Looking for spare change, I find
a spoon in my lover’s pants pocket
and it smells like liquor. I shake
his khakis and out falls more noise
than a quarter and dime should make.
What hits the floor can shake a place,
like upstairs neighbors fighting
last night. Pots and pans, and I imagine,
elbows and knees slammed above me.
Gravity does not hold a ceiling to a wall,
one lover to another. Did our builder
count out his nails? Loose hinges
cause doors to dangle, and the cat
sneaks out. Random pieces of grass
get stuck in a wandering shoe.
Maybe our neighbors threw the spoon
out the window and my lover found
it on his way home. I run my tongue
along its cool, arched back, taste
not quite Bourbon, not white
wine. I slide both hands in his pockets
to see what else I might find.
Beth Oast Williams
Beth Oast Williams is a student with the Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Her poetry has appeared in West Texas Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Glass Mountain, The Bookends Review, and Willard and Maple, among others. She was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize in poetry, received second place in the 2019 Poetry Matters Project and was a semi-finalist for Poet’s Billow’s 2018 Atlantis Award. Her workshop experience includes Bread Loaf and VQR Writers Conferences.
What is it about
sky’s darkening hue
in early evening
that evinces a oneness
Whenever I return home
I feel deeply loved.
I stand in holy contentment
by a gate smothered in Bougainvillea.
like cool fingering breeze
wait for lone hawk
to rattle up from the ground.
Whatever else fills my days—
music, fashioning verse
wherever else I live—
with evanescence longings
I anchor myself deeply
in this ineffable, intimate place
which itself is breathing.
Tonight, I feel a hum of delight
circling through me
shattering limiting languishes.
Time seems to lengthen.
A few steps from my door
a gaggle of magpies
black and white and saucy
as a masquerade party
have taken over the yard.
And the moon’s thin white smile
sends a passionate coax
to step out again and again.
Marianne has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.
In a shared taxi, beet yellow in the
Carolina sun, an old woman describes
her exodus from a town overrun with
Jews. They trampled the Angel Oaks,
she crows, lining their
pockets with real estate deals.
In stopped-time, we could craft a retort:
That’s rather offensive, or Would you
like to finish Hitler’s work? or (with
a sidelong glance) Don’t you realize
you are riding in here alongside filthy Jews?
In her defense, the tropes drone on: we
are bankers, hypnotists, engines of overthrow.
Flame-wars grow fierce over statements by
Congresspeople. It’s blood libel and
bulbous-nosed caricatures all over again.
In a hospital in Ohio, bedpans clinking,
death rattles just around the bend, while
a doctor tweets a promise to pass the wrong
medicine to her Jewish patients. Firemen
hesitate to spray because all houses matter,
sirens of the muezzins, their truck a long red
tongue licking the wounds of the street.
Alisha Goldblatt is an English teacher and writer living in Portland, Maine with her two wonderful children and one lovely husband. She has published poems in Midstream Magazine, Georgetown Review, Mockingheart Review, the Common Ground Review, Literary Mama, and Portland Press Herald: Deep Water, as well as essays in the Stonecoast Review, The Wisconsin Review, and MothersAlwaysWrite. She was a featured poet in this fall’s Belfast Poetry Festival. Alisha also released a children’s book, Finding a Way, about her son’s rare chromosomal disorder and the beauty of acceptance.