“A Blood of Bottles” By Deborah-Zenha Adams

The vultures on the riverbank pay me no mind. I’m mobile flesh and my height barely equals their wingspan. Neither treat nor threat, I don’t deserve their attention. Vultures are carrion eaters, feasting upon carcasses that litter the land. They like their meals dead, slightly tenderized, and ideally herbivorous. These vultures are gathered on the …

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“Crushed Crickets” By Hamza Naseer

In my silent meditation, hushed words quiver and mutter, begging for release; to be unleashed from their confines —rattling their chains in a crescendothat cannot be left unforeseen or unheard. I bend my head to these words. The trees prostrate themselves before the figure that is formed. The date is chewed and shared with the …

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“Island Papergirl” By Karen Bowers

         Every day of the week.          Every week of the month.          Every month of the year.          There isn’t any job comparable to daily newspaper home delivery. Even post office couriers swiftly completing their appointed rounds through snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night get time off. Holidays too.          For three years I tossed newspapers, folded and …

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“Mirrors: A Conversation” By Allison Goldstein

You see it again    as    glass,     the daylight's shifting    alliances each view          a mild     dissection slivered    in        shadow how quickly  the silver eye    absorbs    every flaw or       sideways        glance you search           the raw sea     for approval, water     holding      its breath, in darkness            your skingreen              eyes gray clouds       lost     in shadow what will you find,    seeking shelter beneath——— this bending     surface? A slight breeze         the curtain shifts — you float   through      light,     the image               skews. Now beige,  now         pink. I …

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“Ant Song” By Madeleine Trees

I. The ant is so small that she cannot fall fast enough to reach a speed            that would kill her.Gravity acts in vain against her sectioned limbs. Imagine falling for what seems like days, to an ant, and not being afraid.            Knowing thatthe shape of the air itself is designed to cushion you. She would be …

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“The Fifth Season” By Robert Detman

         To escape from the smoke, we had to get closer to the fire. It’s a paradox that I did not dare try to explain to my eighty-four-year-old father back in Michigan. Since the early weeks of the pandemic, we’ve felt trapped as if in a bunker. In California, with the unprecedented fires, the environment has …

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“Spindle of Anchors” By Erica Schaef

Something about the roots of a thing enigmatic perplexity deeply penetrating or inexplicably shallow always intertwining, always seeking inclusion, always taking more (aching to be left alone) bulbous and obscene, they choke out the others in gluttonous absolution or else shrivel and yield to dirt nothing in between I could press them to my lips, …

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“Recursion” By Jacqueline Donofrio

It was a summer of lemons and cherry pits. Desire set ablaze with firefly circuits, Crushed garlic hands that never pulled back. The heat was so heavy that it all melted, Blood orange sunsets and watermelon clouds smudged together and there you were holding bolts of lightning between your teeth. You were a secret language …

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“Empire of Mud” By James Roderick Burns

I, GIMPY, EMPEROR of the Mudflats, declare that henceforth this place—formerly known as the General Register Office, Edinburgh, and within the avian community, as home to the crazy bird lady and her seeds—belongs entirely to me! I hereby extend my empire up from the Forth and all its cowering estuary creatures, along the spine of …

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