Three Poems by Frances Boyle

Inhumed

Water flowing underground, and a handprint on rock
shocks you awake to the nearness of the distant child/
woman/man/human. What surfaces? The unconscious
swimming upward. What won’t stay buried rises
through rocks, rough-ridden and rusty. Volume within
sound, the cavern’s vault reaches. A wrapped bone-kit, within
an urn, within a box, within a crypt. Tombs and chambers.
Grave goods: treasure below, small amber objects to pocket.
What flows beneath our surface lives? The honoured dead
or submerged horrors, the grinding feel as fist-sized shards
shift, lodge you ever deeper. Close dank touch of cave-breath,
trickle of phosphorescence. Blind white fish, white forms
in the underground river. Trace fossils, only an imprint.

Cover

Salty tracks crusty on her cheek, a shimmer
silvers her despair. Awakening only to roll
silent beneath the rusty ruched cape, once his,

now her only cover. Admonishments fall
into her palms. A curtain of openwork
—net or gauze—is ripped where once

he grabbed at it in his pain, for balance.
Leaves, sparse outside the window, semaphore
daylight. It opens her shuttered depths, a fumble

to recall what she tried to say to him. Words
weave their import in waft of sunlit lace.
That rending of crewelwork most eloquent still.

Outsider

fingers crossed
girls squeal run away
mock fear
real shunning
backs turned
tasks set for her
(to fetch them candy
to cheat or not)
faint hope of entering
an inner circle
or what appears so
but is only the outermost
layer, onion
skinned waiting

practicing casual pose
leaning on walls
by the boardwalk
learning to stand in
line just a little
behind the jostling
whispering crew
their allegiances
and exclusions

don’t care don’t care
ragged throat insists
beneath covers
a sink into library
pages velvety
from the turning
of hands


Frances Boyle is the author of two poetry books, most recently This White Nest (Quattro Books, 2019) as well as Tower, a novella (Fish Gotta Swim Editions, 2018) and Seeking Shade, a short story collection (The Porcupine’s Quill, forthcoming 2020). Her writing has appeared throughout North America and in the U.K. Recent and forthcoming publications are in Best Canadian Poetry, Blackbird, Vallum, Parentheses Journal, The /tƐmz/ Review, The New Quarterly and Twist in Timehttp://www.francesboyle.com

Frank Karioris

Rain on Sunday

Only if you have a few to spare

he told me as he

boarded the plan out of town.

If it weren’t for those words

            I might have fought his life

as one does

               a cold,

but this is the way

            words can work,

they divert us

                    from pathways

onto new highways,

                        & sometimes

            directly into

oncoming traffic.


Frank G. Karioris (he/they/him/them) is a writer and educator based in Pittsburgh whose writing addresses issues of friendship, masculinity, and gender. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, Maudlin House, Sooth Swarm Journal, and Crêpe & Penn amongst others. They are a regular contributor to Headline Poetry & Press. 

Two Poems by Catherine Graham

WILDFLOWER

In Memoriam Bruce Gillingham, 1929-2019

The condo took him away
from his garden. Pots
on the balcony, not the same.

By the lake, a field with few
wildflowers called to him.
He drove to where the city

kept spreading—holes where
other condos would rise.
Ox-eye daisy, Queen Anne’s lace,

Butter and eggs, Chicory—
he transplanted his finds along
the waiting edges. Fox, skunk

and rabbit watched, but not
the passersby as he dug more holes
to root the living. Growth took.

So he planted seeds, nothing invasive,
just more of the already there to richen
texture and colour. Some milkweed

to coax monarchs back. I see
him—tending, tamping, close
to ninety, down on his knees.


DANDELION

I hold a world
of wishes in my grip,
stem a ghostly circle

from yellow. I cycle
with sun-pops, host
bees, wasps—you

pluck—my Nail
into Earth
splits—summer
blows from your mouth
in spitting wisps—

I am I am wind-held.


Catherine Graham’s sixth poetry collection, The Celery Forest, was named a CBC Best Book of the Year and was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her debut novel Quarry won an Independent Publisher Book Awards gold medal, “The Very Best!” Book Awards for Best Fiction and was a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award and Fred Kerner Book Award. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto SCS where she won an Excellence in Teaching Award. Æther: an out-of-body lyric appears in 2021 as will with her second novel The Most Cunning Heart. Visit: www.catherinegraham.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @catgrahampoet

Two Poems by Lauren Aspery

        

Photo albums

hide in attics and bottom drawers,
gathering dust and filled with flies
from days gone by
since they were shot, snapped and
stowed away,
ready to remind us of where we went,
what we wore
and who we were.

A Chance Meeting with Edgar Allan Poe, or An Ode to the Poe Toaster

Baltimore Maryland
it was 1849
as Summer turned to Autumn
the light became dark
the leaves fell and so did the rain
a quiet street and slippery cobbles
a man approaches
stumbling and slurring
delusion and hysteria behind his dying eyes
unkempt and dirty 
saturated with alcohol
with tears and rain
the feathers of his hair raven black
his face ghost white
a phantom
drowned by cruel words and sorrow


Lauren Aspery is a postgraduate English Literature student from Middlesbrough, England, and is currently researching late twentieth-century British children’s poetry at Newcastle University. She is a two-time winner of the Terry Kelly Poetry Prize and has since become the prize’s coordinator. She has poetry published and forthcoming in Nightingale & Sparrow, Fragmented Voices, Slice of the Moon Books and elsewhere, and was named the poet-in-residence commendation at Chester Cathedral’s 2020 Young People’s Poetry Competition.

Isaura Ren

cloud cover

it is not heat
that greets us,

nor is it the gentle
green of spring. our

seeds sleep beneath
permafrost sheets,

these silkwhite skies
above bleak but brimful.

we have grown weary of
dreams. even this stillness

shivers with possibility.
if all we’ll ever know is

winter, let it billow. bring its
windchill. blow in nimbus

on the lip of spilling.


Isaura Ren is a poet from Northern California. She’s just here for a good time. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Mineral Lit MagNeologism Poetry JournalSea Foam MagThe Green LightElectric Moon Magazine, and After the Pause. Follow her on Twitter @isaurarenwrites. 

Auden Eagerton

A Sea of Bodies

Every morning I go down to the docks,
hoping to catch something alive.
I don’t know what it is,
but when I stick my net in the water
I am always too late.
Later I realize they all have
my mother’s eyes.

Cicatrix

On our second birthday, you discovered fire
fingertips learning before you had the words
to kiss the blisters and wait for the day flames love you.
Now I pinch the wicks and we are more wishboned,

hairline fractures gone tectonic.
You spun me from the yarn of you,
forged not in a womb but in the lie
that the combustion had turned to warmth,
as if new wallpaper excuses the ash.

You are bellows, I am siren.
One day the crime of my emergence
will be the hymn in your lungs.


Auden Eagerton is a non-binary poet located in Kennesaw, Georgia. They received a Bachelor of Arts in English at Kennesaw State University, and will pursue their MFA in Creative Writing at Georgia College and State University beginning in August 2020. Their work has been featured in Exhume Literary Journal, LandLocked Magazine, Across the Margin, DASH Literary Journal, The Bookends Review, Digging Through the Fat/Digging Press, Feral: A Journal of Art and Poetry, and Mineral Lit Mag.

Ceinwen Haydon

Wren

tiny, rust-powdered wren, you broke cover
flitted into open air, twirled at ease
took your time, spread your round wing’s brown feathers
unrushed, you played hide and seek in thickets

flitted into open air, twirled at ease
sharp-billed trill, celebrating Spring’s shy sun
unrushed, you played hide-and-seek in thickets
hiding until your next visitation

sharp-billed trill, celebrating Spring’s shy sun
will you take another’s eyes by surprise –
hiding until your next visitation
distracted from insect feast, nest building

will you take another’s eyes by surprise
take your time, spread your round wing’s brown feathers
distracted from insect feast, nest building
tiny, rust-powdered wren, please break cover


Ceinwen Haydon writes short stories and poetry. She is widely published in online magazines and in print anthologies. Her first chapbook was published in July 2019: ‘Cerddi Bach’ [Little Poems], Hedgehog Press. Her first pamphlet is due to be published in 2020. She is a Pushcart Prize and Forward Prize nominee (2019) and has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, UK (2017). She believes everyone’s voices count.

Three Poems by Jowell Tan

[half-aware]

these dreams at the edge of my
memory, dimly lit and hazy
undetailed and uneasily
remembered;

oftentimes
a sharp recollection –
minor details and major scenes
the most important parts of the dream;

like a passing wind the thoughts recede
retreat to its forgotten corners;
leaving me unsure if it was real
or a figment conjured whilst i slept.


Acheron, The In-Between River

like Jesus i walk
light-footed onto water. each step
is a memory. below the waves i see myself
across decades. still lifes chosen from
history as exhibition pieces.

my tongue rolls about
a coin. payment
for passage.
on the shore, the
ferryman patiently waits.

did you find what you needed?
a slow boat to heaven.


[Digital Window]

The television
Speaks out loud; sends messages
For us to decode.


Born, bred, and based in Singapore, Jowell Tan writes prose & poetry after hours for fun and emotional release. His nights consist of writing, rewriting, watching Youtube videos to avoid writing, and finally, writing again. Please say hello to him on Twitter / Instagram at @jwlltn.

He thanks you for your time.

Two Poems by Leela Soma

Cityscapes

On the Empire pink- washed map
Edged by blue Bay of Bengal
My dad’s Madras, golden-sanded beach
Yet Seussian in my mind, a landscape
In black and white of a tapestry hung
With fragments recorded in Brownie
Camera shots of the dying days of
The Raj. I try to cross to that world
In pages of books imagining the
Poetry of their lives, of the hunger for
Freedom, the burden of their grief
The potpourri of emotions, Dad’s life
King Emperor George V1 Rupee coins
The British suits to work
The impeccable English
A calligraphic writing
Playing cricket and tennis
Mount Road, Elliot’s Beach
Higginbotham Bookstore
Reels of Laurel & Hardy
Black & White silent films
Screened on 35mm projector
Life of hardship and happiness
The washed pink city coloured
New in saffron, white and green
Born again, an Independent India.

Knotted

Snaking around, confused,
green on brown
Gnarled, convoluted,
sculpted by nature
carved by wind and rain
seeking the sun
a scission, chiselling its way
braided- twigs
through the welter
reaching for the skies
for its existence
forming
its own patterns
in a language unique
every leaf, branch its own code
a deep mystery
rooted in the
wilderness
prosopography of a tree’s life
no bark with circles
survival etched
in its slant.


Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies, publications. She has published two novels and two collections of poetry.
She has served on the Scottish Writer’s Centre Committee and is now on East Dunbartonshire Arts & Culture Committee. Some of her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland. She was nominated for Pushcart Prize 2020.

Ben Berman Ghan

That Ghostly Voyage Beyond

For you, I would relinquish
My precious solitary
signified being and
embrace a gaseous dizzying
Consciousness of nebulae
Altering star-ways on a journey

To eventually settle a planet
So blue all the way through
To call home, and there I would
drift among the berries
And the birds and stars with you
And experiment with all the forms
Of conjoining dewdrops

Until one day when
Our bodies have fallen
into mixed memories leaving
Nothing left that might signify a me
Or a you in this endlessly distributed
Cognitive we

Would I spin us
From lilac stems and
Sweet honeys, remoulding
A you with touch and soft attentions and
A me made from your light recognitions
To lie in a garden of we and look at
The constellations we have midwifed
In our travels

 

Ben Berman Ghan is a Jewish Settler, writer, editor, and scholar based in Tkaronto/Toronto, site of Treaty 13 and Williams Treaty territory, His non-fiction has been published in the likes of Empty Mirror Books, Augur Magazine, and Strange Horizons, and his fiction has appeared The Temz Review and The Sweet Tree Review, and his poetry in The UC Review and The Trinity Review. His novel What We See in the Smoke was published in 2019 by Crowsnest Books. His novella “Visitation Seeds” is forthcoming with 845 Press. You can find him @inkstainedwreck or inkstainedwreck.ca