Lullaby to Bacteria

May you sleep in slushy apples,

the acid mash of stomachs,

seafloor chimneys smearing

the deep with tartars of smoke.


I coo to poisonous beans,

noxious Botox twinkies,

and hum at naughty bonbons

of streptococci. Let your dreams


carry hordes through rotten tarns

and maggot guts. The world

needs your silent sawing:

wood to dirt, corpses to sand.


Waking, your tiny diamonds

dapple dog tongues and rain.

Your rancid flocks fester kisses

and ferment grapes to wine.


Eric Fisher Stone

Eric Fisher Stone is a poet and writing tutor from Fort Worth, Texas. He received his MFA in writing and the environment from Iowa State University. His publications include two full-length collections: The Providence of Grass, from Chatter House Press, and Animal Joy, from WordTech Editions.


Scaly edges pierce eggshell: my oval microcosm of speckled beige – limited, yet a thinly protective sphere.

Siblings dispersed, hatching to dilating day-lit skies and mother’s sheltering feathers.  Feather-winged, like her. Fitted into a puzzle. Her pieces.

Not so, this fate, for me.

My edges are sharp, toughened as steel cornices. I choke on flames – knowing I’m different.

I patter discontentedly, innately perceiving a world – one elongated ahead as taut elastic. One where scales are not accepted nor hot-flame breath. An existence where a man can crumble to ashy dust from a plume of distaste, cannot be tolerated. Mankind will view me as a villain: disdain pouring from clenched lips.

As fragments of shell cascade amidst held wings, unopened fans of propellent force, I admire belted rays of sunlight. Bands warm troughs and peaks of my verdant skin like a reduced in size mountain range. As my wingtips expand, more shell dispels, flaking before my beating heart.

Man will fear me.

They will come – summoning blood spill.

I sense hellish flair, even now, within teething, infantile hours, coursing vivaciously.

None will survive belly-deep roars, nor cast sight away to a more tender species, petting absentmindedly whilst entangling fingers into furred oblivion.

I am the future.

Here, and now, my clawed feet stomp the earth, grounding eggshell roots to powdery forgetfulness.

Upwards, I soar to shaky plains where God stands by an easel, casting futures with daubs of metallic paint.


Emma Wells

She is a mother and English teacher. She has poetry published with various literary journals and magazines. She enjoys writing flash fiction and short stories also. Emma won Wingless Dreamer’s Bird Poetry Contest of 2022 and her short story entitled ‘Virginia Creeper’ was selected as a winning title by WriteFluence Singles Contest in 2021. Her first novel is entitled Shelley’s Sisterhood which is due to be published in 2023.

Arrives Like the River

The scent of the river on his skin, late, hair and swimsuit wet from Barton Springs. Nine or ten at night, the candles dead. She’s fallen asleep or she’s pretending. It doesn’t matter, she’s nothingness, blue tulle and white dreams. He sheds the trunks, gets in her bed. With her face she seeks the warmth of the sun caught in his skin. Smooth hard chest almost bare of hair. River algae, spring coolness down below, gossamery sustenance, twirling iridescence. It’s loud inside his head . ‘You are full of noise,’ suddenly noticing her deep silence. ‘And drunk, or high, or both,’ she ponders without judging. ‘You are a strong woman’. ‘So?’ He doesn’t tremble but almost. It’s his way of telling her he’s afraid. ‘Shit, you’re not the one who’s almost fifty.’ Damn. Skin against skin, unique kisses. She stops. ‘Yes, it seems incestuous.’ He jumps back half a meter away, escaping. ‘Like mother and son???” His terror makes her laugh and love him all at once. She thinks, ‘No, like brother and sister.’ She means it. Like brother and sister is what it feels like. The skin is exactly the same, the curls, the primordial innocence. He returns to her and the story begins. It will be exactly eight times. The air lowers, breathes them, the earth rises to meet. A vast pool full of people left behind, both in the deep, dancing around each other, as if the water was a ray of sun and they water itself, everyone there, but gone.


Viviane Vives

Viviane Vives is a finalist of the Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry and the Pesserof Prize in Poetry, a semifinalist of the American Short(er) Fiction Contest by American Short Fiction and a nominee for Best of the Net Anthology. Recent publications include Tupelo Quarterly, Litro Magazine (London and New York), BurningwordReed Magazine, and The Write Launch. Website: 

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