2 Poems by Arlyn LaBelle

sun car window
Girl threat
She learned her hunger from
the southern sun which laps
against car windows, blistering
pool water until it glitters like
a knife. Who could blame her,
her body licking like fire, known
to itself as her hips hum little
laundry songs. When you hear
hushed voices, you lean in.
A poem about my mother
I am writing a poem about my mother
the way I always do, through water, so
her body dilates. I cannot write her arms
a discernible length, her hands open
or closed, only her figure above and
the places I knew to go under my skin
where I could chime quietly. She taught
me how to hold my breath as she had
for years. I heard that she could sing
before I knew her.
Writer's Photograph (1)
Arlyn LaBelle is a poet and legal assistant living in Austin, Texas. Her poems have appeared multiple times in the Badgerdog summer anthologies as well as Words Work, Persona, The Missing Slate, The Blue Hour, LAROLA, JONAH Magazine, The Oddville Press, Songs of Eretz, Cease, Cows and The Southern Poetry Review.

2 Poems by Akshaya Pawaskar


Credit@Beryl Peters Collection/Alamy

Pandora’s Box
Summer burns like brain fever,
autumn the cold sweat drenching
the sheets and winter dead as an epoch,
with its mammoths and Sabre toothed tigers.
We are treading over them, have built
Edifices which tower like their tusks
and smell like this Holocene too is at
the cusp of its nihilism.
Fires are flogging without weight of a
Whip but dwelling blows as red as the welts
on tender skin. The winds have blown
the hymens of the sacred places and waters
let in and out of dams of abundance.
We are swimming like fishes till we evolve
Into gilled piranhas striking each other dead,
drifting ruthless for survival of the fittest.
Then we remember the lady made out of clay,
bestowed with beauty and forked tongue and
eschew from equating her to women though
some do for her curiosity and guile.
And from the box, a gift of god she was told
to open not, they say, she set all these demons
free, epidemics and calamities and there
she locked it just in time.
So hope still held captive. As we continue to
hold it so it clings back, symbiotic, a prisoner
of the pyrrhic war and we go to sleep in
all the pandemonium of a shrinking globe
and yet resurrect and
Hold the morning paper to our face shielding
the sun with its unfiltered rays, slowly eating us,
we take chunky bites of news and savor the flavor
on our inured tongues, pretending they are stories
from a parallel universe.
To the Avian Dreams
Cronus is eating his sons, down here in America to be invincible.
So all the children of this land are flying upwards, defying gravity.
Dreamers are born. They are obsessed with Icarus and
his wax wings
will not be the undoing of the modern day avian art of Daedalus.
We have better appendages now. Like poets we are rising
above the grime
to sublimity to other world of pagan gods where there
is of course a lyre
to wake the trees and stones from their slumber. Like Orpheus, we enchant
with guitar instead such that the third eye is opened to possibilities in midst
of barrenness and dryads come out to shock and dance on
the Florida sands.
Yet some still try to walk away instead of fly, trekking with their backpacks
filled with hopes if there be any left, oblivious to death approaching them
with headlights and fumes. They wave a good bye to dreams,
strawberries and distant memory of golden sunset filled
Akshaya Pawaskar is a doctor practicing in India and poetry is her passion. Her poems have been published in Tipton Poetry journal, Writer’s Ezine, Efiction India, Ink drift, The blue nib, the punch magazine, Awake in the world anthology by Riverfeet press and few anthologies by lost tower publications. She had been chosen as ‘Poet of the week’ on Poetry superhighway in 2016, featured writer in Wordweavers poetry contest and second place winner of Blue nib chapbook contest.

2 Poems by Nasim Basiri


photo by Hengameh Golestan , 1979.

Can’t Talk
searching for clues and glimpses
of paradoxical nature of reality
in tales of captivity of streets and valleys
empty of souls
empty of voices
these maimed and tortured bodies
Silver Colored Road
unable to run
with her shaking legs
and a whole melting sea
in her eyes
and the smell of tobacco
is burning her frozen toes
drying off wounds of a frightened mind
thinking of a silver colored road
through her visible skirt
smelling like dust and blood
Nasim Basiri is an Iranian poet and activist from Borazjan in the south of Iran. She currently lives in the United States where she works and studies at Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. Nasim’s poetry and other literary works depict the suffering of humans, political and gendered violence and address the injustices associated with marginalization and global apartheid experienced by people in the third world and the Middle East in particular.

