It goes without saying

Jason W. McGlone

You don’t count on ever

having to explain to your
          10-year-old that you can see
her depression peeking through
          the curtains,

that you recognize
          its face because it’s the spitting
image of your own 

unwelcome companion.

Jason W. McGlone‘s work has appeared in Potluck Magazine, The Metaworker, Sledgehammer Lit, Imperial Death Cult, and is forthcoming in The Orchards Poetry Journal. He makes music under the name Mourning Oars, holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and lives in Cincinnati with his family.


Kris Spencer

You do not have to
climb the sycamore
bending the thin branches
to see the shopping bag
beaked and twined
into the dark nest.

Just think of the rainwater,
held and pooled,
that chilled the turquoise eggs;
and of the magpies
with their cackles,
never born.

Kris Spencer has written seven books. He has been published in Acumen, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Orchards Poetry Journal, Fenlands Poetry Journal, The Balloon Literary Journal, Nailpolish Stories, Bluepepper. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is a Head teacher living and working in West London.


Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya

I barred the windows and the doors
Yet, so, I feel exposed by the roof –
As though the east wind stirs
& sings like a hummingbird to
The house and makes it move.

It rains outside & the dotted sands,
Like poets, interchange syllables
& rhythms with the skies –
Slights of waves & gestures.

The air smells of period clouds;
Pieces of raindrops turn the street
Into an earthly river and the streetlights
Dance to the rainy screams.

Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya is a young poet from Nigeria. He is a loner who writes to find out what he thinks and feels – about himself and the world around him – and to keep his purpose awake and breathing. His work has appeared in Ngiga Review, Blue Marble Review, Riveting Rants and is forthcoming in other literary magazines. You can find him tweeting (@najeeb___X).

Retired Park

Abbie Madigan

caramel trees stutter on the Japanese proverbs:

swaying in the broken English sunshine before the

massacre of the third season.

A sign hidden in the moss

“Do not climb”

Abbie Madigan is the world’s greatest pre-posthumous poet and a beleaguered civil servant. Somewhere in the North of England. Of childbearing age. Unpublished – until now.

Looked Away

John Tustin

When I was a boy
and I saw that man
beating his dog

right on his front steps
under the sun
and its vivid light

I was that dog
when I saw it

and I was that man
the moment
I looked away.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals in the last dozen years. See his website for links to his published poetry online.

A Song of Rivals

David Harrison Horton

The saddened stalks of cornfields
before the burn off
hold tight their death-row reveries.

Think of the universe, says the professor,
as a bad Tupperware container:
all that mess,
but no leaks.

The Tin Man’s arm is in need of oil.
Dorothy isn’t in the mood today.

This buffalo only has three legs,
and would make a good obverse,
sitting in a pocket,
waiting for war.

David Harrison Horton is a Beijing-based artist, curator, editor, and writer.

A bilingual tanka in Irish and English in response to street art in Amsterdam

Gabriel Rosenstock

labhrann strainséir liom
bloghanna dá chuid dánta
(focal nó líne)      
     ní bheadsa im’ bhean chabhrach     
     cad a theastaíonn uaidh a rá

strangers speak to me
pathetic fragments of poems
(the first word or line)         
     i’m no midwife for their poems         
     what is it they wish to say

Gabriel Rosenstock is a bilingual poet, tankaist, haikuist, playwright, novelist, essayist, translator and short story writer. His sixth bilingual volume of tanka is Secret of Secrets. See more on his website.

Photo: Wikimedia

Two Oak Trees

Lillian Ramirez

two oak trees
scheduled for removal

first man
then the trees

and somehow
we are still around

but scheduled nonetheless

Lillian Ramirez is first an admirer of language and secondly an educator.

Two Poems

Jayant Kashyap

The Three of Us

Let’s go for a walk today, it’s been a while;

that shrine, it is still there –
evenings we spent there everyday, the three of us,

Do you remember? – oh, you must!
One’s been long dead now,

his grave dried, why then this new headstone?

Let’s go dust some altars again, just once! –
we haven’t touched those cold feet for long.

Loss’s Ghazal

Six years after home, in my distant longing, there is no sense of loss.
When for days you’d said nothing, there had to be no inference of loss.

I left everywhere you were meant to be, even in the memories we shared;
I left the country you loved when it echoed merely an assonance of loss.

In the bleak whiteness of an airport, they asked of me my identity, I held,
respectfully, my heart, said there isn’t and is only an essence of loss.

They let me go, those harbingers of peace; I knock at the doors of an un-
named asylum, they measure my words, my pain of its resonance of loss.

Now the door will open, they’ll let me in, and I’ll think of that long night,
the damp discomfort of the dark room; its stiff, quiet inhabitance of loss.

That long night, when in silence you could but you said nothing, I knew
then that your words, and Elise, my name, were my inheritance of loss.

Jayant Kashyap is a Pushcart Prize-nominee and was shortlisted for the 2021 New Poets Prize. He is the author of two pamphlets, Survival (Clare Songbirds, 2019) and Unaccomplished Cities (Ghost City Press, 2020), and co-founded Bold + Italic back in 2018.

With orange blossom scented soap

Lorelei Bacht

and boiling water, I have scrubbed
your face off. I have scoured your
photograph from devices: his, mine
and everyone else’s – the clouds
are clean. I am prepared to storm
my sketchbooks, to pull out, tear,
to flame up a barrel, watch you
depart, a moonstone, a monsoon,
a monster gone for good. I do not
owe you an explanation. I do not
owe you a handshake. The five
syllables of your name recalled:
as a plainsong, a plague, a bunion,
a bad bout of food poisoning. And
that is it.

Lorelei Bacht (she/they) is a person, a poet, queer, multi-, living in Asia. Her work has appeared / is forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic, Visitant, The Wondrous Real, Abridged, Odd Magazine, Postscript, PROEM, SWWIM, Strukturriss, The Inflectionist Review, Hecate, and others. She is also on Instagram (@lorelei.bacht.writer) and Twitter (@bachtlorelei).