Rachel Chen


After my parents began falling out of love,
I spent car rides imprinting my chin
on the back window pane
as rivets of rain marched
a faint, dissonant harmony
drowned out
by the gentle slosh of our tires
slicing across highways,
rolling ceaselessly onwards.

Rachel Chen spends most of her time looking for rabbit holes in a biology lab without windows.


Wendy Cobourne

Swimming to Cambodia

I struggle to escape
the seductive blurry pull
of the undertow,
to surface
and shiver
until I feel
my skin is enough.

Wendy Cobourne is a journalist and college writing tutor whose poems and short stories have appeared in a variety of literary journals.


Sam Norman

A Hard Rain

When the rain comes down hard,
like that night in December,
and Teri groans in her sleep while
I hold her hand and stroke her arm,
and thunder crashes, seemingly just
outside our bedroom window,
I count the time from the flash
to the thunder and pray
in the silence between.

Sam Norman lives in Coventry, Connecticut with his wife Teri, their children, Becca and Daniel, a bunch of chickens, and their beloved dogs, Cloudy and Ripple.


Darrell Petska

A Million Years

When I am part of the fossil record,
along with the McDonald’s on the corner
and the Social Security Administration,
and dinosaurs and lowly tardigrades
may have proved far more resilient
and long-lived than inventive humankind,

whatever comes to replace us,
walking, crawling, levitating or running in place,
might look at the sun and moon and stars
and think—or not—of great expanses,
size and scale, meaning and non-meaning
and six zeros worth of time passing

before lapsing into the fossil record
along that millions continuum
until finally, the sun goes rogue
and the earth goes pfttt!
and all might appear for naught

except that you smiled at me
and the children played out back
and our dog licked my face
like I’d been gone a million years.

Darrell Petska (conservancies.wordpress.com) shepherded engineering faculty through grammar minefields for more than 30 years, concluding along the way that rules of grammar must bend or sometimes even break as readerships evolve.


Todd Mercer

The Optimist

“Keep on believing in UFOs,
you magnificent bastard,”
said the Best Man at my fifth wedding
when I tried to explain to him
how I make my decisions.

Todd Mercer, who was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018, is going to keep on believing in UFOs.


Steve Klepetar

To the Reddened Earth

My body fell away and I was glass
and air, a handful of sand tossed
against the window, then streaming
down in rainbow patterns to the reddened earth.

Steve Klepetar‘s three-year-old granddaughter looked out the big window at the back of his house and said “I love your view.”


Steve Klepetar

Before Bed

Bleary-eyed at nine o’clock,
I struggle to stay awake,

book slipping from my hand
as I climb out of myself,

wander in moonless dark
toward the pond,

where a million frogs
break their throats in velvet air.

Steve Klepetar‘s three-year-old granddaughter looked out the big window at the back of his house and said “I love your view.”


Michael Estabrook

Old Dogs

You couldn’t have convinced me at 17
that 40 years later I’d be raking leaves in my front yard
stopping to talk with the old guy
who walks his cocker spaniel by my house
about how our dogs are getting old.

Michael Estabrook, retired finally, writing more poems and working more outside, just noticed two Cooper’s hawks staked out in the yard or rather above it which explains the nerve-wracked chipmunks.