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morning hands (a.k.a. living with hashimoto’s disease) by Lisa Reily

i’m awake  but my eyes do not open; so dry they’re glued together. i reach blind for my drops, splatter my sticky eyeballs, stumble to the kitchen. i said i’d walk today, but i know  i can’t promise you anything. it’s morning, but the day is over.  i’m hungry, but cannot eat; half an hour till food, then pills with food, plus an hour before i can have coffee; i’m supposed to quit, but decaf has become the thrill in my day. you make breakfast; you’ve given up  on my morning hands, their drops and spills. i lift the blanket on our bed when suddenly you appear in our bedroom;  we both know my back is already aching.  i don’t argue these days. you set an alarm, count time before i can eat; i document yesterday. what did i have for lunch? i ask. we both can’t remember. you move my glass of water away from me as I type: a good day. no gluten, no dairy, no egg, no sesame, garlic, or onion; like a recipe, i document my day, my food, my pills, my body,  reducing medications, making changes; so

Bones knit by DS Maolalai

my feelings lately are so tender  all the time – like holding a broken  arm against my body.  I cradle them, wrapped  in their improvised bandage, torn from the cotton  of shirts. and how can anyone grow used to this  dull aching? I suppose bones do knit, if you leave them alone, but after work and every afternoon I am like someone  who's gone down a staircase to quickly, standing in a daze  and checking my unsteady body. and you are on the sofa  in the sitting room, with a thumb holding open  a paperback, your legs  cuddled up  underneath you. and you look at me, looking, and say "are you ok?" and I'm ok. --- DS Maolalai has been nominated seven times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016) and "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019)

The Cutting (#1 and #2) by R.M. Francis

Rusted hummock of rusted sands, torrid tanned cobbles, ovalled,  watch numb graves watching back at wagging boys scaling stacks of morainic concretions left from slow floes. Roots tentacle lamina grounds, rope swing noosed over boss’ frown initiates these ephebes, taking turns through covet, making brave leaps as grinning clan stand with stones, marksman each oscillating rite. In quarries boys bioturbate to burtite. The Cutting #2 Sephardim boys shadow BMXs behind businesspark rails, search Hayes Cutting in dayra drifts for edge-base away from mom’s gaze. Corrugated iron, tipped tyres chipped  bricks form dens on basal beds. Nearly teen Safina etched into dusty anticline  with the sharp end of rusted fails.  Wargames of pebble shots at tramps’ tinnies punctuate trials with dad’s superkings then top trumps, then bush porn. This dipping  sequence holds placoderm, polypterid, actinopteri and youthful peregrinations, grinding against ghost lineage.  --- R. M. Francis is a lecturer in Creat

Things I Hear In My Sleep by Robert Beveridge

The low, rhythmic thrum in the apartment behind the bathroom wall is a beacon for alien space- craft. Whether we will ever see any positive results is anyone’s guess, but unless the neighbors throw pizza on the roof every other Thursday, I think pepperoni and olives warrant further investigation. The barflies at the grange hall swear they’ve all seen lights in the sky that have the distinct color of banana peppers, and the unmistakable scent of pineapple hangs over the town at odd hours. When the disembodied voice, they counsel, asks if you would like extra cheese, you smile and nod, reply that the weekend is just over the horizon. --- Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Blood and Thunder, Feral, and Grand Little Things, among others.

Footfall on Footfall by William Doreski

In the glare of Boylston Street the oscillations of our orbit seem exaggerated, warping skyscrapers to feint at each other like Olympians with epees. We walk as if the concrete sidewalk couldn’t possibly crack and drop us into the subway. We watch the skyscrapers duel with each other and the sky, and refrain from pointless irony. Summers in Boston always hurt with poignancies we rarely share. The gloss of shop windows scorches across our bodies as we pass, but that’s not the pain I respect for textual and historic depth. Maybe you recall the woman crying and smashing a bag of groceries on the gray façade of the building on St. Germain where we lay on the roof all night in the deepest part of summer. Boylston offers single point perspective we gladly employ to orient ourselves to the east. Walking with our naked selves held safely in trust, we impress footfall that overlaps footfall we laid down many years ago. The shuddering of the planet, however slight, acknowledges our presence, our

Spacing Out by Kenneth Pobo

Take me back to the solar system’s edge— I miss the ample flower buds in ice. My friend Peg went, got caught in a gas hedge, a sulphur smell.  It held her like a vice. She got free and insisted that I go— travel is always risky.  Live boldly. At first, I told her that I had zero gumption.  She screamed and looked at me coldly. I packed light, made it past funky Charon, my phone camera forgotten at home. Who needs pictures?  I tasted real moon pies, not missing Earth much, except for barren places where wildflowers burst out from loam on the first warm morning when winter dies. --- Kenneth Pobo won the 2019 chapbook contest from the State Poetry Society of Alabama for Your Place Or Mine.   They published it this May.   Forthcoming is a book from Assure Press called Uneven Steven.

Home by Jessa Forest

Home scratches at her shingles with tree branch fingers, pulls the air conditioning unit close to her grimy aluminum siding, and keens an empty song of mourning. We found her wandering the tornado snarled wild three months ago, starved and lonely. She doesn’t know how to take care of herself, you see? We fed her shards of dining room tables, kindling for the fireplace, and cast iron bathtubs clawed feet first. She was slow to recover so we gutted her plumbing, ripped out her nerves, and rewired the electricity. She let the water in every time it rained so we put a new roof on her and let her out for regular walks around the wolf pen. Let her mingle with the vultures, I said, let her feel useful and clean up the dead but no one wanted to listen. We found rot an mold in her corners, infused her insulation with antibiotics, and quarantined her for two weeks while she belched ladderback chairs, sofa cushions, wind chimes, and broken bookcases. She still has her bad days. After feeding time