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Showing posts from April, 2023

Second Place Fiction Contest - "After the Rush," by Roberta J. Barmore

AFTER THE RUSH      The dry cornstalks rustled in the breeze so loudly he could barely hear her. "I said I'd had enough rice and beans already."  He turned and spat dust. "What's so terrible about that?"      She met his eyes square-on, squinting.  "It's what we're having for dinner.  I told you this morning. And just now."  She hugged the lunch pail like it was a kitten.      He looked over her shoulder and down the row, swaying stalks converging into a solid mass of yellow-gold, the color her hair had been when they first met.  "I didn't ask at breakfast. I'm just all riced out."  How long ago had it been now, ten years?  Before everything started falling apart.  Before the smash-flat storms of black rain with months of drought between.      She interrupted his memories, flat-voiced.  "Too bad. It keeps longer than anything else. Market day was three weeks ago and there's another week to go."  Daring him to

Migration, a poem by Jennifer Derksen

Migration    I sit on the porch with my morning coffee   watching a flock of birds migrating, a   river path carrying them through the small   woods across the street, their constant chatter  hushed only by the sudden woosh of wings as they   ride the wave to the next cluster of trees.    I think about the river, the Nolichucky,   we rafted down this summer with my sister,   my family and hers. When she was falling   out of the boat, the world slowed to indecision.    Was it was safer to grab her and risk us both   or let her go into the river, lifejacket around her   neck?  She told me that a woman died on that  river, later, after we were dry and home and the  Nolichucky was pasted into our scrapbooks.     I come inside to the kitchen, turning on the   radio to hear a poet say "to be human is to   risk."  I set my mug on the counter next to a pile of  masks, worn and washed.  I fold and stack them in the   basket by the door, a pile of life jackets. Outside my   window, I s

Sagan Dalya, a poem by Logan Garner

Sagan Dalya There they are: leaves drifting listless in a steel sink. A kind of rhododendron tea, not at all the same as the  toxic variety blooming in arboreal chains along this north coast. “Sagan Dalya” in Buryat. What an obscure bit of nature to have infiltrated my damp sea-blown cottage, and so distant from its home among high and arid and rocky soils. How strange to be so dislocated. How tragic to travel so far finally to arrive, only to drown as refuse in a basin crowded by so much cold  glass and unfriendly gray water. Logan Garner lives in Astoria, Oregon, but Indiana's glacier lakes, wetlands, southern wooded hills, and its tilled-row fields remain close to his heart. They founded and persist in his love of nature. His work has been published in journals and anthologies, including three poems recently featured in the Kneeland Center for Poetry’s The Elevation Review . His first collection of poetry , Here, in the Floodplain , has been accepted by Plan B Press and is slat

Saffron Gatherers, a poem by Katherine V. Wills

Saffron Gatherers     I held this yellow potshard with  A fresco of saffron gatherers at Santorini:  Their nubile bodies swaddled in silk wraps,  Tiny fingertips gold with spicy crocus.  How could they predict a caldera spilling   Lava down Atlantis, up to a cerulean Aegean sky?    No statues smiled the way they smiled  In Thera before the yellow  And red and blue blended.  After that came Internecine years  Until they were reborn  In the cusp of California  Girls smiled in Santa Clara, the Valley.  Boys walked slowly towards the setting sun.     Like Santorini,  Will the smiles of the children burn to ash  To praise beak-nosed warriors   Bodies ripped in stone?   Where are you, you gently smiling saffron gatherers of Santorini?  Katherine V. Wills is an English professor at Indiana University/Purdue University, Columbus, In.  Her poetry has been published previously in Flying Island and she has worked with Reservoir Dogwood Poets and many south central Indiana writers.