"All human beings must pass through Knoena Ayanmo,
which translates to destiny or fate --"
A Yoruba belief
"When I take my girl to the swimming party,
I set her down among the boys.
They tower and bristle, she stands there, smooth..."
Sharon Olds, The One Girl at the Boys Party
In the years when we were free slaves only to the music
of our hearts, I dreamed I carried my daughter home
singing down the river transported by a mermaid --
and O how her scales did shine! The Elders of the tribe
had said Never look at the Oro because you are a woman!
But I dyed my fabric with indigo the colour of deep-blue water,
and ignored the men except for this one thing: which one
would be my daughter's father? One of the Elders
had warned me that my eyes would be eclipsed,
like the sun, if I looked when the moon shadowed
daylight and the great bird cried out, rising from the head
of a mounted warrior; and because I am a woman I must beware
of he who wants to learn (not fight) to write or to be an artist
holding the blank page of a beginning. So I considered
the accordion player who'd carved an amulet from mother-
of-pearl so it looked like ivory. He kept it hidden in a batik bag
during the Festival when his instrument sighed with a swishing sound --
a whoosh of air -- making it sound like the voices of the trees
when the Oro is coming his magic soft as a secret, like rain falling
until the night's broken open by the crash of the bullroarers
and I cover up my ears -- but not my eyes like I'm supposed to --
as the preacher speaks in a loud, loud voice so all the men
will know he's serious when he talks about sacred instruments
and the power of the Oro; who looks splendid, I think
in a robe covered with shells his lips red as blood
when the river goddess winks at the blacksmith
who made the iron nails to fasten all my choices
(to be fathers, that is) on a wooden helmet
with the river mermaid's face because it's she who knows
my community's fate: call it destiny -- a secret -- the golden infant
Onabanjo sculpts when I'm the only woman on the Oro's helmet
holding my Itu Meto boy.
Laurie Newendorp's recent book, When Dreams Were Poems, 2020, explores the relationship between art and poetry; and in the case of the Magbo Helmet, the influence of anthropology. The Oro is thought of as a god by the Yoruba People of West Africa, a place where magic is a part of nature. Nails to hold thirteen figures to the Magbo Helmet is unusual, and more contemporary than carving the entire helmet from a single piece of wood, so the woman's voice in the poem is modern, from a time when Yoruba People returned home bringing multi-cultural art elements, freed from enslavement in Brazil.
A De Ni Alafi
Eewu bę loko Longę, Longę fun ara rę eewu ni…(Yoruba proverb).
(Translation) There is danger at Longę's farm (Longę is a name of
a Yoruba Legend), Longę himself is danger.
(Meaning) You should be extremely careful of situations
that have a past history of danger.
We shall drift on God’s back
whose gaze will be steady,
whose face will be
serene with notions
and rituals of balance.
Akin will offset any bobbing
by carrying a great white bird
above his head.
The mal de debarquement
with never occur because the bird
keeps the sea mirror-flat,
the direction true.
Stand erect with your gifts
as you sail across the boundary
between two worlds.
It is black night
but Aabdar tends the moonlight
like a prayer
and illuminates the crew
whose motion is powered by
Emenike who pumps
the Juju melodeon and sings
on the mountain, in the valley,
on the land and in the sea;
my God is my portion in the land of the living;
my God is good for evermore.
Aadesh carries the message
in a gold satin satchel.
Aadesh was given the remedy
which he must carry carefully;
should he drop one letter
it will drift to the sea bed
causing the other letters
to pile into one another
unable to spell anything.
Aaeedah carries a hat box
in which there may be a hat.
All gestures of reconciliation
come with risk.
Bolade listens to a tambourine
only she can hear.
Often this is the only way.
Abayomi carries the golden child
who is all children.
Should the guests refuse this child
the journey home will be tumultuous,
the joy absent,
and Amadia will hide
the spirit of lightning
under his coat,
to plan the next journey,
perhaps with different travelers,
perhaps with a antidote,
perhaps with a cargo
of loneliness that will
carry them back empty,
ready, as always, to be replenished.
John L. Stanizzi
John L. Stanizzi - author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, Sundowning, POND, The Tree That Guides Us Home. Besides Ekphrastic Review, John’s poems are in Prairie Schooner, Cortland Review, American Life in Poetry, New York Quarterly, and others. John’s nonfiction has been in Literature and Belief, Stone Coast Review, and many others. He was awarded an Artist Fellowship in Creative Non-Fiction, 2021 from the Connecticut Office of the Arts and Culture. https://www.johnlstanizzi.com
We Are Ancient
we are ancient
magic and burning embers
mirror images of souls shatter’d in bone
kept for the ages, for historians to argue over
chewing the fact with opinion after opinion
fighting over our opaque messages in gold
driven by a circus dissolved into horizons
time and the end are needlessly near
we are gifts under a tree, shadowed, twisted
wearing memories soaked in lime and salt
drift down the pathway to our hearts
a song from the wild, birds once hanging
like lanterns in the trees, like dew
we are lava dreams that swarm over the land
swiped and reduced to hardened labour
always in our hearts, only one wears the crown
and when he stands we will all be free
Zac Thraves is a performer, writer and speaker who lives in Kent. His latest book about coming to terms with anxiety and depression is being adapted into a show; the book is available on Amazon. He presents workshops on mindset and emotional balance using pop culture. Poetry has been published by Nitrogen House and Scrittura Magazine; The Ekphrastic Review, and some are on Youtube. You can follow on Twitter - @28thraves or Insta - @28zacthrav
Who Am I?
Several months ago my doctor asked,
Do you remember any past lives?
No! I said.
Now I’m not so sure. Here I am
in a dream, surrounded by African villagers.
The people all know me, accept me
as one of them. I know them, too,
from the prisoner, nursing mother,
bandoneon player, and dandy,
to both the warrior and his horse.
We’re the Oro, a cross section of village life,
a jury to bring justice to all our people.
I nod at the scribe, here to record
our meeting. That’s my favorite job.
On waking I can’t recall the outcome
of the trial, but my conscience is clear –
only how do I know about the Oro?
Weird dreams are my norm –
talking animals and nameless quests –
but this is different. A week later,
I’m on a museum tour in a strange city.
My legs shake when I spy my dream squad
posing atop a Magbo helmet.
Who’s the large face below the villagers?
Any moment I expect to hear
the voice of Rod Serling.
Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. Thanks to fellow poets, who generously share the hottest poetry news, Alarie visited The Ekphrastic Review a few months after its birth and decided to move in to stay. She is a consultant for prizes, occasional judge, and received one of the first Fantastic Ekphrastic Awards in 2020. Please check out her three poetry collections on the Ekphrastic Bookshelf.
Mom and I Go Shopping for Masks Before We Learn We Need to Grasp the Concept of Cultural Appropriation
And it’s just as well, as we wouldn’t have been able to deal with the guilt on top of everything else, Dad just having croaked and us in the hospital gift shop at the very moment he slipped away. Our cells ring at the same time. We stare at each other. Maybe if we’d waited to take a break, or gone a lot earlier? Or maybe he and his oncologist had a secret pact and maybe that doctor pushed a little more morphine than required, held off till we couldn’t see. Maybe doesn’t really count anymore. We take the elevator to his room on the 5th floor. Just enough time to absorb his vacancy then leave the room when they come to scrape off his corneas. Mom signs all the papers. We make a few calls, don’t know what to do with ourselves next, head to the parking garage.
“That new folk art store’s just opened.” Hushed, her husky Tallulah voice, seductive in any occasion. It’s not like our homes aren’t overflowing with handmade objects from lands other than ours, but we drive over to check it out. An African vendor at the counter is showing his wares to the owner, whose mouth twists with disinterest. But Mom and I know. This is not airport art.
We sidle over to the seller, smile. “Meet us outside,” our voices low, conspiratorial. He does. He opens the rear of his van. The smell of campfire smoke rushes out, cloaks us, confirms authenticity. These masks have been danced, at night, under stars. Or maybe the wool’s being pulled over our eyes. We don’t ask. Or care. We have always favored the ease of presumption. Besides, distraction is the point, and it’s here in spades. We scribble mom’s address on a piece of paper, point which way to turn first. Fifteen minutes later, her arc of the cul de sac is lined with carvings, face masks, helmet masks, the odd basket. Mom and I shuffle sideways, shoulders pressing, like Chang and Eng, not speaking, pointing to this one, then that. Bobbing and shaking our separate heads.
