Tag Archives: Speculative poetry

The Underburbs

By Sharon Whitehill

Networks of tunnels and rooms 
carved out of natural caves
or straight into the rock,
multileveled and labyrinthine.
Drilled for subways and sewers,
or dug out as places of refuge.

Pillared halls, arched chambers 
for granaries, wineries, theaters, 
temples, and grottoes.
A former salt mine  
now a commodious complex 
of frescoes, carvings, and statues. 
An underground village in France
with bakeries and chapels.
How many square miles
in the fallout shelter under Beijing?
With hospitals, schoolrooms,
cinemas, arsenals, skating rink.

Cities invisible under our feet,
in spite of our natural hunger
for greenery, ocean, and sky. 
Hewn out of nature itself, 
parallel to the tunnels and rooms 
of the psyche. 
Caves hung with shadows. 
Mine shafts of the mind
that have swallowed the light. 


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.

Nature unchained

By Emma Geller

I

the cat wanders by—
finds the end of her nine lives, 
in sticky sidewalks long empty.

II

the coyote howls
in the pale desert sand,
the wise man does too.

III

the moon wails to the sea,
a pearled old longing,
in their hug, they form the tide. 

IV

she walks alone, away—
splitting the highway,
the deer lay.

V

cherry blossoms rain
on her grave, springtime’s 
veil turning—into garlands. 


Emma Geller  is a young poet from Boston, MA. She is endlessly inspired by the natural world and is thrilled that her haiku collection has found a new home online.

Sunk

By Cat Dixon

It was deemed necessary 
to evacuate the submarine—
oxygen levels low and water
flowed through the vents.

Legends of ghost ships with ghost mates
circulated—men who hunkered in the head, 
munching tangerines as they flipped through
ream after ream of blank saturated
pages as if reading magazines. 

Our motley crew caught without a ship,
from a distance, looked like
little dots keen for water—fish
fighting the net, the hook, the land. 

What we sought in the waves had
rusted and sunk. What we found 
inside of each was rot. I wished 
for a massive yacht—sails that touch 
the sky—eighty meters long with 
an inflated lifeboat like a tumor at its side.


Cat Dixon (she/her) is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet’s Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in LandLocked, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Abyss & Apex. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.

Home Resurrection

By Allison DeDecker

I am a house with bees in the walls.
Beneath these sun-bleached boards, 
inside the jagged, gaping holes 
hums life.

Sweetness drips,
spills out of splintering wood.
The once silent halls 
buzz with a chorus of thousands.

I was naked bones unburied
abandoned to decay.
I’ve become a house of royalty.
A waxen kingdom gilt in honey.


Allison DeDecker is currently based in Yuma, AZ. She draws inspiration from day to day life, current events, and the natural world. Her work has been published in the Colorado Crossing Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Pile Press. She can be found on Instagram.

The Visit

By Claire Marsden

The unhurried weight of your embrace, 

familiar, 

at first touch. 

Your tongue, gentled 

with sunshine, 

circles upon circles. 

And our curiosity 

swept clean. 

Cleared. 

Like the skies above. 

Holy, empty, and filled 

with knowing. 

An unholy homecoming? 

Perhaps. 

Yet, even the angels smile.


Claire Marsden enjoys writing poetry, CNF and flash fiction, and is thrilled many of her pieces have found wonderful homes, both in print and online. When she isn’t tramping through the West Yorkshire woods, she can usually be found squirrelled away writing or on Twitter.

Cadmus gazes at Thebes in ruins

By Penel Alden

Horror held me in place 
Held my arms at my ribs 
Wide thirsty nostrils clutching for the air 
Throat and soul gaping and parched 
As the ash rises and falls like dark feathers 

My daughter, in the palace of her son, 
The shadows on her face falling terror, all wrong 
Her eyes shaded glass gazing towards heaven

Already the great city had begun to burn 
Not even Thebes can grow bones strong enough 
To wage war against fate 
And the ivory structures of our grandsons 
Are now mere offerings to flame and carrion bird 

Behind me the cool breeze from the forest 
Is the last of the breath of the Maenads 
Their hymns offered to a void I cannot see 
Their torn flesh the body of the trees

Now the smoke is punctuated by crows 
And in their frenzied piercing prayers 
Is the song of the gods in their violent ecstasy 
Gloating over the vanity of man


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Song of Mammon

By Matthew J. Andrews

When he shows up at my door – 

face smeared into a devilish grin,

one hand gripping a wine bottle,

the other hand pushing his way inside – 

his spirit fills the room like incense

and I take him into my nostrils.

When it gets dark, he puts his hands

around my neck and kisses me

until I shrivel on his acidic lips.

He takes me down into the bed,

where his restless hands melt 

and reshape me like a skilled potter,

and where he advances inside me

like a tumor until I whisper his name

into the empty corners of the room.


Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom Review, Funicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes, and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He can be contacted at matthewjandrews.com.

Silver Pillows

By John Maurer

Painters paint the paintings that they should paint 

Because they are the paintings that they do paint

The worth of the doing is found in the doing

Transcendence is shovel-gripped, cerebral labor

My bones sharpen through the cloth of my bleeding visage

If you are a vault, you must also be the key

What is sagacious gifted bullion without 

Its scriptural prodigious tailwind 

Eating words with an open mouth

The crumbs of preciously bled stones fall to my lap

This is what I sing to you and you don’t hear

This is what you want me to sing, and I am too shy to

British scholars would say we don’t share the table

Cloudy guru would say you sit at his table

Pull out your chair when you approach plated lawn trimmings

The lawn being your responsibility to water

Do not shun the thornier blades

Growing an apology is not pleasant horticulture

Her smile this is a rooting of veins

Drink it in and the ice cubes of her with it

My bones are certainly metallic with their screws

But I keep chewing on all more expanded than I


John Maurer is a 26-year-old writer from Pittsburgh that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than fifty others. @JohnPMaurer (johnpmaurer.com)