Hades, Waking Up by Frances Klein

Hades, Waking Up

I get to feeling this gig’s not half bad
right up until that first cup of coffee
in the morning. We harnessed the power
of the earth’s core, you’d think we could manage
a consistent cup, but apparently
that, too, lives up to our business model:
equal opportunity torment. She
would have agreed; always slightly oily,
always slightly cold, she would instead take
pomegranate tea into her room, lock
the door, throw on The Byrds, blast turn, turn, turn
through the hallways and passageways of hell,
forgetting that the wheel of seasons would
inevitably bring her back as well.

by Frances Klein

Editor’s Note: Is a sonnet a sonnet if it doesn’t rhyme? I tend to think of poems such as this as new sonnets. Free sonnets. The volta at the end suggests that this is a sonnet despite the dearth of rhyme.

Xanthippe by Beate Sigriddaughter


Today the light of daisies is exuberant.
I saw three goslings in the sea. I am
in love—this world: The lilacs are almost
done. The poppies have begun. The veils
of willows, sun-drenched, billow over grass.
Without the bats and the lupines, truth is
expensive and irrelevant. The blue bells
will prevail, the foxes. I forgive you,
Socrates, for choosing hemlock.

by Beate Sigriddaughter, first published in Spillway 23 (Summer 2015)

Editor’s Note: Imagery is my first love, and poems with great imagery seduce me. This poem has imagery upon imagery, and I am in love.

From the archives – Por Favor No Maltratar Los Aguacates by Laryssa Wirstiuk


Por Favor No Maltratar Los Aguacates

“Please do not
abuse avocados”:

written in black
marker on blue-

lined legal paper
and taped to a box

at a Yonkers bodega.
Someone has felt

for ripeness, deemed
these precious;

one inept squeeze
could bruise

the fruit
and render it

I’m no longer

sure if I could pass
for ready, if I’m worthy

of such a sign.
Forever I’ve waited

for competent hands
to protect me

from the careless,
the passersby.

by Laryssa Wirstiuk

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, April 18, 2015 — by Laryssa Wirstiuk

Vintage verse – Answer to a Child’s Question by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Answer to a Child’s Question

Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say, “I love and I love!”
In the winter they’re silent—the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don’t know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving—all come back together.
But the Lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he—
“I love my Love, and my Love loves me!”

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.

String Theory of Love by Terry Severhill

String Theory of Love

Somewhere in time and space
Or in the quantum other spacetime
We shifted apart growing old did not help
To delay or allay our ancestral fears
Lions and tigers and laying bear our doubts and tarnished souls
Should have did not have the desired effect
You hugged closer to your God theories and watercolors
I shied away from rhyming poems and intimacy
We have found safe ground here
We still fill the hours together with carefully crafted truths
We still love
We still need
We still desire
We still have doubt
I still have one red rose for you
And you a vase for me

by Terry Severhill, first published in San Diego Poetry Annual – 2015/2016.

Editor’s Note: Love poems don’t have to be treacly.

Twists of Fate by Ralph La Rosa

Twists of Fate

Feverish from dog-day heat,
I drive the five of us through air
so still it feels like death—our father’s
writhing on a clinic bed
and only I know the prognosis.
The sky grows gray. My radio
reports tornados twisting south
along Ann Arbor Road. The mirrors
show one drilling down, a wraith,
its strophic-antistrophic dance
a black ballet that’s catastrophic.
Cursing, I turn into The Inn.
We rush downstairs with panicked guests,
perhaps soon ghosts. The building groans,
wrenched by wind. Its chandeliers
spin, spit sparks like baleful stars.
Cringing from this random wrath,
the others pray and plead. I laugh.

by Ralph La Rosa, first published in Ghost Trees

Editor’s Note: The careful line breaks in this poem emphasize the vivid imagery, and sharpen the emotional difficulty faced by the narrator and his family.

Driving Though Iowa by Nancy Hatch Woodward

Driving Though Iowa

A rage of heat
rolling across the Midwest. Corn and soybeans
thatched and thirsty, mile after mile.
When I was a child in Nebraska, my father said
there were at least 50 things you could do
with a corn cob: Hollow it out
for a pipe, dress it up
like a baby doll, use it
to scratch your back.
We’d stick in toothpicks and attach note cards
for sails in afternoon ponds,
gentle breezes launching
boat races as we ran alongside,
under a bottomless cornflower sky.

Now even the snakes and mice have abandoned the fields.
We’re told these droughts will come more regularly,
portents of a coming Martian landscape.

I remember my father using corn cobs to smoke
our Thanksgiving turkey and
carving them into bottle stoppers
for Uncle Roy’s corn liquor jugs, from which we were allowed
one significant swig on Christmas Day.
You can make at least 50 things
from a corn cob, Dad would tell us.
If you had some.

by Nancy Hatch Woodward

Editor’s Note: The lack of something can arrive very quickly in the midst of abundance. This poem’s last line reverberates back through the beginning, forcing one to reconsider the start as the end.

From the archives – Dorothy as Madwoman by Meggie Royer


Dorothy as Madwoman

After the tornado, you sink.
Half the house gone, the other still present
but somehow missing.
Piano twice-drowned in the corner,
& every key
hums dust.
You’ll let your hair grow long again,
let it grey & tendril,
follow the beaches
& their trailing wreckage along the shore
seagulls battering your back
like lovers.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, May 20, 2015 — by Meggie Royer

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Vintage verse – Songs of a Girl by Mary Carolyn Davies



Songs of a Girl

God, planting Eden,
Dropped, by mistake, a seed
In Time’s neighbor-plot,
That grew to be
This hour?

You and I picked up Life and looked at it curiously;
We did not know whether to keep it for a plaything or not.
It was beautiful to see, like a red firecracker,
And we knew, too, that it was lighted.
We dropped it while the fuse was still burning …

I am going to die too, flower, in a little while—
Do not be so proud.

The sun is dying
On an island
In the bay.

Close your eyes, poppies—
I would not have you see death.
You are so young!

The sun falls
Like a drop of blood
From some hero.

Who love pain,
Delight in this.

by Mary Carolyn Davies (1890s-?)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim