A Poem by Joan Leotta

Lilies of the Valley

 

Lilies of the Valley–

small white bells

whose fragrance ascends

to God with puff and huff

of spring’s new breath.

They grew abundantly in

Grandma’s rock garden

among her hosta

on the shady side of her porch.

That very first spring day

when grandma brought

her glider out of winter storage

I would stand on the cushions,

climb over the iron

railing , carefully

lower myself and crouch among

those tiny nodding bells to

fill my lungs and soul with their

aroma of hope.

 

 

 

This poem first appeared in the Peacock Journal.

 

Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since childhood. She is a writer and story performer. Her poetry, short stories, and essays appear or are forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, the North Carolina Literary Review, the A-3 Review, Kai-Xin (award winner), Spelk Fiction, Hobart Literary Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Fourth River, Silver Birch, and Postcard Poems and Prose, among others. Her first chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon came out in 2017 from Finishing Line Press.When not hunched over a computer she is walking, shell hunting and daydreaming at the nearest beach.

A Poem by Wren Tuatha

Tupelo Coyote

 

We were tracing Jack’s Creek

where the woods abducts it from the rolling

hills of dairy cows and tobacco.

I on the asphalt, you behind the tupelos.

 

You stalked me like a fan

afraid to ask for my autograph.

Those alien eyes,

calculating,

measuring my marrow

bend after turn, always

thirty paces aside.

 

Now you trot out in the farmlands,

legs like tobacco sticks, mapping the median line.

I am roadside, reading.

You are storybook real.

I speak to you, familiar,

as if you are the family dog.

Your answer is a glare-beam

that rips me, rights me.

 

You put me in the landscape,

that’s all.

 

 

 

First published in Canary, A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis.

 

 

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Poetry Pacific, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review and Bangalore Review. She’s an editor at Califragile and PoetryCircle. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

A Poem by Theresa Hamman

Driving the Desert with Zep

 

We were bees once, in May

before the lilac blooms blew

away, before we were itchy,

always scratching and eating

prickly pears while our skin peeled

and twisted inside out.  We kissed

 

before our chapped lips cracked

from all that thirsty August heat,

before we rolled naked into cactus

water and wrapped ourselves in snake

skin, before we laughed

 

while the yellow desert ate us,

and its hornet’s nest erupted

into “Kashmir” and all that floating

dust, all those lilting tongues—

 

found us.

 

Do you remember?

 

We knew how to buzz once,

how to light up

before we became dead jackets,

before we became sulfured honey.

 

 

 

 

Theresa Hamman is a poet from La Grande, OR. Her poems can be found in the following literary journals and magazines: Red Savina Review, The Tower Journal, Oregon East, basalt, and Nailed. She also teaches undergraduate composition and creative writing courses at Eastern Oregon University and Southern New Hampshire University. She earned her MFA in 2016 from Eastern Oregon University, where she was also the editor of the student literary journal Oregon East. Although she enjoys writing in all creative genres, her first love is poetry. She gets lost in the musicality of it and how it bends language to create new objects.

Theresa is the mother of two grown daughters and adoring grandma to two grandchildren. When not writing, she enjoys reading, teaching, the occasional Netflix binge, and spending time with her family.

A Poem by Rosalie Sanara Petrouske

Burnt

 

Everything withered, the pear flowers

shriveled like onion leaves.

The grass beneath my bare heels

crackles as if I were stepping

on sheaves of dried corn.

My prize lily, blooming madly in June,

when the fireflies dipped

into its abundant petals

has wilted to a few crumpled leaves,

an emaciated stalk.

Rain, rain,

the blue jay screeches.

Rain whispers

the willow,

even the river is too low

to paddle.

I am grateful for the moths

thumping at the midnight pane,

for the night-flying bat.

I almost hear the earth

absorbing darkness,

the distant whistle as the train

clatters over the bridge,

trusses creaking and swaying

beneath its weight.

No breath of wind stirs a leaf.

Dry, so dry,

my mouth

thirsts for a drink,

my lips

hurt,

sore and waiting

for the kiss of water,

and my heart beats

fast and hard.

