Issue 3 March 2015

Short Poems

Editor's Comments

Welcome to the Short Poems issue. As usual non-theme poems appear alongside those of ten lines or less. As many poems are short there is a record number in this issue even so I had to turn down a number of good poems. I hope you enjoy reading them

Sally Long


Empty House
Death is that small child who calls to me
            When the house is empty
And the only sound
            is the hair on my arms singing.

Jason Irwin 


An ice cream swipe defies the sky,
a child's crayon fiction; fact.
A bracket sighs, 'remember me',
a moment's hope: the light unpacked.

Colette Bernhardt


No matter what the season,
beauty will be there;
beauty needs no reason
to be somewhere.
J.D. Heskin

Lumina Nocte

His window’s near a neon sign that fires
Flame-colored tongues all night on new bedsheets.

When we first got together, I would see
A red light making my life’s traffic stop.
LindaAnn Loschiavo

dead man’s clothes

I put on his mint shirt and shoes,
fight his unfinished battles,
love his left-over lover,
do what he can’t do
but I surely can’t be
the father he was to me

Keith Nunes


Fingers crouched
Pecking away at the keyboard.

I like to think that when I observe birds
Using their beaks
To tap the ground

They too are expressing their feelings
As poets.

Fait Muedini

new-wave card trick

a croupier just walked off with the moon
neatly tucked away in a portmanteau,
left me with a night like the ace of spades
carrying three whimsical queens
and some joker lugging four suits and gin

Keith Nunes

Dream 7
Rattling tailed green cobras
Hissed messages in ancient
Languages, my spine
Quivered and I saw young hands
With orchids showering town.

Rèv 7

Klikètman kobra
Ke vèt te pran sifle an
Daki. Rèldo m’
Te tranble, lè m’ te wè
Jèn moun k’ap zazi vil la.

 Dream 8
I bent down and chopped
Weeds around my feet, deadweight
An older woman
With stained teeth pointed to the
New rejuvenated sun.

Rèv 8

Mwen bese koupe
Move zèb bò pye m’, pwa-
Senkant, yon granmoun
Dan kalili lonje dwèt
Li sou yon solèy gengenn.

Patrick Sylvain

Lost Tapes

Under the telephone’s ringing, her dream
erased itself. A coiled wire snapped. Her eyes
opened. She was a perfect evil queen
below the telephone’s bright ring. That dream—
Cruel in its beauty—made daylight seem
tarnished—a broken spoon that you might find
under your telephone—or some ring her dream
erased . Herself—she coils her hard-wired eyes.

Mark J. Mitchell

The Woman Who Remembered Her Birth

May I always remember
the saline taste on my unborn
tongue, quiet rhythm
of your heart. May I recall
that long swim

from bottomless sea, cry
of gulls overhead as they dove
for leaping fish in flashes of silver
struggle and ache in my tiny limbs,
blinding light, terror of my first joyful breath.

Steve Klepetar

Easter Bunny

Easter bunny on the high top shelf
of the cabinet, barely poking ears
over the Dresden shepherdess. Is that

really the Easter bunny I asked, and
was told, oh yes! And when you are
asleep, he will hop all through the house.

electric with faith, I sneaked up on him,
tried to climb up to him but luckily
not even the tallest chair would

reach. I left carrots for him, he hopped
down from his shelf to get them.
He left me chocolate eggs and a

Bible, which I thought odd, but I liked it.
Of course I couldn’t read it, it had
pictures. Never sure about the

Easter bunny or baby Jesus or
what it all meant, in the long,
sweet Protestant childhood of green lawns,

egg-laying bunnies and Older Brother Jesus.

Janet McCann 

With nothing but head down
you dig your way out
making room arm under arm

the way your cradle was dipped
first in wood then by itself
lifting your hand to be counted

by twos, as yet not missing
and inside a breath still dark
look up to see who comes back.

