“Wrath is Coming” by Christopher Scott Thompson


The sky is bright, but gray. A hint of light
Shines, flickering, behind the clouds. Outside
The streets are silent. And a hint of night

Comes creeping slowly up these clean and wide
But not quite empty streets. A man walks by.
With eyes like death he looks from side to side

Then bellows, “Kill them all!” We hear his cry
In rooms where we’ve been locked inside for days,
But no one looks. He screams, “They have to die –

“I’ll hunt them down! I’ll kill them all!” He stays
Beneath my window for a little while
Just screaming out his challenge. These are days

When mental chaos breaks the heavy, still
And fatal silence of the city’s will.


And someone answers. Driven by his fear
Or foolish pride, he takes his stand and yells:
“You shut your mouth! Go on, get out of here!”

Then total silence reigns. In all the hells
Where we have locked ourselves, we sit and wait
To find out what the man will do. The bells

Ring out the hour. And thick with rage and hate
His voice rings out as well. “They have to die!
For wrath is coming!” Like some mindless fate

He rolls along. The echoes of his cry
Play back his words. He stalks along the street
Still shouting out his prophecy. And I

Cannot deny a certain strange appeal.
For even rage can cleanse, and wrath can heal.



Christopher Scott Thompson is 47 years old, the author of several books on historical swordsmanship as well as the Noctiviganti series of dark fantasy novels. He has been composing poetry for more than 30 years.

“Lessons in the Field” by Andy Keys

The balloon men wander through their new-formed cave.
It is made of tent flaps and old sails—I do not think it will fly;
these are the same men who work the soil all day…
what do they know of leaving the earth?
I’ll be a courser, in a reconstructed army jeep,
and the driver will trace their path mazelike
through the vineyard backroads he knows like his pocket
which contain a battered flip phone and a thin black wallet.
But it’s more than that, he tells me: it’s the stitching
and the lint. It is the telling wear at a certain seam
and the discolored fading on the exterior of a pair of jeans
where the wallet rests inside.
It is simple physics: hot air rises.
That is why the storms come and batter the crops
and pull the riggings and strain the fabric
but the tension pulls evenly if the seams are sewn right;
the seams are what would break first, air slipping out
like grain from a hopper. The way they talk,
you’d think it isn’t possible.
                      It isn’t possible,

the driver says;
my wife—she sewed it herself. They’ll be okay.



Andy Keys is a writer from Sandpoint, Idaho, the child of a weaver and a winemaker, and an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Their poetry has appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse and ST.ART Magazine. You can find them on Instagram at @_andykeys.

“The Rothko Room” by Anca Rotar

2021 Pushcart Prize Nominee
2020 Best of the Net Nominee

I met my friend at the Tate Modern.
He had a school assignment.
He was supposed to go to the Rothko Room
and write about whatever feelings
he experienced there.

“Let’s look at the other stuff first,” I said.
I showed him Max Ernst’s “Forest and Dove.”
I couldn’t help but launch into a monologue
about the significance of birds in Max Ernst’s work.

Then, I said, “Wait, she’s here, too,”
and showed my friend something by Dorothea Tanning.
She was Max Ernst’s wife,
who lived to be a centenarian.
In one of her last interviews
she said that she missed him.

“And you just have to see the Paul Delvaux,”
I told my friend.
Delvaux always painted the same woman –
someone he’d loved in his youth
and couldn’t forget –
a scar upon the memory,
the one that never was.

However, since it turned out
that the Delvaux was out on loan
to another gallery,
we made our way to the Rothko Room.

It was dark.

The large canvases had titles like
“Black on Maroon”
or “Red on Maroon”
and that was exactly what they looked like.
I knew I was missing something.
I stared, hoping it would come to me.
I tried to eavesdrop on the teacher
who was there with his students.
“So, how do you feel?” I asked my friend.
He shook his head and answered,
“I don’t like this.”
I said, “Let’s get out of here.”

It turns out I’m quite okay
with not getting Rothko.




Anca Rotar lives in Bucharest, Romania, and writes poetry and stories. Her work has been published in several online magazines. You can find her on Instagram at @ancarotar5

“Sacred Music” by Emory D. Jones

A gloss on the following lines from “The Eolian Harp”
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

Methinks it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled;
Where the breeze warbles and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

Methinks it should have been impossible
Not to feel the rhythm of the spheres,
The joyous music of the Lord’s which still
In undertones so permeates our ears–

Methinks it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled
With symphonies of His created score
With chords so firm and melody that’s trilled

By every living thing that we adore–
Not to love all things in a world so filled
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is but the pause before the music swells

Again in great crescendo of our prayer
Of praise to Him from everyone who dwells
Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air
Is Music slumbering on her instrument

In dreams of the eternal song to Him
Who orchestrates the harmonies He meant
To elevate our souls–our silent hymn
Is Music slumbering on her instrument.



Dr. Emory D. Jones is a retired English teacher who taught in Cherokee Vocational High School in Cherokee, Alabama, for one year, Northeast Alabama State Junior College for four years, Snead State Junior College in Alabama for three years, and Northeast Mississippi Community College for thirty-five years. He has published poems in such journals as Voices International, The White Rock Review, Free Xpressions Magazine, The Storyteller, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Gravel, Pasques Petals, The Pink Chameleon, and Encore: Journal of the NFSPS. He is retired and lives in Iuka, Mississippi, with his wife, Glenda. He has two daughters and four grandchildren.

