Price of a Coin

A turnstile coin

falls in slow motion,

hits with a rattle and a clink.

Rolling to a stop at his feet.

I bend to pick it up,

retrieving long lost visions

of a love that used to be.

Turning from the past,

I walk away.

A burning ache

pulls at me,

filling my heart with sorrow.

I look back one last time.

Coin pocketed,

I board the train

to my redemption.

Ann Christine Tabaka

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She is the author of 9 poetry books. Christine lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her most recent credits are: Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.

Ceasefire Pantoum

openmouthed, we grasp our children

this is what it means to start

from the beginning

shivering in one’s skin

 

what it means to start

a truce with face and form

soothing in one’s skin

the familial, a mother’s love

 

a truce without face forms

a dead son awash, the tiny body

familial (a brother) loved

now lifeless arms

 

dead son awash, a tiny body

to his mother still through gunfire

now lifeless, disarmed

on the corner by the playground

 

his mother still, though gunfire

crosses her son, the border (lengthwise)

on the corner, the playground

widens with neglect

 

cross with her son at the border

from the beginning

we widen with neglect’s

openmouth gasp, our children

 

Brenda Serpick

Brenda Serpick received her MFA in poetry from The New School and is the author of three chapbooks: ‘the other conjunction in it’ (Furniture Press), ‘No Sequence But Luck’ (3 Sad Tigers Press) and ‘The Female Skeleton Makes Her Debut’ (Hophophop Press). She was a participating poet for Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project (July 2016), and her poems have appeared in Requited, Tule Review, The Potomac, Free State Review, eccolinguistics, Printer’s Devil Review, Spiral Orb, LIT, Lungfull! Magazine, and Boog City – among other fine journals. She currently teaches English and creative writing for Baltimore City Public Schools.

On Growing Old and Discovering Truth

My days are measured

By bottles of discount wine,

My weeks by clean linens;

Each morning

I seek salvation

in a cafe benison.

 

Sleep, sleep divine,

Why should eternal sleep

not be heaven?

 

For religion begins

Where knowledge ends.

 

My little fame in life,

I know,

Will be confined

to a freeway sign:

“Missing Elderly,”

numinous against

a gray morning sky,

Flashing, flashing, flashing

above a highway exit.

 

The door was closed

and did not open,

So how did the cat

go out again?

But remembering to floss

gives each day

a bright new meaning.

 

So knowledge ends

Where religion begins.

 

Italy’s third volcano,

what’s it called?

Not Etna or Vesuvius,

The one in the movie we saw?

I forget, though I should know;

And not Olympus,

with Hera and Zeus

and Jove.

 

For us mortals what does it signify,

purchasing stain remover

by the gallon?

Pessimism of drooled spaghetti

or long life’s delusive

grand ambition?

 

All hail Staphylococcus,

with my name on it;

Where fear reigns,

religion gains.

 

Dough, the financial guru says,

you’ll need ’til you’re ninety five,

or perhaps, I think,

to .38,

Or maybe I’ll rob a bank

or fail to pay my taxes

for a prison bunk

and hospital bed.

But what about the poor teller,

the cop

and the unlucky feller

who has to clean up the mess?

 

But hark!

The coffee grinder churns,

the espresso machine

still renders,

so why should I surrender?

 

Yea, verily, I declare

on my life’s embers

that where true knowledge ends

unyielding ignorance begins

and religion wins.

 

James Garrison

A graduate of the University of North Carolina and Duke Law School, James Garrison practiced law until returning to his first loves: writing and reading good literature. His novel, QL 4 (TouchPoint Press 2017), set in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War, has won awards for literary fiction and military fiction, and it was a Distinguished Favorite for the 2019 Independent Press Awards and a finalist for the 2018 Montaigne Medal. His creative nonfiction works and poems have appeared in online magazines and anthologies. Sheila-Na-Gig nominated his poem “Lost: On the Staten Island Ferry”‘ for a 2018 Pushcart prize.