Simon Perchik 


I’m not your pet, though
I wish I were,
a collie lying at your feet.
You pet me,
run your fingers through my hair,
say, good girl, for doing nothing more
than sitting still.

Jesse Betts


She was fungal, not simply between her toes
as she had hoped, but in her gills,
Elizabethan collars,
stiff as virgin’s spines.
She couldn’t check her eyes for coins
assuming there was a cost to getting out
and a man to pay.

It had been quiet so far.

She would have sprout stalks like pit hairs
if she was going to get out.
For each raindrop
she popped anew -- an explosion, a luxurious carpet
keeping the scavengers satisfied
bribing them bodily, taking a last splurge on life.

Hannah Fischer

Sunlight And Construction Workers

Look, the workers and I aren’t going anywhere

until the building and the manuscript is finished.
I think we have the requisite tools, and lunch boxes

filled with snacks and ham sandwiches
that always need a bit more mustard and mayonnaise.

If the workers can declaim poems of mine

from twenty floors up, motioning the words to go forth
and blanket the city, I can repay the generosity

by mixing cement, spreading it out like cake frosting,
and drilling in lovely blue window guards.

There’ll be talk of duty and respect, but with the pledge

that we never allow the noble to get too full of itself.
In fact, don’t be surprised when one of these afternoons

you see all of us dangling from the thin, long bay cranes,
our clothes flapping like flags in the cooling breeze

we’ve been waiting for, scribbling and hammering to love.

Tim Suermondt


Let’s go underground,
dark place moist
with memories.
Persephone tossed seeds
to mark our way,
and I have a lantern. 
We can admire cave paintings,
shiver in the cool
genius of the disappeared –
misplace ourselves, dissidents
from the cloudless day.

Keli Osborn

Act of Rain

From the morphine
of an embarrassment

a sponge of doubt
creeps into 

a shadow of truth 
falling on the carpet

of perception rising 
to imitate love

in a simple 
act of rain

Nikhil Nath

Smoke Rises Until It Stops

Smoke rises (above the book of hymns –
calling crying melodic for mercy;
the wide-brimmed flowered hat –
a wedge that holds the door open
that closed would turn pew and pulpit
to church, church to nothing;
the rafters – buckling and aching,
creaking in time with voices climbing
like smoke) until it stops.

Nick Pritchard

A sad moon
Your mouth moves quickly,
but you say nothing.
Lies and a sad moon
encompass your withered soul -
I can hear it grieving like
a widow at a funeral.
God will let you through
to a blackened sky

with thorny, blood red roses
at your feet.

Dawnell Harrison

The Price Of Music
Another morning
And Calypso’s captive                                                
Walks through fog,
Down a quiet street
To his appointed place.

He’s no nymph’s slave
But the prisoner
Of an island tune
That won’t leave his head.

Mark J. Mitchell

Still Life

This morning
As I drift into the kitchen
I cast a shadow
Upon the waiting apples
The opulence soon forgotten
As they await the knife or
Face decay

Ramesh Dohan

Future Ghost

The windows have it,
your shadow placed in the transparency.
I killed you in my dreams,
took a sledgehammer to the reflection
and smashed you into ascendency.
The eyes that followed me from the bed
followed me into the arms of every lover
I ever had.  I chase the dream to get back.
Back into the cold light,
you stroking my head.
Adrian Perks

The Cut

If we tug the rainbow’s sleeve,
which thread pulls out?
Which arc can we do without?

A weft de-sired from its tartan
weakens the clan’s kilt, splits
kin apart, its blood spun

to a fraction of the body’s brew,
like plasma, of value in war,
in crisis, but a pale giver of life.

Maureen Kingston

What Our Hearts Pump

He died alone – I didn’t quiver

Massacred in thousands
Words remain unuttered
Normality reigned
The birds sang

I ask what our hearts pump
Blood or sand?

Babatunde Kawthar

A gift

Everything was given to us once, as a gift.
Now we own things we broke.

