She parts her legs, just a crack...
One, two, three, here comes a thrust.
One, two, three, he’s almost there.
She gawks at the ceiling the whole time. The crack is bigger now. At the far end, the peeling orange paint looks like a gecko in the shadowy dark.
Finally, release. His release.
At dinner he frowns.
She watches the hairy sprouts on the knuckles of his hands, both on the table, swallowing more space than they should, each big enough to cover the side of her face.
He rips a loaf of bread before pushing it into the molokhieya soup bowl, his hands almost turning it over. He sniffs the rice, pokes a finger at the painstakingly rolled vine leaves and the warm roast. He grunts. He glares.
His hand still fits the side of her face, his knuckles, knife-like− obliterating.
It’s nearly midnight. The pounding in her ears stalks her still. He’s been out all day, his cologne forever present--- a reminder. She catches a sob before it escapes.
She hears the unabashed car horns, and watches headlights fill the night as a bridal procession passes by, puncturing the darkness. Neighbours laugh over the hollering T.V. host in the “Late Show with Bassem.” She looks past the congested streets and steers her eyes to the vast plateau of the Giza Pyramids in the back drop.
Noise! Much of it outside but never inside. Was it always like that through time? Even back with the Ancients?
“Hushhh.” The wind threatens, its strong gusts shaking the shutters, bullying the curtains.
The peeling paint on the orange walls still looks like a gecko—an impassive gecko. The pounding in her ears is back again, or is it the sound of his hands banging on the door.
She arranges her hair in front of the mirror; her fingers touch her lips, trailing over their now careful silence.
It is a dream. To scream is a dream, but in my dreams, screams are as silent as stillborns.
Riham Adly is an associate editor in 101 words magazine and first reader/marketing coordinator in Vestal Review magazine. She is also a creative writing instructor and a writing coach. Her published short stories appeared in notable literary journals such as Vestal Review, Page&Spine, Tuck Magazine, For The Sonorous, Fictional Café, Paragraph Planet, Visual Verse, Centum Press Anthology, The HFC Journal of Arts and The Alexandrian. Her story "The Darker Side of the Moon" won the MAKAN Award in 2013 and was published in an anthology with the same name. http://www.thealexanderian.com/the-darker-side-of-the-moon/ Riham currently moderates "Roses's Cairo Book Club” for those growing avid bibliophiles, having moderated three successful rounds in the AUC Tahrir Campus. Riham lives with her family in Gizah, Egypt. To find out more about Riham’s activities, workshops, and the book clubs she moderates follow her author page:
and on twitter @roseinink
In this light the surface is a black mirror. I don’t want to see
myself seeing back, not seeing black. Behind cut glass a black
cat in a coal bunker, fur curled in a corner. Learn to see flat,
see flatly in the way Freud listened. Does matt paint glisten –
a sea creature raised from lightlessness; or is this vantablack,
sense-deprivation, an anechoic chamber? The only sound is
the nervous system, heart hurtling inside my cranium. Here
I see the starlessness between galaxies, the black of nothing
quite happening, of consciousness closing, fastening. Could
this be a Madonna and Child, figures excised (suprematist and
still a mother and child)? And this black has a dead Christ
uncanniness (Holbein’s panel for Prince Myshkin). This is
also Gallipoli, field artillery (out into history). Closer, this is
only a semblance of black: stygian tones, a rainbow, the web
of a shattered phone. A buffalo, torso, legs, a head hurrying
towards some wilderness.
Patrick Wright has a poetry pamphlet, Nullaby, published by Eyewear. His poems have appeared in several magazines, including Agenda, Wasafiri, The Reader, London Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Iota. His poem ‘The End’ was recently included in The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2018, judged by Maggie Smith. He has also been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. He works as a Lecturer at The Open University where he teaches Creative Writing.
[)when you are shoulder
dedicated to & inspired
by e e cummings
)when you are shoulder brushing
shoulder(blouse brushing pant
leg)i could give
meaning to slumber.i could give
meaning to the deepest
hardest flint of silence. the first time
to the sky(the
your face)the first time
to the ocean(
your hands)the first time
i confessed my heart(you
kissed away my mind)tied
cruel & firm as helium.
here is the plumpest secret
no one knows
[balloon as moon,
the sun as june]
the first time
the first time
(th efirs ttme
Lindsey Thäden is the winner of the 2018 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry for her poem, "Waking to Pablo Neruda Pumping My Chest." Alternating Current Press called the poem "a jolting, refreshing read." Thäden also won the City of New York's 2016 #PoetweetNYC contest. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Philadelphia-based Apeiron Review, The Coil, New York Metro, and Passages North. She is also a regular poet contributor at Vending Machine Press and The Ekphrastic Review.