“Faith” by Despy Boutris

I knew the dying was coming—
knew her heart struck twelve
because I couldn’t sleep,

could only gaze out at the hallway,
past my door as it creaked
on its hinges, the wind outside

the open window running
its hands over everything in sight.
If I closed my eyes, I could pretend

it was my grandmother, running
her fingers through my hair.
I knew my father would call soon,

stranded at the hospital with her,
not wanting me
or my brother to see death so young.

I knew the lawyer would stop by,
present us with her
will. I didn’t know she’d leave

my brother her rocking chair,
and me: my favorite breakfast—
her recipe for buttered biscuits.

Didn’t know my father’s face
could glisten with tears or how hard
I’d sob, or how my mother’s palm

would smooth back my hair
me as we watched the coffin descend
into the ground, my grandmother

making her way into eternal life,
as the priest promised.
I wish I believed in eternal life.

It’s too much work to try
to imagine a realm without darkness,
no croaking

toads, nothing with claws.
It’s too hard to believe in her
cheering for me up above.

But how tempting it is to have faith
in her floating like pollen above us,
the clouds blurring her angles,

her body all tangled up with God’s.


first published in Prairie Schooner


Despy Boutris is published or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, Palette Poetry, Third Coast, Raleigh Review, Diode, The Indianapolis Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast.

“Arrangement” by Sanjeev Sethi

Some are pushing up daisies.
Others are stiff
due to ideology or intention.
This march has no music.
The band is over.
One is guarded
to get-together another one.
If you wish others
to walk on air for you
they need to be subsumed
by pecuniary inflows or douceurs.
Self-actualization bids
offer goose eggs to others.
On this path: seclusiveness is sky-written.



Sanjeev Sethi is published in over 30 countries. He has more than 1250 poems printed or posted in literary venues. He is winner of the Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux organized by the Hedgehog Poetry Press. His poem, “A Factory of Feelings was voted “Poem of Month – March 2020” at Ink Sweat and Tears. He lives in Mumbai, India.

“omens for the end of the world” by Komal Keshran

your hair, purple. and so is the sky
in the way that scares me. the familiarity
sends me back to a week i wish never came to be.
every teardrop, a singeing sensation against my skin.
every rip in our seams,
ringing through the apartment
like thunderclaps.
i miss what never was and will never be again,
i wonder when the end of the end will begin.
i didn’t notice when the lights went out,
but now it’s dark out as far as the eye can see.
but you turned away
and turned your volume all the way down to mute
so when the sirens rang clear through the city
and it brought me to my knees
you weren’t where you should have been.
you didn’t see what you should have seen.
the beginning of the end;
with no one left to set the scene.


previously self-published in Tuneless, November 2019


Komal Keshran describes herself elsewhere as a “young writer with a vision to change the world via art.” Interested in language and math, she has studied accounting in Kuala Lumpur in addition to writing poetry. Her work can be found in publications such as 100/100 Home, The Write Launch, APIARY 9: Sanctuary, Apeiron Review, and The Bluffton University Literary Journal, as well as in her own collection, Tuneless, published in November 2019.

“Homelanding” by Yuan Changming

Having nothing better to do, I kill
Time by looking at a traditional
Chinese painting on my iPad
Much enlarged, it appears like
A plain sheet of rice paper
Smeared with ink. I view it
In the presence of bonsai; I
Drop several thick strokes to the floor
Of history, leaving a few fine lines
Behind the sofa, & failing
To catch a colorless corner
Between black and white
It is a landscape newly relocated
Into my heart’s backyard. Then I sit
On my legs, meditating about
No light in the picture, no
          Shadow of anything, no perspective
As in hell. Isn’t this the art of seeing?



Yuan Changming perches on Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Credits include Pushcart nominations, chapbooks, and publications in about 1700 literary outlets across 45 countries.

“Jealousy” by Russel G. Winick

Early, the chosen one
Invested in superiority.
But life demurred
Measurables fell short.
No real enemy
The competition gracious.
Yet wanting, believing
Some throne to be his.
Suffering alone
Confessing to no one
Least of all self.
Thinking he conceals
Yet hurting the other
In unrealized ways.
Smiling outwardly
But inwardly, both
Prisoner and warden.



Russel G. Winick began writing poetry at nearly age 65, after concluding a long legal career. His poems have appeared or been selected for publication by The Society of Classical Poets, Blue Unicorn, and Lighten Up Online.

“Natural selection poem” by Casey Killingsworth

Every girl I loved
in high school or
at least every one
I dreamed about
ended up with
a boyfriend
from another school,
and I hated them
for that because all
the chances I never
had anyway died again,
like running over
a dead animal on
your way home.
I know now they
were instinctively
driven to perpetuate,
to seek out their
best prospects,
the shiny athletes or
intellectual student
body presidents so
their own babies would
defend the genome,
you know, date boys
from other schools.
I know now it was
just natural selection
because all of us wished
we carried that favored
gene too.




Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of PoetryKimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly WestTimberline Review, COG, Common Ground Review, Typehouse,  Bangalore Review, Two Thirds North, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. He also has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College.