Category: poetry

siblings – Sara Matson


bloodied voices                across
the clear phone
invoking aeonian histories
                                             context as a flightless bird

tight swallows
carry sympathy in armfuls
jutting under elbows and
                                             staining fingertips
you offer infection to your
open wound
of a sister
and roll your eyes at the               dusty evening
when fevers curve under shut
eyelids                 wind between cilia
to proliferate

hide in the cusp
of my hand,                      brother
spin these silks until they’re invisible
and pass its smoothness
let the fibers sap what
they need and you don’t

those that love you
will wring you thoroughly
and every drop will

Sara Matson’s writing can be found or is forthcoming in Rabid Oak, Mannequin Haus, Anti-Heroin Chic, FIVE:2:ONE, Burning House Press, A) Glimpse) Of), Poached Hare, OCCULUM Journal, Dream Pop Press, Waxing and Waning, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her rad husband + cats, and tweets as @skeletorwrites

Religion at Three A.M., Night before My Sister’s Funeral – Danielle de Corcho

And I find it again:
The only thing that helps

Like the difference between drowning
In fresh
Or salt water.

Same result,
But one is easier to swallow
on the way Down

It stings less in the eyes
Of those around you
Being hit in the face

With your wild, desperate
Thrashing.  Searching
For One Last Truth

at the bottom
of an ancient

Danielle de Corcho teaches English as a Second Language and writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her poems have appeared in HEArt Journal Online, Scintilla Magazine, and the Submittable Blog. She lives just outside of New Orleans with her family.  

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Things I Tell My Children – Lisa Caloro

Things I Tell My Children

Always carry a dark stone, a mute bluebird, a sharp arrow, homing devices nobody questions.  Trust animals — human directions are deceitful, their bones lie (love them anyway). Share your poems whenever possible, only sacrifice survives, map the consequences with metaphor; the poem is always truth.  A dewdrop cannot be saved, let it dry so the stars have a trail to follow, feed the deer fermented apples, they may stumble, steady; the skies’ reflection in their eyes is a prayer — say it.  Look a loved one dead in the face, blame your defiance on your mother, her damp hands feeding earth soft men, when briars grab your legs as you run, bloody scratches become new words (the stinging eventually subsides): write them. Listen to the fish dreaming at lake’s bottom, swallow the weight of the stone in your pocket, be silent, the birch branches all sway in the right direction, look up.  Be grateful — your arrow points to verses the startled bluebird sings once you give her voice.

Lisa Caloro teaches at a small community college in the Catskills and bartends on weeknights to diversify her audience and gather more material. Her poems have appeared in Evening Street Review, Jelly Bucket, and Santa Ana River Review among other publications. 



Photo by Margaret Weir on Unsplash

3 Poems – Maryfrances Wagner

Backyard Wishing Well

The wishing well my Father built,
painted to match our house, 
with a bucket on a rope, 
heard wishes and secrets
of friends, relatives, and neighbors 
who came and returned 
with more friends.  Sometimes 
we saw them from the window 
tossing over their shoulders 
or in an underhanded flickering arc. 
They tossed for trips and boats, 
new houses and cars, for Martha’s recovery, 
Ben’s safety, for boyfriends, girlfriends, 
prom dates, periods, rings. They wanted
beauty, first place, a better job.  They wanted
to win the lottery, to win the war.  Some
closed their eyes, kissed their coins,
and didn’t tell their wishes. They tossed 
for novelty, for chance, for romantic charm.  
When the well went dry, my father went down
to make repairs, dig deeper, but water 
didn’t return.  Only a trickle kept the ground wet.  
After that, he rescued fouled balls, a lost ring, 
and our cat, meowing from a squat at the bottom,
but we kept on wishing and tossing while the coins 
arched and stacked and sank into the mud. 


Hugging Mother

I slouched against her,
sagged into her skirt folds 
to pout or hide from uncles 
who rubbed whiskers on my cheeks.  

I leaned into her to hide 
a missing tooth, a broken 
nose that healed crooked,
a line of stitches on my forehead.  

On bus rides, I huddled
under her arm and listened
to the bus door hiss each time 
someone entered until I napped.   


Saturdays at the Bakery

The couple picked a bagel
and an oatmeal cookie larger
than a splayed hand.  Coffee.
One endless cup, steaming 
its notes around them 
like a harbor fog while they
stared through the window
to watch the spill
of the gumball’s spiky seeds
or the flutter of white 
and pink tree blossoms.  
They weren’t headed
to a black tie fundraiser
at the Hilton, weren’t 
planning an Alaska cruise
or a trip to Miorca.  
The cookie, the bagel,
the coffee, the window
were enough.

Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas, Pouf, and The Silence of Red Glass.  Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation),  She co-edits I-70 Review.