Issue Five: Poetry

Meet the poets of Issue Five!

Christine Higgins
Prayer

Say it again: prayer.
Hear how the sound
is like a bird opening
its wings and lifting
into the air.

Assurances sent in e-mails,
in phone calls, we’re praying.
Prayer on your neighbor’s front porch,
prayer at the bedside, down on your knees
prayer in the chapel, your family’s
faith reaching all around you… READ MORE.


Richard Wells
Summit

Erie, Pennsylvania,

Starbucks’
corporate living room,

Nat King Cole
providing background
in competition with
grinding coffee
and steaming milk,

I’m pondering
a biblical summit meeting… READ MORE.


J.V. Sumpter
My Umbrella Shot Three Stories into the Air

Maybe the Rapture just happened,
and the only part of God’s creation found
worthy on this college street
was my umbrella,
sucked straight up to heaven

while I’m left with arms raised,
hands empty,
a street-corner prophet
desolate in vindication… READ MORE.


Janz Duncan
Mother in Prayer

Alone. She sat alone. Body slanted, feet barely touching the cold cemented floor. Still head bowed. Eyes closed. Hands clasped, between them a well-thumbed Bible… READ MORE.


Charles Eggerth
Holiday Local to the North Country

Yes, I remember that train.
Funny a picture should bring back
so sharp an image from forty years ago.
That’s the Boston and Maine Christmas local to Tilton, and points beyond.
(I had to wait for the extra. The regular train
was packed. Carried more people at Christmas time
than the rest of the year put together.)
I’d be almost willing to bet the year was 1947… READ MORE.


Richard Spilman
Monarchs

In Monterey for a race
on the old Can-Am circuit,
we found a motel, a collection of cabins
strewn through the trees like dice
from a children’s game.
One big oak in the middle of it all,
flocked with gray as if a terrible frost
had shriveled its leaves… READ MORE.


Rp Verlaine
Touched by Light

Nights
I become
a bird flying
through the blind darkness
always landing on faith’s shoulder.

The church is my sanctuary
praying not for myself
for those misguided
as I was for years
I hear their silence
and their weeping… READ MORE.


Ron Riekki
Ex-backalleying

No, I’m not carrion. Or despair. Or nothing, not Nothing, despite
what my self-talk might attempt to shock me into. Or to strain.
Or try to hook me into. I’m not a back alley, the end of it, weary.
Because I choose not to be. Or He does. He, bigger than the sea.
I look at the sky, numb. Awed… READ MORE.


Robert Funderburk
Children

Are listening, so
Put a filter on your tongue
Are watching, so
Scrub your actions
With soap

Some
Have daddies who love, so
Strangers, do not touch
Have mothers who love more, so
Don’t, if you value your vitals
And a pain-free life… READ MORE.


Michelle McMillan-Holifield
Boldness

The blade of my fight is dull, the knife coughing
at the thing but never cutting it, and I’m just a calamity
waiting to happen, my cowardice so bloated
it’s like some poisonous clam spit me out on its beach
and now I’m baking on the sand, the gritty crystals
pretending to be medicinal, pretending to be motherly
but they’re just throttle-kissing me, scarfing my throat
with a death grip so violent I end up silent… READ MORE.


Anthony Butts
Papyrus

Not to the rusty arms of garbage trucks
squealing like unmistakably familiar
birds in the five a.m. hour, when I

usually pen missives to my pastor—
the cursive like loopy and visible

trails left by loons swooping through air—
and certainly not to those who loathe the poetry
of our lives: but to the occasion for verse… READ MORE.


Carol Edwards
Holy Madness

I feel like I’m going a bit mad:
Mind practices summersaults
And twirls and ashes, ashes we all
Fall down, and my heartbeat
Beats like a nagado daiko, like
The fury road war drum
Fury and fear and swelling in my ears… READ MORE.


Laura Anella Johnson
Ash Wednesday

Usually in white, our pastor wears black
tonight, explains the words he’ll say,
and the ashes.
Mortality sprinkled on my head.
Humanness, confronting death… READ MORE.


Richard Leach
Lazarus says how it was

It was like when
you know you
are asleep and
you want to wake
up but you can’t
wake up and you
want to move but
you can’t move
and you want to
cry out but your
mouth won’t open… READ MORE.


Nolo Segundo
The Look in Her Eyes

No, it isn’t what you think
when I say I was enraptured
by the look in her eyes–
the eyes were those of a woman
who was dying and knew she
was dying… READ MORE.


Ronnie Sirmans
Parable of the Comic Strip

Remember Bazooka bubble gum? Pink slabs wrapped
in paper slick like the meaty side of butcher’s paper?
Bazooka Joe comics printed on the colorful shininess?
One day as a kid when I tore off the bubble gum wrapper,
a breeze blew it away before I could study Joe’s words… READ MORE.


Annie Harpel
Song on a Sunday Morning

gentle haze blankets the air
sunlight
weaves through pockets of broken fog
highlighting golden summer hills
birds chirp patterns of conversations
cars line the street… READ MORE.


Lauren M. Davis
This Thing that God Made

Look at this thing that God made:
this thing
of swirling skin, hair, and wax.

Coils of flesh twisted
and set
into pattern
to draw inward
sound… READ MORE.


April Ojeda
Conversations on 16th and Guadalupe

The mad woman on the sidewalk glares,
What you looking at me for?
I ain’t no man’s sugar,
Ain’t no mama’s darling girl neither.
And I ain’t got no name,
Least not one I’ll tell you about.
So don’t act like you care
Waitin’ on your ride off this corner… READ MORE.


Terri Martin Wilkins
Waters

‘Let justice roll down like waters.’
Proclaimed in unexpectant unperturbed voices
Comfortable righteous virtuous honorable
No reason no need to search the hidden depths
Of denial,
Of uncompassion,
Of refusal to see hear understand learn… READ MORE.


Matthew J. Andrews
Holy Saturday

Sabbath streets: dust and stone

Bated breath of mist
on a mountain’s face

READ MORE.


Read Issue Five:

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