Friday, 29 May 2020


Elegy

by Tobi Alfier


I don’t remember much.
Arrivals and departures blur
like an outdoor square on market day
some place, some lovely place,
where the language is not mine.
It is finally warm after a winter
both wicked and perilous.
Hand-knit scarves the color of forests
and brambled berries now replaced
by headscarves in fruited hues.

Willows bend, applaud their reflections
in quiet rivers, still but for the splash
of dragonfly, the sound of graceful
herons landing among lilypads
and algae. They check the sun,
fly off again.

I know the calendar, welcome
new growth in the fields,
turn of the waterwheel, melody
of tractors and trains from miles
away. But I did not know how much,
how much the weight his final
departure would leave on the hearts
of all, no matter the memories,
each different and owned without
disgrace, like quicksilver mirages
widening in the unaccompanied sun.


* * * * *

"Elegy" was first published in Main Street Rag (2019/2020).

Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies was published by Cholla Needles Press. Symmetry: earth and sky is forthcoming from Main Street Rag. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

Thursday, 28 May 2020


High Tea
            For Amy

by Tobi Alfier


Shoulders and biceps tough,
shapely as a wrought iron
balustrade on a Bourbon Street
balcony, from thousands
of pushups in 5:00am PT,
flushed face a match for the rise
of dawn, always the count
inside her head—forty, fifty,
sixty, controlled face lowered
onto cool grass.

Now she is at tea,
a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” frock,
off the shoulder, over the knee,
I am a lovely woman she thinks,
her reflection poised in the many mirrors.
Legs crossed, patent-leather pumps,
tiny earrings peep through hair
delicately placed over her ears.
A pot of Earl Grey at her elbow,
sweets and sandwiches to the side.

No stripes, no boots, no salutes.
This is a day to remember the quiet
goodness of daily blessings, the definition
of friend. This man—this gentleman—
who doesn’t keep score, or harbor resentment
like a plague…She could get a PhD
in disappointment, but no fieldwork
will be done today. The only decisions—
wildflower honey or acacia, and which flowers
to bring home to grace both their houses.


* * * * *

"High Tea" was first published in Cholla Needles (Issue 33) and is part of Tobi Alfier's new collection Symmetry: earth and sky (forthcoming from Main Street Rag).

Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies was published by Cholla Needles Press. Symmetry: earth and sky is forthcoming from Main Street Rag. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).


Wednesday, 27 May 2020


YOU OK?

by Anita S Pulier


In this quarantine marathon
morning is evening.
Hours poorly punctuated,
like a run-on sentence,
suffer from adjective flooding.

long
frightening
sad
sunny
dreary
endless 

Innocent verbs 
face the danger 
of domestic abuse

wake
cook
sleep
shower
wash
eat

The family chatters
on a zoom-packed screen,
eyeglasses steam up over masks,
droplets and aerosols
swarm like summer’s no-see-ums.

April arrives,
cherry and apple trees bloom,
daffodils sparkle in exhaust free air,
mockingbirds imitate screaming sirens.

How small the difference
between noise and song.

My love, look up!
The sun rises and sets,
the moon reassures,
we’re okay.


* * * * *

After retiring from her law practice, Anita served as a U. S. representative for the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom at the United Nations.

Her chapbooks Perfect Diet, The Lovely Mundane and Sounds Of Morning as well as her book The Butchers Diamond were published by Finishing Line Press. Anita’s poems have appeared both online and in print in many journals and several anthologies. Recently she has been the featured poet on The Writers Almanac.

Anita's website address is http://psymeet.com/anitaspulier/.



Tuesday, 26 May 2020



UNKNOWING

by Vera Kewes Salter


At fifteen she had no language to describe
her own body when the man lured her

into his cabin and caused unknown
sensations to radiate through her.

She tried to write about this in her green leather
diary with the gold lock. Her boyfriend made her

shred it and pitch it into the waste bin at the underground
station because she was not able to say

if she had real sex. She sobbed every evening
as he harangued her on the phone.

She is glad her three-year old granddaughters know 
to say they wash their vaginas each night in the tub.


* * * * *

Raised in England to parents who were refugees from Europe, Vera Kewes Salter moved to the United States in 1969 and married into an African American family. Together with a PhD in sociology these varied perspectives inform her work. She writes at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center. She has been published recently in Right Hand Pointing, Writers Circle 2, and Red Eft Review.

