A Poem by Patricia Carragon

Alhambra’s Lion Courtyard

A class trip to the Hispanic Museum added stimulus to her imagination—
lace mantillas, rose-draped balconies, and the lion courtyard.
On display, a replica of Granada’s Alhambra—
red geraniums amid Moorish tiles and the lion courtyard.
A child with unruly ash-colored hair had a secret world
of wandering through gardens and the lion courtyard.
She’d wear a white lace mantilla over black tresses—
perfume would surround her in the lion courtyard.
The love for beauty needed to be remembered inside a box of stationery—
glimpses of red geraniums amid Moorish tiles and the lion courtyard.
But her souvenir narrowed her mother’s pupils—
her mother had no appreciation for Alhambra’s lion courtyard.
The child wasted her allowance—the child withdrew within herself,
burning the red geraniums amid Moorish tiles and the lion courtyard.
Years later, she tossed out her capricious purchase—
She downsized her interests—no longer needing that lion courtyard.

This poem was first published in First Literary Review-East, May 2016.

Patricia Carragon’s recent publications include Bear Creek Haiku, Sensitive Skin, and Sensations Magazine among others. Her latest book is Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017). The Cupcake Chronicles is forthcoming from Poets Wear Prada. Patricia hosts Brownstone Poets and is the editor-in-chief of its annual anthology. She is an active member of brevitas, as well as the PEN Women’s Literary Workshop, Women Writers in Bloom, and Tamarind. She is an executive editor for Home Planet News Online.

Innocence (Finishing Line Press, 2017) is available https://www.amazon.com/Innocence-Patricia-Carragon/dp/1635341523

A Poem by Rachael Ikins

A Bowl of Berries



I step barefoot out of steam dreams
early morning, three note celebration
robin on the roof, cardinal voices chiding
their fledglings, sparrow chatter and
a lone seagull swooping
through, sounds like a cat or
a lost child.

Scents of July lilies and milkweed fill the air.
Green everywhere. Blackcap vines’
curlicue tangles at the foot of walnut trunk,
glossy red and purpling fruits beg
my fingers, my lips,
turn purple too.

Small moths fuss among grass stems. Insects,
wings like lace flutter across the yard. Childhood
summers and a bowl of berries for
my grandfather’s birthday.

He was so easy to gift, berries and a fresh caught bass
fried in sweet butter, summer presents
a child could create.






Rachael Ikins is a 2016 Pushcart, 2013 CNY Book Award nominee, award winning poet/artist. Her artwork has appeared in one-woman and group exhibits in Syracuse galleries and from Hamilton to Albany and the NYS Fair and her writing in journals around the world. 7/17 she juried into SUM a show by PATF at Point of Contact Gallery, Syracuse. She has been featured poet/artist at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, Tyler Gallery SUNY Oswego 2017, Aaduna fundraiser 2017 Auburn, NY and at Palace Poetry, Syracuse NY. April 2018 she will feature at Word Revisited through the Cayuga Museum, Auburn, NY. Rachael founded and moderated Monday Night Poetry at Sushi Blues, feature & open mic, Hamilton NY.
She has published 6 chapbooks and a novel, covers by Rachael. The novel “Totems” (Log Cabin Books) is her first illustrated book. Clare Birdsongs Publishing will release her first full length poetry collection “Just Two Girls” 8/17.
Rachael is a member of NLAPW. She belongs to Associated Artists of CNY and other guilds. She lives on Star Lake in Foxfire with her dogs cats, and salt water fish tank filled with creatures that glow in the dark, many plants, books, and her garden.

A Poem by Laurel S. Peterson



The mermaid wants nothing
so much as to stretch her legs,
to step from her fishy tail,
and walk. But she is not equipped
for that freedom, her destiny chosen for her
by frightened sailors and drunken fishermen,
who tell tales about her out of school.

In the masses of seaweed reaching up
to the light from the sea floor,
those men myth-make women who can drag
them under, desire so engulfing
that drowning seems preferable to living with it.

Why should she, unfree as she is,
not take revenge on her makers,
as perhaps all women should,
as perhaps all men fear.
Instead, they clutch each other tightly,
sink into the weedy depths.


Laurel S. Peterson is an English professor at Norwalk Community College and her poetry has been published in many literary journals. She has two chapbooks, That’s the Way the Music Sounds (Finishing Line Press) and Talking to the Mirror (Last Automat Press). Her full length collection, Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (Futurecycle Press) was released in January 2017. She has also written a mystery novel, Shadow Notes, which is available through Barking Rain Press. She currently serves as the town of Norwalk, Connecticut’s poet laureate.

Visit http://www.laurelpeterson.com/

A Poem by Stephen Page

The Cycle of Things On Santa Ana and Everywhere


My new capataz,
or should I say my newest,
the one who started working here two year ago
after I fired the bad guys,
has been moving things around—
or should I say acquiring things—
without my permission:
tanks of gas, tools, saddles.
I had a serious talk with him
about the concept of property.

After, as we were walking to the corral
to see the stallions and select which would be kept
and which would be sold and which would become geldings,
I asked him about his family.
He told me his son had quit school
to go to work driving tractors,
and that his daughter
had failed her senior year,
and was working as a teller in a pharmacy.

