Tag Archives: Narrative poetry

Lost Souls

By Mark Saba

Light turns on and off.
Fine needles fall from the pines,
intersections of tree shadow
and broken limbs lying ashen
in the brown ruin of past lives.

The young evergreens stand dwarfed
in defiance, their roots nourished
by those who’ve come before.
There is too much music
I haven’t heard.

It’s out there in the green
of dying summer, lyrics and notes
fusing in a future wonder
of fall color. But much of it
is past, and I am a lonely atom

in a universe of beautiful souls
who have given themselves
to the art of reordering the fallen leaves
so that we see the color of past years,
peeking through summer, still warm

under a phantom snow.


Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for 40 years. His book publications include four works of fiction and three of poetry, most recently Two Novellas: A Luke of All Ages / Fire and Ice (fiction), Calling the Names (poetry) and Ghost Tracks (stories about Pittsburgh, where he grew up). His work has appeared widely in literary magazines around the U.S. and abroad. He is also a painter and works as a medical illustrator at Yale University. Please see marksabawriter.com.

Poet Laureate

By William Doreski

In Walpole, certain streets climb
the ridge to lord it over
the square white village below.
I can see your condo from here,
tucked in a cluster of roofs.

Across the river a freight train
slinks along the shaky rails.
Further, the scalloped horizon
of the Green Mountains staggers
from south to north, scoring
its persistence into the sky.

Your married lover’s long dead,
and the space he occupied fills
with a shivery yellow mist,
so you’re surely writing something
crisp enough to float a load
of sentiment that otherwise
would sink the bravest metaphor.

Maybe when I walk back down
the ridge I’ll phone and invite you
to slurp coffee at the café 
and chat about the aesthetic
we’ve wasted our best years parsing.

Yes, I know you walk with a cane
and may not want to expose
your bulk to caprice of summer—
insects, thunder, and heat stroke.
Although we’ve never been friends,
today I think we should try.

But maybe you’re not even there
anymore, having slipped away
with a scrawled page smoldering
in your wake, every word as tough
as a promise made in vain.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

Agriculture Has Come to This

By William Doreski

Watering my zinnia sprouts
in judgmental glare, I sweat
with fear of future tornados, 
politics, tick disease, drought.

Scholars of the dark warn us
that indigo horizons have warped
and shed disgruntled species.
Scholars of noon warn that cold

seeps from the marrow to blame us
for evolving with such arrogance,
two-legged in a cringing world.
Who thought that elbowing us

with pear-shaped thinking could solve
the crumble of soil that retorts
with confidence and dismissal?
Watering sprouts hardly responds

to the ghost-hands pawing through
my garden every night, feeling
the feeblest pulse and stroking
every leaf into glad submission.

I shouldn’t bother imposing
myself on floral expressions.
I should allow occasional rain 
to have its way with gendered

flower parts bared for a purpose
other than bees and butterflies.
Childhood on the farm misled me
in factors of summer spectrums.

In the next life I’ll rain myself
instead of blaming the cloudy light
that exposes every open pore
to every homeless demon.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

Urn Burial

By William Doreski

Two clay urns placed in a field
a hundred years ago collect
ashes blowing around the world.
Male and female from a time
when sex and gender were one.
They’re almost full. This summer

I’ll replace the two with several,
allowing the ether to sift
non-binary and others into
urns of their own. Our ancestors
would understand why secrets
have unfolded, exposing tattoos

we used to hide under our clothes.
Not that I’ve illustrated
my personal skin, but others
have adorned themselves so freely
I can’t help sharing their taste.
When I bury the urns, I’ll ask

priest, minister, rabbi, imam 
and pujari to officiate.
I’ll have the field consecrated
in at least two hundred languages.
Assembling so many liturgies
will fill the last, best years of my life.

I’ve already bought half a dozen
new urns, and found a new pasture
on an eastern slope to place them.
I hope this atones for my plain
agnostic life among strangers,
my awkward smiles and silence.

Indifferent to my diffidence,
the ash in the urns has toughened
into powerful black concrete,
competing immortalities 
gathered into a single substance
tough enough to speak for itself.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

About and Around

By Keith Kennedy

Potency is diminished
By presence of partners
A dead pirate’s date
Naked from the waist and up
A beleaguered solution
That triggers convulsion
Looking about and around inspiration
A call from the battlements
And wars seem forgotten
Though axes and heads still
Meet with a crunch


Keith Kennedy is a Pushcart and Rhysling nominated poet working out of Vancouver. Find him on Twitter.

