J.R. Solonche

After a Chinese Poem

Not eager for news, I am the recluse
who will not answer the door for fear
he will open to one who comes this near
only to ask the way to another’s house.


J.R. Solonche is the author of eight books of poetry.


Devon Balwit

Guests

Sometimes in winter,
the light catches the water
to reveal ice-bloom,
a strange lace
very like the fungus
that occasionally dapples
my belly and sends me
reaching for cream,
for no reason, really,
so gentle a guest is it
as we briefly share a skin.


Devon Balwit is working on welcoming the stranger.


 

Morgan Lael

Voicemail from father

I’m flummoxed by the blatant disregard for etiquette
you showed while eating your McDonald’s fries on Instagram
as though your mother didn’t pay three grand
and schedule her chemo appointments around your weekly lessons
at finishing school to prepare you for just such a moment
when you’d be eating without her.


Morgan Lael intentionally leaves a single drop of olive oil on all of her best shirts as an awareness building exercise.


 

Jon Densford

Sunyata

Inside my fortune cookie
I find nothing –
no paper slip,
no words, no winning numbers –
nothing
but a presence of almonds
grown on a rain-soaked hillside.


Jon Densford lives in Memphis and has had several poems appear in print and online publications, including his favorites Right Hand Pointing and One Sentence Poems.


 

Sarah Russell

Early Marriage

Our fights were a barrage of arrows
going to the softest places,
as if everything depended
on the outcome.


M’aidez

On this last desperate voyage,
in a wreck of broken masts
and shredded sails, we founder,
sink, don’t realize we’ve drowned
until we’re beyond soundings,
at fathoms so deep no lead
and line can find us, the currents
pulling our remains toward
different shores.


Sarah Russell is still trying to describe the moon in a way that isn’t cheesy and blogs about it at sarahrussellpoetry.net.


 

Tara Roeder

38th Street

I mark the scars of long gone trees, palm the walls of memory— linoleum green kitchen, window where Grandpa once asked if I saw the woman outside smiling, dusty room where I first learned what Alzheimer’s meant.


Tara Roeder teaches writing in Queens, New York.


 

Angeline Schellenberg

Song for Sex

Oh, mashup of poetry and friction,
all here-ness and bungle,
here’s to years of trust, flashes of huzzah,
the grudging forgiveness,
and the halleluiah.


Bathing, Sinking

The B&B where I
bathed in lavender (before
bubbles could make me cry)

lies around the corner from

the Misery—
first syllables of
the hospital where you were
never born.


Angeline Schellenberg, author of Tell Them It Was Mozart (Brick Books, 2016), lives in Winnipeg, Canada, with her husband, two teenagers, and a German Shepherd-Corgi.