Shoshana Tehila Surek



Like the Mississippi River where the Rock River cuts the Rock Island Arsenal bridge in three. Like heavy clouds in that evening period when birds huddle in nests to await the next. When a single bat cuts sky too early for the mayfly too late for robin. Like threats of let loose. Like cover, like hands over mouths, like breath. Like heat. In eddies where remains of my best friend were bagged, after bound, after held, after down. Like heavy and shut. Like what I call God, what I call Heaven, what I call Green. Where sand holds ankle, promise, and anklet. Bones trace fern. Memory trace warning sign. I sit on the second truss, halfway suspended, awaiting the storm.





stumbles to wall

catches with skin

slides to floor


He can feel Her.

He can feel Her.

He can feel Her.



closes window

draws curtains

turns gold

into patina

into green

into oozing

scabs upon canvas


No surprises

He says


Or he doesn’t. Not with hands.


falls into child’s pose

canary knees exhausted

postulates to her to her to her


She watches him

until he falls asleep


Shoshana Tehila Surek

Shoshana Surek received her MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University. Her essays, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, can be read or are forthcoming in Carve Magazine, december Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Malahat Review, Vestal Review, Cease, Cows, 3Elements Review, and f(r)iction Magazine. In 2017, She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she is a 2019 Curt Johnson Prose Award finalist. More of her work can be found at

Too Late?

Albert     did you really say

science without religion is lame


Did you repose under constellations

hour-less nights     no calculations     no formulas

knowing infinity lives in cosmic sparkle     hoping

to stir eons of wonderment


When in deep contemplation     did a welling-up

ferry you into timeless paradise     priests call heaven


I ask you if this sacramental suspension

could be a black hole     final grave     consuming us


Tonight      blackness swallows me


Imbibed by inky abyss     turned inside out

reshaped     silent


I wonder of my finality    earth’s extinction

the fate of pondering


When you reveled under constellations

hour-less nights     did you implore God

that this luxury      not be something

time forced you leave behind


Did you write a verse     incant an intercession

invite tempus fugit back     over and over?



Conversation with Albert Einstein


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.

Stop a Second

It wasn’t a very good time at all, not good.  Edward Whitley stood in the corner like an old floor lamp.  He wasn’t looking at anything.  His beady little eyes just sat there like the last two peas on a plate, lost in some thought, away from everything around him.  Winnie Spencer was passing out homemade peanut butter cookies, a good thing to do, but there weren’t many takers.  It wasn’t that out of place.  This was peanut country.  Everybody loved a peanut.  It’s what made Southampton County tick.

Why is it that the more miserable a time you’re having the slower it seems to move?  It sounds reasonable, even true, but why, really?  Emma Pattersoll’s little girl was sitting on the floor in her best Sunday dress, petticoat and all, playing jacks   The ball bounced and she’d grab one. Then she’d do it again.  George Spencer chewed Beechnut.  He had a sort of slow rhythm to it. The last thing anybody needed was a clock.

Wade and Wayland Bennett were identical twins.  It wasn’t until Wade died that anyone could tell them apart.  “So, that was Wade,” someone said looking down into the open casket.

“Wade was the silly one.  He had a mole.”

The funeral home man said, “I was expecting a bigger crowd.”

“Yes,” said Rosalie Bennett Poole, “I can’t understand it.  Wade was such a good man.  There weren’t no other man like him.”

“People just don’t pay respect the way they used to.  They don’t come out.”

“I know.  I know.”

“I always figured Wade Bennett to be queer,” said Charlie Ingram.

“For land sakes Charlie, don’t say that. Don’t say it so loud.”

“Hell, I thought that was Wayland.”

“Well, it don’t matter now.”

“Cookie?” said Winnie Spencer cheerfully.


James William Gardner

James William Gardner writes extensively about the contemporary American south. The writer explores aspects of southern culture often overlooked: the downtrodden, the impoverished and those marginalized by society. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.



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