“One for the Road” by Heather Dubrow

My sister always cleaned every drawer
within an inch of its life,
sorting the assorted, folding the laundered.
And hiding flasks beneath the scented sweaters
in case someone caught the scent on her breath
and cleaned out all her bottles.
The only AA she knew was American Airlines,
whose drinks carts came around too seldom
for her thirsts.

Yes, Robert Frost, two roads diverged in a wood
and I won the smoother, lighter path—
looking just like my sister.
looking away from my sister.

As a teenager, I called her “sister-child”
even though she was older
and couldn’t or wouldn’t say why
the only time she asked.

We both inherited the family gene
for housekeeping:
Mine kept the family home
serene and vetted,
she kept within her secreted house.
As adults, we lived in separate wings
and separate solar systems.
She locked her drawers shut, her life shuttered.
And I—forgive me, Eleanor, if you ever can—
strode by all your rooms and cellars so quickly,
and kept all my own doors fastened tight.

Heather Dubrow is the author of Forms and Hollows, Lost and Found Departments, and two chapbooks. The journals where her poetry has previously appeared include Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, and the Yale Review. Two of her poems have been set to music and performed. Director of Fordham’s Poets Out Loud reading series 2009-2020, she holds the John D. Boyd, SJ, Chair in Poetic Imagination there and has also taught at Carleton College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“My Lost City” by Diana Raab

(After “Oh My Lost City” by Pablo Naruda)

New York, the place of my birth,
Still hear Streisand’s words of glory—
the city that never sleeps,
even for me as a teen
who slept under stars
with sexy boyfriends and cars.

Each Sunday visited
Rockefeller Center
where dad taught ice skating
they called him Mr. Mark—
unable to pronounce his long last name—
Marquise—invented after immigration
from some French ancestors
which is maybe why I love croissants, espresso,

chestnuts and steamy nuts from street vendors.
I left before I could drive,
but now want to revisit my roots, especially
with dad gone and the city changed faces
more times than I can count.

Queens was my place, Cunningham Park
where hippies puffed joints and concerts
permeated lively words with numbered streets
and houses in rows like soldiers, only colors
setting them apart, one hundred and seventy-third street—
oh the pink shingles dad pained when I was born
to match his pink impala—
the kid mother never wanted, but dad cherished.

She planted a cherry blossom tree
in keeping with theme,
her green thumb also holding the reins of her
favorite four-legged equine partner,
always more important than me.
She’s still there, waiting to die
but never dying to live
I only wish her well— planted
in the city I used to call my own.

Diana Raab, Ph.D., is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, author of 10 books, and contributor to numerous journals and anthologies. Her two latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Her poetry chapbook, An Imaginary Affair, is forthcoming in July 2022 with Finishing Line Press. She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, Good Men Project, and The Wisdom Daily, and is a frequent guest blogger for various other sites.

“your skepticism” by Victor Pambuccian

when I told you
the unique being
that’s you
is the only one
who could have moved
the mountain
tired in its bone marrow
of the same sunrises and sunsets
you smiled
in disbelief
for you think
we’re only
for some cosmic
puppet theatre
that there are
523 women
alive now
who could have had
the same effect
that I could never
comprehend your uniqueness
but only perceive
a set of traits
that even though
I’ve lived
countless lives
and have
never before prayed
without pause
for another being’s
blissful existence
in a landscape devoid of trees
the belfries never lie
in times of the distress
of oceans bereft of beaches
that there are
universal laws
for which no
language can ever
be invented
that prevent
the badger from singing
for a crow
that gates cannot
contain an inner space
that meetings cannot
be but pre-ordained
between the thirsty
and the involuntarily hungry
who will have nothing
to tell each other
except excuses for
having stepped on each other’s toes
that the first step
in a long journey
is never a probability
that seeing does
not need a seen
even if emptiness
is less appealing
on weekdays
that the only valid excuse
for love
is silence

