is a delayed growl standing several
steps behind the starring flash. Backup-
singing, supportive round of applause. Darker
partner waiting in invisible wings. Eruptive
echo marks the distance to point
of contact, countdown after-strike.
Photo by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wikimedia Commons, 2005.
Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more of her work at WIZ.
The garden sogs under persistent downpour. Green
grows with a sickly gray clinging like shadows,
cloud contamination. In a quiet corner, lone
hibiscus stretches petals toward sky, embraces
drops battering against brilliance. Resilient
as the solar power color emulates, it remains open,
a burst of warming reassurance that the sky cannot fall
Photo by the poet. Follow the links for Huffman’s bio and more at WIZ.
after “Age of Abundance,” by Osnat Tzadok
Flares of imaginary fire burn across forest’s crown.
Light and leaves come alive, collectively breathe
in mirrored mist, rising like smoke from absent flame.
My eyes begin to water in belief. This is the image
of sulfured Hell. I pray for the salvation of sun-
A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. Her eighth solo chapbook, Drippings from a Painted Mind, won the 2013 Two Wolves Chapbook Contest. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.
Photo by Albert Herring via Wikimedia Commons: “89 Mesa Fire, 5/6/10.” Tzadok’s landscape can be seen here.
hang in clusters on delicate vines. The plants
are caged, potted in the driveway. All summer
they have drowned in rain and hose water until flowers
became hard green cysts that grew, ripened and split
wide open. I salvage what I can into folded shirt-basket
though I know no one will eat them. Most have fallen
onto rocks below, dots of bloody pulp punctuate stone.
Photo by Nate Dworsky.
Salzano’s bio can be found here. For more of her poetry at WIZ, go here.
Who gives away their weeping
cherry tree, my husband wants to know. Mature,
in bloom. He says it deserves
a fighting chance. He will prepare
the ground, dig the hole by hand,
home burial or new beginning, we won’t
know for months. Once
the blossoms fall to the ground, pink
petals could mean something
other than what they seem,
if we want to search for metaphor.
The baby robin in a box yesterday
was pointless, he says. Cycle of life
stuff. Evolution. Food chain. Hawk
treat. They will give it
a nice size root ball, the orphaners.
It’s not like a breathing thing.
It won’t even know it has been taken
from the ground, not like a flower
in a glass of water, naked stem dangling,
suspended in prisms, shriveling, severed
from nutrient supply. The mother
robin is searching for her baby
that was taken home with the babysitter.
She comes with worms,
chewed and ready to regurgitate
into an open beak that is not there.
Photo by Nate Dworsky.
For more by April Salzano at WIZ, go here. For a recent bio, go here.
I love the state I’m in,
its mountains and cattle grazing
under billboards beside highways,
silos standing phallic in foliage, farmland
and stretches of nothing along ribbons
of winding roads. I count phone poles
and fields as landmarks, see the ghosts of steel
and loss of populous to warmer weather,
cattailed lakes and plenty of pine, travel
narrow bridges, salt-pocked streets in
my dogwood, draft horse of a home.
Recently nominated for two Pushcart prizes, April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow, and Rattle. Salzano also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.
Photo, “I80,” by Nate Dworsky.
We saw your massive golden dome from down
below, a baroque body oddly out
of place. I snapped your picture by the brown
limbs hanging near the roadside fence, devout
old guards, one hundred years had left behind.
We leaned across your speckled balustrades
beside the river, where worn paths entwined
and crisscrossed near the watery cascades.
Then, hiking grassy slopes around the charred
magnificent old court, adjacent to
your holy place, we found a heavy door.
Surprised at how we easily slipped through,
we scramble in like heathens, unaware.
Inside were angels winged with elegance.
Subdued by stained glass, carvings, heaven’s air,
we marveled at your ancient relevance.
The pious moment passed, and then I thought
of all the souls who sat within your pews;
the offerings and sadness that they brought.
Your wood grain’s worn, as if it might transfuse
into a blemished song, or ancient phrase,
that mutely sings of suffering and praise.
Photo by the poet, used with permission. For a recent bio of Kelsay, go here. For a comprehensive list of her poems published at WIZ, go here.
He keeps his diving helmet in a shed.
The memories that it buoys up, aren’t dead—
that heavy hat of bolts protects his pride.
He seldom ever has to look inside
the wooden crate beneath the old work bench,
where all his man-things: chisel, hammer, wrench,
as if in dry dock, wait to be reused.
His wife told him to toss it, he refused.
You’re eighty-five, you’ll never need that thing!
But somehow, he can never seem to bring
himself to entertain the thought. The brass
is surely worth a fortune, and the glass…
The chance is slim, but yet he still regards
an abalone dive as in the cards.
Photo is of the poet’s father, and is used here by permission. For more by Kelsay at WIZ, please see the bio here, and a comprehensive index here.
She spends her afternoons beside the tree,
where Mr. Lizard’s made his home. Last week
she caught him in her mouth, and forcefully,
my husband pried him out. She doesn’t seek
this reptile, or a patterned, scaly prize—
just itches for a thrilling chase. For days
she’s turned into a sphinx. Unblinking eyes,
and breath held in her breast. Her mind’s ablaze
with thoughts of how he was in her possession.
He watches from the wall where he’s protected.
They play their waiting game. No intercession
at dusk is needed. She comes inside dejected,
and marches to the house to scheme and plot.
Tomorrow she will have another shot.
Karen Kelsay, native of Southern California, is the founder and editor of Kelsay Books. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and journals. Nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, she is also an award winning poet. Her latest full length book, Amytis Leaves Her Garden, was published in 2012, and received the AML award. Karen lives in Hemet, California, with her British husband.
Photo of the poet’s cat, used with permission.
Tell me, she whispered, when the kids were down
And the dark of day had drifted over like a welcome shroud,
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