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Poetry 5 Spring 2024



Aunt Ouida’s Rules for Clean Living, VI

    by John Dorroh


When you buy your mechanics a dozen donuts

your karma rating increases on the spot. No

explanation as you slide the box across the counter.

If they ask just say Because. That’s all you need.


When you see a stuck duck in a frozen pond

approach it with extreme caution & care. You

don’t need to say a word. Encase the wings

with the palm of your hands so it can feel

your mother warmth. Help it to wiggle free,

gently like someone did with you one time.


When it’s 102 in the shade wait on your mail

carrier with a cold bottle of water.


When your breakfast server is having a bad morning

smile & leave a generous tip.


When it starts to rain on your parade clean up the mess,

move inside & bake someone a chocolate cake. Make

sure you layer the top with extra icing & maybe

a dash or two of sprinkles.


When you don’t feel like cleaning out those plastic bins

in the basement, do one & then decide if you feel like more.

If not, you should take a nap with your dog.


If you have to go to the doctor think about the people

who never get to leave the exam room.


If you are ever bored walk around your backyard

or the park near your home & photograph

something you’ve never seen before. Embellish it

with a weird story that makes your friends ask

Are you feeling okay?


When you drive your car after you leave your mechanic’s

shop, try to smell something sweet… like donuts.


Bio: John Dorroh has never fallen into an active volcano, nor has he caught a hummingbird. However, he did manage to bake bread with Austrian monks and drink a healthy portion of their beer. Five of his poems were nominated for Best of the Net. Others have appeared in over 100 journals, including Feral, North of Oxford, River Heron, Wisconsin Review, Kissing Dynamite, and El Portal. He had two chapbooks published in 2022. 



Four of Cups

      by Robert Beveridge

The cat lies at the foot of the bed
and bats at my feet until I move them
out of his way. The orange
and white fluffy Buddha must have
his space, I guess, even if it is
on my side of the bed. What
can you do? Nap, until it’s time
to hop down, trot to the kitchen
for a quick meal and half a bowl
of water. Then something
to chew on, perhaps, before
another nap—what else is there?


Bio: Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry on unceded Mingo land (Akron, OH). He published his first poem in a non-vanity/non-school publication in November 1988, and it's been all downhill since. Recent/upcoming appearances in Wales Haiku Journal, Shadowplay, and tiny frights, among others.


    by  Susan Shea
I don't know why I can't stop
thinking about the old fine man
who walked three inches at a time
down the aisle in the big box store
unnoticed in his well-ironed pants
wearing his tweed newsboy cap
cane-less, only holding air in his
 fisted hands, with his back to me
I knew he expected nothing from
any of us, he was so solid in his
movement forward, lion silent
in his determination
keeping his story to himself
I keep thinking we could have 
somehow honored him
we could have told him how much
we need him and the life he led
we could have asked him how to keep 
claiming earth beneath our feet no matter 
how hard we feel pulled down
Bio: Since Susan Shea retired as a school psychologist, she has been able to write poetry full-time. In the past year, a little over 100 of her poems have been accepted by publications that include Across the Margin, Ekstasis, Avalon Literary Review, Feminine Collective, Military Experience and the Arts, Triggerfish Critical Review, Invisible City and others. She also enjoys creating rock sculptures, quilting and hiking. Susan has longed to be a poet since third grade, and she is finally able to write every day, as though it's been waiting for her all of her life.  She was raised in New York City, and now lives in a forest in Pennsylvania.
Change of Season
    by paul Bluestein


When June arrives, the elms and oaks leaf out,
hiding the lake beyond the kitchen window.
Behind the wall of green like a blind,
I hear shrill herring gulls
laying claim to picnic leavings,
and raucous teenage boys
hoping to claim the attention of sunning girls. 
But after autumn intermission,
the leaf curtain falls open,
revealing nature’s stage setting
for Act IV of her year-long dramedy.
As if an Avercamp painting has come to life,
A flock of clouds trot across a gunmetal sky,
like sheep herded by the westerly wind,
while dogs chase the knitted red scarves
of skaters on the frozen lake.
I wonder if trading languorous summer
for a view of the December scene is worth it.
No matter though. I don’t get to choose.
For now, snow has begun to fall and soon,
the world will go quiet and white,
with only the barking of a dog in the distance
to distract me from the solitude of this winter day.
Bio: paul Bluestein is a physician (done practicing) and a blues musician (still practicing). He lives in Connecticut near a beach where he finds quiet time to think about the past and wonder about the future. In addition to poems and short stories that have appeared in a wide variety of online and print publications, he has had two books of poetry published - TIME PASSAGES in 2020 and FADE TO BLACK in 2021.