Stephen Page is from Detroit, Michigan. His is part Shawnee and part Apache. His other books include The Timbre of Sand and Still Dandelions. He graduated from Palomar College, Columbia University (with honors), and Bennington College. He has received a Jess Cloud Memorial Prize for Poetry, a Writer-in-Residence with stipend from the Montana Artists Refuge, a full Writer Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. His book reviews have been published regularly in the Buenos Aires Herald and on Fox Chase Review. He also writes short stories, novels, and screen plays. He has taught world literature, ESL, and film studies. He loves family, friends, spontaneous road trips, and throwing his cellphone into a large body of water. Above all he loves his wife.

A Ranch Bordering the Salty River (Finishing Line Press) by Stephen Page is available on amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Ranch-Bordering-Salty-River/dp/1635340

A Poem by Joan Leotta

Languid Lusciousness with Lemon


Languid luscious
lines the tables at the peach vendor
table in the farmer's market.
Rich with sweetness,
Peaches are waiting
on the sideboard
to be sliced
and impart
with each bite.
Yet, my cook's instinct
notes those slices will need
a squeeze of lemon
to retain their color
when I fan them out
on the dessert plate.
Life's sweetness stands out,
is oft best preserved
when accented with tart.



First published Silver Birch, October 2015 for its Sweet Word Series

The title poem in Joan's 2017 FLP Chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon.

Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since her childhood in Pittsburgh, PA. Her first work published in a national magazine came at age 14—a poem in the Horn Book Magazine. Since then she has followed several career paths, turning to a dual career win writing and story performance as a stay-at-home Mom in the 1980s.
As a writer, Joan is a journalist, novelist, essayist, poet and playwright. Over the years, she has written on parenting, storytelling, and food among other topics, for local newspapers and local and national magazines wherever she has lived. Since moving to North Carolina twelve years ago, she shifted her focus to fiction and poetry. Joan’s Italian heritage is evident in the poems in this book and in most of her other writing. Her four historical novels from Desert Breeze publishing, The Legacy of Honor series, feature strong Italian-American women, food and family, during times of war.

Joan’s poems and picture books also celebrate food and family. Her poetry and essays appear in or are forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, Red Wolf, A Quiet Courage, the A-3 Review, Hobart Literary Review, Silver Birch, Postcard Poems and Prose among others. She has always considered writing for children as a high calling and in the past two years, THEAQLLC has published four of her picture books: Whoosh!, Summer in a Bowl, Rosa and the Red Apron, and Rosa’sShell.

Joan performs folk tales in schools, museums and festivals for children and adults. Her love for history comes out in performance of two different one-woman shows, one that depicts a strong woman in the Civil War era and another that shows life on the home front during the American Revolution.

Her tagline, “encouraging words through pen and performance” expresses a challenge to herself in her writing and stage work meaning that she wants to inspire the creativity of others with her work. To this end, she often gives classes to help others learn to tap into their creativity to express their thoughts on page and or stage.

When she is not chained to her computer, writing, you can find Joan walking on the beach, in the kitchen working on new recipes, or traveling with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Jennie.

You can reach her with comments, or to request a class or performance, though her blog site at www.joanleotta.wordpress.com and Joan Leotta, Author and Story Performer on Facebook.

Languid Lusciousness with Lemon is available from amazon:

A Poem by Dee Stribling


John Short comes back to me in dreams.

His big, rough hands stoked coal fires
for moonshine days and drunken nights.

He used to say, “Sweet pea, them crows
sure are talking this morning.”

Sleek black feather-backs catching the sun.
Sharing words spoken in croaks and whistles;
They perch, four of them, talking away.
They might as well have spectacles and cigars.
Something moves at a distance—perhaps a hawk?
Four piercing stares as wind sends sweet gum
balls to the ground. They turn on their branches
and watch the sky, stopping conversation for just
this moment. Then, with great fluffing of feathers,
they resume their visit and crow stories.

Small pleasures for hard times.

John and I would watch together.
His suspenders frayed, collarless shirt
stained with rivulets of tobacco juice.

Broken down boots still standing.



This poem first appeared in the chapbook Just Down the Road (Finishing Line Press.)

Dee Stribling is a writer of prose and poetry. A Sundress Academy for the Arts poetry winner her work has appeared in 200 New Mexico Poems and other collections. Additional poetry chapbooks include Appalachian Picture Book (Finishing Line Press) and Down East Picture Book (Horse & Buggy Press). Work in-progress includes a childhood memoir and more poetry. Her documentary about “The Why Nots” softball team (with Minnow Media) is slated for release soon. You can visit her online at www.facebook.com/PoetDStribling.

Just Down the Road by Dee Stribling is available at: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/just-down-the-road-by-dee-stribling/

A Poem by Shana Ritter


It is not always easy to divide a whole,
take the heart, its shape doesn’t allow
for it to be evenly cut in two.

My right hand is not a mirror of my left
the brain is tied by twisting chords to each
differently swirling fingertip.

Prime means one thing to Einstein another to Picasso
yet each disassembled the universe only to reassemble it
amidst cubes and circles, reasons and lines.

We are relative only to each other
my fingers to your hand, my eyes to your chin
the bend of my knees to the back of the chair.

Where is the pause where collision makes sense
the respite when nothing is divided by anything else
the moment we are made whole by the parts of ourselves.




Shana Ritter writes poetry and prose and pieces in between. Her chapbook, Stairs of Separation, is available from Finishing Line Press and her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous magazines. Shana just received a grant from the Indiana Arts Council to support work on her novel about the Jewish diaspora from Spain in 1492. Her blog, Word by Word can be found at shanaritter.wordpress.com 

Stairs of Separation is available from Finishing Line Press: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/stairs-of-separation-by-shana-ritter/