Cabbages by K. Eltinae, from Issue #2


I remember the moment when I knew for sure,
I sat gawking at your knees,
jutting like fists,
twin cabbages,
two stubborn minds made up,
you were counting numbers,
until my tongue slipped into a sea,
of all the things you’d done for me,
the blame washed in and settled
I had used my last chance,
and your words could no longer save me.

I remember your quivering knees,
like the knobs of two doors,
I listened to your moist hands,
Breathe and sweat,
sans regret.

You have two hearts,
who have never come to terms with each other.
They are wrapped in inches and inches of cabbage skin,
they are dangerously polar.
You’ve kept them apart
auctioning each discretely,
but I am secretly afraid for you,
I hear them snap and lock,
snarling, like the kept prisoners they are,
your smile is growing less and less convincing
nothing will save you from the floor.

I stare closely at your knees,
willing their chambers free,
once your last words descend,
I hear each of your hearts explode.
Your expression is a picture,
collapsing like a yielding tent,
the floor beckons to you.

Traveler’s Therapy by Lennart Lundh

Traveler’s Therapy

Shadows on the road grow long,
become shadows of themselves
within the fans of headlights
when the sun is gone.

Moving west through some state,
right-angled to the new moon,
the concrete snakes through forest
like a lover heading for a mistress.

Six weeks on the road with six to go.
He’s tired of sleeping in strange towns.
He lies in bed, looking at her picture,
the one she sent two nights ago.

She is leaning against their headboard,
wearing a camisole with one strap
slipping off her shoulder. He dares
imagine boy shorts below the photo.

The paisley cloth is a Rorschach to him.
He sees her breasts, one boldly bare,
the other peeking timidly through hair,
a country river flowing down it.


Lennart Lundh is a poet, short-fictionist, historian, and photographer. His work has appeared internationally since 1965.

Two Poems by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

After the Miscarriage

She remembers lullabies, once
upon a time and desires goodness,

a cross hanging god. Gone are the days
she ate scones for breakfast drank

afternoon tea, overlooking the universe
blighted by stars. She will forget

about breath, her unmoving belly,
undeniable stillness through birth

cord to love. One drop of redness,
her stomach cut open, a life lost

to stardust, the small death of birds.




When I did prison time
I self-surrendered in exchange
for pink oleanders in my cell.

I bit my tongue to learn
the art of lying. I passed
the days by counting murderers

across the hall and dreamt
of riding my bike through a grove
of trees, the queen of hearts

stuck between the spokes; noisy
keys running over bars. And when
it was just too much to bear I ate

the flowers instead of food and wrote
the names of everyone I’ve loved
on the wall and yours was there


Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is an eight-time Pushcart nominee, a five-time Best of the Net nominee and the author of the following collections of poetry,: “Epistemology of an Odd Girl”, March Street Press, “Hasty Notes in No Particular Order”, “Letters Under the Banyan Tree” and “The Wanderer’s Dominion”, Aldrich Press, “Breakfast in Winter”, Flutter Press, along with several chapbooks, “Litany of Finger Prayers”, Pudding House Press, “Object of Desire”, Finishing Line Press, “A Thousand Tiny Sorrows”, March Street Press, “The Butterfly Room”, Big Table Books, “The Nightly Suicides”, Kattywompus Press, “Things I Can’t Remember to Forget”, Prolific Press, and the winning chapbook in The Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, “Before I Go to Sleep”, along with her latest collections slated for publication this year with Main Street Rag, “An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium” and “ In the Making of Goodbyes”, Clare Songbird Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online, print magazines and anthologies, including:  The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Poets and Artists, War, Literature and the Arts.  She is the Assistant Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal and a member of the Sacramento group of poets called Writers on Air. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.

A Sound Inside by Bridgette Gallagher, from Issue #4

a sound inside

a funny decibel
this sound
of becoming a mess
someone mocked many times before

a heart’s plea
of settling down
while I boil inside a bit

an interesting contour
the outline of a downfall
of not a person but a family
who has not made a mark

artists of failure
and fearers of domesticity
but also makers of chaos
this pair of we

a friend to no one
though trying

so bitterly

an account of nothing
just a laundry list of life
a montage of fragmented hope
and lost tempers

a funny conclusion
this goodbye
no cup of coffee
or tight hug next to the car
just a feeling of emptiness
that pervades
a home

(Appeared in Issue #4 of Chantarelle’s Notebook)

Three Poems by Kristin Garth

The Mouth

A name he calls you, “all you’re good for,” takes
it half a dozen times then settles for
the rest. Your blacked-out, beaten boyfriend wakes
and waits. His punch, preschool purview, he bore
for years before he met you. Old enough
to exit long ago but doesn’t fight
him even, now, for you — the one that’s tough
yet tiny, tangled flame of hair, eyes light
up with hormones at work for two. A child
who may be made of monster, you can’t say.
A mouth so potent, words as sharp as wild,
soon to sway: “This asshole dies today.”
Two lips abused, insulted, never heard,
The mouth that kills a bully with a word.



He tells it to her over tea — oolong,
deep jade, in peony, bone porcelain,
teacup as wide as deep. His tone sing-song —
he lets it steep, his whispered plan of pain.

