My Father’s Body

I wasn’t prepared for the body

the stillness of it, a life muted,

how the gray sets in

how small a man can be.

The stillness of him, a life muted

in a hospital room, thin blankets

against his rails of bone

how the gray sets in,

the breath still in him,

I learned

how small a father can be

when I’m too afraid

to touch him.

to touch him

when I’m too afraid,

how hollow a father can be

I learned

to still breathe,

as the gray sets in

rails of bone, against

thin blankets, and his hospital room

in stillness, a life muted,

how gone a father can be

when the gray begins

stillness, our lives muted.

I wasn’t prepared for my father’s body.

Lisa Rua-Ware

Lisa Rua-Ware is a poet in central Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in San Pedro River Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Lily Poetry Review. When she’s not chasing her two rambunctious kids, she works as a technical writer, loves drawing, journaling, list making, and all things paper crafts.

John Perrault


—Sorry, We’re Open!


The young lady is served ribollita

with a fresh chunk of bread and a question:

What is it you prefer about a man—

his propensity to cheat—or to kill?


The young lady is perplexed—first time here—

stares at her soup, steps on her boyfriend’s boot,

knocks a can off the counter.  Young lady,

please don’t be upset.  We are all friends here.


Whatever you say, please—say it in Greek.

Or Italian.  Or even English.  Think:

here we are on the brink of disaster

and only you— your answer—can save us.


She thinks.  She says, “I don’t care for either.”

Her boyfriend smiles.  She smiles.  Emilio

smiles—like Socrates in the Agora:

Ah, good!  So then:  ta chrimata paidi mou.



In this Dark World and Wide


He lived inside his head; his lust

lay with books.  He read, he wrote.

(Some of his works are mind-numbing.)

He’ll go blind, they said, you watch.


And they were right.  One poor eye patched,

one weeping, there was no doubt—

(though he didn’t see it coming)—

that paradise was lost.


And going blind he made a list

of every angel God let

out of heaven—his mind combing

Lucifer’s by feel, by touch.


The dark night of the soul.  The match.

The smoldering intellect

smoking out free will.  That humming

in the wings?  His wife.  The last.



John Perrault

John Perrault is author of Jefferson’s Dream (Hobblebush Books), Here Comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River), and Ballad of Louis Wagner (Peter Randall). A Pushcart Nominee, John has published in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Christian Science Monitor, Comstock Review, Poet Lore and elsewhere. John is a former Portsmouth, NH poet laureate. His chapbook, Season of Shagginess, has just been published by Finishing Line Press.


She handed me her heart —

a red ceramic music box

she painted for me, kiln fired for me

in the heat of summer, in the dark

of basement, with tiny brushes,

shimmer chalk & glaze. Mamma

with her hair ragged back by gingham. Hands

knotted, tucking curls under cotton. Hands hinging

the lid & notes hammering. Mamma —

held out a heart that was hollow

as an empty cup, frigid as porcelain

beneath my palms those nights I stayed up

gripping the rim & waiting for the moon

to pass right through. My mamma

was girl, is a sunset at dawn, will be

an artist waking to breath’s echo in the sink.

This heart is a dam. The melody is a dam.

Her daughter is a damn opening

of the lid. She tells me the notes will play

a thousand times before the battery dies & she will live

for as long as I can make it last. Mamma —

molds mortality out of clay, leaves me

with a heart that defines the future

in terms of ration, in terms of choosing which days

are worthy of a play. Tomorrow is now

lifting the lid & listening for the time

when silence answers back.

Her heart is a fragile thief

I immediately break.

Lorrie Ness

Lorrie Ness is a poet writing in a rural corner of Virginia. When she’s not writing, she can be found stomping through the woods, watching birds and playing in the dirt. Her work can be found in numerous journals, including THRUSH, Palette Poetry and Sky Island Journal. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021 and her chapbook, “Anatomy of a Wound” was published by Flowstone Press in July of 2021.

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