north of oxford poetry

2 Poems by Lilah Clay


Photograph by Brian

A Weaving 
I feel like a sun dial.
That stone anchored
in field,
turning my shadow arm
around the day.
I always know what time
it is.
Time to pause,
turn away
from the foundation of the past
poured over
skeletons of bad doctors.


So the years cobble me together,
part invalid, part brilliant.
A weaving of yarn and river
that bandages my presence


Who mourns the soul
of an old barn
collapsing into firewood?
Who understands
the security of confinement
to rebuild anatomy
The Distance Crossed 
This cocoon you have spun
of silk, ink, scar tissue,
has summoned the irises
up from their winter graves
to watch you emerge
part sphinx moth,
part willow pressing forward
toward bone from buried roots.


So gently the transition
of embedded
to free legged,
only perennials
can sense the distance
from wood grain
to human
Lilah Clay is a writer, poet, and survivor of chronic Lyme. Her poems have been published in World Literature Today, Splash of RedHer CircleVine Leaves Literary JournalMarco Polo Arts Mag, and Ascent. Her current collection of poetry Bed, Window… Sky explores the imaginal realm of the last twenty months she has spent mostly in bed healing a back injury. 

nightmares no longer scare me by J.J. Campbell

nightmares no longer scare me
it’s the constant struggle
the never-ending dance
with pain
will you drink yourself
to sleep or to more liver
damage first
you look at your badly
damaged left leg and
wonder why you chose
to stop doing drugs and
just accept the pain
i look in the mirror
before i go to sleep
each night
nightmares no longer
scare me
loneliness is the only
friend that never let
me down
eventually, i’ll be an
old man
still talking to himself
still playing all the
old songs
still holding out hope
that dream woman will
walk through that door
hell, even a burglar
would be a welcome

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is currently trapped in suburbia, plotting his escape. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at Lucidity Poetry Journal, Fourth & Sycamore, Synchronized Chaos, Horror Sleaze Trash and Pyrokinection. You can find him most days waxing poetic on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (

Mockingbird Manages the Morning by Carol Hamilton


Photograph by mjeedelbr

Mockingbird Manages the Morning
despite sweet grass scents and hummings
from highway and military base
and the heads tucked to feeding dish
as the furry black and tortoise-shell cats
silently eat against the minor twits
and tweets of blackbirds lighting and
alighting the stretch of electric wires.
His insistent love pleadings outcry
even the squirrel’s acrobatic rustlings
in leaps from crepe myrtle to giant elm.
Ambulance siren laces voice
with car passing in front of the house.
But then squirrel takes the lead
with a metallic clatter as he bounces
off an ancient and unused martin house
Morning light is gentle and glosses
the slim trunks of crepe myrtle
yellow-green and lovely.
Now the squirrel does pom pom twirls
with his tail as he bounds on branches
and fence links near the cat dish.
And even the mockingbird has left
the squirrel to what now appears
to be his morning callisthenic routine.
At last all is muted in the soft air
telling me how rain will come tonight
                                                … perhaps.
carol ham

Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in Bluestem, Southwestern American Literature, Commonweal, Louisiana Review, Cold Mountain Review, Common Ground, Sanskrit Literary Magazine, U.S.1 Worksheet, Broad River Review, Homestead Review, Poem, Louisiana Literature, Haight Ashbury Poetry Journal, Off the Coast, Blue Unicorn, Birmingham Poetry Review, Pigeonhole and others. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has published 17 books in various genres.



Decent Gazelles by Ben Nardolilli

Decent Gazelles
Under the green light, our skins collide,
pendulous forms swinging until they twist
Into a basket of similar feels,
bundles of goosebumps bristling all over
Like ball bearings or rice,
we struggle to see who will pop first
Both of us know we look like aliens,
thanks to the neon generosity of the street
No need to back off into the dark,
only a reason to make first contact again
Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.

The Invalid by Frank Wilson

rain 2

Image by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

The Invalid
He lies upon the sofa staring out
The window at the rain. Lying about
Is what he does these days, his flesh in need
Of healing, though his spirit’s newly freed.
Few things he looks at now inspire dreams.
A knowing silence lately seen gleams
In mind and heart, transfiguring mere time
And gesture into hieroglyphs, sublime
Reminders every raindrop, every leaf
Engages every joy and every grief.
Frank Wilson is a poet and critic. You can visit him at Books Inq.

As if he is holding a sparrow by DS Maolalai


Photograph by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

As if he is holding a sparrow
you would write me these long letters
after you first moved back home
when we had only been together
a month or so
and they’d arrive, pages and yellow pages
looped in tiny hand writing
that spun little circles all along the paper
containing in them these tiny lovely parcels of your mind.
and when we would visit each other
I remember your eyes, big and drunken looking up at me
like something reaching out
and taking my heart in its fingertips.
they were so blue and round and lovely,
as if you were going to start crying
later on, but your mouth then
would be smiling at me.
and now, almost two years from when it started
I see the photographs of you
with this new guy, and your hand is on his shoulder
and his carefully around your waist
as if he is holding a sparrow
and afraid of crushing the bones.
and you look happy with him.
happier than I remember seeing you
for a long time.
it makes me want to knock the radio
onto the floor to see you looking like that.
but you were happy with me too, when it started.
Author Photo
DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press