Russell Jones — 2 Poems


Triple Raise Against a Flat Call


When you said you were going, I said

How far? and wrapped you up, a bet

against the outside. You looked back, checked

I meant it. I did. I mean everything.


Table-quiet, I fold away

our life, each indecision

barely worth cashing,

and realise the play.



we spoiled in another sun – you, me, ganesha perched

in teak, sawn-tusk held like a halved banana,

withering in the summer, transformed – we said –

by tonic spliced, ice cubes kept from last year’s

heat wave, when we tended the plants like shivas

with watering cans, watched them die in rebellion: oh,

we gods of mediocrity, barely able to feed

the parking meter or pass a week without burning

in the burnished temples we build

R Jones HD

Russell Jones is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has published 5 poetry collections and edited 3 anthologies. He is deputy editor of Scotland’s only sci-fi magazine and is the UK Pet Poet Laureate. Russell has a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh. Find him here.

  • Featured image, by Amar Saeed.

Attracta Fahy — Komorebi




I have been falling in love with

mysterious gods,

long as I can recall, the enigmatic you-

you see in the pupilla of another’s eye,

that moment you know all gods at once,

ineffable host, yellowing sun.


An artist paints rays

streaming through cloud,

crimson outlines, earth,

leaves radiate in the wind.


Whatever alchemist, genius, you are,

I pray to you, worship the curve of your

smile, the shadows that beam,

my hands long to touch your veil.


I find you in raindrops touch’

on my lips. We, blackbirds singing,

our sound an Om of divinity.

I hold you as guest

in this deep ravine, yin of my veins.

I nest you in rivers, moss, the grooves

of my body. For I am clay.


But we are all archangels, born of this sun,

bringers of dawn, scattering grace

through fronds in hope of love. We are life,

and death, and the waves, and still,

I can’t find words to write you.


*Komorebi – a Japanese word to describe a phenomenon, like
the light that filters – when sunlight shines through trees.

Attracta Fahy

Attracta Fahy earned her MA in Writing NUIG in 2017. Her poems have been published in many magazines at home and abroad. She was the October winner in Irish Times’ New Irish Writing 2019, was nominated for Pushcart 2018, Best of the Web 2019, shortlisted for 2018 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year, and long listed in 2019, shortlisted for Allingham Poetry Prize 2019. Her chapbook collection will be published in March 2020.

Read more from her, in The Blue Nib, and on Poethead.

  • Featured image, by Amar Saeed.

A. Molotkov — 2 Poems


Molecular Freedom


I break into a leaf,

chlorophyliac and radiant.


I track the petals’ past,


the moon my mirror.

I sneak into rock


for the slow taste of eternity,


fall asleep,

drunk on minerals,


dreaming the atoms


in my molecules,

thinking of the future where


my particles are free.

Before the Credits


The snow on your eyelids won’t

melt. Such an elegant goodbye. The snow


has learned your deepest secret. You


would choose exactly this

final scene. You cast me years ago.

Anatoly Molotkov Photo small

Born in Russia, A. Molotkov moved to the US in 1990 and switched to writing in English in 1993. His poetry collections are The Catalog of Broken Things, Application of Shadows and Synonyms for Silence. Published by Kenyon, Iowa, Antioch, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Bennington and Tampa Reviews, Hotel Amerika, Volt, Arts & Letters and many more, Molotkov has received various fiction and poetry awards and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. His translation of a Chekhov story was included by Knopf in their Everyman Series; his prose is represented by Laura Strachan at Strachan Lit. He co-edits The Inflectionist Review. You can visit him here.


  • Featured image, by Amar Saeed.

Stephanie L. Wilcox — What the Waiting Do


What the Waiting Do

After Marie Howe’s “What the Living Do”

Child, the backyard lawn is cluttered with leaves now, the rain glued them to the green ground.
And the tractor is out of gas, and the ferns have started to turn brown

bending their heads towards the earth. That’s what happens when they ask me.
The years passed by: my honey hair is laced with long, silver strands, and the same question

finds its way to scratch another notch deep in my belly even when I thought its reach dead.
Standing in the field, or running by the lake, legs strong, heart pumping,

I hear the whispers: This is what the waiting do. And yesterday, as I watered the
crimson mums near the birdbath, slashing a cut on my ankle with the hose,

the wrenching returns, and then harder, when building a cairn. Days grow short.
Sobbing. Drowning in the hottest bath. What you dared to become.

What you never knew. We want the bark to peel and the crocus to bloom. We long
to see your face, your eyes, your smile — we long for every inch of you in our arms.

But in my heart, breaking, when I feel a glimpse of you lurking beneath my bones,
sense you climbing a tree or picking a flower, and I’m numbed by a hope too profound

to name, I crawl into that dream of your crib, wipe my tears with your soft knit blanket.
I am childless. I hold you.