A distant cousin from across town chooses that moment to come pay her respects. Isn’t she a bit early? She surveys the scene — the masks, us, the vendor. Back to the vendor, us, the masks. She can’t quite work out what’s happening so lands on that default sympathy face everyone hates but knows how to give, then mumbles, “He’s in a better place,” a no less despicable offering, shuffles backwards to her car.
Mom and I nod, not at the cousin’s purloined propriety nor at her sweeping Uriah Heep exit, but at this mask and that, already putting nails in our walls.
Mikki Aronoff’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent Journal, Popshot Quarterly, South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Gentian Journal, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and elsewhere. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she is also involved in animal advocacy.
Power of Oro
Oro, do not disclose our most secret task
Ride upon your steed, sacred avian perches
Over all, sentinel, protector of our people
Warriors, bards, infants in arms, those who fill
Air with chants and music, celebratory wine
Render our past within scrolls, carry all into battle
Rejoice in our gods, survival of Oro, most wise
Intelligent elder, each purposeful; walk the path
Oro shall keep vigil, upon his head, mighty strength
Reduce enemies to harmless as we march on
Julie A. Dickson
Julie A. Dickson is a poet who loves challenges, from nature to current events, from captive elephants to teen issues of bullying. Ekphrastic writing has become a mainstay. Her poems appear in many journals including Misfit, Open Door, Sledgehammer and The Ekphrastic Review; full length works are available on Amazon. Dickson is a Pushcart prize nominee who participates in many workshops and coordinates 100 thousand poets for change. She shares her home with rescued feral cats, Cam and Claire.
We come. We come from the great unknown.
We come to welcome you into the world.
We celebrate your arrival from the dust
into fully created by the One-Who-Starts-The-World.
We come bringing music of life. All will follow you.
We emerge. We merge of out clouds,
from a distance you can’t imagine. We greet you.
We’ve been watching for you.
Once you were nothing, now you are present
like the land and stirring waters.
All this is yours now. Protect it
and love it. We will be watching to see how you do.
Nurture the land and the food growing from plants.
Do not harm the ones following you.
We hope you will spread words of kindness
to those still waiting to arrive. We will be watching
to see if you do. Here. Here is the great Ibis.
Learn how he moves among the land and water,
and befriends the cows. Do the same. Learn.
We will be watching you. We trust you
to do wonderful surprises for a long time.
On my head, you will find my thoughts
offering ten more treasures. You are in my dreams
and now you are real as the Book of Life,
one of the many treasures. Be careful
when you open and use it, and we will be watching.
All this world is in your care.
Do what is right and proper. See this other gift.
This one is music so you can sing to your mate.
The Great Ibis has dipped his beak into creation
and provided one. Take care of your mate.
We see your mate already slipping into your arms.
This is how to learn compassion. Now use music
to sing to each other how you love each other.
See how gifts multiply and intensify.
Look at the treasure chest of stories.
Place your story inside and share your stories
with those that follow after you.
We will watch what you say.
Make the stories good ones. Now I am thinking
of offering you the gift of hearing each other
before responding. I believe this is helpful.
And instead of telling you about all the other gifts,
maybe I should encourage you
to explore the rest of the gifts. We trust you will know
how to use them well. But we will be watching,
closely, because each gift has both good
and bad uses. Some gifts might fall into disrepair
if you do not carefully use them.
Remember to always love and encourage others,
and nothing bad will happen.
Take care of the earth,
because you arrived out of the earth,
and nothing bad will happen to the earth
if you take care of it. Welcome all the plants,
trees, animals, and sunrises. Take care of them.
Welcome them. We will be watching at a distance.
When you look into the sky, you will see us watching.
Now we are leaving. We are leaving you
like a dream leaves when waking.
We are leaving, we are leaving, we are leaving,
be careful how to use your gifts.
We already see you won’t use them correctly.
We hope we are wrong.
Please prove us wrong. We are leaving.
Martin Willitts Jr
Martin Willitts Jr, edits the Comstock Review.. His 25 chapbooks include the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 21 full-length collections including Blue Light Award The Temporary World. His current book includes Harvest Time (Deerbrook Editions, 2021).
The Mask of Many Parts
I am the maker of Man,
in all things there is balance.
