lightning bolts

Heather Sager

the ghosts of my mind
abandoned me

I can never
with the drifters

while the sun is shining
and blue daisies sing
I bear castles of ruin
on my shoulders

Heather Sager is an Illinois poet and short-fiction author whose recent works appear in Words & Whispersdreams walkingDoor Is a JarBluepepperSein und WerdenThe Fabulist Words & ArtSlippage Lit, and elsewhere.


DC Swanson

Is legacy an empty word?
A deathbed hope that we’ve been heard
a misplaced need to feel ingrained,
to make a mark the world retained?
A selfish wish to leave behind
a piece of self for peace of mind?
Is legacy defined by clicks,
by hearts and likes on posted pics
when my departed face appears
to mourners who are moved to tears?
Or is it marked by works displayed,
by goals achieved or progress made
through debts repaid or contests won
through songs composed or poems begun?
I can’t be sure, for death forbids,
but when I’m gone, go ask my kids.

DC Swanson, from Washington D.C., is a night writer not yet ready to give up his day job. He posts rhymes written by him and his two young daughters at @swanson_dc.


Sadie Maskery

I had a dream like this once
more vivid and positive than reality
except you were naked and I 
was a bird.
The agony and recoil
of wanting you
and knowing you saw
only wings,
distant, in flight.

Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family.  She can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen where she describes herself, optimistically, as ‘functioning adequately’.

Knight, Night

Shane Schick

The weighted blanket an excess
of chain metal, embarrassingly
overcompensating for the fact
that I am in a position to joust
no one, and nothing, except
whatever it is I can’t see
hanging over my head

Shane Schick‘s most recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Analogies & Allegories, Gossamer Lit, Cardigan Press and more. He is the founder of a publication about customer experience design called 360 Magazine and lives in Toronto. See more on his website or Twitter (@shaneschick). 

Two Poems

Ruth Callaghan do Valle

Rare Animals

Rare animals fascinate me.
Night falls and I lie in wait.
Silence descends, the conditions are favourable,
there is every chance now that they will
make an appearance –
Would I still recognise them?
A sudden disturbance puts them to flight.
Shenanigans, shy creatures that they are,
make themselves scarce. 
They are unlikely to return now with the toddler so close, 
a dormant despot whose iron grip is inescapable. 
So we settle down in the hide and wait for another day
and pray for conditions to remain favourable.


Spring has arrived –
cascades of golden blossom
carpeting the ground

Before the rains come
winds sway the young green mangoes
waiting hopefully

Yellow spears burst through
brilliant green foliage
reaching to the clouds

Ruth Callaghan do Valle writes in English with forays into Portuguese, and currently lives in small-town rural Brazil with her husband and toddler. You can find Ruth on Twitter (@rufusmctoofus), her spoken word poems on Instagram (@mctoofus) and posts about life in Brazil on her blog.

To A Child

Lauren Thomas

Bird song and seaweed in its
Dark green ribbons,

Evidence of storms that came
From deep inside the night

But here she patters in pools
And breeze blown ridges

Sea reflecting skim-stone sky above
Its curling arms of deep just out

Of reach. A quiet wild, held in sharp
Sting of salt. Patterns in the sand

Map the tidal pull and draw, the
White foam follows where she hops

From sturdy water-break to shore
Oystered in her blue-bone wilderness

Lauren Thomas is a teacher of English Literature. She likes writing vivid poems that deal with themes of passing time, memory, and the natural world. Lauren’s most recent work was published in The Daily Drunk Mag and The Crank Literary Magazine. Find her on Twitter (@laurenmywrites).


