“Sonnet on a Shore” by David Gosselin

2022 Pushcart Prize Nominee

Cling to your shores timorous denizens!
Brave divers hunt for pearls, but tempered souls
Prefer the quiet shores and shallow shoals
To darkened depths and krakens’ midnight dens.
The diver takes one breath then disappears;
He seeks for treasures lost and found,
And lost again amid the coral-bound
Currents and briny waves and rotten piers.
Oh how I wish I crossed these seas and swam
Before I knew what now I can’t unknow:
But now I dread to swim in depths so dim;
I curse the magic reefs where life began;
I listen to the siren’s song, yet know
I’m safe: I cannot drown—nor can I swim.

David Gosselin is a poet, translator, and linguist based in Montreal. He is the founder of The Chained Muse poetry website and the founder of the New Lyre Podcast. His first collection of poems is entitled Modern Dreams.

“In Residence” by Jane Blanchard

A challenge of dividing time between
two homes arises in the middle of
the night. One wakes up questioning the scene
of somnolence. Is there a fan above
the bed? How heavy are the covers on
the body? Answers indicate the floor
plan one must walk to reach the nearest john
while not relying on night vision more
than absolutely necessary. (Eyes
once open rarely want to close again
for hours.) With luck, one’s better half just sighs,
turns over, goes right back to sleep. A win
comes when one’s self succumbs to slumber and
some sprightly man begins to sprinkle sand.

Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia (USA).  Her work has recently appeared in The Asses of ParnassusThe Ekphrastic ReviewThe North American Anglican, and The Spectator.  Her latest collection with Kelsay Books is In or Out of Season (2020).

“Names” by Sathya Narayana

They’re names, mere graven names on hidden rooms.
They cannot breathe, can’t see, nor feel their skins.
They’re fluid letters on tombs, discharging spumes
of false compassion, over interred sins.
Suffixed were some by noble epithets.
Some names were brands and some synonymous
to crime. Some odd, some bad, some funny sobriquets;
some famed, some strange and few pseudonymous!
The warmth of palms touching the frozen stone
and myriad scents of vivid flowers placed
on tombs, those names, alas, can never own.
They’re wailing souls by worldly scents still laced.
They’re quiet in wait, under the weight of tombs;
frantic to gain fresh names through nascent wombs!
Sathya Narayana has been published in a number of print and web magazines, including The Society of Classical Poets, Westward Quarterly, Metverse Muse Journal, Poets International, Saptagiri, Rock Pebbles, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Better than Starbucks. She resides in India.

“Disgruntled Thoughts After a Fruitless Summer of Job-Hunting” by Linda Ferguson

2020 Pushcart Prize Nominee

My bitterness reveals itself – you see
it on my lips, my mouth a cold pinched fist.
This is not, of course, how I want to be –
like a fern, I long to unfurl in mist,
to blossom in fragrant night without sound –
or to transform from bud to vibrant peach
with a scarlet center – a zing – wrapped round
a core of impenetrability.
But no, I’m me – I spit, shuffle, choke, swat
when I want to buzz, skim, hover and wing
like a nectar-seeking bee, not the wasp,
with its lean stripes and its rapier sting –
turning with precision (a practiced art!)
I strike the tender flesh of my own heart.


Linda Ferguson is an award-winning, Pushcart-nominated writer of poetry, essays, and fiction. Her poetry chapbook, Baila Conmigo, was published by Dancing Girl Press. As a writing teacher, she has a passion for helping students find their voice and explore new territory.