A Silver-haired bat out of Hell’s Kitchen

took a shortcut through Central Park, stopping briefly for brunch

at the old sheepfold aka Tavern on the Green. (Ever hard to please

New Yorkers prefer Cavern on the Green). Well pleased he was

with the new menu from which he sampled the warm squid salad,

 

followed by a small plate of Cremini mushrooms with Cabrales cheese

and red chili. Since he was nearby, and the museums beckoned

he returned their calling there to hang from lights and ponder

the Phillips Collection, most especially the Rothko Room. Once more

 

filled with awe, the bat out of Hell set sail for the Guggenheim’s

Twombly collection. His favorite palate chaser after the quiet room.

No one expects a bat, one on a day-pass from Hell, to be out

during the day, much less face to face, with canvas and frame, although

 

some find the orange tinted sunglasses off-putting and over the top,

even for a bat out of Hell. As a card-carrying Patron level member,

he is entitled as such to see what can be seen, and often more.

 

Richard Weaver

The author hopes to one day once again volunteer with the Maryland Book Bank, CityLit, the Baltimore Book Festival, and return as writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub. His pubs: North American Review, crazyhorse, New England Review, Southern Quarterly, Loch Raven Review, & Poetry Magazine. He’s the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992), and provided the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars (2005), performed 4 times to date. Recently his 135th {Ir}Rational Narrative, aka prose poem, was published. He was one of the founders and PEd of the Black Warrior Review.

The Mystery of Water

Scientists find strange black ​‘superionic ice’ that could exist inside
other planets – Argonne National Laboratory, 10/28/21

Water, vapor, ice – glass

half full, steam from the kettle,

frost on the windshield

 

I thought I knew what

I needed to know about

water’s phases

 

But now scientists crush water

between two diamonds and heat it

with a laser

 

It makes weird, hot, black ice

they say, and there’s lots

of it in the universe

 

Maybe it’s how icy planets form

 

Maybe it shows how much

we’re still learning, how much

we still have to learn

 

And if there’s more to know

about water, just think of earth,

air, and fire

 

Sally Zakariya

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her publications include Something Like a Life, Muslim Wife, The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, and When You Escape. She edited a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table, and blogs at www.butdoesitrhyme.com.

Watching the Bats Fly Out

This time, I will begin at the ending.

That house burned in the fire

along with all of the others

in Larkin Valley.

 

But by then, the bats were gone.

 

I keep returning to this poem

that draws me to a late autumn afternoon

when my niece and I sat in lawn chairs

facing her house. Just after sunset,

 

a dark shape appeared

from a crack under the eves,

grew larger and left

on its jerky flight.

 

Then came another

dark shape

and another until

the bats had all flown out.

 

We pulled on our sweatshirts,

poured white wine

and waited for the stars

to begin their display.

 

Patricia L. Scruggs

Patricia L. Scruggs lives and writes in Southern California. In addition to her poetry collection, Forget the Moon, her work has appeared in ONTHEBUS, Spillway, RATTLE, Calyx, Cultural Weekly, Crab Creek Review, Lummox, Inlandia as well as the anthologies 13 Los Angeles Poets, So Luminous the Wildflowers, and Beyond the Lyric Moment. A recent Pushcart Prize nominee, Patricia is a retired art educator who earned her MFA at California State University, Fullerton.

Before Winter Exhales

Is death a seed born in us, growing unseen

ripening at some pre-determined moment

a heart stops, a car strikes, cancer takes a final bite

 

Is it possible to die a little slower or stretch time out

like a sleeping lion

or salt water taffy

 

Can you bargain with Time, haggling and hammering

out deals like a summit meeting

but holding hardly any chips, only a few memories

 

Like her first cry or moments of tidal love

that comfort you during the lean years

memories you are willing to exchange

 

For a minute, an hour, a day

can you wear Time down until, totally exhausted,

setting his scythe aside, consulting his ledger

 

fiddling with his abacus, doing the math

like your granddaughter struggling with algebra

making sure it adds up, nothing extra

 

Nothing left over

he looks at you with tunnel eyes, his brow

narrowed and gnarled

 

I am an old man he sighs, twirling

his white beard, scratching his ears

where rogue hairs have begun to sprout

 

He brushes away ash from a burned out star

before handing you a scrap of paper

three days

 

You write your lover’s name on it

postponing phantom pain

written in the black glyph of forever

 

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, Enizagam 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.

Political Theory

We track this slow animal in the snow

because it leaves a blood trail

 

and we think that makes it vulnerable

But then it circles back

 

breaks the trap and eats the bait

and suddenly disappears

 

Or comes up behind us

to prove its fangs are real

 

and at the same time

whispers to us in a soft voice

 

It lives in artefacts

among monuments and ruins

 

and at night drinks and carouses

and knocks on doors with its pommel

 

touting a swashbuckling history

But then finally grows old

 

and into a child again

was when it was first only a word

 

delicate as freedom or liberty

dried into a fragile antiquity

 

subtle as synapses in the brain

or the language of animals

 

Sing louder they say

and it will leave us alone

 

and when we dream of flight

it proves to us we have not

 

the wisdom of birds

 

George Moore

George Moore’s collections include Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016). He has published poetry in The Atlantic, Poetry, Arc, North American Review, Stand, and Orion. Nominated for seven Pushcart Prizes, and a finalist for The National Poetry Series, he presently lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

Yard Signs for the Apocalypse

In This House We Believe In

ironic paraphernalia

jumbled typefaces

blogs that pant and drool

speaking with the manager

In This House We Believe In

crocheted beanies

scrapbooks of static

the latent philosophy of tater tots

Bundt cakes that know how to testify

In This House We Believe In

pinball melodies of washer/dryer combos

chihuahuas that wear lipstick

futures that refuse their present

therapists who prescribe cages in cages

In This House We Believe In

waters we’ve stepped in

the salt & pepper of the masses

the morbid quintain

and of course, sanctimonious final lines.

 

Rikki Santer

Rikki Santer’s poetry has received many honors including six Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eleventh poetry collection, Stopover, which is in conversation with the original Twilight Zone series was recently published by Luchador Press. Please contact her through her website: rikkisanter.com

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