Lullaby to Bacteria

May you sleep in slushy apples,

the acid mash of stomachs,

seafloor chimneys smearing

the deep with tartars of smoke.


I coo to poisonous beans,

noxious Botox twinkies,

and hum at naughty bonbons

of streptococci. Let your dreams


carry hordes through rotten tarns

and maggot guts. The world

needs your silent sawing:

wood to dirt, corpses to sand.


Waking, your tiny diamonds

dapple dog tongues and rain.

Your rancid flocks fester kisses

and ferment grapes to wine.


Eric Fisher Stone

Eric Fisher Stone is a poet and writing tutor from Fort Worth, Texas. He received his MFA in writing and the environment from Iowa State University. His publications include two full-length collections: The Providence of Grass, from Chatter House Press, and Animal Joy, from WordTech Editions.

the all

& just like that                  aggrieved

or not                            thrust flush

against metal


the all of abandoned farm machinery

& all but barn of a house

nettled/ in shambles


of razor grass/ rooted/ my feet

stumbling close enough

to peace for breath/ waist high

to the ground/ the all of green caterpillar


& algae towers/ peaked up

in cicadas’ buzzing

make for rest

supine back against dock rust/ lake lap


& grass hungering for legs

leaving me for just a moment lying

back in black brilliants’ flame/ bursting

swallowing whole

in my dreaming sleep              the all              of everything


Mara Adamitz Scrupe

Mara Adamitz Scrupe’s publications include four full collections. BEAST (2014 Stevens Manuscript Publication Prize, National Federation of State Poetry Societies, U.S), in the bare bones house of was (2019 Brighthorse Books Prize in Poetry), Eat The Marrow (2019 erbacce-press Poetry Book Prize UK; shortlisted 2020 Rubery Book Award UK), and REAP a flora (2023 Shipwreckt Books). She has selections in generational anthologies by Southword/ Munster Literature, Stony Thursday, and 64 Best Poets/ Black Mountain Press, and poems in key UK and US journals including The London Magazine, Mslexia, Magma, Abridged, and The Poetry Business/ Smith Doorstop. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, she has won or been shortlisted for significant literary awards including Arts University Bournemouth International Poetry Prize, Magma Pamphlet Publication Award, Gregory O’Donohugh International Poetry Prize, Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize and National Poetry Society UK. She serves concurrently as Lance Williams Resident Artist in the Arts & Sciences, University of Kansas, and Dean and Professor Emerita, School of Art, University of the Arts Philadelphia.

Contemporary Stuff

Reading poetry online takes me

down the rabbit hole of the next poem

and the next, and oh, I like this poet

and how did they even come up

with gold leaf or orange sweat.

Outside, Spring is in the world.


My husband’s down the hall

drawing machinery on his computer.

He says he’s not an artist,

but those clear, concise lines

are strong enough to swing on.

Lay down your mouse, my beloved.


Look! The pine tree across the way

has released a cloud of golden pollen.


Patricia L. Scruggs

Patricia L. Scruggs is the author of one poetry collection, Forget the Moon. Born in Colorado, she spent ten formative years in Alberta, Canada before taking root in Southern California. Her work has appeared in Burningword, McQueen’s Quinterly, Inlandia, ONTHEBUS, Spillway, Rattle, Rip Rap, Cultural Weekly, Crab Creek Review, as well as the anthologies l3 Los Angeles Poets, So Luminous the Wildflowers and Beyond the Lyric Moment. A recent Pushcart Prize nominee, Patricia is a retired art teacher who earned her MFA at the California State University, Fullerton. She and her husband of over 60 years are parents of two and grandparents of three.

No Anything

  1. June-ish.

We drove by William S. Burroughs’s house

to see if we could feel his

aura from the street. We were confused about

why he lived in Kansas, of all places—

because we’d only ever prayed to leave it.


I was young and dumb and didn’t know

half the story behind this cynosure

who looked like my grandpa.

But I knew how I felt after reading Naked Lunch:

Stoned, mostly. And a bit revolted.


You, though, were smitten

with the wasteland of his words.

Obsessed, really—

keeping his books, dog-eared and disguised

from your mother’s eyes (or so you thought).


I watched you leave Kansas as a

high school dropout turned

stripper turned

drug addict turned


And I started to wonder where it all

went wrong.


I ran into your mom at the store a while back.

Through tears, she claimed it was those

damn books.


I thought back to your childhood:

No dad.

No sugar.

No skirts.

No boys.

No fun.

No anything.

Except taking care of your little brother

while your mom got tanked.


So I said to her,

“I don’t think it was the books.”


Erika Seshadri

Erika Seshadri lives on an animal rescue ranch with her family. When not caring for tame ritters or feral children, she can be found writing.

Half Empty

I expect the worst



even as a kid I expected birthday

presents I didn’t want, like another


loser Chutes and Ladders game

I expected a D on my spelling test


even though I was the best speller in the class

and today for sure my car will need new brakes


new struts, new tires, not just a tune up

for sure the grocery store will be


out of Meyer lemons and heavy cream

and my dessert will be a disaster


and the doctor will find

warts or high blood pressure or lung cancer


for sure the maple tree will fall on the house

in tonight’s high winds


and I will have to move to a hotel

I can’t possibly afford


and end up panhandling by Route 580

holding a cardboard sign in the pouring rain


as cars roar past

and drivers pretend not to see


but most of all I am worried my heart

is too stressed from all this worrying


and will pack up veins and arteries

and move to Wyoming


Claire Scott

Claire Scott is an award-winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review and Healing Muse, among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.

Counseling Session

Let’s begin with memory.

How do you usually find yourself

returning to your past…


thrust back by crisis,

needing overdue explanations

and ready to demand them?


Or slowly, a sadness

beginning to make itself

painfully evident?


Or swept away by emotion

like a swollen muddy river

on its righteous way

to take over a town?


Maybe you simply wake up

foggy after a midday nap

filled with the vague idea

someone didn’t tell you everything.


Though if you are lucky,

maybe you are be transported back

by the taste of syruped pancakes

or the smell of a box of old books,


so that you are transported

to familiar happy images

once vivid but now a bit clouded


by your mind’s cataracts,

giving you a soft sense

that all that has happened is a gift.


Anne McCrady

Anne McCrady is a poet, speaker, and peace advocate. In addition to her award-winning poetry collections Along Greathouse Road, Letting Myself In, and Under a Blameless Moon, and her original parable Kevin & the Seven Prayers, Anne’s writing appears internationally in literary journals and anthologies. Anne’s work has also been presented as short film, art song, libretto, and liturgy. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee. Anne also has editorial, review, fiction, and creative nonfiction publication credits and is an active poetry contest judge and workshop presenter. Anne lives in Tyler, Texas. Her website is

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud