My own words ricochet

back into my face,

splintering flesh,

with the impact

of mindless syllables

muttered under my breath,

barely audible

but heard nonetheless.


Words spewed

into the atmosphere,

involuntary but vile,

words I should have vomited

into any empty vessel

and plugged with

a lead stopper.


Words spilled

onto sacred ground,

scattered in a garden

for the innocent

to find like tantalizing

red berries

on a poisonous bush.


by Gloria Heffernan 

Gloria Heffernan’s poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, has been accepted for publication by New York Quarterly Books. Her chapbook, Some of Our Parts, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. In addition, her work has appeared in over fifty journals including Chautauqua Literary Journal, Stone Canoe, Main Street Rag, Columbia Review, Louisville Review, and The Healing Muse.

john sweet

in a room, blindly


Not lies, really,

but truths that can’t be proven.


The ghosts of Aztecs,

of Incas.


Parking lots.




Man rolls the dice to see which of

the children will starve,

and then the bomb goes off.


Seventeen dead, blood everywhere,

the pews of the church on fire.


The runoff from the mill

dumped into the river.


Close your eyes and picture it.


The first time we met and then,

two years later,

the first time we made love.


Oceans on every side of us,

wars to the south,

to the east,

and I told you you were beautiful.


Had no words beyond that,

only abstractions.


Only need.


Thirty seven years old and

suddenly no longer blind and,

in the mountains,

the killers were making new plans.


In town,

the streetlights were coming on.


It seemed almost possible

we would find our way home.


aesop’s blues


in the cold white light of

febuary mornings

in the shadows of obsolete monuments

where we no longer touch


this is the world defined by

indifference and rust


this is a handful of salt held out

to christ while he dies on the cross


a gift without meaning

or offered with nothing but malice


a man walking slowly across

the frozen river and

then gone


sends his love

which is worth nothing at all


by john sweet

john sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. His latest collections include APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press) and the limited edition chapbooks HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (2018 Analog Submission Press). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Blue Glass

Blue Glass

by Steve Ausherman

Steve Ausherman is a poet, painter and photographer who lives in New Mexico. Throughout his life, his mercurial personality and restless nature have driven him towards travel and exploration of both the man-made and natural world. His paintings are filled with the rich colors of the American Southwest and his poems are reflections upon travel, family, and wilderness. His camera accompanies him on trips near and far, and allows him to make images that capture his experiences in literal, conceptual and poetic ways. Free time finds him exploring the backroads, hiking trails and mountain ranges of the American West with his wife Denise.

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