by Linda Thornton Peterson
The Sugarhouse whistle blows—grinding begins
on the Gulf Coast of ‘Cajun Louisiana.
Leaves turn brown and pecans fall covering the ground.
Trick or Treaters can’t wait for dark,
hoping to at least scare cats and dogs.
October days are cooler— Cane fields are green.
To clear dead leaves, sugar fields are set aflame.
The thick smoke blocks the sun and ash covers all.
Field hands cut cane with machetes, but
if cane is not tangled by a hurricane, cane harvesters
drive through rows cutting the stalks.
November comes— An inescapable, familiar sour smell
from the Sugarhouse clogs the humid air for miles.
Sugarhouse stacks spew smoke and soot: long black curls of cane leaves
gently settle on heads and shoulders at the Friday night football game.
Soot on the ground drifts like snow against front- door steps.
Cane trucks struggle free from muddy fields, their trailers
haphazardly stuffed with a jumble of stalks.
Mid-December— Fields are bare, safe from a rare freeze, and
fog clings to the ground around smokeless stacks.
From the deserted Sugarhouse comes a lonesome sound,
a final whistle at midnight, like a fog horn on the river.
Bio: Linda Thornton Peterson, a Louisiana native, retired from Northern Illinois University as a psychotherapist and teacher. Her short stories have appeared in The Greensilk Journal and Flash Fiction Magazine. Poetry publications include: The Greensilk Journal, The Hanging Moss Journal, the Western Colorado University Journal and Northern Illinois University Journals. She won an NIU faculty poetry award and is a founding member of two DeKalb writers’ groups. She was an Associated Press stringer photographer and an art teacher; she continues to exhibit her art and write.
by Adelaide Shaw
walkers and joggers
and Saturday shoppers
the village alive
at the farmers' market
some bargaining, some laughter
from first day to last
Norman Rockwell pictures
of harmony and cheer;
is reality dressed up
to fool others and ourselves?
new shops open
and other shops close
grumblings are heard;
we should do this or that
or do nothing at all
meadows and fields
rolling hills, ponds and lakes
the blessings of nature
ours to enjoy and soften
that which pains.
Bio:Adelaide B. Shaw lives in Somers, NY. She has three children and six grandchildren. Her stories have been published in several literary journals, including, By-Line, Greensilk Journal, Bartleby Snopes, Loch Raven Review, American Literary Review, The Writers’ Journal SN Review, Bewildering Stories, Cyclamens and Swords, The MacGuffin and Storyteller. Adelaide also writes children’s fiction, haiku and other Japanese poetic forms, and has been published widely
Love So Big
by Kim Hazelwood Haley
Apparent in her face nine months ago,
Lemon rays spreading an apricot sunrise,
Now two beautiful faces,
The joy of mothering:
Broader capacity with such ripe contentment,
All past and present love gifted flows redirected from you
Doubles back somehow,
In the newest member of the family,
Youngest addition to the heart just gleaming!
Sunshine on an ocean wave.
Bio: Kim Hazelwood Haley has been editing this litzine for 14 years! One of her poems will be included in the upcoming Earth Poetry Anthology next year by Foothills Publishing. Her poetry has appeared in When Women Awaken (2016) as well as Green Silk and others also featuring short stories. Her poem, A Geisha in Winter won third place in a poetry contest, and she is also the author of CoyoteBat! Lately, she has been performing as a singer-musician with her husband in their duo~ Cats With Matches around the Shenandoah valley.
THE BLUES MAN
by Jeffrey Zable
On my way to the Haight Street Goodwill I stop
and listen to an African American guy who’s
singing and playing the blues on an acoustic guitar.
I think to myself, “This guy is damn good and here
he is playing for chump change on Haight Street!”
When I put a five dollar bill into his basket he looks
down at it, and while still playing his guitar he sings,
“Thank you ma friend. Thank you ma friend.
Bio: Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies.
Recent writing in The Local Train, Defuncted, Corvus, Rosette Maleficarum,Tigershark, Former People, Remington Review, Alba, Hypnopomp, Up The River and many others.In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.
We Wrote Letters
by Jeff Burt
My mother and I wrote letters
with rarely a comment on the other’s words,
mine a summary of triumphs, failures,
ecstasies, life of internal joy and misery,
hers about the day of, the immediate,
errands, lists, concerns, news of siblings,
then a bird at the feeder would catch her
and her words would veer toward delight.
I came to know her like an audience
learns of a magician, not with straight ahead
rapture, but with the attention to the offhand,
the one that’s performing the trick,
to be captivated, enchanted when surprise interrupts,
to allow attention to drift, to escape
the train and timetable tracks and watch mystery
pop out the world’s wondrous hat.
Bio: Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and an abundance of plums. He works in mental health.
All those nights two suns running free
by Simon Perchik
All those nights two suns running free
–with a clear look at each other
could see how bright her face becomes
when the window pane unfolds on fire
spreads out that long-ago afternoon
end over end though the shade
is reaching for the sill –a constellation
and still her arms are frozen open
as if this snapshot was trying to breathe twice
make you think you are covering her eyes
are in the room alone, holding on to what’s left
letting it flicker, wait for something in the light
to move closer together, fit into her mouth
so it can see you as the bed no longer made
as the wall and empty picture frame.
Bio: Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Gibson Poems published byCholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2019. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
To view one of his interviews please follow this linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK774rtfx8