Victor Pambuccian is a professor of mathematics at Arizona State University. His poetry translations, from Romanian, French, and German, have appeared in Words Without Borders, Two Lines, International Poetry Review, Pleiades, and Black Sun Lit. A bilingual anthology of Rumanian avant-garde poetry, with his translations, for which he received a 2017 NEA Translation grant, was published in 2018 as Something is still present and isn’t, of what’s gone. Aracne editrice, Rome. He was the guest editor of the Fall 2011 issue of International Poetry Review. His poems have appeared in Communion, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Panoplyzine, Lucky Jefferson, O:JA&L, Poetica Review, Apricity Magazine, Detour Ahead, The Elevation Review, The Dillydoun Review, Red Ogre Review, Pure Slush, and Havik: The Las Positas Journal of Arts and Literature.

Two Poems by Matthew James Friday

Fishing for Poems

I was asked, what is poetry like?

I thought, it’s like fishing.

You set up your intentions
on the bank of the page
and cast off into the current

of images and ideas.
then wait
                for inspiration
to nibble your bait, sink
the float and the poem bites.

Now the struggle begins:

wrestling with imagery,
trying to land the language
on the bank of verses.

Out of the water plops
the first draft. Disappointingly

Poets never exaggerate the catch.
A poem is always ‘this’ big,
often smaller, a tiddler

in the powerful play,
but still something to contribute
to Whitman’s waters.

Always Hoping To Write a Great Poem

Often the keyboard is sterile. I stare
out of the window and watch the trees.

Maybe something no one has ever said about trees.

Forget the clouds, too obvious.
The blue sky, yawn.

Birds bouncing around, little Buddha’s
not having to worry about creation.

I hear the song of a hundred ghostly ideas
ganging up behind me, giggling.

I sense the almost complete emptiness
inside every atom. Ideas like electronics
zip around, all potential, waves of hope.

I feel the bonding of a basic shape.

But as I write, it wriggles and flitters
out of my mind. I grab, but it is gone.

Just the scent and shadow,
a fear I will never know the elements
to turn leaden words into gold.

Matthew James Friday is a British-born writer and teacher. He has been published in numerous international journals, including The Dillydoun Review, Lunch Ticket, The Oregon English Journal and Shot Glass Journal. The micro-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, The Residents, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).  Matthew is a 2021 Pushcart Prize nominated poet.

Two Poems by Tad Tuleja

Stout Heart

“Real men don’t cry,” he heard them say when he
Was six, and the boy, fallen, took it straight
To heart, wanting to please and not to be
Mistaken for a girl. And so his fate
Was sealed. He made a garden in his heart
Where every sadness blossomed into stone.
He shrouded it behind an oak rampart
And when he fell he went to it alone.
Impassively he watered it with tears
Invisible. This pantomime of strength
Became his shield. In vanquishing his fears
He exiled tenderness so that at length
He found himself the sovereign of a land
Where even silent grief was contraband.


A lone beam of sunlight, javelin straight,
Breaks from a cloud to irradiate our garden.
The paraphernalia of work are suddenly luminous.
Wheelbarrow, rake, gloves for a moment aglow
While a trowel, eater of soil, flings back a flash,
Blinding me like I’ve been punched by a
Phosphorus fist. Watching the beam emerge
From the riven cloud, I recall Victorian tableaux
Like the finger of God steadying Jacob’s ladder
Or comforting Jesus in Gethsemane as Peter
Denies him. Was it such a beam that made Paul
Stumble or augured a victory for Christ at the
Milvian Bridge? Things that drop from the sky
Suggest origins wondrous. In this garden, though,
I see only tools: wheelbarrow, rake, gloves,
That specular trowel. Things of the brilliant earth,
Pointing only to themselves. But in the sweep
Of the visible, wondrous enough.

Tad Tuleja is a Texas-based folklorist and songwriter with interests in the Hollywood Western, honor cultures, and the mythology of violence. He has edited anthologies on vernacular traditions and military culture and received a Puffin Foundation grant for his song cycle “Skein of Arms.” He has a weekly podcast and performs songs under the musical alias Skip Yarrow.