Stephanie L. Wilcox

Stephanie L. Wilcox was born in upstate New York and holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Communications from Westfield State College. She is a professional fundraising consultant and copywriter and has traveled the globe to explore and work with non-profit organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, the Philippines and China. She is a member of the Berkshire Women’s Writers Festival and Voices of Poetry. With her husband and three cats she resides in Western Massachusetts where she tends to gardens, enjoys hiking in the woods, practices yoga and gets lost in moon-gazing and writing poetry.

Duke Trott — Impact Zone


Impact Zone

Take exit 56, past the first of many celery fields, past the looming mega church, the best burgers, Red Wings shoes, and Scooter’s topless bar. Stop at the boat launch and rest your feet in the mud.

The last summer I was there, crystal skulls were in vogue, and I found myself dwelling on their impossible construction and supposed healing properties. Debunked now, but as real to me then as the body, which collapsed across the darkness against my own, silently

building inertia like a comet through space.

I sought in the

supernatural an escape from the mundane—though looking back, my mind paints each detail in beautiful disarray, so that nothing could be called commonplace,

not the alleyway of ever-changing lilies, or the shallow sulfurous marsh, whose avenues were as limitless as its depths.

Yes, even then, under those stars, alone or nearly alone, I understood that our memories began before our birth, and that there were already ways to travel faster than the speed of light.

Duke Trott

Duke Trott’s writing has appeared in journals such as American Athenaeum, The Hawai’i Review, Occulum, Bad Pony, and 101 Fiction. He is a writing instructor at Henry Ford College. When he’s not writing or working, he’s usually cooking something with beans, or walking his chocolate lab, Hudson.

More of his work:

Petrichor, Nature Writing

Self Portrait With Cropped Hair, Bad Pony

Monica Lewis — 2 Poems


how w(e)omen are born

they say we are born,
a finite fistful of eggs,
and what about
the shells?

i am all shell, tender and crooked,
cracks tracing
the lifelines lived in the palm

of your hand, and
fingers splayed, branching

little dirt roads
going neither
nor there.

green-skinned, i grow
both wishing i were

you take,
but i am seedless.

perhaps if planted
the pit
would take root,
to bloom, and we could
kiss, again,

like seventeen,
like endless.



lick an orange, it tastes like an orange. the strawberries taste like strawberries! the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!
whoever heard of a snozzberry?
the poem should end there because for one,
you should, by now, know
a damn snozzberry, tastes like a snozzberry an
orange, duh, but
still, you wanted
still, two everlasting
there is the death of love.
your already full and gorgeous gut
even if hearts had pits you’d
not spew
a single one out.

Monica Lewis

Monica Lewis lives in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts. Both her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, The JFR, and AAWW’s The Margins, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, FIVE:ONE, The Boiler Journal, PUBLIC POOL, Yes, Poetry, and Flapperhouse, among others. She is a VONAoVoices alumna, and a 2017 and 2018 ‘Best of the Net’ poetry nominee. Her full collection of poetry will be published in 2019 by Unknown Press.

More of her work:

I’ll Be at Your Altar, Yes, Poetry

A Future You, the Shade Journal

David Appelbaum — the bicycle man


the bicycle man

the universe
made of strings
like an Irish harp

not certain
of a voice: om
he splices
two streets together
for a high


dark matter
fills his lungs

black hole-gullet

is in his delivery


light contracts
red torus to

his is this event
the next

the same


David Appelbaum

David Appelbaum has worked in the university and in publishing, and is an author who specializes in the work of writing. His most recent books include notes on water: an aqueous phenomenology (Monkfish, 2018).

More of David’s work:

Two Poems, Palette Poetry

Two More Poems, The 2River View

Andy N — Reading the News with Erica


Reading the News with Erica

You could tell her she didn’t really want to be there
From the first day she started to read the news
Just by the tone of her voice as well as the way
She looked straight at the camera

And then there was the way she never put any emotion
in her voice right from the start of the broadcast
right up to any kind of advertisement break
and when the lights faded down at the end.

And when the uprising invaded London
hanging hundreds before moving onto Watford
the lack of emotion or anger in her voice
had people running underground in panic.

Drakelow, which hadn’t been in use since
the 1940’s was overfilled in hours
as was Victoria Arches in Manchester
and the one in Kenton in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Her voice however carried on
across the TV emotionless saying
the army had it under control
until after a while nobody believed her.

(NB. Erica is a robot news anchor in Japan)

Andy N

Andy N is the author of three full length poetry publications, the most recent being The Birth of Autumn.

He is also the creator of Spoken Label, an ongoing podcast series which interviews writers / artists and also with his partner Amanda Steel coruns Reading in Bed, a book review podcast series as well as doing ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle.

More from him:

The Way Out, Origami Poems

Liza Libes — Chéri



And well if you contract an insoluble solution
Reverberating chords come nagging
And all again is well.

In the dialect of proposition there lies another word,
In the tumult of tradition another voice,
Another sound misheard and apprehended
Like a screeching fiddle through a misshapen bag of
Chamomile tea.

Well and we pick apart the liquor,
Purple wrappers strewn across the old apartment;
In another room the needle on the phonograph sings
Another E. The chaos is written through sublation,
Which he has smoked on another terrace,
In another time, where time erased is not unbalanced,
All unwell.

