Canopy

Dan Elman

1.

greasepaint buffalo

twirling dishes

 gravity creep

children pull

turtleneck wonder

through the
mad herd

2.

the neighbor’s dog is barking

invisibly

it’s about to rain

the trees are dropping
their knots

you remember yourself

3.

kitchen sink

full of cotton candy

a lampshade sky

the measured mind

all the clown feet


Dan Elman’s work has appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Apiary, Referential Magazine, and others. A resident of Philadelphia for fifteen years, he recently returned to his home town along the upper Delaware, where he now works as a furniture designer, antiques conservator, and liquidator.

When the City Fell From the Sky

Lisa Alexander Baron

I was standing in the town square

staring up at trees spiraling

down on their bulky heads

and landing with their roots

thrust up like errant toes

or fingers from a grave.

I heard the houses bellow as they

gave up, as their shoulders sagged

and snagged star by star

like the back of a black coat

catching white lint bit by bit.

When the city fell from the sky,

I covered my ears as atonal notes

from that final fugue stuttered

like old blood from the ripped

linen bandages of the clouds.

And here, now — even in the safety

of the here-to-stay dark:

the slow play and re-play

of that black-and-white still,

of that father’s fist clenching

and unclenching his son’s hand

before he let him go.


Lisa Alexander Baron: Her most recent book is While She Poses, a collection of poems prompted by visual art (Aldrich P, 2015). She is a writing and speech coach and teaches at LaSalle University in the business school.

Tell Me I Can’t Say That

David P. Kozinski

My advanced placement was bourbon

poured in a cough syrup bottle

I kept in my locker – amber in amber.

 

He said it first – spooktacular.

How spooky life became

as big men were shot down.

Conjugate a six ounce verb.

 

Conjugate this: our troubles come in tribes.

 

I expected it but she never threw up her arms

and cried, “Go, sell his bones.”

 

I crossed the dark floor stumbling

among the dead men.

The siege plowed through

seasons’ storehouses; engines

burned and rebuilt; a land seasoned with salt

sang dry-throated, a little cough, a chime.

 

I crisscrossed that darkened

room – always a night sea journey.

She gave me her hope which I gambled away,

gave me succor,

her delicate collarbone and thoroughbred ankles

to be bartered.

 

 


David P. Kozinski won the Delaware Literary Connection’s 2015 spring poetry contest. He received the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. Publications include Apiary, Cheat River Review, Fox Chase Review, glimmertrain.com, and Schuylkill Valley Journal. He has read at numerous venues in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Regrets

Wes Ward

When we didn’t move to Philadelphia,

we didn’t buy the hanging flower basket

for the front stoop in Old City.

We didn’t ride bicycles to the market

and fill your basket with Roma tomatoes

and eggplant. You don’t like eggplant.

And you thought Philadelphia would lose

its lure if we had a mailbox, a sconce

in the foyer, stairs that creaked.

We kept our distance and bought a dog

in a small town beside railroad tracks

that haven’t railed trains in forty years.

It’s quiet beneath these stars.

And tonight on our walk, when you asked

if I had any regrets, I had already begun

writing a poem about hanging baskets

and a love that follows us

wherever we have and haven’t lived.

 


Wes Ward earned his MA in Writing at Johns Hopkins University. His poetry has appeared in North American Review, Sewanee Theological Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the Bridport Prize in the UK. Wes teaches English and lives with his wife and children in Pennsylvania.

Light Rings

Bernadette McBride

I point 6-year-old Joey’s attention to the lime-green

baby caterpillar curling itself along the sidewalk

in front of our homes, and before I take a second breath,

he lifts his miniature Nike and stamps the poor thing to goo,

 

spreads it from the bottom of his shoe to the curb, scraping

and scraping it away like Lady MacBeth unable to stop

washing her hands. But without her guilt. My horror is visceral

—it’s all I can do not to glare at him like a school marm

 

shaking a long finger. Then I recall summer nights

long ago—gaggles of kids on the block—allowed

to run free till parents called us in for baths. How many

fireflies we caught those nights, dropping them into glass jars,

 

holes poked by the boys with an ice pick into the tin lids.

They were the lucky ones. Others we stripped of their

tiny lamps, lined them around our fingers—brilliant rings

turning us into lords and ladies, queens and kings.

