A grasshopper in tall grass


The Buddhas

tell us not


to think of

a heaven,

of a hell…


This breath comes.

That breath goes.


Then nothing.



Klara Dan

von Neumann,


drove from home

to the beach—


walked into

the surf and



Woolf wrote:


“Dearest, I

feel certain


I am mad …

again… I


am doing

what seems best…”




sealed off


the kitchen

with towels


to stop gas

from drifting


into where

her children


were sleeping.



Lao Tau says:


“Heaven and

earth are not


humane. They

regard all


as straw dogs.”



The next day

morning came.


nothing at

all changed.


Straw dogs

don’t bark.



William Waters is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston Downtown. Along with Sonja Foss, he is coauthor of Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation.


William J Waters

On Reading Auden to the Ghost of a Lost Limerence

In the Peabody Library reading room, a ramshackle longing has liberty to roam,
While the rhetoric of busybodied reality bustles without and within
The center of self-knowing. Beneath the architraves scrolled with Grecian ghosts,
And over the bookcases crimped dense with Virgil’s deeds,
Twenty centuries of ‘I Am’s impartially abided to this place divorced of time.
Beside the domesticity of books, the graduate students sit, talking contentedly
Of matters related to weather, and ‘she loves you not’s’ of restrained importance,
And have exiled vellum-spined Kipling, Coleridge, Cranes’ consciousnesses
From their all-important talk, then to someplace as unreached
Within these twenty centuries and five floors of domesticity,
Below whose atrium the unconsoled words of creation
Retire into their dreadful humanity, read through perhaps and put away –
I search in heed for the truest ‘kings of infinite space.’

Wandering the columns of the Peabody,
Bordering a prodigiously fat shelf set aside for the modernist thing,
Certain truths seem forgivable to readers of certain breeds.
To chance upon a no more commonplace volume of Auden –
I turn to his ‘September 3, 1939’ two days, eighty years after the occasion
And chance upon some lady’s no more commonplace tow-color of hair,
Doubtless, having been collected by some stranger into a blonde plait,
A stranger whose limerence had left it truer bookmarked beside the verse –
‘For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.’


A young poet whose work can be best described as “allowing the glory of the mundane to permeate our understanding.”


Maxwell Tang


It was spring, no I mean dusk, and the killdeer began stepping up out

of intricate doors in the field.


They sported unseen fires beneath their downy vests.


Their presence had been warming the soil before the corn crop, except

for their dead sisters, brothers who had joined the soil.



No, that was in my dream, before the part where the covers had parted

and a voice I didn’t recognize asked a question.


It felt like an ancient alphabet trying to spell some message.


It left a churning in my belly for the rest of that day, and again the day




And the killdeer, that first night, had yet to break their wings.


They had no fear of owls, nor of hawks in the morning, after



And the toe prints they left in the muddy swale read as the myth of



Steve Fay began life twelve miles from the Mississippi River in western Illinois. Since the mid-1970s, many journals have published his poetry, which lately appears (or is forthcoming) in: Closed Eye Open, Comstock Review, Decadent Review, Jabberwock Review, Menacing Hedge, Santa Clara Review, Tar River Poetry, The Dewdrop, TriQuarterly, and Watershed Review. His collection, what nature: Poems (Northwestern UP, 1998), was cited by the editors and board of The Orion Society as one of their 10 favorite nature/culture-related books of the 12-month period in which it appeared. He lives among wooded ravines and a donkey pasture in Fulton County, Illinois.


Steve Fay

What to Wear When Having a Drink with Your Ex

It has been forty years.

he in New York me in San Francisco.

erasing him with ease for forty years. yet he is coming

and wants to meet for a drink. really?

does he regret   the divorce and realize he fucked

up by sleeping with Sally and Sara and Sue?

spending weekends shuffling numbers in his fancy office

on the thirty-sixth floor. but honey

my heartstrings have moved on. happily


Married to a marvelous man. and what

would I wear? certainly not my usual jeans or sweats

that make me look dowdy. which I definitely am. but

certainly not a tight sweater over sagging boobs.

certainly not scads of makeup. which I would have to buy.