“Anima” by Edward Lees

I was coming home from work,
this time from Amsterdam
where I presented all day.
Now late at night it’s the last leg – a train.
Suited, tired, and 50,
I am irrelevant to the girls
that sit across from me,
sharing ear buds
and as they select tracks,
dark quays elevate East London lights
that move with the minutes,
making a pop-up stage
for their dissonant voices
and the brash half-dance
of the one on the right
who magnifies the resonance she feels
until she can’t contain it
and her fingers trace
a sonic landscape in space
that she exudes
while prim passengers steal looks.
The girls know, but that does not drive
the show,
no – they were doing this in the fishbowl
of an empty carriage
when it first arrived,
greater then in their solitude
before being diminished
by an audience,
like an allegory for something we
grasp a-priori.
Is life simpler than work makes it?
To groove in forgotten places
could be enough
and through trivial rebellions
enlarge ourselves
by flaunting how we self-define,
imbuing the darkness
with the briefest shine.

Edward Lees is an American who lives in London. He has been writing poems for many years, but has only recently started to share them. During the day he works to help the environment.

Two Poems by M. Brooke Wiese

Cormorants Prepare for the End Times

A bullfrog harrumphs somewhere in the tall
grass along the edge of the reservoir.
A cormorant is fishing for his midday
meal; he stays under a long time

looking for plunder. When he pops up,
unsuccessful, he shrugs it off – a flash
of feet and he’s gone again. His wet feathers
iridesce in the sunlight like an abalone shell.

Up on a corner of North Pump House,
a mated pair of sleek cormorants puff
their chests and spread their wings to dry,
facing into the sun. The day is hazy,

the air is thick from the fires out West,
burning up the land from the Pacific
to the Mississippi. The birds flutter
their throats against the heat, a neat

trick to cool off in this man-made sauna,
a strategy never needed this far
north before, but we are in another
war, this time with the avifauna.

Last night, the moon rose luminous
above the reservoir, the color of
tangerines, a photo-op for social
media, unsettling all the same. Relief

is promised today, when sudden thunderstorms
will unleash monsoon rains, giant hail,
and wind shear strong enough to blow a house
down, and clear away the smoky air.

Memento Mori

In my kitchen, musing on Cézanne’s Still Life with Skull (1898)

Apples, oranges and pears fill the bowl,
bananas and grapes spill over its lip;
the footed bowl is cinnabar, jewel-
like against the black walnut tabletop
burnished by a hundred years of eating.
It is an uneventful scene, and ours
is a modest home. Life is fleeting.
Many days I hear Charon’s oars
thunk against the oarlocks as he slowly
rows dead souls across the River Styx,
their mouth-coins his recompense. Such folly
to think I can escape with either promises or tricks
when even luscious fruit, if forgotten,
shrivels, molders, leaks, and grows rotten.

M. Brooke Wiese’s work has appeared in numerous publications, most recently in The Raintown Review, Poem, and The Orchards. Her poems have also been published in Sparks of Calliope, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, and Grand Street, and her chapbook, At the Edge of The World, was published by The Ledge Press in 1998. After a very long hiatus, she has again been writing furiously. She has worked in education and nonprofit social services.

Two Poems by Daniel Howard


My lively passion’s death do I desire,
For if I cannot make its wildness tame,
I fear to be consumed within its flame,
And perish of my inner heat and fire;
For if she hates or loves me, both are dire:
Her hate my heart would much defile and shame,
Or if she said “I love” before my name,
I’d lose my life, when hers I would acquire;
Therefore I try steadfastly to resist
From looking longingly within her eye,
But even when I see her not nearby,
In each and every thought she does persist;
Thus I am like the fish who bit the bait,
Whose struggle cannot but secure his fate.