The painter hangs a quince,
sun yellow, dimpled, mottled brown.
Two veined leaves make green mouse ears
as it floats upper left inside
a deep-shadowed box.
A cabbage just below and right,
ribbed big-head bow-knotted at the end
of its own rope, hovers toward the shelf.
The resting melon in the middle,
flesh splayed to offer clustered seeds
at its center cleft.
Crescent melon slice next, upturned
on a green-striped rind. Its shadow
edges the shelf’s lip. Last, the cucumber,
humped and grooved, throws its shadow
off the shelf, outside the canvas toward us.
Two vegetables, two fruits, set
in a box with grey-beige floor. A still life
lacking cutlery or silver plate,
mirrors, goblets or tulips,
nautilus shells or suffocated fish.
Why hang a cabbage, dangle a quince,
to parade a patron’s pelf?
With three spheres, one crescent
and a blunted cylinder, the painter
swings an arc against a plane of darkness
neither table top nor window frame.
But see: the melon’s companion slice
is narrow, the flesh exposed is wide.
Art nourishes: why waste the model?
David P. Miller
David P. Miller’s chapbook, The Afterimages, was published in 2014. His poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, Ibbetson Street, Constellations, riverbabble, What Rough Beast, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. A Boston resident, he was a member of the multidisciplinary Mobius Artists Group for 25 years.
All You’d Done
Noise spills off the canvas, sucking you
into the smoke-covered crowd, cigars
upturned and teeth-clinched, as the two fighters
will be in moments if gray-trunks doesn’t
go down. The man seen between black-trunks’ legs
bellows on the far side of the ring, fingers
extending claws, a jubilant fat cat.
But it’s you the artist’s after, you who’ve found
yourself in the second row on the near side
where the press take notes, sweat and spit
landing on their pads, sometimes blood. You,
inches behind the high rollers, bagmen,
and gents in boiled shirts. You can see the mat
bounce up and down with every hook and jab;
you could reach out and touch it if you wished.
Each fist’s thud transcends the noisy mob.
The man just in front of the ring, dead center,
shares for you alone a delighted smirk--
girlish, swollen lips under haze-squinted eyes.
All you’d done was stroll by the scene
when this tempter-devil gave you his leer.
J. Stephen Rhodes
Poems by J. Stephen Rhodes have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, and Texas Review, as well as several international reviews. Wind Publications has published his two poetry collections, The Time I Didn’t Know What to Do Next (2008) and What Might Not Be (2014). He has won a number of literary awards including two fellowships from the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, selection as a reader for the Kentucky Great Writers Series. Most recently, he won First Prize in Still: The Journal’s annual poetry contest. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine-Stonecoast and a Ph.D. from Emory University
you loved the open cage of me,
the lighting embrace of me.
You loved the skin-soft curves,
the creases of me. The flighty
free will of me. The home
in my own skin of me.
Home. You wanted to home
with me, in my skin with me,
in a nest of twigs & pine with me.
To winter & spring with me.
But, from our nest, you didn’t
like the wildness of me,
the changing plumes of me,
the strong-scared songs of me.
What’s left of you, your love
of me – a crown of nettles,
which settles in my hair.
The birds – they poke, they prod
at me, singing the loneliest song –
of me, of me, of me.
Christie Collins "I just moved to Cardiff from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I taught full-time in the English Department at Louisiana State University in addition to working as a remote editorial assistant for Copper Canyon Press. Here in Cardiff, I am a doctorate student in Creative Writing at Cardiff University under the supervision of Richard Gwyn and Ailbhe Darcy. As part of my degree program, I also teach creative writing workshops for the university. My critical and creative work has been published or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Entropy, Cold Mountain Review, Chicago Review of Books, Canyon Voices, Appalachian Heritage, Poetry South, Still: The Journal, Wicked Alice, So to Speak, and Reunion: The Dallas Review. Recently, I have also accepted the task of writing reviews for Poetry Wales. My chapbook titled Along the Diminishing Stretch of Memory was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014."
Erna Kuik is a photographer, visual artist, and writer. After graduating from the Artez Academy in 1992, her artwork was awarded the Gretha and Adri Pieck Prize, an award to encourage young, promising artists. Her work tends to an expressionistic style, known for its strong lines in linocuts and its poetic content. She wrote and illustrated children's books about very creative hares published by Atlantie Verlag Switzerland and has published other work that features her photography and illustrations. Her art can be found in many private collections worldwide and is exhibited in museums like the Haags Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle and in galleries most recently during Slow Art In Motion Zutphen, Weg van Kunst in Kampen, and Lingeprint Grafiekmanifestatie in Huissen in the Netherlands. She loves to be in her studio; the spirit of making fluid thoughts into sparkling crystals on paper keeps her going. Her book Zwei lange, lange Ohren received many good reviews and was nominated for the Luchs Award by die Zeit in Germany.