A lion lies quietly next to a lamb,
the stuffed lion, of course.

Coming to the point when the Earth refuses
to produce anything

what are we supposed to do –
fire the cow?
hire a lawyer?

Boris Kokotov


He opens the door to an empty room.
Stout walls, the aimless order of floorboards.
Listens now, as if to capture the wake
of a sound the water has borne away.

Something has preceded him forever:
a sprig of wheat, a cry, a gash of light.
Again he tries to measure the burden;
his hands slowly unwind in the shadows.

Michael Bradburn-Ruster

Choke Up

On the hilt of life
I am become a warbler
jelly-legged, trembling
afraid of whatever leap
Kierkegaard went on about

I refuse to tag out
early, in answer
makeshift mechanisms
for solace are required
to suffice by proxy 

Mark Danowsky

When I Awake

                      day is ending,
horizon smudged with tinted cloud—
call it amethyst, heliotrope, sloe-plum.
Tree frogs pipe from the magnolia,
a gecko lies in bas relief on the screen.
Your skin smells of damp earth
and sun-ripe melon, tastes of sea salt.
Candlelight is translucent as sea glass.
I trail fingers along your shoulder.

Ann Howells

On the Creation of the World

Today, on the radio, I heard a man tell of a time
He had lived without testosterone.  Some freakish
siphon of circumstance had all but drained
that hormone from his loins.

He said: I changed, became alive without feeling;
an observer, attentive and cold.  The facts were clear:
That is a window, and here a chair; across the room sits
a man with no hair on his head.

He said: I looked at all and saw it was
beautiful—and beauty was a sentient thing:
I did not judge, but, all dispassionate, came to know.
God would see it so.

Steve Broidy

Made a Fool

I came to the party wearing a long white dress and a silk top hat.
I brought my tambourine and my little terrier, but there was no
parade. Just suits holding wine glasses, swapping business cards
their one dull game. They snickered at me. Junior high all over again.
The club leader telling me to get the ID10T form to join. Will I always
be sent away to hunt snipe and fetch glass hammers? My feet in the sky
as my head hits the ground? I crave the company of other fools
who perceive zeros as exclamations of delight: 0, dog!
0, dance! 0, celebrate!

Sara Backer

After Night Snow

White snow,
Piled four fingers high, on
The still, once green, pine branches
The tree a white caked couch
For the bright red cardinals.
The muffled silence and chill-breeze
Whisper morning peace.
The red dots rearrange themselves
By natures clock.

Gregg Dotoli

this wild beating drum

this heart is a lush wild 
beating drum, not hollow, but 
liquid muscle pressing and 
squeezing oh it’s aching, 
insistent against the skin. 

for what? why this endless rush?
to know the other, that wild rhythm 
the siamese ache
echoing in dream

Katie Simpson

A Thought

If only I was as graceful 
as that sliver of sunlight
resting against the windowsill,
painting your face in gold 

Ophelia Leong


I used to gaze outside my window
and say look, the jacaranda!

It’s not the fragrant blue I miss
but the chance to wrap my lips 

around those open vowels 
embracing all I long for
with a softly exhaled aah.

It’s cold here and it snows too much.

Harriot West

The Anorexic

Her true intention showing through
her skeleton pressing to get out
she jogs between the empty fields
at home with all that rotting stubble
smiling at a scarecrow without his clothes
just an empty cross that spurs her on.

William Cullen Jr

Elegy for Earls Court and Others

Think of all the eras that have ended
since Live Aid. Wembley and Freddie
gone. So many greasy spoon cafes
that stood through the Blitz maintained
through Katherine Hamnett years then wham!

Gone! The babies gone from zero to thirty,
the men gone from fifty to eighty.
Brick corner pubs 
daubed with purple gloss, now
returned to brown stone.