Monday, 25 May 2020


Her Feet

by Tamara Madison


She wore mules with maribou poufs,
clear plastic high-heels to show off
toned calves, slim ankles, high arches.
Now she wears flat shoes in two sizes,
a brace on one foot, compression socks.
There are thick calluses on the braced foot.
I cut her nails, work the scissors under
the thick keratin to clip the bent-under tips.
I put lotion on her feet and legs; skin
flakes off, skin that hasn’t seen the sun
in tens of years. I help her dress for breakfast,
clean up when she doesn’t make it
to the toilet. She jokes about being dressed
like a baby by her daughter. How awful
to have lived too long! she says.
Before she goes to bed she lays out
tomorrow’s knit pants and top,
lines up the brace and two-sized shoes,
and says a prayer for everyone on her list
before falling asleep with the thought
that maybe this will be the night when He
comes to bear her away in his chariot of air.


* * * * *                     

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac, Sheila-Na-Gig, and many other publications. She has recently retired from teaching English and French in Los Angeles and is happy to finally get some sleep. More about Tamara can be found at tamaramadisonpoetry.com.



Sunday, 24 May 2020


Homeless Shelter Lamentation 

by D.C. Buschmann


You come to me drunk,
expect me to pretend
I like your drunk self.
I don’t

know how to pretend
you aren’t drunk,
that you don’t remember
what I just told you
five minutes ago,

that you don’t repeat
what you just said
four or five times.

I don’t know how to
pretend I don’t notice
your alternate personality
IQ’s 80 points lower.

You say I’m to blame.
I tear into you 
when you’re the one
tearing.

I don’t know how to 
pretend I don’t notice
you’ve gone into a rage
because I’m watching
a show you don’t like.
Why not just ask me
to turn it?

You expect me to pretend
I don’t have a threshold
and this isn’t beyond it.

You expect me to pretend
with you 
that you don’t drink.

You expect me to pretend
I like you drunk.
I don’t.


* * * * *

D.C. Buschmann is a retired editor and reading specialist. She was a finalist in the 2018 Poetry Society of Indiana’s Ogdon Award. Her poem, “Death Comes for a Friend,” was the Editor’s Choice in Poetry Quarterly, Winter 2018. In 2016, she was a finalist in the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize contest and the Pride in Poetry Prize contest. She has been published in literary magazines in the US, the UK, Australia, Iraq, and India. She lives in Carmel, Indiana, with husband Nick and miniature schnauzers Cupcake and Coco. Her first full collection of poetry will be published in 2020.

Saturday, 23 May 2020


Mustard Flowers Falling

by Tanya Ko Hong


            1

a yellow cab stops in the dark
dark clouds cover half the moon
water is boiling in the rusty kettle

she smells like peppermint
the cat's eyes like a neon sign
outside the rainy window

you are reading a line in a poem
slowly
            slowly

petals of dried flowers
drop on your knees

a woman leaves 
after brushing her teeth
with your old tooth brush 

            2

with your old toothbrush
after brushing her teeth
a woman leaves

drop on your knees
petals of dried flowers

            slowly
slowly
you are reading a line in a poem

outside the rainy window
the cat's eyes like a neon sign
she smells like peppermint

water is boiling in the rusty kettle
dark clouds cover half the moon
a yellow cab stops in the dark 


* * * * *

"Mustard Flowers Falling" was first published by Berkeley Korean Literature Society (2016) and reprinted by the Los Angeles Poet Society (2018) and is part of Tanya Ko Hong's collection The WAR still within (KYSO Flash Press, 2019)

Tanya Ko Hong (Hyonhye) is a poet, translator, and cultural curator who champions bilingual poetry and poets. Born and raised in Suk Su Dong, South Korea, she immigrated to the U.S. at the age of eighteen. She is the author of five books: The War Still Within (KYSO Flash Press, 2019); Mother to Myself, a collection of poems in Korean (Prunsasang Press, 2015); Yellow Flowers on a Rainy Day (Oma Books of the Pacific, 2003); Mother’s Diary of Generation 1.5 (Qumran, 2002); and Generation 1.5 (Korea: Esprit Books, 1993).

Author’s website: http://www.tanyakohong.com