Alternatives by Susie Gharib

Give alternatives for the following, the teacher commands, with a grin,the twelve-year-old who is eager to pass his test.Moonlight, the teacher states with a grimace:A neon tube, the boy promptly replies.A canopy of trees for shelter:A bus stop.A proper bath:A free drizzle.A candle-lit dinner:Chips without fish.Sailing the ocean:Paper boats.A holiday abroad:A book from the public library.Doting parents:Street busking.A pair of pajamas:Old, tattered clothes.Attending church:Text messaging … Continue reading Alternatives by Susie Gharib

Truth, Beauty and Photoshop by Cathy Allman

She was born in a deltaof three rivers. He’d been a native of that river which had caught fire. But physics is not biology.Equal and opposite reactionshappen between two bodies. Their past dissolved into next,torn like a lost lotto ticket,scattered as a broken strand of pearls. Their wounds trailed like the wake of a trawler. They argued through that slipstream of eras and ages, cities and places they … Continue reading Truth, Beauty and Photoshop by Cathy Allman

The Fire We Spin Around by Cathy Allman

You were young, and after three Jacks he said he loved you.He touched you awake in places you didn’t know. Decades later, the same man after three Jacks tells you everything wrong with life is because of you. You can’t sleep, and he won’t remember.  You hear his irregular breathing,replay the weeks of his chemo. An owl calls from a tree.The clock on the nightstandticks on, like years. … Continue reading The Fire We Spin Around by Cathy Allman

Princess and Darkness I knew best by Colleen Surprise Jones

Even though they had good lighting,my medallions are coming downI was preparing my bestWell, I just wasn’t expecting itThere’s something that’s exceptionally hard about all this To be completely honest,I do things One at a timeAnd they just aren’t expecting itThey just aren’t accepting this There’s something graceful now about it allIt’s honestI didn’t feel like I lost anythingYou could’ve put it thereEven though I … Continue reading Princess and Darkness I knew best by Colleen Surprise Jones

Inconvenience by Zeke Greenwald

There appears to be an inane assumption,When we prize too dearly the groans people makeAnd their pain and complaint and compunctionOf some less tender portions of their fate; It would seem that people don’t like the bother;I’ve met young women afraid to leave their roomsBecause they know what a burden they are to others:They believed too well the words others used.  Just look at the … Continue reading Inconvenience by Zeke Greenwald

2023 by Susie Gharib

I am writing an ode for youour approaching twenty twenty-threeto appease the wrath in your genes,a hereditary trait,to appeal to the demented elements for much-needed clemency,to entreat the clashing warlordsto cease their animosities,to spare our infants displacementand drowning across traversed seas, to annul the prophetic proclamationsof a postmodern Madame Sosostris. I am writing an ode for you despite our embedded despondencyover the plagues that stride the avenuesof underdeveloped … Continue reading 2023 by Susie Gharib

Marked by Lance Nizami

First, you want the tattooThen, the tattoo wants you, and so it keeps you—Labeled; from this point on, you’re labeledYou’re stamped; your stamp is permanent, a “skin ID” that’s called “charisma”Charismatic you, colorful you, rebellious youExpress yourself in pictographs, you make yourself the canvasThe images live on; they live, on youYou: the Art Show, you: the mobile GalleryYou the one who’s owned by the tattoos. Continue reading Marked by Lance Nizami

In This Electric City by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

Here, where each street is named for Thomas Alva Edison,there are men in each pane of our windows, stabbinglittle flags into our assaulted lawn, marking where they will tearup the grass to replace the subterranean power line, all at our expense. Everything is opposite now. Instead of my husband, I signall the checks, lift the heavy packages, roll the chest-high rural garbagecans to the curb … Continue reading In This Electric City by Rochelle Jewel Shapiro