I can shape a mother’s breast,
create the curve of kindness,
chisel out the preacher’s mouth,
his breath an incantation,
fret and mold a musician’s voice
to hone notes of sorrow and joy,
chip rub whittle trim
trace hew stipple skim
I can sculp the prisoner’s conscience
into something bright, enlightened,
model the hands of medicine man
so he can heal the ailing,
smooth the elder’s angled chin
to meld with wit and wisdom,
slice gorge rend rip
cleave grate hack split
I can forge the warrior’s sword,
his crown welded tight to helmet,
mount the gold on a soldier’s metal
arm him with weapons of war,
cast the eagle, wings of bronze
to mask the edge of the abyss,
heat torch singe sear
ignite melt engineer.
In all things there is balance,
I am the maker of Man.
Kate Young lives in England and has been passionate about poetry since childhood. She generally writes free verse and loves responding to art through ekphrastic poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Village, Words for the Wild, Poetry on the Lake, Alchemy Spoon, Dreich and Friends and Friendship. She has had poems in two Scottish Writers Centre chapbooks. Her work has also featured in the anthologies Places of Poetry and Write Out Loud. Her pamphlet A Spark in the Darkness is due to be published by Hedgehog Press next year. Find her on Twitter @Kateyoung12poet.
fabrications of generations
carried over seas and oceans
wrapping around limbs, seaweed
weaving old wives tales.
Cut against coral, freeing ankles:
bleeding gashes worth the unravelling
into measured strokes and hefty breaths
of air, spitting out
I am not moved by statues
by false idols, or prophets
calling out doomsday predictions.
But by those who seek refuge
on shores that hold tired limbs
in open palms
Eleni Gouliaras is a Scarborough poet. Her experience living with major depressive disorder shapes her writing. Her poetry touches on mental health, resilience and resistance. Her poem "Capitalism*2mg" was a winner for the 2020 Power of the Poets contest. Her poem "Proceed with Caution" is published on Pamenar Press online magazine. Her poem "Silence" is published on the Scugog Council for the Arts website after winning 2nd place in the Voice of the Arts Literary Contest 2020. Her writing also appears in Feel Ways: A Scarborough Anthology, released in April 2021. Her poem "Pulse" appears in the August 2021 issue of The Quarantine Review. She is busy studying to become a Library Technician, but poetry always finds a way into her life.
Beasts of No Nation
When you told me your father worked in the oil business,
I pictured a ruddy guy in grimy denim coveralls and dented white hard hat,
Standing next to an oil derrick in Texas -- the kind that often catches fire.
Your family’s home movies from the oil company compound in Lagos,
Where you grew up -- set me straight.
Pin-the-tail on the donkey games I played at childhood parties in White Plains,
Couldn’t hold a blindfold to the Yoruba dancers celebrating your thirteenth birthday.
Thirty or forty Nigerian women and men rhythmically paraded through your backyard,
Soundlessly singing a Fela Kuti song.
The men’s white lace-embellished trousers and the women’s elaborate headwraps
Were vibrant in silent 16mm Kodachrome.
Your pet White Throated monkey, Naija, made a cameo,
Leaping silently from painted porch to your younger sister’s bare shoulder.
Later than fateful afternoon, your mother couldn’t find the cash
She’d stashed in the cookie jar, a ceramic elephant boy outfitted in a sailor suit.
By nightfall, the jig was up.
Peter, the teenage Yoruba houseboy, was arrested for theft.
Later that year, they shipped you off to a Swiss boarding school,
Because there was no American high school in the company compound
And because you were beginning to like the local ganja too much.
You have spent a difficult life trying to sort your place, your roots . . .
Living in the darkness of your corporate father’s oily shadow.
I guess it’s true if our fathers sinned, and are no more,
It is we who have to bear their iniquities.
Jude Bradley’s prose has aired on National Public Radio and has been published in Teaching in the Two-Year College journal, and Momentum magazine. Her poetry has been published by literary journals including Tupelo Press and Thimble. Jude's poem “Argos” was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize. Her poetry and flash fiction re-envision classical literature and art and reflect on urban life in an ever-shrinking, ever-expanding world. She is lifelong writing teacher who loves to sing, dance, and garden. She is the Reverend Al Green’s most devoted fan.
A Chieftain’s Burden
The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker,
the smithy, the quack, the shaman,
the drummer, the trumpeter, the singer,
all ride on the horns of a giant ram
parading through town
on this helmet
sat on the head of the chieftain
who walks alone
guided by the light of the north star
and feeling the earth rotate beneath his feet.
