,noon of repose that In .fire bear it watch and
.tomorrow of flowering the watch and sit will
and ,plump ,fat ;arrive will tomorrow first at How
grief its But .yesterday than Resplendent .pregnant
she say cannot mother my ;bucket a fill Cannot
broke which straw last the remember doesn’t
.him of front in unclad standing is she when ,Her
chest dark Her .irises grows still chest dark Her
musics still chest dark Her .petunias enchants still
Everything .eventually folds Everything .daffodils
.fire of tongue the to bends still forgetting needing



Lamb—body like glass, fragile on the

hardest places. Two children,

kite flying, hands strapped in

a prayer. The muezzins croon

into the gape of a lilac. Holy

bodies draped in a filament of

light. Children latched on their

mothers’ backs. Plural for sad-

ness, escaping the hole of an

alley—who sings into the night

and expects a light feathered

thing? Just when you followed

the Imam into the dusty brown

room, and find that the moist

has swept clean the memories.

The memories of Aisha and Isatu.

You can only rekindle the fire

that was always there. The touch

like a twig erupts the crammed

spaces of metaphors and toads

rearing into the glabella. I would

like to think of myself as helpless

or unfavored, but doesn’t every

miracle begin with a smoke in

the duct? I first have to know I

am alone in the business of

suffering at its pecking order.

Two canvases; two slimy ducks.

Eating their way through frost—

radio bites, and the windowsill

still swallows crust. The footprints

of two stories, in the end, never

adjoin as one. One keeper at a time.


About the Poet 

Prosper C. Ìféányí is a poet. His works appear or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, Parentheses Journal, Identity Theory, Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Deadlands, The Shore, and elsewhere.

Four Poems by Heikki Huotari

Guilty Of Existing
In accord with on/off switches wishes, no one takes debriefings seriously. To protect my innocence I use the pronouns that the sergeant chooses. Enhance it with prejudice or tolerance or not, the body is a block of marble to the bones, the face a blade, the brain a lathe and everywhere an empty vase. When culturally sensitive, some dogs will act as cats, as cats are not allowed in public places after reveille and after taps. There’s nothing more to my geometry than your discretion. That discretion is the table I’ll dance naked on. My final answer is I do still have my sore throat/civil war but it’s not sore and it’s not civil any more.
Not Guilty Of Existing
On a ventilator I maintain it’s just the flu. No variable is explanatory or derogatory until scheming makes it so. The more the synchrony the more the plausible deniability. At gaps in mental maps are stand-up comics having laughs at my expense. To optimize I seek to shock. The half-life of absurdity is measured not in years but days. Give me a place to pirouette. It is an honor to be othered. In a movie theater I’m one of three. The contour line may neither fall nor rise. As cognitive my dissonance is, so logistic is my nightmare. Virtue is derivative but sin original. Therefore identify ye flying objects while ye may.
Rootin Shootin Rhizome
What was necessary and sufficient then is necessary and sufficient now. As in the hot house and the walk-in cooler Newton’s laws are but suggestions, I advise new graduates to run from dreams. As it’s a theory, none dare call it gravity, it’s lumpy, as yet incompletely stirred, a thousand Shakespeares with a thousand Dictaphones, one monkey, independent variables all around nor one explanatory, wet wheelbarrows, not one red. My fashion sense says I’m the one to recon with, the enemy’s attention drawn to me. As between briefing and debriefing only briefly real so your arrival changes nothing your departure does. If I had known your motorcade would pass by I’d have baked a pie, therefore, where there are flowers there are flowers over ears.
Bless Your Heart
The epitome of irony and vice versa, I adopt each calculated end of time with equal fervor. Saying we are chosen is equivalent to saying I am not. The butterfly outside of space and time is my co-pilot. Pretend I’m not here. It’s more the chore to frame the asymmetric so it’s more the chore for mortals to imagine tangent planets. Taking pictures, I say to my subject, Pretend I’m not here. The logic of the butterfly bimodal, one day everything is true, the next day everything is false. The anthem has no overtones, the emperor no clothes. You don’t believe what I believe so clearly you believe in nothing.

Two Poems by Diane Pohl

Winter Swim Tips

Please post

Choose flawless full-sun, dry, low-wind days – or know sheltered spots where the water will be
smooth preferably the days when the air is warmer than the water – this way it will feel like you
are in the Caribbean and not New England after your swim. Everything is relative.

Know that on a windy day or on a day after a storm the colder water will churn up from the deep
and it will be that water to crash on the beach. This will make your swim water several degrees
colder than the marine forecast said it would be.

