Our Children Are in the Fields Today by Cydney Brown

Our Children Are in the Fields Today
harvesting cherries, apples, onionswe will eat.
Our labor laws have flaws that make their dreams decay.
Their lives fray like sweaters
you wear when weather turns leaves from granny smith greens to
golden nectarines, pomegranates, and sunshine lemons.
Their days are sour
picking ripe cherries off trees
Monday to Sunday.
No sitting crisscross applesauce.
No sipping from their juice boxes.
eat your cherry pie in the autumn breeze.
eat your onion dip on football Sundays.
drink hot apple cider,
eat their fruit, dilute their dreams.
Our children try to be providers,
we hand them laws to mute their screams.
a child dies every 3 days
We look the other way and pray
before we eat.
Eyes closed, hands holding each other
I can feel the pulse of my mother
her heart still beats.
But the basis of the food we eat
puts scars and scabs on children’s feet.
Are you satisfied with the lies our country feeds us?
No labor laws protect our children from
pesticide poisoning, heat strokes, reds spots on their arms
33 children are harmed every day
Our children are working
until their bones can work no longer,
until their bodies become grass,
and get cut up like onions.
How many children will pass
before we pass the CARE act?
Don’t act like you care
how dare you profit off children?
Our children are in the fields today.
Numbed fingertips, they are stuck.
They get paid by pieces of fruit they place in a truck.
Cydney Brown is the 2020 Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate and author of Daydreaming. She is a Freshman at Northwestern University and has been writing poetry since she was in 5th grade. Brown has been featured in The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, 6abc, Philadelphia Citizen, and Fox29. She is the recipient of The Romero Scholarship For Excellence In Spoken Word. She is a Gold Award Girl Scout, recipient of The Good Citizenship Award, and Shine Global’s Youth Activist Award. Cydney wishes to inspire people to speak their truth and share her poetry with the world.


Calder at the Top of the Stairs by John Timpane

calder at the top of the stairs

Calder at the Top of the Stairs  

If this is modernism

         Why are you smiling?

                   Is it the light hanging

In nothing, ruby

           Triangle turning, leaf

                       Or teardrop train or

Dreamshape you

             Have never seen

                         Before turning

Answerably round the

            Ruby triangle? Is

                        It the invisible

Unavoidable, as in they 

             Will turn, at a speed 

                         Consulting nothing but the 

Declarations of independence 

               Of air and gravity? Is

                          It their delicate

Armatures, wires of

               Relation, family

                            Of place and force,

Cantilevers hiding

              Tensions, weights,

                          Poise and counterpoise,


            And designs

                        Inviting the sacrilege

Of touch to test how

              What hangs is hanging,

                          Feel, as Eden’s

Finger felt for

           Heaven’s, patterns-made-solid

                       Hauling against and with

(Which gets you kicked

             Out of the museum)?

                        Still smiling. Do you

            Remember that

You, too, hang

             Athwart and among

               Circlers, wanderers, brilliants,

             All the ellipses and rings –

Planets, blood

             Cells jostling down

                          Vascular sluiceways, wacky-

              Eyed fish, sycamore

Rookbursts, shockwaves

             Flowering, comic

                        Domino of cause into

              Effect, conga

Lines, timeframes,

            Interorbits of planned

And unplanned – and

            You, too, are

                       At play? Do

                                     You smile because

A man started this but

           His art lay in

                        Turning it loose, letting

                                     Go self into everything,

                                                   A universe of sightless

                                        Angels of influence at

                               Work, bulky, spinning

                  Pear of a planet, cross-

Pulling vector

             Fields, writhing

                         Magma, currents that

Never stop, never? As if

Watch what happens now 

           Were his only theme? Turn:

                       This blue orb gestures to

                                That black rhomboid. Turn

                                             Again: brand-new

Fingerposts in all

             Dimensions? Do you

                          Smile to recognize

                                      The marvel in this

                                                  Nameless moving? Isn’t

That predicament

Great? To live where

             Known and

Unknowable, these

            Shrapnels of

                        Joy, reshape the shape

We’re In? Drive

             To the child at the

                        Center? You’re still

Smiling. Do you assent? Did

You ever think you would?




