Sonja Benskin Mesher

:: my name repeated ::

no smoke rising.

he said my name over, over
now he may be gone.

there is no smoke, just
mist rising, snow
in the distance.

quite cold, the car alarming.

there is no smoke rising
today, my name
is not repeated.

he may have gone. left
the wild wood
for sale.

Copyright © Sonja Benskin Mesher 2017


I am a painter who writes, a writer that paints, a drawer on life, and landscape. … Watch me make things. Am quite patient, hold my tongue, but can’t say multi-disciplinary. Easily I live here, in Wales,  Easily.

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Anna-May Laugher

A Shot at the Gorge

Animals come softly to the brinks,
kiss their mirror images and slake.

Water carries water, pool to pool,
sucks at cave walls, paints, ebbs,
then switches to its proper course.

Boy, respectful, skims and sips.
He tastes the mountain’s heart in it.

Other than breath
he is soundless,
no creature runs from him.

His father blunders down the rocks
more armed and furious than brave.

He loathes the wilderness,
stumbles over grace.
Both teach him his awkwardness.

Boy, strong, balletic,
carries away his father’s kill.

Boy strokes the fallow’s neck
before the dig, the filling in,
the slow-build of a pebble cairn.

Copyright © Anna-May Laugher 2017

Anna-May Laugher’s work has been widely anthologised in titles including Poetry and All that Jazz, Three Drops from a cauldron and Sophie Hannah’s The Poetry of Sex.  Online her poems have been featured on ‘Amaryllis’, ‘And other poems’, and ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears’. Her first pamphlet will be published by new press Luminous Road in May 2017.

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Thomas Zimmerman

In the Sticks

So Grandpa Horace kept a still out in
the sticks, the vines all twists, the garden gone
to weeds. He played the banjo, gambled. Farmed,
offhandedly. And I drink water now.
Imagination fails. Too early for
a drink. I never knew him. Ghosts are what
I want: my grandpa’s wildness, Dad’s compact
and vivid wartime visions. Borrowed lives.
My father’s dead. I have no son. We haunt,
or hunt ourselves, extinction drifting, smoke
on our peripheries. Like last night’s scotch,
a single-malt of brushfire peat. I sipped
it neat. You thought that I had fallen asleep,
but I was in the sticks, with flames, plucked strings.

Copyright © Thomas Zimmerman 2017

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Among his several poetry chapbooks are In Stereo (Camel Saloon, 2012) and From Green to Blue and Back (Zetataurus, 2016). Tom’s website: https://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/

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James Rose

NOT MISSING BASINGSTOKE

Feathery fronded rivulets drain to the sea,
Mirroring the stranded wracks,
Horned, serrated, bladder;
Lugworms’ sinuous, mudded mounds
Cast elongated shadows on the silk smooth sand;
Low waves slowly roll and gently slap the shore.

He answers the trilling phone –
Electronic intrusion:
‘On the beach. Yes. Glorious.’
‘No. No, not at all.’
The incoming tide crosses the fractal folds of the beach
And soothes his footprints away.

Copyright © James Rose 2017

I am a retired physician, a Northumbrian by upbringing and affiliation. I write short stories and poetry and these have been published in magazines and an anthology..

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Robert Nisbet

LIGHT OF EVENING

He is in a small cottage facing West
to a sun declining over a Welsh mountain.
He has done little, in craft, in enterprise,
today, this last month.

He has had earnest relationships,
few of which will now renew.
There will still be callers from the village.
Otherwise, quietness.

Tonight, easing into reflection
with the one whisky he allows himself,
he watches the sunset, mulls images
in lemon light.

Copyright © Robert NIsbet 2017

Robert Nisbet is a poet from Pembrokeshire who has published widely in Britain and the United States. Recent poems in Prole, The North and Clementine Unbound.

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John Grey

HITCHHIKER

The arrival of spring is welcome
but not noteworthy.
I enjoy buds on trees
as much as anyone
and yes, I tingle a little
at the thought
that eventually,
they’ll be full-blown foliage
but I know enough
not to take it personally.
It’s all down to earth’s orbit
The better weather’s
just an unintentional consequence.
And forget all that rubbish
about a young man’s fancy.
Yes, I do prefer my women
in their light, brief spring outfits
to the sexlessness of winter coats.
But, once again,
it’s all a question of astrophysics.
It’s not like my needs
had anything to do with it.
And yet, it’s a beautiful May day
and the park trees are lush
with leaf and flowering.
The lovely women
axe out in droves.
My body is loving it.
My eyes don’t know which way
to look.
But it’s nothing special.
The earth’s just taking
a spin through the heavens.
And it’s the only world
that’s offered me a ride.

Copyright © John Grey 2017

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review and Spoon River Poetry Review.

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D G Geis

Winter comes.

Dead leaves rustle without
too much fuss. Trees strip down–
bony limbs shivered down to nothing,
branches bent like old clothes hangers.
Nature’s chemo kicking in.

Insects disappear as if by magic.
Life gets lived closer to the ground–
the lobby floor where life and death
shake hands before an important meeting.
The days grow shorter as does the grass.

The smell of wood smoke rising, grey
plumes crosscut by a north wind; it is
only the stub end of autumn smoldering
before it fizzles out. Time unwinding
like the mainspring of a cheap watch.

Wintered on the wire, birds rattle their cages
just enough to remind the Jailer. Even Mexico is beyond
their means. Somewhere a hard rain is guttered—
flushing downspouts, stirring the good earth, but badly.
Soon, the ground will harden, meringued with frost.

I once believed the dead could rise, the
better part of us somehow escaping–a kind
of separation without divorce. That the seed
sown would take root . That life
went on as before—pleasant, forgetful, benign.

But I was wrong.

The dead are like everything else
that grows out of season.

They only last one planting.

Copyright © D G Geis 2017

D.G. Geis lives in Houston, Texas. His first book, Fire Sale, will be published this January by Tupelo Press.

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