Tag Archives: Prose 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.

Tabula Rasa

By Mark Saba

Three of my books lie unopened.
My wife lies absently on the couch
gone to a digital novel world.

A fire heaves in its designated hearth.
I am in and out of it,
in and out of my thoughts

as my body grows older.
Lacking the courage to write them down
I flounder in semi-sleep

remembering the title of a news article
proclaiming the latest discovery: that
in our universe, present and future occur

simultaneously. I think about
the poems I’ve written, love letters,
fiction. It all comes back to me

yet future plans delete them
from my list of accomplishments.
There is too much death on the horizon,

a triumphant tabula rasa that will have
the final say, that I will remember
even when nothing is written.


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.

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.

We Heal

By Keith Kennedy

A glitchtrip slyways
If
Orange ‘Utah Rocks’ sweatshirts
Really exist

One tree, two tree, three tree
Trunk

Who’s entwife did he fuck to
Be emasculated so (his phallus
His entire body)

And traffic, the archenemy
Builds to a magnanimous
Crescendo – while I pass between
Like particles of sand through the wind

And people – yellow vested,
Guarding yellowed investments
Try to situate themselves 
In the hierarchy

To converse – without ulterior motives – 
Is a must – but we fail – the whys
March in and my face reveals my
Disdain

I heal upways – I duckgroove – I
Bring fields to bloom with sunjoy

And I heal – to break – to heal –
One a developing skill – the other –
Man’s innate talent – we break
We break, we break


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

Debrief Encounter

By Melanie Chartoff

To my invitation to dance he said, with you? 
Only alone in a small room.  My smile, unnerved, amused, 
he took as alluring answer—a commitment writ in thin air. 
Cat followed mouth home from the party.  
But while smile answered my door, and let him in, 
mouth braked his roaring body down to the speed of small talk.  
Mouth, not that moment a part of me, babbled 
of our workdays in parallel, never to touch, 
the surprise of our seamless collaboration 
which must be preserved, of how talented in tandem 
we were, more than the sum of our parts, 
but now some of our parts grew too aware 
of one another, our messages mixed, his slow hand stilled 
my chin up, rerouted my mouth to his, repurposed its lips 
to less precise functions now unable to shape smiles or words, 
only improvise jazz riffs of escalating kisses.  
My eyes strained open until the thrill of the chase gave way 
to the tremble of surrender.  Dropping through the looking glass 
our eyes glazed to an inner view.  We dove into 
unfathomables, swam in synchronized perfection across 
many laps, moaned horizontal promises—how can it be, 
no one has ever, I couldn’t, never before, 
autonomic choreography tangoed us in dips and spins,
slow then fast, until deep sleep tangled us seamless.  
I wake humbled at how well our gears mesh, not just 
the obvious, but his hand entwined in mine, 
my other knuckle in his nostril, my cheek in his eye socket, 
his nose in my neck.  We awake to know there’s 
so much more and I’m aglow, he’s less so.  
My eyes rake his face to clarify him from a slight remove, 
and he removes, sad.  Why? I roll away to look eye to eye, 
search and say, I have no other him, and you? 
and after many breaths, averts, and thwarted nuzzles 
he says he left her months ago, but her shadow remains, 
yes, even in my bed.  Reduced to a replicant, far too soon 
to feel this betrayed, my middle ruptures 
then glaciers my sizzling hot parts to lifeless briquets.  
My esophagus squeezes like a snake cold-blooding 
some warm-blooded rodent, swallowing him whole 
down my gullet.  Yes yes yes all night but by daylight 
no no no to what each other thinks this is.  
I, so new to the uncharted, so empty of others, 
believing too soon in an us, will seduce that frown from his brow. 
Heart hardened, I’m going to hurt him with much more of me, 
while trying to convince myself I’m detached, 
to make him want me for more than just 
a burial ground for a dead love’s body.


Melanie Chartoff is a lifelong stage and screen actor residing in Los Angeles. She is a first-time author of “Odd Woman Out: Exposure in Essays and Stories,” rated 5 stars on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Lost and Found

By Sharon Whitehill

An adolescent lost to her hormones,     
compelled like the durian tree 
to inflict puncture wounds,
the thorns on its rind seem no kin
to the feathery flower that came first,
or the buttery richness 
of ripe fruit to come.

A beloved husband adrift, 
still breathing yet all but extinguished,
his body the husk, browned and dry,
left behind when the harvest
is ground into meal.
As the kernel remembers the corn,
so his imprint on those who remain.

A woman as bodily ravaged
as the remains of a tree, 
rotted away to a stump
but kept alive by its kind. 
Forever ungreen, yet most deeply herself,
her essence polished to shining.


Sharon Whitehill is a retired English professor from West Michigan now living in Port Charlotte, Florida. In addition to poems published in various literary magazines, her publications include two biographies, two memoirs, two poetry chapbooks, and a full collection of poems.

ripples

By Raymond Chen

rain droplets
fall on puddles
forming ripples
that eventually
dissipate.

in puddles
droplets
no matter the magnitude
as they reach the surface
impact,
lose identity,
and
dissipate.

puddles

large but small
deep but shallow
to a droplet –
it’s the world
to a child –
it’s a puddle
let’s be the child
do not be the droplet


Raymond Chen is a beginning poet in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is delighted to have found a home for his poem “ripples” in Goats Milk Magazine. Raymond understands the importance of expressing his feelings and does so by creating poems, drawings, and oil paintings – and also by playing the piano. In addition, Raymond takes great interest in critical thinking and is involved in the study of the interrelationship of fields such as philosophy and psychology. He has an interest in commentating and has taken the role of commentator in multiple community-organized tournaments for games of interest to him. Overall, Raymond is attempting to utilize his passions as tools to better himself and the communities around him.

Sorry

By  Anastasia Hrechana

Do you apologize religiously too? Raise a hand.
I’m not catholic, but guilt part I understand.
My mind autocorrects every “You hurt me”, “Please, don’t”
To “Sorry”, “My bad” and “I won’t”.
Belittling myself so much is my personal act of self-violence,
Tell me, what should I say instead? How do I fill up this heavy silence?
Honesty on one shoulder and abandonment issues on the other,
Together they make the hardest game of “Would you rather”.
Reading between the lines won’t ease my worries,
“Please, don’t leave me” sounds a lot like thousand “Sorrys”.
I wonder, what do you expect from me?
Answer my questions honestly.
Shut up? Speak up? Be more? Be less?
What am I saying, does it make any sense?
Did I interrupt you? Do I take up too much space?
If it’s too awkward, don’t worry, I’ll disappear without a trace.
I’m so sorry for the way I think, speak and behave,
To be forgiven for sins of being myself is all I crave.
Should I shrink myself? Should I grow bigger than trees?
Am I annoying you with all these apologies?
Is this guilt overflowing me or am I overloving it?
The good old thrill of being wrong feels like the right fit,
And just like that, my own kind of chant again,
Saying “Sorry” one more time instead of “Amen”. 


Anastasia Hrechana is a law student, an avid reader and a poetry amateur from Ukraine. She believes that writing, as a form of art therapy, is very helpful tool to process emotions and feelings. 

She kept her life in a box

By RR Ewart

She kept her life in a box always close by.
Her memories and useful things sleeping together 
Under a cardboard lid.
When she was young, the box lived under her bed
Away from the prying eyes of parents and siblings.
Back then it was filled with colorful marbles,
Her favorite wooden pony with painted gold hair,
And the tooth she had lost on the playground at school
That the tooth fairy could not have.

As she got older, the things in the box changed.
A photo of her with her friends,
A dried up flower from the boy who sat behind her in class,
The lipstick she snuck from her mother’s bathroom drawer.

There was a time when she forgot about the box.
Still sitting under her bed waiting for her to come back.
Her mother asked her to clean out her old things and take what
She wanted to keep.
That was when she found the box the top covered with dust
And she remembered the things she had forgotten. 
She did not show it to anyone, just added it to the pile
Of stuff in the back of her car, and drove away with it tucked
Safely on the seat. 

Now the box is old with wrinkles around the corners
And frayed edges.
It lives prominently on a shelf in her sitting room.
It is full of photos of her children, husband and grandchildren.
It contains letters from cherished friends and seashells from past vacations.
She keeps a deck of cards and a small roll of betting money
On top of a Fleetwood Mac CD that she sings along with on Sunday mornings.

Her life is in that box.
Always close by.
Her memories and useful things sleeping together 
Under a cardboard lid.


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.

This is what I remember most

By RR Ewart

Granite counter

-White, gray, and yellow

Covered with a dusting of flour,

A bag of brown sugar,

Rectangular butter sitting under a glass lid,

The cookie jar, newly refilled.

The sweet scent of sugar coming from the oven.

This is what I remember most.

The photo of me

-2 or 3 years old,

Stuck under a magnet on the side of the microwave.

The glass cupboards full of the good glasses-

Used on holidays.

Watching a distant lightning storm 

from the window above the sink.

This is what I remember most.

The lake water, shining in the sun.

Me perched on a green vinyl chair

Sharing spoonfuls of coffee flavored ice cream

-Our little secret. 

This is what I remember most.


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.