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Trio by Silver Webb


Your Ghost Lights Me

I know that you do
In the afternoon
Under a warm blanket
Sun on the couch.

I feel it
Honey in my vertebrae
Pulled out of my flesh
Into ghost arms.

Ghost desire
Lights me.

I know that you do
In the afternoon
Alone, always.

I feel it

Chernobyl in my spine
Pulled away by ghost fingers.

Ghost mouth
Lights me.

Please don’t, please don’t,
If it is only this,
Only alone.

Love is a Sickness Flowing

Love is a sickness flowing
a river filled with women, filth, smiling children
a holy rite, once crossing the lip, spares you no fever
diphtheria, typhoid, cholera
the illness of the water wending
past distended bellies, combs of fingers,
fragile lanterns floating, candles adrift,
mouths that open for ashes, silt, refuse
laughing splashing cartwheels in the air and then crash!
Love is the Ganges, the Yamuna, the Jordan,
like milk, you thirst for only this,
and only this waits for you,
beautiful and poisoned.

Smoke and Scotch

I thought of you first.
I wonder if you know that,
years ago, your melancholy
fedora, cigarettes wreathing
the rim of your hat
a traveler stopping at stones,
roses for strangers,
something I understand.

I thought of you before
embers caught my name
and took me dancing
burned the bones
and left me hollow,
I watched you at the crossroads
leaving smoke and scotch
something I observed quietly.

Like a cat watching a house
deciding if she wants to come in.

I think of you still
silver hair and silent
the man in the hat
at two roads that cross
but once and never again,
praying the words
outlast the smoke,
something I understand.

Silver Webb is the editrix of the Santa Barbara Literary Journal. She is a food writer for Food & Home and various Websites. Her poetry and fiction have been featured in Peregrine, Hurricanes & Swan Songs, Delirium Corridor, Still Arts Quarterly, Danse Macabre, and is forthcoming in The Tertiary Lodger, Underwood, and Running Wild Anthology of Stories,
Vol. 5. 

Image: Astro_Alex, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Two Poems by Christine M. Du Bois



No one asks the caterpillar.
Survival has selected her destiny
long before she swallows
her first lush, trembling leaf–
sending her, impelling her
to commit herself
even eagerly
to the tiny cage of her chrysalis.

No one asks the caterpillar.
Imprisoned in his pupa,
he secretes enzymes
expressly to demolish
his own tissues.
Engineering his own destruction,
does he suffer?
Does he struggle
as he dissolves his very self?

No one can ask the caterpillar,
for only the blueprint
for an imagined butterfly
survives such chemical violence.
Now the caterpillar is liquid
nourishment for cells,
spreading, coordinating, fashioning,
splitting the skin of innocence,
surfacing beyond ferocity.

No one would ask the caterpillar,
was it worth it?
This butterfly self
will only survive
a few short weeks.
Was it worth
evolution’s long wandering?
Was it worth the sacrifice,
the effort, the loss?

No one asks the caterpillar.
Instead, they ask their besotted eyes,
drunk with winged rainbows;
and they ask the blossoms,
seductive in velvet and
dripping with pollen;
and they ask all creation:
is it worth it?
And they savor the barbarous, glorious answer.



Little lemon custards
with wispy strands of crystallized sugar;
or vases of chocolate mousse;
or red-velvet cookies.
Shouldn’t I rejoice in you
as if I were a baker?
Golden larch needles in autumn;
Or oak leaves fallen, browned;
or sugar maples, red with satisfaction.
Shouldn’t I revere you
as if you were a forest?
Your textured ridges —
couldn’t you be madeleines?
or rolling hillocks?
Your shapely symmetry –
couldn’t you be shields?
or Grecian urns?
You are a wonder of evolution, of cleverness, of art —
Couldn’t I love you?
My soul is passionately quarrelsome.
(She is stubborn about loving.)
She always asks such questions.
My mind answers –quite firmly–
there is a limit.
These are, after all,
bed bugs.”

Christine M. Du Bois is an anthropologist of immigration, race relations, and food cultures.  She has published three non-fiction books, Images of West Indian Immigrants in Mass Media (LFB Scholarly, 2004), The World of Soy (University of IL Press,2008), and The Story of Soy (Reaktion Press, 2018). She lives in a hotbed of election happenings, near Philadelphia, where apparently bad things happen.

Image by Carmelo Peciña from Madrid, España – 24-6-2017-Abedular-de-Mojonavalle-confinado-2-Web, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93354763

Three Poems by Yvette Neisser



I lost everything:
the contours of the body I knew
the house
the identity of wife/mother
half of a couple
a name that began with Mrs.

Everything I thought I held dear
came apart, unhinged
from their places:
the photo albums
the arrangement of furniture
the banisters that connected
one floor to the next

the days defined by children’s routines
school buses in the morning
stories in the evening

When I walked out in the world
a ring bound my finger
declaring my status

but I am not bound
I am a fireball
shooting sparks

I am light and dark
rainbow and shadow
fuchsia and turquoise

dancer and explorer
vessel for languages
archaeologist of feelings

I declare freedom
unlock the gate to the world
fling the door open

mother and wanderer
mother and sky
mother and wild
mother and expanse
mother and let it all in


Pandemic lockdown, April 2020

their buds are not truly red
but magenta

what draws us is not the bud
but the clusters of flowers
clinging to the branch

the range of colors
pink mauve lavender

we need to learn this
how to fully bloom
without leaving home


The day was marked by a fameflower at dawn
and a lightning storm at dusk.

As the sun rose, I went through warrior poses,
eyeing that flower as focal point—
petals closed, narrow, unwavering.
I said, let me hold on like that,
draw strength inward with singular gaze.

The day rocked and wavered.
By noon, the tempest rose,
rattling windowpanes,
the teen antics began,
drama after drama,
shrieking and silence,
lies mixing with truth,
the winds blowing east then west,
north, south, and skyward.

I put onions into a tortilla
and watched them soften,
let the notes of a song seep
into my subconscious.

Covid deaths spiked again,
fires raged in California.

I held still like the flower.

When evening came, lightning
lit up the sky, a grid
of electricity. Pink sizzled
at the horizon beneath blue clouds.
My hair whipped around my face.

I was electric,
dazzled by color.
The wind swirled for hours
and it never rained.

Then I settled into bed,
gripped the edges of my blanket and
whispered the name of my daughter,
her name, her name.

Branches clawing at my window.

Yvette Neisser is the author of Grip, winner of the 2011 Gival Press Poetry Award. Her translations from Spanish include South Pole/Polo Sur by María Teresa Ogliastri (Settlement House, 2011) and Difficult Beauty: Selected Poems by Luis Alberto Ambroggio (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009). Her poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, Virginia Quarterly Review, 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, and Split This Rock’s The Quarry. She is the founder of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC-ALT) and has taught writing at George Washington University and The Writer’s Center. By day, she works in international development.

Image by Acroterion, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Day Job by Allison Whittenberg


After a night of therapeutic bottle and blunt passing
He wakes on earth at 5AM
In a lumpy bed
He goes to the airport in his overalls
Brandishing a handkerchief
He scrubs the thick plastic windows
With long handles bruises
He watches the jets take off
They move hot through the endless sky
With purpose

A(llison) Whittenberg is a poet and novelist (Life Is Fine, Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Tutored all from Random House, and The Sane Asylum from Beatdom). She lives in VA.

Image by Joe Ravi, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Two Poems by Anna Idelevich


Early in the morning

Early in the morning jelly smokes over the water,

put semolina and millet in the boiler

and make a dream in the ocean of love.

Your love.

Disheveled my braids,

braids, not just disgrace,

curls of curly house.

Will fall like a beam into a ditch,

will whisper to me, will embrace,

and the line will run.

He will press, he will kiss,

and I’m already a river….

We went out into the night, the jackets were buttoned

We went out into the night, the jackets were buttoned,

lanterns – honey of audience.

And the graffiti was emphasized in black

we don’t need about love conventions.

The stars breathe in fumes, gas

they understand tenacious, different.

And our cars are on the highway

foreshadow the two o’clock.

Lips strewed with grains

and the words are baked sleeplessly.

I don’t need you and the other,

even in the morning, sweet swearing.

Passing high arches

the lanterns above them pour in flames.

Moths on the bumper and in the lamp

so many of our verses will die.

They swallowed from resentment

and watches – trends.

I’m in a beautiful nightmare with you

let them go drunk …

There is no competition when together.

And the bass player of the night is a black song

skeletons people.

You caress my feet in a taxi

in the twilight our madness.

Who will move those lines from you

if I love?

Drunk, drunk month also flogs,

which is not for the weather.

Anna Idelevich is a scientist by profession, Ph.D., MBA, trained in the neuroscience field at Harvard University. She writes poetry for pleasure. Her books and poetry collections include DNA of the Reversed River and Cryptopathos published by the Liberty Publishing House, NY. Anna’s poems were published by Louisville Review and Fleur-de-Lis Press, Weasel Press, In Parenthesis, displayed at The McNay Art Museum, O:J&A, Lucky Jefferson, Hash, Gyroscope review, among others. We hope you will enjoy their melody, new linguistic tone, and a slight tint of an accent.

Image by Pudelek, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons