Two Poems by Christy Jones

Shared noodles, over concrete

for Vida

“I hid from it. I mean, I ran to the garage,”
She said. Her beef stroganoff had paled, cooled
As she spoke, stilted-steady, knowing the words
Could exit and be their own creatures, not in cages
But not free-range, either; in houses, properly locked.
I remembered when, before, we’d seen a dead bird

In this same place, speaking of other treacheries, the bird
Carcass, when noticed, halting her sentence like a frightened garage
Door about to hit some invisible leaf. We couldn’t go back, locked
Into this deeper thing of death: a body cooled
Splayed, feet up, on concrete. I wondered aloud if cages
Could have protected it, but those were just words

To say. I ate my own stroganoff, wondering what words
Could be offered for this destruction. If a bird
Demanded our sympathy, what of us in eight-story cages,
Holding a jagged memory of a garage
Escape? What had she wondered? ‘Had he cooled
Off? Would it happen again? What was it in me that wasn’t locked

Tightly enough? Or was I locked
At all?’ And when she spoke it, in brave precocity, the words
Offered back were a warning, a critique, a shame: no cooled
vengeance like an osprey’s sacrifice for her baby bird.
Her presence wasn’t fit for the family home; only the garage.
Somehow, the song of her nest was not “Men like that deserve to be in cages,”

But they were extended to her. Steel-quiet cages
Draped in the dark, evil velvet of honor, locked
From the outside while she found safety in a garage.
“I was weak,” she said. “That’s not how I see it,” I started, words
Clotting in my mouth. We couldn’t go back, not from the bird,
Not from this, but I let my lips part; my teeth cooled

By oxygen inhaled at a new angle. It had to be cooled,
All this breath enclosed and set free from rib cages,
Faint and fragile as the hollow bones of a bird,
Not simply a bone-pile, but formed, locked
Into the skeleton of her history, a truly emerging anatomy of words
Guiding her here from a cramped, macabre garage

She looked backward and forward at the cages, understanding they must be cooled
To be seen; the garage slowly, laboriously pushed open to allow the bird
A new flight. She locked the styrofoam holding her lunch and graced me with more words.


My every tangled lobe is occupied
by water’s heave, yet ocean’s daughter, too;
I won’t be shackled by the tide.

I thought I had no true right to reside
upon a newborn island’s point of view;
my every tangled lobe preoccupied.

I’ve felt the snarling wind as I decide,
revolving liquid, jetsam to a roux,
replete with shackles by the tide.

Succumbing to the apathetic ride
of what’s been done as what I needs must do;
my every tangled lobe now ossified.

My will gasps air, remembers I’m supplied
my own brave oar to flex the waves anew.
I snap the shackles of the tide.

So though the currents seep dissatisfied,
I row north toward a holy rendezvous.
Though every tangled lobe is occupied;
I won’t be shackled by the tide.

Christy Jones is a Minnesotan poet, singer, actress, and playwright. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University and has works published or forthcoming in The CollidescopeReckoning Press, Eunoia Review, and Crêpe & Penn, among others. For amusing retweets on linguistic oddities and musical theater errata, follow her on Twitter at @cjosings.

“Mistress” by Michael Pietrack

Within those sheets, my mistress lay,
her flawless form with perfect feet.
One last embrace; I cannot stay!
I hear her heart in metered beat.

Her voice, a ballad siren song
with lyrics begging my delay.
But I’ve already been too long!
Within those sheets, my mistress lay.

The grandest thought one could create
was “could the wife and mistress meet?”
She’d see a villain-elle and hate
her flawless form with perfect feet.

She draws me back into the sheets.
Seductive eyes say, “Come and play,”
But I must leave this incomplete!
One last embrace; I cannot stay.

Perhaps… I’ll finish this last rhyme.
One hasty end-stop short and sweet.
The chugging quatrain steams to climb!
I hear her heart in metered beat.

The writing’s done… now comes the chafe.
A writer’s wife airs her dismay.
The notebook closed; my secret, safe.
Within those sheets, my mistress lay.

“Mistress” was first published by The Society of Classical Poets

Michael Pietrack is a new writer from Colorado, USA.  This businessman and former baseball player started writing poetry during the pandemic.  He will launch his first book of poetry, titled Legacy, in early 2023.  Michael has a BA in English Literature from Colorado Mesa University, where he minored in Theatre, and an MA in Education from New Mexico State University.

“Villanelle for my friends out saving the world” by Seth Brown

Relax, my friend, for you have earned your rest.
Though you may strive to set the world aright,
Just be yourself and I will be impressed.

Each day need not become an endless test
Wherein your burden is a constant fight.
Relax, my friend, for you have earned your rest.

Ambition drives you to become the best,
Yet blinds you to your current glowing light.
Just be yourself, and I will be impressed.

You seek to save the weak and dispossessed,
Yet for yourself, the care you give seems slight.
Relax, my friend, for you have earned your rest.

Your awesomeness I hope you will digest,
My love for you could have no upper height.
Just be yourself, and I will be impressed.

You’ll fix the world, and I applaud your quest,
But know you need not do it all tonight.
Relax, my friend, for you have earned your rest.
Just be yourself, and I will be impressed.



Seth Brown lives in the beautiful Berkshires, where he performs poetry and writes his award-winning humor column The Pun Also Rises for the Berkshire Eagle. He is the author of six books including From God To Verse, a line-by-line rhyming translation of the Torah. His website is