Starting the Garden

The usual builders’ rubble, buckled screws,

snapped trowel-heads, small chunks of plank,

the strips of broken two by two, the bottle-caps.

(Images of blokes in spring and summer sun

drilling, fixing, tamping, swigging.)

A foot or two, a generation lower,

the first sheep’s bones. My farming cousin

confirmed their species, and this had been

the slaughterhouse field, where sheep, pigs, cows,

would wait their entry to the abattoir.

(My father’s gang, living a street away as boys,

would listen to the squeals and bleating,

before the thud. The sudden laden silence.)

I wondered about those bones. So how

did they escape the slaughter? And for what?

Then suddenly a skull, a flat crushed skull

(my cousin said a lamb of two years old).

So what obscure extinction?

My daughter, nine years old, dealt with it

earnestly, calling the remnant “Larry”.

We buried him between the compost and the beans

and raised a simple cross.

Robert Nisbet

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has appeared widely in Britain and the USA. He won the Prole Pamphlet Competition in 2017 with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes. In the USA he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times in the last three years.

Not Like a Poem

Life is and is not like a poem.

The poem enters a room with variable dimensions

And all at once I feel it sway.

My feet enter a room and its colors are always the same.

A line comes dressed with the surprise of sudden stops

And redresses itself with every turn it makes into the next;

There is no dirty laundry hanging on the line.

A day without lines is a day filled with boredom.

An average line escapes like a melodic flute or trombone

Towards the back of an orchestra;

In my everyday world it’s the only instrument I play.

I pay out the line as the poem comes near to its dock.

A poem has a theory of movement and each movement a sign;

A life has more movements and hopes for more time.

Michael Salcman

MICHAEL SALCMAN: poet, physician and art historian, was chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland and president of the Contemporary Museum. Poems appear in Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, The Café Review, Hopkins Review, The Hudson Review, New Letters, and Poet Lore. Books include The Clock Made of Confetti, The Enemy of Good is Better, Poetry in Medicine, his popular anthology of classic and contemporary poems on doctors, patients, illness & healing, A Prague Spring, Before & After, winner of the 2015 Sinclair Poetry Prize, and Shades & Graces, inaugural winner of The Daniel Hoffman Legacy Book Prize (Spuyten Duyvil, 2020). Necessary Speech: New & Selected Poems was published by Spuyten Duyvil in 2022.

Mary McGinnis

Things I Missed

I was never alone with an abalone;

I never swallowed a spoon whole.

My parents never made love in front of me-

I’m not sure if they ever made love at all.

I was a fruit not ripe yet,

but born anyway.

The allure of dogs was lost on me;

I never understood the beauty of lamps.

They took up so much space,

and I wanted to push them off tables.

I never had a brother who went to war.

There was a casualty from Viet Nam

whose shaving lotion nipped at my senses;

we ate white rice flavored with oregano

and listened to Janis Joplin a lot.

The night we saw a Genet play

was the only time I heard him cry.

My friend Sue was sleeping on a cot next to us at the time.

She rested lightly, curious and unruffled;

I didn’t say goodbye to him properly.

I demanded instead that he return my albums, which he did.

I don’t remember where he went after the hospital.


Letter To the Twenty-first Century

I’m yours, I guess.

You’re not polite.

You want me online all day,

thin and lonely.

You say, hush, pretend you’re not in chains.

You say, look up at the stars,

never look down.

The old me’s going to start running,

the old me is bending and breaking,

shaking and making a stand.

I tell my beloved

don’t be reborn yet-

you wouldn’t be happy here.

The snow starts melting

as soon as it falls.

Mary McGinnis

Mary McGinnis, blind since birth, has been writing and living in New Mexico since 1972 where life has inspired her with emptiness, desert, and mountains. Published in over 80 magazines and anthologies including Lummox IX, BombFireLit, and Fixed and Free Anthology, she has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and included in the Telepoetry series recordings. She has published three full length collections: Listening for Cactus (1996), October Again (2008), See with Your Whole Body (2016), and a chapbook, “Breath of Willow.”

Arrested Development ~ 1786 Hunterian Museum, London

the Waddington quins

died on delivery ~

their shared placenta

burned by local custom ~

their bodies sent to Dr Hunter

as medical specimens

pallid     flaccid     ghostly

water-babies hang in a tank


in solution

skin ridged like hands

left too long in bath water

liquor-steeped foetuses

with sightless eyes mere hooded slits

ribs protruding   wraith limbs dangling

a chorus

of stringless


wailing mouths gape

in soundless distress               waiting in vain to hear

their long-dead mother’s heartbeat

Clare Marsh

Clare Marsh, a Kent based international adoption social worker, was awarded M.A. Creative Writing from the University of Kent (2018) and was a Pushcart Prize nominee (2017). She won the 2020 Olga Sinclair Short Story Prize. Her work has been published in Lighthouse, Mslexia, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Acropolis, Places of Poetry, Pure Slush, Green Ink Poetry and Rebel Talk.

