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Contributor: Maggie Elise

- -
the ancient Greeks believed the soul was a ship floating but secure against the winds of life
I think my soul is a monster truck

belching smoke and black tar
furious in its path
steadfast against the sand and dirt
and grime
that is hurled against it

my soul is rusty
if it were to be touched it would crumble
leaving not but a red smear on the fingertips
it flakes from the wind
its path can be seen by the trail of itself it has left behind
once grotesque
in its brilliance
now piteous in
its decay

it has cannibalized itself for sustainability
the most important bits becoming less them-

my soul is cobbled together
sputtering for-
ward draining, out-
beat back, stumbling

my soul is the engine

- - -

David in the 3rd Grade

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Contributor: Connie Bae

- -
Don't let that boy in 3rd grade
suck on your pen
when the ink doesn't come out.
It does,
in his mouth

That kid is really strange.
Don’t give him pencil lead.
He won’t use it.
He will eat it.

He has a goofy smile
and is actually really nice.
So for his safety,
don’t give him stationary.

- - -
Connie Bae enjoys making people laugh even if it means making a fool of herself. The only books that have made her cry are all about animals. She believes she loves oranges because she was born in Orange, California.


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Contributor: J.K.Durick

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We say so little
so often now
the room around us
is almost silent
as if
we are almost out
of words to say
as if
the script
we were playing
is down to its last
few pages
so we read
our parts
our lines slowly
in fragments
like this
as if
to keep things going
a little longer.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, 1947, Stanzaic Stylings, Synchronized Chaos, and Algebra of Owls.

Sundown at the Abbey

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
After a day in the fields
plowing and sowing,
the old monks see
sundown is near so
they put away tools,
clean up for supper.

It's soup and bread
torn from a loaf,
chunks of good cheese,
a rainbow of bright
fruit from the orchard,
coffee as black as tar.

There are 20 monks left,
slow and ailing, a drop
from a hundred or so
a few decades ago.
The harvest is small,
their lives still simple.

They work in the fields
and pray in the chapel.
But birds in the air
sometimes hear prayer
rise from the fields
and soar past them.

- - -
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

My Open Arms

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Contributor: Stacy J Maddox

- -
Now that I have finally
found you
After searching for so
many years
I can begin my journey to
loving you
Venture into a lifetime
of discovery

I will devote this heart with
open arms
Come lay your head upon
my breast
Listen to how it beats
for you
Let me touch your soul
at last.

- - -
Stacy Maddox lives, dreams, tends her gardens and writes in the fast-paced city of Lawrence, KS, USA. Indulging her time in the outdoors, connecting with nature, walking the Kansas River trails and discovering new photo opportunities, is one of her greatest pleasures in life. Stacy has been published in over 40 books, print and online magazines and websites.

Dutiful Daughter, Dutiful Wife

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Contributor: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders

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In taking first shadowed steps as wife,
wide-eyed and wispy in winter white,
eyes fall below an arch of wicks flaming orange.
Daughter shall bring honor to her family.
Duties fulfilled without question,
for what is true love to a subservient
bride but an impractical wall built
by a modern world, she only sees
from afar, a needless barrier from
what is truth and what shall be?
Too much grief kept alive and fanned
out by instinct to survive, only tears
rain on their hardened land.
Without a dowry, without a chance
for more in life than the plight of mothers
who came before her, daughter resigns
to hide for two cycles of the moon,
mysterious rituals performed, she’s told,
will beautify her form and purify within.
Drained by coming days, she slants
but shall not break. She, his chosen one,
knows her worst fear. She may still be rejected,
returned, but never reprieved. She hopes
to be desired by his dark eyes and prays
she will be suitable to his stringent parents
who unbury old traditions with charred hands.
The fate of a daughter’s impoverished family
depends on her union, her obligatory vows.
For what is love but a weighty, hand-me-down
coat worn to burden a woman? She has shed
her layers, her tender dreams of youth, beneath
orange candlelit glow of arranged marriage. All
who belong to her new world more than she,
sing solemn wishes to husband and wife into
the chill of a moonless night.

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Rhonda Johnson-Saunders is a lifetime lover of reading and writing poetry. She enjoys writing all types of poetry, especially free verse and haiku and has been published in The Heron's Nest. When not writing, Rhonda enjoys music, genealogy, travel and best of all, being a mom to her two young sons.


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Contributor: Erin Schwarz

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The ground pressing into her back
was frozen, browned grass husks
pricking her exposed wrists. Cold air
blanketed her body, clinging like the leaves
enmeshed in her hair.
The dark sky was broken
by the blinding stars.
She stood, her feet barely on the ground,
her white dress stained from the earth.
She desperately reached for the stars,
tracing the patterns
with her slender white finger.
She cried for the constellations
wept for the moon.
The sun overtook the sky,
but the night was forever
with her.

- - -
Erin is a senior in high school and loves to write.


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Contributor: Nikhil Nath

- -
In oranges, you
won't find small

islands of sun burnt
pen drives mesmerized

by the Giant Panda
in a enter key

or shift reason
to the top floor

of a sub zero
refrigerator full

of unwanted art
where piano and

violins sit with
fake Picasso or

print Chagall,
as Rome rests

on a mouse
with laptop screen

savers running to
Alaska, post global warming

- - -
Nikhil has been writing poetry for nineteen years. He has been published in various magazine in India, the USA and the UK. Nikhil Nath is his pen name. He lives and works from Kolkata, India. “Write rubbish, but write", said Virginia Woolf. This is Nikhil's maxim for writing. Allegro, Aji, Ink Sweat and Tears, Laughing Dog (Poem of the Month), Ehanom, Ithica Lit, Germ Magazine, Leaves of Ink, Linden Avenue and Pif Magazine have recently accepted his work.

Cat the Candle

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Contributor: Sharocks

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She is only lit when I walk past,
close enough for her to swat
like the flame divots with the air my body
cuts through with my leaving, the room
mutes, don't come around
when she gets upset, blood
red and orange flickers across your skin,
when I am in her presence, a fire lights in her eyes,
the room grows heavy with a burning light.

- - -

On Learning a New Word Late in Life

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Harold, I'm sorry to call you at three in the morning
but you're older than I am and you may have less time
to relish a word you may not have heard of.
It's "rejectamenta," and I stumbled upon it
early this morning when I couldn't sleep.
I wish I had found rejectamenta years ago.
It means exactly what you might think:
"matter rejected as useless or worthless."

Imagine how useful that word would have been
in our younger days as a weapon of choice.
I would have shouted it often when leaving a job
or leaving a nice woman who thought we should marry.
I would have extended my arm like Adolph and shouted
"Rejectamenta!" with the roar of "Sieg Heil!"

For the remainder of my life I will shout it when nettled.
I will shout it at the waiter in that Polish restaurant
the next time he plops pickled pigs feet
in front of me obviously short on gel.
I loathe those feet but the gel is marvelous.

We may be aging, Harold, but we have a word now
we can whip out of our quivers whenever we're miffed.
Perhaps the embalmer will tattoo it on my forehead
if my wife isn't looking, assuming she survives.
Carry on, Harold. The finish line is just ahead.

- - -
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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