I don’t want to fire up his remorse. or do I?

vengeance sweeter than Christmas pie. especially pecan.

rolling the taste on my tongue like a butterscotch disc.

what about the bills for two-hundred dollar “massages”?


Yet we did have some good times, didn’t we? I finger

my rosary of memories. breathless in Florence

standing before David. Coins tossed

in Trevi Fountain. but honey do I really want

to reminisce? do I really want to spend strung-out nights

worrying about what to wear? and fretting

that faint embers might gleam again? flaring

with a word, a look, or even a friendly kiss.

maybe best to say I am busy.

for the next forty years.


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.


Claire Scott

Somewhere in the Midst of Me, a Twig Snapped

I am okay with being

monstrous, I know

how you view me when I

step out with three heads, I

know the many ways

you think of me.

The day folds

up into a tiny square

which I put into my

middle mouth, underneath its

tongue. Watch the neck twitch.

I am many things but

easy is not one. I try to

hold myself between my

fingers and you know

what happens. Are you

formless as water, like me?

When did you last throw a knife

into a mirror, bare your

teeth with eyes

wide from hunger?

When they first clothed me,

somewhere in the midst of me,

a twig snapped.

And it radiated outward

like a bomb.


Zeke Shomler

Zeke Shomler is currently pursuing a combined MA/MFA at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His work has appeared in Cordite, Stone Poetry Quarterly, After Happy Hour Review, and elsewhere online.

The Albatross of Liquid Despair

hovers over your coiffed head, cawing in protest at the abominable stench rising, tears in its eyes, close to regurgitating its hard-sought lunch. Coleridge. Coleridge. Coleridge, you dotard. Have you no pity? No mercy? Must you pollute the earth’s air with poetry, chasing me as I flee your icy bewilderment? Must you call after me, your hideous voice echoing against the bruised clouds? Why should I not kill you for such elemental transgressions, silent seas be damned; your shrieks mutes the thunder, your delirium churns the slimy sea, my home, turning it against me and my kind. Rotting darkened sea, my frosted ass. Spare me your off-rhymes, the failed slants, the tortured rhythms. They fall from my ears no easier than my carcass was dropped from your neck. Father. Feather. Further. Forfend. Yet you claim a tale to share, a future to save. A weaver of lies like you need only make boast to be believed. Dead, yet I am able to nest in your grey beard, to ponder mortalities whilst you blamed me as if I was the cross Jesus bore. What calumny. What hubris. What a drug-induced delirium. I was never your interlocutor. The magnet that drew your warped dreams outward. Your ship sails without me, my stilled wings offer no forward aid. Yet your heart drums another beat, a stilled sorrow, something that blackens the stars and cauterizes cataracts and keeps the soul anchored to watery earth. You see the prayerless dead. The moon that abandons those who look to the sky. Stars that failed and fell far away from those who needed their comforting light. Sleepless, you laid this burden around my withered neck, seeking to save your miserable own. Not enough that I was dead, you laid heavier burdens upon my wizened neck, and sought freedom from a past that held you tight, kept your lungs from filling, and drew its life as yours. Already dead, you lingered in a denatured bliss, a world without, a sphere unbound, lacking angels and song, and any answer to a prayer unasked. Your ship sailed without you, and will dock without snow or mist. No waves will follow your path. No wind will calm or breathe to ensure your warped heaven. No blind sailors will raise sails or secure a rudder for your voyage. Nothing can rise from this sorrowed moon’s passage.

Richard Weaver

Post-Covid, the author has returned as writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub in Baltimore. Among his other pubs: conjunctions, Vanderbilt Review, Southern Quarterly, Free State Review, Hollins Critic, Misfit Magazine, Loch Raven Review, The Avenue, New Orleans Review, & Burningword. He’s the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992), and wrote the libretto for the symphony, Of Sea and Stars (2005). He was a finalist in the 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry. His 200th Prose poem was recently published.

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