Robert Knox

Waterfall: Speech

Beginning things

Armed figures emerge from the falls

Beautiful destroyers

A splash-live slapdash

Bodies, shapes

not of earth

but of the vapor, air

Atmospherics of the place

Creatures of pure emergence

Emanations ghosting home

Back from everwhere/neverwhere to here-again

Figures of air, frozen waves

The message and the static

     incantation of the nation

The fire-stream on auto-mation

Energies of embarkation

First love, first life, verse indication

Inspiration of the waters

In the waters, breath and life

and if heard, attended to, rehearsal predication

Emergence of the word

Stents and stems and birdlike wonder

Self-dom seen and ever heard

Translation of an endless pulse

through the rumble of the verse

Clamor of the ancient lovers

Hunters herders growers

Builders, bearers, all immerse


Always Beginning

Capable figures emerge from the falls

Heroes, children, goddesses

From the spirit fog of old talk, weary tales, twining tales

from spheres of culpable imagination

Tails still scrapping over dogs

Powder-dust foundation lays, thought-dreams of a summer day,

Bees whine in the vernal haze

Pleasure-spots of time, feeling foci, laugh-prone languors

Tiny-voiced choruses squealing jokey

Laughter of the cells, ticklish moments

Parting of the particles

Pleasure-stoppers floating fee

Choruses squealing you and me

Beautiful creatures, beasts, fork-legged and otherwise

Birds indifferently joyful in their distant, facile way

Poppies dancing in an orange breeze, a whisper of moistened breath

Winged notions, messages from fore-n’after

Saxon farmers trenching the earth at Sutton Hoo

Beginning tales told to indifferent laughter

On the banks of the Indus heroes woo

Healing mothers, earth fighters, soul-warriors

Magicking quick-silvers, bent farmers, squatting pioneers of fertility

Breathing in//out, in//out at the start of things

Where to now? Clouds briefing in a gray bowl of beginnings

Hero-makers already emergent

Silvered Celts, backdating ancestry,

mothers sewing fates in silken vests,

Sands slipping free of oceans crests.

History and geology

Hegelian phenomenology

Starting from Paumanok

Fog-lifted meres, moan of the ocean, breath on loan

Too great a falling from thought-free height

as well, a swell, swelling

Falling to our fateful night

A wave that curls at the crest, then lingers, lapping,


From the bowl of endlessly thinning ions

Figures emerge, men like lions

personae dramatis

Descend, like flowers

wilting backwards into life

Time, place, and hours

from the wispy, water-bearded face of the milky stream,

A paintbox of the gods upset, apocals…

lisps and sometimes worse

Scattering the nimbus to the you-in-verse

Dicing godes, explodes

Cinematic modes

What’s this, amiss in the midst?

Some body chasing some self-likeness

about the city’s walls, men’s work no doubt

Hunting fate like beasts, a many-headed rout

Mythopoeia steamy inspirations and gastric odors mingling

after, or before, the brazen hunt for doubles singling

The mother-goddess sewing the great table-cloth of fate,

Tapestry of time, winding sheet, rushing stream,

a day too early, a day too late,

down from mountains of thunder-gods

to the banks of the Indus,

the sands of Byblos,

the killing ground of fair Iona

A lifeline-like songline born from the fires of a conflagration

Many-stepped disaster for a busting nation, foretold by asters

poking upward, inches beyond the spray of the great uncanny falls

to find, once more a flume’s foundation, earth-bound estranged,

endangered, a soul’s vocation.

Robert Knox

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent. As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, New Verse News, The Eunoia Review, and others. His poetry chapbook “Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty” was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He was the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.


dead man       dear dead more than one      dear dead bouquet

my own death in all your faces      dear gone away

the radio scribbles out the silence      silence erases the sound   no answer is an answer


what do I want to say to you now that your time and my chance are past

no matter      this page will be you      will do

dear ear wish you were here

this circle is want

mama papa gone away      come again another day

want      only the sound of the wind


Ditta Baron Hoeber is an artist as well as a poet.  Her poems have been published in a number of magazines including Noon, Gargoyle, the American Journal of Poetry, Juxtaprose, Pank, the American Poetry Review and Contemporary American Voices. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her first book, Without You: A Poem And A Preface is forthcoming in 2023. Her photographs, drawings and book works have been exhibited nationally and have been acquired by several collections both in the US and in the UK. More of her work can be seen at

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