More on this creative collaboration can be found at: loveofliterary.com.
based on text set down in 1998
I walked him slowly to the car
and sat him in the seat,
I put his legs in, one by one
and checked his hands and feet.
With empty glazed Alzheimer eyes
In that once gifted head,
He stared out as I closed the door,
His words all left unsaid.
We drove up to the dentist
and I helped him up the stair,
I walked him in and guided him
to sit down on a chair.
His placid vacant look was aimed
at all that he could see:
the chairs and floor in front of him
but never once at me.
I took a glossy magazine
and sat there leafing through.
It held no interest for me:
the fashion world – who's who,
until – a large advertisement
for perfume caught my eye:
the sexy label "LONGING" made me
feel about to cry…
A young girl on a flight of steps
with autumn leaves, September…
the caption at the top invited:
MAKE A MAN REMEMBER.
I turned and sadly looked at him
and thought, as in a dream -
of how much perfume I would need
to bring forth just a gleam…
How much of it I'd need to wear
to bring him back to life –
Oh, how much, to remember that
I'm Miriam – your wife!
Rumi Morkin is the pen-name of Miriam Webber, born in 1934 in London, living in Israel since 1953. Miriam has written poetry on and off for many years while working at various handcrafts, which she has also taught, and since learning how to spin and weave, she has accumulated a large collection of sheep of many kinds and sizes. She regularly translates the tri-annual journal of the Alzheimer's Association of Israel from Hebrew into English. Her first chapbook The Ogdan Nasherei of Rumi Morkin was privately published in 2017 (Cyclamen & Swords Publishing). A second chapbook is planned. Miriam's poems have been published in the Deronda Review, and another poem received honorable mention in a national competition. Two short stories have been published: in Prosopisia and in Narrow roads.
The Veiled Nun
Innate beauty, ever pale,
Shielded by a gauze like veil.
What secret dost thou hide?
Matters not, least to me.
Noble lady? Or she
who made a solemn vow?
I see a beauty,
carved from stone,
Giuseppe, your secret
remains a mystery.
Ted Duke is retired, but enjoys doing volunteer work in the community, watching Washington Nationals baseball games with his wife, spending time with his grandchildren, restoring old automobiles and tending to his small herd of Angus. His stories have appeared in Pilcrow and Dagger, Hippocampus Magazine, Mused-the BellaOnline Literary Review, 404words.com, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and THEMA Literary magazine. He is querying agents to represent his Young Adult novel, Sallying Forth.
Breton's Song of the Lark
Hair defers to scarf.
Some shirts are drab, though washed.
Heading off to work
at dawn can be harsh.
At least early light’s easy
on the eyes, and a bird on the wing
sometimes will weave and whistle
a high, thin tune worth a pause.
Oh, go back home and eat warm bread,
crawl back to sleep in your rumpled bed.
I’ve heard it, too,
but work is work
and birdsong is good
for nothing but a song.
The next step is always away
from home and bed--
toward fields of this and that
to pay the bills, to buy the bread.
Matthew Murrey: "My poems have appeared in various journals such as Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, and Rattle. I received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry a number of years ago, and my first book manuscript is seeking a publisher. I am a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where I live with my partner. We have two sons who live in the Pacific Northwest. My website is https://matthewmurrey.weebly. com/"
The Persistence of Memory II
Our son was abandoned by the one
he loved the most, my dream
of his life with his wife warped now
as memory herself. I have nightmares:
In one he dangles from a thin thread
then is suspended in midair. I’m sure
he will fall to his death, but he opens
his parka and glides to a safe landing.
In another dream I’m collecting brains
in my mother-in-law’s apartment
on 85th and 3rd. I remove the skulls
of my victims. I pound nail after nail
to form a baseball sized cluster
in one skull, create a knob to pull
off the top of his head. I want
to eat the brains I’ve collected
but know it’s wrong. I awake with terror
coursing through my body like death row current.
It takes days to understand that I’m looking
for a way to comprehend what’s happened.
The problem with memory is that
she persists. Within her embrace
I am a hollow tree covered with ants,
a body alone in the desert life.
Charlie Brice: "I am a retired psychoanalyst living in Pittsburgh. My full length poetry collection, Flashcuts Out of Chaos, is published by WordTech Editions (2016) and my second collection, Mnemosyne's Hand (WordTech Editions), will appear in 2018. My poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Hawaii Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, The Dunes Review, SLAB, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Plainsong, and elsewhere."
The Ekphrastic Review
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