Roy Moller


Sara Backer, author of the novel American Fuji, has received fellowships for Djerassi and Norton Island artist residencies and five Pushcart prize nominations. Her writing has appeared in over 100 journals, most recently in The Pedestal, Turtle Island Quarterly, The Rialto, Carve, and Arc Poetry (Canada). She teaches at UMass Lowell and in a men's prison in New Hampshire. For link to her online publications, visit

Colette Bernhardt is a freelance journalist who thinks poetry should get more press. Her favourite poets include Ros Barber, Kate Tempest, Ted Hughes and Tony Harrison. Her poem on the back of a postcard, A Tiny Heap of Bones, was shortlisted for Myriad Editions' Picture This award in 2011.

Jesse Betts will graduate with her Master’s in Literature and Writing from Utah State University in May, 2015.  Her work has previously appeared in The Nighthawk Review, Kolob Canyon Review, The Southern Quill, and Scribendi.  She lives in Logan, Utah, US with her husband and two sons.

Michael Bradburn-Ruster's work has been published in a variety of international journals, including Studia Mystica, Sacred Web, Cincinnati Review, Eastown Fiction, Damazine (Syria), Able Muse and Grey Sparrow Journal, and is a frequent contributor to Poetry Salzburg Review.

Steve Broidy is a professor at Wittenberg University, in Springfield, Ohio. His poetry has been published in The Midwest Quarterly, Dark Matter Journal, and The Resurrectionist, among other publications; and he has received an award from the Missouri Arts Council Writers' Biennial.

William Cullen Jr. is a veteran and works at a social services non-profit in Brooklyn, New York. His poetry has appeared in Canary, Gulf Stream, New Verse News, Right Hand Pointing, Spillway and Word Riot.

Mark Danowsky’s poetry appears in Apiary, Alba, Mobius, Red River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, New Verse News, Word Soup.  Mark lives on the East Coast of the U.S., works for a private detective agency, and is assistant copy editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal (

Ramesh Dohan hails from the city of Toronto. He earned a BA from the University of British Columbia. His poetry often slips into tender observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. His works have previously appeared in the Boston Review, Osprey Review, Bywords Poetry and Word Salad.

Gregg Dotoli lives in Nutley New Jersey. He studied English at Seton Hall University and then went on to NYU for the study of computer programming. He loves the arts and sciences and enjoys working at Intel corporation. His true love is literature and poetry and he enjoys many of the museums and culture of NYC.

Hannah Fischer is a poet and librarian living in Washington, DC. She works for the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress and enjoys observing the world around her and, ideally, being able to write a little about it too.

Dawnell Harrison has been published in over 200 magazines and journals.  She has had 5 books of poetry published including Voyager, The maverick posse, The fire behind my eyes, The love death, and The color red does not sleep. Also, she possess a BA from The University of Washington.
J.D. Heskin has poems published on many sites, in many countries. Most recently in Snakeskin, Candelabrum and Ascent Aspirations.

Ann Howells’s work appears in Crannog, Little Patuxent Review, and Spillway, among others. She has edited Illya’s Honey for fifteen years, recently taking it digital: Her chapbooks: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag, 2007) & Rosebud Diaries (Willet, 2012). She has four Pushcart nominations.

Jason Irwin is the author of Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), & Some Days It's A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005). He grew up in Dunkirk, NY, and now lives in Pittsburgh.

Babatunde Kawthar is an engineering student of the university of Lagos,Nigeria. She enjoys writing poetry among other things. Her interests range from engineering to poetry and politics.

Maureen Kingston’s poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in B O D Y, Gravel, IthacaLit, So to Speak, Stoneboat, Stone Highway Review,, and Verse Wisconsin. A few of her prose pieces have also been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart awards.

Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  His most recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press) and an e-chapbook,Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).

Boris Kokotov was born in Moscow, Russia. He is the author of several books of poetry (in Russian language). His poems have been published in periodicals in Russia, Germany, and the USA. His translations include selected poems of 19th century German Romantics and contemporary American poetry to Russian. He moved to the United States in 1991 and has lived in Baltimore since then.

