Ian Willey

We Pretend

When she returns to the table having rushed off
for an emergency breast pumping, we pretend not
to notice the spot on her blouse and she pretends
not to notice our pretending not to notice and in
this way we get back to our prescribed agenda
while the spot, barely there to begin with, enters
the atmosphere of this climate-controlled room
with wood-paneled walls and a fantastic view
of the mountains though we try to keep our eyes
on the screen pretending this isn’t a struggle.

Ian Willey hails from Hartville, Ohio. Someone has to.


Steve Klepetar

Beyond Touch

caught fire,

rained ash,

our hands
were flame,

eyes like coal
in the grate,

hair roaring
in the wind,

until we
were beyond

all of us
in the ruined land.

Steve Klepetar watches the news every weekday at six with his hand over his face.


Steve Klepetar

Between Us

we forget the world
so easily
with a little wine

some cashews
and almonds
in a glass bowl

a violin concerto playing
as we shut our ears
to the day’s awful news.

Steve Klepetar might just be the best known Shanghai-born Jewish-American writer of one sentence poems in all of Berkshire County


Steve Klepetar

Reading on the Beach

I start out trying to read on the beach,
sun glaring off the page,
but it’s so hard to concentrate

with you rising before me, eyes
burning, hair tangled and wild
in summer sun, book hissing to steam

in my hand as you pull me out to sea,
sky darkening as we swim
beyond the sandbar, past the breakers

into moonlight and the solemn moaning of gulls.

Steve Klepetar, who can play about three chords, went to Junior High School with Walter Becker of Steely Dan and Tommy Ramone.


Trish Saunders

In the midst of terror, a lifeline

The park air is sweet with chili sauce and families
when a teenager is pulled from the icy
waters of Lake Washington
still breathing,
says a firefighter,
& we exhale together.

Trish Saunders is hopeful about November 2020


Trish Saunders

A Brief Startling Image

When a door appeared in my living room,
I opened it—wouldn’t you?
that’s when the man flew in here
I’m lost, he panted, I never
learned the proper use of wings

I pitied him, but how beautiful
the green earth must have appeared
flying above it
for the first time.

Trish Saunders is hopeful about November 2020


Frederick Charles Melancon

Family Librarian

When sis overdosed,
her parents tossed her things,
but her brother hid
her books in his room,
marking each one overdue.

Frederick Charles Melancon is straightedge, but he doesn’t judge others for their library fines.