Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A poem by Kara Knickerbocker

Remember When

I caught salamanders from the pond beside our house—
counted twenty orange speckled bodies
inside the glass bowl I stole from the kitchen.

Remember how they gripped sides of their new home
for a way out
only to slide down, plop
on top of each other

I put flat rocks & leaves at the bottom,
made it home—
remember how much I loved that they couldn’t escape
(unless I let them)

I wanted so badly to keep them,
snuck the bowl upstairs to your bedroom—
I can’t remember where you were
but I was there, careful to listen
for creaks of floorboards/ the weight of someone
sure to find me

They climbed across the plains of my open palms,
pawed at the air when held up from the tail
and in the slow blink of a golden eye
maybe I knew it was wrong
so I kissed closed mouths—
remember their still-wet webbed feet
made me feel like a mother

Remember I didn’t know what salamanders ate
pushed the bowl far under your bed when called for dinner
never washed my hands of their spots—
forgot after school the next day

Remember the slap of stench in the morning,
murky with fresh death—
remember the look on my face when
mother said she was missing a bowl

Kara Knickerbocker is a poet and writer from Saegertown, Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in English from Westminster College in 2012. Her poetry and essays have been published or are forthcoming in print and online publications including: Construction, Longridge Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, One Sentence Poems, and the anthology Voices from the Attic Vol XXII, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh where she works at Carnegie Mellon University and writes with Carlow University’s Madwomen in the Attic workshops. Her debut chapbook, Next to Everything that is Breakable is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A poem by Robert Ford


Down the long band of sunlit lane from where I
was allegedly a boy, a small universe of poppies
is making a miracle of the untidy fields behind
the compressor factory’s vermilion brick ruins,
given up on years ago by a defeated farmer.

The side-tracked faithful come to give thanks,
arriving in their cars on listless July evenings,
and parking themselves in any available niche.
Smart-phones deployed, they pump the images
like warm blood onto Facebook and Instagram,

then head on home, unaware that poppies were
God’s final flourish, as she emptied out the red tins
and brushed off the dust from Her palette, before
She packed and stowed it all away, folded
the easel and returned quietly to Her day job.

Robert Ford lives on the east coast of Scotland. His poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including Antiphon, Clear Poetry, Homestead Review and Ink, Sweat and Tears. More of his work can be found at

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A poem by Alicia Cole


These are the events we don’t discuss:
the tape on the bottom
of a prop coffee cup
on a movie set, the leftovers
of a warehouse fire,
these small and giant tragedies.
Each one an upturned sip
of nothingness. Each one needing
some human sympathy.
A hand to remove the tape;
a hand to remove the bodies
from the wreckage.
Some basic human sympathy
in the face of neglectful salvation:
what hand ever reached down
while they burned, or ruined the scene?
I’ve one more load in the laundry,
my roommate says, and I must agree.
With my view of God tonight,
something else we don’t discuss,
certain events need laundering.

Alicia Cole is a writer and visual artist in Huntsville, AL. She lives in a halfway house. To learn more about her, visit her on Facebook at

Monday, 15 May 2017

A poem by Tristan Moss

Flower Tea after the 89 Revolution

Primeval mutterings of tea
and a blazing day
in the Carpathians
when Eugenius,
even then an old man,
climbed without a rope
a little way down a cliff
to pick some alpine flowers,
and seeing my relief
when he reappeared
on the way back joked
how we'd have to run
uphill if chased by a bear.

Later, he poured me some tea
and the flowers tasted good.

Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two young children. He has had poems published in 'Magma', 'Shadow Train', 'NOON', 'Fat Damsel', 'Obsessed with pipework', 'Snakeskin', 'The Journal', 'Ink Sweat and Tears', 'Word riot', 'Camroc Review','Elimae' and 'Alba'. He can be contacted .

Thursday, 11 May 2017

3 poems by Stephen Toft

Three Tanka Poems

my poem into
the wind
it disappears,
gains meaning

setting off
before dawn
the stars
onto our car

sitting down
to write tanka;
a field of snow
towards dusk

Stephen Toft is a poet and homelessness worker who lives in Lancaster, UK with his girlfriend and their children. His first collection "the kissing bridge" was published by Red Moon Press in 2008 and in December 2016 Scars Publications released his chapbook "naming a storm: haiku and tanka".

Monday, 8 May 2017

A poem by Matthew Dobson


Claggy apron, steel-toe boots.
A bone saw, extra-wide-set teeth.
One brand-new pair of chainmail gloves.
P45. Blue tabard. Hair net.

He chucked it all in a black bin-bag
then traipsed through nuzzling rain to town
where he pressed his work into a dump-bin
behind the shop, snug with the trimmed fat.

Then dusk came, soft as a calf’s ears. He rode
the bus back home and counted coins
out of his purse, into his palm,
onto his tongue and down his gullet.

Dear dear, they said, as they cut him open
and the unspent coins lay wet and glistening.

Matthew Dobson is from York but currently lives in Surrey where he works as a teacher. He has had poems published in a number of online and print magazines, including Butcher's Dog and Ink, Sweat and Tears.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

A poem by Nicholas Campbell

Butterfly Scripture

"Inside the butterfly is a scripture."
Graffiti on a wall in San Francisco; ca.1967

Without words the butterfly is
itself. This is what air is, it says;
flicker of wings is all.

However I try to see anything
words come to mind, as now
this butterfly becomes a word.

Yet I see the sky writing a word
that is born out of nature’s mind
as if some emblem of the soul.

Without words nature’s mouth
opens and from it life flies,
transcending even life itself.

Without words the wordless
butterfly is gone,
leaving only our memory of it.

Nicholas Campbell is of Slovak and Scottish descent. He was born in Greensburg, Indiana, in 1949, and attended Catholic and public schools in Indiana and California where he later studied verse writing at California State University, Northridge, with poets Benjamin Saltman and Ann Stanford, and where, in 1984, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. He has taught creative writing at the California Men's Colony, for Arts Reach at UCLA, and for California Poetry in the Schools. He has also participated in the summer writing workshops at Cuesta College near San Luis Obispo where he taught verse writing. Recent publications include America: The National Catholic Review ( and Blue Monday Review, out of Kansas City.

Monday, 1 May 2017

A poem by Emily Light

Little Boy Blue

A boy loses himself running around the track
marks on his mother’s arms,
walks in on her with
-drawal seizures, foam quivering
on her lip. He wipes it away.
Now she’s a missing person. He’s missing
school to search the police officer’s
expression for honesty
after information dies

on the other end of the phone
line. Your eyes will melt girls someday
his mother once said. Why can’t someone’s eyes
meet his on these streets empty of her limp body?
He remembers her fizzing tongue thick
fingers probing his hands; she insists

he lie and keep her habits.
The wooden cross hanging between his lungs
last school year found a home in the ground
where he buried his tongue. He’ll dig it out tonight
blame it for everything, hug it tight.

Emily Light lives, writes, and works as an English teacher in northern New Jersey. She has poems published or forthcoming in Bop Dead City, Star 82 Review, and Ink In Thirds.