Tell Them You Invited Me by Margaret A. Campbell


18th-century depiction of Odysseus and Calypso by Angelica Kauffman

Tell Them You Invited Me
Inside the refrigerator box, his voice
smells human. Hard to come by, he says.
I lie down, beside him, to show my sympathy.
He pulls away. This refrigerator had a spigot
for cold water and ice whenever you wanted it.
Whoever. Wherever. We play house.
I open my mouth wide to unveil the house
within, the roof over words, the voice’s
river, the tongue’s root, gnashing teeth. It,
haven to the last sigh of the first cry. He says
his is a cave of cavities and spigot
to his phlegm. He rejects my sympathy,
pithy words that siphon off the little sympathy
he harbors for me. He will visit my house.
It is far, but he channels Odysseus, the spigot
story teller of men coming home. Voices
flow through my here to everywhere, he says.
I offer him a ride. Like everything, he refuses it.
On scrap, I scribble my address. He hands it
back to me. I remember all. I send sympathy
cards to the bereaved. I put money away, he says,
I’m a lot like you. Weeks pass. I wait at my house
for him. You probably think I hear voices,
that I am lost at sea with a drip drop spigot
leak of good sense, that I forgot
how dangerous people can be; this is it,
my courtship finale. The coldest day, voices
serenade the door; he expresses sympathy
for the policeman who doubts that my house
is his destination. To me, he says,
tell them you invited me, he says,
he is the trouble I thirst for. Many a spigot
he fixed; he knows the bones of my house.
Wrap my arms around him so it
looks as if we fathom a sympathy-
infused embrace. That our voices
are one voice plus their voices. He says
tell them I am not afraid. I just forgot,
in antiquity, to give him the key to the house.


Margaret Campbell of Easton, PA has a BA in French from Muhlenberg College and an MA in Comparative Literature from NYU.  In 1995, she edited Family: A Celebration, a collection of essays, poems, and short stories about contemporary and non-traditional families with photographs by Joan Beard.  Since 2003, she worked with artists on installations at Lafayette College, Northampton Community College, and galleries in Long Island City: “Physical Sentences: James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Samuel Beckett,” “Housedress: the Sheltering Dream,” “Reading the Shared Hallucination,” “I Stand Here Ironing: Homage to Tillie Olsen,” and “Linguaduct: Diagrammed Sentences from Here is New York.”  The Journal of the American Medical Association published “Still Life Within the Painter’s Heart,” “Hands,” and “The Dust Bowl of My Elbow.” Fox Chase Review featured eight Abstract Poems and the American Journal of Nursing published “The Vessel of a Nurse’s Voice.”  Lehigh Valley Vanguard featured numerous poems.


The Natural World by Judy Kronenfeld

The Natural World
                        for DNK
A full North moon
glides up behind my shoulders
over the black lake
on which I dream I am rowing
whose shores are covered
in crusted snow—
like a radiant beneficence,
regal in beaten gold,
a powerful friend
who understands the comforts
of wordless closeness.
It silently swings
a censer of sheen,
flings purse after purse
of spangles and gleams.
And my oars drip gold
as I raise them to rest,
the gunnels drop stars
as the boat bobs
in the swells. How the liquid dark
spills awake, as if
warmed from within!
But my stark heart—even in
this dream brooding
on your frightening diagnosis—shivers
in my chest, and my cold hands unfold
only helplessness.
Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent books of poetry are Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech, 2012), and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition (Antrim House, 2012)—winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Ghost Town,  North of Oxford, Pedestal, Rattle, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other journals, and in two dozen anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing, UC Riverside, and an Associate Editor of Poemeleon. 

2 Poems by Jean LeBlanc

Snatching the Body
If you are lucky, the night is coolish and dry. Especially dry. At least the ground is not compact, amenable to being moved yet again. If there are stars, you do not see them.
If one falls, blazing a trail across the heavens, it does so unnoticed. You have brought
at least one helper, but all mouths are mum, silent, tight-lipped, mute. Only the spades converse, an untranslatable slate, slate, slate in the receiving earth. And then the lid.
And then. A sign of the cross, or perhaps just brushing away a clod of dirt.
thousands of them each spring on the hillside high up where the snow melts slowly and there on the edge of snow/no snow did I say a thousand it’s more like stars on a clear night a sign of spring a promise though like any promise breakable shepherd’s tears it’s also called or shepherd’s folly because they are so beautiful these thousand thousand little blooms that we forget and a lamb wanders off or a wolf oh little lily this cleft of stony ground I sleep beside you and awaken crushed
Jean LeBlanc
I teach writing and literature at a community college in northwestern New Jersey. Teaching informs my poetry, inspiring me to imagine other times, other worlds—and the connections to our time, our world. My poems have been published in several collections, most recently A Field Guide to the Spirits (Aqueduct Press, 2015). Art and photography also complement my writing, pushing me to see in new ways.

Old Bones by Lou Gallo

Old Bones
When I swivel my neck now I hear
cartilage popping and although it feels good
I think instantly of old Hasdrubal of Carthage
leading elephants across mountains
and I think of the bones in our back yard
on Columbus Street that my dog Spottie
buried, dug up, buried again, sucking
out that sweet marrow, and I think too
of the catacombs in Mexico City
that terrified me as a child—and
still terrify me—and of course who could
not think of Ozymandias . . .
oh I think lots of things because
how intimate is ossification and better
gather the memories while you can
before the neck becomes less a conduit
and more a fossil, not grainy like Lot’s wife
but solid, I like to think, marble,
a work of art some sculptor might carve
into a skylark or turtle or tiny peacock
that winds up on the family mantle.
At the moment I stare at the meat
placed before me in the Ancient Steak House
and can’t help poking at the bone
with my fork fancying it might emit
a signal of sorts explaining the difference
between its situation now and before when it
lived inside a cow . . . and I think of angels
and ghosts and sprites and how one
might thrive without the bones
always left behind, eroding into dust
eventually, the skull and teeth and
fingernails and ribs and elbows,
the structure collapsed,  the thinking
over, the old bones, old bones.
Louis Gallo
Louis Gallo’s work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.