Better Than Starbucks
Poetry and Fiction Journal
. . . if you love diversity and creative writing in any and every form, then you’re in the right place . . .
Vol VI No IV
February, May, August,
Letter Sorting House
I avoid reading statutory warnings
written at the hem of clouds
The colour of ink changes in the afternoon
from warm-silk to maroon
The scent of clouds’ movement from one place
to another reminds me
of some earnest postman searching for addresses
in the yellow afternoon — an honest try
to keep something
at least private and simple
and I see a lone golden bulb hanging
from the ceiling of the sky, shaking like
a November dream — too fragile
In the letter sorting house
colourful moths flit
Under my pillow, I find postal receipts
and colourful envelopes — blue and purple
and brown and white;
They are unopened still
Letters slowly pile
up month after month, as if,
they are my unopened sleep at night
as if, they are my last days
Sekhar Banerjee is an author. His works have been published in Indian Literature, The Bitter Oleander, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Tiger Moth Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Kolkata, India.
My father did it often after rain, a custom as ancient
as hunting, only much less violent,
reeking of hunger
which was, incidentally, why my grandfather had done it
after the war, when food was scarce.
I see myself looking at their slimy transparent bodies
boiling and simmering on the peasant stove
my great-grandfather built, wondering what they would
taste like, watery worms sticking to your tongue like
chewing gum, only much less flavored.
And now I do it, too. I go out when the rain stops,
pick them up and return them to the green plots
they have escaped from, rushing like mad, five seconds per hour
to find their one true mate while the earth is still wet.
I would have been ashamed to admit it — register my weakness
along the strong genealogical line of hunter-warriors
and snail-gatherers —
had it not been for this woman
today, who leaned down rather suddenly
at my feet, lifted it, and placed it on a bed of pansies.
Roxana Doncu is a writer and lecturer in English, living in Bucharest, Romania. She has published a short story collection and a number of poems in Romanian, British and Bulgarian literary magazines.
When “No” was screamed out,
All horses had to stop.
Dust swept through their nostrils, and they snorted.
The barn fell apart and the devil was released.
Animals escaped, finding a way out —
A crow danced, sang, and celebrated,
Trees turned purple, and cows dug burrows.
No clouds remained in the pink sky.
Ruins of the past stood there — telling stories.
Maybe the time had come.
Destruction echoed through the land,
And the rotting aroma permeated the air.
Among the decay, would a green leaf sprout?
It could be there awaiting a tear.
Riham El-Ashry is an Egyptian poet, artist, and an English language teacher. Her poems and short stories have been featured in online magazines and literary blogs as well as in paperback anthologies and journals. She also writes poetry reviews.
An Immigrant’s Cry
An immigrant is like a
fish in a bowl
safe, secure, contained
but away from its ocean
missing the rule-free play
with the aggressive wave
hitting hard on the body
yet soothing the heart
with a feeling of belonging
that needs no consent
and need not be earned
it just is
Dr. Shailja Sharma is a psychologist and an author, practicing in Texas, USA. Her poetry is nationally and internationally published in peer-reviewed journals, literary magazines, and radio shows. Recent publications appeared in Spillwords, Life in Ten Mag, Literary Heist, and elsewhere.
We are all historians,
Digging up our own truths
As the sun sets calmly above,
Greatly taming this wild thing
Kinga Hajba is a writer, poet, and author inspired by her surroundings. She writes articles and poems for the women’s organization Bamby Collective. She is currently based in Budapest and enjoys spending quality time with friends, cooking, designing, and creating.
I speak magic, they say. Good, they don’t know the truth, they shouldn’t. Major, minor, sad, and happy, it’s all the same for me. Any note, any chord, any freaking key, I always scream. The keys they press, the pain I feel . . . Ah! Why Ivory!? I was good and well, actually great, as the tusk of a giant male. But they got me too, stole me too, then sold me too. They got heavy cash, leaving me in pain. Gave gifts to their children, my life in vain. This is my destiny, I guess, to sound magical, crying nonetheless.
U.S. Khokhar is a teen writer and poet from India. He is a passionate reader and writer, and his previous works have appeared in online literary journals like The Literary Yard.
Reflections on the Last Day
I know that one day, a doctor, who I probably
do not currently know
will bend over me to attest to my death.
It will be one of the many tasks he will have that day.
He will be examining a corpse, but will never attest to,
the thousand and one days I happily lived
with the lovers I conquered, the devoted and faithful friends
who gave me their smiles and countless hugs, all of this born
from a pure, naïve and strong human camaraderie;
will know neither the sobs of anguish nor the desperate voice
of certain days, nor the tears I had to shed along some paths I walked;
will never know the brightness of the days I was able to celebrate,
although it took a while, nor the victory over the enemies I had to face;
they will not think of a God and Creator waiting for me,
analyzing and weighing the sentence that will have to be delivered,
nor what the new world to which I will be sent will be.