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Poetry 2  Fall 2022






The Usual Path of Cranes

by L. Ward Abel



Violins combine to present 

a full wall of anxiety 

but as background deep background 

like a middlemarch sun sloped 

in slow loops ever softer north  

the little mandolins skim the pond 

in welcome 


and when people say those seasons 

change according to a linear way 

tell them I feel that slow veil 

lifting from all points 

filling the air with ghosts 

a barking of dogs and herons  

who’ve chosen not to follow 

the usual path of cranes. 






Long Flashes Likewise Formed

by L. Ward Abel

Rose colored smoke
maybe fifteen miles to the west
wafts in sunset edges, covers
long flashes likewise formed
with tall-tree’d horizon shadows
shown only at the back of our eyes
and soon the fog combines to night.

Cast like a projector throws
its movies onto walls, the last minutes
of a twelve hour old once-morning
flicker then turn to a quantum dew
as torture to foliage still in full parch
their roots exposed to patchwork,
they beg for streams.

Dry, wordless midnight
coaxed from a type of sleep it lacks,
a dreaming, the dark brushed onto
every eye every mind having risen
and fallen evened-out seamless
being the opposite of noon having
covered this country, covered
its fields.

Bio  :L. Ward Abel’s work has appeared in hundreds of journals (Rattle, Versal, The Reader, Worcester Review, Riverbed Review, others), including a nomination for a Pushcart Prize, and he is the author of three full collections and ten chapbooks of poetry, including his latest collection, The Width of Here (Silver Bow, 2021).  He is a reformed lawyer, he writes and plays music, and he teaches literature. Abel resides in rural Georgia. 



Why I Write

by Lana Hechtman Ayers


The person-sized dog who sleeps between my husband and me each night

can no longer jump up onto the bed on her own.

She tries and fails, so I leap out behind her in the dark to catch

her back legs and propel them up the moment her front legs

make the attempt.

I write because I don’t know whether this is a mercy.


I write because the autumn air smells of leaf rot and cinnamon today

and the aroma of my husband’s coffee

that I am doctor-forbidden to drink causes a longing in me

that croaks like a horny spring toad.


I write because my father had overcast-sky eyes and a nose broken

too many times.


I write because the only time my brother told me he loved me 

was the day before leukemia claimed his life at aged fifty-two.


I write because the rain needs an advocate.


Because we still kill brown skin.


A flutist once said there’s a tenuous balance between covering

and uncovering the holes to create beauty in the music.


I write because the moon uses time like its personal chauffeur.


Because the night’s a cracked mirror in which my face is absent.


I write because the white moth that alights on the window

above my desk displays papery wings that are pathways to other realms.


Because the cinema of daylight releases a new blockbuster every hour.


I write because my cat’s paws tap secret Morse code messages across

the wooden floors.


Because I have my grandmother’s hands, her clumsy thumbs,

and there’s ink in my pen, pages like unspoiled fields

begging for the boot prints of words.


I write because a woman’s womb is not inventory.


Because hope is not a sold-out event.


Because heartbreak is as common as bird song

but as complex as frost patterns in the woods on a new moon eve.


I write because my mother was an alphabet of pain.


I write because the storm battering the roof patters more softly than

the regrets that echo in the canyon of my memories.


I write out of love.



Bio: Lana Hechtman Ayers has shepherded over a hundred poetry volumes into print in her role as managing editor at three small presses. She lives with her husband and several fur babies on the Oregon coast in a town known for its barking sea lions. Lana’s poetry collection, When All Else Fails, is forthcoming from The Poetry Box in spring of 2023. Visit her at LanaAyers.com.





        by John Grey

The walk home
asks nothing of sound
but that the birds chirp
in their wooded acres
and the long grass blow
from the Coffin Bridge
to the mournful stoop
of the graveyard -

it requires no company,
no other houses even,
no traffic,
no bustling,
no woodstove smells
as long as wildflowers
can provide -

it's fine with spiders,
okay with mice,
and a pickup in the wind,
even a rain-drop
or a flake of snow –

the walk home
is as undemanding
as the level, the grade,
requires nothing
but that we get there –


I always do.


Bio: John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.





The Tempest’s Can-Can

              by Kim Hazelwood

In the curtain call of colors, 

The leaves,

The fronds,

And still   unimagined   folks of fronds,

Have forevermore   conspired with October,


Wheedling for the whoosh and whirl

Tailoring our attention

For the gussied  up gusts.

These squalls of the highland,

Luminescent   grand parade.


It’s   October’s   standing agreement with the tempest

To rustle up  the stage show

The can-can of dancing leaves

Enchanted spells  in  coordinated   time

While   all   the golds and russets,

Olives and scarlets

Stay hearty in full dress

Not yet crackling or crippled  with  frost.


Briefly remaining ready for their closeup,

The splurgy splendiferous.

The very envy of Spring,

The fathomage of fire.


Bio: Kim Hazelwood is the editor of this litzine and the author of  a poetry collection, The Way You Just Shine and  CoyoteBat!