Month: January 2018


By: Marie-Andree Auclair

My first mummy,
I stared at so long
my father wondered
where I was.
He did not see

I was with herin the glass cage
sitting compact
arms holding my knees
staring back.

What had they done to me
that I lingered undissolved
leather on stone
prisoner of time
not allowed to fade?

She found my dreams.
We ran on the sand of her river
wove baskets in the reeds
laughed, rarely disobeyed.
In the dark, I feared her
loneliness matched mine.

Marie-Andree Auclair’s poems have appeared in many print and online literary publications such as Apeiron, Gravel Magazine, Canthius Literary Journal, Harpur Palate, The Windsor Review, The Maynard, Qwerty, filling Station, Contemporary Verse 2, Structo UK, HCE (IRL). Her chapbook, Contrails, was released by In/Words Magazine and Press/Ottawa. She lives in Canada and is working on another chapbook.

Red Prince

By: Barbara Westwood Diehl

Let us be a diocese
of two,
not parishioners,
but a confessional
of cardinals,
each of us
red as papal slippers,
a clergy plumed
in tongues.
Let us be our own
our liturgy a litany
of your hymn singing
to my psalm,
your hallelujah a chorus
to my every verse.
You and I,
we are a rapture
adapted for flight.
Let us be red princes
of our own northeast
Let us be whistling priests
in the sacrament of air.

Barbara Westwood Diehl is founding editor of the Baltimore Review. Her fiction and poetry have been published in a variety of journals, including Quiddity, Potomac Review (Best of the 50), Measure, Little Patuxent Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, Gargoyle, Superstition Review, NANO Fiction, Per Contra, Thrush Poetry Journal, Tishman Review, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

Blue Exhaust

April 4, 1968
BY:Janet Reed

At eight, sunk in the back seat
of my dad’s red Corvair, yawning
into my pink flannels, I lost faith fast,
the way a bandage ripped from skin
tears the weave of wound it’s tended.

The night of the murder in Memphis,
we waited in the graveled drive
of a trailer park, my mind on the promise
of ice cream when mom returned.
Engine idling, Dad slumped in his seat,
hand on the Delco’s AM dial,
and hummed a hymn with Loretta Lynn.

I still hear their song, still hear
the motor’s measured piston taps
hollow against the stick in park,
still feel the throttle inhale,
a half-beat of syncopation
in an engine once rebuilt already,
and still unsafe at any speed.

Like the whine of a diesel low on oil,
his voice rose at the news, distinct,
slurs stuttered and steamed
a centrifugal force of words
hot enough to break the block,
and still my mother did not come.

Not daring a breath, my eyes fixed
on the moths kissing yellow bulbs
over the doors of those doublewides,
the oily lights blurring a moving darkness
I did not yet understand, and choked
on the blue smoke of his exhaust.

Janet Reed is a recent second-place winner in Common Ground Review’s poetry contest, judged by Patrick Donnelly, and a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, Common Ground Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Avalon Review, I-70 Review, and others. She is at work on her first collection and teaches writing and literature for Crowder College in Missouri.

Denny’s Grand Slam Special

By: Tatiana Forero Puerta

When I was little I thought people only died at night.
When death came for her at 4pm
the sun still shone blossoms pink
to velvet opening their tabernacle mouths
towards the sky, petals like hallelujah arms.
A bird on the windowsill stared in
opened its beak silent, unable to sing
the piercing song of our sorrow.

After they rolled her pale body away
there were enough hours left to keep living
like running in a dream where no matter
how fast your legs shuffle, you’re never moving:
we could get in a car, go grocery shopping,
play hide-n-seek scurrying behind the abandoned
cars on the lot off Concord Ave
but none of those things
were any longer real.

We went to Denny’s and ordered
The Grand Slam Special. Aunt Luz
told the waiter to bring extra orange juice
because our mother had just died.

With oversized forks we cut our pancakes
into little pieces without eating them,
watched the butter melt into the crevices of dough
and the syrup create a moat that also held our tears.

Tatiana Forero Puerta’s poetry has appeared in Able Muse, Literary Juice, Flock, Juked, and other publications. She is a 2017 recipient of the Pushcart Prize, a finalist in Brutal Nation Prize for Writers of Color, and a nominee for Best of the Net Anthology. Tatiana’s first full-length poetry collection was awarded finalist by Autumn House, Grayson Books, and Two Sylvias Press. She holds a BA from Stanford and MA from New York University. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Tatiana now lives and teaches in New York. For more information on her work, visit

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