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.
& just like that aggrieved
or not thrust flush
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
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.
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.
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.
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
drug addict turned
And I started to wonder where it all
I ran into your mom at the store a while back.
Through tears, she claimed it was those
I thought back to your childhood:
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 lives on an animal rescue ranch with her family. When not caring for tame ritters or feral children, she can be found writing.
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 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.
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
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 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 www.InSpiritry.com.