“New” by Edward Lee

A part of my heart
I never knew existed – if
it existed at all before
that moment – began
to beat the day
you were born.
That first new movement,
a chamber opening, filling
with bright blood,
stilled my breath
and whitened my vision
as you emerged into the world,
all eager lungs and flailing limbs.

Later, your fresh skin wrapped
in layers of blue towels,
I held you and lost myself
in your closed eyes, the cries
which announced your arrival
echoing through the new and tender chamber
of my suddenly meaningful heart.



Edward Lee‘s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His debut poetry collection Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection. He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy. His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

“Bully” by Deborah L. Staunton

She holds the deck of cards between the swollen knuckles of her knobby, arthritic hands, running her fingers across the smooth sheen of their surface.

“Debalah,” she beckons, “come play Bully with me.” The Hungarian form of Gin Rummy is her favorite, a game she rarely loses.

Young adulthood has stolen the enthusiasm from my child-self and replaced it with the boredom of obligatory compliance tinged with guilt. I glance at the hands on the glassy surface of the clock and then at the rivers of wrinkles running over the hills of her cheeks that sit just under the cloudy orbs studying the cards in her hand. Cataracts have dulled the deep brown of her youth but their impish spark persists.

“Bully!” she shouts, followed by the throaty laughter of yet another win.

At dusk, I gently lower her spindly frame onto the bed in the room next to the kitchen. The hulking dialysis machine squats in the corner, commode perched by the bed.

Night has come.



Deborah L. Staunton has appeared in Pretty Owl Poetry, Six Hens, The Remembered Arts Journal, Literary Mama, Sheepshead Review, The MacGuffin, and was featured in HBO’s Inspiration Room exhibit in New York City. Her collection of poetry and prose, Untethered, is currently under consideration for publication.

“My voice has lost its rasp” by Leslie Lippincott Hidley

My voice has lost its rasp,
Bolt fallen from its hasp,
My claw ungripped my grasp,
My hold has been let go,
There’s nothing more to know,
It’s not my fault and so
I’ll do as I am told.
I’m docile to the heart;
I mind whatever I should do
And raise my wings apart.
The air wafts me aloft.
It loves the way I fly.
We play together, air and me
And tumble in the sky.



Leslie Lippincott Hidley has been writing prose and poetry for her own amusement and that of her family and friends and others for most of her 73 years. And one of her ten grandchildren is named Kalliope. She has lived in Walla Walla, Washington; Frankfurt and Bremerhaven, Germany; Upper New York State; Enid, Oklahoma; Montgomery and Prattville, Alabama; Lubbock, Texas; Dover, Delaware; West Palm Beach, Florida; Goose Bay, Labrador; Washington, D.C.; Fairfield, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and now resides in Ojai (Nest-of-the-Moon), California, where she continues to write.

Two Sonnets by William Shakespeare

william-shakespeareMore than any other individual, William Shakespeare is the face of classical English Poetry and Literature. In addition to writing some of the most renowned plays in human history, Shakespeare is also the father of the Shakespearean sonnet. Below are two of the most familiar of the 154 sonnets he authored; 116 was most recently in the news as having been recited at the royal wedding of Princess Beatrice of York.

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

“Model Village” by Stephen Kingsnorth

Check out Eyam’s story – type it in,
the global village sharing rank;
a plague on all our houses, homes,
our well-being no better dressed.
Our greeting now olecranon,
a process of hail fellow joint,
though also place to catch the cough –
as well our armoury two faced.

Repeat the happy birthday song,
as alcohol breaks covid’s skin;
the viral spread some fakery,
no longer urban myth on-line.
Graced are the stadia, with airs,
the current flow, with streams to breathe,
except the team in quarantine,
so bar is free to percolate.

Plane ailerons lie, taking rest,
and ferries salute Charon’s route,
while more than Styx and stones are thrown
to trip the steps, fantastic light.
Isolated become the norm
both business small and table tops,
the metric measure for our feet,
separate soles keep us on toes.

The masks a front pretending safe,
deceiving us with covered nose,
while empty supermarket shelves
leads panic to protect our stocks.
This checkpoint for our boundaries,
strict curfew on shared risks in life
shows testing times reveal true state,
community risks friends or fate?



Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English and Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by over a dozen on-line poetry sites, including Sparks of Calliope; and Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader, Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines, and Vita Brevis Anthology.  His website is Poetry Kingsnorth.

“Chagall Room” by Charlie Brice

We call it our Chagall Room because of
the six stained glass Chagall reproductions,
Christmas presents from Judy over the years,
embedded in the large windows of our porch.

The couch, too, is covered with a blanket
replete with circles, obelisks, rectangles,
floating cows, chickens, kissing couples, and
menorahs this Russian Jewish master encased

in the blues and crimsons of his dancing heart.
The room glows at dawn with besprent splendor—
spectral hues filtered through these joyous windows.
But when Judy is in the hospital, forced to obey

the tyranny of Crohn’s disease, absent from
this room she designed, windows and couch
lose their lively mottles, dissolve into
duns of longing, desire, despair.

That’s the way with rooms, isn’t it?
The nexus of life we breathe into them
lasts only so long as those inside their
vibrant glory breathe, last, abide.




Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Sunlight Press, Chiron Review, Plainsongs, I-70 Review, Mudfish 12, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

“Flame” by Deborah L. Staunton

Hungary, 1934

Antique brass, darkened with age, Star of David at its center, tucked between plain cotton blouses and threadbare socks in the small brown satchel my grandmother clutches. The S.S. Berengaria carries this child, the first to leave her family, the third of seven sisters and one brother, away from her village, her country, her world. The menorah’s presence steadies her, candle after candle, flame after flame. Eight candles. Eight siblings.

New York City, 1939

The shamash candle stands guard behind and above the others, their light warming the small apartment. Brother and sister join her. Now they are three. Three flames on one side, five on the other. Hitler’s gas extinguishes mother, father, sister, nephews. Seven lives, seven, flames, seven deaths. The menorah burns hot and bright. Eight nights, four survivors, four miracles.

Long Island, 2018

The menorah stands on my kitchen table, thick with dried wax, each holder smaller than the tip of a finger, its orange glow on the snow-dusted windowpane, names and faces echoed in its flame.




Deborah L. Staunton has appeared in Pretty Owl Poetry, Six Hens, The Remembered Arts Journal, Literary Mama, Sheepshead Review, The MacGuffin, and was featured in HBO’s Inspiration Room exhibit in New York City. Her collection of poetry and prose, Untethered, is currently under consideration for publication.




“Best in orange” by D.S. Maolalaí

the city looks best
in the orange
blue moonlight. night
comes, and evening also; twilight
falling salt
with the crispness and layering
of freshly washed bed sheets.

and lights rise, burning
steadily above you
and flashing below
in the unbroken
movement of slow rivers,
which are calm
though slightly rippled,
like flattened out
sandwich foil.

you step outside
to fewer cars than usual
and no pedestrians.
feel that last of winter
as it reaches out
past February,
puts its fingers
in your collar and pulls back.




D.S. Maolalaí has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019).

“An Unfinished Dream” by Milton P. Ehrlich

I’m reeling in a pickerel on Dyer’s pond
and have trouble unhooking the lure.
A turtle on a lily pad watches me
reach for pliers to free the fish.
In a deep voice, he growls:
“What kind of creature are you?”
I toss the fish back into the water,
and watch him swim away.
A red-tailed hawk swoops down
and decapitates the turtle’s head.
He leaves an epitaph on his shell, which says:
“Creatures great and small, the Lord God made us all.”
I walk into the nearest church doing poetry readings
where I can lie down and practice being dead.
I see the woman I’ve loved all my life, and ask:
“Will you marry me?” “I’d love to, she answers.”
I reply, “if not now, when?”



Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 88-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published poems in The Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times.

“Pizza and Chianti” by Phillip Henry Christopher


Cruising past St Maria Goretti High School
at 9th and Moore,
9th Street,
where you can still buy fresh ravioli,
where Rocky Balboa characters
sport earrings and tattoos
over slick hair…

Down Moyamensing,
past Southwark,
where the kids of the projects
grew in the shadow
of monolithic high rises,
kids like Pinky and D-Head,
who escaped their concrete hell
each summer for two weeks
at Camp Linden,
met college kids
who staffed the bucolic
Chester County hideaway
on the Brandywine Creek,
where the pastoral
peace of the wood
was canoeing from Lenape Park
down miles of the creek
to land at Linden again.

A flash of memory,
of Moyamensing,
and Ronnie Ricci,
who lived
a stone’s throw
from the throngs of ebony faces
in the towering prisons
of Southwark,
who grew up
on Italian streets,
loved nature,
and taught the kids
to love animals,
who adopted the baby hawk
I found one day,
alone and destined to die
were it not for Ron,
and protected him,
nurtured him,
named him.

Remembering the daily joy
witnessing the wondrous
survival of the delicate
little predator,
who eventually
took majestic wing,
but perched each morning
at the peak of our cabin’s shingled roof,
to call out to his beloved rescuers
a raucous hawk billed ‘good morning!’ and
‘rise and shine!’
each dawn until late August,
when he flew off
to merge with the wood,
to live the destiny
of the wild and free.

Now I wonder how far
from Moyamensing has Ron flown,
have we all flown,
from that one idyllic
and desperate summer,
when so many abandoned birds met
to heal and grow,
then take flight back
into the wilds
of our concrete woods?


Then it’s Passyunk Avenue to Mara’s,
the best in Philly for generations,
the vibe of the old neighborhood,
real Italian food
in the same booths
where the poets,
lovers and friends
huddled together
to celebrate each
historic night’s reading,
or birth poets’ plots
to undermine normalcy,
to dig away at the banal,
words for shovels,
digging the very thing
they sought to subvert,
the timeless, changeless America
of Passyunk,
of Mara’s,
of pizza
and chianti,
where Mario Lanza never died
and Sinatra lives forever.



Phillip Henry Christopher is a poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter who spent his early years in France, Germany, and Greece.  His nomadic family then took him to Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, and Vermont, before settling in the steel mill town of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where he grew up in the smokestack shadows of blue collar America. While wandering America he has placed poems and stories in publications across the country and in Europe and Asia, including in such noteworthy journals as The Caribbean Writer, Gargoyle, Lullwater Review, Blue Collar Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Blind Man’s Rainbow, and New York Quarterly.