Forty Years Later

I heard the nasty words.
Nothing new.
I knew what and who said them.

As always the words stung
Like bees stinging over and over and over.

The words crushed some part inside me
Like a blender pulsed ice until it was in tiny pieces.

Each word hurt as if garbage could feel pain when
Compacted in a truck.

The difference this time was that
He heard.
Demanding the “bad guy” go
Immediately to his office.

Inside I smiled.
Thinking maybe this time
He would get justice
And would stop.

He did not…

Forty years later
A invitation to the renion had a hand-written sentence
At the bottom.
Please come! I need to ask your forgiveness.

I did not go.
What I did do was
Forgive him.

I wished he had used his fists
Forgiveness would not have taken
Forty years.

~Larry Coleman



It is found in the monotony: of laundry, that mountain of dishes (I’ll wash – you dry), the folding – which leads to the ironing. All that damn ironing.
One will always make the coffee – again, an inevitability. And there are never enough mugs.      In the house.      In the world.      Never will be.
The humming, mine. The whistling, yours.
Our boring, lovely normalcy.
Everything left with coffee stains and red wine rings. I promise. Pinky swear. As if any of it can – or would – be changed. Our it.

~Caleb Skinner

Meeting in the Sepulcher

Good morning Irene,

I’ve been wanting to come and see you,
But my flight has been delayed,
By years and peers and making careers
And I can’t see you till after I’ve greyed.

The train that I’ve bought a ticket for
Won’t leave for quite some time,
But when it leaves the station, a solemn celebration
Will announce that I’ve gotten on the main-line.

One day I’ll sail away and see you, my dear,
The journey is only one fathom down.
Although the distance is short, sailing is not my forte,
And without the ferryman I would drown.

I bet the music is sweeter there,
And I can’t wait for my fanfare.

Good mourning Irene.

~Julia Johnson


Snow crunches underfoot as
the wolf tracks its paws.
Left, right, left, pause.
Glimmering crystals gather
on the tips of the steel fur,
each hair stretching towards
the moonlit sky. Its nose,
yearning for the stars,
twitches and gleams as it
catches a tainted beam of
light. Moon-white fangs line
the wolf’s angular jaw.
Rancid breath fills the air ahead,
dissipates, then reappears once more.
A howl – shrill, icy, desperate –
shatters the silence. Beyond
the hill, in the distance,
the rabbit stiffens.

~Kayla Gibson

Too light for earth
Too heavy for the clouds
I’ll find my peace
Inside the space that fills my house

Beneath the moldy ceiling
Above the crooked chair
I’ll find a god
He’ll laugh and stroke my matted hair.

I want to skim the tops of trees
Where flight birds make their nests
To find some quiet there
To get some needed rest.

But I’m too light for earth
Yet heavy for the clouds
So I find peace
Between the spaces of my house.

I hang my heavy head
With twine around my throat.
I thought I’d find relief
And, yet, I float.

I should have known
Salvation’s just a passing thought
Where tears are payment
For hope that’s sold and bought.

The gods are gone
They leave behind the damp
Of early morning dew.
They flutter in the clouds.
They rage under the ground.
They mock me with the sounds
Of breezes in the trees
And noiselessly they hover
And bend me at the knees.
They dig my grave
And dangle me above it.
They stretch my mouth in smiles
Light fires in my eyes
They make my face a mask
Of terrified and happy lies.
I want to fly, but they
Tear off my wings
And toss me far away.
I want to feel the sand
Under my feet.
And so I pray.
I pray, I pray, I pray.

But gods are cruel.
Our misery is their mirth.
I am too heavy for the clouds.
I am too light for earth.

~Violetta Nikitin

The Howling Dance

Storm approaches, refrain
of thunder rumbles unique
sort of greeting that
passes between friends
when the knowing runs

Gentle strokes of rising
wind invite swaying
branches to receive
passionate turbulent embrace
in the howling dance
to come.

Many seek shelter, but
I welcome this wild
atmospheric beast, glad
to receive its severe
attentions, honored to
be moved by the hand that
nudges the settled up and
out from ancient rest; to
be scattered far by winds
that cast consciousness
to find home in wide,
unconstrained spaces; to
be tempered by elemental
force, driving roots to
reach ever deeper, to
grasp what is most

~ Aaron B. Culley