Thursday, 16 July 2020


In Memory Of....

by Amy Ballard Rich


Ghosts surround me,
sipping me down
with my coffee
as I sit on my deck
bathing in red spring leaves,
blossoms, flowers,
and new light green tips
of fir tree boughs

Sitting on my deck
is my homage to the fallen,
my 30-minute jog around the house
doesn't shake them loose,
the dust on my car
remembers their breath

The fallen dying alone,
maybe saying goodbye
into a tablet or phone,
now keep me company,
alongside my sips of coffee

My breath in and out,
still going strong,
tells me not to complain
that I cannot hug my friends,
or read a poem at a mic

The ghosts linger
on the rim of my coffee cup,
tricking my ears into hearing
a far-off lawn mower
sounding like a wheezing lung,
struggling on a ventilator

My stillness is my small homage,
my silence is my sign of respect
my breath is my reminder,
that although surrounded by ghosts,
I am still alive


* * * * *

Amy Ballard Rich's work can be found in many anthologies, including Mermaid Mirror and Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal. When not writing she can be found advocating for social justice, and hugging trees.


Wednesday, 15 July 2020


Weekend Getaway

by Emma Alexandrov


Just for an hour on the beach
I accord myself my right to hunger.
I amuse myself with pretending I am immortal.

Beside me my man's body dissolves into sand
from the inside out.
I imagine unfurling inside him
there is a conch-shell spiral
of sand replacing his organs
twirl by twirl. Soon he will blow
away. I look into his darling face,
which I can't even see.
Instead there is a zoetrope
where flicker the faces
of all the men I've loved
like nervous reflections on a tidal pool.

I imagine god is cross
with my hubris
and he changes the beach
into a bank of sand
at the bottom of a glass bottle
turned on its side.
I feel the sky sloping around me like tight walls
and my blankeyed man is all I have
to comfort me, half-buried in the sand looking
like a doll so cheap it's got a sticker
for a face. Thing always peels off
and it's always me
who's gotta stick it back on,
poor thing,
that doll.


* * * * *

Emma Alexandrov is keeping herself from dwelling too much on mortality by reading and writing poems, trying to figure out how to get computers to think, and editing Windows Facing Windows Review. She's currently rooted in Atlanta, GA, Portland, OR, and Poughkeepsie, NY. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2020


Pandemic Pantoum

by Lesléa Newman


Is today Monday or Tuesday?
Are you taking a shower today?
Has anyone fed the cat?
Would you like me to make you some breakfast?

Are you taking a shower today?
Is it time to do laundry again?
Would you like me to make you some breakfast?
Are you getting dressed today?

Is it time to do laundry again?
Are the plates in the dishwasher clean?
Are you getting dressed today?
Would you like me to give you a haircut?

Are the plates in the dishwasher clean?
What time are you Zooming today?
Would you like me to give you a haircut?
Would you like me to make you some lunch?

What time are you Zooming today?
Would you like to go for a walk?
Would you like me to make you some lunch?
Did you speak to your family today?

Would you like to go for a walk?
Is it time to order some groceries?
Did you speak to your family today?
Who ate the last piece of chocolate?

Is it time to order some groceries?
Did you remember to wipe off the mail?
Who ate the last piece of chocolate?
Are we running out of TP?

Did you remember to wipe off the mail?
Would you like me to make you some dinner?
Are we running out of TP?
Can we please stop watching the news?

Would you like me to make you some dinner?
Are you ready to go to sleep?
Can we please stop watching the news?
Would you make me a snack before bed?

Are you ready to go to sleep?
Is today Monday or Tuesday?
Would you make me a snack before bed?
Has anyone fed the cat?


* * * * *

Lesléa Newman is the creator of 75 books for readers of all ages including the poetry collections, Still Life With Buddy, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, I Carry My Mother, and I Wish My Father (forthcoming, Headmistress Press). Her literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. From 2008 - 2010, she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, MA. Currently she teaches at Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing.

Monday, 13 July 2020


Novi Sad, 24 February 1922

in the imagined voice of Mileva Marić Einstein*
by Catherine Arra


Papa died today
a disheartened man
stripped of wealth and standing
by war.
Mother ill,
a son missing in Russia,
a mentally dysfunctional daughter,
and me—
his hope and sacrifice,
his prodigy,
who would make history,
his aspiring scientist
lost to motherhood, domesticity,
and the world as it is.

I’m so sorry, Papa.


* * * * *

*Mileva Marić Einstein was a visionary mathematician and scientist in her own right. There is evidence to indicate that she was instrumental, and perhaps a collaborator, in the scientific papers that comprised Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, of epoch-making theories that redefined the mechanics of the universe and laid the path to his fame. Mileva and Albert married in 1903, after the birth and loss of an illegitimate daughter, Lieserl. They later had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. They separated in 1914, and officially divorced in 1919.

