cattails in a bag, carried home on my back
best eaten in the winter, & we’re ten weeks
from the last frost, & the coming on of weeks
& weeks where vaccinations become
engagement rings, become christmas in spring,
become brushed hair & earrings & dinners
outside where i can see you
i can see you now, still, when i close my eyes
& hear your voice through the phone, remembering
how you make me laugh, hanging my feet
out the window, like it wasn’t just a year ago,
eating grapes on the porch steps, putting
crushed beer cans in the mailbox, or
talking grit from the backseat of your car
lunaria in a manila envelope & nightshade
from the dumpster; cockscomb in an altoid tin,
& the decision to stay through summer
& the voracious need to start a garden,
& the ache to be outside alone
& the dream to be inside this body
like i am inside this body
the dog, pissing on the hardwood doesn’t have a name,
& even if no name comes, there will be tomatoes,
& this summer the only fear i will have
is how i will keep track of all the vegetables
& flowers, seedlings in egg cartons,
tugging at my shoestrings, & what light
will i bury them in
all winter, i walked under a murder of crows,
crossing the bridge after work & a week of
single digit weather; when this city spends
over half the year in gray, the crows
taking my breath against the blue sky,
only half knowing the summer will take
the tens of thousands of them away
then, when the dog stops barking,
when the crows stop coming,
how will you know
i am almost home
Danica Dagenhart is a Pittsburgh-based writer, maker, & educator. they are a recipient of The Alex Rowan Award for poetry writing, & their work has been featured in TriQuarterly and Pretty Owl Poetry. you can find them on Instagram @motherweather.
We paid the price.
The chances of victory
can be measured
a miracle out of which
all the chances grow.
Without Any Sound
Silent afternoon. Silence is more expressive.
I feel something is beaming in my blood. Light.
Some strength inside my nerves wants to be free.
I feel fever. I feel I have a key to every door
in my life. Silent afternoon is telling me,
nobody here, nobody there,
nobody under the sun can give me
either the key or the door to close or open,
except myself. I see now —
nobody ever figures out
or tells me directly what’s life all about.
I will put the gun down, who stands
beside me matters more.
David Dephy — A Georgian/American award-winning poet and novelist. The winner of the Finalist Award in the 2020 Best Book Award National Contest by American Book Fest, the finalist and shortlist winner nominee of the Adelaide Literary Awards for the category of Best Poem, the winner of the Spillwords Poetry Award. He is named as A Literature Luminary by Bowery Poetry, The Stellar Poet by Voices of Poetry, The Incomparable Poet by Statorec, The Brilliant Grace by Headline Poetry & Press and An Extremely Unique Poetic Voice by Cultural Daily.
About one month or two ago,
on the walk we take almost every day,
when passing by a well-known bridge in my city,
I noticed, not without some sorrow,
that there was a family living under it,
at a corner they had cleaned on the riverbank.
I was filed with sadness, for sure they were homeless,
or, at least, temporarily, having as roof
the lower part of that framework.
Yesterday, while walking with my wife, we perceived
that there was something different, a few more people,
in addition to the family we were used to seeing.
A couple of bonfires lit better the area,
they talked and were very comfortable,
laughing and happy, it seems we even heard
something like a clink of glasses.
My wife was surprised and did not understand,
but, suddenly, I did, and told her:
there is no doubt, they are having guests today
and are having fun.
Then, we became aware that, really, since a while,
we have not enjoyed much the same this pleasure.
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Mr. Ferreira, 78 years, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Widely published in international literary journals, he began writing at age 67, after his retirement as a bank employee. Has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and his book Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems, was launched in London, in November of 2018. He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.
Entire environs have become
transmitters of an over-personified manifestation
twisting through the Multidimensional Ether
like counterclockwise wisteria sprouting
from the lungs of ashen children.
It’s the inevitable scorch.
The painful kiss.
The curiosity that intellectualized the cat
before killing it.
Mouths turn the shape of cheerios
and stare at the sky, awestricken,
observing an event
equivalent to some
from a biblical passage.
Heath Brougher is the Editor-in-Chief of Concrete Mist Press as well as poetry editor for Into the Void, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Awards for Best Magazine. He is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee and received the 2018 Poet of the Year Award from Taj Mahal Review. He also received the 2020 Wakefield Prize for Poetry. He has published eleven books and, after two years of editing the work of others, is ready to get back into the creative driver seat. His book “Where Hammers Dwell” will be published later in 2021.
In the Aftermath
Each body broken, violet wounds, ash,
bullets like fireflies, dozens of caskets
weighted with clay unmade by misplaced rage.
Mourning continues as a vacant ache,
an absence heavier than upturned dirt
while the body’s a miracle of dust
and lightning. Yes, I would like to be scorched
under the umbrella of you tonight,
can’t wait to burn with the mercy of your
fevered kisses. Please reduce me to soot.
Please use me to mark the doltish faces
of those who would deny we are dying
or show me how I can twist grief’s thick neck
into a shield I carry through the world.
Everything good happens in another town.
They’ve got better schools, better teams,
better-looking beauties at whom to stare.
What did those people do to earn
such bounty? At night tears swarm
your cheeks, escape shapes your dreams.
In a field between here & there kids get wasted
on cheap beer and whip-its while snow
complicates someone’s climb up the tower.
They fall & die. You cut off your hair, master
your misery and start to wonder
about other towns with fresher meadows,
how much money you have hidden in the drawer,
how long you can survive on air and straw.
SM Stubbs until very recently co-owned a bar in Brooklyn. Recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf, he has been nominated for the Pushcart and Best New Poets. Winner of the 2019 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review and runner-up in several others. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The Normal School, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, December, The Rumpus, among others.
Tiffany & Annie & me are playing on the swings.
they’re singing a Taylor Swift song I don’t know yet,
and so I wait two verses before joining in,
think I can try the chorus the second time around,
but then, it’s just me, voice quavering, me and
all these words I don’t know,
two girls silently staring at me:
stop acting like you know the notes.
Tiffany comes back from vacation
with one lollipop for Annie.
Tiffany plucks my hair at lunch
and asks why I got split ends.
Tiffany says I have to walk behind them
so we can be a triangle.
no one knows loneliness like a 7-year-old girl.
I saw her once, last year, draped on the arm of a friend
of a friend. drenched in holiday party sparkle,
a little red blister of a person.
she giggles as she tells her date:
oh, we used to kind of bully Juliana.
I don’t sing in public, but god, I wish I did then,
slung my fat tongue over her stupid little hoops
until it made a shiny pink welt on her eardrums.
yodeled until a chandelier fell on her head.
funny how new wounds sound like old wounds.
I wish I sang then,
but what I was scared of was this:
I open my mouth, and nothing comes out
but two giggles, two sets of rolling eyes,
one single searching note
wandering quietly into the rafters.
Juliana Chang is a Taiwanese American poet. She is the 2019 recipient of the Urmy/Hardy Poetry Prize, the 2017 recipient of the Wiley Birkhofer Poetry Prize, and a 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Medalist in Poetry. She received a BA in Linguistics and a MA in Sociology from Stanford University in 2019. Her debut chapbook INHERITANCE was the winner of the 2020 Vella Contest and published with Paper Nautilus Press in 2021.