Magic

Stirring my tea
sets this forest spinning
and all its leaves are peppermint

About the Author: Gary Galsworth grew up in the New York City area. After the Marine Corps he studied painting and filmmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. His work has been featured in Abstract: Contemporary Expression, Nebo, Pennsylvania English, Broad River Review, and others. In addition to writing poetry, he is a professional plumber and a student of Zen Meditation. He’s published two books of poems: “Yes Yes”, and “Beyond the Wire”. Gary lives in Hoboken, NJ.

Anne

My mother’s name was not hard to spell
His family always got it wrong
Every card, every label
40 years or until they died.

Christmastime and mother in the kitchen
Dirty dishes, brandy, cigars,
Laughter in the living room
Open-fly naps on the floor under the TV.

She made long lists each year.
Slanted, delicate letters
Their names and beside each
A gift.

by J.E. Beville

Fixer Upper

Sometimes I wish I could be
HGTV’s Joanna Gaines,
decorate a Waco farmhouse,
plant that exquisite garden.
The scent of purple wildflowers
would waft while butterflies circle
hyacinth beans and we picnic
under oak trees older than this country.
If Clint, from Harp Studios,
was my friend. He’d build
a dinner table of my dreams
from salvaged scraps;
I’d not need apologize
that I like pine or covet
refurbished stone and
Cotswold cottage-like windows.
But then I try to picture my
Connecticut private school kids
gathering eggs from our chickens,
watching baby chicks hatch,
helping birth calves and goats.
I have to smile when I imagine
my husband demolishing a house,
shopping at antique stores,
riding dirt bikes on our acreage.
Long ago I married tasseled loafers,
chinos, short hair,
and fancy German sedans
in lieu of trucks.
If I’m honest, I know that
I don’t want Chip—
he’d talk over me
and he’s silly.
But still, I have to say,
I like his boots,
and denim,
and beard.


About the Author: Cathy Allman entered the writing field as a reporter after attending the school of Cinema and Television at the University of Southern California. While her career shifted gears from writing to advertising and marketing, she never stopped writing or attending workshops, eventually earning an MFA from Manhattanville College. She has reinvested in her writing, and she teaches creativity workshops at high schools and at her Connecticut office. Her poem, “Not in the Wonder Box” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Red River Valley

Three-thirty in the night, thirty-two
and a half hours before the end,
two liters of tissue, blood, and fluid
gush in an arc, red, muddy,
landing on my floor.

I try to imagine what tributaries
have broken what banks of his belly
to wash lumps of liver into his stomach
to be thrown up on my shore
and why he has not yet bled out.

I deposit him on the toilet to sit alone,
wait to be cleaned, bedded,
while I squat in my nightgown
sopping up the flood with paper towels,
sobbing for my carpet.


About the Author: Donna James has practiced psychotherapy for over thirty-five years. After long years of academic writing, she returns to poetry, her first literary love. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Cape Rock, Carbon Culture Review, Kyoto Journal, and Secret Histories: Stories of Courage, Risk, and Revelation.

Boarding School

You had to know my pal Chelminski
to take full measure
of his unfettered enthusiasm for mischief.
One day, for no good reason,
he wrote

PEANUT BUTTER

on the blackboard in history class,
its chalky mockery hidden
behind a Mercator projection of the world,
pulled down to conceal the silliness beneath;
he wrote

PEANUT BUTTER

in red paint in the tiled foyer
beneath the bronze statue of Abe Lincoln
(its nose an erotic protuberance stroked
by giggling, complicit teenage fingers);
he wrote

PEANUT BUTTER

on our textbooks, on our lockers, in the halls,
on the floors beneath our beds,
and at last, on the door
to the headmaster’s living room.

Ah yes, our headmaster, the sanctimonious Tall Paul,
eventually found the ebullient prankster out.

“Chelminski,” he intoned before the entire school,
“I find your all too inappropriate treatment of

PEANUT BUTTER

low,
common,
cheap,
vulgar
and disgusting.”

And here Tall Paul paused, grateful
for the chance to wrinkle his nose
and condemn adolescent masturbation.
From somewhere behind invisible curtains
we could hear Chelminski giggle.

About the author, Victor Altshul: My second and third books of poems, Singing with Starlings (2015) and Ode to My Autumn (2017), were published by Antrim House, and two of my poems have appeared in the Hartford Courant. My work has recently been published in Alabama Literary Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Cape Rock, Caveat Lector, Chantwood Magazine, Coachella Review, Door Is A Jar Magazine, Existere, The Perch, and Studio One. I am active on the board of the Connecticut Poetry Society and have given several readings throughout the state. I am a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Medical School and am on the faculty of the latter. I have been in continuous private practice of psychiatry since 1967.

The Day in the Hilo Social Security Office

The security guard’s starry black eyes lifted her out of her seat into the waiting area.

I can’t tell you anything about social security.
I can tell you how to get a numbered ticket,
where to sit,
when we open and when we close

The bald man next to me said he’d moved to Hilo
because there were too many Mexicans and Blacks in California.
My daughter said later that I should have punched him.

The security guard said:

There’s no point in coming before they open.
Let me put it this way.
If you get here early
and there is no line,
the heavens have parted for you
and sent down angels,
unicorns, mermaids, all sorts of
magical creatures”

It wasn’t anticlimactic
           when she asked me about my
           new aqua New Balance running shoes
     on my way out.
     She said she was going to buy herself a pair
           from the store here in the mall
           after work.

About the Author, Melanie Lee: I live in Brooklyn with my husband, daughter, Havanese and hedgehog.

The State Trooper’s House

Across the road that borders my backyard
at the end of a tarmac drive his house is built
into a rise whose lawn slopes to a pond
about a quarter mile long.  A green scum
extends its length which was broken 
by ducks and a heron.  Most people
don’t know it’s there since his land is hedged
with trees and he owns to the corner
and woods that surround and climb 
for twenty-seven acres.  Trumpet vines
are bellowing orange on rotting fences
and a snake skin glistens near the overturned
boat.  Oars must be in one of several
locked sheds.  The house has no shade,
perfect for solar.  There’s a fireplace
and a heat pump.  Twenty-five years
ago I had just moved in and saw him
the first and last time.  I know what 
you new people want-street lights and 
sewers.  He used to shoot woodchucks.
The underground stream that emerges
to drain his pond he does not visit from 
his nursing home.  

About the Author: Bob Elmendorf has been published in 44 magazines including 4 poems in the current issue of Little Star. He gives infrequent readings and was in poetry workshops for 20 years. He has been teaching Vergil, Catullus, Ovid and Horace and New Testament Greek pro bono to home school teens the last 12 years.