My plants are the nicest people I know.
They are not questioning or anxious
As children are. Each spring my hydrangeas
Erupt into lavender tinted snow mounds in the bed
Perfectly situated along my home’s south side
Bordering a swath of weedless St. Augustine turf
The yard boy keeps trimmed and watered—immaculate.
Their perfume permeates the house all open-windowed summer.
My ajuga causes me no heartache and my caladiums
Are not refractory. They do not mock me for the way
Lipstick laps over thinning lips or for the wrinkles
That frame gray eyes below my horn-rimmed lenses.
And if spider mite or chinch bug threaten to cause harm
They can always be controlled with a dose of Malathion.
I long for the purple silence of the wandering Jew—
A silence so much easier than the fretful, scoffing
Voices of the son and daughter who pull away from
The ministrations of my cultivating hands.
Donald Carlson lives in Texas. His poems have appeared in Better Than Starbucks, Blue Unicorn, The Road Not Taken, and more. His collaborative volume of poetry, with Timothy Donohue and Dennis Patrick Slattery, is Road Frame Window, published by Mandorla Press.
Colored in Vermilion
Can make the universe
They can only say
The void is here and there and
Or pull out the
All things together
In your head
And let the trillion,
Things in black and white
All colored in vermilion.
Joseph Nolan’s poems have been published in the Sacramento Voices Poetry Anthology, Poetry Now, Collisions V, Medusa’s Kitchen, and elsewhere. His three books, Human Grace, Cats Can’t Use Straws, and Sky Gardens, are available on Amazon.
Across the wadi pines
droop in the stagnant air
heavy with foreboding
no branches stir.
The wadi is undisturbed
by twitter, chirp or trill;
The sky does not soar with swallows
or stoop with kestrel,
no sparrows flutter in the hollows
nor warbler nor finch, not a bird:
The wadi is still.
Do the birds hide from the heat
the oppressive steel-grey sky?
Or do they sense the Middle East
poised like a crouched cat on tense feet
waiting for things to fly?
Do they feel this uneasy dread,
Do they scan the dull skies overhead,
can they see evil before us?
Or are these just thoughts of a fevered brain
that will disperse come the cooling rain
and the dawn chorus?
Judy Koren’s poems have appeared in Israeli literary magazines, Lighten Up Online, and The Road Not Taken. She lives in Israel and is President of the English-language poetry society, Voices Israel.
I cannot be lonely
while eating spaghetti; it requires too much
attention.* And I can’t help but smile while shoving
a powdered doughnut in my face. My sense of illusory
superiority quite vanishes while gobbling corn on the cob,
half-masticated kernels lodged between my teeth,
butter and salt dripping down my chin. Also, I find that I
lose myself trying to recall the ingredients to abuelita’s
mole sauce: herbs, spices, chiles, nuts, seeds, chocolate.
I try not to laugh pronouncing Worchester Worcestershire
sauce. And sometimes, when I’m lucky, I knead words
into a stretchy, gluten ball, where they transform and rise.
*embedded line by Christopher Morley
Lara Dolphin is a chocolate addict, slacktivist, and determined dreamer. A recovering attorney, novice nurse and full-time mother of four, she divides her time between looking for lost Legos and breaking up pool-noodle-related combat.
Fly in a Urinal
Take heart my little friend
with all six legs astir
in this foul and brackish brine,
for on bended knee
I implore the ancient Tithonus
whose name I recall from Mythology 101
in which I pulled a “C,”
an elective taught by old Miss Furdlow
whose didactic paroxysms would set
the mole upon her upper lip aquiver.
But time is running out
as I now remember from a desultory
thumbing of the heavy tome with
uncreased spine the night before finals
that, alas, Tithonus was but a minor god
with few stripes upon his vest and nary
an epaulette upon his shoulders,
a once Prince busted down
to a buck private, if you will,
and turned into a grasshopper.
But time is short and perhaps this gentleman
who views askance my puny attempts
to snare your feeble legs with this coat hanger
is today of eleemosynary heart
and will spare me a moment’s use
of that fine hat he wears.
Is that not mirth that lights his face,
a smile of scorn that stretches from ear to ear?
Do I not hear laughter, a baritone resounding
stall to stall,
mocking Tithonus and a life imperiled?
Too late, my friend, too late!
Go join Tithonus in the meadow.
The gentleman has unzipped!
Gayle Compton’s stories, poems and articles have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He lives in Pike County, Kentucky, with his wife Sharon.
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