Gray Grave

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Contributor: Melvia Faquitt

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I couldn't set the flowers on the stone.
something so delicate
has no place
with something so hard

That was the reason you left
That was the reason you threw me out
before I could wilt
on the cold skin
of your gray grave

Now I bloom
and you do too
in your way.

The flowers you push up
will have to be enough

I'm done leaving delicate things to die
on your gray grave.


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Professor Faquitt has a passion for the theoretical side of the physics of black holes. Her favorite flowers are petunias, daisies and dandelions.

Putting Me Together

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Contributor: Linda Imbler

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People I’ve known,
their faces remembered
only in deepest dreams,
a highway of human automobiles
speeding through my mind

Emotional yo-yos of memories
bounce like balls on a court.
Bringing smiles or tears,
but all have taught me something

The jigsaw puzzle of my life,
pieces falling into place,
and as the last part snaps in,
I will see the complete me,
ready to recall each moment
as something which helped build me.


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Linda Imbler is an avid reader, classical guitar player, and a practitioner of both Yoga and Tai Chi. In, addition, she helps her husband, a Luthier, build acoustic guitars. Linda enjoys her 200-gallon saltwater reef tank. She believes that poetry truly adds to the beauty of the world.

Waiting

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Contributor: Bruce Mundhenke

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No longer greatly pleased by things
That I can touch,
Or I can hold,
I strive to see the unseen
In those things
That I am shown.
I long for something greater
Than past idols I have known.
I sense an end,
Or change is waiting,
Not far down the road.
I will watch,
And wait,
And hope,
To see what will unfold.


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Bruce writes poetry and short fiction. He lives in a small town in Illinois with his wife and their dog and cat.

The Sexton’s Car as Body Wagon

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Contributor: Todd Mercer

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The removal aspect isn’t in his job description,
but a neighbor knocks at 3 a.m. and says
her mother passed over. Can the Sexton
lift the body and drive her to the funeral home?
The mother had asked in advance. She’d rather
be handled first by someone she knows well,
instead of mortuary assistants. A preference.
He agrees. They’re nice people, a long time
acquainted. At his age though the lift
is between difficult and a catastrophe.
But he manages. He supposes a person
is still hanging in there, if at least a couple people
think of them as capable and young. Perspective.
The deceased is delivered across town,
to the professionals. The Sexton’s prepared
to hoist her from his back seat, but two
towers of men step in. The funeral director
hands him a coffee. They take a minute
to talk, touch on highlights of local news.
If you’re up at 3 or 4, engaged in heavy lifting
when someone takes leave, further sleep
makes little sense. The Sexton stays
wide awake. He helps with granting wishes,
what he can, and then he has his day.


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Todd Mercer was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Fiction in 2019 and the Best of the Net in Poetry in 2018. Recent work appears in The Lake, Dunes Review and The Museum of Americana.

The Pale Sky

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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The pale sky shown against
The purple linings of clouds
New formations emanating from the
Atmosphere of indeterminacy

Striated visions of light
Reflecting off pools of stagnant water
Held fast as if bent by a quartz crystal
Polished by years of buffeting wind

Ozone filtered air after a lightning storm
Relieving the stench of humidity
Festering through a nightmare
Of unspoken platitudes of speech

Golden arrows recovered from a quiver
Soaked by the rainstorms of earlier times
Narrow boundaries of earthen promontories
Holding the future in a Pyrex dish

Filling the motions of another dimension
Answering questions no longer defined

Harbingers of starlight pointing through shadows
Final evasion of an earlier rhyme
Lasting forever in an atomic incubator
Opening doorways of an earlier kind

Lightyears of travel to another dimension
Lingering entries in the journal of time
Forecast impression resolving the query
Hologram beings the last of mankind


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Bruce Levine, a 2019 Pushcart Prize Poetry Nominee, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. His literary catalogue includes four novels, short stories, humorous sketches, flash fiction, poetry, essays, articles and a screenplay. Nearly one-hundred-fifty of his works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals including Ariel Chart, Friday Flash Fiction, Literally Stories; over thirty print books including Poetry Quarterly, Haiku Journal, Dual Coast Magazine, and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His six eBooks are available from Amazon.com. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com.