Cherry

By A’ Ja Lyons

Like this? He asked as he twirled his tongue
licking my sugary bits and swallowing 
every drop of chocolate syrup 
My cherry burst and juices flowing

I met him on a Saturday and
served him my sundae
Whipped my cream on a field of flowers
Fun on the run as the sun shone down my bare back
As I pulled back, let loose, and let go
My arrow spinning in new directions

I led, he followed,
He followed, I led,

At times we stood still
On a hill
Under a bridge
Over the river
Through the woods
To his house
To my house

No baskets needed at our picnics
Treats lay in feet, faces, and laps

Snack, bites, or a whole meal
Whether but a nibble
Or a gourmand’s fill
We are kind diners
Pleasant patrons
Gracious hosts
Eager to please
Happy to share
Napkins and utensils optional


A’ Ja Lyons has been published in several print and online publications, including Sinister Wisdom, Decolonial Passage, Response,and Lucky Jefferson. 

Letter out of Belfast, 1972

By RR Ewart

Brother, I dreamt of the strangest thing.
I went to the wall atop O’Connell Hill.
I watched you hit a man and my fists felt the sting.
The mob surrounded you with screams so shrill.

I ran down the hill as fast as I could,
To pull you out of the bloodshed.
In the middle of slaughter, you stood.
The bodies on the ground were already dead.

You looked up at the sky,
Covered in a bloody shroud.
Your arms were stretched high,
I thought you were praying out loud.

The pictures in the paper look like my dream in gray tones,
I fear, brother, that this will only end when we all turn to stone. 


RR Ewart (she/her) is a writer and artist from Reno, Nevada. She works as a high school English teacher, is an accomplished book-hoarder, and a recovering procrastinator. She is completing her first novel and chapbook publication. Follow her to read more of her work on Instagram.

Buggy

By Dominic Loise

Searching throughout
her insect kingdom options
The Blue Fairy chooses 
The Cricket over The Termite
for wooden boys can not 
listen in good conscious 
based on their fears of being 
eaten inside out


Dominic Loise is open about and advocates for mental health awareness as seen with his essay writing for F(r)iction. His work has appeared in Alchemic Gold Poetry Society, Alt.Ctrl.Jpg, Analogies & Allegories, Calm Down, Clementine Zine, Collective Realms, Emotional Alchemy, Frances, Goat’s Milk, Innsaei Journal, Mulberry Literary, October Hill, Ouch!, Push up Daisies!, Raven Review, Re.Collective, Refresh and Silent Auctions. Dominic was a finalist in Short Editions’ “America: Color it in” contest.

Codicil

By Dylan Willoughby

for Jamie

Break me in two:  
Bury one half of me,
And plant the other.

This is a race past the finish.
Ghosts percolate.
It’s not that I have left you.

I linger awhile on the splendor of rust 
Slowly dying wrought iron,
Its death so much slower than mine.

You once imagined things 
And printed them in 3D.
Consider me an imagined thing.

Among the diffuse abandonments,
Find me.  Whisper your joke about
Muffins in the oven.  Abide.

We spend our lives thinking of the opposite of here.  
But here is everything, here will never leave.


Dylan Willoughby is a permanently disabled poet and composer, born in London, raised in Canada, the US, Chile, London, and elsewhere, and currently living in Los Angeles.  Dylan’s poetry has appeared in Stand, Agenda, Shenandoah, Salmagundi, Denver Quarterly, Green Mountains Review and other journals, and Chester Creek Press has published three limited-edition chapbooks.  He received an MFA from Cornell, and fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell.  He record music as “Lost in Stars,” and have been featured by The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, Echoes (NPR), KCRW (NPR), Nylon, XLR8R, Insomniac, Impose Magazine and elsewhere.

Metamorphosis

By Allana Stuart

i.

exuvia breaks at 
the edge of 40
shell splits to reveal
a tender unfurling
iridescent wings
once dry in the sun
shimmer with shifting colours
and in flight
everything old
becomes
new again 

ii.

my words used to fly like bees
floating on a summer wind
until they holed up and hid  
just like the rogue colony that
built a hive in our porch roof
one July

in the heat the walls dripped with  
sweet syrup
but my mouth stayed 
sealed shut
sticky with silence
like I had honey
smeared across my lips

after I licked them clean
my thoughts took flight again
like the bees 
after the keeper came

but it was me that reached in  
pulled them free 
hands dripping words
like fists full of
honeycomb

iii.

writhing and sinuous
she sheds 
inhibition like a skin
the past slips free
as silk 
slides to the floor 
puddles at her feet

reborn 
she rises up from the
basket of her bed
sways under her own spell 
moves to her own music
marks this moment as

an arrival
an arousal
an awakening.


Allana Stuart was once an award-winning CBC Radio journalist, and is now a wrangler of children and a writer of poetry and fiction. She is also the producer of the podcast Rx Advocacy. A child of the boreal forest, Allana was born and raised in northwestern Ontario, spent several years in Northern BC, and currently calls Ottawa home. Lately, she spends most of her free time roller-skating in her basement. She can be found on Instagram and (sporadically) on Twitter.