John Timpane is former Commentary Page Editor (1997-2008) and Books Editor (2014-2020) for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com. His work has appeared in Sequoia, The Fox Chase Review, Apiary, Cleaver, Painted Bride QuarterlyThe Rathalla ReviewPer ContraSchuylkill Valley JournalVocabula ReviewWild River Review, and elsewhere. Among his books is a chapbook, Burning Bush (Judith Fitzgerald/Cranberry Tree, 2010). He is the spouse of Maria-Christina Keller. They live in New Jersey.

September in the Meadow by Robert Milby

September in the Meadow
The sky is a rough, grey frock—
nimbus insulated for October mists and frosts.
Libra breezes—less visceral than Virgo’s harvest bushel,
But her hair is a nest of red Oak and orange Maple leaves.
Virgo’s cowlicks are blonde hay the girth of her bale,
Ruled by September’s flirtatious weather.
The stone wall’s tenant farmers are relieved as are the meadow seed gatherers—
Summer has reached retirement.
Equinox apples blush in cool dew, amidst copper-tinged eyelids
Fluttering in hope for Autumn Sun.
Barn spider does not prefer fog,
Yet hangs moon kissed water droplets on gossamer tapestries.
But the sky is a rough, grey frock, nimbus insulated,
Worn by a lonely goose, shouting omens of Winter.
Robert Milby, of Florida, NY, has been reading his poetry in public since March, 1995. He has hosted 32 poetry readings series since Sept. 1995. Milby is the author of several chapbooks and books of poetry. He served as Orange County, NY Poet Laureate, 2017-2019.  www.robertmilbypoetry.com

Purple Flowering Grief by Brian Builta

Purple Flowering Grief 
We are so sad to hear about your loss,
the way it reminds us of the salt in the pie
and also because it’s Friday. Your husband
was a good man despite his dark pit.
That tranquilizer dart to the hindquarters,
cherished memories electrocuted
like Thomas Merton turning on a fan to dry off.
So many damp suicides to wade through.
How did we get here?
Thinking of you, your many mousetraps,
the derelict way you stare out the window
at all the sagging structures you used to know.
A glitch in the Godhead, love filched from clean hands,
the sprinklers ch-ch-ch all night
in the cricket sizzle as get well wishes
whirl in the wind. Your heart has sung
so many arias, so much music
wafting over mussels and candlelight
as the drawn back nature of the waiter’s hair
makes you want to draw back your defenses,
welcome the pain like a party favor,
a parting gift for so many bullseyes.
Brian Builta author photo
Brian Builta lives in Arlington, Texas, and works at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. His work has been recently published or is forthcoming in Jabberwock Review, Juke Joint Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review and TriQuarterly.

Demeter’s Song by Danielle Page

Demeter’s Song 
give her flowers, mountains of gold
chrysanthemums, bold lilies of that
strange valley, braid her hair of orange
with honor and bestow a world of
our own making.
teach her the ways of outlandish
society and dip her into sun-springs
of questions, spin her tales of fish
in the sky, the kind that cherish rapt
gazes and wither contempt—
give her flowers and she will braid
them into a crown of plucked,
perishing stems, and fearless,
she will leap into the pit,
Danielle Page is a truth-teller, writer, and educator. She is currently a professional writing tutor at High Point University and delights in working one-on-one with students. When she’s not reading up on composition theory, she’s scribbling in her moleskine journal, hiking a mountainous trail, or entertaining newfangled ideas for her poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Whale Road Review, Calla Press, The Raven Review, Celestite Poetry, Teach. Write. and The Amethyst Review.


