by Charles Nolde
The echoing anger of guns
eat away all the happiness from the world.
Choirs of tears and screams are its only mufflers.
A dark and cold Russian cloud encroaches on our mundane home,
consuming lives and shattering hearts.
Birds sing songs of sorrow and
buildings fall like sand castles crumbling
into piles of sadness.
Black smoke extinguishes the light.
Like dusk, it
darkens our lives.
They call this era of war “cold war,”
but it is hot.
Nuclear power makes tension boil;
anxiety tightens its grips.
We civilians are the bull’s eye;
death and ruin is our fate.
Our morale withers like the daffodils in the summer;
but that is what they want. We must stay strong and
use memories as a light.
A ripple effect, like a rock thrown into still water.
But the ripples are waves that wash away the grains and oil.
Putin knocked down the dominos,
stepping on people even a continent away.
by Catherine Owen
Lemon bars chilled in glass Pyrex.
Their taste sour and bitter to the tongue, making my nose crinkle;
yet sweet and shortbread-crusted and
A tattered recipe from long before I was born.
Lemon and lavender scented soap held in a dish
too small and too fragile for careless children.
Always slipping from our scrubbed hands
and falling onto wooden floors
before meals and bedtime.
Wedges of lemon, always ordered with iced sweet tea on Sundays.
Perched on the edge of a glass that
will be marked by the shade of your
deep red, red lipstick.
Beside me you sip politely,
only every now and then,
and smile as I tell you stories.
Lemon bars arranged on a large plastic tray,
surrounded by cookies and biscuits and fruits.
I look for comfort and warmth,
but their taste is sharp and
artificial — nothing like your old recipe.
And their sweetness is buried by grief.
by Caroline Smith.
When she walks in the garden,
She wears her finest silks and diamond earrings that dance down the slope of her neck,
So that she can mirror the fractals of light that shine off the dew drops.
She dusts her cheeks with a light blush and coats her lips in crimson,
So that her flush can rival even that of the roses.
She brushes her eyelashes with inky black,
so they could be mistaken for the spindly legs of spiders on the pin lichen.
She dresses her hair with pearls and pins,
So it seems laced with the spores of ferns and fungi and floats languidly in the breeze.
And yet, each year, she returns to the garden a little older,
while the flowers remain the same.
They bloom and die but always sprout in passionate color with unwrinkled petals and
unwavering fragrance, their leaves lilting in a youthful rhythm.
No amount of jewels, blush, or vanity can compare,
For nothing has such a beautiful impermanence as flowers.
by Virginia Ballowe
Her body was as curvy and slender as the windiest river,
eternally graceful and supposedly ever-present.
It moved like a waterfall in sunlight,
but also like a melting ice cube forgotten on the floor.
Her disposition, for the most part,
was as calm and content as a lake while the colors of sunrise reflect upon it,
and she spread kindness like ripples caused by skipped pebbles bounding on the surface.
Her hair resembled a babbling brook,
the tendrils like water racing over rocks.
It swayed in the breeze like waves crashing on cliffs
and whipped in the wind like the resulting spray of water.
But the color of her hair, oh it could never be water.
It would always be molten lava.
When she smiled, God, she lit up the room so much it was like she stole the sun itself.
Her laugh sparked a fire in me that I hadn’t felt in years,
and it kept burning and burning, forever fueled by her.
I burned and burned and burned, so much so that I burned her.
I burned the river, the waterfall, the ice cube, the lake, the brook, the waves.
I burned her.
She recoiled like the shoreline before a tsunami,
and I tried to chase the retreating line but she slipped away like water in my hands.
I waited and waited for her to come crashing down.
She never did.
I saw the seashells she left in her wake, but the sound I heard when shells were flush to my ear would never compare to her.
The river, the waterfall, the ice cube, the lake, the brook, the waves never came back.
She never came back.
Water never resurfaced, but my fire was forevermore snuffed.
I was so cold.
My cheeks flushed pink, my hands flaked white, and my ears burned red.
I went to Hell to try to warm up,
I walked on boiling coals to ignite my blackened wick,
I scarred my skin to pay for my sins,
I made the Devil my God,
but I was still cold.
I was cold, and thirsty, so needlessly thirsty,
but I couldn’t find any water
to drown out the fact that
losing you was all my fault.
By Madeline Port
Let the small black chair lay tucked behind the worn brick archway,
In the shadowed pocket between covered windows and curled grass,
Waiting for me to find it.
Let the birds chirp in synchrony as sunbeams warm my toes,
And the cadence of children’s voices dissolve into gusts of cool air.
Let the rain begin falling softly just beyond my covered canopy,
Over the quiet rumble of wheels on pavement.
Let the chair be alone, away, apart, and let me sit,
Beside the small bees twirling around violet petals,
And the ants marching past my ankles, filing neatly to the damp soil.
They’re my only company, here on the edge of afternoon.
Let the music of nature waltz gently into my ears,
Filling the space of words that remain unspoken.
Let the cramped corners of my mind drain swiftly,
And my time drip
As honey slips through sandwich bread and glazes my fingers.
Let the chair and the corner and the archway remain,
As the weeks and the months and the years crawl on.
Let it rest, shielded from prying eyes,
A haven reserved for me.
Let me no longer crave its comfort,
Drink in its quiet and gobble its calm,
Settle my weight into its levity.
Let me one day leave it resting in the shade,
And stand to face the rain and sun,
When I thirst for beaming faces and cacophonous laughter,
Instead of peace and quiet and lonely lunches.