 


Bernadette McBride, author of two poetry collections, is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, was a second-place winner of the international Ray Bradbury Writing Award, and a finalist for the Robert Fraser Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in the UK, numerous U.S. journals, and on PRIs The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She is poetry co-editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and was the 2009 Bucks County Poet Laureate.

I See You

Claire Scott

Time folds back and back on itself

like my uncle’s accordion

          in our airless attic

pleated patterns create

shortcuts to the future

          I tumble through trap

doors & silent tunnels

at the speed of light, arriving

          breathless in a world

where our boots still crackle

pine needles & scales of sun still

          float through dark branches

where we stop by a secluded stream

share sandwiches, apples, cookies &

          each other

I see you walking down West Ridge

A wooden box under your arm

          I call out

I see you kneel & raise the lid

your back toward me

          I see your shoulders shake

I hear the sound of a polka

played in a distant past

          I can’t breathe in this airless place

I see you

 


Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Healing Muse, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal among others. Her first book of poetry, Waiting to be Called, was published in 2015.

End Run

Joe Bisicchia

They cut the fog like ghosts

amidst ghosts.

Their lives are lived too fast

to accurately photograph.

The list of  “also ran” grows.

 

And soon almost new,

the almost men,

barely teens,

are men in the least,

men soon at the most

like ghosts.

 

This, the earthly mist knows,

and even the end zone

can never hold them

forever close.

 


Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in various publications. The former TV host was born in Camden and grew up in South Philadelphia in the close orbit of Veterans Stadium.

Standing In The Stand

Cameron Conaway

He didn’t know the thrill

of the kill, but he knew

 

he didn’t want to kill

the thrill for his father.

 

Everything in him felt scared,

told him not to do it—

 

words he could not echo.

He sat in the tree stand

 

with his coloring books,

glanced up if something

 

quieted the loud silence.

The father knew that all

 

books are coloring books,

that knees on hills tell

 

time better than clocks

on walls, that a bullet

 

and a mountain are about

the same size. But here

 

was the best shot

to pass something down:

 

Stand up slowly, son.

This is your time.

 


Cameron Conaway is the author of 5 books, including Malaria, Poems, which was a “Best Book of 2014” by NPR. His work as a journalist has appeared in Newsweek, The Guardian, and Stanford Social Innovation Review. Conaway helps creative teams focus at GetFlow.com. He’s on Twitter @CameronConaway.

Light Rings

Bernadette McBride

 

I point 6-year-old Joey’s attention to the lime-green

baby caterpillar curling itself along the sidewalk

in front of our homes, and before I take a second breath,

he lifts his miniature Nike and stamps the poor thing to goo,

 

spreads it from the bottom of his shoe to the curb, scraping

and scraping it away like Lady MacBeth unable to stop

washing her hands. But without her guilt. My horror is visceral

—it’s all I can do not to glare at him like a school marm

 

shaking a long finger. Then I recall summer nights

long ago—gaggles of kids on the block—allowed

to run free till parents called us in for baths. How many

fireflies we caught those nights, dropping them into glass jars,

 

holes poked by the boys with an ice pick into the tin lids.

They were the lucky ones. Others we stripped of their

tiny lamps, lined them around our fingers—brilliant rings

turning us into lords and ladies, queens and kings.

Bernadette McBride, author of two poetry collections, is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, was a second-place winner of the international Ray Bradbury Writing Award, and a finalist for the Robert Fraser Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in the UK, numerous U.S. journals, and on PRIs The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She is poetry co-editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and was the 2009 Bucks County Poet Laureate.

The Thing About My Ears Is

Aminah Abutayeb

I am afraid

of noises miles away.

It’s like presence in a room

filled with

   jazz

   claps

   bangs

all active at once—

fifty people talk in chorus.

Simultaneous listen

makes my tasks impossible

and activation of the switch

switches on the panic trigger.

The whisper approaches

from the room downstairs

   smells

             lights

             vibrations

 

pseudo- sounds mask the

noticeable sound—phone

rings but just an air

conditioner. The worst sound

I hold is the continuous beeps

behind cacophony.

 

It’s just noise domination

with more noise elevation

embodied in the rebel

that lives deep in—

side my head.

I guess I can’t

be a firefighter

anymore.

Aminah Abutayeb is a full-time MFA candidate at Fairleigh Dickinson University concentrating on poetry. She is an Assistant Editor at The Literary Review and currently works at the Writing Center in William Paterson University. Her poem is forthcoming in Common Ground Review.  She lives in Northern New Jersey.