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Poetry 3 Spring 2024




     by Taylor Hagood


The warm

shellacked banjo’s neck

feels familiar.


My fingertips

toughened years ago

on steel strings.


Picking the licks

brings me home

to wall heater glow.


Playing well or not

means nothing to me.

I almost begrudge


the twelfth fret.

I hear a vision of gourds

green on a summer fence,


goat’s hair scraped

from its humming skin,

fingers separating


the guts into lines.

Africa is everywhere.

Joy lives in pain.


Bio: Taylor Hagood is a writer currently based in south Florida whose poetry, fiction, literary criticism, and reviews have been published in such journals as A-Minor MagazineCalifornia QuarterlyCold Mountain ReviewEpater, and The Thieving Magpie.



Paint Chips

  by Catherine McGuire


Ah, Golden City! Clearfield!

Oh, exquisite Peace River,

Lemon Grass, Simply Red!


I once sought your dance cards

mooned over your swatch

fell into your vibrancy

your promise of rooms

so rich I’d swoon walking in the door.


I believed you; I planned a life

of every hue, an orgy of color.

I hoarded paint chips

spread them like tarot

read my future, a can of paint away.


As with most dreams, I barely touched you –

a few pale walls, no scarlet courage

and now painting is out of reach.


Taking out your stained-glass triptych

I remember now the passion, the hope.

I thank you all – every color,

even khaki – for making my soul



Bio: Catherine McGuire is a writer/artist with a deep concern for our planet's future, with five decades of published poetry, six poetry chapbooks, a full-length poetry book,  Elegy for the 21st Century, a SF novel, Lifeline and book of short stories, The Dream Hunt and Other Tales. Find her at www.cathymcguire.com


Morning Chores

       by Ed Higgins


This morning’s cold fog straddles my back fields.

Like a cautious horseback rider it eases toward


the barnyard, enshrouding the barn and outbuildings

in grey mist. I am doing morning chores:


speaking as I am wont to my hens just released

from their overnight lockup into the chicken yard.


I’ve tossed a small kitchen bucket of scraps

from last night’s dinner leftovers for them.


There’s always a mad scramble when I let them out 

rushing to snatch up tasty bits. Some hens 


have stayed in nest boxes, already laying or keeping 

an egg from the cold. The fog’s beginning to retreat


to the trees lining the creek bisecting the farm. 

Two young calves slip out of the shrouded field heading 


for the barn where I’ve put out a double scoop of grain 

and screening pellets. I cut the strings on a bale of hay 


dropping a couple of flakes into the feeder. The rest of the cows 

are still invisible out in the far field. I turn back toward the house, 


needing a second cup of coffee. The morning haze slowly lifting away.


Bio: Ed Higgins' poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals. Ed is Asst. Fiction Editor for Brilliant Flash Fiction. He has a small organic farm in Yamhill, OR, raising a menagerie of animals—including a rooster named StarTrek. A collection of his poems, Near Truth Only, has recently been published by Fernwood Press, 2022.