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Contributors to the Winter 2021 Edition

Michael Baldwin

Judith Barisonzi

John Barnes

A.H. Block

John Bowlby

Paul Buchheit

Kateri Campbell

Frank Coons

Cheryl Corey

Dave Crocco

Bill Guest

Olivia Hajioff

Mark Hamilton

David Hedges

David Horowitz

Betsy Hughes

Jenni Wyn Hyatt

Steve Kampa

Jonathan Kinsman

Barbara Loots

Constance Rowell Mastores

Bruce McGuffin

E. M. Palmer

John Perrault

Amy Jo Schoonover

Carol Lavelle Snow

Alan Steinle

David Stephenson

Joanne Stokkink

Katherine Barrett Swett

Faith Thompson

Amanda Trout

John Wagner

Gail White

Joseph Whitten

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SAMPLE POEMS FROM WINTER 2021 ISSUE

SUNLIGHT ON ACKERLY CREEK, by Bill Guest

So softly comes the silver snake,
its see-through undulating skin
stretched bank to bank and bend to bend.

Dimensioning the silver snake
by sight reveals how wide, how thin
but not how far it might extend.

So, measuring the silver snake
can’t help me pen the serpent in:
it slithers by without an end.

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IS THE THING, by Jonathan Kinsman

I like the laughter that lightens your lips,
snaps the synapse to my fingertips.

I crave the kiss that enkindles my heart,
gladdens the day, despite what part

occluded clouds or wind will bring;
it’s no matter what matters might start
what matters is nothing’s amiss,
all anew, all afresh reckons on this.

It’s the kiss, O yes, the kiss is the thing,
profoundly in Love given and giving,

so enrapt is my heart, O give me more
mornings at every dayspring,
of your passionate kiss, sweet as rose hips,

that kind of your kiss where my soul back flips
spinning cartwheels across the floor!

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ECCE HOMO, by Michael Baldwin

The grimy mills of ghetto-cracked begats
begot the trash implicit in the child,
one more, we thought, of a horde of rug-rat-brats
lost before he’d started, dirty, wild,
begotten in a rush of bitter blow
from poisoned blood’s obsequious concession
to the potent powder’s ever-dimmer glow
and its gnawing need’s oblivious confession.
We took him in, a misbegotten bother,
his case-file just a blueprint to unfold
a shabby life of griefs and legal pother,
but we were wrong, for something else took hold,
not hawk’s bold cry nor coo of stricken dove,
but a tersely-spoken, fierce, abiding love.

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NOCTURNE, by Constance Rowell Mastores

Lulled by the sound of waves, the soughing wind,
I gaze upon a tarnished moon and remember
a war I long to forget—great heroes lopped

of life, vile birds flocking around the corpses . . .
our own dear son.  Perhaps there is nothing
between us now, or perhaps we live on

with the stars, the moon, the inexhaustible tides.
And yet tonight, my love, I imagine you, white-robed
and reminiscent, walking the beach at ebb tide,

pausing, now and then, to gather a luminous shell,
silver light caressing the coils of your pearl-
dark hair.  And again I remember the dark sequence,

how the gods knitted their brows over the hollow
ships and wind-swept towers—generals plotting
the course of battle.  Easy for them!  Exempt

from the vulture’s sharp-toothed beak, the strong
House of Death.  What a field day they had!  Listening
to the shrill pipes and flutes, the low roar of men.

Tell me, sweet Andromache, you whose lovely
feet imprint the feathered sand with traces
of your passage, has your heart grown weary?

Your tears of grief melted away?  Or do you now,
against the green beauty of waves and smoldering
sea, grow ever more obdurate in your love?

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DO NOT HOLD, by Faith Thompson

Do not hold too closely to your word.
I know you like to know that you are steady,
but summer sense by winter’s made absurd.
You have been brutalized enough already.
Do you think the butterfly regards
the promises it made while still a worm?
With nights and lights and winding boulevards
spread suddenly beneath it?  To be firm
is not a virtue in and of itself.
Such faithfulness will lead you nowhere pretty.
It is not beneficial to one’s health
to cling to past resolves past sense or pity.
Break vows—break one, or two, or even ten.
Do not cleave, my girl, to drowning men.

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NOT TIME’S FOOL, by Gail White

We never think Time’s end will really come.
The universe is run on time and space,
their fragile dance, their delicate embrace.
Aquinas called eternity the sum
of all perfection, captured.  Time’s been called
what keeps all things from happening at once.
We chop it up, tick off its days and months,
not realizing when we’ve been stonewalled.

A day in outer space or Faerie
will bring you five years closer to the dead
when you return to greet the family
who thought you’d only gone to buy some bread.
Time is a drink that makes the minutes fizz,
and no day is the last.  Until one is.

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