“By Request” by Richard King Perkins II

You’re on stage




Sweet Jane



shoulders leaking bad whiteness


into a vortex

of mysterious chords.


You finish with a subdued flourish

and only one person claps


but you’re not in the least bit



because that’s



Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

“Bard” by Robert Beveridge

A slight taste of bitter

almond beneath the ever-

present pomegranate. You chewed

a seed, eyes far

away, rosined your bow.


Once again it was time

to play for the assembled,

the few who understood

and the masses, whom your every word passed


over like sea waves,

that shatter, endless,

over and again on the shore.

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances include  The Literary Yard, Big Windows, and Locust, among others.

“A New Song” by Rebecca Hart Olander

Covering a canvas with thick paint, the way it feels in the body is a song.

And the knit and purl of yarn into a garment is a melody. Hands on birch

bark, the rough curl of it coming off in pinky brown strips, a lyric loved

since before birth, waiting voices chorusing through stretched skin.


Rapt, we listen over and over to tunes that blur the lines between what is

our life and what is another life. It’s how we make code to say I won’t forget

about you, or your pain is my pain, or don’t worry, something extraordinary

will happen to you in some tomorrow you have yet to let yourself imagine.


And the rain is music, the rushing stream, the old man asleep and snoring

on the train. Don’t you know there’s always a soundtrack? If we stopped

saying we weren’t musicians and started opening ourselves to the unsung,

what would those bells sound like, rung together like that, and unafraid?

Rebecca Hart Olander holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has appeared recently in Ilanot Review, Mom Egg Review, Plath Poetry Project, Radar Poetry, Virga Magazine, and Yemassee Journal, among others, and her critical work has been published in Rain Taxi Review of Books, Solstice Literary Magazine, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Collaborative work made with Elizabeth Paul is forthcoming in Duende and They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press). She was the winner of the Women’s National Book Association poetry contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Rebecca lives in Western Massachusetts where she teaches writing at Westfield State University and is the editor/director of Perugia Press. You can find her at rebeccahartolander.com.

“Ode to Zucchini” by Marne Wilson

The zucchini is the shmoo of the vegetable world.
Shapeless and non-descript,
it reproduces abundantly, seemingly overnight.
Yesterday’s small orange blossom
is today’s twenty-pound fruit.
Zucchinis can be cooked by any method known to man.
Fried zucchini, steamed zucchini, roasted zucchini,
boiled zucchini, grilled zucchini, broasted zucchini.
Zucchini bread, zucchini butter, zucchini jam.
I’m sure that someone somewhere makes green zucchini and ham.

Need some filler in almost any recipe?
Add a cup of puréed zucchini.  No one will ever notice!
And if they do, I’m sure they’ll love you that much better.
After all, who can ever get enough zucchini?
Just ask your neighbors and they’ll tell you.
Better yet, don’t ask.
Just leave the bag on their doorstep and run away!

Marne Wilson lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Her poems have appeared in such places as Poetry East, Atlanta Review, and Cold Mountain Review.  She is the author of a chapbook, The Bovine Daycare Center (Finishing Line, 2015).

“Dysphagia” by Jane Blanchard

At half-past seven it is time to take
our seats. Dinner is ready, and good food
should never go to waste. We try to make
light conversation to improve my mood
but find the effort awkward. You consume
the salmon, squash, and baked potato much
more quickly than I do. Throughout the room
long shadows dance in firelight as I clutch
a paper napkin, soon committed to
the trash along with remnants of our meal.
Tonight we fail to bicker over who
does not clean up. False strife has no appeal.
“The fish was really good,” you kindly note.
I still can feel a bone within my throat.

Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her poetry has been published around the world as well as posted online. Her first collection, Unloosed, and her second, Tides & Currents, are both available from Kelsay Books.

“I stirred the pot” by Jennifer Courtney

knowing the fickleness of toddlers
and that the food might sit untouched
hoping to hear an elusive, “Thank you.”
I mixed, sprinkled, sowed hope
with the seasonings
but the dish cooled untouched
inedible as the seconds passed
it reminded me again
when we get what we ask for
once it’s become fact and
placed fragrant at the table
it’s rarely wanted

Jennifer Courtney (jl courtney) is the aging mom of three young children and the fiction editor for Postcard Poems & Prose. She has been published at Page & Spine, Black Heart Magazine, Feathertale, and others. Some people like her cooking.