I feel it sear

with all the longing,

all the want

of a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

Rosalie Sanara Petrouske received her M.A. in English and Writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.  She is an Adjunct Professor in the English Department at Lansing Community College, where she currently teaches Freshman Composition and Creative writing classes.  Finishing Line Press published her second book of poems What We Keep in 2016.  She wrote the poem “Burnt” about an unusual long and hot Michigan summer, but it’s also about want, and about the things you might want, and never have.

A Poem by Barbara Knott

LUNA MOTHS

 

I stand at my front door waving goodbye to you.
It is still morning, the light above the door
still on, and as you drive away

my one foot follows the other down three steps
as if I might catch you
until I catch myself and turn and see

there on the door frame
two Luna Moths side by side in a green glide
wing tips touching when they stop to rest

and to arrest my eye
and say
in their lovely soundless way:

Hasten slowly through your life.
Lose no part of this miraculous
luna green morning.

 

 

 

In 2009 Barbara Knott’s poem “Boxwood” was selected by Judge Nikki Giovanni as first-prize winner of the New Millennium Writings Awards 28 prize for poetry. In 2010 Francois Camoin chose her short story “Song of the Goatman” as third-prize winner in the Writers at Work fiction competition. Barbara’s chapbook of poems Soul Mining was published in 2011 by Finishing Line Press. Another chapbook, MANTA Poems, came out in March 2015, also published by Finishing Line Press. Her short story “The Legend of Abigail Jones” received first prize in the wild card category of Atlanta Writers Club’s Spring 2014 competitions. Barbara was selected with a group of poets to represent FLP as readers at the Abroad Writers’ Conference in Dublin, December 2015.

She has a Ph.D from New York University’s drama therapy program. While in New York, she studied acting with William Hickey at the Herbert Berghof Studio in Greenwich Village and did extensive work in theater and in Montessori education for pre-schoolers. On her return to Atlanta, she became co-director of the Center for Archetypal Studies and served terms as program chair and then president of the C. G. Jung Society while practicing therapy for five years before entering a fulltime teaching career in English and humanities. Now retired, she gives full attention to writing and collaborative arts performances and to editing and publishing The Grapevine Art and Soul Salon, online literary/art journal at http://www.grapevineartandsoulsalon.com.

A Poem by Deborah Kahan Kolb

Au Pair

 

I.

 

A cape starling or amethyst, some little bird –

Afrikaans

warbler, shows up in the greening spring, miniature

flicker-beat fluffing her breast, and gingerly finds

her perch among

our young. From somewhere within the murmuration

she exhales, violet-backed, wearing her mantle

like a boy.

Pied starling, fledging along with our own nestlings,

content to hover, and admire the view. Long-tailed

glossy starling,

her plumage lambent and glowing. Lamprotornis

how fitting. A Tiffany work of art. Shimmer

up to us,

little bird. Gently she lights upon our New York

nest, but every so often I sense the sudden

run, the nimble

lift-off and vanishing flight of this lovely bird

back to Port Elizabeth, to the African

nesting ground,

the vivid southern tropics that’d spawned this chick.

 

II.

 

No address in the U.S. is proof

of residency except for your pulsing

heart emoji, fitted into a cage

of ribs built of pipe cleaners and hair

elastics, a rainbow of chortles,

and a compass pointing straight ahead

and a little to the left. Ons is werklik geseënd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deborah Kahan Kolb was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Much of her poetry reflects the unique experiences and challenges of growing up in, and ultimately leaving, the insular world of Hasidic Judaism. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetica, Voices Israel, Veils, Halos & Shackles (an international poetry anthology on the oppression and empowerment of women), New Verse News, Tuck, Literary Mama, Poets Reading the News, 3Elements Review, Rise Up Review, and Writers Resist. Her poetry won the James E. Tobin Award at Queens College and was selected as a finalist for the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. Deborah’s debut collection, Windows and a Looking Glass (Finishing Line Press, 2017) was a finalist for the 2016 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. You can visit the author at:www.deborahkahan

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.