The Last Day of January by Paul Ilechko

The Last Day of January
Ice is floating on the surface of the river     the water
appears to be motionless     looking like the skin
of ice is locking it into place     triangles of slush slowly
form in front of the great stone footings that anchor
the bridge     it’s as if the river is quietly creating
its own glaciers     and all we have to do is watch
downstream     there are rapids     it won’t be
long now until the shad are fighting their way
upriver     some of them will travel over three hundred
miles     some of them will be tangled in the great
sweeping nets where the Lewis Island fishermen
trawl the river bottom     just above the bridge
for almost two years now we have been frozen
in place      we no longer seem able to create new
memories     most of us will reappear on the other
side of this endless winter that we are traveling through
many of us will not     caught in the nets that were
randomly cast     fins thrashing     gills bursting for air.
Poet and songwriter Paul Ilechko lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. He is the author of several chapbooks. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Feral Journal, Iron Horse Literary Review, Gargoyle Magazine, and Book of Matches. His first album, “Meeting Points”, was released in 2021.


Two Poems by Leonard Kress

Orpheus Autopsied
When cops and doctors finally found the crime
scene, and retrieved the soggy, mangled, headless
corpse, they could now officially buttress
what they’d previously only been able to presume
with the singular fact that his heart had a hole.
They could not determine, though, if he was born
with it (which might explain his early turn
to poetry and ascendency) or if it was his role
as lover-losing-beloved that burned through
or whittled out that hole. Or his descent
to the underworld, where some monster meant
to wound him on his way. Or losing her through
foolishness again—that gaze that can pierce
a heart. Or maybe, his final lonely life
hunting down poetry, and the ultimate strife
that life entails. They couldn’t even deduce
how common it was among poets—this affliction.
After all, they’d have to kill them first to find
out, or disinter too many tombs with no funds.
There were limits, of course, to their speculation.


Serial Killer
The most famous serial killer-rapist ever
lived for a while in my old neighborhood
50 years ago, only now public
and those who still live there
and those who ventured far
revel that they almost intersected
with infamy.
He stayed with his grandfather for the year
though no one remembers him
(the boyishly hunkish miscreant)
but grandpa’s
a different story.
Screamed at kids who ventured near
his flower beds
stiffed workers
sold blighted shrubs
at the nursery he owned
and the kid who replaced his pads
at the local Chevron swore
he rode his brakes relentlessly
It was mostly the girls
(girls back then)
recalling two of his early victims
at the Jersey shore
(downa shore, they would have said)
Praise God
it wasn’t one of us
hitch-hiking alone the Black Horse Pike
to weekend in Ocean City
all family and dry
then sneaking cross
the causeway to Somer’s Point
to drink with college guys.
Was it him, one wonders
who picked me up
tossed my backpack in his trunk
complained the whole way
about his broken wrist
his cast decorated with hearts
Thank God
I didn’t accept the pill
he offered after popping
one himself.
Those poor girls
they all chimed
could have been us
under the boardwalk
at dusk, beach patrol busy
with fires and their own pickup lines.
They still haven’t admitted
to boyfriends (some who became husbands)
who they let pick them up
wriggle off the two-piece strap
from peeling sun-burnt freckled shoulders
and the soothing beery lick
impossible to stave off
even if they wanted to—
Crystal Blue Persuasion
on the transistor by now
half-buried in the sand.
Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex and Walk Like Bo Diddley. Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz. Craniotomy Sestinas appeared in 2021. He teaches philosophy and religion at Owens College in Ohio.

Two Poems by Laura Johanna Braverman

My Husband On A Ladder Picking Olives
                        Late afternoon
and I sit at the marble garden table. The moist heat
of summer dried up, a tarp is piled wide
with olives ripe
                                    for brining.
When we lived seven floors up
            olives were things in glass jars. And what
was brining—
                        or October—?
His head is somewhere among the silver-sided leaves.
Twigs shift
            as his hands rummage and reach.
                                                He drops each stone fruit
into a bag hanging from a branch,
                        handles strain against the weight.
But it’s the light I want to talk about—
                        the way it slants through tree twists and gaps,
lands on coastal soil in amber splatters
            and sets the yellow grocery bag aglow.
How, in a few hours
                        this late-year day will have gone.
            He’ll board a plane.
                                    But for now:
the unburdened tree, the fruit-bearing light—
all between.
Of Weeds and Broken Things
Left undisturbed
the soil nests those seeds abandoned to the wind—
traveling cast-offs come to rest
            between the rows of olive trees.
I wish I knew the name
of every bloom and stem. A patch there
looks like coriander lace.
Another, a clustering of rocket leaves—
            amid the green
are modest flares of white and gold and lilac,
tiny sisters of bud and aster.
But when the ground is cleared—
            red earth turned and tilled, remnants
of a different ordinary
come unburied :
                        a rounded chip of glass, a sliver
                        of painted porcelain.
I bend for a jagged corner
of white ceramic tile, its mortar ridges
caked in coastal soil.
Little artefact
of someone’s kitchen, bath.
            Of a life.
Laura Johanna Braverman is a writer and artist. Salt Water, her first collection of poetry was published in 2019 by Cosmographia Books. Her poems have appeared in Plume, Levure Litteraire, Sky Island Journal, New Plains Review and Pratik, among other journals, and in the anthology Awake in the World, II. She recently earned her MA in poetry and will begin PhD studies this fall, both at Lancaster University. She lives in Lebanon with her family.

Two Poems by Layla Lenhardt

Tomato Flakes
“Oh you’ve got green eyes, oh you’ve got blue eyes, oh you’ve got grey eyes” – New Order
I keep you hidden
in my bedside table,
or buried between my legs.
And at times, we don’t speak.
On the day we saw the moss
covered pond next to the house
that knelt on the hillside, I swore
I could say your name forever.
Your hand was entwined in mine,
like bodies in Pompeii.
You feed me artichoke
hearts from the jar. And loving
you is always eating from the
same bowl, stained bedsheets,
never-have-i-ever in Adirondacks.
It started with your skin, peeling
like a birch tree, the sun spilling
through the door jamb. You
carried with you the salty
air of the Atlantic.
It ended with a hurricane
bridges washed away,
roads buckled, I no longer
lick your wounds, paint
your nails. Send you photos.
And missing you is like
trying to tame a wildfire.
Cece & Silvino
I wish I could take every path. I wish
I could let such carnivorous aliens
bloom between my hip bones. I wish
I could hold little fingers in my hand,
give you your first palm readings, make
dandelion wine to take to Nona’s.
There’s no easy answer. I’d adore you
for a thousand years, and a thousand
years after that. I’d spend an eternity
memorizing your freckles, speaking your
names, but the gold around my
finger is heavy and unnatural, motherhood
is complicated. I’m not cut for this
I’d be a bird, feeding you what I’ve already
digested, straining out the bad parts. I’d
Let you fill the moon. But I’d never be
ready. I can’t re-write my mercurial DNA,
I can’t make my bones need something they don’t.
Each month I will bleed and each month
he’ll travel further and further away. He’ll burry my jewels
in the dirt, throw my heirlooms in the ocean.
The decision is my zeitgeist
so I’ll keep my mirrors sheeted,
and I’ll let him tell them I didn’t
want you. It’s his way of healing.
But know, if I could take every path, that you would be my
Full Moon in Taurus, an earth shaking,
thundering, explosion of love.
Layla Lenhardt is a queer poet who splits her time between Indianapolis and Philadelphia. She is Editor in Chief of 1932 Quarterly. She has been most recently published in Rust + Moth, Sad Girls Club, Poetry Quarterly, and Pennsylvania Literary Journal.  www.laylalenhardt.com

Two Poems by Alan Catlin

The Photographer
Near death
she reclaims
her long
Art: taking
pictures of her
fellow travelers
along the ward;
barely able to
stand herself,
she holds a camera,
focuses a lens,
she sees all
that has been
missing in her
life, all those
years past,
the ones that
will never come.
Death and the Maiden
Listening to Schubert
as the candle
burns out
the bent wick
in a puddle
of drying wax
the junk littered
room, torn curtains,
broken bed frame
we know exactly
how this ends but
not when
Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full length books including, most recently, Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh (Dos Madres) Memories Too (Dos Madres), Sunshine Superman (Cyberwit) and a fictional memoir about his bar jobs , Chaos Management (Alien Buddha).

Two Poems by Rustin Larson

Lawn Ornament
Buddha, seated with four disciples, looks like my grandmother, same squarish face and long earlobes, same hairdo, topknot she’d put under a net before she went to work at the egg plant, the disassembly line, so to speak, white ovals conveyed for candling and then powdering for armed forces overseas. After work she’d slip on Buddha’s housecoat– a few ocher stripes, some emblems of orchids– she would drink her tea, silently, ceremoniously, the center of a circle of ghosts.
Carroll Street
in Brooklyn is probably still there, as familiar to millions as Ingersoll is to me. The fall turns to parchment. Every leaf is blank. Every leaf has something written on it, held under a slanted evening light. In a slanted evening light in Brooklyn someone sips Irish Creme from a snifter and lays down a pair of hearts. Someone shoots the moon; another person is sure she has enough for the ride, and yet another
waits for her shift in the department store to end so she can make her photography class. Meanwhile, a man in a dirty coat is followed by six genuine devils who want to eat him. A priest is doing laps in the pool at the Downtown Athletic Club, his mind a transcendental blank as he touches the wall and curves back. In the afterlife, three people sit around a kitchen table. They’ve just finished turkey and all the
trimmings and now they are settling into cigarettes and coffee and beer and better conversation than they ever had in life. The big, bear- like man with the glass eye says he is “Mighty Hunter” and pounds his smoke-filled chest. A fourth person, the grandmother, walks into the kitchen now with a jar of sour pickles. The light is a cloud-covered yellow. There is a sandy soil garden full of zucchini and cucumbers outside. They talk and talk about the Catholic Church and Christmas and Easter and how their funerals were all a bit disappointing, aggravating and yet balming when someone spoke a kind word or offered an earnest prayer. The houses they live in are their favorites from life. They, each, are not quite ready to choose a new identity– rebirth seems like a cold bath. So here they sit, taking turns in each other’s kitchen and home, an endless supply of cigarettes and coffee and beer cleared unnoticed from the table every endless hour.
Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry East, The Atlanta Review and other magazines. Crazy Star was selected for the Loess Hills Book’s Poetry Series in 2005. Larson won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino magazine in 2000 and has won prizes for his poetry from The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation among others. A five-time Pushcart nominee, and graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival in 2002 and 2004, a featured writer in the DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts in 2007, 2008, and has been highlighted on the public radio programs Live from Prairie Lights and Voices from the Prairie. He lives in Fairfield, Iowa.

North of Oxford Presents – National Poetry Month @ Chase’s Hop Shop – 4-30-22



North of Oxford Presents


National Poetry Month @ Chase’s Hop Shop

7235 Rising Sun Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19111

April 30th – 2pm to 5pm

Poets Reading 

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Charles Rammelkamp, Sawyer Lovett, Ezra Solway, Jane Rebecca Cannarella, Paul Ilechko, Cleveland WallCarl Kaucher, Dave Worrell, Michael Griffith,

Host – g emil reutter 



chase logo

Chase’s Hop Shop




Pandemic of Violence Anthology

Topsy Turvy

Featuring poets Howie Good, Rustin Larson, Susana H. Case, Dee Allen, Alex Carrigan, Naila Francis, MaryAnn L. Miller, Megha Sood, Steven Croft, TS Hawkins, Lauren Camp, Chad Parenteau, Henry Crawford, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Michael T. Young, M.J. Arcangelini, J.C. Todd, Antoni Ooto, Byron Beynon, Jane ‘SpokenWord’ Grenier, Linda Nemec Foster, Sean Howard, Brian Donnell James and Greg Bem


Most Read Poets 2021

Most read poets 2021 based on readership 


Two Poems by Byron Beynon



Cantata by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright



Howard Beach: Queens, NY by Doug Holder



Leave Meeting by Bruce E. Whitacre



A Familiar Street, Unknown by Brian Rihlmann



When my dad created god by Jane-Rebecca Cannarella


Two Poems by John Dorroh


Canal BW

Wild by Paul Ilechko



Two Poems by Catherine Zickgraf



Two Poems by Mark Tulin