What Love?

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Contributor: Pranab Ghosh

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The gasp. The throb.
The ‘sad satiety’,
The pulsating age.
The end and
The beginning.

The river that had
Dried up. The mind
That had lost its way,
The body that was hungry.
The desire that ran amok.

The serpentine entrance
And the exit. Lust coiling around
The spine like a snake that
Has lost its venom and yet
Longed to bite, afraid of death.

The spirit devoured, the
Feelings betrayed, love
Held for a ransom, for a
Necessity unfulfilled,
Chained to an existence
That didn’t mean anything
To the lovers, only time
Manipulated for a cause
That was neither selfless
Nor humane, just bondage
Strengthened by the flesh
That craves for fulfillment
Of earthly pangs, degenerating
Into a soulless pleasure.

Love lies in chains;
Soul trapped and
Mind fluttering for
An escape route.

Sighs,
Throbs,
Gasps
Ejaculation
Exhaustion
Seed
Creation
Womb

And
Absolute
Vacuum!

An incomplete nothingness
A circle vicious, craving
For completion.


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Pranab Ghosh is a journalist and poet. His poems have been published in several international magazines. His second book of poems Soul Searching and other Poems was published by a Toronto-based publishing house.

Four Two-Four One Four

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Contributor: Ryan Nadolny

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Party is done
Everyone has gone

It’s gonna be OK, it’s gonna be alright

Panic resides
Inside a little's mind

Go to sleep baby, I’ll kiss you goodnight

Tears and tantrums
Fears abandon

Don’t worry darlin’, I can make this right

Anxious separation
Nocturnal agitation

We’re through the woods, it’s getting bright

Mentally tripped
Emotionally unequipped

You’ve been so brave, we can see the light

Dreams catch her
Life unsure

It’s OK little one, you’ve shown great might

Let us pray
Better everyday

It’s OK to cry, I know your plight

Normalcy delayed
Confidence swayed

It’s OK to feel down, let me hold you tight

Fight like hell
Bust the shell

Smile gorgeous, there’s no more fright

Gaining strength
Despite the length

You’ve done great child, together we fight!

Forever dealing
A life worth healing


- - -
Husband to a brave and beautiful woman.
Father to 4 brilliant girls.
Writer, poet, home chef, gun enthusiast, and friend.

Summer

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Contributor: Ingrid Bruck

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sunlight
chisels dull edges
off night

pink haze
uncaps morning
river and hills

green spills
flowers
on the bank

in the current
trees and clouds
melt

end of day~
emerald corn fields
dipped in gold

day’s
sharp edges
filed away

shadow-tail
wraps the tree
fog

sleeping
under a wet blanket
the full moon


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Ingrid Bruck is a retired library director who writes poems and grows wildflowers. Her first chapbook, Finding Stella Maris, was published this year.

Misery

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Contributor: Dave Ludford

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Regrets, tangled like seaweed
Around the anchor of his saddened heart
Despair deeper than fathomless oceans
For the golden blue-eyed child
He would never know or love, his son.
Despair that echoes around the valley for aeons
Blasting like canonfire against the silence
Then nothing: time shatters, splinters
Shards of emptiness shot to the heavens
Guilt like a lead weight pressing hard
Upon shoulders flexed and tensed
To burden everlasting misery.


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Dave Ludford is a short story writer and poet from Nuneaton, England. His works have appeared at a variety of locations in the US, UK & India. He is currently working on his first play.

A Cold Winter Night

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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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A cold winter night
Bare trees against
A starless sky
A cold chill
Permeates the air
A residual of rain
Deer scamper
At a human approach
Streetlights reflect
On glossy pavement
A quiet time
A cold winter night


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Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. His literary catalogue includes four novels, short stories, humorous sketches, flash fiction, poetry, essays, articles and a screenplay His nearly one-hundred-fifty works are published in magazines, over twenty-five on-line journals, thirty books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy.

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