poetry · Uncategorized

4 Poems by Alessandra Simmons


Words dock
on our tongues.
Our mouths
must be an ocean.
We learn
to pronounce
or drown.


Bees once were wasps —
wasps are carnivores. Perhaps
years ago, a wasp followed
its prey into the cave-lip
of a flower & found
a golden suitcase
a silent, still sugar.


In 1917, we sow
three million new gardens.
A speedy victory:
our war,
our hunger,


Between 1718 & 1786
the e was added to hony —
Its symmetry now golden
stuck to our tongues. A slow
champagne, a dear copper —
talking sweet honey,
the honey of our breath.

Alessandra Simmons is a poetry editor for cream city review and English PhD candidate at UW Milwaukee. This year she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has poems published in The Other Journal, WomenArts Quarterly, Rabbit Catastrophe, Hawaii Pacific Review, Limestone and other journals. Her current obsessions are ringneck snakes and pawpaw trees. She interviews working writers on her blog: alessandrasimmons.com


Two Poems by Philip F. Clark

Strange and Silent Hands

After the film, “Wings of Desire,” by Wim Wenders

The angel was quiet, unseen, felt; stood
over me as I read my book. The world
was filled with an impatient fluttering.
He said not a thing, but he spoke to me
as I turned pages, rapt in the attention
of his unworldly bright language. The books
watched us, voices from their pages
waiting to be read, ‘Please, me; please, me.’
It was not a mouth I felt, but a breath
and gentle solemnity. He bent to me. I kept
reading and the angel watched. Vigilant, touched
back by me, he my sentry and I his common man.
I shuddered. This is how we are chosen
by strange and silent hands.

The Cooler

We stop laughing when the doctors come in.
Don’t want to scare them.
Benny (car accident, Christmas, gifts all over the road) 
tries to freak them out though. He’ll make a low sound
sometimes. One nurse ran so fast she almost went
out the window. Sheryl her name was.

Me (smiling, at work, just as I finished signing a contract), I like to play
dead. Because that’s what I am right?
Evan (his brother got angry one night, forgot he had a knife in his hand)
doesn’t like the dark. We hear him crying sometimes.
You get used to the sliding in and out; the murmurs.

Biggest fear: we are mis-identified. Happened to Joe (air conditioner from
100 feet up) once. Almost Pottered him,
but his sister came by just in time. No wallet, nothin on him.
She identified a tattoo of a rose on his ass.
They say it’s easier now — ‘at peace’ — and all that shit.

But it’s not. It’s harder. Because we still
see everything going on that we can’t do. We see you
but can’t kiss you; see the kids or the husband,
the boyfriend, but we can’t touch you — I mean,
we do, but you know. They don’t feel anything.
But then, we don’t feel anything too.
I’m waiting; haven’t been here long. A day or two?
Not sure who’ll come. This is called passing time.

At night it’s different. You think it wouldn’t be —
us in these locked boxes. But it is. Because then
we really are quiet. I think a lot: what if I hadn’t gone
to work that day? But I did.
You can smell the stars at night. Yes, the stars.
They smell like something we reach for. Like
something we miss, but forgot to do.

There goes Ben. Well, I’ll miss him. Long road
home for him. He was visiting his former lover
in New Hope. New Hope, how funny is that.

Philip F. Clark is an adjunct lecturer in English at City College, New York, where he received his MFA in Creative Writing in 2016. His poems have been published in Assaracus, Lyrelyre, The Good Men Project, Poetry in Performance, and The HIV Here & Now Project. Most recently his work is included in Transition: Poems in the Aftermath, the new anthology of resistance poetry published by Indolent Press. His poetry reviews and interviews have been published in Lambda Literary Review and The Conversant. His poetry blog is The Poet’s Grin: philipfclark.wordpress.com.


Four Poems by Tara Isabel Zambrano

nervous, hopeful

A ring of sunlight around a cloud,
a deserted nest, discerning wind
winds the long, gray days
like sleeping hours in a clock.

Trees lit with frost, wait for the warmth,
suggest survival in the deep curve of this earth,
a pale moon walks on the circumference,
unable to melt its snow.

In distance, whirls of smoke escape
into whole-milk sky. An old cup
with dark circles sits alone,
nervous, hopeful to touch warm lips.

Aubade: a wordless twilight

Kissing you feels like a water fountain.
The dawn is near. Before I knew you,
I knew a night would come when
we’d dance and sink into sleep
cautious not to douse in each other’s dreams.

Yet we floated upon a wordless twilight,
locked in without a key, our shadows
like something zipped and unzipped
with care.

The hours peel the light, our last embrace
curdled as milk by the side of the bed,
your eyes barely open. Before I knew you,
I knew I’d walk away still wanting you.
Kissing you feels like a memory.


My eyes, a half-remembered dream,
struggle to see within,
disrupt their

Glowing in ivory grace,
my body, a moving beast,
is a poem upside

My heart lies between
possibility and loss,
a shadow borne so lightly,
hoping to fall up.

dead clocks

let’s stay in the dark and break stars,
rummage through the sky and wake up dreams
that are like children on bunker beds
holding dead clocks next to their hearts.

let’s walk the moon, realize its dew-devoid beauty
and calculate the time to go a full circle
of solace, mark galaxies that bend
the symmetry of our thought.

let’s fill the glasses with songs and malt,
our eyes with light so we cannot un-see the truth,
order the oceans to take us in, release our souls
where they came from.

Tara Isabel Zambrano lives in Texas. Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Healing Muse, San Pedro River Review, Moon City Review and several other journals. She is an electrical engineer by profession.