There are countries, states, laws, constitutions,
Bible, Koran, catechisms, versicles.
Multiple versions, different procedures,
corrections and penalties.
As if we, humans, because having spread ourselves
around our entire world, were diverse,
dissimilar, incompatible beings.
The truth, so little faced and assumed,
and indoctrinated with so little faith,
is that we came destined to keep alive
the flame of mutual and supportive love,
free from color, race, religion walls and borders.
We have had intelligence and culture to, unluckily,
only improve our mismatches and idiosyncrasies.
The longer we stay on this strange route,
we will be farther from the promised land,
that Canaan where milk and honey flow,
and evil has no place and hides,
defeated, confused and humiliated.
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Mr. Ferreira, 76 years, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Largely published in international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67, after retirement as a bank employee. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2017, his first Poetry Collection, Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems, was launched in London, November 2018. He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.
Something happened here.
Beneath this tree, a pigeon’s worth
of feathers lies scattered among stones.
In the dazzling desert light, six white
strong-shafted quills designed for flight
catch my eye. I bend to pluck them,
take them home. Blocks away, near
her old apartment, hawks nest. Sometimes
I pass for a view of those high branches
that leaf and lose their leaves,
for a glimpse of hawks,
for a longer walk and the long run
of memories we made. But why save
these six feathers? A pigeon became
a raptor’s meal—that’s the story
I imagine—and why commemorate
a death I only guess has happened?
A souvenir is nothing but a wish
to preserve the evanescent,
a pretense of permanence.
Take, for instance, a seventh feather
I spotted as we stood sealed, embracing
beside a train. All the colors of ash,
it had come to rest between the rails.
I warned her not to reach
beneath the wheels to pick it up,
though she hadn’t moved to leave
my arms. Soon, the train would roll
away, but for now there was no
danger. So I let that feather go
and wisely made the most of one last
chance to hold her close. Now
six feathers lie scattered on my desk:
not the pure white I detected from afar,
not the white silence of a blank page
in the face of a myriad unasked questions
and too much left to say, but white
smudged pale gray at their tips and edges.
Still I keep them, to spite their lack
of meaning and the way they take me
back to a mid-October day, a train
on a westbound track, a woman I call
love, who promised nothing, and a lone
pigeon feather, gone. Lost forever.
Marisa P. Clark
Marisa P. Clark is a queer writer from the South whose work has appeared in Apalachee Review, Cream City Review, Foglifter, Potomac Review, Rust + Moth, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere, with work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Nimrod, Epiphany, and Evening Street Review, among others. She was twice the winner of the Agnes Scott College Writers’ Festival Prizes (in fiction, 1996; in nonfiction, 1997), and Best American Essays 2011 recognized her creative nonfiction among its Notable Essays. She reads fiction for New England Review and makes her home in New Mexico with three parrots and two dogs.
To resist through nonviolence, yes—
I’ll do what the data says is wise.1
But to love is another matter:
I may wave the flag, but I am no patriot;
Is it not better to burn what they betray?
If the house is rotten, I leave it to the carpenter
To destroy or Reconstruct. I am fine with either.
Yes, nothing grows without rot—
No rich soil, no history to study and to learn—
But the illiterate draw their own lessons, wield
Their own weapons.
I have run out of words of outrage.
One day there will be monuments
To tell of this dangerous time:
What structures will the architects design?
What wild rantings will the walls inscribe?
I am no thief. All that is mine is mine.
Shall I first confiscate this epoch,
Make it mine to censure or delete? 2 3
What of the graffiti I may not find?
The encrypted hard drive I can’t erase?
The yard signs yet to decay…?
No, it would take millions to do the job.
We, redeemers of what—an idea?
Nearly half the population?
At Appomattox no treaty was signed,
For there was no truce to be had:
Democracy always teeters between deliverance
My greatest pleasure in overcoming this trial
Would be to never have reason to relive it.
1 Robson, David. The ‘3,5% rule’: How a small minority can change the world. May 14, 2019. BBC. <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world>
2 Robey, Tracy. The Long History of ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ and the Destruction of Monuments. August 16, 2019. Jezebel. <https://pictorial.jezebel.com/the-long-history-of-damnatio-memoriae-and-the-destructi-1797860410>
3  Bond, Sarah. Erasing the Face of History. May 14, 2011. The New York Times. <https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinion/15bond.html>
Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.
a ball of bloody underpants
under her bed
cigarette butts in a jam jar
a half empty bottle of gin
wrapped in an old wool sweater
two tins of spearmint Tic Tacs
the pearl earrings my mother
lost last week
a DO NOT READ UNDER PENALTY
OF DEATH diary
rows of Leslie Richards
followed by rows of Leslie Fisher
& rows of Leslie Pearson
in slanted pink script
a dog-eared copy of Peyton Place
untie the top of your bathing suit
a condom curled in her wallet
I tiptoe away from tomorrow—
Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam and Healing Muse among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.
The only way is through.
At the moment it seems impossible:
I mean how do you trust yourself?
And your neurotransmitters?
And that’s just one of many
Things to worry about.
Why wake up in the morning?
There must be something that makes it worthwhile.
There must be something
To fix or shrink.
I’ve never seen one
That didn’t make me worse.
And there’s something to drink
On the top shelf.
“Not the cause, just the symptoms.”
You want to know about my mother?
I’ll tell you about my mother.
And watch out
For charged particles.
They can be very aggressive.
This page is intentionally left blank,
And the one behind it
Ian Ganassi’s work has appeared or will appear in numerous literary magazines, including, New American Writing; The American Journal of Poetry; First Literary Review-East; Clockwise Cat; and The Yale Review; among many others. His poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016. His new collection, True for the Moment, is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collaboration with a painter can be found at www.thecorpses.com.
Tumblers in the night,
cat’s teeth clicking, tongues lapping,
unlocking light’s safe.
Death arrives sans words.
Red blood falls as silently
through the night as snow.
Morning makes the bed,
lofts light sheets and comforters
over still soft night.
Six crows face sunrise;
no wind bends the cottonwood.
What will be revealed?
light aligns direction in
perch, view, quill, spine, down.
Rapids of starlings,
whirlpools of gulls, tides of crows,
shipwrecks of eagles.
Black fishbone branches
hold up cirrus sky flaked flesh
above dispersed light.
I think a possum
lives in the trunk of this tree—
tail trails mark the snow.
Black branch treetops shine
orange gold before blue clouds.
Ducks float in shadow.
Steeping draws out life
in tea leaves dry as mummies.
Tender nights wake frogs.
Four robins blush for
I walk beneath them staring
up into bare trees.
From rest the train rolls;
the railroad bridge, its drum; tracks,
grounded cymbals brushed.
slipper shuffle on dry grass.
The ruffled duck grooms.
Flies like an arrow—
sure to strike its mark.
Twisting stream of crows
under a silver contrail
follows the river.
Dark-eyed Juncos flit.
The train stops and starts again
on the river span.
Squirrel leaps over
snaking mound pocket gopher
raised, soars with his thoughts.
Squirrels run like scarves
pulled through some windy crevice.
Then Child Man runs by.
Without my glasses,
and maybe with, the moon a
sore that will not heal.
Starlings weigh nothing,
touch the ground as ritual
ghost fingers obsessed.
Goose rises on legs
capable of carrying
its stillness away.
Across the river,
blushes of orange and green
Rhythm of the goose
eating, like waves. Feathers lift.
Back against the wind.
Given the same life,
could I steer more expertly,
having gone before?
blossoms weigh down city streets.
The egrets return.
A storm plows away
sexual moist, fermented, rank
fallen petal drifts.
The kingfisher dives
from the branch mainly submerged
midstream, then returns.
Found a cat whisker
in the vacuum yesterday.
Certain things stick out.
Suzanne K Miller
Suzanne K. Miller lives in a house built in 1900 and works online. She earned an MFA from Wichita State University. Her work has appeared in Festival Quarterly, First Things, The Mennonite, Mikrokosmos, Plainsongs, Porcupine, and Women of the Plains: Kansas Poetry. Storage Issues, her first book of poems, was published by Cascadia Publishing House in 2010.