A Beach in Search of its Soul

The sun had already vanished behind

the lights, while we were busy arguing over

a meal gone wrong. I turn to the sea

after the goodbyes with no handshakes or

kisses. The bins aren’t empty yet, of

the plastic bottles and spoons, paper cups,

sandwich wraps, and other unnamable

stuff. A lone seagull hovers above, but I’m

the least bit worried. An artist, with a

fast-burning cigarette in his mouth, carries

his unsold paintings – ‘Jesus and Uncle

Mephisto on a Fishing Trip’, ‘Amy

Winehouse’s Inward Gaze’, ‘Self-Portrait of

a Frog as an Artist’ and so on – back

to the store that’s going to be his studio at

night. There’s a man persuading

a reluctant dog on a leash to get back home,

to end its inane engagement with

a piece of dirtied cloth that looks like

a headscarf that must’ve flown off

too far from someone who might not have

bothered to get it back, or to cover

their head again. I let the dialogues, tones,

gestures, omission of words, choice

of food, and length of sighs from my recent

memories lap against a receding

conscience. They froth over the signs, soon

to be washed off like footprints on

the sand; the very same signs that’d pushed

me to this vast emptiness where a stale

breeze caresses me, amidst what’s lost, torn

apart, stolen, relinquished, or thrown

away for no reason, to the smug black bins.


Jose Varghese

Jose Varghese is an Indian author who has worked as an English teacher in colleges and universities in India and the Middle East. He is the author of ‘Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems’ and his short story manuscript ‘In/Sane’ was a finalist in the 2018 Beverly International Prize. He was a finalist twice in the London Independent Story Prize (LISP), a runner-up in the Salt Prize, and was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize. His works are published in Litro, Joao Roque Literary Journal, Haunted Waters Press, Tempered Runes Press, Cathexis Northwest Press, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, The Best Asian Short Story Anthology (2019 and 2021), The Best Asian Poetry Anthology (2021), Dreich, Live Encounters, Meridian – The APWT Drunken Boat Anthology, Unthology 5, Unveiled, Reflex Fiction, Faber QuickFic, and Flash Fiction Magazine.

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.

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