Ophelia Leong is a wife and mother of three who loves writing in her spare time. She's been published in Assisi: An Online Journal of Arts and Letters, and the University of the Pacific's literary magazine Calliope. 
LindaAnn Loschiavo, Native New Yorker, is a dramatist, journalist, activist, and poet.

Janet McCann is a crone poet who has been teaching creative writing at Texas A&M since 1969.  Journals publishing her work include Kansas Quarterly, Parnassus, Nimrod, Sou'wester, Christian Century, Christianity and Literature, New York Quarterly, Tendril, Poetry Australia, and McCall's, among many others.  A 1989 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship winner, she is Professor of English. Her most recent collection: The Crone at the Casino, Lamar University Press, 2013.

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz. His work has appeared in the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Line Drives, and In a Gilded Frame . He is the author of a chapbook, Three Visitors and a novel, Knight Prisoner (both available on Amazon). A full length collection, Lent 1999 is due from Leaf Garden Press. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian Joan Juster.

Roy Moller is a poet and songwriter who lives by the sea in Dunbar, East Lothian. By day he's a subtitler in Glasgow and uses the train as his writing desk . His work has recently appeared in Andotherpoems, Ink, Sweat & Tears and Dactyl and his first collection, Imports, was published by Appletree Writers' Press in late 2014.

Dr. Fait Muedini is a faculty member in the Department of International Studies at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, in the United States. He is also a Fellow at the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice at the Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University. 

Nikhil Nath has been writing poetry for eighteen years. He has been published in various magazine in India, the USA and the UK. He lives and works from Kolkata, India. "Write rubbish, but write", said Virginia Woolf. This is Nikhil's maxim for writing.

Keith Nunes lives in rural Bay of Plenty (New Zealand) with a retinue of crackpots. His obtuse and melodramatic poems have been published widely Down Under. He’s a former newspaper sub-editor but has been granted divine forgiveness.

Keli Osborn is a writer, teacher and mediator. Her poetry has appeared in Denali, New Verse News and multiple chapbooks, and is forthcoming in Verseweavers. After a peripatetic childhood that included residency in France, Belgium and Germany, Keli lives in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press(2013).  For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website

Adrian Perks graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Keele University in 2014.  He has been published in various magazines, including Bare Fiction and Monomyth.

Nick Pritchard is 19 years old and studies English in his hometown of Seattle, Washington. He has been reading and working to emulate the writers that he loves since he was a child inspired by Stephen King.

Katie Simpson is a poet and short story writer. She’s been published in, Lummox PressThe Wilderness House Literary ReviewFurious Gazelle, and others. She loves to travel, eat peanut butter and jelly, and watching the otters at the zoo. Find her online at 

Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections: Trying To Help The
Elephant Man Dance
from The Backwaters Press, 2007 and Just Beautiful from
New York Quarterly Books, 2010. He has published poems in Poetry, The Georgia Review,
Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Schooner, PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine

(U.K.), and has poems forthcoming in Plume Poetry Journal and Ploughshares.
He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, translator, and a faculty member at Brown University’s Center for Language Studies. He is published in several anthologies, academic journals, books, magazines and reviews including: Agni, Callaloo, Caribbean writers, Ploughshares, SX Salon, Haiti Noir, Human Architecture: A Sociology Journal, Poets for Haiti, The Best of Beacon Press, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Recently featured in:PBS NewsHour, NPR's «Here and Now» and «The Story». Sylvain received an ED.M from Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and earned his MFA from Boston University Creative Writing Department where he was a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow.

Harriot West writes poetry as an antidote to academic writing. Her work has been published in various journals including Modern Haiku, Ekphrasis and Contemporary Haibun. Her collection of haibun and haiku, Into the Light has recently been published by Mountains and Rivers Press.