Shiksha Dheda

beautifully bold
stemming from strength
thick from the root
dark inside
bright outside
attention seeking
happy in solitude
unbearable in groups

Shiksha Dheda is a South African of Indian descent. She uses poetry (mostly) to express her internal and external struggles and journeys, inclusive of her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Mostly, however, she writes in the hope that someday, someone will see her as she is: an incomplete poem. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Visual Verse, The Kalahari Review, Brave Voices, Glitchwords, Versification, Resurrections Magazine, and others.

it’s one of those things

Craig Kittner

I would have held on to
so I could tell you later

how its velveteen color was the first thing I noticed, followed
by its cardinal-like shape and the touch of yellow along its tail

how, after I grabbed binoculars, one became two and then six…
seven… twelve… a whole flock of masks in the magnolia leaves

how I remember the pocket guide we had in the old house and how
their illustration was my favorite and I’ve never seen one ’til now

I would have told you all this – because it’s simple and real
and nothing to do with politics – or business – or morality

and you would have appreciated it because our hearts
were just similar enough to be moved by such things

and that’s what this is all about

how you no longer have ears to hear
and I can’t tell you what that feels like

Craig Kittner has lived a lot of places. Fourteen at last count. Providence saw the start of interesting things that DC helped solidify. Now he lives near the sea in North Carolina and likes to ramble and write. Recent publications include Rabid Oak, Right Hand Pointing, and Bones.

Desire Lines

Elizabeth Guilt

From my window I read the lines worn into grass by tramping feet,
Curved paths defying straight asphalt show the road more travelled.
A blabbermouth thread of brown earth betrayed the gap in the fence,
Another counted those who slipped from playground to coffee shop.
These everyday desires are dwindling, overtaken by circumstance.
New routes reveal our new longing: to walk safely in solitude.

Elizabeth Guilt lives in London, where history lurks alongside plate glass office buildings and stories spring out of the street names. She has had fiction published in Luna Station Quarterly, All Worlds Wayfarer, and The Gray Sisters. You can find her on her website or Twitter (@elizabethguilt).

The Touring Test

E. F. S. Byrne

Dad got into the car, started the engine and put the air conditioning on. He knew how hot it would become.

Frustratingly slow, the family followed. Lucia, Rosalia and Jimena piled into the back, a shower of squeals, elbow attacks and general mayhem. Finally, his wife struggled into the seat beside him, handbag still open, keys falling out, telephone bleeping.

“Are we ready?” Dad asked, trying not to lose his patience.

“Go, dad, go.”

Dad went. They hit the highway and sailed west.

“I’m hungry.”

“Stop it.”

“Leave your little sister alone.”

“Turn up the music Dad.”

The back seat rocked with chatter and the jingle of cheap jewelry. The smell of strawberry chewing gum stuck to the air. The swirl of growing banter and rising irritations made it difficult to focus on the road.

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“He is.”

“Dad! Slow down!”

Dad lifted his foot, ground his teeth, and stared at his girls in the rear view mirror. Come on, he thought. Give me a break.

“Push over.”

“Why am I always in the middle?”

“Stop it!”

Their father tried to crowd them out, bite his tongue, focus on the traffic. He loved their excitability, but feared their wrath, the arguments when emotions boiled over.

“Not far to go.” He sounded cheerful, encouraging. He knew he was lying.

“It’s mine.”

“It’s not!”

“Girls. Please!” Their mother tried to keep her voice down. “Let your father drive in peace.”

“I’m hungry.”

“We’ll stop soon honey. Just let your father concentrate.”

“Are you concentrating dad?”

They all laughed. They liked making fun of dad, watching him grow red until the veins on his nose bubbled.

“We love you really dad.”

“But I’m still hungry.”

“Manolo! Slow down!”

His wife reached a hand across to pat his knee.

“They’re not back there.”

The woman sighed, eyes squirming with escaping tears. She withdrew her fingers. “They’re gone honey. Slow down.”

Tenderness laced her words, but Manolo was still staring into the rear view mirror at the speed cop and flashing lights. Sirens blared. Manolo swerved again. She was right. They’d gone. There was no turning back. He put his foot down.

E. F. S. Byrne works in education and writes when his teenage kids allow it. He blogs a regular micro flash story. Links to this and over fifty published pieces can be found on his website. Follow him on Twitter (@efsbyrne).