Go at high tide or wade to eternity to start your swim.

Eat seriously before you go.

Pack two one-liter plastic bottles filled with hot tap water from the cottage – one to hold to warm
your hands after your swim and the other to rinse sand from the neoprene booties that will still be
on your feet.

You don’t need a wetsuit in fact a wetsuit is discouraged. Neoprene booties and gloves will
protect your toes and fingers.  Start no later than November.

Make sure your keys are in a zippered pocket.

Plan your swim. If dogs meet up at certain hours avoid those hours or risk being a focus

of their attention, in particular if you are wearing a mask and snorkel.

Be well-versed in hypothermia. Go with a swim buddy or recruit your spouse to serve as your
swim sherpa. While you are in the water intermittently yell out to your sherpa for time-checks –
this will keep him from getting distracted by birds.

Have your visual field linger somewhere between the sunlight just above and the water

just below the surface – it’s the portal between two worlds.

Be prepared to feel euphoric post-swim. This feeling will last for hours if not days.

Be generous and answer any questions from gawking onlookers on the beach-

one might become a life-long friend.

Once home sit in front of a portable sauna lamp and take a selfie at an odd angle, so you are
foreshortened in the fiery light.


Cup Love                   


I am in love



a porcelain







like the bun

my daughter wears

at the


of her



at 22






without blemish


and the cup


I hold it




in the



of my hand.


About the Poet
Diane Pohl’s recent poetry has appeared in The Lake, Slipstream, Nixes Mate Review, The Bookends Review, and Ovunque Siamo. Her work is forthcoming in The Main Street RagI-70 ReviewMuseum of Americana, other places. She lives in Cambridge MA, where there are books along the sidewalks and always people to talk to. Her poem ‘When you were 9’ won an Allen Ginsberg Award.

Two Poems by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Reading Charles Bukowski
I love the way in his poems he tattles on neighbors
like Eddie (aka Igloo), who shot
his own dog with an arrow,
and the woman whose husband
shot himself with a gun, who swayed
her backside while Bukowski, as a boy,
walked beside her, lusting,
and the priest who vowed poverty
who Charles caught buying a pricey ice-cream cone
during the grip of the Great Depression.

After a night of Dewar’s, over black coffee
and Marlboro smoke, my mother talked about
Mr. Fogel from the fish market.
He felt up Mrs. Cohen, topped her,
my mother called it, for extra herring.
As if proof of her sin, stray cats
followed her home. Rheumy eyes
widening. Mother told me the woman
across the road stood naked
in the window after midnight,
and about the husbands
who climbed her fire escape.

I poured Mother’s words over my Sugar Frosted Flakes,
heard them snap, crackle, and pop.


The dark crust can hold a gleam
like a candlelit still life. Slice
through the crust to the grainy
richness of the innards. Held
in the mouth, the soft density
dissolves slowly, tricking the mind
into believing you are eating more
than you really are, like the miracle
of Christ multiplying
loaves of bread to feed the hungry.

When my father bit into pumpernickel,
his jaws clenched, the veins in his temple
swelled and you heard each chew
from across the room
which told the story of his hunger
in Russia as a boy, hiding
in the forest from the Cossacks.
Father took slice after slice, and watched
over our plates for leftovers.


About the Poet
Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster, 2004), was nominated for the Harold U. Ribelow Award. She has published essays in NYT (Lives) and Newsweek. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in many literary magazines such as A Thin Slice of Anxiety, After the Pause, BoomerLitMag, Brief Wilderness, Brushfire, The Courtship of Winds, and Wrath-Bearing Tree. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the Branden Memorial Literary Award from Negative CapabilitySpry Magazine nominated her poem for the Best of the Net. She currently teach writing at UCLA Extension.

Two Poems by Joshua Faulks

Midnight in the Valley
The Gibbous dangles lo in the denim sky,
a wealthy hand showing a coin to a beggar.
It is midnight in the valley,
and pillows await tired minds.
The bed sheets are clean and wanting,
but there is no time for sleep
in the abodes beyond the valley head.

The clergyman hangs his divinity robes,
his undergarments soon to follow,
as he disappears into the tiled undergrowth
of his prized throne, his inner sanctum
his true fantasies manifesting.
His followers beg and pray
but he cannot, will not, answer.

Executives brood in silence,
thinking of the best corners to cut
as they tame their bottom line.
Thinking is easy in opulence.
His day assistant places an ice pack
over the head of her feverish son,
for it’s all that she can afford.

The doctor’s oath is framed
o’er his propane insert fireplace.
A patient perished in his care
but his hands have long been washed.
In the valley, the patient’s wife weeps
the daughter sobs, the dog chews a toy
missing the thrill of chasing it.

In darkened bedrooms, children dream
of phantoms rising from their graves.
Bony, brittle bodies that bellow, and
demons that mock, gesticulate.
But real monsters don’t hide in coffins,
tombs, or plots. They smile and say they care,
as they stuff bones in their closets.

The Gibbous rises higher in the lavender sky,
the wealthy hand has pulled away.
The optimist sun tells us we’re the same,
but the moon shows us that we aren’t.
The valley descends too deep
so that voices rebound and echo.
The stars only twinkle from afar.


In sunlit halls under cloudy plaster
was our adolescence spent.
If only we knew how easy it was
before we worried about rent.

Our faces belong to grizzled sages
but to our elders, naive and frayed.
Our resumes the envoy of our lives
flushed promptly down the drain.

We travel in V-formation
told “no bird before the other,”
but shot down from the air
by men who would betray a brother.

The Invisible Hand is clenched,
its fingers numb and cold.
Our well-being dangled ‘fore us,
it’s too risky to be bold.

A Davos man sits lonely
his heart is an ebony pit.
Cares not for future malignancy,
since he won’t be here for it.

All these thoughts rattle
in the minds of the Z.
But only the brave few
are willing to spill that tea.

Time, the cold temptress, says
“we must wait for heaven.”
But there’s a long way to go,
and this is only 27.


About the Poet
The poetry of Joshua Faulks has previously been published in Willard and Maple and Z Publishing House’s Vermont Best Emerging Poets Anthology 2019. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. He lives in North Rose, NY.

Two Poems by Sandra Salinas Newton

The street is still in shadow
When I slip outside and take a deep breath.
No smell of snow in the early-winter air,
Just the promise of dawn’s silence as the sun,
A new-minted penny just out of the furnace,
Glows hot-bright on the graying horizon.
Nothing stirs. Possums and raccoons have cozied
Into their dens, and the mourning doves huddle
While their preened pinfeathers float mutely to the ground.
Carried on the wind, today’s freshness
Tingles in my nose. I will not yet rub
Night’s sleep from my heavy, languid eyes,
Unwilling to wake further or to squint at sunrise,
But just to stand in the half-shadows and
Breathe in the streaks of mauve and pink and
Marigold—dawn’s subtle clarity for this new day.


I know now that I was meant to love and lose,
To burn with passion that devours itself

Much like a fire swallowing
The air and flashing with delight

The serpent greedily gulping
Its own tail

The fox that chews off its foot,
Caught in a rusty iron trap.

Love so huge, so terrible, it

Not fading softly
But disintegrating—
Sand blown by the wind,
Or exploded fragments
Of the sparkling nova in a winter sky.

And there is no time for regret,
For doubt or hesitation:

A mote in my eye is rubbed out,
An itch in my nose is scratched,
Dry lips are briefly licked.

Everything is subject to the instant
And changes, is changed, will change
In the moment.

Such love is glimpsed
In dreams.
Then I wake.


About the Poet
Sandra Salinas Newton is a Filipina-American professor emeritus of English. Her published works include introductory texts, fiction, and arts reviews. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Apricity Magazine, Brushfire, Cerasus, Courtship of Winds, Decadent Review, Ekphrastic Review, ellipsis…literature & art, Etched Onyx. Evening Street Review, Exchanges, Fauxmoir, Hawaii Pacific Review, Hyacinth Review, Library Love Letter, Loch Raven Review, Midwest Quarterly, Multiplicity, Native Skin, Neologism Poetry Journal, New Note Poetry, Oberon Poetry Journal 2021, OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters, The Poeming Pigeon, Poetic Sun, Ponder Review, Provenance, Slab, Vultures and Doves, The Woolf, Wrath-Bearing Tree, and many others.

Noise by Laura Martin


Visiting a friend in St. Louis, I attended a Buddhist service in a storefront distinguished only by a string of prayer flags. Distant traffic and bright bird calls filter through the booming-evangelical-pastor voice of the Lama, skyped in from Minnesota. We recited Sanskrit and English in a call and response reminiscent of and utterly unlike the hymns and prayers of the churches of my youth. In that moment I am restless, but in remembering I feel at peace. Back home in South Carolina, I walk my dog in the woods where the only sounds are tree frog chirps and leaves crunching under my tennis shoes. My dog is terrified of car sounds, so we walk at the National Historic Site in the town of Ninety-Six, half an hour from home. She’s nervous near the entrance where black cutouts of soldiers lurk in the trees and logging trucks rumble past, but once we enter the woods her tail rises, and her prancing turns soundless. Back home, I am the loudest thing, my typing surprisingly creaky, rising above the refrigerator’s hum, the grinding whir of the electric heater. The townhomes across the street are being reroofed in staccato bursts amplified by the general quiet. Some nights, a cat paces in the narrow grass alley between my home and the one beside it, howling mournfully. When she stops, the quiet becomes a question. Is she still there? Will she call again? There’s a game I play with the dog where I throw a piece of kibble into the air and she freezes, ears cocked forward, so she can find the morsel by sound. If it hits the rug, it’s almost inaudible. If it lands on the parquet, it skitters away from the point of contact, confusing her. If she can’t find a piece after a few seconds, she cheats and uses her nose. The game reminds me of one played during halftime at basketball games at the college where I teach. A twenty-dollar bill is dropped somewhere on the court and a blindfolded student searches on hands and knees while the audience cheers to guide them, the meaning of their excitement lost to the volume. The student almost never finds the money. I once had a poetry teacher who said that negation simultaneously creates and erases, giving you both a thing and its absence. I think of her as I try a guided meditation where the instructor begins by listing potential difficulties. You may need to move around; you may need to laugh; you may need to scream. His suggestions make the silence and stillness more bearable.

Two Poems by Matt Cariello


           No thought of honor ever did assay
           His baser breast, but in his kestral kynde
           A pleasant veine of glory he did find.
                           Edmund Spenser, “The Fairie Queen” II.iii.4.

Crank of dusk, a leper’s clicket,
in spring it rises above the rooftops,
skirts the cliffs on the western edge
of this city.  On racketing wings
it rises and plummets, wings

stroking laterally, a bell’s clapper
above the street noise. It draws
spirals in the air, whistles and follows
me where honeysuckle
sweetens the street.

Don’t think I don’t see it
there, over my shoulder,
flitting among thin wires of the sky.
All night it waits near the window
at the foot of my bed

and watches my sleep.
All night it calls to another
high above, calls to the moon’s choir.
With a flourish, the throttling talon
raises hell across the mouse’s back,

with wing thrusted surge
and bolted breath, it knows me
and fires my sleep. In a black
and cricketing factory
the articulate chorister keens.

Nothing Falling
When school was over,
when the summer began,
when I left my friends and books
and the cafeteria’s sad smell,
I’d wander the summer, follow
my bike wheels through the woods,
past the parking lots in town,
looking. There were streams
below bridges, damp thickets
by the sandpit, the field
behind the school redolent
with queen-Ann’s-lace,
and the birds in that field.
Let’s count them and name
the names my mother said.
Cardinal, robin, jay, crow,
unseen owls and flocks of sparrows,
finches, chickadees and
endless endless starlings.
At the edge of the ball field
where I’d played baseball badly,
behind the stands, nearly
at the street, a moment of doubt.
I’d never seen this bird before.
It was nothing I’d ever seen.
It was far from home.
I knew the summer
was already over. I knew
it was going to end.
Already there were so many
things I’d never know.
Before that bird, there was only
breathing and beating wings,
but since that day on the edge
of the wood on the edge
of the field at the edge
of the summer, the breast
and the beak, the fluttering
wing and spiraling coil,
the banking turn, the flash
and lash of color at the top
of the turn through the leaves
at the top of the tree –
since then there’s been nothing
but falling light and nothing falling.


About the Poet

Matt Cariello has published three books of poems, A Boat That Can Carry Two (2011), Talk (2019), both from Bordighera Press, and The Empty Field (2022, Red Moon Press.) He’s had stories, poems, haiku, and reviews published in Bennington Review, Voices in Italian AmericanaPoet Lore, Ovunque Siamo, Evening Street Review, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, The Long Story, Indiana Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Italian Americana, Typehouse, and The Journal.  He’s currently a senior lecturer in the English department at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.


Three Poems by Heather Lang-Cassera

beneath the snow
we leave our words

like flowers
among strangers
newly made

I’ve known the winter sky,
a feathered creature,

the wilderness wrapped around it.
The night is not
as dark as we make it.

It waits for me, tundra-footed and tender.

