Two Poems by Charissa Roberson

The Waystation

Hope built a home
Out of wooden walls and trust,
The muted gables shone
In a frosty silver dusk.
Far from the town
Lies a refuge in the trees;
Lay your burden down and shake out your frozen dreams.
Never fear the wind
Nor the cold that steals the light,
For the lanterns in our inn
Are rekindled every night.
Joy serves the ale
By a warming, wood-sweet fire;
Love will bring the meal, then refreshed you may retire.
Hope built a home
To relieve the journey’s miles;
So why press on alone?
Come in and rest a while.

Rock Collection

I find the music between tiny pebbles.
Trickling water, clear & cold,
Finding cracks in the riverbed.
The snowy quartz, the dark gray granite,
The plainest stones worn smooth & precious
By countless hours of tumbling drops.
I spent my childhood looking downward,
Fearing to miss just a single one
Of those distinct, intriguing chunks of nature,
Chipped off the block of the mountain’s face.
Even now I find my vision
Trailing from the skies above
To dirt & grass & truer things—
The song of stones, the words of springs.

“The Waystation” and “Rock Collection” first appeared in On Concept’s Edge.

Charissa Roberson is a student of Creative Writing and French at Roanoke College, with a minor in Screen Studies. Her previous work has been published in The Elevation Review, Burnt Pine Magazine, and NOVUS Literary Journal. When not writing, Charissa loves reading, spending time with friends and family, traveling, and playing her fiddle.

“The Kitchen Couch at 20 Inis Fáil” by Rebecca Myers

While other couches gazed at TV screens,
this one had alternative vocations.
It slouched beneath the weight of strays and teens,
bore the brunt of heavy conversations.
Firm enough so that we wouldn’t wallow,
Yet soft enough to cushion love’s first blows.
Gossip dropped between the seats was swallowed
whole, before Frank’s morning weather show.
Hash brown crumbs and hairballs from the pets
were hoovered up by Mary on the hour
and as the sun went down a stage was set,
with backing tracks of humming Triton shower
and scratched CDs frozen back to perfection,
for dancers doubled in glass door reflections.

Rebecca Myers is an Irish poet and performer originally from Dublin, currently living in Nelson, New Zealand. She makes up one half of the duo ‘A Pair of Poets’, who were awarded Best Script in the Nelson Fringe: Virtual Festival 2020. She has had her poetry published online on The Blue NibThe Lake Review and Wine Cellar Press as well as in print in Popshot Magazine. For Rebecca, poetry provides a welcome creative outlet from her day job as a lab technician. You can find some more of her work on her Instagram @beccy.myers.

“Cake with My Two-Year-Old Daughter” by John Hansen

I ask if she’s ready,
smiling, I raise my fork to hers
as if clinking for a toast.

She sits expectantly;
the predator salivates, pounces,
out to ambush sprinkles.

Her mouth, like a goldfish’s,
inhales a sliver of cake,
exhales extra to the plate.

I, not any neater, swallow con-
fectioner’s sugar down a wrong pipe, cough up
crumbs near her placemat.

Giggling a while, she watches
as I take another piece, attentive
only with what I will eat.

I take her on my lap, about to offer
a last bite, she grabs the chunk—splat!
Grin on her lips, cake on mine.

John Hansen received a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MA in English Literature from Oklahoma State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Summerset Review, Verse-Virtual, Trouvaille Review, One Sentence Poems, Eunoia Review, Amethyst Review, and elsewhere. He is English Faculty at Mohave Community College in Arizona. Read more at

“Oracle at the Airport” by Jan Wiezorek

I am going to the sun,
he shouts, with a vein-based
heart. Lift and move it

like bags no longer needed.
Looking up, I see the aisle
ahead, the architecture

of lonely souls en route,
as upturned heads view
a mausoleum dome,

where angels kiss foreheads,
across an ear, along hairlines
of goodbyes.

We do it to ourselves. Wrested
inside longing, fumble-footed
as brush along the path,

across the vale of tears, ridge
of jeans, butt of canyon,
promised land, peace.

We drop our bags
like taking a bow and enter
the moving walkway.

Jan Wiezorek writes from forests, lakes, and gardens in southwestern Michigan. His poetry has appeared in The London MagazineMinetta ReviewModern Poetry Quarterly Review, Broad River Review, Flint Hills ReviewGrey Sparrow Journal, and Caesura Online, among others. He wrote Awesome Art Projects That Spark Super Writing (Scholastic, 2011) and taught writing at St. Augustine College, Chicago.

“Potatoes, Brandy and Porter” by Mark B. Hamilton

Last night, all the porter froze
and several bottles broke.
The men now stack them exposed,
thawing the bitter beer that folk
favor as brewed from charred malt.
Quite good with apples and salt.

Visitors arrive with a warming sky:
3 Frenchmen from Portage des Sioux
with potatoes, fowl, meal and brandy
and women who sell breads, and sew.
The scene widens, the trading slows.
Exchanges become people we know.

The Captain delivers new canisters
of powder, then walks to the hill
with sextant, giving flints to hunters,
and swings the sun’s image until
reflected it sits on the mirror’s line,
the horizon more precisely defined.

He notes our position. He calculates
in time, and draws from tables in a book
the instrument’s angle, which takes
in plenty of columns when we look,
yet do not stay when he commences.
We go outside to replenish our senses.

The sun always shows us where we are.
It rises without the need for a bobble
of fine brass knobs that measure so far
the steed only Captain Clark can hobble.
Later, from Cahokia, the express returns.
In a letter from Captain Lewis we learn

he will arrive tomorrow. There being
more letters from Kentucky, and 8 cork
bottles of wine, and files for sharpening,
the Sergeant directs us back to work.
Captain Clark has received a soft, tough
durant, a felted cloth to wrap his cough.

Historical adaptation from “Wintering at Camp Dubois,” Vol. 2, pp. 166-167, The Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. Poem first published in Weber–The Contemporary West, Spring 2020.

Mark B. Hamilton considers himself an environmental neostructuralist, working in forms to transform content, adapting from both the Eastern and Western traditions. A new eco-poetry volume, OYO, The Beautiful River: an environmental narrative in two parts, has been released by Shanti Arts, 2020. Recent poems have appeared in Weber—The Contemporary West, North Dakota Quarterly, Chrysanthemum, The Cider Press Review, and Naugatuck River Review, as well as abroad in Oxford Poetry, and Stand Magazine, UK. Please see:

“Run Out of Love” by John Tustin

It has happened –
The days run together all the same
And I don’t know if I spoke to you
A day ago or a month.

I wait for you to contact me
And if you don’t
Then we just won’t ever speak again.

The sun coming into the room in the morning
Feels like the stormtroopers bursting in,
Turning drawers and cabinets upside down,
Shredding furniture, breaking windows,
Pouring the liquid from bottles onto the floor.

It has happened –
Even the memories of happiness
Have become so distant and obscure
That it feels as if the moments happened to someone else,
Or perhaps I watched them on television.

I stuff empty plastic bags into other plastic bags;
I am unaware when I am driving or walking alone.
I notice nothing and I am no one to anyone
As I wind down the hours waiting in line at the supermarket,
Waiting for checks to clear.

It has happened –
I’ve run out of love
Before I’ve run out of breath.

Waiting out the clock,
I close my eyes tonight and it feels like all the stars in the sky have vanished.

I’m afraid to open my eyes and go look.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals in the last twelve years. His website contains links to his published poetry online.

“Good God” by Emory D. Jones

(A Gloss based upon the following lines from
“Yet Do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen:
I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die…

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And, led by His Holy Spirit, we will find
Blessed happiness, a soul of peace,
And in the middle of our strife release
From struggle and a joyful, peaceful mind—
I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind.

And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The worm must come before the butterfly
Or human hearts, when softening, must break
And flood the eyes. But then how could he take
Notice of all the little hurts we cry
Unless He stoops to quibble and tell why?

The little buried mole continues blind
With little cares of what he leaves behind
Because within his world there are none who see
Or strive to rise out of the earth. But we
Still question Nature that would forever bind
The little buried mole to continue blind.

Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Invade the realm of mole, in earth to lie
While all above us continues as before,
Not knowing, until then, that death’s a door?
But then we understand God’s reason why,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die.

Dr. Emory D. Jones is a retired English teacher who has taught in high schools and various community colleges. He has four hundred and twenty credits including publication 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.

“She Held the Rainbow” by Abha Das Sarma

(in memory of my mother)

The cushion had faded nursing the chair
By the dresser, a place I envied much
Where she would sit, my mother,
Hair entwined, dripping, searching through
The multitude of reflections as I wondered behind
If she wished what could not be or what was yet to come.

