Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shadows and Reflections

artwork: ralph murre

Shadows and Reflections
       by Nancy Haskett

My mother’s face and voice,
once as familiar
as my own signature
or the soothing sound of rain,
have become mere memories yellowed with age,
like lace and appliques on the gown
she sewed for my wedding,
dimmed like old photographs
no longer vibrant with color,
her aspects eluding me even as
I run my fingers down the surface
of an oil painting,
searching for the softness of her hand
that created it.

Today, in this year that divides
our thirty-two years together
from thirty-two years apart,
I look for traces of her in my own reflection,
catching a glimpse, sometimes,
in the gray of my hair,
the slight swell of my belly,
but more often seeing shadows of my father
in the set of my jaw
the turn of my mouth,
and I worry she is lost to me
until I find her again,
just for a moment

in my daughter’s smile

~ first published in Penumbra

Monday, February 16, 2015

You said I should write more love poems . .

photo: ralph murre

by Steve Tomasko

You said I should write more love poems and
I said, I’m sorry, but I’ve been thinking about
sloths. Well, actually, the moths that live
on sloths. Nestle into their fur, take the slow,
slow ride through the rain forest. Once a week
the sloth descends to the forest floor. Defecates.
Female moths leap off; lay their eggs on the fresh
feces; jump back on. Their caterpillars nourish
themselves on the fetid feast, metamorphose
into moths, fly up into the canopy to find
their own sloths. They prefer the three-toed
over the two-toed. Who can figure attraction?
The algae-covered sloth fur is the only home
the sloth moths know. The only place they live.
I know it’s a Darwinian thing but fidelity
comes to mind. Commitment.  Patience.
The world writes love poems all the time.

~ previously published in The Fiddlehead

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book of Synonyms, p. 997

photoart: sharon auberle

Book of Synonyms, p. 997
by Jeanie Tomasko

valentine, n. 1. This morning when the cardinal
broke my sleep, I started thinking Corvette, 
cherries, Russian Revolution. 2. This morning
when the cardinal sang on, I thought of beets
and roses and relentless. 3. This morning
when the cardinal wouldn’t stop, I said out loud
I want to be reckless with desire. 4. I decided
not to spend the day cutting hearts out of paper
to spread here on your pillow. 5. Love,
instead I am going to fledge a thousand
cabernet-colored feathers to cover my own
small beating heart. 6. It’s the middle of winter,
who cares if we don’t last the night?

~ previously published in Sharp as Want
   (Little Eagle Press)   

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


artwork: william marr

by William Marr

It’s still there
for me to

Looming from the distant childhood
my father’s


~  first published in Autumn Window ( Arbor Hill Press)

Sunday, February 8, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

by Ellaraine Lockie

I like the not knowing
The span of time
that suspends in exquisite tension
When possibilities are endless
and optimism animates ambition
without ignorance deceived as denial

I like the not knowing
The span of time
after submissions are sent
And suspense is delivered
daily by the mailman
Dreams of literary immortality
that stay alive in his empty hands

I like the not knowing
The span of time
since failing the mammogram exam
When statistics leave space for faith
Between fresh appreciation  
for perfectly balanced breasts
And the scalpel that slices
symmetry into grave reality

I like the not knowing
The span of time
where you live luminous in my mind
Wishful thinking and what ifs
with fairy tale endings
Before facts dim the delusion
or convention devours us

I like that span of time
The not knowing

~ previously published in California Quarterly

Thursday, February 5, 2015

one from ~ Haiku Page

translation: jq zheng

by Jeffrey Winke

spilled moonlight
on a near-calm lake
I bathe in her touch

~ previously published in row of pine
   and translated for Haiku Page

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Primo, Secundo

oil painting: l. da. vinci / digital image: r. murre

Primo, Secundo
by Margot Peters

So long we've played duets,
hips spreading on piano bench,
now merging, you Humpty
me Dumpty, making music together.

You play above middle C
hands darting like finches
over the green field of my bass.
I drive the bus below, striving to set
the tempo.

We clap earmuffs on Mozart's bust
to spare him the bad notes.
Schubert throbs on your vintage Steinway,
Ravel falters on my Yamaha grand.

You said to me yesterday: "I've always
wanted to play secundo."

Conductor lowers his baton
Orchestra scrapes back its chairs.

Truly, have we been making music
for thirty-five years, you wanting secundo?

Do I know you, friend?

~ first published in Free Verse