They sit on the bridge by DS Maolalai

They sit on the bridge 
they sit on the bridge.
cluster as close
as the round bulbs of road-
swollen blackberries,
dusty with travel. drinking beer
and port wine and they smoke and eat
sandwiches over the water
which moves slow as they do,
a rolling black gruel into estuary.
sometimes a woman passes, and they
will say something – I know it is
threatening, but there’s no malice
there (though you would have to live
nearby to know that) any more
than there is when you reach
into brambles and hurt yourself,
picking a berry. the night
sets around them – it lays
like a dog at a table. they take it
as company, put out their hands.
occasionally, under the bridge,
there’s a swan kicking forward
in peaceful grey stateliness
or the floating crushed wreck
of a beercan.
DS Maolalai’s  poetry has been released in three collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016), “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019) and Noble Rot (Turas Press, 2022)

2:24 a.m. by Michael A. Griffith

2:24 a.m.
Train blurs going past
    2:24 on my radio’s green screen
night darkness except the cross-arms’
    red lights flashing
the sound  the strobe  the noise
    of   motion as I sit  still
warning bell clanging   still
    coming home from O’Keef’s
the noise thrumming   thunder over
    Hotel California — my head bobs in time
my head bobs in time my head bobs
                                    I see a face.
    There’s a small face  bright
bright  a flash as the long train passes   still passing
    the yellow cars maroon cars graffitied cars pass
    Eyes meet   he sees me  he sees
as the high note of the guitar solo rings
    to meet the wailing bell
Sees the truck now behind me   headlights
    glare in my rearview   engine loud as the train
train now done and the gate arms rise
    high-beams me and revs  engine heat like
monster’s breath    See
    the driver’s arm thrust  waving  long
shouts   horn blaring
    so I go
drive into the eyes
still there

Griffith Photo (1)Michael A. Griffith began writing poetry while recovering from a disability-causing injury. Three chapbooks: Bloodline (Soma Publishing), Exposed (Hidden Constellation Press), and New Paths to Eden (Kelsay Books). He lives near Princeton, NJ.




Where Mr. Penasky’s check went by Morgan Boyer

Where Mr. Penasky’s check went 
All of your missing rent checks
migrate to live on an island of lost
office documents. The moment
you slot them into the mailbox,
they grow plastic wings and flutter
out the dust-covered window of your
A/C-lacking flat above Mike’s Gyros Shop
where they have the $6.99 chicken
tender basket special on Wednesdays
So while you sit on a bar stool with deflated fluff,
like meth-addicted sheep, filling your veins with greasy
fried cholesterol since it’s all you can afford on a $10 an hour,
your missing rent check
is fighting a giant ground sloth
on a white-sanded beach
in the Bermuda Triangle.
Morgan Boyer is the author of The Serotonin Cradle (Finishing Line Press, 2018) and a graduate of Carlow University. Boyer has been featured in Kallisto Gaia Press, Thirty West Publishing House, Oyez Review, Pennsylvania English, and Voices from the Attic. Boyer is a neurodivergent bisexual woman who resides in Pittsburgh, PA.

Swallowtail by Gloria Monaghan

The blue butterfly emerges along the path in the dunes
low to the ground near Queen Anne’s lace:
polyxenes, swallowtail
whatever name you call her,
she is like the dust on your ankle in the heat of July.
An early slipper moon, Venus
each one present in the other’s view.
Years ago men wrote about the moon,
called her Cynthia, as if it were a woman so close to their heart
held in early autumn like the forever beat
of high summer when clothes fall away from the body
in some sort of sad departure.
An early green tiny worm made its way
into my home, and I opened the door and set it free.
Gloria Monaghan is a Professor at Wentworth University. She has published five books of poetry. Her poems have appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, NPR, Poem-a-Day, Nixes-Mate, Mom Egg Review, among others. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and the Massachusetts Book Award. Her book False Spring was nominated for the Griffin Prize.