Soliloquy of trapdoors, whips — soft speech
that shakes thin fingertips. She listens, sips,
white pinafore. Hairs-raised, a fuzzy peach
in reach with chattered teeth, wet lips.

She swallows and digests it all. From red
suede wingback chair, a near-miss fall. A spill
defiles a sky blue dress. No words just dread,
one last acidic sip three letters reveal.

One word at bottom, tea all done.
in cursive, lavender, and it is “run.”



You found her feral, clawed and fanged, a pet
unleashed, a gamine gangbang. Starving, slick,
no strategy, psychedelic secret
anatomy, lewd lullaby you lick.

No collar and disheveled hair, a clutch
of limbs, can curl up anywhere. A bed
she barters, skin and bones — for milk and lunch,
meek mews and moans, legs perpetually spread.

Your reign redeems her — earns her name. Rope, rules
and rituals, a tiger’s tamed. A stray
you stroked midnight, alley, you claim and school.
Her heat, those streets roleplayed on your parquet.

Inside a woman, playful whiskered child,
a pet perfect you keep a little wild.


Kristin Garth is a poet from Pensacola and a sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked the pages of Occulum, Ghost City Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Murmur Journal, Fourth & Sycamore, Rise Up Review, Drunk Monkeys, and many other publications. Her poetry dollhouse chapbook Pink Plastic House will be published by Maverick Duck Press in early 2018. Follow her on Twitter: @lolaandjolie.




Three poems by Susan Richardson

Condition of My Heart

Over months of unfurling secrets,
and trying to decipher the chill in your gaze,
the threads of deceit snap me in two and
change the condition of my heart.
I stitch myself into a mantle of chastity,
keeping myself numb to the pleasure
of your touch, but through the reverie of 3 a.m.,
your fingers bring my body back to life.
Desire burns emotions.
I fall into the familiar scent of your skin,
doubt collapsing beneath the heat of your eyes.
We are a rage of fire and forgetfulness,
until time resumes its bitter pulse.
We exhale, and the room turns to ice.
I pull a heavy cloak of resentment
over my shoulders, and step out into the day.
Without my conscience.  Without my heart.


Stiff Trigger

If I used a razor, I would warm the blade,
delighting in the comfort of tepid steel,
and watch life pool in crevices on the floor.

If I took pills, I’d lay them across my palm,
sacrament for a wanting tongue,
penance doused in bitterness,
tugging on my eyelids with welcome force.
If I used a gun, it would be an antique,
with gilded barrels and a stiff trigger,
a relic of ravaged lives held gently to my lips.


Your Promises are Collapsible

I sit in a locked car, wading through the
gravel of my nerves, skin prickling with caffeine.
Your betrayal is spread out across the dashboard,
photos of you sneaking into a cheap motel at
lunchtime, hidden behind the door of room#5,
caressing much younger skin than mine.
The stench of infidelity clutters the floor.
Chasing off rage with packs of cigarettes,
I inhale the hours, alight on the precipice of
catching you in the guileful arms of your secret.
Your promises may be collapsible, but so are mine.
My heart has succumbed to the taste of deceit.
I spread myself thin under your lies,
waiting patiently for you to slip into the deluge.


Susan Richardson is living, writing and going blind in Los Angeles. She shares a home with an Irishman, 2 pugs and 2 cats. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa in 2002, and in addition to poetry, she writes a blog called Stories from the Edge of Blindness.  Her work has been published in: Stepping Stones Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Furious Gazelle, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Foxglove Journal, Literary Juice, Sick Lit Magazine, Amaryllis, and The Anapest Journal, with pieces forthcoming in Eunoia Review.  She was also awarded the Sheila-Na-Gig Winter Poetry Prize and will be featured in the Literary Juice 2018 Q&A Series.


Two poems by Alla Vilnyanskaya

Mother of Pearl

I was living in a room
sleeping in a bed
enclosed in barbed wire

A wire
out of which
I should have been extracted

You were the girl
my father fell in love with

My father’s father fled the Ukraine
during the Nazi occupation of Kharkiv
Leaving his wife and son

They ate potato peels
and crawled over severed limbs

You were the girl my father fell in love with
and cried for on a train
going from nowhere, to elsewhere.

(First Published in Zaum)




One day you come home you find
you don’t have a home
no house
no door

Your name is the first
Then mine
We speak of the women who have died
the month goes something like this

How will you save her? Your only child.

I eat sap from the trees.
Sap reminds me of love
And teardrops.


Statistically speaking

Men’s lives run shorter than the lives of women
But somehow that doesn’t seem like enough

You find some type of vocation, perhaps
you will no longer have time for us.

I pour my heart out
Into a cup
you say “there’s a spot”

In the new world
Women no longer give birth
The process of childbirth
Is too painful and grotesque

We all live in tree houses
And wear vines

They say all men are evil
Especially the good ones.


Alla Vilnyanskaya was born in the Ukraine and came to the U.S. with her family as a refugee. Her work has previously appeared in Zaum, Poetry International and Boog City. She is currently working on her first book.