She was beautiful then and everything else I would dream.

Threading the beads, holding the thread in between
Her fingers delicate and rich from the perfume of ‘sindur
And the lip gloss rarely used.”
It will probably be a cloudy day,” she would say
Pulling herself, walking and settling on to her favorite bed,
Looking into the yard, wet wild shrubs, guavas and marigolds,
Sewing small silks for the Gods studded with beads and mysticism.

A blank staircase solemnly watching, imagining children play.

As I returned to find the box of beads for the last time,
The dresser by now cobwebbed heavily and the yard
A haven of overgrown grass,
Her pricked fingers caressed my hair, parting them in thick lines,
Holding the ends of the string threaded with beads, still
She held the rainbow of life.

Abha Das Sarma, an engineer and management consultant by profession, has a blog of over 200 poems ( Her poems have appeared in Muddy River Poetry Review, Spillwords, Verse-Virtual, The Ekphrastic Review, here and elsewhere. Having spent her growing up years in small towns of northern India, currently she lives in Bangalore.

“Hopper’s Dories” by Donald Wheelock

—after Edward Hopper’s The Dories, Ogunquit, 1914 (public domain)
Whitney Museum of American Art

Attentive to the forces of the tide,
they point up into open ocean breeze
like hungry pets anticipating food.
They feel the breeze enliven what they see.
A distant shore encloses open sea.

A view of coast as crisp and deep as life
itself, before the smudges of mankind
applied a slick to every shore and reef;
even the clouds are swept clean by the wind.

Feathery skies of sun-made summer choose
a clear-eyed, optimistic morning view
to paint the cove profusions of its blues.

The froth of distant ocean surf and light
explodes into the dory-sides as white.

Donald Wheelock spent forty years writing formal poetry before reaching the stage of submitting his favorites for publication. Formal poetry, once relegated to second fiddle in a career of writing chamber, vocal and orchestral music, has now demanded equal time. Indeed, it has taken over his life. He has published a chapbook, In the Sea of Dreams, with Gallery of Readers Press, and placed poems in Blue UnicornEkphrasis, EquinoxLinea, The Lyric, and elsewhere. He is trying to place two full-length books of his poems. He lives with his wife Anne in an old house at the edge of a hayfield in Whately, Massachusetts.

“Walking the Dog” by W. Roger Carlisle

I am sitting with my dog on a faux antique bench
at the mall. Walking has been my salvation,
medication, and saving grace
for the last 12 years since I retired.
Movement is life.

Over the last 12 years most of the stores
have closed; the families and children
have been replaced by older retirees walking their dogs.
The dogs and people have gotten smaller. I should be taking
a new drug for depression.

No forethought of pity, blame or guilt,
my dog’s otherness centers my life; she is my walking mirror.
She sees my mind, my heart, my blindness
as I stumble through the endless stories I tell myself.

Here’s the thing, these dogs evolved from wolves but have more feeling
than humans. It’s no longer the hunt or protection that connects us.
I have evolved into a potty-trained parent
gathering up poop in my plastic doggy bag, clinging
to the only one protecting me from loneliness, before
returning home to my empty apartment.

Anyway, my dog seems to discover the world through her nose.
Does she miss smelling the pine trees, the flowers,
the honeysuckle, the grasses and freshness in the wind?
She seems excited despite the absence of squirrels, rabbits,
and chipmunks to chase. Does she miss running free without a leash?

I shiver slightly looking up; at the steel
and glass atrium; all is quiet except for
the occasional echo of a barking dog.
The hardness and the brightness of the glass give
far-reaching views of parking lots, apartments and suburbia.

It is all a reminder of the fear and pain
of not being young; that youth can never come again,
it is for undiminished others somewhere else.

Protect me God, from the pretense that I am searching for.
My dog knows how to be a dog, but
I am lost by choice and all the evidence suggests
I am wallowing in it.

W Roger Carlisle is a 74-year-old, semi-retired physician. He currently volunteers and works in a free medical clinic for patients living in poverty. He grew up in Oklahoma and was a history major in college. He has been writing poetry for 10 years. He is currently on a journey of returning home to better understand himself through poetry. He hopes he is becoming more humble in the process.