Martha Catherine Brenckle

Phantom Limbs

When you burn your life down

to nothing


it takes a long time to rise

years of reaching out


With or without feathers, the sifting

through ashes, burnt bone, table legs


is difficult work: a shoe lace, a blue button, scraps of leaf colored silk

you don’t remember wearing


Memories you can’t recover, sing and itch like phantom limbs

you feel but cannot see


The eggs you crack for breakfast

held promise once


Home on Your Back

Every horizon is an invitation to start over

you remember this line as you make coffee

in the French press you unpacked earlier

you can’t remember who told you this

or if at the time it helped.


From the back porch, you look east

to the yet unopened sky

partially blocked with shrill green needles

huge pale gray clouds hover overhead

a hint of pale yellow showing through

you will see morning before light sparkles across the marsh

with its smells of sawgrass, earth, decay


not what your roots know.

Anxiously your toes curl

origins thin and pale under the balls of your feet

crimped inside your soul, not ready to dig down

to connect the familiar

with the unfamiliar


Behind you, boxes sit unopened

full of kitchen things wrapped in newspapers

furniture pushed into empty spaces

you will trip over chairs for weeks

until muscle memory takes over

and you make what you have carried here

home, another home


The only familiar sound is your breathing

orange brushes of words from other mornings

trapped in warm coffee, you hold

your youngest daughter balanced

on your hip, head buried in your neck and shoulder

her sticky sweet drool mixes with new smells


you try to imagine this is the place you live

your baby child oblivious of the world outside

her immediate view

encased in the husk of half sleep

her scent as known as your own

love me how big she mumbles into to your cheek.


A Cooper’s hawk flies over head, named for you

by the long sweep of its wings, the white tips of feathers

a predator you have seen before

you take refuge in its shadow

stretch your left arm wide like a bridge

girded between before and now

“This big,” you tell your daughter, “this big”


by Martha Catherine Brenckle

Martha Brenckle teaches writing and rhetoric at the University of Central Florida. Publishing both poetry and fiction, sha has published most recently in Driftwood, The Sea Journal, Broken Bridge Review, Lost Coast Review, and New Guard Literary Review among others. In October 2000, she won the Central Florida United Arts Award for poetry. Her first novel, Street Angel, published in 2006 was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and a Triangle Award and was a Finalist for Fence Magazine’s Best GLBT Novel for 2006. Her short story, “Nesting Dolls” has been nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize.

Untitled, Black

Untitled, Black

Untitled, Black


by Stephen Curtis Wilson

Wilson is a graduate of the fine arts program at Illinois Central College, East Peoria, Illinois, and received his B. A. from the University of Illinois. He is a juried Illinois Artisan for Photography through the Illinois State Museum. During his 35 year professional career as a communication director and specialist, he was a generalist and executive ghost writer, photographer, designer, and media-relations manager. A regionalist photographer, his images have recently been juried into exhibitions in Rhinelander, Wisconsin; Portland, Oregon; Fulton, Missouri; Springfield and Freeport, Illinois, among others. His work can be viewed at



lone mockingbird

perches on oak branch

holds his early service




benevolent din

spreads her arms

around hushed church



wind whirls

whips crusty leaves at

anxious autumn



cloaked in mystery

harmonies brush callused fists

rub tear stained cheeks

tongues of light

dance radiant lament

through stained-glass



sudden quiet—

has earth stopped turning

all trees frozen, seas dried up?



Dies Irae wafts over

undulating shoulders

stooped in wooden pews

choir incants

endless tangle of Latin

sounds anguish me—numb



rain begins weeping—

aeternam, aeternam, aeternam

sobbing, bleeding onto fresh-dug grave


*Inspired by Mozart Requiem- Catholic Mass for the Dead
Dies Irae- Day of Wrath, Aeternam- Eternal


by Marianne Lyon

Marianne has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.

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