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June 2024: sky of one star

Allan Lake

Amanda Weir-Gertzog

Colm O’Shea

Corey Mesler

H. Russell Smith

J. I. Kleinberg

Jennifer Browne

Jim Kacian

John Hawkhead

Juan Mobili

Krista Carson

Leslie Hodge

Linden Van Wert

Mi-Seong Kong

Mykyta Ryzhykh

Robin Dellabough

Ryan Brennan

Sandra St-Laurent

Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta

Steve Klepetar

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Photo by Warren, via Unsplash, remixed by D.Wisely

This journal is intended to be read as an issue. Please consider starting here.
 

If you've done any editing of literary journals you may have had occasion to think, wow, I'm not crazy about the poems, but the bio is fantastic.

 

This issue is full of poems we are crazy about. But I beg you: Don't fail to read these bios. 

 

Indulge me a bit when I say that I'm particularly proud of this issue. I'd say what it is about all these poems that moves me but I can't, for the same reason I'm terrible at writing blurbs. Whenever I'm asked to write one, I have to fight off the temptation to write "This collection of poems is so awesome I don't even know what to tell you."

 

I hope you love these poems as much as I do.
 

Your editors are grateful to all who submitted to this issue and congratulate all whose work appears here. My thanks to my hard-working c0-editors Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, Natalie Wolf, and Clare Rolens. How great are they? These editors are so awesome I don't even know what to tell you.

Yours,

Dale

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Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta

Heart Replacement Prescribed

The rickety gate
creaks open
and in comes
a stray I've fed
for two winters
without ever letting
myself call it
my pet,
lest
I overwrite
the memory of one
I grieve still
even as I hide
this bottomless
survivor's guilt.

Sankara Jayanth Sudanagunta is a multidisciplinary artist from Hyderabad, India trying to center his mind through his art in an increasingly chaotic world.

Mykyta Ryzhykh

Two Poems

Unborn kittens wait for news
from the water
in their mother's belly.

 


Legs walk in emptiness at night
even a decade after amputation.

Mykyta Ryzhykh is from Ukraine, now living in Tromsø, Norway.

 

Ryan Brennan

Less

When my old buddy smiles
at me

I can see through the gauze
of booze

the boy he was

still there

just less.
 

Ryan Brennan writes small poems cause people don't read much.

J.I. Kleinberg

a stranger

on the wrack

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to unravel

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water

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J.I. Kleinberg tears words from magazines and stares at them until they turn into poems.

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Colm O'Shea

Floating Down Eden

A river
is water falling so slowly
you can hear it thinking to itself.

 

Colm O'Shea teaches sentences to semi-feral freshmen at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Mi-Seong Kong

Skin listens to the wind

on plastic wrap inside

single-paned windows.

Mi-Seong Kong enjoys provoking people unnecessarily; he normally doesn’t use semicolons in his bio, and did that just for One Sentence Poems.

Corey Mesler

The Mundane

Like food, like the
hum of the tree
as you approach:

these things mark
us here, keep us
connected to the

only truth, the mundane,
the stars up above,
the stars in our blood.

 

The Wind

I stand in the same

wind she

stands in

 

miles away,

forgetting me.

 

Corey Mesler is a writer, reader, pickleball player, bookstore owner and moviegoer living, if you call this living, in Memphis.

John Hawkhead

Two Poems

An uncharted valley,
we reset the GPS
to navigate grief.

Creaks in the floorboards

of the new family home,

how ghosts come with us.

 

John Hawkhead limits the number of words he uses in poems in case one too many tips him over the edge.

Steve Klepetar

Blue Note

Your song in the night, blue note
penetrating dark trees,
and I listened as moonlight inflamed clouds

above the high school
with its spike-crowned gates and tall fence,
cinder track ringing the baseball field,

silent cars hunched along 111th street,
while shadow cats
clawed each other bloody beneath the fire escapes.

Steve Klepetar has a tee shirt that reads "I (picture of an insect) Kafka."

The Sweater That Was Much Too Big

Give it away, you said, but when I pulled it
over my head, the cold nearly jolted me

to the green bench, where you held my hand,
fed me nonpareils until my teeth ached

and I asked you to marry me while a military band
belted out Come All Ye Faithful as a twelve bar blues.
 