In the deepening dusk,
the helmet takes on an otherworldly glow.
The warm community scene so evident by light of day
turns to vague, shadowy blurs reminiscent of monsters and devils.
The chieftain breathes a sigh of relief,
reaching the temple gates
for here, he can finally unburden himself
unburden himself of
the weight of the helmet,
the weight of the community
the weight of the community that depends on him
and transfer this weighty burden to God.
Nivedita Karthik is a graduate in Immunology from the University of Oxford and an accomplished Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance form) dancer. Her poems have previously appeared in Glomag, Society of Classical Poets, The Ekphrastic Review, The Epoch Times, Eskimo Pie Literary Journal, The Poet (Christmas, Childhood, and Faith issues), The Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal, Bamboo Hut, Visual Verse, and Trouvaille Review. She is a regular participant on the open mic show held by Rattle Poetry. Her micro-stories have appeared in The Potato Soup Literary Journal. She is currently working on her first poetry book. Find more on her blog https://www.justrandomwithnk.com/.
Assorted castings behind us…
still to come and presently
developing into a village.
In mine there have already been
seamstresses, sailors...a tram-driver
and characters in fireside tales
that skipped professions. Time
offers only flash recordings
reduced mostly to fiction.
Earned livings aren’t lives
except to daily comrades;
family hold onto words – advice
orders, beratings, tall tales.
Actions leave scenes behind
of comedy, farce and tragedy.
Irene Cunningham has had many poems in many magazines and anthologies over the decades. Hedgehog Press published a poetry conversation between her and Diana Devlin – SANDMEN: A Space Odyssey. One of her poems was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2019, and she won the Autumn Voices memoir competition. She has recently moved to live in Brighton, and is editing several novels from the back shelves.
The Warrior’s Heron
We dance, dance, dance, dancing ourselves away on a world forever turning, turning, turning, turning to you my partners in life and death, as my golden babe suckles at my breast, saying what a magnificent crowd, our heels, kicking up in celebration, worshipping the passing of our lives, grinning, grimacing, grinding against the grain, swallowing our palm wine in frantic gulps, the warrior’s heron our only judge.
Melissa Llanes Brownlee
Melissa Llanes Brownlee (she/her), a native Hawaiian writer, living in Japan, has fiction in The Citron Review, Milk Candy Review, (mac)ro(mic), Necessary Fiction, HAD, The Birdseed, Bandit Fiction, Best Small Fictions and elsewhere. Hard Skin, her short story collection, will be coming soon from Juventud Press. She tweets @lumchanmfa and talks story at www.melissallanesbrownlee.com.
Wear Me High
Adorned with gold
He wears me high.
A metal bird
With no hope of flight
He wears me high
For a god on whom they tread.
With no hope of flight
Men and women offer music and song
For a god on whom they tread.
With elongated head
Men and women offer music and song
Wealth, and a child
With elongated head.
Men crafted me.
Wealth and a child
All offerings for prosperity.
Men crafted me
A body, a beak, a wing
All offerings for prosperity
For plentiful crops and long life.
A body, a beak, a wing
With no hope of flight
For plentiful crops and long life
He wears me high
Alison R Reed
Alison R Reed has been writing for many years but only recently took up poetry, and even more recently discovered ekphrasis. She has had poems published in local anthologies and in 2020 won the Writers' Bureau poetry competition. She is a long time member of Walsall Writers' Circle.
I struggle to find a foothold in the blackness
of this void, hold the gaze of the thirteen pairs
of irises that bore into my chest. This is the face
of the obsidian judgement that has kept me in
my place, my feet aligned to the path that
every woman before me has been taught to
walk, in my land. Straying is punishable.
One day, I dared to flee the confines of
this cosmos that told me how I should
view the world from the moment I was
flushed from the womb, from the moment
I was a helpless suckling clutching at my
mother’s breast. I became the rogue that
ripped through the palm fronds that roped
me in. I was brought back to the fold in
irons. She floats towards me, grand matriarch,
she of the lidless eyes, red pupils blazing
with punitive power, while others of my flesh
and blood mutely follow, riding the
horned carpet of her tresses. I take in
my last breath and exhale. At her bidding
the ibis will shred my heart and peck out my
eyes - those wild things that dared to dream
beyond the void, that dared to look askance.
Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad
Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an Indian-Australian artist and poet who serves as a chief editor for Authora Australis. She holds a Masters in English, and is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project. Her poems have been published in both print and online literary journals and anthologies including The Ekphrastic Review, Black Bough Poetry, Bracken Magazine, Red Eft Review, and The Eunoia Review. She won the 66th Moon Prize awarded by Writing in a Woman’s Voice Journal, and an Honourable Mention in the Glass Poetry Awards 2020. She lives and works in Sydney on the land of the Ku-ring-gai people of The Eora Nation.
This Is What I Remember
A last gasp of Summer in mid to late Fall. A night so sticky, so hot, my sister and I were barely wearing PJs. Her face was stuck in a pillow. Mama blasting Santana, my sister sleeping through it.
I remember Wildcat attacking my toes. Me tucking my feet underneath the sheet, and Wildcat pouncing up all wild-like to bite my hair.
I remember wasted laughter in the living room. The hard-driving beat of Jingo. Me pulling the sheet over my head as the African drumbeat drove harder. The conga all power. The chanting tribal. The bed rattling—along with my nerves.
I remember the laughter.
When one of Mama’s friends shrieked, “There’s something at the window!”
I remember pulling the sheet below my nose and pressing my ear against the wall.
And Mama’s boyfriend shushing, “I think it wants in.”
The wall was vibrating from the heavy hypnotic percussion, surging through my body like a conjuration. The record skipping to an altered beat. The needle screeching like a cat until somebody picked it up.
I remember jumping at the sudden quiet and Mama whispering, her voice an irregular heartbeat, “I don’t like the look in its eyes. I’m going to get the girls.”
I remember the door to our bedroom creeping open. A sliver of caution spilling yellow across the floor. Wildcat’s fur turning spikey and jumping off the bed. Mama scooping up my sister. Me standing up all jellyfish for legs.
I remember lying on the couch.
My sister still asleep on one side.
Me, on the other.
Mama and her friends were huddled on the floor, speaking in Spanish about calling a priest. Whispers like a prayer, the fear in their voice’s hot breath in my ear. Mama’s boyfriend was shutting all the windows. Another of her friends turned out the lights. The candles on the table kept flickering like angry wind in an airtight room.
I remember someone screaming “Chicken,” and Mama silent screaming into the palm of her hand. Me following Mama’s eyes. My sister’s fingers lizard skin, with nails like talons, her nose a beak.
I remember shrinking into the couch, cheek pressed hard into a threadbare cushion. A dark shadow of a hand crossing my face. Me holding my breath. Fading to black.
I remember my sister shaking me awake. Mama on the phone twisting the yellow curly cord between long fingers and bare nails.
An old bible and sainted candles spread across the kitchen table like a makeshift altar. And Mama asking Daddy to come and get us, please. Because something visited last night.
I remember the sweat on my skin in that sweltering apartment. And me shivering.
Karen Crawford grew up in the vibrant neighborhood of East Harlem in New York City. She currently lives in the City of Angels where she exorcises demons one word at a time. You can find her on twitter: @KarenCrawford_
The Truth in Justice
Justice in its embodiment:
The communal perspective truths
producing a foundation.
A foundation stood on by those who
carry the weight of their fellow
people on their conscience.
But, is justice true? The essence of it
is Truth. The execution—how you live
out Truth—is the ethic.
Feel the gravity of this reality:
Truth is in everyone; we are born
from it. And only those
who think they know how Truth
looks get to decide how
Truth is executed.
Mary Elizabeth Bruner
Mary Elizabeth Bruner is a 2019 Wofford College graduate living in Greenville, SC with her dog, four cats, and nine chickens.
Breathed the Sky
In the early times the animals sang
all day long. They gave thanks for their food
and took nothing for granted. There was no envy
or greed, only yes and no. And when it was silent
all rested in gentle peaceful calmness. In those days
the kingfisher and the lark didn’t yet have names,
but they knew who they were. And the heather,
willow, and the maple, encouraged by the sun,
made sugar and breathed the sky, and because
of this, we can breathe too.
Daphne Clifton lives in Portland, Oregon, where she writes poetry, plays Renaissance music, and makes art. Her poems have appeared in Alchemy, Bellwether Review, Paper Mountains:2020 Seabeck Haiku Getaway Anthology, The Avocet, and Voices from the Mill Pond.