Friday, May 29, 2015


by James Reiss

In my dreams I always speak Spanish.
The cemetery may be in Brooklyn,
and I may be kneeling on a rise
looking out at the skyline of the city,
but I will whisper, Mira el sol.

And it is true the late morning
sun will turn that bank of skyscrapers
the color of bleached bone in Sonora,
and all the window washers of Manhattan
will white-out like a TV screen

in Venezuela turning to snow.
But the gray face on the headstone photograph
has a nose like my father’s,
and his voice had the lilt of the ghettos
of central Europe.

So I should kneel lower and say something
in Yiddish about fathers, grandfathers,
the hacked limbs of a family tree
that reaches as high as Manhattan.
I should say, Grampa, I loved those times

we ran through the underpasses in Central
Park, you with your cane, I with my ice
cream cones, shouting for echoes,
bursting out into sunlight—
if I only knew the language to say it in.

~ first published in The New Yorker

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


photoart: ralph murre

by Elizabeth Rosner

sometimes I am Jacob and
sometimes I am the angel and
always I am wrestling
with God or with the idea
of God or with the idea
of myself wrestling with God

(there is always a risk
in the naming of
things in the naming
of oneself)

the stones in my pockets
weighing me down
are also holding me
angels have no pockets and therefore can float

while I, who resist floating,
watch them rise with
something like envy and
something like rage

who can float in a time
like this, when the past
is still close enough
to touch and the sounds
of weeping linger so

isn’t it our grief that makes us real
makes us dimensional,
heavy on the earth?

I think of my grandmother’s
sweet hand, the weight
of it as she stroked my hair
to say good-bye, giving me
comfort because she was
the one leaving,

and her hand rinsed
me like water,
like falling water

~ first published in Many Mountains Moving
and subsequently, in the author's collection,
GRAVITY (Atelier 26 Books)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Found in an Attic . . .

artwork: ralph murre

Found in an Attic:
World War II Letter to a Wife
by Donal Mahoney

When I get home
things will be the same.
I haven't changed.

The sling 
comes off the day
I get on the plane.

I'll be able
to cut the grass,
rake the leaves,

shovel the snow,
all the stuff I did before.
And every morning

in summer, fall,
winter and spring,
when we wake up,

I'll draw rosettes
with the tip
of my tongue

on your nipples,
await your orders to
bivouac elsewhere.

Nothing has changed.
I'm feeling fine.
We'll cleave again

~ first published in Eye on Life

Friday, May 22, 2015

Scout's Honor

artwork: ralph murre

Scout’s Honor
by Ralph Murre

Merit badges for tying knots -
the bowline, the sheepshank, the clove hitch.
Merit badges for whittling the likenesses
of dead presidents and woodland animals, and
of course, for assistance given to the feeble
in their never-ending quest to cross the road.

Maybe they should keep handing them out.

The badge for showing up every day
right down to the day they tell you
not to show up tomorrow.
A merit badge for the day
your infant son needs major surgery.
Another for that day he’s grown
and buys his first motorcycle.
Badges for each of your daughter’s tattoos
and piercings. Diamond insets
if you can’t really mention what’s been pierced.
A merit badge, or, at least, a colorful neckerchief
as your party loses another one.
( But it could be taken back if you move to Canada.)
Bronze medals for burying parents.
Silver for friends.
You’d rather die than win the gold.
A merit badge and letter of commendation
the day you actually give up your abuse
of anything, or anyone.
And a little badge of semi-precious material
for every day that you get out of bed
and wear a brave costume.
One for that confident smile on your face
as your knees tremble beneath the table.

            ~ previously published in Crude Red Boat
               (Cross + Roads Press)

Sunday, May 17, 2015


photoart: sharon auberle

by Sharon Auberle

Last seen lying on a log
among trilliums, lady's slippers
and columbine…

It has rained since then,
a downpour of sweetness
drenching the book
I left among trees
where birds and squirrels
may one day line their nests
with a poet's words.
I didn't mean to leave her there,
but knelt to gather mushrooms
then, forgetting, walked away.

As she lay dying in Poland,
Anna wrote the book's last poem,
hospital sheets white and sterile
beneath her, no bed
of dark loam and leaves
no choirs of wildflowers
no one to whisper
she did not die,
she's only gone missing
for awhile in the forest.

~ first published in Crow Ink (Little Eagle Press)

Editor’s note:  Some days after losing the book and gaining this poem, Ms. Auberle retraced her steps through the woodlands and recovered the volume, dampish and lovely and treasured more than ever.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Near Death

digital photoart: ralph murre

Near Death
by Firestone Feinberg

Heart attack.


I was walking on a narrow bridge.
It was only wide enough for me.
And no one else was on it.

I looked up.
There was no sky.

I looked down.
There was no earth.


I was standing in the middle of the bridge.
Then I turned around and slowly




~ first published in Verse-Virtual

Friday, May 8, 2015

What Right Have I?

photo: jude genereaux

“What Right Have I”
  by Jude Genereaux

What right do I have
to luxuriate in such exquisite beauty?
     people are starving in Africa
           children die in the killing fields
                   the mid-east festers, ticking

What right …
to sit gazing at sun dazzled water
lined in cliffs of white, bumblebees pop & whizz
through candy cane striped flutes
gulls glide, weightless over the
navy-blue-white-frothing bay
             I sit idle in a field
             studying the lace of white pine;

Would I dare to hope this is karma, reincarnation?
I am aware of nothing I did to earn this moment
               even as I recognize the truest sin
                        would be to not rejoice in such grace

When I return home I promise to write
my congressmen, send money to good causes
            but for this moment
my sole Duty,  my responsibility
            is to take Notice of this perfection
                                      and be glad.                               

~ first published in Base Camp

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


photoart: sharon auberle

by Harvey O’Leary

To wake, as if given a fright,
To know today has no tonight,
To watch a cord dangle the light;

To watch the watch, to clock the clock,
To hear, as the key fits the lock,
The tinnitus of tick and tock

Grow louder; to hear the heart boom,
To see the door enter the room,
To know that now the time has come.

~  first appeared in Verse Virtual

Sunday, May 3, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

~ by Shoshauna Shy

If I happen to remember Roy
- scruffy vet whom I met
on the New Mexican desert -
what I remember is the night my father
dropped by my first apartment
without warning.
Recent arrivals to that dusty two-horse town,
my father left the sweat of a big-city career,
and I left childhood.
He saw Roy’s motorcycle propped
against the aspen, so why he rang
the doorbell anyway meant he stood
in the dark long enough to regret it

while I buttoned, zipped, straightened,
smoothened, wrestled open the door
and found him, hands clasped behind
his back with some excuse about money.
I could tell, by the light from the stairway,
that even though his shoulders said
Please forgive me, there was no apology
for wanting to stay in my life.

That’s all I remember about Roy.
If Roy happens to think of me,
he remembers something else,
I’m sure.

~ previously published in
The Orange Room Review