Robin Dellabough 

Metallurgy

When your mother tells you about her first date
in thirty–seven years, the air you inhale
is sharper, stuck in your throat,
and when, tickly and pink as a newborn,
she tells you that he’s widowed and runs a body shop,
you can’t help seeing him in goggles,
holding a blowtorch, hammering her dents
from inside out until smooth shiny metal
curls around her rebuilt engine, good as new,
so when you consider them lying naked together,
their courage a stunning blanket,
their greening bed, greening selves,
you remember you didn’t ask his name.

Robin Dellabough is a poet and writer with a journalism master’s degree. Her debut collection, Double Helix (2022) includes a Pushcart Prize-nominated poem. Recent poems in Rattle, Mom Egg Review, Blue Unicorn and many more.

Leslie Hodge

Needs killing, granny said, showing her seed-pearl teeth, and before that
I stood at the sink scrubbing the skillet, well water faintly reeking
of sulfur, and before that we pulled the kitchen table away
from the wall, so the men could eat first, and before
that she sent me to the garden tucked between
the henhouse and barn for a tomato, and
before that Mickey-the-Dog started
his shovel-headed barking.

 

Leslie Hodge enjoys experimenting with forms, and loves to add poems to her website, www.lesliehodgepoet.com.

Amanda Weir-Gertzog

Slipping

I lost me all over again
like violent clockwork
knocking through our
gaping slapdash history.

 

Amanda Weir-Gertzog lives in Durham, North Carolina with her family, menagerie of pets, teetering bookcases, and stashes of misplaced chocolate.

Sandra St-Laurent

Ragnarök

I dreamed of Iceland again
giving my mind the permission
to snuggle in the woolen folds
of a knitted herds of sheep
as the lava flushes
my worries to ashes,
floating little pieces
of eco-anxiety
once embedded in ice,
now exposed
and revealing,
too late or too soon,
the end
of (our) time.

Sandra St-Laurent is contemplating getting inked and is leaning towards an octopus tattoo for its three hearts (one French, one English, one for poetry).

H. Russell Smith

Ghosts

My dog
sees the ghosts the
night hides
from me.

Total Eclipse

Souls
dance upon
the coronal ring
of every
total eclipse.

After years of being stuck in this damned creepy castle, H. Russell Smith wishes Mina Harker hadn't dumped him for "that other guy."

Jim Kacian

So which do you believe, the sky of one star, or the sky of many?

Jim Kacian is founder/president of The Haiku Foundation, founder/owner of Red Moon Press, editor-in-chief of Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (W. W. Norton, 2013) and author of a score of books of poetry, mainly haiku.

Krista Carson

Jaws of Love

Her fake laugh
sets my teeth on edge,
but her real one
breaks my soul open.

Krista Carson is a PhD student, college professor, and woman of many cardigans.

Juan Mobili

The Crow's Gift

My father loved words that did not come easy
the ones that did not open like trained roses,

the gift of his crow: when to swoop upon
and when to wait on a high branch,

make sure that hunger never clouded his vision.

Born in Buenos Aires, adopted by New York. Juan Mobili is still betting on poetry to unlock hearts, still striving to write better.

Linden Van Wert

Curious

looking at me, you stir our tea
with the earpiece of your glasses

like an oar
sculling to pause a boat’s movement

like a wet brush
mixing pigments in a little pan

like a scientist
combining chemicals in an experiment

like a cook
as a sauce is thickening

like an actor
demonstrating a creative thought

like a cat
dipping a paw into the fishbowl

like a bathing connoisseur
testing the bathwater’s temperature

like a comedian
signaling a joke to follow

like a flirt
trailing a hand in water from the boat

like a long curved finger
as if exploring the sugar crystals

now at the bottom of my cup
a private world

in which your interest
is completely

improper.

Linden Van Wert is delighted about not having to mention successful submissions in her bio, leaving you to wonder if they exist at all, especially now that the allotted thirty-five words have all been used.

Allan Lake

Crimes of Virus

A stolen delivery van,
left abandoned in my throat,
was set on fire.

Allan Lake is a migrant poemmaker from Allover, Canada who now lives in Allover, Australia.

Jennifer Browne

In Ways Other than Eurydice

 

Wisp as smoke,
I am a grey quiet
walking beside you.

Jennifer Browne's enthusiasms are accumulative.

One Sentence Poems

is edited by Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, Clare Rolens, Dale Wisely, and Natalie Wolf. It is an Ambidextrous Bloodhound publication. Thanks for reading!

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