If all the flesh and bone of which I’m wrought
Did not detain me on the earth I stand,
But let me reach beyond my outstretched hand
And fly away as if I were but thought;
No more the miles I’d mourn, now come to nought,
That kept us parted like the sky from land,
For I could summon you on my command,
Or think on where you are, and there be brought;
But flesh and bone I am; and though my mind
Can paint your pretty portrait in my brain,
Its pleasant mem’ry brings but present pain,
Such that I wish my inner eye were blind;
But if nor flesh nor thought will let me see
My love, then I would rather nothing be.

Daniel Joseph Howard studied law in his native Ireland before taking his MA in philosophy at King’s College London. He currently works in the European Commission.

Two Poems by Carole Greenfield


I wish it were the other way round, evening hours (long stretching
darkness into deeper darkness) yours and morning hours (black to
gray to blue to gold) mine. Dawn has always been best, rising
of my own accord (no need for clocks) to meet my grandmother
at the pool, me swimming laps, she in her corner doing ballet, leaps,
turns, legs like a young girl’s, smile dazzling as the sun pouring
through floor-to-ceiling windows, drenching us both in light.

As long as I have known myself alive, I’ve loved the early morning
hours, cycling down quiet sleeping streets to my job at the bakery,
stocking trays, stirring oatmeal, salting grits, brewing coffee, opening
the door for customers lined up on the old porch, eager to enter,
place orders, find a perfect chair and table, settle in for the best part
of the day. Early hours. I can manage solitude in the morning.
That time of day never lonely, not for me. But late at night. Well.
Quite a different realm. A separate hemisphere. Not my true home.

Trace Fossils

Small children do not wait for pain
to make a lasting mark. They give fair warning;
we have time to wipe tears, mop trouble, kiss
a bruise, pronounce it healed.

But love leaves an impression that won’t
be kissed away; an imprint left in something soft
hardens and congeals. What passed through fire once
is tempered, then annealed.

Children trace fingers over fossils, guess
at what’s revealed: evidence of ridges, indentations,
life long over, heart’s rush sealed.

Carole Greenfield was raised in Colombia and now lives in New England. Her work has appeared in Red Dancefloor, GulfstreamThe Sow’s EarWomen’s Words: ResolutionArc, and is forthcoming in The Eunoia Review.

Two Poems by Miriam Manglani

Beach Days

I spent my childhood summers
listening to the sound of the ocean’s tongues
lap the shore’s sandy face,
the cries of gulls stirring the salty air.

Lying on a soggy towel,
holding a book over my head,
its words lifting me to other worlds.

Eating tuna sandwiches
while feeding the squawking gulls,
fighting like bickering lovers over scraps.

Hearing my parents and their loud friends from Egypt
clustered like a gaggle of Arabic speaking geese
sheltered in a group of umbrellas,
playing backgammon,
littering the sand with their peach pits
and pumpkin seed shells.

Floating on my back in the ocean
as I stared into a kite-speckled sky
teaming with white cotton candy.

Taking a shower and uncovering
a mini shore in my swim suit
of sand, rocks, and seaweed.

Going to bed and feeling the cozy warmth
of the day’s sun radiate from my reddened skin,
warming me in the cool night,
my mattress a big raft
floating in a sea of dreams, moonlight, and chirping crickets.

Homeless Village

And there it was.
Tucked under an edge
of the Charles River Bridge,
lit by the early morning light
reflected off the still river—
a homeless village.

With their colorful tents,
piles of empty tin cans
in rusting supermarket carts
waiting to be redeemed
for a few life-saving dollars,
salvaged mattresses
with their fluff spilling out
and poky springs,
empty, cracked vodka bottles,
and rusting propane tanks
for cooking whatever-scraps of food.

I stare at men emerging from tents,
as if they were beings from another world,
their waking arms yawning in the morning sun.

Miriam Manglani lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children. She works full-time as a Sr. Technical Training Manager. Her poems have been published in various magazines and journals including Poetry Quarterly, Rushing Thru the Dark, Vita Brevis, Cerasus MagazineSparks of Calliope, and Canyon Voices. Most recently, her poetry chapbook, Ordinary Wonders, was published by Prolific Press.