"Mileva" is part of the forthcoming poetry collection Her Landscape: Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press 2020).

Catherine Arra is the author of (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and three chapbooks. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. Forthcoming in 2020 from Finishing Line Press is a new chapbook, Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein. Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at www.catherinearra.com.

Sunday, 12 July 2020


Mileva

in the imagined voice of Mileva Marić Einstein*
by Catherine Arra


His trajectory would span time itself.
His magnetic field, his center of gravity—givens,
a blueprint demanding architects, builders,
fans, financiers, and sacrifice.

He siphoned people into himself, a whirlpool,
or pulled them along in his wake.
Irresistible. His vision unrelenting.
His poetry and light inescapable. All were helpless
against their love, hate, or awe of him.

Each in kindfamily,
colleagues, loverswould become fuel, lift, velocity,
his coterie in collusions, betrayals, all that was necessary
to complete the arc of his life.
It was non-negotiable. No one bargains with God.

I knew his mind, merged and mated with it.
I loved the man too, his boyish frailty,
his appetites and sensuality,
the padding softness of his footfall,
the rhythms of his breathing, his smell.
The way he beckoned me, come.

I was his wife. I am Mileva.


* * * * *

*Mileva Marić Einstein was a visionary mathematician and scientist in her own right. There is evidence to indicate that she was instrumental, and perhaps a collaborator, in the scientific papers that comprised Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis, or Miracle Year, of epoch-making theories that redefined the mechanics of the universe and laid the path to his fame. Mileva and Albert married in 1903, after the birth and loss of an illegitimate daughter, Lieserl. They later had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard. They separated in 1914, and officially divorced in 1919.

"Mileva" is part of the forthcoming poetry collection Her Landscape: Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein (Finishing Line Press 2020).

Catherine Arra is the author of (Women in Parentheses) (Kelsay Books, 2019), Writing in the Ether (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and three chapbooks. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous journals online and in print, and in several anthologies. Forthcoming in 2020 from Finishing Line Press is a new chapbook, Her Landscape, Poems Based on the Life of Mileva Marić Einstein. Arra is a native of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York, where she teaches part-time and facilitates local writing groups. Find her at www.catherinearra.com.

Saturday, 11 July 2020


FORGIVENESS

by Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard

            in memory of Eva Kor


Sagittarius A, that astronomers
describe as a gravitational monster
pulled in passing stars in its
cosmic dance. Yet some stars manage

to survive the gravitational dance
of a black hole. Like Eva Kor
who survived Auschwitz because
she and her sister were treated

as guinea pigs by Dr. Mengele
who carried out his medical experiments
to create an Aryan master race.
She responded to the horrors by preaching

the power of forgiveness, persuading
a former physician at Auschwitz
to sign a document acknowledging
the gas chamber. Afterwards, Eva

wrote him a letter expressing her belief
in forgiving tormentors, as a thank you
for his gesture, that lifted
her burden of pain. We don't need

houses of worship to feel close
to the Creator, or astronomers
to explain the human cosmos,
but to face evil, the lust for power,

a hatred for others, and to respond
with a luminous soul rising
above the gravitational dance
of dark and light.


* * * * *

Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard (http://www.margueritegbouvard.com/) is the author of ten poetry books, two of which have won awards, including the MassBook Award for Poetry. She has also written many non-fiction books on women's rights, social justice, grief, illness, and The Invisible Wounds of War: Coming Home from Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a former professor of Political Science and Poetry, a former Resident scholar at Women's Studies Research Center and Environmental Studies at Brandeis University.






Friday, 10 July 2020


Prayer To Our Unborn Grandchild
April 2020

by Brooke Herter James


Give us time
tiny one
while you lie
in your warm nest

eyes accustomed to
silky darkness  ears
to heartbeat nocturne
room just enough to wave

Wait right there
while we prepare
our home for you 
we have much to do 

this was a hard winter
late April and still snow falls
Give us the spring
and the summer too

to kneel in the dirt
set down grains and kernels
then fill empty vases
with sweet peas and phlox

eat warm cherry tomatoes
ears of silver queen corn
Give us early fall to harvest
fingerling potatoes

turn honeycrisp apples into pie
pick the last of the raspberries
gather pumpkins from the field
watch geese flock together again

Grant us the time to remember
the gifts of this world
that is soon to be yours.
Then hurry up and come.


* * * * *

Brooke Herter James is a children’s book author and poet living in Vermont. She has published two chapbooks, The Widest Eye (2016) and Spring Took the Long Way Around (2019). Her work has appeared in Poets Reading the News, New Verse News, and PoemTown Vermont. Brooke was a finalist in the Poetry Society of Vermont’s 2019 National Poetry Contest.