With a separate briefcase he announces a departure,
Through the cracking of the silhouettes,
Cackling sovereignty, and another pin on his lapel.
We have counted up the hours that he cannot spend
Without a slumber, without reminder of another outlet
(That it could be different); in a pinch of spectralist viola
You set the scene in two or three summations;
Carry on the compositions. Telling you or me
(Through drizzles shielded over by a mackintosh pullover)
That it cannot rain another decade,
That is, another decade through the golden years of mirth.

Well in an antiquated peacoat we have strutted down an ersatz
Oxford street, reminding you and me of all the convolutions
That a modern Helen has to offer. A symphony has been reduced
To just a string quartet and rogue soprano.
The train to Prague sets off at dusk and you remember the Vltava.
He had never crossed the river, and I know how much you’d like to see
Another ship carry off its passengers to the Semite and his hound.

A cup of tea is all that it has taken to rend the notes asunder.
The printer beckons to another time within the future,
And he cannot know how well I have been planted in the past.
His sophomoric giggle on a bicycle in Heldenplatz.
You take my hand, awaiting; the two spoons of yoghurt
Would have been too milky for your taste.
He sits before a Raphael, bequeathing sighs of you and me
Sipping our mimosas and mint teas.
In the Albertina subway graphics dull out a century’s collection,
And the marble horseman bites his lip.

In a farther bedroom you have outlined my demise;
Over beds of tortellini by the old cathedral he has commented
On the use of rocketships out in the sky.
The universe is an oblong smear of milk and you have claimed it
Bigger. As we traipse through cabarets and shopping malls in trousers
That are much too short, you see another possibility,
A horizon that is much too rouge in shape and distance.
In a plane the children are still screaming.
I have screamed another bluff in tandem with all of his proceedings.
He carries home another loaf of cash to eat, and we sit through a
Ponderous rendition of Pierrot Lunaire.
You have seen it always. News rings out from Boston,
And it is all the same.

We have known more days together than comprise a meagre
Sixteen months. He smokes another waft of dollar bills.
In a new concerto there is all to find that has been present in tonality.
London Bridge has never quite existed; so we cross the Tower,
To our dusky reverential future. I wonder if I shall ever say a word
Of you and me and all of our adventures that have landed us
Through old attacks. The three-headed beast must now await our stay.
Well how can we remain if earth is always movement, and forgetting,
Change, and then tomorrow. The umbrella would be better,
But I cannot convince you of the happenstance that would shut out all the rain.
We say that rain shall always come another day, but what if this—

This is the sunshine that cannot penetrate the winds.
His eyes were always waiting for a sibilant conclusion,
Looking towards the end. And you have rested but a child,
Twenty years without it all, and smiling to a mirror.
We have seen a world through a shard of glass—and he
Must be an intrusion. He downs another shot of vodka,
Counts to four in five numeric units,
Wipes his forehead on a puce Canali tie.
The marimba is still singing upon our return.
In a room in Boston rings the tune of the Arabian queen.
In Russia the procession has been always different.

Tonight we gaze at corneas glazed over with the beams of seas,
And the waves drift off so peacefully.
In a novel she has always found her way.
He has wrested all the words and abstract sieges from her grasp;
I have arrested all the moments where it was just talk of you and me.
One day I met you with a banker’s parapluie.
Where has it gone, and why has it all vanished?
I do not dare presume to ask such questions,
Yet he has always harboured the audacity to speak.
Sleep well, darling. He has never called me darling,
But to you I shall always be chérie.

Liza Libes

Liza Libes is a poet and a novelist studying English Literature at Columbia University. A native of Chicago, she loves everything that New York City has to offer, especially its bookstores and quirky coffeeshops. In her spare time you will find her reading T.S. Eliot or John Keats for inspiration.

More of her work:

Three Poems, And So Yeah

Curvamen, Gone Lawn

John C. Mannone — It’s in the Name


It’s in the Name

John is from the Hebrew form of Yehohanan meaning God is gracious

You died, but came back in my dreams where you walked the pebbly shore of the Potomac with me, my hand in the gentle strength of yours. I was five, and my name is John, son of Giovanni—you, Father.

Spring has passed over into summer.

When Jesus spoke to Simon Peter, the son of John, he asked the same question that you ask me now after we fought when I was becoming a man. Years later, you behind a ventilation tube and I.V. in a hospital room, your frail hand in mine, your congested heart keeping you silent, we too, still as stones, and your eyes begging, Do you love me?

y irises, each a ring of flowers—full of wet kindness flooding my own heart, uprooting thistle and thorn that grew between us—now cradle the words that I can no longer coffin, Yes, Father, I love you.

ou died, but keep coming back in my dreams, the gravestone rolled away and replaced by a water-worn boulder that we stand on by the Potomac when I call you by your name, John, my rock, my father.

John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone has poetry in Annals of Internal Medicine, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Peacock Journal, Baltimore Review, Plough and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a retired physics professor in east TN.

More of his work:

Selected Poems, The Moon Magazine