Perhaps we could witness the sound
of sandalwood
like a birth-year resting against
cage beneath collarbone,

the fog like a mane
brushing, by happenstance,
against one’s own cheek.

Beyond the whimper of fire,
I will call for you,

this viscous memory walking barefoot in this
fragile morning.

Hunger lives within
the creases of my hands, never
quite knowing the patience
of need.

The memories I have forgotten,
the dorsal fins of freshwater fish,
long ago became the silver

of rafters above a home
ever in invocation, and then
never again.

In this modest light, I don’t need to be everywhere,
like a metronome,
a rhythm, the firefly starlight,
like toothmarks left again.

The unrequited look
to tomorrow, feather
and wind in the unexpected.
You already have your own
marrow, bone and brilliance,
your ribcage and respite.
We are not to decide
lock-stepped meanings
of anything sky-written
and beginning to disappear,
unkept, already so we cannot
understand. We trace small,
wing-shaped silhouettes
before moonset, shadow
puppets of the sycamore.

About the Poet
Heather Lang-Cassera is a 2022 Nevada Arts Council Literary Arts Fellow, a Tolsun Books publisher, a lecturer with Nevada State College, a 300 Days of Sun Faculty Advisor, and a Clark County, Nevada Poet Laureate Emeritus. She is the author of Gathering Broken Light (Unsolicited Press, 2021), which was written with the support of a Nevada Arts Council grant and won the NYC Big Book Award in Poetry, Social/Political.

Three Poems by Frederick Pollack

From the Astral Plane
I labored under the impression
that I was asking for help,
and that a future, penitent and potent,
heard. I didn’t merely
cite global warming and the rest,
but with passionate spontaneous eloquence
metaphorized, personified. The dead eyes
of Republicans, the willful gleeful
self-injection of lies, the howls of forests
and coral, the continents
and cultures devoted to rape, the hungry,
the lost. I didn’t request
specifics, I trusted
that they who cared would know, and meanwhile
brought tears to my own eyes.

Then very gradually realized,
seeing through fog, that my listeners
wore celluloid collars
and absurd voluminous skirts
and attitudes, and were accustomed to being
rather dirty. In the gaslight, they didn’t
even have the excuse
of trying to summon lost sons
in 1919; their kids would do that. And meanwhile,
through the desultory twitches
of the board, the ambiguous knocks,
the medium’s censorship,
my words were coming through
as gibberish. To the extent they grasped
the mixup, the ladies were outraged
that I was not their intended
departed, the men
that I couldn’t at least
give them tips on tomorrow’s prices or races.

But what I went on to perceive
was worse: they had somehow created me.
My language, concerns,
I had not existed
before the rapping, the joining of hands.
From out of the fog had come my century, and even
this crappier one I’ll die in.

Nothing has mystery
where there’s no curiosity. The tourist
stays in a midrange airbnb
some blocks from the waves. After
settling in he’s in costume:
pressed shorts, black knee-high socks (although
he scuttles swiftly, without cart or cane),
and proper wizened form. He rents
a midsized hybrid, twice a day
drives the length of the Avenue to eat
at the famous places. He enters
(from the street, it isn’t difficult) the garages
of condos, where the building’s mighty
pillars show; exhibits
a mild but allover thrill, feeling, sniffing
the crevices in the concrete, rusting
rebar. (Streets are often awash, vehicles
leave wakes; he savors
perversely the flood in his sneakers.) On various
pretexts he attends
board meetings, nods as residents
protest projected meddling and expense.
But mostly he walks the sixty or twenty
yards of sand between towers and sea,
smiling at bathers, his gaze
turning from pitted walls and relaxing
balconies to the waves
and back. Enjoying
a double vision, the beach overlaid
with those same towers, half- or wholly submerged,
lying on each other, some remarkably whole;
for gods remain godlike, even when decayed.
How often (it’s a real question)
have I sat on a bed or couch,
one arm or awkwardly both
around someone, or in a facing chair
not touching
while incoherent sobs,
terrible inappropriate
wit, or dulled endless
memory poured out –
not directed at me,
me only there
by chance, the chance of relationship
perhaps, but tangential,
just passing through –
thinking that the limits
of language and/or
compassion are nearer,
narrower than people admit;
and that I will hear the same voice
(who else’s?) when the time comes,
offering what help
it can.
About the Poet

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former reissued 2022 by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), BateauFulcrumChiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc.  Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Rat’s Ass Review,  Faircloth Review, TriggerfishModern Poetry Quarterly Review (2015, 2017), etc.